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“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself.
There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” John Adams
African Pilot's December 2018 edition
The December edition of African Pilot has entered its printing phase and will be available early next week for its distribution phase. This edition features the various General Aviation and Airlines based at OR Tambo International Airport. In addition, this edition features an illustrated report on the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) annual general assembly staged in Livingstone, Zambia at Victoria Falls and business at OR Tambo International Airport.
In addition this edition features the ATNS Avi Afrique conference, the world’s first commercial flight, Comair’s launch of Nacelle, the arrival of South Africa’s first Pilatus PC-24 Business Jet, NBAA 2018 report, the cover story about the magnificent Bell 430 helicopter, Team Xtreme’s trip into Africa, EAA USA’s incredible initiative at changing the FAA’s mindset with regard to amateur manufactured aircraft, Spitfire simulator in the UK, the strange Eclipse 550 accident report as well as many other interesting features.
African Pilot can place on record that the monthly aviation magazine has more interesting illustrated aviation articles than any other African aviation magazine. If you don’t believe me, then compare for yourself, because African Pilot is not filled from cover to cover with advertising pages. Instead, our creative team is proud of the beautiful adverts we create as well as the attention to overall attention to detail throughout the monthly aviation magazine.
African Pilot’s January 2019 edition
The final edition that our team will prepare in 2018 will be the January 2019 edition, which has already started. This edition will contain our annual drones in South Africa feature as well as a report on the EAA Sun ‘n Fun weekend in Brits, Aero Club awards, Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) awards, the first South African Civil Authority (SACAA) awards and Airport’s Company of South Africa (ACSA) Feather Awards. Well it is that time of the year when awards are being presented to deserving individuals and companies who have excelled through the past year. For advertising positions, please contact Lara Bayliss Cell: 079 880 4359 Tel: 0861 001130 or e-mail: email@example.com
What has changed at African Pilot?
Now you can get your favourite aviation magazine online
As our digital capability has grown substantially, we have developed aviation news blasts within the next week. We have re-designed the option for the electronic version of African Pilot to be uploaded via our website. The cost of a single download is R16 (US$2) or R160 (US$20) for a 12-month subscription. In addition, we have created several other options. If you happened to miss out on a particular article or edition, back editions are available.
Video of the week
All the newest and most incredible fifth-generation stealth fighter jets in the world:
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
SAAF can only place two C-130s into the air at any one time
Ever-increasing demands coupled to diminishing resources are putting what was once called ‘The Pride of the Nation’ into an unenviable situation. According to the 2017/18 Department of Defence (DoD) annual report, the SA Air Force (SAAF) used 81% of its targeted flying hours with by far the majority of these; more than three thousand six hundred spent on force deployment. On the face of it, good and well in view of a defence budget that shrinks year after year but when interrogated by opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party MP Kobus Marais, shadow defence and military veterans minister, the picture is, to use his word, ‘concerning’.
As one example, the medium / heavy air transport capability of the SAAF has ‘only six C-130 aircraft in active service and an average of not more than two serviceable per day to conduct strategic and tactical air transport missions, mainly throughout Africa in support of SANDF external deployments’.
This is part of the official written response to questions posed by Marais as part of Parliament’s oversight function via portfolio committees, in this instance the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV). Marais was also told that ‘due to limited funding, the C-130 fleet is only allocated approximately R100 million a year for the last three years while the full requirement is approximately R300 million a year to fully support the shortages experienced in enabling the capabilities required to support these aging aircraft’.
The response also points out that ‘continual underfunding of this capability has led to the situation where there are no C-130 float levels available in stores. The result of this systematic underfunding leads to aircraft being grounded after unscheduled failures while awaiting spares’. This is laid at the door of Denel Aeronautics (formerly Denel Aviation), appointed as an official Lockheed Martin MRO (maintenance and repair organisation), some years ago. The words used are: “The SAAF relies heavily on local aviation industry, specifically Denel Aviation, to support C-130 with negative results due to inability of local aviation industry to perform as required.”
While SAAF C-130BZs are more than 50 years old, the answer given to Marais on the force’s light air transport capability; the Casa 212 Spanish aircraft have more than 30 years in active service. “This leads to serious obsolescence issues. Combined with limited supportability outside the original equipment manufacturer and extensive lead times to procure and repair some components, as production lines in Europe have to be reopened, results in aircraft being unserviceable for extended periods.”
What happened in aviation over the past week?
EAA Sun ‘n Fun at Brits
What a lovely weekend where members of EAA Chapter 322 hosted the annual Sun ‘n Fun at the Brits Flying Club this past weekend. The Brits Flying Club was very well organised where everything worked; from the catering to the refreshment various stations and sound throughout the day. Captain Karl Jensen told me that a total of 79 aircraft including several helicopters, gyrocopters and a few microlights has attended over the weekend. The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) planned a short fun rally that was well-supported and congratulations to everyone who entered this rally.
There was no doubt that the most active aircraft throughout the weekend was Ivan van der Scar’s Boeing Stearman. Neil Bowden arranged for those pilots who wanted to camp to have tents in a mini ‘Britskosh’ type set up and Marie Reddy made sure that everything from EAA’s side worked, which is of course an incredible part of her wonderful character. Dr Frank Person drove to Brits so that he could bring his karaoke sound equipment for Saturday night’s entertainment – thank you Frank!
I also wish to thank my nephew Mark Miller for flying me in his beautiful Cessna 172 (on steroids) to take some incredibly beautiful pictures of the brand new Sling TSi four seat light aircraft that has amazing international appeal. We also took beautiful pictures of the new Bearhawk LSA within the same air-to-air sortie. Mark who is a Grade II instructor said that he was impressed with the turnout at the Brits Sun ‘n Fun weekend.
Aviation in South Africa is very small, therefore it is most important that all of us set aside our differences so that as a combined entity we can be part of the ‘greater picture’, which is to promote aviation in all its forms. I sincerely believe that through EAA, SAPFA and the Aero Club this is being made possible due to the unselfish time that many individuals are devoting towards building bridges to make these weekend happen. There is simply no point in harbouring old grudges that are pointless just to ‘prove a point’, which is long gone anyway. As the owner / editor of African Pilot, I have always devoted a considerable amount of my personal time towards the EAA, which was my very first entry into aviation more than 40 years ago. From Christine and me, I wish to thank everyone who was involved in organising this fantastic weekend of friendship and excellent aviation comradeship. African Pilot will publish a full article with pictures in the January 2019 edition of the monthly magazine.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
16 & 17 November
Sandstone Estates Cherry Festival steam weekend
Contact Alina Tel 051 933 2235 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aero Club of South Africa awards dinner Wanders Club 17h00
Contact E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Fun Rally at Springs Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 855 9435
1 & 2 December
SAC ACE of Base Brits airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
International Civil Aviation Day at Nelspruit airfield
Contact Pappie Maja Cell: 083 451 2627 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2019 aviation calendar has been well populated by the many people involved in aviation sending the information about the scheduled fixture to African Pilot – thank you. Please send any further fixtures to me: email@example.com and I will send you the entire 2019 calendar.
African Pilot’s 2019 calendar
19 & 20 January
SAC Gauteng Regionals at Vereeniging airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Rand Airport Challenge – Rand Airport
Contact Frank Eckard cell: 083 269 1516 e-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Morningstar Speed Rally – Morningstar Airfield
Contact Hans Potgieter e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
9 and 10 March
Swellendam Flying Club host Sport Aerobatic Club Regional Championships
Contact Pieter Venter e-mail: email@example.com
12 to 14 March
Saudi Airshow Thumah Airport, Riyadh
13 to 15 March
Ageing Aircraft & Aircraft Corrosion seminar at OR Tambo International Airport
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FASHKOSK at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Anton Theart Cell: 079 873 4567 E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Virginia Fun Rally – Virginia Airport
Contact Mary de Klerk cell: 084 880 9000e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Air Botswana takes delivery of its first ATR 72-600
The Botswana national flag carrier, Air Botswana took delivery of its first ATR 72-600 last Friday. The aircraft, delivered in Toulouse, is the first of a contract signed in July for two ATR 72-600s. The second is planned for delivery before the end of the year. The ATR 72-600s will upgrade Air Botswana’s current fleet of three ATR 42-500s and one ATR 72-500s.The brand-new aircraft is configured with a 70-seat, dual class cabin and equipped with the latest avionics. With these two ATR 72-600, the Botswana airline makes a clear forward looking decision to benefit from a fleet with the most modern turboprops equipped with cutting-edge technology.
ALC announces lease placement of Airbus A320neo aircraft with Air Seychelles
Last week Air Lease Corporation announced the lease placement of one new Airbus A320neo aircraft on long-term lease to Air Seychelles (Republic of Seychelles) from ALC’s order book with Airbus. The new aircraft will feature CFM LEAP 1A-26 engines and is confirmed to deliver to the airline in the first quarter of 2020.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Chronicles of Bombardier’s jet programmes
What was to be a regular quarterly earnings report, turned into a stunning announcement for the global aviation industry, when on 8 November 2018, Bombardier revealed it would sell two of its businesses, including the aging Q400 aircraft programme and cut 5,000 jobs across the board. With the CSeries and the QSeries now out of the manufacturer’s portfolio, only the CRJ regional jets remain. Will Bombardier end up being exclusively a business-jet and rail manufacturer?
With its third quarter 2018 earnings results, the Canadian aircraft and train manufacturer said it will sell its QSeries turboprop aircraft programme as well as de Havilland trademark to a subsidiary of home-based Longview Aviation Capital, Viking Air, for $300 million. The sale package includes Bombardier’s Q400 turboprop line as well as assets and intellectual property for other Dash 8 models, the -100, -200 and -300.
Bombardier said it also reached an agreement to sell its business aircraft flight and technical training unit, which is run out of Montréal, Québec City (Canada) and Dallas (US), to Canadian training solutions company CAE, for $645 million. The transactions with CAE will total $800 million in revenue for Bombardier.
Overall, the manufacturer said it expects to get around $900 million in net proceeds out of the two all-Canadian deals, which should be finalised by mid-2019. By that time, the company’s large scale cost reduction and restructuring measures will have begun to erase around 5,000 jobs (which translates into over 7% of its global workforce), helping the manufacturer to generate $250 million in annual savings at full run rate by 2021, as it stated. The company defends itself by saying the cuts and sales are necessary and that it would continue to ‘streamline’ its operations.
First serial produced IL-476 airborne three years behind schedule
The first serial produced Il-76MD-90A (codename IL-476), a heavily upgraded version of the Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane, achieved its debut flight on 7 November 2018. The flight was announced on Facebook by Alexey Rogozin, CEO of the Ilyushin Aircraft Company, part of the United Aircraft Corporation. “This was the first flight of the Il-76MD-90A with the factory No. 01-09 – the first serial-produced plane built in compliance with the performance characteristics of the Russian Defence Ministry,“ said Rogozin. The plane is assembled at the Aviastar plant in Ulyanovsk, Russia.
The development of this new version started in 2006. In October 2010, a first order was placed by the Russian Ministry of defence, with 39 aircraft to be delivered by 2020. The contract amounted to 139,42 billion rubles (about $2.1 billion) making it at the time the biggest in Russian aviation history. The first prototype performed its maiden flight in September 2012. After several delays due to technical difficulties in adapting new systems and equipment to the airframe of the Il-76MD, flight tests for the definitive version eventually started in December 2016. The first aircraft was delivered to the Russian Air Force in January 2018.
The Il-76MD-90A is heavy transport aircraft, a substantially modernised version of the Ilyushin-76 that was manufactured by Tashkent Aviation Production Association in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in the 70’s, during the Soviet era. The flight control surfaces were modified and the general structure of the plane was simplified. The plane now sports new avionics with modernised navigation systems that include a digital cockpit. Only six crew members are now needed to operate it, one less than the original Il-76.
It is powered by four Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines, supposed to reduce the fuel consumption of the plane by 10%. The maximum payload of the plane is 52 tonnes and it can operate at a distance of 5,000 km (compared to 47 tonnes and 4,000 km for the previous iteration, the Il-76MD). This aircraft will be used by the Russian military to transport a range of equipment, armed personnel and vehicles. It can also be used to parachute cargo and troops. Russian media agency TASS reports that the plane can also be used as a water bomber for firefighting. Beriev Aircraft Company is working on an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS ) version, the A-100, equipped with a new Vega Premier AESA radar. It is destined to replace the A-50 currently used in the Russian air force, which was already based on the Il-76.
Tecnam ‘Airshow China 2018’ order for 30 aircraft
Tecnam and its local aerospace partner Liaoning United-Air ShenYan Co. Ltd (LUSY) announced an order for a fleet of 30 aeroplanes from the Anhui Lantian International Flight Academy (ALIFA). The order was signed at the bi-annual Zhuhai International Airshow (also known as Airshow China). Xie Chunqui, Chairman, ALIFA said: “Our company have selected Tecnam P2006T Twins and P2010 Ten’s models to replace our legacy fleet of training aeroplanes. Our all new state-of-the-art TECNAM aircraft will not only enable us to provide our cadets with the very best training fleet but will also support our aspirations to establish ALIFA as a world-class Flight Training Organisation”.
The Tecnam P2010 P Twenty Ten is the first new single engine, high wing, four-seat aircraft from Tecnam that brings together an advanced technology all carbon fibre fuselage with a metal wing and stabilator. The P2006T Twin is the world’s most reputable twin engine aeroplane. It will enable the delivery of complex Flight Training and will enable ALIFA students to complete MEP training in a faster and more efficient manner. Walter Da Costa, Tecnam Global Sales and Marketing Director said: “We are so proud to partner with the “Anhui Lantian International Flight Academy”. ALIFA have a well-earned reputation for delivering flight training to an exceptional standard and we are honoured to be key partner in the future development of China’s next-generation of commercial airline pilots”.
ATR and Air New Zealand explore future of regional aviation ecosystem including hybrid aircraft
ATR and Air New Zealand have signed an agreement to explore the role of new propulsion technologies, could play in the future of the regional aircraft ecosystem. Under the agreement the partners will investigate the development of these new solutions and the required systems to support them such as airport and regulatory infrastructure, maintenance, ground and flight operations. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says with New Zealand’s renewable electricity supply and Air New Zealand’s comprehensive regional network, the country is seen as the ideal test bed for these technologies.
Hybrid aircraft are expected to enter the market in the next decade or so. Depending on when hybrid and electric technologies become available for larger turbo-prop aircraft, we believe there is potential for these to be a viable option for our regional network. The regional fleet accounts for approximately 40 percent of domestic emissions so there is an enormous opportunity for carbon savings. It could be a significant contributor to New Zealand reaching its goals of carbon neutral growth from 2020 and reducing emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2050.
Two Russian bombers intercepted close to NATO exercise in Norway
Two Eurofighter Typhoon fighters from the British Royal Air Force were scrambled on 31 October 2018, to intercept two Russian strategic bombers Tupolev Tu-160s that were flying over the Norwegian Sea. The fighters took off from RAF Lossiemouth air base in Scotland and were accompanied by an Airbus A330 MRTT Voyager tanker for aerial refuelling. The interception took place several hours after the Russian Ministry of Defence announced that the two ‘Blackjack’ bombers would begin a multi-hour flight over the neutral waters of the Barents and Norwegian Sea. The incident reminds of a very similar situation on 21 September 2018, during which two Eurofighter Typhoons of the Royal Air Force intercepted over the North Sea two Tu-160s that were headed towards Scotland.
Starman ‘driving’' his Tesla Roadster beyond Mars’ orbit
The Tesla Roadster that was sent into orbit with a mannequin dubbed ‘Starman’ in the driver’s seat has passed the orbit of Mars and will soon reach the apogee of its orbit before starting back towards the sun. Engadget reports that Starman and his roadster will reach their furthest point from the sun; about 155 million miles on 8 November and while the vehicle will start back towards the centre of the solar system at that point, it will still be 2020 it makes a ‘close approach’ to Earth and it will still be 32 million miles away. The car will still be closer to Mars at that point; about 4.6 million miles. In fact, Ben Pearson, an astronomer who is tracking Starman’s orbit, predicts that there will not be a truly close visit to the home planted until about 2091. Pearson predicts that Starman will reach his furthest point from Earth, at least in the near term, on 20 February 2019. At that point, the distance will be some 2.446 AU or 227 million miles.
Drunk JAL 1st officer exposes Japan’s pilot drinking problem
The Japanese pilot who was arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) on 28 October 2018, for being close to 10 times over the alcohol limit is just a cherry on top of reported cases where Japanese airline pilots had failed to board scheduled flights due to excessive drinking. But it took this latest scandal to make Japanese authorities scramble to review and tighten airline pilot alcohol consumption rules. What was to be a regular Japan Airlines (JAL) flight from London to Tokyo on a Boeing 777 on 28 October 2018, turned into an embarrassing scandal for the airline and the Japanese authorities, casting a shadow over the reputation of the country’s pilots.
A Japan Airlines co-pilot, Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, was scheduled to board Flight JL44 headed to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) when he was arrested for failing a breath test; just 50 minutes before the flight’s departure time from London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) at 19h00 (local time). The driver of a crew bus smelt alcohol on the co-pilot and reported it to the airport’s security personnel who contacted local police. The British police arrested Jitsukawa at the airport after a breath test indicated he had excessive alcohol in his system, JAL confirmed in a press release. According to euronews, Jitsukawa had already passed a pre-flight breath test at the company’s office in Heathrow.
On 1 November 2018, the first officer pleaded guilty to being almost 10 times over the legal blood alcohol limit for a pilot. Results from a blood test showed he had 189 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood in his system (the legal limit for pilots in the UK is 20 mg). The 42-year old had been drinking for six hours on the night before the London-Tokyo flight and had consumed two bottles of wine and five cans of beer at a hotel. Jitsukawa was detained until his sentence in the UK on 29 November 2018. As for Flight JL44, the plane was delayed for over an hour as a result of the incident. The Japanese airline was forced to operate the Boeing 777 with two pilots instead of the usual three on the London-Tokyo trip.
JAL, the flag carrier of Japan, has apologised to passengers of the affected flight, stating that the company takes the co-pilot’s violation ‘seriously’ and that it will ‘implement immediate actions’ to prevent any such incident from happening in the future. As a result of the incident, the airline’s rule prohibiting pilots from consuming alcohol 12 hours before a flight has now been upgraded to 24 hours. Alcohol checks have also been extended to involve airport staff, along with the flight crew.
The A330-800: it doesn’t sell, but it flies
The A330-800 took to the skies of Toulouse (France) for the first time on 6 November 2018, about a year after its bigger brother, the A330-900. The aircraft is expected complete testing and enter service in 2020. However, it is yet to convince airlines of its worthiness. Since it appeared in Airbus catalogue in 2014, this variant of Airbus A330 only managed to secure 10 sales, out of which only eight are a firm orders; that is a number way lower compared to the jet’s big brother, the A330-900, with its 224 orders (including 100 from Air Asia X). In March 2018, Airbus lost its sole firm order at the time, placed by Hawaiian Airlines. Despite flying mostly Airbus aircraft, the US carrier changed its mind and switched for ten Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners instead of six A330-800s. Airbus had to wait until July 2018 for anyone to show interest in its plane. It came from Uganda Airlines, which signed a memorandum of understanding for two A330-800s. The company has yet to turn this into a firm order. In October 2018, the plane maker eventually received a firm order – from Kuwait Airways, which ordered eight of the jets.
Embraer and American Airlines sign a new contract for 15 E175s
Embraer and American Airlines Inc. signed a firm order for 15 E175 jets in a 76-seat configuration. The contract has a value of USD 705 million, based on current list prices, and will be included in Embraer’s 2018 fourth-quarter backlog. Deliveries will take place in 2020. Combined with the airline’s previous orders for the E175, this new contract results in a total of 104 E175 jets for American Airlines since 2013. The most recent order took place in May 2018 for 15 aircraft.
American Airlines selected Envoy, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group, to operate the 15 aircraft, which will be configured with a total of 76 seats, being 12 in First Class and 64 in Main Cabin, including Main Cabin Extra seats. Including this new contract, Embraer has sold more than 435 E175s to airlines in North America since January 2013, earning more than 80% of all orders in this 76-seat jet segment.
FAA readies for an autonomous future
On Monday acting FAA administrator Daniel Elwell said “We find ourselves on the cusp of the third great era of aviation, the age of autonomous and unmanned aircraft.” In a talk at the Aero Club of Washington, Elwell said, “I’m not sure we appreciate how much of a seismic change it’s going to be for all of us and we want to be ready.” Elwell said he wants to create an ‘innovation incubator’ inside the FAA, “so that good ideas don’t die on the vine.” The project would give people the freedom to tackle tough questions and the time to figure out how new technology can be incorporated into the National Air Space. “If it works, we’re off to the races,” he said. “We’ll measure success by our ability to disrupt the status quo and break down obstacles, so that new ideas can be transformed into concrete actions without disturbing current operations.”
Elwell also noted the recent five-year authorisation for the FAA is the longest the administration has had in more than 35 years. “It doesn’t have everything we asked for,” said Elwell. “No bill ever does. But it’s full of a lot of good things. We have a mandate to accelerate our momentum on unmanned aircraft. It clears the way to remote identification standards. It supports us moving forward on long-awaited rules for drone operations over people and at night.” The bill increases commercial space funding by 236 percent over the next five years and empowers the FAA to create an Office of Spaceports. But Elwell noted the FAA still needs more. “We need funding reform because the FAA hasn’t started a fiscal year with a full appropriation since 1997.”
easyJet makes progress on electric regional jet
easyJet, a leading regional airline operating in Europe, has partnered with US based start-up Wright Electric to develop a small electric-powered aircraft that could efficiently serve on short-haul airline routes. Last week, the airline confirmed the project is progressing Wright Electric has applied for a patent on ‘a novel motor design’ for ‘an easyJet-sized aircraft’ that could fly from London to Amsterdam, about 200 NM, which is the second-busiest route in Europe. Wright Electric partner Axter Aerospace already has a two-seat aircraft flying, and a nine-seat aircraft is expected to start flying next year.
The passenger aircraft now in development will be designed by Darold Cummings, who worked on multiple projects at Boeing over many years before he retired in 2004. Wright Electric also has filed for a patent for an electric motor to be used in the larger aircraft. EasyJet says the London – Amsterdam route “is seen as a strong contender for full electric flying in the future.”
Delaware State University to acquire 10 Vulcanair airplanes
Delaware State University (DSU) and Ameravia, Inc. are very pleased to announce the acquisition, with a firm order, of ten (10) new Vulcanair V1.0 FAA certified single-engine aircraft for the DSU aviation department flight training program with deliveries in late 2018 and the first half of 2019. The Delaware State University Board of Trustees and administration has chosen to invest $3.5 million dollars into the Aviation Programme over the next eight years. Beginning in 2019 thru 2027, the university intends to purchase at least one additional V1.0 training aircraft each year (for a total of up to 20 airplanes), to accommodate expansion of the Aviation Programme’s capacity for students majoring in the Professional Pilot degree. These aircraft will serve as the workhorses of our fleet and will allow our students to train on the latest all glass avionics’ cockpit technology, familiar to and used by airlines and in corporate aviation. This will ultimately better prepare our students for success as they enter the aviation industry as a professional pilot.
DSU Aviation Management graduates will be qualified for advanced training to fill the future vacancies in Air Traffic Control, with the FAA, both regional and major airline companies, corporate aviation and all levels of airport administration career fields. Professional Pilot graduates complete six FAA certifications and rating requirements for the Private Pilot License, Instrument rating, Commercial License, Multi-Engine and Certified Flight Instructor ratings while earning a bachelor’s degree. All the graduates of our FAA Approved Part 141 Aviation programme get hired into a Professional Pilot job leading to a career in aviation, within 12 months of graduation.
Why was Air France flight turned away from Russia?
Air France flight AF258 experienced an exceptionally rare incident on 1 November 2018. As the carrier’s Boeing 777 was approaching Russian airspace, it was denied access, forcing the plane to turn back and return to Paris. The flight AF258 was en route from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), France, to Ho Chi Minh City International Airport (SGN), Vietnam. Around two hours into the flight, as it was passing over Belarus, the plane started circling above the city of Dovsk: its entrance into the Russian airspace had been denied. Once informed by Russian ATC, the flight crew decided to turn around and after failing to land in Warsaw, the plane eventually went back to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).
His almost never happens; it’s as if the plane was facing a wall and the road was closed. Air France explained that this extremely rare incident was due to a very simple reason: a glitch in the update of the route for IATA winter season, which occurs between 31 October and 1 November. The airline said that the problem was since corrected. However, the data collected by flightradar24 shows that the following flights (3 November and 6 November 2018) used the same route as the one used prior to 1 November 2018, which avoids the Russian airspace. According to the Federal Air Transport Agency, the French airline failed to notify the Russian authorities of a change in AF258 route.
Chinese-Russian widebody C929 materialises
On 6 November 2018, CRAIC revealed a full size mock up model of its widebody airliner-to-be, the C929. The model showcased how the cockpit and three passenger classes in distinctive ‘Chinese and Russian style’ interior decorations would look like in reality. According to developers, the C929-600 basic version, which is now in ‘design definition’ stage, will come in three passenger classes and provide ‘entirely’ enjoyable comfort for flight and cabin crew. The C929 mock up was unveiled as part of China’s biennial Airshow, held in Zhuhai between 6 and 11 November 2018.
The C929 is being developed by the China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation (CRAIC), a joint venture between the two countries’ aerospace giants: Russia’s UAC and China’s COMAC. The C929-600 in basic three-class configuration is to fly up to 12 000 km and carry 280 passengers. The aircraft family will also include two other versions: C929–700, a stretched fuselage modification and C929–500, which would feature a shorter fuselage. The current design definition and selection of main systems and equipment suppliers stage is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. The aircraft could be introduced in in 2025, with its maiden flights and first deliveries taking part in 2025-2028.
Hartzell providing customised, optimized propellers for Eviation's electric commuter
Eviation Aircraft, a global manufacturer of all-electric air mobility solutions, has selected Hartzell Propeller, Inc. as a development partner for Eviation’s debut aircraft, the all-electric Alice. With zero-emissions and 100 percent battery-electric solution, the Alice Aircraft will be test flown at the 53rd Paris Air Show in June 2019. Under the terms of the development partnership, Hartzell Propeller will provide customised and optimised propellers and support systems.
Founded in Tel Aviv in 2015, Eviation is led by a team of aviation and technology leaders from organisations including Phinergy and the Israel Defence Forces. Eviation’s Alice will provide high-energy density battery-powered fleets to regional carriers in the US, with a value proposition that can reduce carrier operating expenses sustainably. With development support from Hartzell Propeller, the Alice will be equipped with an innovative system of new propellers, designed to meet the unique needs of the first-in-kind aircraft. The design and manufacture of the propeller systems underway will utilise Hartzell’s five-blade carbon fibre blades and Bantam hub series to provide the optimal combination of reduced weight and maximum performance.
Each of the propellers in the three-unit ship set will be approximately 65 inches in diameter and feature carbon fibre blades with nickel cobalt leading edges, certified for unlimited life. The structural composite propellers will be integrated with Eviation’s proprietary technology advances, including: thermal management and autonomous landing, distributed electric propulsion and cutting-edge composite body frames capable of carrying up to nine passengers on a single charge for 650 miles.
NASA shifts focus of X-56A test flights
The remotely piloted X-56A subscale aircraft has demonstrated with a classic flight controller in flight that flutter can be suppressed at 110 knots, or about 127 mph in the a lower weight configuration. The flight on 15 September at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Centre in California was intended to validate and improve aerodynamic computer models as well as determine aircraft characteristics at the higher airspeed, said Cheng Moua, X-56A project manager.
The focus of test flights now shifts from building good aerodynamic models to predict the speed at which flutter will happen to demonstrating suppression at higher speeds with a modern, robust flight controller. “Suppressing flutter with this type of aircraft is ground breaking,” Moua said. The X-56A is intended to validate enabling technology for designing aircraft with highly flexible, lightweight wings. The use of less structurally-rigid wings could be critical to future long-range, fuel efficient airliners. The experimental aircraft is investigating the destructive vibration known as flutter, which such wings can be susceptible. A combination of ground vibration tests and loads testing helped improve models, but it is the flight data that is significantly refining the models as the classical controller was modified and tuned. “We want to understand the airplane and how it behaves,” Moua explained. “When we had flown the modern controller earlier in the programme, it didn’t perform as we expected because the models were not as accurate as we thought. The modern controller relies on a highly accurate model of aircraft.” In the new phase of flights, the tests will begin at 70 knots, or about 81 mph and progress in increments of 10 knots, or about 11.5 mph, to build confidence in the models and advance toward the flutter suppression goal. He likened the controllers to high-performance sports cars where one is good, but the other is better. “We are close to suppressing flutter with the new controller, we are almost there,” he added. “There is more uncertainty as you approach flutter with the classical controller, while the new controller is more robust.”
Many factors lead to flutter, but changing fuel weight during flight is a key. When the aircraft is heavier, it doesn’t encounter flutter until it reaches a higher speed. However, as it becomes lighter, it can experience flutter at a much slower speed. Lockheed Martin developed X-56A aircraft for the US Air Force Research Laboratory and transferred the aircraft to Armstrong for flight research. The programme is funded through NASA’s Advanced Air Transport Technology project, NASA’s Flight Demonstration Capabilities project and the US Air Force Research Laboratory.
More than bikinis: the face of Vietnam’s flourishing aviation
While Vietjet is often cited for its raunchy flight inaugurations that included bikini-wearing flight attendants, the airline is no joke. The carrier’s latest purchase announcement of 50 A321neos has boosted its total aircraft orders to a whopping 325. This impressive number supports the equally important growth of the Vietnamese aviation market. Vietjet took the opportunity of French Prime minister Edouard Philippe visit to Vietnam to finalise an order of 50 additional A321neos from Airbus. A deal, worth $6.5 billion in list prices, increases the number of A320 family jets in the airline’s fleet to 171.
The Vietnamese LCC saw a strong growth in its third quarter earnings of 2018, reaching a revenue of 12,713 billion Dong (approximately $514,000), an 105% increase compared to the same period in the previous year, despite September being traditionally known as a low period for the aviation industry. Vietjet currently operates 103 routes, of which 39 are domestic and 64 international. Soon the carrier is expected to announce the opening of its own flight school, Vietjet Air Academy, built in cooperation with Airbus for a total of $170 million.
But the airline is not the only player in Vietnam’s booming aviation industry. Several airlines attempted to harvest the fruits of this prosperous economy. With a 220% increase of its GDP in the last ten years, its citizens are more and more incline to travel, a situation which fits perfectly the low-cost model. The last in line, Bamboo Airways, was supposed to start operating on 10 October 2018. However, it failed to acquire the necessary permits on time and postponed its first flight to the end of 2018. Just like VietJet, the company is currently awaiting on aircraft from both Boeing and Airbus (24 A320neos and 20 B787 Dreamliners).
Opportunities also come from aboard, with a 32% increase of foreign visitors using air transport to Vietnam from 2017 to 2016. To this avail, on 28 October 2018, the national carrier Vietnam Airlines opened a new line, linking Kansai International Airport (KIX) in Osaka, Japan to Da Nang International Airport (DAD), Vietnam. It also increased weekly flights to Japan from 70 to 80. With 11 routes in total, Japan is the flag carrier’s biggest market and sees a steady rise of passengers travelling between the two countries year after year (up 11% in 2017).
Foreign low cost carriers also see a market in Vietnam: on 2 November Malaysian AirAsia announced that it would open a new route between Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Malaysia and Phu Quoc International Airport (PQC), Vietnam. This route is the fifth that the airline opened in the country after Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hanoi and Nha Trang.
Icelandair buys Wow Air, hopes to conquer international markets
On 5 November 2018, the Icelandair Group (a parent company of the country’s flag carrier) issued a brief statement confirming a purchase agreement of all WOW Air shares. Both airlines are to continue operate under separate brands once (and if) the deal is approved by the group’s shareholders and Icelandic authorities. The acquisition is explained as an attempt to challenge international markets by providing ‘strong competition,’ the Group statement reads. Currently, both airlines hold approximately 3.8% of transatlantic market combined.
WOW Air has demonstrated a significant growth and since it was established in 2011, the LCC has successfully expanded in Iceland, Europe and North America, carrying approximately 2.8 million passengers in 2017 and expecting 3.6 million travellers in 2018. However, on the financial side, its flight is not as successful. In August 2018, a leaked presentation revealed the airline was seeking investors, as it suffered a $13.5 million loss in 2017 and was bracing for another $28 million downfall in 2018.
Alitalia bid reaches deadline: who’s left in the game?
On 31 October EasyJet said it had submitted a revised expression of interest in Alitalia, saying its proposal in the restructured Italian carrier is consistent with its ‘existing strategy for Italy’. US giant Delta Air Lines has also presented a proposal and Italian state railways Ferrovie dello Stato said it made an offer as well. According to Bloomberg, state-appointed administrators for Alitalia confirmed that two binding bids and one expression of interest had been received. Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa had previously expressed its interest in Alitalia. However, the airline later backed out of bidding stating it would not co-invest with the Italian government in an airline under such restructuration as Alitalia. Also not expected to renew their interest in the carrier are Wizz Air and Air France-KLM. Alitalia entered into special administration last year. An initial deadline for bidders on 30 Aril 2018, failed to result in a sale and was extended to 31 October this year following the change in Italy’s government. Alitalia needs rescue promptly to pay back the government a bridge loan of €1 million until the financing expires in December 2018.
FLYING CARS NEWS
PAL-V to debut its commercial flying car in the Middle East
After the successful introduction of the PAL-V’s production model earlier this year at the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS), Kuwait will have the honour to be the first to have its entirely dedicated PAL-V premiere. On 12 November, PAL-V will have an opening ceremony at the Dutch Embassy in Kuwait where it will be shown to the GCC VIPs, the general public and the media.
Combining flying and driving in one vehicle has been a dream for the past one hundred years. The question no longer is if a flying car will cruise the skies, but when. Since the GIMS, the overall interest toward the PAL-V Liberty by customers, investors and media, has been beyond expectations. The fact is that PAL-V is finalising its last steps of pre-production certification: compliance demonstration. “It takes a lot of testing to prove that the PAL-V Liberty complies with the regulations,” said Mike Stekelenburg, PAL-V’s Chief Engineer. He continues: “We deliberately chose to design, engineer and manufacture our flying car with proven instead of immature technologies, complying with existing road and air regulations (EASA and FAA). This approach focuses on safety and enables a realistic and imminent product delivery date.”
Testing to begin in Tyler, TX for first responder drone network
What if all first responders had a way to see what is happening at a fire, accident or disaster BEFORE they arrive, or even before they leave the station? FIRST iZ is a patent pending system to allow a drone to be dispatched by 911 operators using the Genesis PULSE software. The drone can autonomously fly from locations, such as fire stations, up to five miles to incidents to give ‘eyes’ on the scene. As soon as first responders arrive on a scene, FIRST iZ will be told to return home, charge and await the next mission.
The Tyler City Council approved an agreement on October 24 with Tyler company Phirst Technologies, LLC to allow a drone and a port to be located in a secure enclosure at Fire Station #9 for the purpose of early testing of the drone and port for first responder use. Testing will be done within FAA part 107 rules for drones and last six to ten months. All information and data generated during this test will be the property of Phirst Technologies, LLC to allow improvement through learning. Phirst Technologies, LLC is bearing all costs for the installation and testing.
PTL will test their patent pending features involving a custom drone and a drone port as they prepare for Beta level testing that will begin in 2019. This Alpha Testing phase will be conducted by Falcon Aerial Data, a Tyler based drone company, under their FAA licenses. Alpha testing will be basic take-off, landing and flights within visual line of sight in various weather conditions, in and around Tyler Fire Station #9 located on South Paluxy, near Loop 49. The goal is to learn about flight dynamics of the newly designed drone and the systems that control it, in multiple weather scenarios. We will also test the redundant systems in the drone from batteries to autopilot to the parachute system. There WILL be failure, but it will be with the purpose of learning and moving forward.
Beta level testing will involve 20 to 40 drones and ports that will be placed at various locations in the USA. The goal of that testing is to make sure that all components are ready for ‘go to market’ late in 2019. The testing scenarios will be more complex and involve cities and counties at a higher level. It is expected that actual use for actual incidents will happen each week during the Beta phase. PTL expects to go to market in late 2019 and ramp up production in 2020 for nationwide distribution. The plan is to offer the drone networks to cities, counties, emergency districts, large campuses, forest services and other locations where disasters occur. The plan is to lease the network of hardware with complete service and oversight, rather than an outright sale to a city.
Controller: “FAR1234 confirm your type of aircraft. Are you an Airbus 330 or 340?”
Pilot: “A340 of course!”
Controller: “Then would you mind switching on the two other engines and give me 1000 feet per minute, please?”
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.
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