“What is common to many is least taken care of, for all men have greater regard for what is their own than what they possess in common with others.”
African Pilot’s December 2019 edition
The final magazine produced this year is now complete and is at the printers. This edition features businesses at OR Tambo International Airport as well as our annual Drones / UAV’s feature. It will be ready for national distribution this coming week and will be fully distributed by 25 November, which is the same date that the digital edition is sent to thousands of subscribers and advertisers all over the world.
African Pilot’s January 2020 edition
The January 2020 edition will feature Aviation Professional Services and the closing date for all editorial and advertising is Friday 29 November 2019. The January edition will also contain a FREE A2 wall calendar with the main aviation events featured. We will also print 1000 A2 flat calendars that will have the South African aviation organisation chart that African Pilot developed on the other side and which will be handed out to ALL aviation businesses in South Africa. For advertising positions please contact Lara Bayliss at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
About African Pilot
There is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall media reach of all aviation publications in Africa where we are in a position to provide professional video and stills photography, website development, social media platforms, company newsletters as well as several other important media services to our customers. Naturally the monthly printed magazine has an incredibly long shelf life due to its excellent design and layout. Then of course the monthly magazine is also available as a digital edition where ALL advertisers have enjoy the direct routing to their websites at a touch on a smart phone or tablet as well as a click of the mouse on a computer screen.
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Video of the week: Rolls-Royce Griffon Mk.57A
Should you be interested in having your aviation event filmed, please contact email@example.com
Neil Bowden’s Sun ‘n Fun tour to Florida USA
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
SAA embarks on a restructuring process which will lead to job losses
South African Airways has informed all its 5146 employees that it is embarking on a restructuring process which may lead to job losses. Acting Chief Executive Officer, Zuks Ramasia said the airline has commenced a consultation process with all employees in line with section 189 of the Labour Relations Act. The act requires an employer to consult with recognised labour unions and keep abreast employees who may be affected by the restructuring process. Although the process may lead to retrenchments, Ramasia said SAA hoped to minimise the impact while offering support to those who would be directly affected. She said SAA has faced numerous challenges over the past few years culminating in the current grave situation. The challenges include, funding and liquidity challenges; inability to borrow indefinitely without repaying debt; high interest costs on loans; volatile and fluctuating fuel price; currency volatility; insufficient revenue and cash generation in relation to operating cost; ageing fleet, which is expensive to maintain and is fuel inefficient, making it difficult for SAA to compete in the market place as well as aggressive international and regional competition for revenue stimulation and network optimisation.
“In addition, SAA’s balance sheet has historically been weak and remains so despite recent substantial capital injections from the government. Our continued losses and reliance on government guarantees to borrow money from lenders, have increased the interest costs which impacts the operating cost of the business. We urgently need to address ongoing lossmaking position that has subsisted over the past years. That is why we are undergoing a restructuring process that seeks to ensure effective implementation of the accelerated Long-Term Turnaround Strategy amidst the present prevailing operational challenges. The scope of the restructuring encompasses all SAA divisions and departments and excludes the subsidiaries; SAAT, Mango Airlines and Air Chefs,” she said. Ramasia said as at 1 November 2019, SAA had a total workforce of 5 149 globally. It is difficult to estimate the number of employees who may eventually be impacted. No final decision will be taken until the consultation process is concluded. However, it is estimated that approximately 944 employees may be affected.
In terms of the Labour Relations Act, SAA and representative trade unions may agree to select a facilitator or alternatively, request the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration to facilitate the consultation process, which may last until 11 January 2020.
Ramasia said during the consultation process, SAA will engage meaningfully with the recognised unions and affected employees on: appropriate measures to minimise the number of retrenchments; mitigate the adverse effects of the retrenchments; the method for selecting the employees to be retrenched; the severance pay for employees that may be retrenched; affected job categories and the timing of retrenchments due to operational requirements, if required.
“These hard decisions were necessary to put SAA on a more sustainable footing while ensuring we continue to offer customers the best service. It is a matter of great regret that that we will part ways with some loyal colleagues. We are taking all possible steps to ensure these changes are managed in a caring manner and that everyone is treated with dignity,” said Ramasia.
SAA strike to go ahead, unions say their demands must be met
After a meeting on Thursday afternoon, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association rejected the latest offer by South African Airways. This means that, for now, the strike called by the two unions and their 3 000 members at SAA and SAA Technical will went ahead on Friday starting at 04h00. In a joint statement the two unions said the strike would be indefinite. The unions had announced on Wednesday afternoon that, if demands were not met, they would launch the ‘mother of all strikes.’ The struggling state-owned airline has scrapped all domestic, regional and international flights on Friday and Saturday, with the exception of a few international flights.
Fin24 reported earlier on Thursday that SAA had made a new offer to the unions in a bid to avert the looming strike. The two unions want a wage increase of 8% across-the-board, job security for at least three years, and the in-sourcing of certain services like security and cleaning. On Monday last week SAA announced that it is embarking on a restructuring process which may affect 944 jobs – almost a fifth of its employees. The restructuring excludes SAA subsidiaries SAA Technical, Mango Airlines and Air Chefs.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Aero Club of South Africa annual awards Pictures and text by Charlie Hugo
The Aero Club of South Africa (AeCSA) hosted their 2019 annual awards at The Dakota Club this past weekend. In contrast to previous years, the event started shortly after 13h00. Addressing the attendees, Paul Lastrucci, chairman of AeCSA touched on many subjects affecting the state of general aviation in South Africa, especially the declining numbers of Aero Club members and efforts that the organisation is implementing to change this trend. This is especially welcome as 2020 is the celebration of 100 years for AeCSA.
The awards luncheon acknowledges those individuals who have excelled in the aviation sphere over the past year. Certificates are awarded to many individuals for their contributions to aviation and to sports aviation in general. Special mention went out to Rob Jonkers, whose brainchild; the speed rally has seen a great increase in this form of the sport, Dirk De Vos for his incredible scoring system that produces results shortly after an event and Franz Smit of Pilot Insure for their support of the speed rally events. The African Pilot Airshow of the Year award; notwithstanding the fact that South African airshows in general have been on the decline in recent years the standard of airshows remains high. Winning this prestigious award is a strong motivation to the various organisers. The 2019 winners were Middelburg airshow in third place, Newcastle Airshow in second place and Stellenbosch Airshow in first place. It has been many years since Stellenbosch hosted an airshow and they are promising a more exciting event for 2020, possibly spread over three days.
Due to the fact that Christine and I had a family wedding to attend in Riebeek’s Kasteel at the famous Allesverloren Wine Estate near Cape Town, Charlie and Fiona Hugo attended the AeCSA awards in our place. Thanks to Charlie and Fiona for your loyal support towards African Pilot over many years.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
African Pilot’s 2019 calendar
We will publish the aviation calendar within APAnews three months ahead, but you can always visit African Pilot’s website: www.africanpilot.co.za if you would like to obtain the full calendar for the entire year.
17 to 21 November
Dubai Airshow DWC Dubai airshow site
CAASA Awards Ceremony venue CAASA House Lanseria International Airport
Contact Tel: 659 2345 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Springs Speed Rally – Springs Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser cell: 082 855 9435 e-mail: email@example.com
28 and 29 November
Drones and Digital Aviation Conference Emperors Palace Convention Centre
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.bussynet.co.za
Elders Flight at Rand Airport
Contact Felix Gosher Cell: 066 485 0407 SMS only
SAA Museum airline collectables fair at Rand Airport
Tel: 076 879 5044 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.saamuseum.co.za
30 November – 1 December
SAC Ace of Base Vereeniging Airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar (provisional)
18 &19 January
SAC Gauteng Regionals and Judges Trophy at Vereeniging airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Rand Airport Challenge Rand Airport Germiston
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
SAPFA AGM at Rand Airport at 14h00
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 7032
SAPFA Speed Rally Klerksdorp airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082855 9435
SAPFA Rally Navigation Training Course Venue TBA
Contact Mary de Klerk
E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 084 880 9000
4 and 5 March
Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition Addis Ababa 2020
Contact Tel +44 (0) 170 253 0000
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
4 to 8 March
IADE International Aerospace & Defence exhibition Tunisia
Website: www.expomediatunisia.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Brakpan Fun Rally at Brakpan airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 269 1516
7 and 8 March
SAC KZN Regionals at Ladysmith airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Speed Rally at Heidelberg airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082855 9435
The Airplane Factory breakfast fly-in at Tedderfield airfield
Contact Shanelle McKechnie E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 066 224 2128
21 and 22 March
FASHKOSH airshow at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact: Anton Theart E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 079 873 4567
31 March – 5 April
Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo. Lakeland, Florida, USA
Contact Neil Bowden Cell 084 674 5674
E-mail: Neil1@telkomsa.net or firstname.lastname@example.org
1 to 4 April
AERO Friedrichshafen, Germany Global show for General Aviation
Contact Stephan E-mail: Stephanie.email@example.com
2 to 4 April
SAPFA Rally Nationals and Fun Rally at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
3 to 5 April
Groblersdal Flying Club fly-in at Groblersdal airfield
Contact Richard Nicholson E-mail: email@example.com
Cell: 082 490 6227
Robertson annual fly-in breakfast
Contact Alwyn du Plessis E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 270 5888
Wings and Wheels Festival at Uitenhage airfield
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 320 2615
Heidelberg airshow at the Heidelberg airfield
Contact Franz Van Zyl Schultz E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 560 2275
Garden Route airshow
Contact Brett Scheuble E-mail: email@example.com
Cell: 084 418 3836
30 April – 3 May
Aero Club Air Week and EAA National Convention at Middelburg airfield
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
Contact Sean Cronin E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 447 9895
African Pilot has started preparing the 2020 aviation events calendar
Do you have an aviation event planned for 2020? If so please let me have the details so that I can add this information to the 2020 aviation calendar that has already started. Information is shared with the following organisations:
Air Show South Africa (ASSA)
The Aero Club of South Africa (AeCSA)
South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA)
Sports Aerobatic Club of South Africa (SAC)
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)
South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA)
Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA)
Capital Sounds – Brian Emmenis
Nearly ALL other aviation media use this calendar for the information they publish
Several other organisations both in South Africa as well as abroad.
Please send details to: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Aviation stakeholders at AFRAA’s 51st AGA aim to boost air connectivity in Africa
The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) in partnership with Air Mauritius have kicked off AFRAA’s 51st Annual General Assembly with a call to support African airlines achieve sustainable operations for improved air connectivity in Africa. This year’s Assembly was officially opened by the President of the Republic of Mauritius and has brought together more than 400 delegates from across 60 countries. It was noted that the theme of the summit ‘Success in an integrated and interconnected Africa’ will help uncover challenges, opportunities, lessons and recommendations that will help galvanise efforts towards making the aviation sector in Africa more resilient and competitive.
Speaking as chief guest at the opening ceremony, Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, acting President of the Republic of Mauritius said: “I am delighted that the AFRAA AGA is being held in Mauritius following a successful Stakeholder Convention last May. Our island state is a vivid example of the impact Air Connectivity can have on a country’s economy. Africa is a continent of opportunities. Only a collaborative effort from all of us can help unlock the potential of aviation and stimulate further economic growth on our continent. I wish all delegates a fruitful summit.”
Abderahmane Berthé, AFRAA Secretary General said: “In an effort to boost the competitiveness of African airlines we have created the AFRAA consulting unit which will serve as a knowledge and expertise hub for the African air transport market. Furthermore, our vision, mission and strategic objectives have been revamped to ensure we can better meet the needs of African carriers so they can become key players and drivers of African economic development.” He added that the governance framework of the Association has been redesigned to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.
Somas Appavou, CEO of Air Mauritius said: “Most agree that in order for African aviation to achieve its true potential, a major paradigm shift is required; not only among key players, but also among all stakeholders within the continent’s aviation ecosystem. Improved collaboration among African airlines is probably the single most urgent target we must set for ourselves because alone, no African airline will successfully overcome the hurdles of scale and the high cost base that are holding back the African aviation industry.” Appavou also reiterated his wish for the creation of a first African Alliance.
Deliberations over the course of the 51st AGA which feature high level partners such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation, The International Air Transport Association (IATA),the African civil aviation commission and others will delve into matters of interest of the African air transport market including the reconciling of the Single African Air transport market with airline strategic plans, growth avenues to be found in positive synergies and the next steps towards enhancing competitiveness to boost employment creation, revenue generation and continued economic transformation.
AFRAA currently represents more than 85% of the air transport market in Africa and has recently grown its fraternity with five new members namely: Safarilink aviation, Air Djibouti, Air Senegal and Uganda National Airlines and Air Peace.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Four Boeing 737NG grounded for pickle fork cracks in South Korea
Following a second round of inspections, pickle fork cracks were found on four Boeing 737 NG, bringing the total number of grounded aircraft in South Korea to 13. Four Boeing 737 NG aircraft with 20,000-30,000 flight cycles were grounded in South Korea after inspections revealed they had cracked pickle forks. In total, 37 aircraft were subject to inspections last concluded on 10 November 2019, South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) revealed. On 30 October 2019, South Korea’s Regulator confirmed that nine out of 42 inspected aircraft with over 30,000 flight cycles were withdrawn from active service in the country due to cracks in their pickle forks. These include Boeing 737 NG aircraft owned by Korean Air, Jin Air and Jeju Air. Information about the 13 aircraft affected by fuselage cracks were sent to Boeing. The maintenance works means replacing the affected parts and lasts approximately two weeks per aircraft. All 13 affected aircraft are expected to be repaired by January 2020.
The pickle fork is a suspension system that connects the fuselage with wings and manages stress and torque loading that bends the structure during operation. It is designed to withstand 90,000 life cycles, which is the service life of a Boeing 737NG. The problem in question was identified in late September 2019, after cracks were found on the pickle fork during the passenger-to-freighter conversion of a Boeing 737-800 NG that logged 35,000 flight cycles, about half of the service lifespan for this aircraft. Preliminary inspections found similar issues on at least other Boeing 737-800s having more than 36,000 flight cycles. On 3 October 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD), urging Boeing 737NG (models 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900 and -900ER) operators to have their aircraft checked for cracks on the suspension system.
German military refuses new A400M deliveries over safety concerns
The Bundeswehr, the German military, announced it would not accept deliveries of two A400M Atlas transport aircraft due to recurring technical problems. While defining the aircraft as the ‘backbone’ of its air transport capabilities, the Bundeswehr is concerned about recurring technical problems affecting its fleet. “During routine inspections of the mounting nuts on the propellers of the A400M already in flight, it was found that not all 24 nuts per propeller have the intended tightening torque,” revealed the Luftwaffe, the German air force, in a statement.
Increased inspections of the engine mounts, combustion chambers and engine flaps, as well as crack testing on several points, are also required and reduce the readiness of the A400M fleet. In addition to technical deficiencies, the two latest aircraft that were about to be delivered did not meet the ‘contractually guaranteed properties’, leading to the refusal.
So far, the Bundeswehr has received 31 of the 53 A400M it ordered. In total, 174 A400M airlifters were ordered, with 84 already in service. Outside of the partner countries of the programme, namely Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey that total 170 orders, the remaining four were acquired by Malaysia.
The A400M is a military transport aircraft designed by Airbus Defence and Space. It entered service in 2013 and is offered as a successor for older transporters such as the C-130 Hercules or the C-160 Transall. It recently achieved the certification flight test for the highly awaited simultaneous dispatch of paratroopers from both side doors. The feature had been delayed by the design shortcomings of static lines.
Qatar turns to LEAP engines, places $4B order for Airbus A321neos
Qatar Airways has chosen CFM International LEAP-1A engines to power its new fleet of 50 Airbus A321neo family aircraft in a deal valued at 4$ billion including service contracts. The airline has placed the largest A321neo order in the Middle East. Together with the order for the new LEAP-1A engines, Qatar Airways also announced on 13 November 2019, a deal with CFM a Rate-Per-Flight-Hour (RPFH) support agreement to cover its entire fleet of LEAP-1A engines, including spares.
Out of more than 250 aircraft in its fleet, as the Gulf carrier states, 121 are Airbus airplanes. According to the European manufacturer’s latest orders and deliveries figures, Qatar Airways is awaiting delivery of another 82 jets, including the 50 A320neos and another 32 A350-1000s (the airline was the launch operator of both the A350-900 and the larger -1000 model). Qatar Airways already operates a fleet of 38 A320ceo family aircraft (32 A320ceo and five A321ceo jets), of which eight are powered by CFM56-5B engines. The first LEAP-1 powered A321neo is scheduled to be delivered in 2020.
CFM International is a 50/50 joint company between GE and France’s Safran Aircraft Engines. According to the company, the fastest-selling engine family in history, LEAP, has more than 18,600 orders and commitments, including spare engines, booked through August 2019. Among the recent deals, CFM announced on 17 October 2019, it finalised an order for 26 LEAP-1A engines to power Air Vistara’s 13 new A320neos, in addition to the 37 leased airplanes from the A320neo family ordered in July 2018 and the 10 leased aircraft already in service. Alongside the engine order, the Indian carrier also inked a long-term RPFH agreement for the maintenance of the 120 LEAP-1A engines that power 60 A320neo and A321neo jets in service or in order. The total value of the service agreement and the engine order is more than $2.4 billion at list prices.
Is this the end of Mooney Aircraft?
Apparently, the Mooney factory in Kerrville, Texas is closed and all of its employees have been furloughed. A post on the Mooneyspace.com indicated that the employees had been furloughed for a week and told to return to work a week from Monday. No other details were made available. There is no indication of the furlough on the company website. According to Wikipedia, the company cut production and laid off some 60 employees in 2008, citing a weak economy and high fuel prices. The company continued to clear its backlog of aircraft, but no new airplanes were produced.
In 2013, Mooney was purchased by California-based Soaring America Corporation led by president Cheng Yuan (Jerry Chen) of Taiwan. Production resumed in 2014 after an infusion of capital from Chinese investors. It is unclear what this current furlough means for the future of the company; whether it will be a bump in the road or a permanent closure.
FAA threatened to ground Southwest 737s over safety concerns
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has threatened Southwest Airlines, operator of more than 750 Boeing 737 aircraft, to ground 38 of the jets due to concerns related to their operational history, namely performed maintenance while they were flown by other airlines from outside the United States. Investigators from the United States Congress and the United States Department of Transportation inspector general office are increasingly critical of the FAA and Southwest Airlines. The used aircraft that the carrier has incorporated into its fleet from 2013 to 2017, totalling to 88 Boeing 737s, or more than 10% of the low-cost carrier’s fleet, do not, allegedly, meet the FAA’s airworthiness standards, states a letter sent by H. Clayton Foushee, Director of the Office of Audit and Evaluation to the administrator of the FAA Steve Dickson on 24 October 2019.
At the forefront of the problem is the fact that Southwest Airlines found several aircraft with substandard or improper repairs done on the jets by their previous owners overseas. Furthermore, the paperwork about the aforementioned repairs is unreliable, meaning that neither the FAA nor Southwest can confirm for sure the second-hand 737s meet all safety requirements, including incomplete translations of maintenance records. According to the Wall Street Journal, 38 aircraft were only allowed to fly after the FAA and the airline agreed that the latter will complete the required checks on the Boeing 737 aircraft by 31 January 2020. The previous deadline was on 1 July 2020.
Foushee urged the agency to “take immediate action to either suspend or revoke the airworthiness certificates of the remaining” jets that are yet to be checked ‘nose to tail’. Foushee estimated that 49 jets do not meet FAA’s airworthiness requirements. Southwest Airlines’ spokesperson said that the US based agency sent a letter to the carrier on 29 October 2019, about the aforementioned aircraft. The low-cost carrier proceeded to conduct a Safety Risk Analysis ‘on documentation associated with 41 pre-owned aircraft’ that have gone through comprehensive inspections within two days and the results were presented to the FAA. Within seven days, Southwest Airlines had to perform and provide a Safety Risk Analysis on 38 aircraft that ‘are currently scheduled for full inspections’ and send the results of the analysis to the agency in Washington, D.C. “We have completed the Safety Risk Analyses and inspections and found no deviations that would adversely impact safety of flight and continue to follow all regulatory requirements”.
This is not the first time Southwest Airlines might have to ground aircraft due to the paperwork shortcomings of its second-hand aircraft. In November 2018, on Thanksgiving eve, the US carrier voluntarily grounded 34 Boeing 737-700 aircraft. At the time the grounding had minimal effect on the airline’s operations.
Envoy Air E-145 skids off Chicago runway during snowstorm
As the heavy snow blanketing Chicago forced airlines to cancel more than a thousand flights, an American Airlines Embraer ERJ-145 skidded off the runway at O’Hare International airport. No injuries were reported. The aircraft, registered N923AE and operated by Envoy Air, was carrying out flight AA-4125 for American Eagle from Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO) to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Upon the second attempt at landing, the aircraft skidded off the left side of the runway and ended its course into soft ground, about 1600m (5300 feet) past the threshold. The right main landing gear collapsed and the right wing touched the ground. Whilst no injuries were reported the 38 passengers and three crew members were deplaned using air stairs and were transported to the terminal by bus. Runway 10L was consequently closed. With 8.6 centimetres (3.4 inches) of measurable snow in O’Hare, operations came to a halt in the sixth-busiest airport in the world. More than 1,500 flights were cancelled, whilst several US carriers offered free rebooking for passengers flying in the region.
Months before fix for KC-46 Pegasus cargo issue
In September 2019, an incident revealed that the fasteners on the floor of the cargo hold may unlock during flight. As loose cargo could potentially injure or kill people on board and also affect the center of gravity of the aircraft enough to make its operation dangerous and cause an accident, a Flight Crew Information File was issued by the Air Mobility Command (AMC) and the aircraft manufactured by Boeing was prohibited from transporting any cargo.
The KC-46A, set to replace the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker in service within the USAF since 1957, could still be limited to refuelling operations for a while. Indeed, Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, told the Defence Writer’s Group that the solution could still take months. While the KC-46 is in its Initial Operational Testing and Evaluation phase dedicated to identifying such deficiencies, this new Category 1 deficiency came as the latest in a long list of problems identified since the delivery of the first aircraft in January 2019.
Initially, it came to light that the ‘Remote Vision System’ (RVS), developed by Rockwell Collins, does not work as intended, especially under certain light conditions. The RVS is composed of several sensors and cameras that should help a boom operator during aerial refuelling, but the USAF has discovered discrepancies between the motion shown by the RVS and what was happening in real life. Boeing has agreed to fix the RVS at its expense, a process that could take three to four years.
Another problem was the design of the boom itself. During aerial refuelling, both the tanker and the receiving aircraft must work together to connect the nozzle of the boom to the ‘receptacle’ of the aircraft. However, multiple aircraft within the USAF, including the A-10 ground attack aircraft, were found unable to generate sufficient thrust to connect. Boeing was awarded $55.5 million by the USAF to fix this problem.
Throughout 2019, deliveries were also suspended twice due to quality concerns. Loose tools and foreign object debris (FOD) were found in the tankers received by the USAF, including in the closed compartments of their wings. The planes had been assembled at Boeing Everett Factory, the company’s biggest production plant. In addition to the 179 KC-46 tankers that the USAF plans to acquire, Boeing has received an order for eight aircraft from Israel and two from Japan. The latter is currently seeking to increase its order by four additional planes.
KLM firms $2.5 billion order for 21 Embraer E195-E2 jets
Already being the largest Embraer operator in Europe, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is ‘hopping’ on to more Embraer jets. On 12 November 2019, the Dutch airline firmed an order for 21 E195-E2 jets, including purchase rights for a further 14 aircraft in a deal valued at almost $2.5 billion. KLM notes that the brand-new jets will come from existing backlogs of Aircastle and ICBC Aviation Leasing: each lessor providing KLM with 11 and 10 E195-E2s, respectively. Back in June 2019, it emerged that KLM is looking to purchase as many as 35 E195-E2 jets. The deal was originally announced as a Letter of Intent (LoI) for 15 firm orders with 20 purchase rights during the Paris Air Show.
KLM Cityhopper began welcoming E-Jets in 2008 in order to replace its fleet of Fokker aircraft. Its current all-Embraer fleet consists of 49 E-Jets (32 E190s and 17 E175s), making KLM the largest Embraer operator in Europe. The new E195-E2s will be configured with a single-class layout, featuring 132 seats. Deliveries of the new jets are set to begin in the first quarter of 2021.
American and Southwest postpone Boeing 737 MAX return to service
American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have once again postponed the return date for the Boeing 737 MAX, now expected to re-enter service in early March 2020. After announcing in their third-quarter financial results that the return to service would likely not take place before 8 February 2019, Southwest said based on continued uncertainty, the date would be postponed again. This time the date is set to 6 March 2020. “What is important, of course, is that we give the FAA the time that they need to do their job, which I know they will,” said Southwest CEO Gary Kelly in the latest financial report, adding that “of course we are here to support them every way that we can”.
American Airlines followed the same route. Last month, the carrier had set the date to 16 January 2020 at the earliest. However, on 8 November 2019, the day was reported to 5 March 2020. “Once the aircraft is certified, American expects to run exhibition flights or flights for American team members and invited guests only, prior to 5 March, American said in a press release. The decision was made in the light of ‘continuous contact with the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation and Boeing’.
FAA downgrades Malaysia to Category 2 safety rating
On 11 November, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it had downgraded Malaysia’s air safety rating to Category 2. The changes come after the FAA audited the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), in which it found that CAAM does not meet the safety standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), thus the rating was downgraded from Category 1.
Malaysia CAAM held the Category 1 International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating since 2003, allowing airlines registered in the country to operate flights to the United States. The new rating means that the local authority is deficient in one or more areas, including technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping or inspection procedures, states the FAA. The conclusion was drawn after the United States-based authority conducted the review of CAAM in April 2019 and presented its findings to the Malaysian authorities for discussion in July 2019.
The new rating means that airlines registered in Malaysia are not allowed to establish new routes to the United States. However, they are permitted to continue existing flights ‘under heightened FAA surveillance’. As of 11 November 2019, only AirAsia X, the low-cost long-haul subsidiary of AirAsia, operates flights to the United States, with services connecting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KUL) and Honolulu (HNL) via Osaka, Japan (KIX).
Other countries included in the Category 2 list are Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Curacao, Ghana and Thailand. Whilst Malaysia Airlines does not currently operate any flights to the United States, the Malaysian government (the owner of the carrier) is eyeing a sale of the money-bleeding carrier. Not only will it not be able to establish new routes to the US, but also codeshare with Oneworld alliance partner American Airlines, further putting a strain on a possible sale, as the latest Category 2 downgrade does not help in making an attractive package for a potential investor.
ANA Holdings to increase sustainable activities and reduce ecological impact
ANA Holdings (ANA HD) is taking steps to decrease its environmental impact. Effective 1 February 2020, ANA HD will reduce its reliance on single-use plastics inside its cabins and lounges and replacing the plastic straws, stirring sticks and cutlery used in these areas. The plastic straws will be replaced with eco-friendly bioplastic or paper straws while the new stirring sticks and cutlery will be made of wood.
As part of its comprehensive efforts to improve sustainability, the ANA Group adopted the Monitoring, Reporting, Verification (MRV) emission mitigation approach for the global airline industry starting on 1 January 2019. Developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and ratified at the ICAO General Assembly in 2016, these approaches are collectively known as Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA. ANA HD will work with leading environmental experts to develop plans on how best to reduce single-use plastics, mitigate climate change and address illegal wildlife trafficking.
Ocean contamination and the proliferation of microplastics have emerged as two of the most crucial environmental issues and ANA HD is committed to taking decisive action to protect the planet. ANA HD has a legacy of sustainable activities and has been recognised as the first ‘Eco-First’ company in the airline and transport industry by Japan’s Ministry of Environment. In addition to reducing the use of plastics, ANA HD has already made significant strides in the implementation of sustainable aircraft fuel. The airline has collaborated with LanzaTech to develop even more effective biofuels. Furthermore, as of March 2019, 75.9% of the ANA Group fleet consists of fuel-efficient aircraft models.
ANA HD’s first comprehensive environmental action plan dates back to 1998, when it published its ‘ANA Group Environmental Principles’ employee guidelines. In order to address the environmental challenges from a more global perspective, ANA HD created ‘ANA FLY ECO 2020’ a mid- to long-term environmental plan in 2012 targeting significant gains by 2020. ANA HD is on track to meet these lofty goals and will continue looking for ways to advance sustainable business practices.
New standards in air mobility and how to comply
Urban air mobility concepts have become incredibly popular for many great reasons. Yet the challenges of successfully launching such a programme are not well understood and range from system design to cybersecurity and safety certifications. This industry study gives you insights into the main urban air mobility use cases that are on the rise, their cybersecurity and safety requirements, as well as sub-system must-haves. Cybersecurity and safety standards new unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for urban air mobility need to comply with system applications and optimal layout how you can bring a concept to market using safe and secure components Whether you are experienced with UAS programmes or new to this business, this industry study will give you clarity on how to help your programme grow and be approved for safe flight.
Georgia man sentenced to prison in drone case
A Georgia man who was illegally operating an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to drop contraband into Autry State Prison was sentenced to 48 months in prison this afternoon for his crime, said Charles ‘Charlie’ Peeler, the US Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Eric Lee Brown (35) of Lithonia, Georgia pleaded guilty to one count of operating an aircraft eligible for registration knowing that the aircraft is not registered to facilitate a controlled substance offense before US District Court Judge Louis Sands on Thursday, 25 July 2019. The Honourable Judge Sands sentenced the defendant to 48 months in prison, followed by three years supervised release on Thursday, 31 October 2019. There is no parole in the federal system.
Brown admitted in his signed plea agreement that he attempted to use a drone to drop a large bag of marijuana into Autry State Prison in Pelham, Georgia. Mitchell County deputies responded to a call on 29 March 2018 about a vehicle impeding the flow of traffic near the prison. Brown was inside the vehicle and deputies smelled marijuana and observed the drone. They also saw two clear plastic bags containing a green, leafy substance that later was confirmed to be 294 grams of marijuana. Brown was taken into custody. Search warrants revealed detailed conversations about using the drone to drop drugs into the prison. Brown did not register the DJI Phantom 4 drone which was found in his possession and he also did not have a valid FAA Airman’s Certificate or Remote Pilot Certificate, both actions required by law.
“Smugglers using drones, or other means, to move illegal contraband and drugs into our prisons will face prosecution and penalties in the Middle District of Georgia,” Peeler said. “The public needs to be aware that the use of drones is regulated by federal criminal statutes. Our office will enforce those laws in order to keep illegal contraband and drugs out of our prisons. I want to thank the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia Department of Corrections and Department of Transportation–OIG for their excellent work in this matter.”
A 747 was having engine trouble and the pilot instructed the cabin crew to have the passengers take their seats and get prepared for an emergency landing. A couple minutes later, the pilot asked the flight attendants if everyone was buckled in and ready. “All set back here, Captain,” came the reply, “except the lawyers are still going around handing out business cards.”
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)