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“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” Marcus Aurelius
African Pilot's December 2018 edition
The December edition of African Pilot has entered its distribution phase and will be on the retail shelves this week. 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.
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’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: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is changing at African Pilot?
Now you can get your favourite aviation magazine online
As our digital capability has grown substantially, we will be developing daily 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
116 PLANES on ONE RUNWAY, Flying to the World’s Busiest Airport:
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
SAAF 21 Squadron apparently didn’t transport VVIPs in 2017/18
The latest Department of Defence (DoD) annual report indicates that the South African Air Force (SAAF) logged 496.3 hours flying government VVIPs and VIPs. Not stated in the report but supplied in response to questions posed to a parliamentary oversight committee is none of these hours was logged by 21 Squadron, the official SAAF VIP carrier. The annual report states the SAAF achieved 81% of its targeted five thousand flying hours with by far the majority (3 629) logged in support of joint force requirements. The balance of 496.3 are VVIP hours. The majority of these hours would normally be logged by 21 Squadron aircraft, including the Presidential Boeing 737-7ED bizjet Inkwazi and the pair of Falcons: 50 and 900B. Much of the VIP fixed wing fleet has been grounded, although efforts have been made this year to return some, including Inkwazi, to airworthy status.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) Awards
On Friday afternoon the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa presented its annual awards to deserving members of the aviation community. The awards were preceded by a delicious finger lunch and generous liquid refreshments. Many certificates were also presented to those persons who had excelled in their efforts at the CAASA led Africa Aerospace and Defence 2018 exhibition and airshow staged in September. A full report with pictures will be published within the January 2019 edition of African Pilot.
South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) Awards
This fantastic event was the first SACAA awards ceremony that is designed to acknowledge aviation excellence in our beautiful country. What an incredible gala evening held at the Galleria function centre, planned and wonderfully managed by the South African Civil Aviation Authority. The evening started out with cocktails under a large Bedouin tent outside the venue and as the guests, dress up in formal attire moved into this superb and beautifully decorated hall they were photographed. I would like to thank the executive of the regulator for recognising that African Pilot is an important part of overall communication within the industry and specifically for inviting Christine and me to share this wonderful evening with everyone present. Congratulations to the winners of the many awards, which I photographed to share with African Pilot’s readers in the January edition.
Aero Club of South Africa (AeCSA) annual awards
On Saturday 17 November the Aero Club of South Africa hosted its annual awards at the magnificent Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg. The ambiance and spaciousness of the Wanderers Club was certainly a significant improvement on previous venues for this auspicious annual event. Although there were many awards to get through, master of ceremonies General Des Barker managed this task exceptionally well. The main guest speak, or should I say ‘entertainer’ was James Pitman co-owner of The Airplane Factory. Through a series of illustrated slides and some short movies, James kept everyone on the edge of their seats as he unpackaged the life of the Sling aircraft, including around the world flights, across Africa and Namibia flights. Although I had heard much of what James had to say before, he is always a most entertaining speaker and in my opinion was a brilliant choice by the AeCSA this year. The collective achievements of The Airplane Factory have been spectacular from the Sling 2, Sing 2 taildragger, Sling 4 and now the new Sling TSi fitted with the new Rotax 915 iS engine.
Many deserving awards and certificates were presented throughout the evening to the delight of all those present. It was great to see that SACAA’s Ms Poppy Khoza (DCA) attended and I could see that she certainly enjoyed herself amongst the sport and recreational aviation fraternity. Congratulations to Allan Evan- Haynes, Marie Reddy and the AeCSA office staff as well as the chairman, Paul Lastrucci, vice chairman Rob Jonkers and all the other board members of the Aero Club for staging a most successful evening. A full illustrated report will be published in the January 2019 edition of African Pilot.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
SAPFA Fun Rally at Springs Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 855 9435
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com
SAPFA Rand Airport Challenge – Rand Airport
Contact Frank Eckard cell: 083 269 1516 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Morningstar Speed Rally – Morningstar Airfield
Contact Hans Potgieter e-mail: email@example.com
9 and 10 March
Swellendam Flying Club host Sport Aerobatic Club Regional Championships
Contact Pieter Venter e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
FASHKOSK at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Anton Theart Cell: 079 873 4567 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Virginia Fun Rally – Virginia Airport
Contact Mary de Klerk cell: 084 880 9000e-mail: email@example.com
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Ethiopian takes delivery of its eighth freighter
On 10 November 2018 Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services took delivery of its eighth B777 freighter aircraft in its cargo fleet family at its home base at Bole International Airport. Maintaining its trajectory of rapid growth and expansion in the global cargo industry, Africa’s largest cargo service provider and largest global cargo network, Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services, play a critical role in providing global standard supply chain management in facilitating import and export economies of African countries.
Botswana replaces crashed C212 with second-hand Airbus
The Botswana Defence Force Air Wing has acquired a second-hand Airbus CAS C-212 light turboprop transport aircraft to replace one similar that crashed in 2017. Botswana originally received a pair of short take-off and landing (STOL) C212-300s in June 1993. However, one of these was lost on 9 February this year when it crashed near Thebephatshwa Air Base with the loss of all three crew.
The aircraft had been scheduled to transport vice president Mokgweetsi Masisi from Gaborone to Tsabong for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) National Youth League Congress. It was later reported that the flight from Thebephatshwa AB to Gaborone had not been properly authorised, and air traffic control at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport was not expecting the aircraft. The new aircraft was built in 1998 and had fewer than 500 hours on its airframe. It is a C212-400, an upgraded version with 925shp (690kW) TPE331-12JR-701C engines, increased payload and upgraded avionics. Both variants were originally built in tandem, before the series 400 replaced the series 300 in production from 1998.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
France seizes Ryanair plane before take-off to get its money back
A Ryanair Boeing 737 was seized by the French police on 9 November 2018, at Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD) and passengers were forced to disembark. The plane was about to take-off to carry out flight 1783 to Londres-Stansted (STN). The move was aimed at recovering from the Irish low cost carrier 525,000 euros of illegal subsidies. In 2008, Ryanair asked for financial aid in order to open a route to Angoulême-Cognac International Airport (ANG), in Charente region, France. About €1 million was paid by the union of airports of Charente (SMAC). However, on 23 July 2014, the European Commission deemed those public subsidies illegal, as they undermined free competition. Commission Vice President Joaquín Almunia in charge of competition policy said at the time of the judgment: “EU state aid rules in the aviation sector allow public authorities to grant support where it is justified, namely where it improves the accessibility of a region and meet citizens’ transport needs. However, taxpayers’ money should not be used to grant an undue advantage to certain airlines, distorting competition in the Single Market”. The SMAC was condemned to get its money back.
In 2016, Ryanair reimbursed half of the sum (around €500,000), but the company refused to pay the rest on grounds of a breach of contract (in 2010, Ryanair ceased to operate in ANG). According to the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC), seizing the aircraft was the ‘last resort, after several ignored notices and failed attempts at recovering the money’. A bailiff, escorted by officers of the Air Transport Gendarmerie gave the captain the order to stay on Angoulême apron. The 149 passengers were transferred to another flight that took off five hours later. A few hours later, the plane was able to operate again, as Ryanair had transferred the money to the local authorities, minus the interests. President of the SMAC, Didier Villat, said to AFP he would not appeal to get the rest of the money. “Such pettiness”, he commented. Similar cases could now be seen in two other French airports: Pau Pyrénées Airport (PUF) and Nîmes Airport (FNI) respectively paid €2.8 million and €6.4 million to Ryanair to support the opening of a route and were also condemned by the European Commission to seek reimbursement.
Air Astana E190 issued ‘mayday’, pilots considered ‘ditching’ jet
An Air Astana Embraer ERJ-190LR jet, registered P4-KCJ, suffered instrument loss over Portugal on 11 November 2018, forcing pilots to declare a ‘mayday’ and request headings for a possible ‘ditching’ of the aircraft in the ocean. The pilots eventually managed to regain sufficient control of the jet to divert to a nearby airport. They were escorted by two Portuguese F-16 fighter jets, but landed safely only upon their third approach. The ERJ-190LR (destination N/A) operating under the call sign KC1388, was performing first post-maintenance flight out of Lisbon metropolitan area (Portugal) when shortly after departure the aircraft suffered loss of flight control and squawked 7700, signalling an emergency situation. Having undergone C-check work for the past several weeks, the ERJ-190 jet took-off from OGMA Maintenance Engineering (OGMA – Indústria Aeronáutica de Portugal S.A.) headquarters at Alverca military base at around 13h31 with six people on board, including three pilots and three engineers.
According to various sources, soon after take-off, the aircraft became uncontrollable, displaying severe anomalies in flight speed and altitude, as flight tracking data shows. The aircraft’s distress call was followed by a request for headings to the nearest body of water. The flight deck reportedly told the Lisbon air traffic control (ATC) they intended to ‘ditch’ the plane in the ocean.
US Navy F/A-18 Hornet crashes in Philippine sea
After experiencing a mechanical problem, an F/A-18 Hornet fighter of the US Navy crashed during a routine exercise in the Philippine Sea on 12 November 2018. Both pilots were rescued. The plane was part of the Carrier Air Wing 5, which is operating from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. The two pilots managed to eject safely and were recovered by the search and rescue aircraft on board the aircraft carrier. They received a medical evaluation and were reportedly in good condition. While the U.S Navy refers to the aircraft as a F/A-18 in its official press release, it seems more likely that the fighter was in fact a F/A-18F Super Hornet, as it is the plane currently being used by the four fighter squadrons of the Carrier Air Wing 5.
It is the second time that an aircraft affected to the USS Reagan crashed in less than a month. On 19 October 2018, a US Navy MH-60 Seahawk had to make an emergency landing shortly after take-off on the carrier’s flight deck. Twelve sailors were injured in the crash, as reported by Stars and Stripes. The cause of the mishap is still under investigation. The USS Ronald Reagan is part of the United States 7th Fleet based in the Pacific Ocean. The carrier recently took part in the Keen Sword exercise, between October 29 and November 8, 2018, along with the Japanese Self Defence Force (JSDF). The goal of the exercise was to reinforce interoperability between the two forces. They were also joined by the Royal Canadian Navy supply ship MV Asterix.
Bombardier's Global 7500 business jet earns FAA approval
Bombardier is proud to announce that its flagship business jet, the Global 7500 aircraft, has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification, achieving another important milestone as it approaches entry-into-service later this year. “This milestone is the latest accomplishment for our award-winning Global 7500 business jet, which has been exceeding expectations on every level,” said Michel Ouellette, Senior Vice President, Global 7500 and Global 8000 programme, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “The Global 7500 business jet has proven itself as the highest-performing aircraft in the industry and promises to revolutionise the market and significantly change the business aviation landscape.” Earlier this year, the Global 7500 aircraft demonstrated its ability to fly further than any other business jet by expanding its advertised range to 7,700 nautical miles, a full 300 nautical miles further than initial commitments. Upon entry into service, the Global 7500 aircraft will offer not only its signature smooth ride but also spaciousness that is unique among business jets, with its award-winning interior featuring a full-size kitchen and four true living spaces. The Global 7500 aircraft also debuts Bombardier’s patented Nuage seat, which was meticulously designed for maximum comfort and will be exclusive to the new Global family of aircraft. Setting the benchmark for the most exceptional business jet experience, these state-of-the-art features and the aircraft’s sophisticated styling contributed to the Global 7500 jet receiving a 2018 Red Dot Award for Product Design, one of the most sought-after honours for design and innovation excellence worldwide.
Few injuries in two overruns
A couple of runway overruns in the last few days have wrecked millions in hardware but did not hurt anyone seriously. On Friday morning, a Fly Jamaica Boeing 757 went off the end of Cheddi Jagan International Airport’s runway in Guyana and ploughed into a sand pile at the lip of a 40-foot drop. The plane had taken off a few minutes earlier for Toronto and returned after reporting hydraulics problems. There were 120 passengers and eight crew aboard and six were slightly injured. That airplane might be useable again but a 747-400 cargo plane will be taken to the scrap heap from Halifax’s Stanfield International Airport.
The Skylease Cargo jumbo left Chicago on Wednesday morning to pick up a load of live lobsters for China. It landed on a wet runway in a brisk quartering tailwind and didn’t stop in time. It blasted through the localizer antenna and tore off the landing gear and two engines before stopping just short of the perimeter fence about 5 a.m. local time. The four crew members on board had minor injuries. The mishap has closed Runway 14/32, a secondary runway at the largest airport in eastern Canada, but operations are said to be relatively normal.
Hawkins out as CEO of Icon Aircraft
Kirk Hawkins, the driving force behind the Icon Aircraft programme and a massive litany of mis-steps, is no longer the CEO of the foundering aircraft concern. Icon is wrapping up the matter with as much positive spin as they can, though the company admits that Hawkins has resigned as CEO and will reportedly stay on in ‘an undefined role’ while President and COO Thomas Wiener will lead the company in the interim.
Hawkins has been leading the company since its inception and guided it through a series of blunders and broken promises that gave way to several minor and major accidents that tarred the image of an aircraft once touted for its safety features. From the attempt to force owners into a bizarre and restrictive sales contract, to a series of production failures and some spectacular price increases, Hawkins prediction of thousands of Icons flying through the skies seems, increasingly, to be a pipe dream. Whilst serial production is allegedly now underway, it is a fraction of what was once promised and even some of the most recent boasts are not verifiable by the latest GAMA stats, which show only four built in Q1 and a single aircraft on the roster for Q2; far from the ‘average’ of 8 to 10 a month recently boasted by an Icon rep at the Deland Sport Aviation Showcase.
SaudiGulf orders 10 Airbus A320neo family aircraft
SaudiGulf Airlines has reached an agreement with European plane maker Airbus to purchase ten A320neo family aircraft, it was confirmed on Thursday, 15 November at the Bahrain International Airshow. SaudiGulf Airlines, owned by Al-Qahtani Aviation, started operations in 2016, mainly serving domestic destinations from its hub at King Fahd International Airport at Dammam (DMM) before recently branching out into international routes. During October 2018 the airline launched four new routes to the Pakistani cities of Islamabad (ISB), Karachi (KHI), Lahore (LHE) and Sialkot ((SKT) to enhance its international operations and flies a fleet of six A320 aircraft.
Pentagon orders more F-35s
On 14 November the Department of Defence of the United States announced an order for 255 additional F-35 fighter aircraft from Lockheed Martin. The contract amounts to $22.7 billion for the production and delivery of the planes by 2023. The order includes 64 F-35A for the US Air Force, 26 F-35B for the US Marine Corps and 16 F-35C (the carrier variant) for the US Navy. The remainder comprises 71 F-35A and 18 F-35B for foreign partners and 60 F-35A for Foreign Military Sales.
Vietnam Airlines receives first Airbus A321neo Aircraft
On 14 November Aviation Capital Group announced that it delivered Vietnam Airlines’ first Airbus A321neo aircraft. The aircraft is part of an order of six aircraft which are on a long-term lease.
The company expects eighteen A321neos in total which should be all delivered by 2020.
A Christmas strike at Virgin Atlantic?
The Professionals Pilots Union (PPU) representing some pilots of the airline Virgin Atlantic has launched a strike consultation. The action would take place during the holiday season. The union asks for a level of recognition equal to the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA). The PPU was initially created by pilots dissatisfied by BALPA representation.
Wildfires in California
Firefighters have called in the world’s largest air tanker to help pound the still-raging Camp Fire as it burns through the Paradise area of Northern California. Last week the Global SuperTanker, a converted 747-400 joined the aerial firefight against what is now California’s most devastating wildfire. Several other large airtankers flying from nearby Sacramento McCllellan Airport were also dropping red retardant on the fire’s northeast end, where it is burning most actively after a windy night. Winds and heavy smoke have severely limited the amount of time air tankers have been able to fight the fire, which is responsible for at least 23 deaths and the destruction of at least 6,543 homes and hundreds of businesses and other commercial structures in the 27,000-resident mountain town of Paradise, which has largely been destroyed. The fire has sent a massive plume of smoke across Northern California, limiting visibility and forcing many residents to remain indoors.
GAMA publishes 2018 third quarter shipments and billings report
The General Aircraft Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has published its 2018 third quarter aircraft shipments and billings report. The overall delivery of airplanes and rotorcraft increased in the first nine months compared to the same time period in 2017, but with some mixed performance within the types. However, total billings compared to the same period in 2017 decreased.
Piston rotorcraft deliveries increased by 15.8 percent to 220 units. Turbine rotorcraft shipments increased by 8.3 percent to 510 unit deliveries. Piston airplane deliveries increased by 8.3 percent to 784 units. Shipments of turboprops improved by 5.6 percent from 374 to 395 airplanes. Business jet shipments increased from 433 to 446 deliveries.
British Flybe enters formal sale process
On 14 November 2018 Flybe, an independent regional airline from United Kingdom, said it was looking into a potential sale and is already in talks with ‘a number’ of strategic operators. Flybe is reviewing strategic options to ‘address the current challenges’ and is initiating a formal sale process. The airline is now in what it calls ‘an offer period’ and discussions with potential buyers are already ongoing. The challenges that Flybe is reacting to can be summarised as a lowering European short haul market profitability. The UK carrier is affected by weaker sterling value, softening short-haul market growth and of course, increasing fuel prices.
Passengers asked to pay for repair so LOT plane can take-off
After a Boeing 787 Dreamliner hydraulic pump broke down, 249 passengers on board LOT Polish Airlines flight LO92 were asked to foot the bill for a replacement part so they could take-off. LOT Polish Airlines flight LO92 was supposed to take-off from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) to Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW) on 12 November 2018. Passengers were asked to pay for a the purchase of a new hydraulic pump that broke down on the aircraft they were to board.
The flight crew noticed the problem upon arriving in Beijing during the after-flight check-up. However, according to LOT Polish Airlines, a Boeing employee asked for a payment in cash to carry out the repair. “He had no right to do it, because our settlements are cashless,” said LOT spokesman Adrian Kubicki. The plane had already been grounded for ten hours in Beijing when an unusual ‘fundraiser’ was organised by a LOT employee that wanted to accelerate the departure. “Some passengers were solicited by a representative of the LOT,” said a passenger to Polish TVN24 channel. “It was finally possible to collect the necessary amount. It was refunded to the four passenger lenders upon arrival in Warsaw, still on the plane.”
The cost amounted to 2,500 Chinese Yuan (approximately $360). The plane was eventually repaired, took-off and landed in Warsaw with a delay of nine hours. In addition to the refund, the four generous donors were given free tickets. According to LOT, the fault is on their representative. “The representative of LOT should have both cash and credit card with him,” said Kubicki. “The company provides them with funds to solve similar situations. There are no circumstances that justify asking money from passengers.” The airline states that the representative did not consult with anyone before taking the decision.
Pilots not told about 737 MAX auto trim system
It appears that Boeing kept airlines and pilots in the dark about an automated background trim system on the 737 MAX that may be implicated in the first crash of the new model in Indonesia last month. The trim system, which is meant to improve pitch characteristics and stall protection, wasn’t even described in any of the documentation provided to pilots transitioning to the new aircraft. Lion Air JT610, a new MAX8 with only about 800 hours on the airframe, plunged into the Java Sea off Jakarta on 29 October, killing all 189 people aboard. Prior to the crash, the aircraft flew through repeated pitch, airspeed and vertical speed excursions before diving almost directly into the water about 12 minutes after take-off.
According to sources at two airlines operating the MAX series, the system in question is called Manoeuvring Characteristic Augmentation (MCAS) and is intended to improve pitch response at high angles of attack. It was added to the MAX models partly because the aircraft has heavier engines than the previous 737 NG models and the airplane’s centre of gravity is biased more forward. MCAS is activated without pilot input and would typically come alive in steep turns with high load factors, but only when the airplane is being flown manually. According to a minimal description, MCAS operates only in flaps-up flight and is inhibited in any other configuration. MCAS intervenes at a threshold angle of attack and automatically trims nose down at a rate of 0.27 degrees per second to a maximum of 2.5 degrees. Stabiliser input is lower at high Mach numbers, but more aggressive at low Mach.
The Wall Street Journal said Boeing didn’t disclose MCAS details to cockpit crews because it was worried about overwhelming them with more technical detail than needed or could digest. Boeing also said pilots were unlikely to encounter MCAS intervention during their normal flying. Pilots trained on the MAX weren’t given even minimal briefings on MCAS. American Airlines, which also operates the MAX8, also provided its pilots with new documentation on MCAS hurriedly provided by Boeing after the Lion Air crash. Because MCAS relies on angle of attack data from the aircraft’s vane-type sensor, one focus of the Lion Air investigation is on the AoA sensor itself, which appears to have been replaced as faulty prior to the accident. The aircraft also reportedly had a history of unreliable airspeed indications and it is unclear if the two are related to the accident or how they affect MCAS operation.
Pilot error cited in fatal C-130 crash
A report released by the US Air Force points to pilot error as the primary cause of an Air National Guard WC-130 Hercules crash that killed all nine servicemembers onboard. The accident occurred on 2 May 2018, shortly after take-off from Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) in Savannah, Georgia. According to the USAF Accident Investigation Board report, the pilots and crew failed to respond appropriately when one of the aircraft’s four engines lost power on the take-off roll.
In spite of the power loss, the aircraft was able to make it into the air. Almost immediately after take-off, the problem was identified and the pilot flying made the decision to return to the airport. The investigation concluded that the aircraft was still flyable, but a series of procedural and aircraft handling failures, compounded by confusion and uncertainty in the cockpit, led the pilot flying to turn toward the inoperative engine at a low airspeed and higher-than-recommended bank angle. This was followed by a hard left rudder input ‘which resulted in a subsequent skid below three-engine minimum controllable airspeed, a left-wing stall and the aircraft’s departure from controlled flight.’
India has opened 34 airports in the past 18 months
The massive economic growth in India has spurred an explosion in the number of people flying in the country, and has led to the opening of 34 new airports in the country in the past 18 months. The Washington Post reports that the civil aviation minister for India said in September that the government has budgeted $60 billion for another 100 airports by the year 2033. One of the latest airports to open is in Pakyong in Sikkim state, which has been carved out of the Himalayan mountains. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the ribbon cutting for that airport that for 70 years since India gained its independence, there were just 400 airplanes serving its residents. “In the past year alone, airline companies have ordered 1,000 new airplanes,” he said.
UAL first North American Airline to welcome the Boeing 787-10 to its fleet
Earlier this week at Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner delivery centre in Charleston, SC, United Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing 787-10. United is the first North American airline to take delivery of the 787-10 and the first airline in the world to have the entire family of 787-8, 787-9 and 787-10 Dreamliners in its fleet. Boeing’s latest Dreamliner model is 18 feet longer than the 787-9 and can carry more passengers and cargo than previous 787 aircraft and uses 20 percent less fuel than older generation airplanes. United’s 787-10 will feature 44 United Polaris business class seats, 21 United Premium Plus seats, 54 Economy Plus seats and 199 standard Economy seats.
NASA Goes Quiet Over Galveston For Supersonic Flight Series
NASA has begun a series of quiet supersonic research flights off the coast of Texas near Galveston to test ways to measure the community’s response to a unique acoustic experience. Normally, an aircraft flying at supersonic speeds (faster than Mach 1, the speed of sound) produces a sonic boom so loud that, today, commercial supersonic flight is prohibited over land. On 5 November NASA test pilots began flying an F/A-18 supersonic research aircraft in a unique manoeuvre that creates a quieter ‘thump.’ Capturing how people and sensors on the ground respond to that sound is the goal for the Quiet Supersonic Flights 2018, or QSF18, campaign. “QSF18 is a big step in NASA’s efforts to understand what is required for acceptable supersonic overland flight,” said NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology Project Manager Peter Coen. “This is the first time in decades that we have reached out to a large community as part of our supersonic research. NASA has performed similar tests at our Armstrong Flight Research Centre, using similar sounds created by the same F/A-18. We have measured the noise levels and the impact on structures, as well as surveyed people for annoyance, to make certain that these tests are safe and well-planned. We greatly appreciate Galveston’s interest and support.”
The F/A-18 is a typical supersonic aircraft so, in order to shush the boom, it will be put into a quiet supersonic dive manoeuvre. Starting out over the water at around 50,000 feet the aircraft will be put into a special dive that still creates a regular sonic boom. However when the sound reaches land it should be heard as a quieter ‘thump’ instead. The QSF18 is unique for another reason. For the first time, NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, located just north of Galveston, will provide critical support for a NASA activity is about flight but not into space! The centre’s flight operations staff are part of the team supporting the QSF18 aircraft, pilots and other crew based out of nearby Ellington Field. “NASA’s role as a leader into new frontiers paves the way forward towards new technologies, opportunities, and milestones across multiple endeavours, as we have always done throughout our history,” said Mark Geyer, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Centre. “As our efforts also continue to expand our boundaries and capabilities in space, Johnson Space Centre is proud to be working with our colleagues at NASA’s research centres at Langley and Armstrong, and to take part in the agency’s aeronautics research efforts to lead aviation into a new era as ‘One NASA.’”
In Galveston, community feedback data will be gathered through the use of a survey, in which 500 recruited volunteer residents, if they hear the thumps, will define the level at which they were able to perceive the sound. QSF18 data will be used to help NASA better understand successful data collection methods for future flights using an experimental aircraft called the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology, or QueSST, demonstrator. Starting in 2022, the X-59 will directly fly over yet-to-be-selected communities to collect data using lessons learned from QSF18.
Urumqi Air will take delivery of five ARJ21-700 aircraft from COMAC
Urumqi Air entered into an agreement with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC) at the 12th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China) on 6 November 2018 whereby the airline will take delivery of two ARJ21-700s from COMAC by the end of this year and plans to receive three additional ARJ21-700s in 2019. At the Farnborough International Airshow held in July 2018, HNA Group signed a letter of intent to purchase 20 ARJ21 aircraft from COMAC. The 20 airplanes will be operated by HNA Group’s subsidiary Urumqi Air.
FLYING CARS / BIKES NEWS
First Hoverbike delivered to Dubai police
California-based start-up company Hoversurf has delivered an S3 Hoverbike to the Dubai Police department and two crews are being trained to fly the device. The Drive reports that the general director of Dubai Police’s artificial intelligence department, Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi says that additional crews are being identified to be Hoverbike cops. Hoverbike COO, Joseph Segura-Conn said that helpful skills for such of operators are the ability to fly a drone and ride a motorcycle. Alrazooqi said that the electric VTOL aircraft will initially be used as to get first responders to areas that are difficult to access using more traditional transportation methods. He said that the Dubai Police Force hopes to have a fleet of S3s available for use by 2020.
The Hoverbike S3 has been approved by the FAA for operation as an ultralight aircraft, meaning no pilot certificate is required to fly one. But the cost may be prohibitive at $150,000 and Segura-Conn said that there will be a screening process for potential pilots to be sure they can safely operate the aircraft. What that screening will entail is not clear at this time. The company is currently shopping the world for a suitable location for a manufacturing hub and Dubai is in the running. He added that a two-seat version of the Hoverbike is in development and may be unveiled in ‘four or five months’ with production models available to purchase in 2020.
Jetoptera to showcase revolutionary fluidic-propulsion technology
Jetoptera, an aviation startup developing powerful UAVs and realistic flying cars, will present its breakthrough fluidic-propulsion system at AUSVI XPONENTIAL 2018, both as an exhibitor at the convention and as a competitor in this year’s Startup Showdown. Jetopera’s revolutionary technology has recently been demonstrated in flight, propelling an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) exceeding 55 pounds. The Seattle-based startup’s distributed propulsion system and novel airframe, create an aircraft that integrates propulsion and airframe, to augment lift and thrust concomitantly. Instead of using two separate subsystems as is standard for current aircraft designs, Jetoptera’s airframe and propulsion systems are integrated into a single system that not only powers, but also augments, itself. The company’s design enables a host of unique abilities, including vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), speeds exceeding 200 mph, significant payloads and range, and maneuverability.
Jetoptera’s inaugural product, the J55, was introduced earlier this year in both a Part 107 commercial version and a high speed/high altitude version for government customers. The J55’s payload ranges between five to 15 pounds and the aircraft can exceed speeds of 200 mph, with a 50-mile range for the lower payload limit. The product roadmap comprises seven different models and their derivatives, extending to four-person flying cars, with payloads up to 800 pounds and ranges of up to 200 miles. The product suite deploys scaled-up versions of the integrated novel fluidic propulsion system and airframe. The key differentiator in the propulsion system is the use of fluidics to act as a turbofan without blades, which augments thrust in both static and dynamic conditions, which enables vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). The bladeless propulsion system also enables drag reduction and lift augmentation in a more compact airframe and allows flexibility in the distribution of the system itself. The propellant is a choice between diesel or jet fuel.
The airframe is equally unique; Jetoptera’s model requires a generally 30% smaller wingspan than comparable flying car concepts. For example, the two-person Jetoptera 2000 has an 18-foot wingspan, compared to the 30-foot or larger wingspan many other proposed flying car designs. After two years of extensive evaluation in wind tunnel and static propulsion tests and airframe qualification flights, Jetoptera recently demonstrated its fully integrated system concept (airframe and fluidic propulsion) in flight. “Our system was demonstrated in a world’s first: that the fluidic propulsive system can achieve take-off and sustain climb and airplane maneuvering as the only thrust source onboard for a heavier-than-55 lbs. Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) and bring a number of advantages to the way we power small planes today,” said Dr. Andrei Evulet, Jetoptera’s CTO.
Alpha Unmanned Systems selects Robotic Skies for global support
Alpha Unmanned Systems has selected Robotic Skies to develop and implement a global support plan for its current and future commercial UAVs, currently featuring the Alpha 800 unmanned helicopter. Robotic Skies will provide a warranty program and field support management for Alpha Unmanned customers through its network of worldwide service centers. Alpha Unmanned Systems designs and manufactures remotely piloted gasoline-powered helicopters for reconnaissance, surveillance and inspections. Founded in 2014 and based in Madrid, Spain, Alpha Unmanned customers include private industry, researchers, military and first responders in Asia, Middle East and Europe. The company’s flagship product, the Alpha 800, has over three hours of flight endurance, a payload capacity of three Kg and a range of up to 30 kilometers.
Japan Post Company transporting documents by drone
The Japan Post Company has initiated a pilot programme to deliver documents by drone in Fukushima.
According to the Japan Times, the first such delivery took place last Wednesday. It follows an easing of regulations in Japan in September intended to help deal with labour shortages in the transportation industry. The company will initially use drones to transport its own documents and advertisements between two post offices in the northern part of the prefecture. The service will be evaluated to determine if it can eventually be used to carry regular mail and the company hopes that it can use unmanned aircraft for deliveries to mountainous and other remote areas such as islands. The change in regulations in September allows for BVLOS flights. The first flight carried brochures for New Year’s cards and pictures of UAVs drawn by children, according to the report. It departed from a post office in Minamisoma and arrived about 15 minutes later in the town of Namie, which is about five nautical miles away. The drones will fly up to two round trips per day on six days per month. They can carry about four-and-a-half pounds of goods at speeds just under 30 knots.
The flight attendant watched a passenger try to stuff his hopelessly overloaded bags into the overhead bin. Finally, she informed him that he would have to check the oversized luggage.
“When I fly other airlines,” he said irritably, “I never have this problem!”
She smiled and said, “Sir, when you fly other airlines, I don’t have this problem either.”
Weekly News from African Pilot
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African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.
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