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African Pilot's December 2018 edition
The December edition of African Pilot has completed 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’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. 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, For advertising positions, please contact Lara Bayliss Cell: 079 880 4359 Tel: 0861 001130 or e-mail: email@example.com
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
Freedom Flyers with Pecos Bill P-51 Mustang:
‘Pecos Bill’ owner and a WW2 veteran killed in P-51 crash
A well-known Texas pilot who gave numerous rides to veterans in his P-51 ‘Pecos Bill’ was killed along with a passenger when the warbird crashed into an apartment building parking lot in Fredericksburg, Texas, on Saturday. Cowden Ward Jr. and the unidentified passenger, believed to be a Second World War B-17 pilot, were taking part in a re-enactment flight organised by the National Museum of the Pacific War when the accident occurred. No one on the ground was hurt but several cars were destroyed and a parking shelter damaged. Tributes for Ward are pouring in from the warbird community. Ward founded the Pecos Bill P-51 Freedom Flyers “with a mission and a passion to honour Veterans with flights in his beloved P-51 Pecos Bill,” according to a Facebook post from the organisation. “Over the years he did just that, honouring hundreds of America’s veterans including a large number of WWII veterans.” Ward owned a real estate business in Austin. Both the FAA and NTSB are investigating. Local media quote witnesses as saying they heard the aircraft’s engine sputtering before the crash.
This tragic accident is very close to my heart, because over the past 18 years that I have travelled to EAA AirVenture I have spent many wonderful moments talking to owner the pilots of P-51 Mustangs at the Warbirds Centre. This has provided an opportunity to meet such wonderful men and women who keep the precious vintage aircraft in outstanding airworthy condition. Cowden Ward Jr. was one of these special persons who unselfishly flew so many veterans at no cost to them. Sir we salute you!
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
African Pilot launches APAcom
On Thursday at exactly 12h00 African Pilot officially launched APAcom your go to aviation news centre: https://www.africanpilot.co.za/community/
The idea of this news service is that you can join in the discussions under the various chapters that are within the monthly aviation magazine
Airline Pilot: matters involving airlines and airline pilots
Commercial Pilot: discussions involving commercial aviation and commercial pilots
Drone Pilot: matters involving drones and UAVs
Flying Cars: the new exciting world of flying cars and emerging technologies
Helicopter Pilot: matters involving the world of helicopters and helicopter pilots
Sport Pilot: all about sport and recreational flying
Military Pilot: matters about military aviation
The Forum has sub-sections as follows:
Aviation Accidents and Incidents: where aviation accidents are discussed
Aviation Safety: where aviation safety concerns can be aired
Furthermore the Forum has sections for the following:
Aero Clubs and Flying Clubs
Aviation professional organisations
Over time African Pilot will provide for additional sections as demand permits. Discussion is encouraged, but the site will always be moderated to ensure compliance with the rules of the owners and overall responsible discussion. Fundamental rules are that the site will not allow the use of bad language, deliberate attacking of fellow posters, deliberate attacks on product, services and operators within the aviation industry. Further rules will be ‘rolled out’ as the Forum matures and although discussion will always be encouraged, we will not allow APACom to degenerate into personal attacks and a place where individuals hide behind their pseudonyms to slander fellow members or any person, business or enterprise within the aviation industry. Should you encounter any problems registering yourself or any suggestions for the Forum, please e-mail Johan@africanpilot.co.za. Thank you.
Air Force One ‘Inkwazi’ operational again
For the past ten months President Cyril Ramaphosa had to wait before he could make use of the South African Air Force’s presidential aircraft for the first time. The Boeing 737-7ED bizjet), has been grounded for about two years due to technical maintenance contracts not being renewed and a shortage of qualified personnel. This came to a head in March when Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula indicated an order would be placed with SAA Technical to perform a C-check inspection. Last week the aircraft was spotted twice undertaking test flights from Air Force Base Waterkloof and on Monday it departed the 21 Squadron home base using the callsign “LMG1”. This is standard SA Air Force (SAAF) operating procedure when the president is aboard a military or civilian aircraft. Indications are the acronym comes from the Afrikaans translation of air force with the number one indicating South Africa’s first citizen is aboard.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Superior Pilot Services Awards Evening Celebration - 24 November 2018
Superior Pilot Services was pleased to host a delightful awards evening for their 2018 students. This year it was held at the Harvard Café at Grand Central Airport where students, their families, staff and sponsors, all looked forward to the awarding of certificates, rewards and trophies to their hardest working students who have honed their skills in the aviation field to exceed their expectations as future aviators.
SAPFA Speed Rally at Springs airfield
I visited Springs airfield on Friday evening to be involved in the build-up process staged by Johnty Esser where race numbers were handed out to the 30 teams that participated. This was a rather different event that had been well-prepared with a delicious meal and refreshments. The single largest group of competitors came from the flight instructors of Mach 1 Flying School resident at Springs airfield.
Rob Jonkers explained the rules of the ‘Speed Rally’, which simply put is somewhat of a blend of a dedicated navigation rally and a handicapped air race. Whilst accurate navigation together with ground based pictures is an essential part of the event, this is also a time trial over the course where the slowest aircraft take-off first and the faster aircraft have to catch up on the course. The idea is that if the course is flown accurately then all 30 aircraft should cross the finish line at the same time. The field for this event was restricted to a maximum of 30 crews being the pilot and navigator.
My son Marc flew to Springs with me on Saturday morning in my shared Cessna 182 to be part of the media filming and photographing this fantastic Speed Rally. Rob Jonkers sent me the results as follows, but once again it clear that the team of Mary de Klerk (navigator) and Phil Wakely (pilot) flying Phil’s Cessna 210 ZS CNY were well ahead of the game gaining slightly on their handicap speed. Thank you to everyone who took part as well as to the organisers, East Rand Aero Club, the judges, caterers and especially Johnty Esser who was the overall planning captain. The full results with pictures will be published in the January 2019 edition of African Pilot.
Tragic glider crash at Gariep Dam
British glider pilot dies in 150mph cliff crash while celebrating 60th birthday. Peter Reading, of Surrey was enjoying a romantic gliding holiday in South Africa with his wife Ingrid (59), when tragedy struck. He was on his ninth day of pleasure flights on a romantic gliding holiday with wife Ingrid when tragedy struck shortly after take-off flying a Jonker JS-1 Revelation glider. It is believed he stalled the glider went into a deadly spin from which he was unable to recover. The previous day he had taken Ingrid up in a two seater glider for a flight over the Karoo and South Africa’s largest inland dam – the Gariep dam. Rescuers raced to the scene but the glass fibre shell of the glider had shattered into hundreds of pieces. Eye witnesses said he got into difficulties shortly after take-off and it is thought the glider stalled due to lack of speed. It is believed he had corrected the spin and was trying to pull up but ran out of height and slammed into the rocky hillside overlooking the Gariep Dam Airfield at high speed. It slammed almost vertically into the ground killing the professional airline pilot instantly at an estimated 150mph. Club chairman Manni Voigt said that their club was extremely popular with British pilots as it was one of the best long distance and soaring centres anywhere in the world. Manni said “He is a very experienced glider pilot with over 6000 flying hours under his belt and a further tragedy is that he had gone up to fly to celebrate on his 60th birthday.
Peter and Ingrid married in 1987 and had two children son Guy (28) who is an informatics scientist with llika in Southampton and a daughter Gemma Louise (26). Chief Executive Officer of the British Gliding Association Peter Strattem said: “Peter was a very experienced pilot and was both a professional commercial pilot and a recreational glider pilot. “He did a lot of voluntary work as well for his club at Lasham and would be in amongst the top 100 glider pilots in the UK. “It is a tragic loss that will be hard felt among the gliding community. We don’t know what happened yet. It is under investigation. Peter was an airline captain with Flybe.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
1 & 2 December
SAC ACE of Base Brits airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Civil Aviation Day at Nelspruit airfield
Contact Pappie Maja Cell: 083 451 2627 e-mail: email@example.com
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
Tunisian Black Hawk helicopter deliveries completed
On 21 November the United States has completed the delivery of eight UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Tunisia, which will use them for transport, medical evacuation and combat operations. The deliveries that started in June 2017 with the delivery of four helicopters has been valued at more than $338 million. Along with other African countries, Tunisia is facing security threats in the form of violent extremist organisations and criminal activities such as pirating in coastal waters. The eight Black Hawks will bolster Tunisia’s ability to provide a safe and stable country for its citizens. USASAC implemented the Total Package Approach in 2015, which ensures partner countries are properly trained on how to use and maintain the equipment purchased from the US.
The training package includes initial cadre through Fort Rucker, Alabama, for pilots, instructor pilots and standardisation pilots as well as helicopter crew chief and maintainer training at US Army schools. The eight Black Hawks were ordered form the United States in December 2014. There was talk of Tunisia acquiring an additional four, with Sikorsky being awarded a $38 million contract for the additional aircraft in September 2016, with work being completed in 2020. Tunisia requested Battlehawk kits that effectively turn the aircraft into attack helicopters with 2.75 in laser guided rockets, Hellfire missiles, 7.62 mm, .50 calibre machineguns, thermal imagers and laser designators.
Tunisia purchased other equipment from the United States, including two Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft in 2010 and has received donated equipment, including light aircraft, helmets, shields, bullet resistant vests and boats. In early 2017 Tunisia received the first of 24 ex-US Army OH-58D Kiowa Warrior light helicopters. In May 2016 the United States government approved the sale of 24 ex-US Army OH-58Ds, weapons and equipment to Tunisia in a deal worth $100 million. A wide variety of equipment and weapons was to be installed on the OH-58D helicopters, including AGM-114R Hellfire missiles; M124 miniguns; rocket launchers and Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rounds. This additional equipment is estimated to be worth $44.3 million.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Virgin’s ‘Cosmic Girl’ 747 carries rocket in 1st test flight
Virgin Orbit, Sir Richard Branson’s newest aerospace business, has taken a major step toward its plans to begin launching rockets next year. On 18 November 2018, the company proved its mid-air launch system ‘LauncherOne’ and ‘Cosmic Girl’, a specially modified Boeing 747 airliner, are one of a pair: the aircraft, carrying an orbital rocket attached to its wing, took part in the successful completion of LauncherOne’s first test flight over the skies of California. The test, which Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart described as “a picture-perfect flight”, also marked the first-ever time a 747 jetliner has carried a rocket.
Virgin Orbit’s ‘Cosmic Girl’ jet airplane, a modified version of a commercial 747-400 aircraft, took off from the company’s test facility in Victorville, California, on 18 November 2018, for the first captive carry test of the LauncherOne system. The aircraft, carrying a 70-foot long (21 meters) rocket attached to its left wing, performed a successful test flight that lasted 80 minutes total, as it flew over the Southern California region, including one of Virgin Orbit’s operational launch sites, the Mojave Air and Space Port.
Virgin Orbit, an offshoot of Virgin Galactic, aims to provide an affordable launch service for small satellites by using rockets launched in mid-air from the 747-400 airliner, instead of the usual ground launch. The ‘Cosmic Girl’ plane, as it has been dubbed, would act as a first stage launch platform for the LauncherOne integrated system, carrying the rocket to an altitude of over 30,000 feet; it would then release the rocket and launch the lightweight satellite payload into the low-Earth orbit. The 747 carrier plane would thus be capable of operating from many locations, without the need for costly, fixed ground infrastructure.
The carbon-fiber two-stage rocket was first mated to the 747 carrier aircraft in late October 2018. High-speed taxi tests followed and were performed only a week prior to the first test flight. Virgin Orbit will now proceed with its extensive test flight campaign, including more captive carry tests with the rocket attached to the aircraft. At the finish line, the company will have to conduct a drop test, during which, the LauncherOne rocket will be released from the 747 ‘Cosmic Girl’ in flight without igniting its engine, but free-falling through the atmosphere. Virgin Orbit’s first orbital flight is planned to take place in early 2019. Depending on the success of that flight, the company states it expects to conduct “multiple trips to orbit in the year ahead”. The satellite launch provider also says it has already begun to build, test and integrate the rockets for those subsequent missions at its manufacturing facility in Long Beach, California.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group began research into small-satellite launch technology less than a decade ago, beginning work on its launch system in early 2015. At the time, the project belonged to sister company Virgin Galactic, but was later passed on to Virgin Orbit. Founded in 2017, it was established for the sole purpose of developing and eventually providing launch services for small satellites. Virgin Orbit is now one of several companies racing to get new launch systems into the low earth orbit, as the demand to launch smaller, less costly satellites, also more frequently, continues to rise.
Sukhoi sued for $7.7 million by leasing company
Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) was sued by one of its biggest clients: State Transport Leasing Company (STLC). According to Arbitration Court official site, in total, two claims against Sukhoi were received by the Moscow City Arbitration Court; one for $5.3 million in October, the other worth $2.4 million, in November. STLC, which is a major provider of aircraft leasing services to companies working in Russian Federation, initiated legal proceedings due to aircraft delivery deadline violations. According to local media Vedomosti, Sukhoi fell behind to deliver around 30 SSJ-100 aircraft. Even though majority of aircraft were delivered on time, they had defects which required up to four months of repair work to eliminate them.
“Claims brought by GTLK to SCAC consider already delivered SSJ100 aircraft“, commented SCAC representatives. “SCAC is quite surprised at the way project partner resolves issues lying within the administrative and economic framework, all the more so as the problems addressed by GTLK are mutual and being at the stage of reconciling claims both through peaceful, out-of-court settlement and within judicial proceedings” they stated. Also, on 22 November 2018, Vedomosti reported that engine problems of Sukhoi SSJ-100 aircraft were revealed by four operators simultaneously. The SaM146 engine, manufactured by Powerjet, a Franco-Russian joint venture and specially designed for this aircraft project, is said to show defects already after 2,000-4,000 flight hours, despite manufacturers’ claims that the engine is designed to work for 7,500-8,000 hours. The engine repair takes two months and there is always a lack of replacement engines, sources told Vedomosti. The biggest client of Sukhoi, Aeroflot, numerously contended only half of its SSJ-100 fleet is in service due to the same issues. Earlier this month, Brussels Airlines renounced the use of SSJ-100 aircraft.
Franco-German fighter aircraft programme has a starting date
On 20 November the French and German Defense minister (respectively Ministere des Armees and Bundesministerium der Verteidigung) announced the set date for the beginning of the industrial studies regarding the Future Air Combat System, the fighter aircraft program ran conjointly by the two countries. After formalising the project during ILA Berlin Air Show in April 2018, the first objective was to set up the industrial organisation of the programme. “The two ministers agreed on joint leadership between Dassault and Airbus to conduct a joint concept and architecture study (including connectivity) for SCAF, based on the terms of reference,” said Florence Parly, French Minister of Armies, in her official statement.
While a first contract regarding the aircraft architecture, including its connectivity, should signed between the two countries around the beginning of 2019, the first phase of research and development and the elaboration of a technology demonstrator for the aircraft and its engine will be launched during the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport (LBG) between 17 and 23 June 2019. The development of the demonstrator should be led by Dassault Aviation in collaboration with Airbus, while the engine study should see Safran as its prime contractor, with MTU as subcontractor.
The SCAF programme is aimed at replacing both the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale in the French and German air forces. Belgium refused a potential invitation into the programme last month by choosing the F-35 over the Rafale and the Typhoon to renew its fighter fleet. However, other European countries could also be invited in the future.
FAA seeks input on ATP, type rating changes
The FAA has proposed some changes to its standards for obtaining an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate in the airplane category or for obtaining an airplane type rating and if you have any opinions about the proposal, the FAA wants to hear from you. The proposed rule change is posted online and comments will be accepted until 21 December. The proposed standards include what a pilot is expected to know, consider and do in order to prepare for the FAA ATP knowledge test and practical test and receive an ATP certificate or airplane type rating. The areas covered are preflight preparation, take-offs and landings, inflight maneuvers, stall prevention, instrument procedures, emergency operations and post-flight procedures.
Oldest active 747 retires to Pima
GE Aviation’s original Boeing 747 flying testbed aircraft made its final flight last week, from Victorville, California, to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona, where it will join more than 350 historical aircraft on display. The aircraft, which had been flying since 1969, was the oldest 747 in active service. Starting in 1970, the aircraft flew for Pan American World Airlines and in 1992, it was acquired by GE Aviation, where is actively flew test flights until January 2017. The 747 flew a total of 90,000 hours. As a testbed, the 747 provided critical flight data on more than 11 engine models and 39 engine builds. The Pima Museum is home to more than 350 aircraft, from a Wright Flyer to a 787 Dreamliner. The 80-acre site has been open to the public since 1976. Over the past 40 years, the museum has grown to include six indoor exhibit hangars. The museum is also the exclusive operator of bus tours of the 2,600-acre ‘Aircraft Boneyard,’ the US military and government aircraft storage facility.
NASA’s quiet supersonic technology project passes major milestone
NASA has officially committed to a development timeline that will lead to the first flight of its X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft in just three years. This critical milestone comes after a rigorous review, Key Decision Point-C (KDP-C), that confirmed NASA’s continued support of the X-59, in terms of funding and established an achievable development timeline for NASA’s first piloted, full-size X-plane in more than three decades. “This aircraft has the potential to transform aviation in the United States and around the world by making faster-than-sound air travel over land possible for everyone,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We can’t wait to see this bird fly!”
KDP-C commits NASA to the full X-59 development effort through flight-testing in 2021. The cost and schedule commitments outlined in KDP-C align the project with programme management best practices that account for potential technical risks and budgetary uncertainty beyond the project’s control. The X-59 QueSST is shaped to reduce the loudness of a sonic boom to that of a gentle thump, if it’s heard at all. The supersonic aircraft will be flown above select US communities to measure public perception of the noise; data that will help regulators establish new rules for commercial supersonic air travel over land. Management of X-59 QueSST development falls under the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator project, part of the Integrated Aviation Systems Programme in NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.
Russian Helicopters present Mi-171A2 and Ansat in Cambodia
Russian Helicopters Holding Company (part of Rostec State Corporation) has presented its Mi-171A2 and Ansat civil helicopters in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) during the South Asian Heli Tour. The delegation of the Russian Helicopters Holding Company demonstrated key competitive advantages of Mi-171A2 and Ansat rotorcraft and provided information to the guests of the event about the after-sales service system. In their turn, partners of Russian Helicopters presented financial instruments for purchasing Russian helicopters. Cambodia has become the second stop for Mi-171A2 and Ansat during the South Asian Heli Tour. Earlier, these Russian-made helicopters were showcased in Vietnam.
“Rostec pays special attention to the development of cooperation with partners from Southeast Asia. At the same time, one of the most promising areas for expanding and deepening our cooperation in Southeast Asian countries is helicopter manufacturing”, said Anatoly Serdyukov, Director of Rostec’s Aviation Cluster. “The demo-tour should strengthen our relations with key regional partners, as well as open new horizons for the development of projects in the aircraft industry.”
Boeing, Jeju Air announce order for up to 50 737 MAX airplanes
Boeing and Jeju Air announced the airline is ordering 40 737 MAX 8 airplanes with options for 10 additional jets. The deal, valued at up to $5.9 billion at list prices, is the largest order ever placed by a Korean low cost carrier and reflects rising demand for air travel in South Korea. Jeju Air, based in South Korea’s Jeju Island, began operation in 2005 as the country’s first low-cost carrier. Since that time, the carrier has spearheaded the rapid development of Korea’s LCC market and contributed to the expansion of the broader Korean commercial aviation industry.
Flying a fleet of nearly 40 Next-Generation 737-800s, Jeju Air has steadily expanded its business and its profits. The airline has achieved 25 percent annual sales growth over the past five years and recorded 17 consecutive quarters of profitability. Jeju Air is looking to build on its success with the enhanced version of the 737 jet. The 737 MAX 8 provides more range and offers 14 percent better fuel efficiency and environmental performance thanks to the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, and other aerodynamic improvements. Along with the new airplanes, Boeing Global Services will provide Jeju Air with digital tools to reduce their operating costs. The solutions include the Fuel Dashboard Programme, which allows operators to look across their fleet and identify areas where they can optimize their fuel spending. Jeju Air serves 60 domestic and international routes with approximately 200 daily flights. The carrier is a founding member of the Value Alliance, the first pan-regional low-cost carrier alliance formed with eight airlines based in Asia.
Rolls-Royce wins Trent 7000 order from Delta Air Lines
Rolls-Royce has won an order from Delta Air Lines for Trent 7000 engines to power ten Airbus aircraft. The order also includes Rolls-Royce’s flagship TotalCare long term service support. The Trent 7000 is the latest member of the successful Rolls-Royce Trent engine family and the exclusive powerplant for the A330neo. The announcement brings the total number of Delta Air Lines Trent 7000-powered A330neos to 35, following an order for 25 aircraft in 2014. The Trent 7000 brings together more than 50 million flying hours of experience from the Trent 700, which powers the original version of the A330.
The 68-72,000lb thrust Trent 7000 will deliver a step change in performance and economics compared to the Trent 700. Benefitting from a bypass ratio double that of its predecessor, the Trent 7000 will improve specific fuel consumption by 10% and will significantly reduce noise. The order continues a longstanding relationship between Rolls-Royce and Delta Air Lines, which also operates Airbus A350, Boeing 777 and Boeing 717 aircraft that are powered by the Trent XWB, Trent 800 and BR715 engines respectively.
Cutter Aviation takes delivery of twentieth HondaJet
The innovative light-jet was officially handed over during a delivery ceremony on 14 November 2018 at HondaJet headquarters in Greensboro, NC by Peter Kriegler, Honda Aircraft Company’s Director of Sales for the United States and Canada. This particular HondaJet delivered to Cutter Aviation includes the new performance package Honda Aircraft Company announced earlier this year, which include shorter take-off field length, an increased maximum take-off weight and more mission capabilities. The package also features many Garmin G3000 avionics software updates that enhance safety. The company’s new Advanced Performance Modification Group (APMG) engineered the upgrade, enabling existing HondaJet owners to add the package to their current aircraft.
FAA: more than 50,000 LAANC applications processed
The FAA’s nationwide deployment of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) has exceeded all of the programme’s original objectives. Since the programme began with a prototype system in November 2017, LAANC has processed more than 50,000 applications from drone operators for authorisation to fly in controlled airspace. The system now covers almost 300 air traffic facilities serving approximately 500 airports, providing near-instantaneous approvals and allowing operators to quickly plan their flights. LAANC helps support the safe integration of drones into US airspace. The system uses airspace data provided through temporary flight restrictions, Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) and unmanned aircraft system (UAS) facility maps that show the maximum altitude ceiling around airports where the FAA may authorise operations under Part 107, the small drone rule for commercial and public agency operators. Drone operators also may file for airspace authorisations using the FAA DroneZone, including for areas not covered by LAANC or when the operator holds a Part 107 waiver.
University of Maryland demonstrates human organ transport by drone
A University of Maryland Medical Center doctor, working with the school’s Department of Aerospace Engineering, has successfully transported a kidney by drone in an experiment that could lead to faster delivery of organs for transplant. According to a report from IEEE Spectrum, the kidney used in the experiment was not healthy enough to be used for a transplant. The results were published on 6 November in the IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine. For the experiment, the kidney was transported by a DJI M600 Pro drone in a container chilled to 2.5 degrees Centigrade. Over 14 flight missions, it was in the container for a little more than an hour and flew 1.5 miles and reached a maximum speed of 36.5 knots.
The study found that the organ was subjected to slightly less vibration than one in a control experiment transported in a King Air. The kidney exhibited no damage from the flight. Dr. Joseph Scalea said that the three-year project is “a first step … that I think will get patients closer to their life-saving organs quicker, and with better outcomes.” He said that an experiment with a kidney that is suitable for transplant could come early next year.
GA-ASI unmanned aircraft selected by Belgium
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has been notified that the Government of Belgium has approved Belgian Defense to begin negotiations with the US Government to acquire the MQ-9B SkyGuardian Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). MQ-9B is the latest generation of GA-ASI’s multi-mission Predator B fleet. GA-ASI named its baseline MQ-9B aircraft SkyGuardian and the maritime surveillance variant SeaGuardian. MQ-9B is the result of a five-year company-funded effort to deliver an unmanned aircraft system that can operate in non-segregated, civil airspace, which meets the stringent airworthiness type-certification requirements of NATO STANAG 4671. To highlight these capabilities in support of the celebration of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force 100th anniversary (RAF100) in July, SkyGuardian became the first Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) UAS to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean. The system features >40 hour endurance, all-weather, short-field, self-deployment (through SATCOM controlled automatic take-off and landing) and ‘detect-and-avoid’ capabilities. SkyGuardian has also been selected by the Royal Air Force for its PROTECTOR RG Mk1 programme.
WhiteFox impresses US DoD at world’s largest counter-drone testing event
WhiteFox Defense Technologies, Inc., a drone airspace defense and security company, had its flagship product, DroneFox, participate as selected equipment by the US Government for the prestigious Black Dart counter-UAS and Red Teaming exercise last month. It was the first time WhiteFox had performed testing at Black Dart, the largest counter-drone testing exercise in the world.
After only a brief training, military personnel were able to operate DroneFox to effortlessly detect, identify and mitigate drone threats that were sent by a contracted Red Team. WhiteFox participated alongside several Department of Defense organisations and civilian companies after passing the rigorous nine-month down selection process. As UAS pose a unique and complex threat that requires multiple layers of defense to comprehensively protect, public and private entities were encouraged to work together. Representatives of the US Government saw how WhiteFox engaged with the entities and helped evolve security modeling along with techniques, tactics and procedures. Through the DroneFox user interface, operators were able to perform threat assessments of individual unknown or hostile drones and ‘whitelist’ their own ‘friendly’ drones. The military personnel operating DroneFox then relayed this information to remote personnel performing various ground operations at the exercise.
The Department of Defense has hosted the invitation-only exercise since 2004 to test the capabilities of Department of Defense and civilian companies as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have become easier to own and use. More than 70 countries now use UAS for government or military applications, according to the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organisation. FBI director Christopher Wray recently told a US Senate panel that the threat from commercial drones ‘is steadily escalating’ even as Congress gives agencies new tools to address these threats. The comments came just days after President Trump signed into law legislation that gives the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice new powers to detect and mitigate drones that pose a threat to government and other sensitive assets.
I would like to share a personal experience that just happened to me last weekend. This might save you the cost and embarrassment of being arrested for driving under the influence especially since I am a pilot. As you know, people have been known to have unexpected brushes with the authorities from time to time, often on the way home after a ‘social session’ with family or friends. Well, last week, it happened to me. I was out for the evening to a party at a restaurant in town and had more than several brandies coupled with a bottle of rather delicious red wine. Although relaxed, I still had the common sense to know I was slightly over the limit. This is when I did something I have never done before – I took a taxi home. On the way home there was a police roadblock, but since it was a taxi they waved it past and I arrived home safely without incident. These roadblocks can be anywhere and I realised how lucky I was to have chosen to take a taxi. The real surprise to me was I had never driven a taxi before. I don’t know where I got it and now that it’s in my garage I don’t know what to do with it. If you want to borrow it, give me a call.
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.
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