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“The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousand fold” Aristotle
African Pilot has just been judged as one of the top 10 best aviation magazines in the world, actually seventh place. This is a serious accolade that I did not expect, but this is also very important to the production and overall quality of African Pilot, especially when we are competing against many local and international aviation magazines.
Please visit: https://blog.feedspot.com/aviation_magazines/
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 magazine that our team will prepare in 2018 will be the January 2019 edition, which is nearly complete ready to go to print this week. 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, the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) awards and 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 ;last-minute 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
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
African Pilot launches APAcom
A few days ago African Pilot officially launched APACom your go to aviation news centre: https://www.africanpilot.co.za/apacom/
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 the coming year 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.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
The Elders Flight 2018
What a wonderful morning at Rand Airport where Felix Gosher arranged for 104 elderly people from homes to go flying, some of them for the first time ever. As always Menno Parsons came to the party and flew his Huey helicopter as well as his P51 Mustang with retired Lt General Dennis Earp as his passenger. In all the organisation and spirit of aviation was of the very best so a great big thank you to Rand Airport’s management, the many pilots and everyone involved to make this a special day for the older generation.
Mayday SA 5th birthday
On Saturday afternoon I left Rand Airport for Lanseria International Airport where I was a guest of Mayday SA celebrating its 5th birthday at the CAASA Gear Down pub. Once again through the wonderful spirit of aviation in South Africa this was a well-supported Christmas lunch with the families of many of the volunteers who at valued members of an organisation that is supported by the Commercial Aviation Association of SA, Aero Club of SA, Air Line Pilots Association and of course African Pilot.
SAA’s suppliers seek early payments as lender deadline looms
Suppliers to South African Airways are slashing payment periods to reduce the risk of losing out from a collapse of the troubled state carrier, which is struggling to pay lenders five billion rand ($361 million) due by the end of December 2018. Companies with contracts with SAA are cutting settlement terms from 21 days to seven days as the creditor deadline looms, interim Chief Financial Officer Deon Fredericks said in an interview in Cape Town. The National Treasury is working to facilitate the payment, with the process ‘well under way,’ he said. “The problem with turning SAA around is that the board has to continuously focus on the funding issues rather than getting on with the operational plan,” said Fredericks, who started a 12-month secondment from landline company Telkom SA SOC Ltd. last month.
SAA is one of several state-owned companies in financial distress following years of mismanagement and corruption scandals while Zuma was the president. The carrier last made a profit in 2011 and has been relying on government support to stay in operation. Fredericks was brought in to work with Chief Executive Officer Vuyani Jarana while the airline seeks a permanent successor to ex-CFO Phumeza Nhantsi, who was fired for misconduct in June.
If the five billion-rand payment is made, SAA will then have to find 9.2 billion rand of short-term loans due by the end of March 2019. While the Treasury allocated five billion rand to SAA in the mid-term budget to repay debt, SAA has been told it will be responsible for any future restructuring. SAA is also facing a 3.5 billion-rand cash shortfall by the end of March. “The banks are not as friendly as they used to be,” Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan told Parliament in Cape Town. “They not only want the government guarantee, but they want to know the plan to turn SAA around and if there are the skills to do so.”
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
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
BARSA Aviation Summit Venue TBA
Contact Phushaza Sibiya Cell: 072 870 7085
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
Egypt looking to purchase additional Apache attack helicopters
Egypt has requested the purchase of an additional ten Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters at an estimated cost of $1 billion. The possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) was approved by the US State Department on 27 November, with the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivering the required certification notifying Congress of the possible sale. In addition to the ten Apaches, Egypt has requested to purchase 24 1700-GE-701D engines, 12 Modernised Target Acquisition Designation Sights / Pilot Night Vision Sensors (M-TADS/PNVS), 24 Honeywell Embedded Global Positioning Systems (GPS) with Inertial Navigation System (INS) (EGI) (20 installed, four spares), 24 M299 Hellfire missile launchers, 135 Hellfire missiles, five M36E9 Captive Air Training Missile (CATM) AGM-114R, and 12 AAR-57 (V) Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS).
Nigerian Super Tucano contract awarded
The United States Department of Defence has placed a $329 million contract with the Sierra Nevada Corporation to manufacture 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF). The contract was announced on 28 November and is worth $329 076 750 for the aircraft, although the total not-to-exceed amount is approved at $344 727 439 and is to include Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) systems for six of the aircraft. These systems will be funded soon after the initial contract award. In addition to the 12 aircraft, the contract provides for ground training equipment, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment and support services.
The Department of Defence said that work will be performed in Jacksonville, Florida and is expected to be completed in May 2024. In December 2017 the Nigerian Air Force received letters of offer and acceptance for the Super Tucano deal. In August last year the Nigerian deal was valued at $593 million and included Paveway II guided bombs, laser-guided rockets, 12.7 mm ammunition, unguided bombs and infrared sensors. Some of this may be acquired under separate contracts. However, the deal nearly stalled earlier this year when the Nigerian defence ministry complained over the late delivery date of the aircraft and the fact that Nigerian personnel were to be excluded from the aircraft’s production and maintenance processes. Defence Minister Mansur Dan Ali in January refused to accept these conditions.
Ethiopian crowned best airline in Africa award, for 7th consecutive year in a row
The largest aviation group in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines announced that it has won 2018 Best Airline in Africa Award for the 7th year in a row from African Airlines Association (AFRAA). The award was given on 27 November 2018 in recognition of its exceptional financial performance at the 50th high profile African Airline Association Annual General Assembly taking place in Rabat, Morocco. The award underscores the continuous efforts and hard work of Ethiopian employees who are highly committed for the extra ordinary success of our airline. The accolade also attests the soundness of our fast, profitable and sustainable growth plan, Vision 2025 and the associated business model.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
First Boeing 777X flight test airplane comes together
Boeing has brought together the major fuselage sections to form the first 777X airplane that will take to the skies in 2019. In a major production milestone called final body join, Boeing teams connected the airplane’s nose, mid and aft sections in the company’s factory in Everett, Washington. The jet now measures 252 feet long (77 meters) from nose to tail, making it the longest passenger jet the manufacturer has ever produced. “The 777X is a new airplane and a new production system.
The 777X builds on the market-leading 777 and the 787 Dreamliner to offer airlines the largest and most-efficient twin-engine jet in the world. The airplane provides 12 percent lower fuel consumption and 10 percent lower operating costs than competing airplanes. The 777X achieves the unprecedented performance through the introduction of the latest technologies such as the most fuel-efficient commercial engine ever, the GE9X and a fourth-generation all-new composite wing design that provides lift and efficiency. With the extension of a set of folding, raked wingtips, the airplane’s wing spans 235 feet (72 meters). By adding folding wingtips, the 777X’s wingspan has been increased to enhance the aerodynamic efficiency of the wing, reducing engine thrust and fuel use. In addition, the folding wingtips allow the 777X to maintain airport compatibility with the existing 777 family, adding value for customers.
The first 777X introduced will be the 777-9 model, which can seat 400 to 425 passengers in a standard configuration and offer a range of 7,600 nautical miles (14,075 km). Boeing is building on the passenger-preferred interior of today’s 777 and building on 787 interior innovations to create a passenger experience like no other. Passengers will enjoy windows that are larger and located higher on the fuselage than the current 777, along with a wider cabin, new lighting and enhanced architecture. The first 777X test airplane for static ground testing was completed in September 2018. Three additional flight test airplanes will be built after the flight test of number one. The 777X first flight is scheduled for 2019. First delivery is scheduled for 2020.
Boeing 777x programme moves ahead, but its orders are cause for concern
Boeing states, that to date it has ‘taken 340 orders and commitments for the 777X from several airlines’. However Boeing’s order book lists only 326 orders. Boeing launched the programme at the 2013 Dubai Airshow. Landing the first two customers upon the launch, the company boosted its 777X order book to 296 aircraft within the first two years (2013-2014). But since then, pace slowed down substantially. Only 30 aircraft were added to Boeing’s 777X order book, in form of two orders. The first one, for 10 planes, was signed with an unidentified customer in 2015. The second, for 20 airliners, signed with Singapore Airlines in June 2017. This remains the last (official) 777X order to date.
So far, the 777X has found itself a market in the Middle East, as over two thirds of its total orders come from three Gulf carriers. Emirates being the biggest customer and holds an order for 150 aircraft. Which is not surprising knowing the airlines’ taste for both big planes (i.e. A380) and for the good old 777s. The Gulf carrier currently operates a fleet of 269 aircraft, of which 162 are Boeing 777s (142 777-300s and 20 777-200s. The carrier is also considered as a driving force behind the 777X project, having pressured the manufacturer to launch the programme. Qatar Airways has an order of 60 aircraft. Etihad, together with Lufthansa, having placed their orders same time as the programme was announced, still has an order for 25. In June 2018 news emerged that the carrier is thinking about scrapping the order. Having posted losses for two consecutive years, the airline would rather pay compensations for breach of contract than face losses from overcapacity, sources told Reuters at the time. Curiously, another Middle Eastern carrier might step into Etihad’s place if it is to cancel the order after all. It is believed that Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) is looking for wide-body jets and is considering 777X as an option. However, so far neither the cancellation nor the order have been made official.
Merkel plane forced to emergency landing after system shutdown
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was not able to attend the opening of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on 30 November 2018, after her plane was forced to an emergency landing in Cologne, Germany.
The A340 ‘Konrad Adenauer’ (name of the first German chancellor after the Second World War) was above the Netherlands when several electrical systems shut down. Even the communications system was affected, forcing the flight crew to use a satellite phone to call for an emergency landing, according to Der Spiegel. As Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) is currently under renovation, the plane had to use a shorter runway, while being overweight. The risk of brake fire prompted the airport to call on its fire department.
Worldwide avionics sales up 15.5 % over 2017
The Aircraft Electronics Association has released its third-quarter 2018 avionics market report. In the first nine months of the year, total worldwide business and general aviation avionics sales amounted to more than $2 billion as reported by the participating companies. The figure represented a 15.5 percent increase in year-over-year sales compared to the first nine months of 2017. Sales during the third-quarter months of July, August and September in 2018 were 15.6 percent increase compared to the 2017 third-quarter sales. Year-to-date, both the retrofit and forward-fit markets have seen double-digit increases in sales compared to the first nine months of 2017. The forward-fit market was up 16.6 percent compared to a year ago, while the retrofit market has increased 14.7 percent. Of the more than $2 billion in sales during the first nine months of 2018, 57.3 percent came from the retrofit market (avionics equipment installed after original production), while forward-fit sales (avionics equipment installed by airframe manufacturers during original production) amounted to 42.7 percent of sales.
Sukhoi Superjet 100 changes hands and name
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is dead, long live the Superjet 100! Russian conglomerate United Aircraft Building Corporation (UAC) transferred the shares of its subsidiary Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAS) to another subsidiary, Irkut Corporation, hence the name change. Irkut is now responsible for two civilian programmes: the Superjet 100 and the MC-21. Some of the innovations developed for the MC-21 may also be used in the Sino-Russian collaboration, the CR929.
With this merger, UAC is trying to create a single civil aviation division which regroups Irkut, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft and the carbon fibre and composite plane parts manufacturer, Aerocomposit. Those companies should soon see the construction of a common engineering centre. The measure comes as no surprise, as SCAS was having trouble lately meeting delivery deadlines, while facing engine quality problems. In October and November 2018, one of its biggest clients, State Transport Leasing Company (STLC), filed two consecutive claims for a total of $7.7 million, as SCAS fell short to complete an order of around 30 SSJ-100 aircraft.
British Airways bids farewell to 767, is this it for airliner?
With British Airways retiring its last 767-300ER, there is just a handful of airlines that still operate the plane in Europe. But that does not mean that 767s have now disappeared from the skies, as the aircraft remains firmly rooted within the biggest fleets across the Atlantic. On 25 November 2018, British Airways performed the final commercial flight on its Boeing 767-300ER, retiring the two remaining aircraft the following day. The old 767-300ERs have been pushed out of BA’s fleet by new Boeing 787 Dreamliners and soon to be delivered Airbus A350s. Since inauguration in February 1990, a total of 31 767-300ERs have passed British Airways’ fleet. The airline briefly operated an earlier version of 767 (the -200) by leasing three of them from now defunct US Air in 1993-1996.
Air France to trim down its A380 fleet
The French flag carrier is to get rid of around 20% to 50% of their ‘super jumbo’ fleet. While one could fear that the pragmatism of the new CEO Benjamin Smith could have meant the end of the A380 at Air France, several publications in the French media revealed that the company would part with two or five aircraft in the year to come, by not renewing their leasing contracts. According to a recent audit of the company’s network, the plane is a misfit. The humongous 550-seat capacity that it offers requires a similarly huge demand, which only a few destinations attract. Whilst the Air France strategy in the past was to merge two flights in one to fill their A380s, it does not fit with the passengers’ expectations, who would rather see two daily flights being operated (usually one during the day and one at night).
Unexpected events could also have doomed its fate. Last year, about 20 Air France flights were cancelled due to technical problems with the A380. The most serious saw the failure of one of the engines on a Paris-Los Angeles flight, resulting in an emergency landing in Greenland. However among airlines, this move is definitely not a first. Already in June 2018, Singapore Airlines, the launch customer of the model, returned two superjumbos to the lessor, German investment company Dr Peters Group. As the plane failed to find interest among other airlines, the company decided to scrap the two planes to sell them for parts. Malaysia Airlines has been considering getting rid of all its A380s. Now it seems that Emirates is the only airline truly enthusiastic about the giant: already the biggest operator of the plane, it recently saved the programme for at least ten years by ordering 36 additional A380s
Ukrainian Air Force on high alert, standoff with Russia escalates
Several Russian fighter jets and combat helicopters were deployed to assist the blockade of the Kerch Strait. The incident prompted the Ukrainian air force to be put on high alert. A local source confirmed to that the Ukrainian Air Force had been put on high alert by the President Poroshenko during a meeting with the Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council on the night of 25 November 2018. The authorities are now considering declaring martial law.
On 25 November 2018, three ships of the Ukrainian navy were transiting from Odessa to Mariopol harbour when the Russian navy intercepted the convoy as it was trying to pass through the Kerch Strait, under the bridge newly constructed between Crimea and Russia. When the Ukrainian ships appeared in the waters of the Kerch Strait, locals saw aircraft flying over the Kerch Bridge. Two Su-25s Frogfoot ground attack aircraft, armed with an anti-ship payload (either Kh-31 or Kh-35 anti-ship missiles), were scrambled by the Russian military to support the navy operations. Footage indicates the presence of at least one Russian Ka-52 combat helicopter armed with extra fuel tanks and rockets. Several Mi-8 transport helicopters were also spotted, reportedly dropping Russian Special Forces near the village of Zavitne, west of the strait entrance.
Boeing 737 deployed to fight wildfires as world’s new ‘fireliner’
Boeing aircraft seem to be taking on new roles recently. From a ‘flying pad’ of Virgin Orbit’s satellite air-launch programme to, a water-bomber: in a world’s first, a modified version of the B737 passenger plane has been used to fight wildfires. The retired Southwest passenger jetliner, a 737-300, was deployed to fight bushfires for the first time ever on 22 and 23 November 2018, in the port city of Newcastle, north of Sydney, Australia. The aircraft dropped several loads of fire retardant on the out-of-control blaze in the affected area, assisting firefighters on the ground. Nicknamed ‘Gaia’, the aircraft was converted into an air tanker by the Canada-based aerial firefighting company Coulson Aviation, the first company to perform such modification on a 737. The aircraft, which is valued at around $7 million, is currently on contract with the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFSA), the state’s volunteer-based firefighting agency.
JAL sets 24-hour booze ban for pilots
Japan Airlines has tightened its rules regarding alcohol consumption by employees in the wake of series of incidents that have caused flight delays and led to the arrest of one pilot. Pilots are now banned from any alcohol consumption within 24 hours of flying a company plane and the airline is also extending its mandatory random breathalyser tests to some ground crew members. Most airlines have a 12-hour pre-flight alcohol ban and most governments mandate eight hours. Last year the airline began using more modern breathalysers and there was an immediate spike in flight disqualifications with more than limit of .02 percent alcohol in their blood. According to CNN, at least 19 pilots have tested positive since August of 2017, resulting in 12 flight delays. It should be noted that Japan Airlines operates more than 500 flights a day so the impact of alcohol-related incidents is statistically insignificant.
Russia in electric airliner race
Russia has announced it’s in the race to develop an electric airliner and it’s claiming it’s ahead of other countries in the pursuit. Andrei Dutov, head of the Zhukovsky Institute National Research Centre, told Russian state media that his institution is making great strides toward pure electric flight. “A 500 kW electrical engine has been developed. Next year, we hope to carry out the first flight. This is a hybrid engine. In this area, we are even outpacing such rivals as Siemens and Airbus,” the chief executive said. There is nothing new about hybrid drives, in which a fossil fuel engine is used to generate electricity for the motors that drive the props. The 500 kW motor is the equivalent of 670 horsepower, which is at the low end of the power spectrum for light turboprops and not typically used on anything bigger than a King Air but Dutov says it’s a stepping stone toward a 50-seat airliner. At least one concept drawing shows an aircraft with 10 engines. It looks a bit like NASA’s X-57 hybrid electric plane, which may also fly next year. Dutov said an all-electric airliner is at least 16 years away and he told Tass he expects a major technological breakthrough in about 2025 to pave the way.
NASA mobilises to aid California wild fires response
For the past two weeks NASA scientists and satellite data analysts have been working every day producing maps and damage assessments that can be used by disaster managers battling the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles and the Camp Fire in Northern California. The agency-wide effort also deployed a research aircraft over the Woolsey Fire on 15 November to identify burned areas at risk of mudslides in advance of winter rains expected in the area.
Spearheaded by NASA’s Disasters Programme in the Earth Science Division, the team produces a variety of data products largely derived from satellite observations, including maps showing the locations of active fires, damage caused by fires and burned areas that are susceptible to landslides and mudslides. These products are distributed to agencies working on the ground in California, including the state National Guard, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the California Earthquake Clearinghouse and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
NASA’s Disasters Programme mobilises for intensive risk events globally, including earthquakes, wildfires, floods and severe weather. The programme capitalises on the wealth of environmental data gathered by Earth-observing satellites and other remote-sensing technology to help emergency response managers prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. In 2017, the programme responded to 89 events.
NASA’s mobilisation in response to the California fires also involved deploying a research aircraft on 15 November for a night time flight over the Woolsey Fire. The NASA C-20 aircraft carried sensors to map the fire scar, with a goal of identifying areas at risk of catastrophic mudslides in the coming winter rains.
The flight was at night to stay out of the way of firefighting aircraft in the area.
Australian charter pilot fell asleep at the controls
According to information posted on the ATSB website, the body is investigating a pilot incapacitation involving a Piper PA-31 Navajo operated by Vortex Air, near King Island Airport, Tasmania on 8 November 2018. The aircraft was conducting a freight flight from Devonport Airport to King Island Airport. During the cruise, the pilot, who was the only person on board, fell asleep resulting in the aircraft overflying King Island by 46 km (24.8 nautical miles). As part of the investigation, the ATSB says it will interview the pilot and review operational procedures.
Lion Air report expected this week
Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee is expected to release a preliminary report on last month’s Lion Air crash of a brand new Boeing 737-8MAX airliner in which all 189people were killed this week. The report will not draw any conclusions about the cause of the crash, but will provide details of the work done so far by investigators and may explore possible causes of the crew’s loss of control. The report also may include recommendations for operators, if the investigators find pressing safety concerns.
Piaggio enters receivership
Wholly owned by Mubadala, based in Dubai, Piaggio Aerospace says it ‘is no longer financially sustainable’ and has entered ‘extraordinary administration,’ a type of insolvency procedure that will allow the company to restructure its debt. In a statement, the company cited “continued uncertainty and current market conditions” and said “the key fundamental assumptions of the restructuring plan approved in 2017 have not materialised.” Mubadala had planned to invest up to $342 million in the company over five years. As recently as the Farnborough airshow, in July 2018, the company was upbeat. “We started a new transformational path, which is already boosting production line and orders,” Renato Vaghi, CEO of Piaggio Aerospace, said at the show.
First images from NASA’s insight lander
After a seven-month journey NASA’s latest effort to explore Mars, the InSight spacecraft, landed successfully on Monday. The lander brought along a collection of scientific instruments, including a seismometer, which will be placed 16 feet underground and send back to Earth the first data from the interior of the planet. The lander quickly sent back a photo from the surface, showing that it was in a sandy spot, which is what NASA had been hoping for. “We are trying to go back in time to the earliest times on our own planet to find on Mars the fingerprints of those early processes that aren’t there on the Earth,” said Bruce Banerdt, principal investigator for the project. The oldest geological history of Earth has been erased by later processes, such as plate tectonics and erosion, which are less active on Mars. “We can use Mars as a time machine, to look back at the first few tens of millions of years after it was formed and understand why the Earth became the way it is,” Banerdt said.
Utah teenagers arrested for stealing airplane
On 22 November two teenage boys were arrested near the Vernal Regional Airport after landing a small plane they had stolen from a private airstrip in Jensen, Uintah County. At this time, investigators believe the boys, ages 14 and 15, left a group home on the Wasatch Front earlier this week and made their way to eastern Utah, where they have been staying with friends in the Jensen area. In the morning the teens gained access to a tractor and drove it to the airstrip in Jensen, where they stole a fixed-wing, single engine light sport aircraft. The plane was witnessed flying very low along US-40 near Gusher, Uintah County, about 32 miles west of Jensen.
Based on information obtained by investigators, the teens mentioned flying back towards the Wasatch Front, but decided not to and returned to Vernal where they landed at the airport. Both teens are being held in the Split Mountain Youth Detention centre in Vernal on multiple charges. The investigation into this incident is ongoing.
High level conference on drones explores future drone market
Drone experts from all over the world gathered in Amsterdam for this year’s EASA High Level Conference on Drones. During the two-day conference, policy makers, drone specialists and industry leaders discussed the new European drone regulations and explored the future drone market. The event is organised by EASA and hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and takes place during the first Amsterdam Drone Week at RAI Amsterdam. In light of the European drone regulation, which EASA has prepared earlier this year and which the European Commission is expected to adopt in the first half of 2019, the participants discussed how harmonised rules will contribute to the development of a common European market while ensuring safe operations and respecting the privacy and security of EU citizens.
Among other topics, regulators and industry will take a look at the future drone market and assess the impact of smart mobility on the environment and urban development. What is the state of play of the U-space services, a system that connects all drones flying in the airspace and that makes drones visible for authorities and citizens and what are in general the future plans to keep drone operations safe, secure and environmentally friendly. The conference hosted more than 500 visitors from more than 50 countries.
GA-ASI selected to provide RPAS to Australian defence force
Following consideration by the Australian Government, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has been advised that it has been selected to provide the Armed Remotely Piloted Aircraft System under Project Air 7003 for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
The ADF joins other top-tier military forces in choosing a MQ-9 variant because of its proven multi-role combat performance. Known as the “operators” choice, the MQ-9 is part of GA-ASI’s Predator series of RPAS, which is the world’s most trusted and capable Armed Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) RPAS, and hails from a family of RPAS which recently surpassed five million flight hours.
GA-ASI announced its intention to offer a MALE RPAS to the ADF during AVALON 2017 – the Australian International Aerospace and Defence Exposition – with the launch of Team Reaper Australia, a robust grouping of Australian industry partners. The team currently consists of ten Australian companies providing a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life-cycle support capabilities that includes Cobham, CAE, Raytheon, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Quickstep, AirSpeed, Rockwell Collins Australia, Ultra, and SentientVision.
Air Force pilot walks into a bar and takes a seat next to a very attractive woman.
He gives her a quick glance then casually looks at his watch for a moment.
The woman notices this and asks, “Is your date running late?”
“No,” he replies, “I just got this state-of-the-art watch and I was just testing it.”
The intrigued woman says, “A state-of-the-art watch? What is so special about it?”
The Air Force pilot explains, “It uses alpha waves to talk to me telepathically.”
The lady says, “What is it telling you now?”
“Well, it says you are not wearing any underwear….”
“The woman giggles and replies, “Well it must be broken because I am wearing
The Air Force pilot smirks, taps his watch and says, “Damn thing’s an hour fast.”
Weekly News from African Pilot
Should you miss out on any edition of APAnews, please visit the website: www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the APAnews link on the front page. All past weekly APAnews publications have been archived on the website.
Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.
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