“There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.”
P. J. O’Rourke
African Pilot’s August edition
The August edition of African Pilot that features all the aviation businesses at Lanseria International Airport that took part in this feature is complete. The August edition has completed its circulation phase and, but you can always download the August edition or any previous edition from 2020 by clicking on the buttons below. Apart from the Lanseria feature, this bumper edition of 174 pages has more than 34 fully illustrated articles published. It has also become abundantly clear that African Pilot is the only South African aviation publication that has being interacting with its clients and readers on a regular basis throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period.
African Pilot has made significant changes to the August edition
Someone once said the only thing that is sure is that things will change. Over the past 19 years that African Pilot has been publishing its monthly aviation magazine, we have been fixated on the printed version. Now that the magazine is being published in the digital format, the font size has increased by 50%, whilst the number of pages has increased to 174 to accommodate the reader’s experience on digital platforms. The fact that readers will be positioned to access the August edition on any device means that the African Pilot will become far more user friendly. This will be the first of a series of enhancements that will culminate in an interactive publication with provision for picture galleries and short videos within the next month. The August 2020 edition will be the first magazine to adopt some of these changes, with others to follow from September onwards.
African Pilot’s September edition
The September edition of African Pilot will feature Avionics and Instrumentation, which is normal since I usually bring the newest developments of the exciting developments announced at AirVenture in Oshkosh each year. However, this year I will have attended several online webinars during the AirVenture week to find out as much as possible about what is to be launched to the aviation world.
The material deadline for the September edition is on Wednesday 19 August 2020.
For advertising opportunities please contact Adrian Munro at e-mail: email@example.com or Cell: 079 880 4359. All editorial material should be sent to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About African Pilot
There is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall media reach of all aviation publications in Africa where we are in a position to provide professional video and stills photography, website development, social media platforms, company newsletters as well as several other important media services to our customers. Naturally the monthly printed magazine has an incredibly long shelf life due to its excellent design and layout. Then of course the monthly magazine is also available as a digital edition where ALL advertisers have enjoy the direct routing to their websites at a touch on a smart phone or tablet as well as a click of the mouse on a computer screen.
Do you want instant aviation news and opinions?
Visit www.APAcom.co.za and register yourself as a user
The following are links to all the magazines that African Pilot produced this year so that you can download all the 2020 editions in magazine view format:
WhatsApp your questions or concerns to
+27 (0)60 012 3456
Video of the week: Could supersonic travel be making a comeback?
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Breaking NEWS another SACAA disaster
The Instrument Landing System (ILS) JS 03R/21L at OR Tambo International Airport will be switched off today (Monday 10 August) since it has reached its calibration expiry date, 25 days exemption and a further 180 days exemption today. ATNS applied for a further extension, but by 16h00 on Monday, the regulator had not signed. This means that International flights coming into OR Tambo International Airport had better pray for good weather with clear visibility. They can only perform visual approaches.
Ever since the deadly crash of the SACAAs Cessna Citation calibration jet in George in January this year the regulator has been sitting on its fingers whilst the various ground based instrument systems run out of the time period for which they are certified. The question has been asked of the regulator as to why this vital service was not conducted during the COVID-19 shut down period, by suitably qualified South African calibration companies? Of course, this had to go to tender and the dubious ‘tender’ was awarded to a BBEEE company that does not have a suitable aircraft, trained pilots or the necessary calibration equipment. The result was that this company, which has a long track record, including being grounded in the past by the SACAA, had to place the business outside of our country. The award went to a Ukrainian operator, that was to arrive on 8 August, go into the mandatory 10 days quarantine before starting the work at unfamiliar South African airports. Our president has said that work must be awarded to South African companies, but then by now we all know how much fraud this has cost our country. The time has come to expose the SACAA for the damage it is causing to the aviation industry and also advise ICAO about the regulator’s inability to perform its basic mandated functions.
AERO South Africa news
Take your business to NEW HEIGHTS this August at the one-stop business to business platform. The platform will be active for 12 months, allowing you to market your products and services to a targeted global General Aviation market and engage with visitors and other exhibitors on the portal. Want to book your booth on the AERO South Africa Virtual Marketplace or simply find out more? Contact one of our team members below to take your business to new heights.
SAX employees assist in saving the airline
A group of South African Express employees have engaged an equity funding platform, Uprise Africa, to assist in raising the capital needed to save SA Express. The group said it strongly believes that SA Express (SAX) is a national asset that should be salvaged and definitely not liquidated. They further believe that the company is a viable business and if rescued with the correct strategy, could be a very profitable one. “Liquidating SAX translates into slicing through the very artery that feeds the minor towns and cities in SA and closing the gateway to our more rural areas,” said SAX spokesperson Michael Hlatshwayo. “One of the major factors in improving our economy, would be to stimulate internal travel by South Africans taking ‘short flight’ through the country. Without a skilled carrier such as SAX, this becomes difficult for many everyday South Africans.”
In addition to the loss of access to cities and towns, liquidating SAX will have a massive detrimental effect on the staff. SAX directly employs skilled and moderately skilled South Africans. 60% of these citizens are in the minor cities, providing jobs, livelihoods and a vital economic lifeline to thousands of people in the cities. 30% of the staff complement come from the rural areas where skills are severely underdeveloped, but with the assistance from companies such as SAX, skills could be recognised and developed. “The airlines internal financial troubles stem from political interference in its operations, nepotism, poor controls and poor management, exacerbated by external challenges, we can change this! “added Michael Hlatshwayo.
“SAX’s fundamental business models are sound with small, cost-efficient aircraft, under-serviced destinations and exclusive, high-value routes. The execution of a revised business model and right-sized operation, by competent management, free of political interference, will return the airline to profitability.”
Another imperative on the agenda for SAX employees is for the Department of Enterprise to give the employees their well-deserved retrenchment packages. A ‘survival mode’, is important for them to emerge with stronger mindset to shape their future vision with a new perspective and lay the foundation for implementing this new approach. It takes a lot of hard work to publicise your offering and attract potential investors,” said Tabassum Qadir, the CEO of Uprise Africa.
An initial review of the proposed Business Plan was conducted by Uprise Africa’s Legal and Compliance team and consequently an Expression of Interest was submitted to the Provisional Liquidator through its appointed Agents – GoIndustry DoveBid SA (Pty) Ltd. The proposal will need to be approved by the liquidators, shareholders and relevant authorities. Uprise. Africa will appoint Lufthansa Consulting to conduct further Due Diligence of the project before it goes live on the platform to its registered, accredited national and international investors. “This is great news for SAX, the Employees and the greater South Africa as it brings a spark of hope to many businesses facing the same prospects,” said SAX spokesperson in closing.
Sling Squawk news
Sling Squawk August edition and feel free to distribute in newsletters and online:
News from CAASA
Dear CAASA Member,
You are cordially invited to nominate suitable candidates to join the new Phase 1 of CAASA’s Protégé Programme will commence in August 2020.
The criteria for Protégés to be included in the programme are as follows:
• The candidate must be nominated and / or supported by the company they work for
• They must have a mentor (from either inside or outside their company)
• They must be available to attend two 2-hour sessions per month
• They must be perceived to have the talent to grow into more senior positions in the industry
• As far as can be ascertained they must have a passion for the industry
• They must be prepared to be challenged to grow
For further information and nominations kindly contact Tony Frost on the below information.
E-mail: email@example.com Cell: +2783 325 0922
What is scheduled for the next few months?
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
We will publish the aviation calendar within APAnews three months ahead, but you can always visit African Pilot’s website: www.africanpilot.co.za if you would like to obtain the full calendar for the entire year.
SAPFA ANR at Brakpan Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 855 9435
27 and 28 August
Africa Drone Conference virtual conference by means of a webinar
Contact Tel: 011 886 0433 Website: www.vukanicomms.co.za
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting to be a zoom meeting
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Secunda Speed Rally at Secunda airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 855 9435
23 – 24 September
KZN Spring Carnival – Inanda Dam
Contact John Neilon 082 485 5514 E-mail: email@example.com
Due to COVID-19 this airshow has been cancelled for 2020 and will be re-scheduled in 2021
Great Train Race and Fly-in to Heidelberg airfield – Heritage Day
Contact Van Zyl Schultz E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 560 2275
Garden Route airshow at George Airport
Contact Brett Scheuble E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 084 418 3836
Due to COVID-19 this airshow has been cancelled for 2020 and will be re-scheduled in 2021
29 September – 4 October
SAC National Championships Tempe Airport, Bloemfontein
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 and 4 October
Newcastle airshow at Newcastle airfield
Contact Johan Pieters E-mail: Johan@champ.co.za Cell: 082 923 0078
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting to be a zoom meeting
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: email@example.com
24 and 25 October
SAC North West Regionals TBC
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
26 to 28 October
Airport Show, Airport Security and ATC Forum DWTC, Dubai
Registration is now open for Airport Show, Airport Security and ATC
Forum. FREE registration: https://bit.ly/2SnJ33S
CAASA Awards at CAASA House Lanseria International Airport
Contact Sam Keddle E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 011 659 2345
5 and 6 December
SAC Ace of Base TBC
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
As further dates are sent to me, I will continue to update the aviation calendar.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
Air India Express plane with 190 people on board crashed at airport
The Boeing 737 flight was repatriating Indians stranded by the coronavirus crisis from Dubai, skidded off the runway in rain and broke in two after landing at Calicut airport. The aircraft crashed on Friday, as it attempted to land for a second time at Calicut International Airport. The first attempt was aborted by the pilots because of the heavy monsoon-season rainfall lashing Kerala. The plane reportedly overshot the runway upon landing amid heavy rain. The impact with the bottom of the ditch caused the fuselage to break in two and that the front half was very badly mangled and damaged. First responders were able to rescue the passengers because the plane did not catch fire, but several people had to be cut free. Dozens of people were injured, 156 of them seriously, officials say. Air India Express said the two pilots were among the 19 dead. Looking at the wreckage, which we have decided not to show, it is a miracle that more people were not killed.
Two injured as vintage Sea Fury crashes at Duxford
The crash involved G-INVN which is operated by the Norwegian Spitfire Foundation and owned by Shaun Patrick is known as ‘Invincible’. The Imperial War Museum (IWM) issued a statement saying: “There has been an incident involving a Sea Fury aircraft which departed from Duxford airfield this afternoon on a routine flight. “The aircraft had to undertake a forced landing, the pilot and passenger are receiving medical attention for minor injuries. “The aircraft sustained significant damage and a fuel leak, an IWM Duxford fire team with specialist equipment and knowledge assisted Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service at the scene.”
Argentine A-4AR fighter jet crashes near Cordoba
A Lockheed Martin A-4AR Fightinghawk of the Fuerza Aérea Argentina (FAA), the Argentine Air Force, crashed during a training flight south of Cordoba, Argentina. The pilot managed to eject but died of his injuries. The fighter jet, registered C-295, belonged to the 5th Air Brigade based in Villa Reynolds, in the province of San Luis, central Argentina. It had taken off from its home base for a training flight. The aircraft crashed in a field near Villa Valeria, south of the city of Cordoba. The pilot managed to eject and was reported alive at first. However, it later appeared that he succumbed to his injuries. The Lockheed-Martin A-4AR Fighting hawk is derived from the famous Douglas A-4 Skyhawk of the Cold War era. The upgraded variant was specifically developed for the Argentine Air Force as a ground attack aircraft and owes its nickname to the avionics it shares with the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Atlas Air Boeing 747 slams three engines into ground in Shanghai
An Atlas Air Boeing 747 suffered pod strikes to three out of its four engines, as the Jumbo attempted to land in Shanghai, China. The Atlas Air 747, operated for DHL (registered N408MC) attempted to land at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) on 5 August 2020, when the number one, two, and four engines suffered engine pod strikes during the landing phase. The Boeing 747 freighter flew in from Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (ICN), South Korea. The aircraft managed to land in PVG but has sat on the ground at the airport since the incident on 5 August. The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) incident report reads that while the two crew members on board the aircraft suffered no injuries, the full extent of the damage to the Boeing 747F is still ‘unknown.’ Originally delivered to Atlas Air in December 1998, the 747F was wet-leased to the Dubai-based Emirates in 2001. The Boeing 747-400F then returned to Atlas Air in 2013.
NTSB preliminary report: Golden Circle Air T-Bird
On 11 July 2020, a Golden Circle Air T-Bird Tandem was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Gross Ile., Michigan. The pilot was fatally injured. A witness told Federal Aviation Administration inspectors, who responded to the accident site, that he observed the airplane taxi out from between the hangars at Gross Ile Municipal Airport (ONZ) and take-off to the south on taxiway C. About 1/3 of the way down the taxiway, the airplane lifted off and struck a taxiway light on the west (right) side of the taxiway at taxiway E. The pilot applied rudder into the wind and disappeared from sight. Another witnesses near the accident site saw the airplane flying 200 to 300 feet over a residential area. He said the wind was getting stronger and it appeared the pilot was having difficulty gaining altitude and maintaining stability. “The motor also sounded like it was straining and at one point went full throttle,” he wrote. The airplane struck a tree and crashed in the 27000 block of Loma Circle, about 1/2-mile south of ONZ. FAA inspectors examined the wreckage and reported that the pilot’s control column was dislodged and was found on the floor of the airplane.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Hermeus partners with USAF to develop supersonic Air Force One
On 6 August 2020, Hermeus signed a contract under AFWERX, a US Air Force innovation programme, to develop its Hermeus Mach 5 aircraft to ‘support the Presidential and Executive Airlift fleet.’ The company will work together with the USAF to deliver hypersonic travel for the DOD. The focal point of Hermeus’ mission is assessing modifications to their Mach 5 aircraft that would allow it to support the Presidential and Executive Airlift fleet. The hypersonic jet is said to be capable of flying at speeds over 3000 miles per hour, making the journey from New York to London a mere 90-minute jaunt. If implemented on a global scale, Hermeus estimated that hypersonic travel at Mach 5 speeds could create an additional $2 trillion in global economic growth per year. Preceding its contract with the Air Force, the company has designed, built and successfully tested a Mach 5 engine prototype in nine months. The due date for the aircraft is unannounced as the project is still in its early stages. Hermeus is reportedly working on preparing ‘test plans to reduce the technical risk associated with these modifications to support USAF requirements.’
FAA to fine Boeing for tampering at 787 Dreamliner plant
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it proposed two separate fines for Boeing, totalling $1.25 million as the manufacturer‘s managers allegedly interfered with the administration’s designees at the North Charleston, South Carolina site, where Boeing produces the 787 Dreamliner. According to the FAA, the first fine for $1.06 million alleges that Boeing did not implement a proper structure of its Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) programme, which is approved by the FAA. The administration states that between November 2017 and July 2019, employees of two ODA units reported to managers who were not approved to work as ODA managers. “Boeing failed to ensure ODA administrators were in a position to effectively represent the FAA’s interests,” alleges the organisation. ODA allows aircraft manufacturers to delegate their own workers to perform certain approved functions on behalf of the FAA, such as aircraft inspection and the issuance of airworthiness certificates.
The second fine for up to $185,000 alleges that Boeing failed to follow quality control (QC) procedures and subjected ODA designees to undue pressure or ‘interfered with an airworthiness inspection of a Boeing 787-9.’ Despite the violations, the ODA unit members were able to fulfill their responsibilities and ensure that the aircraft was safe to operate prior to issuing their airworthiness certificates. The South Carolina plant was at the forefront of a few controversies, including allegations of safety lapses throughout the assembly process of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. In 2019, a former employee at the company claimed that up to a quarter of oxygen systems installed on Dreamliners were defective. Another report claimed that a bunch of Foreign Object Debris (FOD) was found inside the aircraft, including a ladder, alleged another former Boeing employee, reported the New York Times in April 2019. Boeing has 30 days after receiving the FAA’s enforcement letters to respond to the agency.
Spike bids on selling its supersonic aircraft to major airlines
Spike Aerospace, one of the major ventures that strive to bring back commercial supersonic flight, has hired former Virgin Australia CEO John Thomas in hopes to broaden the appeal of company’s exclusive product. “Spike Aerospace’s vision for supersonic flight is tremendously compelling and ideally suited for all the major international airlines,” John Thomas was quoted in Spike’s press release. The document does not detail what position he will take in the company.
Although Thomas held the title of Virgin Australia CEO for less than a year, he was likely hired for his background of working as a senior advisor in a number of airlines, including Delta, United, Qantas, Emirates, British Airways and others. He has also advised several major Business & General Aviation (B&GA) companies, such as Piper Aircraft, VistaJet and Flexjet.
Spike’s main aim is to develop its S-512; a commercial jet capable of Mach 1.6. The S-512 would allow its customers to fly transcontinental flights 40% faster than regular aircraft, something not seen since the Concorde but promised by a number of companies in the last decade. S-512’s planned speed is lower than that of the majority of its competitors, but Spike counts on its quietness. Ear-bursting sonic booms was what restricted flight paths of the first generation of supersonic commercial jets. But the company claims it has designed an aircraft that can break the sound barrier while no more noise than a soft clap will be heard at the ground level.
Boom, Aerion & Spike head-to-head in supersonic jet race
Three upstart companies; Boom Supersonic, Aerion and Spike Aerospace appear to be edging closer towards the reintroduction of supersonic flight for civilians. Firm believers in the commercial success of transoceanic routes, all three companies have received orders for their aircraft and hope to start delivering them in the mid-2020s.
The cabin could seat up to 18 passengers, bringing it in line with large business jets like Bombardier Challenger 650 or Embraer Legacy 600: a segment that saw significant grow amidst COVID-19 pandemic, while regular airlines were thrown into a crisis. Yet Spike is betting on the same airlines while hiring the former airline executive, according to the press release, in contrast to the promise to ‘redefine private air travel’ just a few years ago. Could this mean that the company hopes airlines will expand into private aircraft leasing in an attempt to cash in on the pandemic-induced trend, or maybe a S-512 cousin with larger cabin and higher capacity is in the plans of Spike? However, the company promised to deliver its aircraft in the mid-2020s, presumably, just after the predicted end of the crisis. Who knows, the world might be well-suited to receive the new supersonic addition to air travel then.
Russian turboprop Il-114-300 set for maiden flight in September
New Russian regional turboprop Ilyushin Il-114-300 will take to the skies for the first time in September 2020, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) CEO Yuri Slyusar announced. The announcement came in an interview with Russian president Vladimir Putin on 3 August 2020. The new airliner will be powered by Klimov TV7-117ST engines and have passenger capacity of up to 68 seats. Il-114-300s main niche will be to serve domestic destinations, especially in the Russian Far East and Siberia. UAC spared no expense in stressing aircraft’s entirely domestic origins, stating that it is developed and produced entirely inside Russia, in contrast to the majority of other Russian commercial aircraft. For example, the Sukhoi Superjet 100, whose engines, avionics and other components are manufactured either in conjunction or entirely by Western companies.
Il-114 was first introduced in 1990 and is capable of servicing airports with short and unpaved runways. Its production was stopped in 2012, while in 2014 the development of a new model was started by a decree from the president Vladimir Putin. The first prototype of Il-114-300 was constructed on the basis of Il-114-100 that was built in 1994 and first rolled out in December 2019. The second prototype, made from scratch, is currently in production. According to the manufacturer, Il-114-300 will have cruising speed of 500 km/h, operational range of 1400 kilometres and service ceiling of 7600 meters.
Lufthansa Group to cut 25% of workforce, 14 A380's to follow
Lufthansa Group reported a huge Q2 2020 loss and confirmed that it will cut 22,000 jobs from the group, including 14 A380s that will await permanent retirement. After sacking 8,300 employees in Q12020, Lufthansa Group confirmed in its latest financial statement that 22,000 more are to follow as a part of its ‘ReNew’ programme. Out of these, Lufthansa only announced the redundancy of 1,000 of administration staff and 20% of its executives while the rest of the positions were left undisclosed in the statement. The combined layoffs of 30,300 employees will amount to 23% of Lufthansa’s entire pre-COVID workforce.
Lufthansa reported a drop in revenue from €9.6 billion ($11.4) to €1.9 billion ($2.2 billion), which is 80% less than its Q2 2019 result. 79% of the second quarter’s total revenue of €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) came from Lufthansa Cargo and Lufthansa Technik. The logistics division benefited from stable demand and Lufthansa Cargo’s adjusted earnings before income taxes (EBIT) rose by €308 million ($365 million) fromQ2 of last year. The final line in the financial statement read a €1.7 billion ($2 billion) loss in Q2 2020. Its total H1 2020 loss was reported as €3.6 billion ($4.2 billion).
Cargo services may prove to be one of Lufthansa’s saving grace at the time of the crisis as many airlines seek alternative sources of income. “We are experiencing a caesura in global air traffic. We do not expect demand to return to pre-crisis levels before 2024. Especially for long-haul routes there will be no quick recovery”, commented the chairman and CEO of Lufthansa Carsten Spohr. At the same time, the entire Group suffered a 96% decrease in passenger numbers and 95% in capacity compared to last year’s second quarter.
ReNewing fleet and workforce
In the wake of this, Lufthansa looks to cut its combined fleet of 752 by 14 Airbus A380 aircraft as a part of their ‘ReNew’ programme. “By the end of October, more than 380 aircraft will be deployed. This means that half of the Lufthansa Group fleet is once again in the air. Next year there will probably be 300 aircraft on the ground, in 2022 about 200 and in three years the Lufthansa Group fleet will be 100 aircraft smaller than in 2019. In addition, the first restructuring programme included the decommissioning of five 747-400 and eleven A320s of Lufthansa Airlines. The total of 14 A380s have been withdrawn from operations. Seven A380s have been transferred to Teruel, Spain, where the long-haul aircraft have been transferred to deep storage. The remaining seven A380s are in Frankfurt, where they are also being prepared for storage. A concrete date for reuse is still open,” said Lufthansa Group’s representative.
Operating expenses have declined by 59% through the introduction of part-time working for large parts of the workforce and a reduction in non-essential expenditures. Most of Lufthansa’s negative cash outflow, which amounted to a negative €510 million ($604 million), consisted of payment for passenger refund claims, reads the report. As of 30 June 2020, liquidity from the airline group’s individual reserves was €2.8 billion ($3.3 billion) compared to €4.2 billion ($5 billion) at the end of Q1 2020. The Federal Republic of Germany has provided the Group with Economic Stabilisation Funds of a total of €9 billion ($10.7 billion), which pushed Lufthansa’s liquidity to €11.8 billion ($14 billion) as of 30 June 2020.
Since the beginning of July 2020, Lufthansa has expanded its short-haul leisure travel network. For the Group, this segment was already a focal point in the strategy before COVID-19. Lufthansa expects a buoyant recovery of 95% of short- and medium-haul and 70% of the long-haul flight capacity by the end of 2020.
KC-135 crew locates missing mariners on lone Pacific island
On 2 August guardsmen from the 203rd Air Refuelling Squadron, Hawaii Air National Guard and the 171st Air Refuelling Wing, Pennsylvania ANG deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, were the first to locate three missing mariners during a search and rescue mission in the Federated States of Micronesia southwest of Guam. On 29 July, three mariners aboard a 23-foot white and blue skiff departed Puluwat Atoll intending to travel approximately 21 nautical miles to Pulap, Chuuk. However, they never made it to their destination and were reported missing.
“Joint Rescue Sub-Center Guam received notification of an overdue skiff last seen in the vicinity of Chuuk and requested our assistance,” said Maj. Shaun McRoberts, 506th Air Expeditionary Aerial Refuelling Squadron assistant director of operations. “Once notified, we began immediately working a plan to launch crews to locate the missing vessel.”
Lt. Col. Jason Palmeira-Yen, Maj. Byron Kamikawa and Tech. Sgt. Shane Williams, Hawaii Air National Guardsmen, along with Tech. Sgt. Rodney Joseph and Senior Airman Jeremy Williams, Pennsylvania Air National Guardsmen, took off from Andersen AFB in their KC-135 Stratotanker destined to locate the missing vessel. After almost three hours into their mission and flying at about 1,500 feet, the crew located the mariners on the tiny island of Pikelot, Yap. “We were toward the end of our search pattern,” said Lt. Col. Jason Palmeira-Yen, the KC-135 pilot. “We turned to avoid some rain showers and that is when we looked down and saw an island, so we decided to check it out and that is when we saw SOS and a boat right next to it on the beach. From there we called in the Australian Navy because they had two helicopters nearby that could assist and land on the island.” The Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Canberra (L02) was also in the region and agreed to divert and provide search sorties with embarked helicopters while the FSS Independence departed from Yap to assist.
A helicopter crew from HMAS Canberra delivered supplies to the stranded mariners while a US Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules from Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, airdropped a radio and message block informing them the FSS Independence was en-route to rescue and return them home. “Partnerships” said US Coast Guard Capt. Christopher Chase, Coast Guard Sector Guam, commander. “This is what made this search and rescue case successful. Through coordination with multiple response organisations, we were able to save three members of our community and bring them back home to their families.”
Blue Angels upgrade their transport capability
The US Navy delivered a C-130J aircraft to the Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (NFDS) this month completing the squadron’s logistics transport aircraft transition from a legacy C-130T to a C-130J. “This has been a great example of cooperation between allies and professionals. Coordination and work to deliver this Blue Angels C-130J highlight a unique programme office partnership with UK MoD and Marshall Aerospace. The team has worked through challenges to deliver this high-visibility asset to our fleet and provide a ‘new’ aircraft to support our Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron for years to come,” said Maj Gen Greg Masiello, programme executive officer air ASW, assault and special mission programmes. “We have all been able to witness the transformation of this particular C-130 Hercules transition into a valuable addition to our Blue Angels flying demonstration team. We are pleased to deliver this Super Hercules as the Blue Angels transition to Super Blues. Definitely a job well done by all involved.”
Purchased from the United Kingdom, the aircraft underwent a year-long refresh, which turned a former UK MoD aircraft into the logistics and transport aircraft that will be used by the Blue Angels. Tactical Airlift Programme Office (PMA-207) and UK MoD co-managed the refurbishment with all efforts performed at Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (ADG) in Cambridge, England. This is the sole C-130J in the Navy’s fleet and while it is almost identical to its sister aircraft, the KC-130J, currently flown by the Marine Corps, it required a collaborative effort between NAVAIR engineering and Lockheed Martin to identify configuration deltas and test requirements. These efforts were done to meet US and FAA requirements and included a major rework inspection, hardware and software configuration changes, and ground and flight testing. The aircraft, now bearing the distinctive Blue Angels Blue and Gold, will be sure to thrill airshow attendees for years to come.
RV-10 kits to be produced with final-size holes drilled
Van’s Aircraft has initiated the process of phasing in the production of final-size, matched-hole RV-10 parts. Until now, all parts for the RV-10 have been produced with slightly undersized holes, which the builder must up-size with a drill and then deburr prior to assembly. The company notes that, “We will be transitioning the RV-10 kit to final-sized holes, much like the RV-14 and RV-12iS kits. There is no increase in kit prices associated with this planned change. Aircraft parts with final-size holes may be dimpled and then assembled right out of the box, after deburring the edges of each part as needed. This removes the need to first Cleco the parts together, drill them to size in assembly, then disassemble and deburr.
US Navy’s first black female tactical air pilot earns wings of gold
The US Navy’s first black female tactical air (TACAIR) pilot received her Wings of Gold on 31 July, marking a significant milestone for Naval Aviation. Virginia native Lt. J G Madeline G. Swegle was designated a naval aviator and received her Wings of Gold with 25 classmates during a small ceremony at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Texas. Swegle is assigned to the ‘Redhawks’ of Training Squadron (VT) 21 under Training Air Wing 2 at NAS Kingsville and completed her final undergraduate TACAIR training flight in a T-45C Goshawk jet trainer aircraft on 7 July. VT-21 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Matthew Maher presented Wings of Gold to each of his graduates during the ceremony.
Amidst the Navy’s response to the global pandemic, instructors and students adjusted to COVID-19 spread mitigation measures including sterilising surfaces, wearing masks and social distancing when practical. Despite these challenges, this is the largest graduating class of strike aviators in almost a decade. Chief of Naval Air Training Rear Adm. Robert Westendorff oversees all undergraduate flight training from the command headquarters at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. A 2017 US Naval Academy graduate, Swegle reported to Naval Aviation Schools Command at NAS Pensacola, Florida, where she completed Initial Flight Screening and Aviation Pre-flight Indoctrination. She completed Primary flight training with the ‘Boomers’ of VT-27 at NAS Corpus Christi and after selecting the TACAIR, or Strike, pipeline, Swegle progressed to Intermediate and Advanced training with VT-21. Swegle is part of a new generation of TACAIR pilots to qualify on state-of-the art Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) unique to aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78): the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG). She completed carrier qualifications in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast on 20 May.
Coming soon: The ‘semi-professional pilot?’
An opinion writer for Forbes has postulated that the future of the pilot trade is just that, ‘semi-professional’ monitors of autonomous machines that actually discourage human intervention because we are so sloppy. In a column, Paul Kennard says humans are too imprecise to get the best performance and longevity out of aircraft systems and cost too much to train to fit the razor thin margin world of modern low-cost air travel and he believes the burgeoning urban mobility industry provides the answer to both practical application and societal acceptance.
“The compromise then, perhaps, is the semi-professional pilot,” Kennard wrote. “One that never follows a conventional path to a qualification by learning how to fly ‘stick and rudder’ piston trainers, but instead does a zero-flight time course in an urban air mobility platform simulator complex. In much the same way that Uber and the smartphone have undermined ‘the knowledge’ required by yellow cab drivers, automation and UAM will likely do the same to the aviation workplace.”
By way of example, Kennard points to SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, which splashed down successfully in precisely the right place at the exact time while two astronauts watched their fate unfold on high resolution screens. They had the ability to step in if critical functions did not happen on schedule. Even their seats reclined automatically. He said the airlines and manufacturers are watching all this closely, particularly the urban air mobility industry. “Once UAM is proven, licensed and demonstrably safe, airlines will start asking for the some of their platforms to be similar. Future inter-city aircraft will take the UAM approach and scale it up,” he wrote.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
Royal Navy tests multicopters
Last week HMS Princes of Wales provided an impressive setting for the Future Maritime Aviation Force Accelerator Day, bringing together experts from the navy, MOD and industry to meet and discuss the vision for drone operations. It comes as the navy seeks to develop and invest in the latest technology, bringing new, world-beating equipment to the frontline quicker.
The Future Maritime Aviation Force, Brig Cheesman said, was also about seeing how the Royal Navy could build-on and gain advantage from the pace of technological development already underway in the commercial sector. “The aim is to transition rapidly from what we have now to whatever we want in the future. We live in an exponential world of technological change and if we can integrate the latest and get it on operations, it will deliver battle-winning advantage. Specifically, getting that technology onto ships like HMS Prince of Wales would be a game-changer. We are working in collaboration with companies like the ones here today to understand how they can help us move faster.”
The work of the Royal Navy’s NELSON digital acceleration lab supports this idea. They have continued the development the ‘plug in and play’ MAPLE system that, when integrated onto Royal Navy ships, will simplify the process of accessing and using autonomous and un-crewed technology. Trials earlier this year in Norway saw this system used on HMS Albion and last year on HMS Argyll. Going forward, all Royal Navy ships will possess open architecture, fully networked, organic crewless aviation systems with Prince of Wales being at the forefront of a series of trials. As previously announced by First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin, this will see the aircraft carrier being used as a testbed for un-crewed aerial vehicles.
Commodore Nick Walker, Deputy Director of Navy Aviation, supported the importance of the speed of introducing new technology. Speaking onboard HMS Prince of Wales, he said: “When we have drones and other equipment routinely embarked on ships, that is when we really start to understand what they can do and get an idea of what we can achieve. “We have to do it safely, in the right way and coherently, but I want to see the type of kit on display today on frontline operations within the year.”
Twice 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 Thursday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)