Since last week’s mystery aircraft was rather easy to identify, according to the number of correct answers I received. This week I have provided an interesting experimental aircraft to identify. Please send your answers to me at email@example.com. I will publish the names of those that identified the aircraft correctly within the Thursday edition of APAnews.
This is going to be an interesting week for African Pilot, since I covered the SAPFA rally pilot and navigator selection process on Thursday at Brits airfield, but the competition was concluded on Saturday 18 June. Then early on Friday morning, I departed for East London to cover the Sports Aerobatics Club 2022 nationals competition. Arriving home on Sunday at around midday, I have only had time to complete this edition of APAnews. Very early on Monday morning I flew with Airlink to Durban to cover the SACAA’s International Flight Inspection Symposium at the Durban International Convention Centre. I will be in Durban for two days, before flying back to Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Through its considerable South African and global reach, there is no doubt that African Pilot via APAnews and its monthly aviation magazine reaches more aviation professionals than all the other local aviation publications combined. Perhaps the reason for this is that African Pilot is committed to cover as many aviation events in person as possible.
Visiting the greatest aviation event – EAA AirVenture 2022
Neil Bowden has advised me that he still has a few seats available to attend EAA Oshkosh this year. It is now too late to try and obtain a US visa, therefore this offer is directed towards persons who already have a US visa and would like to travel with Neil’s Air Adventure Tours.
Please refer to the attached advert and if you want to take up this offer
E-mail: Neil1@telkomsa.net or Call 084 674 5674
Africa’s leading show for General Aviation is back
AERO South Africa will take place at Wonderboom National Airport over three days from 7 to 9 July 2022 and to date there are more than 40 aviation companies that will be exhibiting at this prestigious show. Once again African Pilot has been commissioned to produce the AERO South Africa official digital exhibition catalogue. Should your business be interested in exhibiting at AERO South Africa, please contact Annalie Reynolds as soon as possible: Annelie.Reynolds@za.messefrankfurt.com.
Visitor attendance is FREE and we are looking forward to meeting you at the show. Please register now by clicking on this link: https://bit.ly/3simOir. African Pilot will have a show stand at AERO, so you can meet up with our team over the three days.
The June edition featuring Flight Training and Aviation Careers and Flight Simulators was completed last week and this edition has been fully distributed to the world-wide audience. This 268-page edition contains 20 videos and nine picture galleries a new record. African Pilot has embraced the digital publishing age so that the magazine can be read on smart phones or any digital device. African Pilot changed its publishing philosophy nearly two years ago to embrace the digital age so as to discontinue publishing a typical print style magazine that is impossible to read, even on laptop computers.
African Pilot will publish its popular Light Sport Aircraft, Amateur Built Aircraft and South African built aircraft in the July edition of the magazine that will be distributed to the world during the last week of June 2022. The feature is an opportunity for all Light Sport Aircraft manufactures, Amateur Built aircraft and South African built aircraft. The feature provides an important shop window for advertisers to display their Light Sport Aircraft in a focused manner which includes editorial content to cover the features of their business.
Air Force B-52 crashes just before landing in Washington / Loose Cannon (with real video)
Wallpaper calendar for the month of June. Go to our wallpaper page to download the calendars in three different resolutions.
Story of the Rietbok
Everybody interested in the story about the Rietbok, this is for you. The East London Museum Annual General meeting will take place on 21 June from 17h30. After the AGM, Wouter Botes, TV producer, presenter and pilot, will be the guest speaker at 19h30. He will share his experience on the search of the Rietbok, the plane that crashed into the sea near East London in 1967. All are welcome BUT note that space in the Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer Hall is limited and everybody interested in attending must please RSVP on Tel: 043-743 0686.
Blue Wing Productions
TV and Media Productions
Ryanair drops Afrikaans test after backlash from South African passengers
Low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair has removed its requirement for South African passengers to conduct a test in the Afrikaans language to prove their nationality before traveling to the United Kingdom. According to a report published by Reuters, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary confirmed the change after the airline sparked a backlash from South African travellers. The South African government labelled the procedure as a ‘backward profiling system’.
However, O’Leary described South African government’s profiling accusation as ‘rubbish’ citing a surge in passengers carrying fake passports on its Turkey to Ireland route. During a news conference in Brussels on 14 June 2022, O’Leary said: “The South African government has acknowledged that there is a problem with the vast number of false or fake South African passports.”
In an earlier report from Reuters, dated 7 June, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa was cited as saying: “We are taken aback by the decision of this airline because the Department regularly communicates with all airlines to update them on how to validate South African passports, including the look and feel.”
SAPFA National Rally Flying Competition at Brits airfield
I only spent one day at the SAPFA Nationals, being the Thursday that was the Youth Day public holiday. After the three-day event Mary de Klerk and Nigel Hopkins emerged as the overall winners flying a Cessna 150 in which they scored 833 penalty points. Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe flying a Cessna 180 took second place with 1267 penalty points, whilst Hendrik and Jandre Loots took third place flying a Sling 2 with 1641 penalty points. The feature with a full set of results will be published in the July edition of African Pilot.
Sports Aerobatics at Wingfield East London
Early on Friday morning I travelled to East London to report on and video and take pictures of the National Aerobatics contest that took place at Wings Park, which is a privately owned airfield some distance outside East London. The weather on the Friday when I arrived, thankfully flown to the event from the main airport in a Jabiru. Throughout the day the participants flew their sequences at what has to be one of the most delightful airfields in South Africa. The setup is near perfect with a long grass runway and a beautiful new clubhouse that had recently been re-built after the thatch roof caught fire a year ago. The judges are accommodated on the patio of the ‘wedding and conference’ venue some distance away from the clubhouse therefore providing maximum privacy when they are judging the performance of the competitors. More about this exciting weekend with the results in the July edition of African Pilot.
African Pilot’s 2022 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.
20 to 24 June
SACAA International Flight Inspection Symposium www.ifissa.co.za
Durban International Convention Centre – Registration R10 000 per delegate
For event enquiries and bookings: Vanstraatenc@caa.co.za and Singhn@caa.co.za.
You can also book on the website: https://ifissa.co.za.
African Pilot will be attending and reporting on this symposium
Polokwane Airshow (Cancelled – this was to be expected)
Contact: Noel Netshivhodza at E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 081 728 0843
SAPFA Speed Rally at Middleburg airfield
Contact David le Roux at E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 073 338 5200
1 to 3 July
EAA Taildraggers at Warmbaths airfield
Contact Richard at E-mail: Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 490 6227
7 to 9 July
AERO South Africa at Wonderboom National Airport
Contact Annelie Reynolds at E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Kitty Hawk Rally
Contact Frank Eckard at E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
Garden Route airshow at George airport
Contact Brett Scheuble
18 to 22 July
Farnborough International Airshow
22 to 31 July
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA
Camping on the airfield contact Neil Bowden at E-mail: email@example.com
Hotels in Appleton contact Calvin Fabig at E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
29 and 30 July
Soutpansberg fly-in Louis Trichardt
Contact Jaco at E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 353 6002
Krugersdorp Flying Club Spot Landing
Contact Nandi at Tel: 083 577 8894 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Speed Rally at Rustenburg airfield
Contact David le Roux at E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 073 338 5200
26 and 27 August
Bethlehem Airshow at Bethlehem airfield
Contact Stephan Fourie at E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 072 344 9678
Angola receives a new Il-76
From reports it appears the Angolan Air Force is taking delivery of another Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft as part of a batch of several additional airlifters. Although painted in white, it was wearing Forca Aerea Nacional de Angola markings. On 9 June, the aircraft was tracked by FlightRadar24 over Egypt after departing Belarus on its delivery flight. Reports indicate that Angola will be acquiring several Il-76s. Other Il-76TDs in Angolan service are T-908, T-909, T-910 and T-911, therefore based on the registrations, this indicates three additional aircraft are being delivered, possibly from ex-Belarussian stocks. The Angolan Air Force has operated Il-76s for some 20 years. According to Scramble, only seven are currently operational, eight have been scrapped, whilst one is in storage. The type is flown by the Esquadra de Transportes which is based at Base Aérea No 1 (Luanda).
The Angolan Air Force relies mainly on An-12, An-24, An-72, C212 and Il-76 aircraft for its transport requirements. It recently acquired a two Xian MA60s from China and has ordered three C295s from Airbus. Although the latter order was first announced in 2018, it was only firmed up with Airbus in April this year. Two of the aircraft will be specifically equipped for maritime surveillance and one for transport missions.
First flight for pilot who only studied online ends in crash
The uncertificated pilot reported he had been studying an online course with the intent of pursuing a sport pilot certificate in the future. He purchased the Coyote S-6ES about a month before the accident. The accident flight was his first flight in the airplane. He stated he was aware of a crosswind coming from his right at his airstrip in Pisgah, Iowa and the ground dropping away into the adjacent bean field at the end. He planned to get airborne and then as the ground dropped away into the field, he would turn right into the wind and climb. He said that the airplane climbed faster than anticipated and the wind turned the airplane toward the left. He stated that he did not remember much after that, other than some of the post-crash events in the field as he was seriously injured in the crash. He had seen a video the accident and it appeared the left wing stalled and the airplane spun into the field. The airplane sustained substantial damage that included damage to both wings and the fuselage.
Probable Cause: The uncertificated pilot’s failure to attain / maintain a proper angle-of-attack during an initial climb that resulted in an aerodynamic stall and subsequent impact with terrain. This June 2020 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
US Navy sailor injured in F-35 Incident
According to a Naval Air Forces statement, the 1 June incident occurred as the sailor was performing routine maintenance on an F-35 assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 97. Following the mishap, of which little is known the sailor was provided on-scene, emergency medical care, then air-lifted to a hospital in Fresno, California. The sailor, whose identity is protected by privacy regulations is in fair condition and remains hospitalised; so, say officials who declined to provide further details on the incident, citing an ongoing investigation. Naval Safety Command has classified the accident as a Class A mishap. Such occurrences involve permanent total-disability or death, as well as damages of $2.5-million or more.
Airbus A321XLR successfully completes first test flight
Airbus has announced that its first A321XLR (Xtra Long Range) has completed its first test flight after taking off from Hamburg-Finkenwerder Airport at 11h05 CEST for a flight which lasted around four hours and 35 minutes. During the successful test flight, the aircraft’s flight controls, engines and main systems, including flight envelope protections, were tested by the crew at both low speed and high speed. On board were the two test pilots and three test engineers.
Philippe Mhun, Airbus EVP Programmes and Services commented: “This is a major milestone for the A320 family and its customers worldwide. With the A321XLR coming into service, airlines will be able to offer long-haul comfort on a single-aisle aircraft, thanks to its unique Airspace cabin. The A321XLR will open new routes with unbeatable economics and environmental performance.” The A321XLR, part of the A320-family of single-aisle aircraft, is the latest evolutionary step and offers a range of up to 4,700nm (8700 km), with 30% lower fuel consumption per seat compared to previous-generation aircraft, as well as reduced NOx emissions and noise. As of 31 May 2022 more, than 8,000 orders for the A320-family of aircraft had been accumulated, while current orders for the A321XLR stand at more than 500 aircraft from approximately 20 customers worldwide.
EASA sees no evidence of A350 paint flaws posing safety risk
In the latest development in the ongoing legal dispute between Airbus and Qatar Airways, Europe’s aviation regulator has said that it has found no evidence that that paint or surface erosion on A350 jets posed a safety concern. However, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) acknowledged quality flaws with the jets at several airlines.
Airbus and Qatar Airways are currently embroiled in a legal row over paint or surface erosion on the Airbus A350 aircraft. In late 2021, Qatar Airways sued Airbus over fuselage surface deterioration on its A350s, seeking more than $600 million in compensation. Qatar Airways, which has 53 A350s in its fleet, claims it had to remove a total of 22 aircraft from the flight roster. In retaliation, Airbus attempted to terminate a separate contract to deliver 50 A321neo aircraft that Qatar Airways had on order. But this decision was temporarily frozen by a British court. However, in late April 2022, London’s High Court of Justice authorised Airbus not to continue the assembly of A321neo airliners for the Gulf air carrier.
On 26 May 2022, the High Court in London ruled that the dispute will be brought to trial in the summer of 2023 under an expedited process. “Qatar Airways is ready to see this matter through to trial to ensure that its rights are protected and that Airbus is required to address an unprecedented and extremely unique and concerning defect impacting the A350 aircraft type, across the industry and multiple carriers,” Qatar Airways outlined in a statement dated 31 May 2022. “Qatar Airways remains within its contractual rights to reject delivery of further A350 aircraft whilst the aircraft type suffers from a design defect which has now been acknowledged by the court and for Airbus to abuse its strength in the market to terminate a separate and unrelated contract for another aircraft type is extremely damaging for our industry,” the carrier added.
Growing opposition to Republic Airlines bid to lower ATP minimums
The Flight School Association of North America (FSANA) has announced its opposition to a petition by Republic Airways for an exemption to Congressionally mandated pilot training requirements. In its 10-page submission to the FAA, FSANA argues that the safety of the flying public is at stake if Republic is permitted to cut its pilot training hours by half as requested.
Republic Airways, a regional carrier for American, Delta and United Airlines recently petitioned the FAA to lower the minimum pilot training for its restricted airline transport pilot (R-ATP) certificate programme from 1,500 hours to 750.
“The United States has experienced the safest 10-plus years in the history of airline transportation in large part because of the ‘1,500-hour’ minimum requirement for pilot training passed by Congress in 2010,” said FSANA President & CEO Robert Rockmaker. “If the FAA allows Republic an exemption, it jeopardises passengers and crew and represents a major step backwards in the hard-fought battle to keep airline travel safe in this country.”
Prompted by the 2009 crash of Colgan Air flight 3407, which claimed fifty lives the 2010 Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act was the first instance of new airline safety legislation to be adopted in over twenty-years. The measure requires airline pilots to complete a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time under most circumstances.
In its submission to the FAA, FSANA contends that:
- A deviation from regulatory practices that have served to produce the safest period of airline travel in the United States since they were implemented represents a major risk to the flying public
- Republic’s claim that its training regimen would meet and / or exceed that of military pilot training is erroneous
- The exemption would result in a significantly higher turnover rate of Certified Flight Instructors (CFIs) at flight schools, further exacerbating the industry’s ability to train new pilots
- Granting the exemption would open the floodgates for other airlines to reduce their minimum training requirements, causing a snowball effect of safety concerns industrywide.
FSANA is joined in opposition to Republic’s petition by the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), Congressional members Brian Higgins and Chris Jacobs of New York, Flight 3407 Families and Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, whose competent airmanship has won him esteem and apparent legislative influence. A recent poll of FSANA members indicated 78% of respondents were strongly opposed to Republic’s petition to lower its training standards.
Garmin achieves EASA approval for the GFC 600H
Garmin® International is pleased to announce European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval of the GFC™ 600H for AS350 helicopters, providing a cost-effective flight control solution that reduces pilot workload and improves mission effectiveness. The GFC 600H provides a number of helicopter-tailored safety features, including attitude hold with speed stability, the innovative hover assist mode, Garmin Helicopter Electronic Stability and Protection (H-ESP™), dedicated return-to-level (LVL) mode, as well as overspeed and low-speed protection and more.
The GFC 600H features a console-mounted mode controller with push-button controls and a night vision goggle (NVG) compatible display. Its robust architecture allows for both two-axis and three-axis configurations to provide the features and handling characteristics needed for a helicopter. Integrated smart servos provide pitch and roll inputs as commanded by the system. The collective sensor and the optionally available third servo provide yaw axis control capability to provide smooth flight control adjustments when the pilot moves the collective. Digitally controlled, high-performance servos allow for faster, crisper, more powerful response, which enables the GFC 600H to perform with smooth efficiency and advanced capability.
Thanks to the innovative hover assist mode, the system can also automatically detect a hover condition and allows for flight control inputs to help maintain position over the ground. In addition, when equipped with the optional yaw axis control, the GFC 600H can hold heading in hover. GFC 600H is well integrated with the G500H TXi flight displays and GTN or GTN Xi navigators, using navigation information to automatically fly approaches, enroute navigation, fully coupled missed approach procedures including holds, as well as search and rescue patterns.
The advanced attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) technology combined with redundant, cross-checking sensors of the GFC 600H support smooth handling throughout the flight envelope. Further, attitude-hold mode reduces pilot workload by maintaining a specified altitude, while also providing inputs to help stabilise the helicopter when hand-flying. Designed with the pilot in mind, the GFC 600H incorporates cyclic-mounted trim controls to allow for seamless control of the system without taking a hand off of the flight controls during basic operations. Additional modes include altitude hold, altitude select, vertical speed, indicated airspeed and heading select.
The GFC 600H offers tremendous safety tools including overspeed protection and low-speed protection as well as Garmin H-ESP to help the pilot remain within a safe flight envelope when hand-flying the helicopter. H-ESP works in all modes, even when the system is not engaged and can be manually disabled to allow for manoeuvring flight. A dedicated LVL button is included on the GFC 600H and can be engaged by the pilot to return to straight-and-level flight, helping to avoid potential disorientation in degraded visual environments (DVE), such as inadvertent entry into instrument meteorological conditions (IIMC). Garmin has also implemented additional GFC 600H pilot training and supporting materials to allow for updated pilot licensing as required by the EASA certification. The GFC 600H is available as a retrofit through authorized Garmin dealers for the AS350 and AS350 variants including the BA, B2, B3 and B3E.
New Thrush Aircraft model certified
Thrush Aircraft, an aerial application aircraft manufacturing company, has received an FAA Type Certificate for its new 510P2+ aircraft. Company officials report, it is the first of four configurations in the company’s certification programme to be approved, Certification of the other configurations is expected by the end of the summer of 2022. The new models combine the company’s 500-gallon airframe with additional engine options from Pratt and Whitney. The 510P2 is powered by the PT6-34AG engine, while the 510P2+ is powered by the PT6-140AG engine. Both engines are integrated with single and dual cockpit versions of the airframe, historically used for the company’s 510G model, company officials explained. Performance data will be published on both models by July 2022.
Company officials report they already have orders for the 510P2 and 510P2+ from customers in eight different countries. The new production line has already been established, with company officials expecting to have 12 aircraft completed and ready for delivery, about half -140 powered, half -34 powered by the time the 510P2 receives certification.
Thrush Aircraft plans to hire more than 125 people over the next 12 months to grow its production capacity to meet the increased market demand. The company also will continue to build its 710P aircraft, as that production line is not affected by the certification programme, officials noted.
Otto reveals plans for hydrogen-powered 19-seat Celera
Otto Aviation has confirmed plans for a 19-seat, hydrogen-powered version of its Celera aircraft that could be operated on flights of up to 1,000 nm. The Celera 750L is a stretched version of the 500L that the US company has in development. It announced that ZeroAvia will integrate its ZA600 hydrogen-electric powertrain as an alternative propulsion system to the Red A03 diesel engine being used for the 500L.
Its six-seat Celera 500L features a laminar-flow design that Otto claims will deliver 4,500-nm range at cruise speeds of 391 knots. The company has not provided more details about the projected performance for the 750L.
In December 2020, Otto announced plans to develop a zero-emissions version of the 500L and have it available by 2027. That is two years after the first Celera model is due to enter service. According to ZeroAvia, the Celera 750L will provide even more competitive operating costs due to reduced maintenance expenses for the propulsion system and the lower price for hydrogen versus jet-A. Within the next few weeks, ZeroAvia expects to start flying a 19-seat Dornier 228 testbed aircraft fitted with the 600-kW ZA600 powertrain. It has a pair of the turboprop twins that it will work on at its facilities in California and the UK.
Universal hydrogen signs deal to convert 75 ATR-600s to hydrogen power
On Wednesday Universal Hydrogen said on that it has collected a firm order from prospective Massachusetts-based regional carrier Connect Airlines to covert 75 ATR 72-600 regional turboprops to hydrogen power. Connect Airlines, which still awaits a Show Cause Order from the US Department of Transportation to fly De Havilland Dash 8-400s from points between the Northeast and Midwest US cities and Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport, would take delivery of the first converted ATR in 2025, according to Universal. The latest contract between Connect Airlines and Universal follows a letter of intent announced last year that called for converting De Havilland Dash 8-300s.
A division of Boston-based Part 135 charter operator Waltzing Matilda Aviation, Connect Airlines also signed for purchase rights on another 25 ATR conversions. It says it has committed to becoming the world’s first ‘true’ zero-emission airline.
“We see the partnership with Universal Hydrogen as the fastest path to zero-emission operation because they offer both an affordable retrofit solution for the existing airplane fleet, as well as a pragmatic approach to delivering hydrogen to any airport in our route network,” said Connect Airlines CEO John Thomas. “With this technology and its economics, we see the demand growing to 800 new aircraft added to the regional fleet over the next decade.”
In addition to a hydrogen conversion kit for the ATR 72-600, Universal Hydrogen offers hydrogen fuel services to airports using a modular capsule technology that allows for the transport and handling of hydrogen using the existing intermodal freight network and cargo handling equipment. Wednesday’s agreement also calls for Universal Hydrogen to provide fuel services to the Connect fleet.
“This order places Connect firmly in the vanguard of the march to get aviation on a path to meeting Paris Agreement emissions targets,” said Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen. “This march will very soon need to turn into a sprint if the industry has any hope of decarbonising in time without having to curtail the growth in passenger volumes. We will need to convert most of the regional fleet in the 2020s and ensure that the new narrowbody aircraft built in the 2030s are hydrogen-powered; there is no other way to get there.”
Spanish airline Air Nostrum to become launch customer for Airlander 10
British manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) and Spanish regional airline Air Nostrum have signed an agreement for the acquisition of the first 10 100-seat hybrid airships. The agreement, which was announced on 15 June 2022, marks the first commercial order for the airships, making the airline group the launch customer. According to a statement from HAV, the diesel engine-driven ducted propeller-powered airships are expected to ‘to diversify and complement Air Nostrum Group’s existing aircraft fleet currently operating on these routes, carrying 100 passengers while producing only around one tenth of the harmful emissions.’
“The Airlander 10 will drastically reduce emissions and for that reason, we have made this agreement with HAV,” executive president of Air Nostrum Carlos Bertomeu was quoted as saying in a statement.
He continued: “Sustainability, which is good news for everyone, is already a non-negotiable fact in the daily operations of commercial aviation. Agreements such as these are a very effective way to reach the de-carbonisation targets.”
Tom Grundy, CEO of HAV said that the manufacturer will start production for Air Nostrum’s order in 2022. The manufacturing process will take place at the company’s site in South Yorkshire and will create up to 1,800 new job opportunities. “Airlander is designed to deliver a better future for sustainable aviation services, enable new transport networks and provide rapid growth options for our customers. Our partnership with Air Nostrum, as the launch Airline for Airlander 10, leads the way towards that future,” Grundy said.
“As countries like France, Denmark, Norway, Spain and the UK begin to put in place ambitious mandates for the decarbonisation of domestic and short-haul flight, Hybrid Air Vehicles and Air Nostrum Group are demonstrating how we can get there and get there soon,” he continued.
According to the manufacturer, the hybrid airship Airlander 10, which the company has been developing since 2012, is equipped with a set of pneumatic skids designed to let the airship land and take-off from a wide variety of terrain, as well as from water. Powered by four Thielert Centurion diesel engines, the air vehicle could be used for both passenger and cargo flights as it can carry up to 14,000 kilograms (30,000 lbs) of freight for a flight range of 3,900 kilometres (2,400 mi). All 10 airships will serve regional Air Nostrum routes across Spain with the first hybrid air vehicle expected to be delivered to the carrier in 2026.
UKCAA adopts EASA regulations for eVTOL certification
UK regulators are to adopt European certification standards for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Announcing its decision to mirror the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s rules – known as Special Conditions (SC)-VTOL, the UK Civil Aviation Agency says move is in the industry’s interests. “Harmonising safety standards across nations and continents helps to maintain high levels of safety, as well as reducing industry costs and avoiding duplication of effort. “By working together, the UK industry has easier access to the wider global market.”
The UKCAA says it will continue to ‘proactively engage and collaborate with other global national aviation authorities, such as the US Federal Aviation Administration, to share approaches, lessons learned and safety insights’ related to the new sector. Several UK companies are developing eVTOL aircraft, notably Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace, which is targeting service entry for its VX4 in 2025. Vertical’s initial flight-test prototype is currently being assembled at partner GKN Aerospace’s Global Technology Centre in Bristol. GKN supplies the VX4’s wing and electrical wiring system.
uAvionix and Hionos Team Introduce DO-178C compliant Pulsar Autopilot Software onto George autopilot
Last week uAvionix and the Hionos team announced the successful integration of the Hionos DO-178C compliant Pulsar autopilot software on the DO-254 and DO-160G compliant hardware of the uAvionix George G2 and G3 autopilots. Meeting these standards, among the most demanding of the aeronautics industry, will significantly advance the process of type certification for unmanned aerial vehicles engaged in safety critical operations.
In 2021 uAvionix and Hionos set out on a project to integrate Hionos DO-178C compliant software autopilot Pulsar onto the George G3 autopilot, based on the widely used Cube system. The team’s efforts culminated in a successful demonstration during flight tests performed in France by Hionos and supported by uAvionix teams in Montana and Iowa. This integration included the use of the uAvionix truFYX FAA TSO Certified GPS, adding high integrity certified GPS for a completely certified drone ecosystem.
The flexible Pulsar factory, design and development environment enables the Pulsar autopilot to meet specific customer airframe specifications, while delivering highly safe, certifiable autopilot software. By meeting DO-178C’s demanding standards, Pulsar helps manufacturers to perform safety critical operations.
George combines the robustness of certifiable DAL-C hardware with a high integrity aviation GPS, C2 Radio, airspeed, Detect and Avoid (DAA) and military-grade geomagnetic sensors for unprecedented accuracy and platform integrity. Paired with other certified avionics such as the ping200X Mode S / ADS-B transponder and skyLink C-band command and control radios, George forms the heart of an entirely certifiable UAS ecosystem.
Primoco UAV, receives European LUC authorisation
- Primoco UAV becomes the first European fixed-wing UAV manufacturer to achieve the Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC).
- UAV Navigation’s long-term client is also pursuing NATO STANAG 4703 qualification.
- Thanks to this authorisation Primoco UAV has executed the first successful BVLOS-flight of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in German military airspace.
UAV Navigation’s long-time flight control customer, Primoco UAV, has been granted the Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC) in the ‘Specific’ category. This is the first time such a certification has been issued to an unmanned fixed-wing platform manufacturer in Europe (previously awarded only for rotary-wing platforms). This authorisation allows the Czech manufacturer to carry out the most challenging flight operations, as the authorisation is the highest level that can be achieved under current European regulations.
“The Primoco UAV Model ONE 150 has a maximum take-off weight of 150 kg combined with a flight time of up to 15 hours, a range from the ground station of up to 200 km and an overall distance covered of up to 2,000 km. This endurance combined with a cruise speed of 100–150 km/h gives the Primoco UAV, compared to electric aircraft unmatched performance in its category, while at the same time operating costs are kept to a minimum. The unique features of the UAV ONE 150 are its 30 kg payload and its high-altitude capability allowing extended missions with a mixed sensor payload and operation at altitudes of 2,000 m or higher” stated Primoco.
LUC will allow the Czech company to operate its platform for critical infrastructure inspections and other applications as authorised within the European framework.
Thanks to this authorisation Primoco UAV has executed the first successful BVLOS-flight of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) while regular air traffic was happening in the military airspace of the Bundeswehr in Manching, event that may be executed anywhere in Europe with this certification.
In addition to LUC certification, Primoco has also been approved as a Design and Manufacturing Organisation in accordance with EMAR 21 military standards and it is also in the process of obtaining certification in accordance with NATO STANAG 4703. These approvals mean that the Company is unique in the UAV world as it is able to offer aircraft manufactured to standards that are recognised globally by aviation authorities.
UAV Navigation is proud to have been working with Primoco as a key system supplier since 2016. Close cooperation between the technical teams allowed rapid development of the platform from prototype to mature system. The collaboration is yet another example of UAV Navigation’s philosophy, which is to form long-term partnerships with its clients. UAV Navigation’s aim is to apply its experience in order to ensure success in every client’s project.
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