“State of disaster now a disaster of a state. The talking has been done; it is time for strong, effective action from our government.”
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 this 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: USAF C-17 Globemaster III Demo - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018:
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
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.
Annelie Reynolds – Show Director
Annelie.Reynolds@za.messefrankfurt.com | +27 (0)83 308 1251
SAviation4SA – Aviation Legislation at your Fingertips
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Launch of new ‘picture of the week’ from readers
Something exciting for African Pilot’s readers to enjoy is the launch of the ‘Picture of the Week’. Please send any aviation related picture to me at: email@example.com at a resolution of at least 500 Kb. There is no payment or prize offered, just editorial recognition. However, all photographs submitted will be considered for the ‘Picture of the Month’ within the monthly magazine and I will be looking for a sponsor to cover the cost of a monthly fee.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
SAPFA ANR staged at Brakpan airfield
Thank you to the South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) for organising what was a wonderful day in the sun for the competitors to attend the two back to back Air Navigation Rally (ANR) events on Saturday 15 August. After the lock down over the past four months, it was really great to interact with so many friends in Sport Aviation. Despite challenging weather in the form of very strong wind from the north, this event was a resounding success. The full article with a picture galley and video will be featured in the September edition of African Pilot.
SACAA notification – Granting of Exemptions
Air Traffic Services, Flight Crew, Cabin Crew, Maintenance Engineers, Approved Persons, Remote Pilots, Flight Engineers, Security Screeners and Instructors.
ACSA statement on certification of instrument landing systems
Airports owned and managed by Airports Company South Africa are open and operating safely while some Instrument Landing Systems (ILS’s) need to be re-certified. A report to the effect that our airports will be or are closed while certifications of some ILS’s are renewed is false, as confirmed in a separate statement by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).
The process for some ILS re-certifications has been delayed because the service provider appointed by SACAA has been hampered by global lockdown regulations and the need to service its equipment. OR Tambo International Airport has four ILS’s. Two of these have been switched off because the certification period has lapsed. King Shaka International Airport has two ILS’s and both have been switched off because the certification period has lapsed. George Airport has two ILS’s and both have been switched off because the certification period has lapsed. Cape Town International Airport has two ILS’s. One has been temporarily downgraded to a lower instrument meteorological usage level. On Thursday 13 August 2020, both ILS’s at Cape Town International Airport will be switched off because the certification period will lapse.
Airports Company South Africa wishes to emphasise that safety is of paramount importance. As stated by SACAA, aircraft can still land without an ILS in operation because there are other flight procedures that can be used. However, visibility on the runway must be determined first. Flying does not stop in the absence of an instrument landing system and there is no need to close any airport. SACAA has advised that its service provider’s aircraft is expected to arrive in South Africa by the end of this week and that the calibration programme will prioritise airports where ILS’s have been switched off.
What an absolute disaster for South African aviation, especially now that we have been told that the Cape Town International Airport’s ILS were switched off on Thursday 13 August and this is the time when Instrument Landing Systems are vital due to the winter rainfall conditions. This past week a representative from the SACAA spoke a whole lot of nonsense to several radio stations, clearly showing her complete lack of knowledge about the importance of ground-based instrument landing systems. But then by now we know that there are very few aviation related skills left at the regulator. The calibration matter has already been raised as a serious fault about the SACAA with ICAO and hopefully certain sanctions on the South African regulator will follow. At the time of writing, I understand that the Ukrainian calibration aircraft has not yet arrived in the country.
Let us look at the contract award
The tender for calibrating the ILS has been awarded to Tamifield (Pty) Ltd. The contract was awarded for a period not exceeding six months at a value of R 2 222 420. The Director is Nadeem Ismael. He is also a director in AHRHO that is a travel operator, construction and aviation services. One of the other directors at AHRHO is Murad Ismail AKA Interlink Airlines. Interlink Airlines and Murad Ismael was charged with on 44 accounts of fraud in 2015 relating to a contract to calibrate the SA Navy’s weapon systems. Hopefully, this tender will not end up in court. Murad is well known in aviation circles and I wonder if Nadeem is his son or a relative.
Acquisition of Flight Inspection Services
Successful bidder: Bidder name Tender Description Tender No. B-BBEE points awarded:
Tamifield (Pty) Ltd Acquisition of Flight Inspection Services SACAA/AFIS/0018/2019 – 2020 1 20
According to its website Tamifield (Pty) Ltd operates: National Services: Amrho is a Wholesale Inbound and Outbound Tour Operator and is involved in: Incentives, MICE, Leisure, Sports, Golf Days / Safaris, Hajj & Umrah, Religious Pilgrimage and General Tour Packaging. Amrho is the home of the “Lay-Bye Holidays®” package concept. The Groups various divisions specialise in Airline, Air Safaris, Aviation Training & Tourism (AT&T) and Charter operations for VVIP, VIP, IP and Group Charter from four to 1000+ passengers.
Now please make up your own mind about this dubious contract. I was informed in writing by the SACAA media spokesman Kabelo Ledwaba that the calibration aircraft would arrive in South Africa on 8 August, but as of today Monday 17 August the aircraft and its crew had not arrived in South Africa.
Comair secures short-term financing
South African Comair, which operates a British Airways franchise and the Kulula Air has raised short-term financing to help the firm through the coming weeks. According to internal communications seen by South Africa’s Travel News, Comair chief executive Wrenelle Stander told staff that the USD2.27 million short-term bridge loan would allow Comair to meet its operational overheads and allow its business rescue process to continue. BRPs Shaun Collyer and Richard Ferguson are due to conclude their reviews of two offers which were submitted on 22 and 23 July 2020. “The Practitioners are in the process of considering these latter two offers in order to understand if the parties will be able to fulfill the conditions contemplated in these offers, and if any one of these latter two offers provides a sustainable remedy to the Company’s financial distress,” the BRPs said in a stock market filing dated 28 July 2020.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Secunda Speed Rally at Secunda airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 855 9435
23 – 24 September
KZN Spring Carnival – Inanda Dam
Contact John Neilon 082 485 5514 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com Cell: 082 560 2275
Garden Route airshow at George Airport
Contact Brett Scheuble E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
24 and 25 October
SAC North West Regionals TBC
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 011 659 2345
5 and 6 December
SAC Ace of Base TBC
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
As further dates are sent to me, I will continue to update the aviation calendar.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Grand Caravan EX joins Special Missions fleet in Africa
A contract on behalf of ATI Engineering Services, LLC for two multi-mission Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft has been awarded for the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) in support of the African Partnership Flight initiative. This will be the first fixed-wing aircraft to be put in service by the RDF. The aircraft, which are anticipated to enter service during the first half of 2021, will primarily be based in Kigali, Rwanda.
This African Partnership Flight initiative brings together a series of collaborative engagements between African nations to strengthen US strategic partnerships with key countries in Africa, exchange ideas on aviation-related topics, and enhance regional cooperation and interoperability. ATI Engineering Services will modify and equip the RDF’s Grand Caravan EX aircraft with secure HF (High Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) radio systems, Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) interior and exterior lighting, as well as a reconfigurable multi-mission interior featuring two ambulatory medical stretcher kits, 11 passenger seats, eight collapsible utility seats and a removable rollerball cargo floor. The US Government has previously provided grant aid funding for 14 Grand Caravan EX aircraft procured through Foreign Military Sale cases throughout Africa, with Rwanda being the latest recipient. AFRICOM’s intent is to field multiple iterations of this configuration throughout Africa, and to streamline logistics support and enhance partner nation interoperability, both of which will reduce costs to the partner nation and to the US Government.
AFRICOM’s African partners who already possess Grand Caravan EX aircraft include Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Kenya and Uganda. These countries are co-participants in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations, particularly in missions in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Increasing commonality of equipment, such as the Grand Caravan EX, serves as a focal point to substantially increase interoperability in operations, maintenance, supply support and planning.
Egypt issues travel decree
The Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation has said that the Prime Minister’s decree on prohibiting travelling to Egypt, unless all travellers have a negative PCR test, is applicable only to non-Egyptians. A statement said: “The PCR test result must be issued not more than 72 hours prior to the arrival. The Decree will come into force starting 15 August 2020. All tourists travelling directly by air to Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Hurghada, Marsa Alam and Matrouh International Airports are exempt from this requirement. Transit passengers to these airports are exempt as well.”
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
NTSB preliminary report: McDonnell Douglas 600N helicopter
On 21 July 2020 a McDonnell Douglas 600N helicopter was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Thompson Falls, Montana. The pilot was not injured. The pilot stated that, as he was on an approach to a landing zone, he lowered the collective to start a vertical descent to land. At that time, the engine and rotor rpm suddenly decreased, the helicopter yawed to the left and started to settle. As the helicopter was approaching the ground fast, the pilot increased the collective to use the remaining rpm to cushion the landing. The helicopter impacted the ground and the pilot rolled the throttle to idle but noticed that engine speed and rpm were below the normal idle parameters. When he rolled the throttle to off, he heard a grinding, ‘metal-to-metal’ noise. The helicopter was secured for further examination.
Inadequate maintenance proves fatal for pilot
The commercial pilot was taking family members for rides in his Cessna 172. A family member said the pilot retrieved the airplane from under the open-air shelter for ‘family fun night’ and was giving rides to several family members. The family members stated that the pilot had flown the airplane about one week before the accident, then again two times immediately preceding the accident flight. The two preceding flights lasted about 20 minutes and 10 minutes respectively and the family members reported no anomalies with the airplane. After the second flight, the pilot landed and taxied the airplane back to his property, where three family members boarded the airplane while the engine continued to run. He taxied back to the runway and departed.
A pilot-rated witness stated that the take-off roll was longer than expected and once airborne, the airplane pitched ‘very high’ nose-up to about 50 feet above ground level (agl), then the nose came back down. The airplane appeared to accelerate down the runway until it climbed to about 300-foot agl, then made a left turn and descended out of view. The airplane hit several trees and continued into a field in Rhome, Texas, where it came to rest inverted. The pilot died in the crash, while the three family members sustained serious injuries.
Damage to the propeller was consistent with a lack of engine power at the time of impact. Examination of the airplane revealed evidence of a longstanding pattern of inadequate maintenance, including a rodent’s nest in the leading edge of the left wing, a large mud dauber nest on the oil cooler and cobwebs in the engine compartment. An automotive hydraulic hose was used in place of the main fuel line from the gascolator to the carburettor. The gascolator fuel strainer contained three large pieces of organic debris similar to insect cocoons, which were the same size as the hydraulic hose and associated fuel fitting. It is likely that the fuel line was removed for an extended period of time and eventually replaced with the automotive hydraulic hose, during which time the fuel system was exposed, which allowed insects to nest inside. Because there were no maintenance records associated with the airplane, it could not be determined when the hose was replaced. During the accident flight, it is likely that the organic material became dislodged and restricted fuel to the carburettor, which subsequently starved the engine of available fuel and resulted in a total loss of engine power.
The autopsy of the pilot revealed evidence of hypertension and coronary artery disease. However, it is unlikely that these conditions contributed to the accident. Toxicological testing indicated that the pilot had been using alcohol before the accident and had levels considered impairing. It is likely that alcohol impaired the pilot’s decision making and his ability to operate the airplane. Toxicological testing also revealed evidence that the pilot had used marijuana before the accident. However, it could not be determined if the concentrations would have been impairing or would have affected his performance.
Stearman crashes after bolt sheers off in brakes
The airline transport pilot had performed three touch-and-go manoeuvres without braking at the airport in Kenosha, Wisconsin. On the fourth and last planned landing roll about 30 mph, the Stearman PT17 experienced an excessive tailwheel shimmy. About 25 mph, the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted. Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed that the left main wheel/brake assembly was locked so the wheel/tire could not be rotated. Partial disassembly of the wheel/brake assembly revealed a failed retaining bolt for the brake backing plate and a crack in the backing plate. The bolt likely broke off and became lodged in the assembly. It is likely the failed retaining bolt and cracked backing plate resulted in a shift of the brake lining to contact the brake drum and led to a subsequent wheel lock when the brakes were applied.
Pilot intentionally crashes into his home
The commercial pilot was flying in night, visual meteorological conditions when he flew the Cessna 525 toward his home in Payson City, Utah. The airplane hit a garage across the street and continued until it hit the front of his home. The pilot died in the crash. An examination of the airplane found no anomalies with the flight controls that would have contributed to the accident.
According to information provided by the officials from the Payson City Police Department, the pilot had been arrested for domestic violence the previous afternoon. After bail was posted for the pilot, an officer from the Payton City Police Department escorted the pilot to his house so that he could retrieve some items. The officer reported that the pilot did not talk to his wife but told his son to go sleep elsewhere. The officer added that the pilot told his son to “leave the porch lights on for me.” The pilot then left the house.
Toxicology testing revealed the presence of a medication used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, some eating disorders and panic attacks. The pilot did not report the use of this medication to the FAA. The pilot had a known history of depression, anxiety, as well as anger management issues. The circumstances of the accident were consistent with the pilot’s intentional flight into his home.
Cargo plane crashes in dense forest, four people killed
A Let L-410 cargo plane crashed shortly before arrival at Bukavu-Kavumu Airport, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The two pilots and two passengers were killed. The plane, owned by the company Agefreco Air, was carrying out a domestic flight from Kalima-Kakungwa Airport (KLY) to Bukavu-Kavumu Airport (BKY), both in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo on 13 August 2020. Air traffic control lost contact seven minutes before the expected landing time, as the aircraft crashed while approaching its destination airport. The wreckage was located near the boundaries of the Kahuzi Biega National Park, in a densely forested area of the South Kivu province. The four occupants died in the accident.
US Air Force UH-1N Huey helicopter shot in Virginia
It was reported that one crew member was injured after a military helicopter was shot at during training in Virginia, US Air Force said. On 10 August 2020, a UH-1N Huey had to perform an emergency landing after allegedly being struck by a bullet at 1,000 feet (300 meters) above the ground. The helicopter was performing a routine military drill about 10 miles (16 kilometres) northwest of the airport when the incident happened. The crew had to land in Manassas, Virginia, before confirming that one crew member was injured. The report indicated that the crew member was bleeding from his hand. According to authorities, the injury was not life-threatening and the crew member was treated and released from the hospital. Whether the bullet or the emergency landing caused the wounding remains unclear as no further information has been revealed about the injury. The US Air Force and the FBI are working closely to unravel the circumstances behind the incident.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
‘VJ day came. It was all over. Everybody was ‘we are on our way home’
At midnight on 14 August 1945, US President Harry Truman and British Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced to the world that Japan had accepted the Allied demand for unconditional surrender, thus bringing the Second World War to an end. The following day was declared to be VJ (Victory over Japan) Day, although it was also widely referred to as VP (Victory in the Pacific) Day. As had happened on VE (Victory in Europe) Day earlier that year, the announcement sparked spontaneous popular celebrations in Britain, the USA and many other countries whose people had endured six long years of war. Scenes reminiscent of VE Day occurred on the streets of London.
Collier Trophy goes to US Air Force – Boeing X-37B programme
On 13 August 2020, the Department of the Air Force’s X-37B spaceplane, a reusable, multi-purpose, system that operates without an onboard crew, won the prestigious Robert J. Collier Trophy 13 for advancing technology that pushes ‘the boundaries of flight and space exploration.’ In announcing the award, Jim Albaugh, chairman of The National Aeronautic Association which sponsors the competition, praised the X-37B, “As the world’s only autonomous, reusable spaceplane, it continues to contribute to our understanding of both space and air flight.”
The Collier Trophy has been awarded annually since 1911 and is one of the most prominent accolades in aviation. Previous winners include Orville Wright, Howard Hughes, as well as the Apollo 11 lunar landing team, Apollo 8, Mercury 7 and more recently, the International Space Station. Also earning the distinction are the B-52, the Boeing 747 and the F-22, among others.
The X-37B prevailed over a diverse group of nine finalists that included the latest iteration of the Airborne Collision Avoidance System team or ACAS credited with ‘reducing the risk of mid-air aircraft collisions and close calls.’ Other nominees included the updated Hubble Space Telescope that allows scientists ‘to explore the universe in ways that no single mission could ever accomplish alone’ and Project Heaviside, ‘a high-performance electric vertical-take-off-and-landing vehicle’ that could eventually ‘free people from traffic.’
Technologies and products also considered for the 2019 Collier included the Bombardier Global 7500 and the Gulfstream G500 and G600 business jets offering range, seating capacity and performance that ‘transformed business aviation.’ Still another finalist was the magni500 electric propulsion system, a series of high-power-density electric motors designed to move aircraft cleanly and efficiently.
“The X-37 is a successful example of integrated operations between the Air Force, Space Force and government-industry partnerships,” Brown said. “Reusable space vehicle technologies are a significant contributor to accelerating capabilities for the Department of Defence and the nation.” In all, the spaceplane has flown six missions since being launched for the first time on 22 April 2010. In 2019 the X-37B set a new 780-day on-orbit endurance record and completed an overflight of the United States, using Federal Aviation Administration airspace, before landing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. That mission broke the previous on-orbit record of 718 days that also was held by the X-37B. In all, the programme has logged more than 2,865 days and travelled more than 1 billion miles on orbit.
US rejects EU call to drop 15% tariffs on Airbus aircraft
European Union Commission acknowledged the United States’ decision not to increase tariffs on European products and said it wanted to renegotiate existing ones, a proposition immediately rejected by the US. Trade Representatives said they would modify a list of European products affected by the tariffs but would not remove the 15% tariff imposed on Airbus aircraft. Airbus said it ‘profoundly’ regretted the decision.
July 2020 saw the largest European aircraft manufacturer increasing loan payments to France and Spain in an attempt to reverse the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration as a retaliation for government subsidies. The measure was employed following 2019 World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) decision to deem government subsidies unlawful. Initial tariff of 10% for Airbus aircraft was increased to 15% in February 2020.
According to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer the recent actions the EU took to come in compliance with WTO rulings were not sufficient, allowing the US to persist with the tariffs. Airbus made its case claiming that tariffs would cause harm to US airlines following current economic slowdown and the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX airplane. The firm hopes for backing by the EU, which could come in the form of its own tariffs on Boeing on the basis of subsidies and tax cuts received from the US government.
US delivers humanitarian aid to Beirut by C-17
On 6 August in a joint endeavour to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces and the people of Lebanon after a deadly explosion in Beirut, US Airmen and soldiers stationed in Qatar worked to load the first US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III with humanitarian aid. Personnel from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, Air Mobility Command’s 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron and 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron on Al Udeid Air Base and the Area Support Group-Qatar from Camp As Sayliyah worked to palletise food, water and medical supplies delivered to Beirut later that day. The pallets contained more than 28,800 military field rations, known as MRE or meals ready to eat, 11,520 bottles of water and two pallets of medical supplies and transported them to Al Udeid Air Base with support of a local Qatari transport company. Upon their arrival to Al Udeid, the pallets were received by Airmen from the 8th EAMS and processed for loading onto a C-17 bound for Beirut.
Lufthansa Technik orders two Airbus A321LR for Luftwaffe
Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) has won the first A321LR order for two aircraft from Lufthansa Technik. The aircraft will be multi-role capable and can be equipped for various types of missions, such as troop transport, different MedEvac role setups (medical evacuation) and will be operated by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe). Lufthansa Technik has now placed a total order of five Airbus aircraft on behalf of the German Government: three ACJ350-900s and two A321LRs. The A321LRs will be able to fly up to 163 passengers, up to 6 intensive care patients and up to 12 medium care patients, depending on the installed configuration, with a maximum range of 4,200nm / 7,800km or 9.5 flight hours.
The first A350 of the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force, flew from Toulouse, France to Hamburg, Germany, to receive a transitional cabin. The aircraft will be used for transportation by German officials, hopefully putting an end to the strike of mishaps involving the country’s governmental planes. The A321LR is a member of the A320neo Family with a range of up to 4,000nm (7,400km), with 206 passengers.
ALC: almost 60% of airlines got lease payment deferrals
Air Lease Corporation (ALC), a United States-based aircraft leasing company indicated that it granted 59% of its customers’ lease payment deferrals, as the COVID-19 pandemic put a lot of pressure on airline finances. Nevertheless, ALC managed to raise its Q2 2020 revenues to $521 million, an increase of 10.6% compared to the same quarter in 2019. Its H1 2020 revenues went up by 10.2% to $1 billion, indicated the Los Angeles-based company. It ended Q2 2020 with a net income of $147.6 million, with a half-year result of $284.7 million.
As of 6 August 2020, 59% of the lessor’s customers have asked the company to defer lease payments that were due in Q1 and Q2 in 2020. According to the company’s statement, the requests were handled “on a case-by-case basis,” as generally, airlines accepted a short-term repayment period and will repay Air Lease Corporation in the following 12 months. “In many cases, lease extensions were also negotiated as part of the deferral accommodations,” read the Q2 2020 financial result announcement.
Throughout the first six months of 2020, the company acquired nine additional aircraft. However, its managed fleet, order backlog, and purchase options were all reduced. It did not exercise its options to take up 25 Airbus A220 and up to 45 Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft.
The SportPlane resource guide returns
It has been a number of years since the Latest Edition of Jim Campbell’s HUGE SportPlane Resource Guide first saw the light of day. That massive 1100-page book last featured over 800 exciting sport aircraft from all over the SportPlane universe… at a time when the SportPlane industry was still a healthy, thriving enterprise (those were the days…). While there has been some consideration, toward updating the nearly five-pound book, the near implosion of the SportPlane and kit industry over the last decade has made such a pursuit an unwieldy one… until now.
Work has begun on the Third Edition of the SportPlane Resource Guide which will make its debut in 2021. This multi-volume electronic (E-Book) edition will exceed the comprehensive detail demonstrated in previous editions and will likely be well in excess of 1200 pages of extensive features and directories. As aviation contends with leaner times and a tough market, one segment in particular, shows both the need as well as the interest to justify a revamping of what many considered to be THE pivotal work covering all things SportPlane.
“The ‘Affordable Flyer’ side of aviation has been victimized by extensive hype and a lot of misinformation, yet holds substantial promise for a desperately needed revitalisation of the market… that being the case, we are committed to taking the very best of the SportPlane Resource Guide programme and adapting it to the needs of those looking for an entry-level or affordable flying machine, something that will get them into aviation and keep them in aviation,” noted SPRG Author / Editor / Test Pilot, Jim Campbell.
The SportPlane Resource Guide, which will feature a comprehensive aircraft and equipment directory as well as informative how-to sections (for both S-LSA as well as E-LSA), will also provide impartial specifications and analysis of aircraft capabilities. It will also offer specific direction to those interested in flying light-sport aircraft as a sport pilot. Question after question from the readers of ANN, about the LSA market over the years, centred on specifics about the planes, engines, parts, accessories, necessary tools as well as the value, trustworthiness and true capabilities they possessed.
NASA successfully launches Perseverance, the latest Mars rover
Perseverance, the new NASA rover designed to study the surface of Mars, was launched onboard ULA Atlas V rocket on 30 July 2020, on the first day of its launch window. The spacecraft carrying the rover is set to arrive on the red planet on 18 February 2021, and land in Jezero crater, in the delta of a river that dried up billions of years ago. It will study the environment looking for signs of extinct Martian microbial life, collect data on the planet’s geology and climate, as well as test prototypes of the technology designed to support the life of the first colonists, such as oxygen production experiments and materials of proposed Martian space suits. A small helicopter, called Ingenuity, is also carried by Perseverance. It will serve as proof-of-concept for the use of aircraft that can fly in the extremely thin atmosphere of the planet.
Study of flying cars highlights both bright and murky future
There are more than 100 companies in various stages of developing, testing and certifying designs for a flying car, some large, some small, some reputable, others less so. A recent study by UK comparison service Uswitch tried to collect available information about such projects and find out some common trends, making sense of the emerging market. Their findings are nothing but optimistic. This new kind of transportation will not be out of reach for an average consumer. The cheapest flying car in development, Samson Switchblade, is advertised to cost $120,000, as the study puts it, the price of high-end Porsche, or a bit cheaper than your average used Cessna 172.
The cost of using such a vehicle on a sharing basis is also approachable for an average citizen, as Uber’s Elevate flying taxi service is expected to cost $5.73 per mile, just a bit more than a London taxi. Furthermore, a little number crunching reveals that almost half of active flying car companies are currently in the process of building their prototypes, whilst a third, including both Switchblade and Elevate have passed that stage and started flight testing.
All this activity and a sheer number of companies attempting to provide similar products resulted in an extremely positive outlook for the industry. According to the projection by Morgan Stanley, made in early 2019’s pre-pandemic climate and quoted in Uswitch’s paper, the flying car market would reach over $1.5 trillion by 2040, biting off parts of road, aircraft and public transportation markets. According to the firm, this number is on the conservative side.
How much merit do these predictions have? It depends on where we look.
First off, any person voicing his excitement about the future of flying cars will find himself in a company of dubious reputation. Discounting Hollywood blockbusters that promised VTOL Deloreans by 2017, there were a lot of rather serious prognoses and most of them failed sooner or later. One can enclose the walls of a small hangar just with the covers of 1940s, 50s and 60s Popular Mechanics magazines displaying every flying car that would become available to the public just in a couple of years after the publishing date.
The last decade saw a slew of new and exciting companies that have promised to deliver an affordable flying car by whatever date has already passed. AeroMobil said its first purchasable model would take off right from the showroom floor in 2017, while German start-up eVolo planned to begin mass producing their electrically driven Volocopter by 2018. The same year, Dutch PAL-V started taking orders with a promise of one-year delivery, which, just as all other promises, has not happened yet.
Most, if not all, of aforementioned projects are included in Uswitch’s study as examples of flying cars either in testing or certification stages, along with the infamous Moller M400 Skycar, a posterchild of the concept, bright-red wheeled quadcopter advertised since the 1990s, whose makers failed to deliver a single flying prototype, went bankrupt in 2009, tried to save themselves through crowdfunding, failed again and disappeared into obscurity.
So, one cannot help but take Uswitch’s study with a grain of salt. Start-ups are built on attracting investors with exciting promises; therefore, they are naturally inclined to make their 3D renders prettier, deadlines closer and prices smaller. If you survey nothing but their press releases, there will be no shortage of optimism, as it is practically the currency start-ups trade in. The market has not grown up yet and our perception of it has to mature too.
Tesla’s new batteries get electric aircraft closer to reality?
Electricity-based urban aviation is getting closer to reality as lithium batteries’ energy density increases, new Tesla research suggests.
The paper released by Canada-based researchers on August 10, 2020, infers a nearing of a breakthrough in battery efficiency technology, possibly paving the way for the future of both urban and commercial electric aircraft. But that dream could still prove to be further from our grasp.
The paper focuses on anode-free lithium metal cells that can store 60% more energy than their traditional lithium-ion counterparts. These could potentially extend the travel capacity of electric vehicles or even kickstart the beginning of flying cars.
The research highlights that the main problem with the anode-free cells is that they degrade quickly and have short life cycles, which is an obstacle for electricity-based aircraft especially considering how demanding and energy-dependent its engines are. However, Tesla’s scientists claim to have found a way to increase the lifetime of anode-free cells to 200 cycles. In contrast, 800 to 1,000 cycles are considered the norm for commercial purposes. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) believes that electric engines are the future for aviation and could significantly improve sustainability, safety and aircraft performance.
The battery lifetime and efficiency have been the focal issues of most electric aircraft designs, considering that electronic engine technology is at its infancy stage. To put things into perspective, the largest electric plane as of August 14, is Cessna eCaravan that can carry nine passengers and is estimated to be able to fly 100 miles per single trip. Additionally, half of Cessna’s four-tonne weight is attributed to lithium-ion batteries. Cutting this weight and improving energy density in cells is one of the few ways of making sustainable travel a possibility.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
ALTI signs partnership agreement with Argentech
Knysna-based unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) specialist ALTI has signed a partnership agreement with the United States’ Argentech to supply the US government with a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) testing vehicle. The collaboration started off as a simple reseller agreement, which included the opportunity for Argentech to sit in and take part in the ALTI Transition Training course to be able to assist clients with basic requests as and when needed. This led to further discussions around Argentech being able to fulfil a role as an official training service provider in the United States, ALTI said. However, certain limitations made it difficult for ALTI to deal directly with the government agency in question and led to the collaboration on the project between ALTI and Argentech.
ALTI said that as Argentech is a systems integrator and UAV training provider, it was natural for it to become an official distributor for ALTI and an official training facility for clients in the USA. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to make aircraft solutions readily available to clientele in the United States, making the option available to clients able to get training done in their own country. ALTI says it is Africa’s largest UAV manufacturer, operating out of Knysna in the Western Cape. It designs and manufactures a complete fleet of advanced endurance VTOL unmanned aircraft and supporting systems, including avionics and ground control systems. ALTI has been operating and exporting unmanned aircraft for nearly ten years and has many of its aircraft flying all around the world.
ALTI offers three aircraft, the Ascend, Transition and Reach, which are all suitable for a variety of applications. Standing out from other UAVs built in South Africa is the Transition, which can take-off vertically using four battery-powered rotors and then transition to horizontal flight, where it is powered by a petrol engine. This does away for the need for runways or complex launch and recovery methods. The 18-kilogram aircraft has a wingspan of three metres and can carry a variety of cameras and sensors weighing up to 1.5 kilograms with an endurance of up to 12 hours.
The larger Reach UAV has a six-metre wingspan and 90-kilogram maximum take-off weight (including seven kg payload). Endurance is 12+ hours. The smaller Ascend, with a two-metre wingspan, follows the same configuration but has a six-hour endurance and 600-gram payload.
ALTI’s UAVs are marketed for a multitude of roles, including security and surveillance, mapping and photogrammetry, defence and security applications. They can be equipped with electro-optical / infrared payloads (such as the Trillium HD25, HD40 and NextVision NightHawk2) for day / night operations and mapping payloads, amongst others; a search and rescue version has also been developed. Since establishment, Alti has shipped over 1 000 unmanned aircraft. It is currently working on several new products, including a new multi-rotor and all-electric VTOL range as well as a 19- and 21-foot unmanned surface vessel.
Russian air force to receive long-range combat drones in 2021
2021 will see the first long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capable of carrying precision munitions delivered to the Russian Air Force, commander-in-chief lieutenant general Sergei Dronov confirmed. The date and plans, first hinted at by the commander-in-chief of the Aerospace forces colonel general Sergei Surovkin back in May 2020, were laid out in Dronov’s interview to Krasnaya Zvezda, the newspaper of the Russian Ministry of Defence. “Currently, unmanned aerial vehicles of small and medium range are in service. Next year we will start receiving long range UAVs capable of undertaking not only aerial reconnaissance, but to use high-precision munitions to destroy targets deep in the enemy territory,” Dronov said.
Although the exact type of aircraft was not specified in the interview, most likely Dronov was referring to the ‘Altius’, which is also sometimes called ‘Altair’. The development of the drone was started in 2011, and the first flight test was reported in late 2019. The project was reportedly cancelled in October 2018 due to problems with a contractor but resumed several months later. According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, ‘Altius’ weighs six tons and is capable of carrying 9-А-7759 ‘Grom’ guided air-to-surface missiles. It is said to be the Russian answer to MQ-9 ‘Reaper’, used by various NATO forces since 2007.
Town of Buena Vista, Colorado approves unique drone flying park
A major milestone in one of Central Colorado UAS projects was achieved last week when the Town of Buena Vista Trustees unanimously approved the group’s concept of a drone flying park to be located on Town property. “We are delighted that the Town approved our concept to create this park which is unique in the industry,” said Club President Taylor Albrecht. The flying park is to be located in the southeast quadrant of Town property that is host to the Collegiate Peaks Stampede Rodeo grounds. Development of the park will begin immediately, with the basic flying and qualification courses on schedule to be completed this fall. The remaining zones should be ready for use in the summer of 2021.
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Until Thursday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)