“For more than a quarter-century the ANC government has stolen hundreds of billions of Rands each year from competent, hard-working, successful South Africans and has been giving it to incompetent, lazy failures. As a result, the middle-class in South Africa have increasingly become impoverished while the poor have become even poorer. Now come calls from this government to further entrench the failed BBBEE system. What planet did you say these politicians are from?” Athol Franz
Since last week’s mystery aircraft was challenging to identify, according to the number of correct answers I received, this week I have provided another interesting aircraft type. 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.
Andre de Ruyter’s book – My three years inside Eskom
I have just finished Andre de Ruyter’s book that relates his story of his three years as Eskom’s CEO and wow this is an explosive reveal about the ‘feeding trough’ up to cabinet minister level in the ANC government. The book is not an easy read, due to so many technical issues, but it certainly exposes the gross failure of the government’s BBBEE policy that has crippled South African business due to under qualified people being appointed at Eskom to manage rather complex infrastructure such as coal fired power stations. Frankly the fact that South Africa has any electrical power today is a miracle and to some extent de Ruyter was responsible for uncovering scams and blatant theft that was being condoned by the SAPS and the ruling party.
My view is that all voters that can read should be forced to read this book, before they can cast their votes in the next general election in 2024. When voters start to understand that BBBEE has made a few million politically connected people filthy rich, whilst the vast majority of the ordinary people of this country have been further impoverished by flawed government policies. Now you may ask, what has this to do with aviation?
When one looks at the same shenanigans that have played out at South African Airways and at other government institutions such as the SACAA, ATNS and ACSA, all of which have forced BBBEE policies then it is no wonder that even the simplest of tasks cannot be performed within an acceptable period of time. I remember when I first started flying some 40 years ago that a PPL licence renewal took only three hours or less and in those days the Department of Civil Aviation did not have all the computer software that is available today. I am reliably informed that the present SACAA takes upwards of seven days to renew a pilot’s licence and when it comes to placing an aircraft onto the register this can take more than six weeks. I would love to hear your comments: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
The July edition of African Pilot with Paul Ludick’s excellent cover picture featuring Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), amateur built aircraft and South African built aircraft was published on 02 July 2023. This 264-page edition has 18 embedded videos and 17 picture galleries. African Pilot is also easy to read on all digital devices and is substantially larger by page number that any other South African aviation magazine. For advertisers, inevitability in real terms just one sale will be a great return on investment and African Pilot’s track record certainly shows that ALL advertisers within the monthly magazine continue to achieve excellent results from direct inquiries as well as significant direct hyperlinked exposure to their e-mail addresses and websites.
There were many aviation events scheduled for the month of June including the amazing Maputo airshow (exclusive), CAASA AGM (exclusive), Cosford airshow England (exclusive), interview with the winners of the PTAR 2023 (exclusive), EAA’s annual convention (exclusive), Parys airshow, the Children’s Flight Zambia and many more features. I always find it concerning when the other South African aviation magazines that do not personally attend aviation events and they simply troll social media to steal pictures and information to place second-hand reports within their own publications. This situation has happened within at least two of the local media aviation publications in the past year. There is no doubt that African Pilot strives to report personally on as many of the local and international events as possible.
Within this edition African Pilot will feature the AERO South Africa exhibition, avionics and instrumentation as well as headsets as features. However, once again African Pilot will be filled with exciting features, reports from the world as well as from within South Africa.
We completed the tenth June 2023 edition of Future Flight on Wednesday 14 June and the magazine was released to the world on the same day. This 120-page edition has six picture galleries and eight embedded videos. Due to the nature of the subject material, compiling this exciting new publication has been most rewarding, whilst at the same time, the magazine allows many of African Pilot’s advertisers to have their adverts placed in the second monthly magazine FREE of charge. When I started Future Flight on my return to South Africa from AirVenture, Oshkosh 2022, the objective was to reduce the overall size of African Pilot to a more reasonable page count and this has been achieved. The next milestone will be to attract advertisers to make this publication sustainable and I have given myself a year to reach this goal. I would love to receive your feedback about this new digital publication:
Maputo Airshow 2023
EAA Taildraggers at Warmbaths
On Saturday 1 July Charlie and Fiona Hugo accompanied Christine and me on the nearly two-hour drive to the Warmbaths airfield to attend the annual EAA Taildraggers fly-in. Under blue skies with almost no wind more than 100 aircraft and helicopters arrived through the day. I was told that on the Friday somewhere in the region of 30 aircraft had already arrived, several of the enthusiasts camped over in the cold weather. As always Richard Nicholson and his team had prepared the airfield with grass cutting, marking for the taxiways and a great exhibition area. I spoke to the two air traffic controllers, Vicky Karropoulos (Wonderboom tower) and Marelise Scheepers (Lanseria tower) as well as Jana van Zyl who assisted them much of the day.
The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) staged a Speed Rally that attracted 21 entrants and this was the main feature of this very successful fly-in, because it kept the airfield busy for most of the morning and into the afternoon for the awards that were announced at around 15h00. I was impressed that two teams from FlyFofa based at Wonderboom airport entered the Speed Rally and it appears they enjoyed experience. This was an opportunity to speak to many enthusiastic pilots and photograph their interesting aircraft. The early morning breakfast was delicious and through the day refreshments and food was available as well as delicious coffee and hot chocolate to take the early morning cold away. However, through the day the weather warmed up in the bright sunshine and I even had a little sunburn. Once again well done to Richard and his team of volunteers. I full report with a video and pictures from our team will be published in the August edition of African Pilot.
Comair Flight Services
CFS announces that Kerry Searle has been appointed as the managing director of CFS, a big development in the aviation industry from one of the leading aviation companies. Justin Reeves said, “I firmly believe that showing the world that a female in a male-dominated industry can reach the very top will inspire other females in their career paths and inspire the youth who are considering an aviation career.” Justin Reeves, co-founder and former CEO of CFS, has been elevated to the role of Group CEO, which is also a massive industry development and it shows that CFS fully intends to keep growing its already impressive international business.
Paratroopers used to stop smuggling on South Africa’s borders
Speaking in the wake of a Joint Operations tactical headquarters Mpumalanga report on successes notched up by 4 Parachute Battalion on its current Operation Corona deployment, most units have turns doing border security work. Various regiments of the SA Army are tasked with including regular and reserve forces for a six-month tour of duty. This also provides the troops with something concrete to do and the opportunity for junior leaders to develop leadership skills in an environment more challenging than a training area.
In their ‘adopted’ role of foot soldiers, the paratroopers confiscated illegal goods, including dagga in bags and compressed into balls and rolls, according to Lieutenant Kanyisa Nodangala from the provincial tactical headquarters in Mbombela. The busts were thanks to eagle eyes manning observation posts and vehicle stop and searches conducted by Bravo and Charlie company soldiers. All told, the estimated street value of the drugs seized near the N2 border fence at Emachobeni and in the Mbuzini area is R614 000. In addition to losing ‘product’ the dope smugglers were also relieved of an undisclosed number of firearms, ammunition and cash.
Absolute Aviation Continental engines promotion
Do not miss out on this Continental engines’ promotion valid from 1 June to 31 July 2023!
Terms and conditions apply.
Follow the link for more information: https://absoluteaviation.co.za/maintena…/aircraft-engines/
African Pilot’s 2023 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.
6 to 8 July
AERO South Africa at Wonderboom National Airport
Register for your free trade visitor ticket to South Africa’s leading General Aviation event today and let the adventure begin! Registration link: https://app.messereg.com/events/visitor/aero-south-africa-2023
14 and 15 July
SAC KZN Regionals Ladysmith airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
EAA Silver Creek camp over and pancake breakfast
Contact Neil Bowden at E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
24 to 30 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 & 30 July
SAPFA Speed Rally No.3 – Louis Trichardt FALO
Contact David le Roux E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 073 338 5200
28 & 29 July
Soutpansberg airshow Louis Trichardt FALO
Contact Jaco 082 353 6002 or Bianca 084 297 7274 at E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
29 July to 5 August
SAPFA FAI Rally Flying World Championships – Mâcon, France
Contact Leon Bouttell at E-mail: Leon@lbaa.co.za Cell: 076 294 1363
EAA Chapter 322 Saturday breakfast fly-in/ gathering 07h30 EAA Auditorium
Contact Neil Bowden at E-mail: email@example.com
South African Airways Museum Society AGM, Boeing 747SP
RSVP E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
EAA Chapter 322 breakfast fly-in venue TBA
Contact Neil Bowden at E-mail: email@example.com
19 & 20 August
SAC North-West Regionals Klerksdorp airfield
Contact Annie Boon at E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
19 & 20 August
SAPFA Speed Rally No4 Groblersdal airfield
Contact David le Roux at E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 073 338 5200
Contact Khotso Motsoneng at E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 073 909 5409
Children’s Flight at Orient airfield, Magaliesberg
Contact Felix Gosher E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 086 191 4603
EAA Chapter 322 monthly gathering 07h30 Auditorium Rand Airport
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 and 3 September
Rand airshow over two days
Contact manager Kevin van Zyl Tel: 011 827 8884
5 to 7 September
Commercial UAV Expo, Las Vegas, USA
Contact E-mail: Berndtson@aol.com
Virginia Durban airshow
Contact Brendan Horan E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 078 486 6888
Helicopter fly-in to Krugersdorp airfield
Contact David le Roux PilotInsure E-mail: David@pilotinsure.co.za
MAYDAY-SA Industry Dinner Serengeti Estate, Kempton Park
Contact Jaco van der Westhuizen E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
13 & 14 September
Aviation Africa Abuja, Nigeria
Contact Alison Weller E-mail: email@example.com
Vans RV fly-in at Kitty Hawk
Contact Frank van Heerden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
16 & 17 September
SAC Limpopo Regionals Phalaborwa airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
Saldanha West Coast airshow
Contact Clive Coetzee E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 614 1675
No news to report in this edition
Delta 717 lands with retracted nose gear
There were no injuries when a Delta Boeing 717 crew put the aircraft down in Charlotte with the nose gear retracted. Flight 1092 was on final after a flight from Atlanta when the crew received a nose gear warning. They flew a couple of inspection flights over the tower and learned the front gear doors were open but the gear was stowed. Nothing would bring the wheels down so the crew set up for landing.
The crew told the 96 passengers and three flight attendants to be ready for a rough landing but it that did not turn out to be the case. The rollout ended with the nose right on the center line. Delta apologised to the passengers for ‘what they experienced’ but noted crews train extensively for this kind of thing, rare though it is.
OSHA fines Piedmont Airlines US$15K+ after ramp-worker’s death
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined Piedmont Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines, $15,625 in the wake of a horrific, December 2022 accident in which a ramp worker was killed on the job. In addition to instantiating the maximum dollar-amount permitted under law, the penalty levied by OSHA is sharply contraindicated by empirical evidence collected and reported upon by the NTSB.
Courtney Edwards, a baggage handler in the employ of Piedmont Airlines, lost her life on 31 December 2022 after being bodily ingested into the operating portside engine of an Embraer E175LR regional jet parked on the ramp of Alabama’s Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM). The four-year-old E175LR involved in the accident was operated by Envoy Air, another American Airlines subsidiary, the aircraft of which operate under the American Eagle brand. Designated American Airlines Flight 3408, the E175LR was slated to depart MGM’s Gate-4 at 15h46 CST and proceed nonstop to DFW. The flight, for reasons glaringly self-evident, was cancelled.
Notwithstanding Edwards having been formally trained to comply with ramp safety rules implemented by the airline and repeatedly warned of the perils of disregarding such, OSHA deemed Piedmont culpable in the death of the 34-year-old mother of three. That ramp work is inherently hazardous is an axiomatic truth left unacknowledged by OSHA. Piedmont Airlines spokeswoman Crystal Byrd said: “Safety is always our top priority for our team members. We appreciate the recommendations from OSHA and will ensure that a thorough review is accomplished.”
The OSHA penalty belies the NTSB’s January 2023 preliminary report on the accident, in which the agency said that the ground crew of which Edwards was part held not one but two safety meetings prior to Flight 3408’s arrival in Montgomery. The first meeting was convened ten-minutes before the aircraft landed at MGM. The second meeting, a safety huddle held immediately prior to Flight 3408’s arrival at MGM Gate-4 was held for purpose of reminding workers the arriving aircraft’s ‘engines would remain running’ and explicitly advising ramp personnel the jet should be kept clear of until its engines had been shut down by the flight-crew and its rotating beacon turned off.
The NTSB report further stated Flight 3408’s SIC attempted to inform ramp workers that the aircraft’s engines were still running. The report continued: ‘Immediately thereafter, the pilot saw a warning light illuminate and the airplane shook violently followed by the immediate automatic shutdown of the number-one engine. Unsure of what had occurred, he extinguished the emergency lights and shut off both batteries before leaving the flight deck to investigate.” NTSB investigators reported the Embraer’s rotating beacon remained illuminated throughout the incident.
Airport video surveillance showed Edwards walking along the leading-edge of the Embraer’s left wing and in front of its number-one (portside) engine. A co-worker shouted a warning and waved Edwards off, compelling her to commence moving away from the aircraft, albeit to no avail. “She was subsequently pulled off her feet and into the operating engine,” the NTSB report asserted. An online fundraiser undertaken to support Edwards’s children has raised upwards of $122,000.
The reason your flight is delayed or cancelled? A lack of aircraft engines
Aviation has been plagued by supply-chain constraints which have affected every part of the industry. In the aftermath of the pandemic, engine manufacturers have faced challenges due to a scarcity of skilled mechanics and component shortages. The Chairman of Avia Solutions Group, Gediminas Ziemelis, explains how the lack of aircraft engines and long turnaround times at engine shops are forcing airlines to make changes to their flight schedules at short notice, threatening another chaotic northern hemisphere summer season.
KLM Cityhopper, the regional airline operator of Netherlands-based KLM, warned in May 2023 that it would have to adjust its summer timetable. The company said that the forced changes demonstrate the serious and far-reaching issues of engine shortages facing the industry. The airline blamed difficulties with fully deploying the Embraer E195-E2 on changes to its flight schedules. As an alternative, the airline will retain older Embraer E190 aircraft and sign wet lease agreements to mitigate the impact as much as possible.
Latvia’s airBaltic was also forced to wet lease aircraft for the summer period after its PW1500G-powered Airbus A220 fleet was negatively impacted by long turnaround times at engine shops. The airline currently has 10 Airbus A220 aircraft which are either stored or under maintenance and is wet leasing up to eight jets from various operators, including four Airbus A320s from Avion Express.
According to analysis conducted by Cirium in June 2023, in total, 219 jets powered by the PW1000G aircraft engine family have been impacted by supply chain problems and are currently not operating commercial flights, The aircraft affected by the problem include the Airbus A220, A321neo and the Embraer E2 family.
The CFM International LEAP engine family has also been affected by problems. Recently, 88 LEAP-powered aircraft have been grounded. This includes up to 56 aircraft powered by the LEAP-1A engine, including the A320neo and A321neo models. Furthermore, up to 32 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which are powered by LEAP-1B engines, are either in storage or in maintenance. In addition to all of these problems, this is a vicious cycle for airlines. While the newer engines are much more efficient, they require more frequent visits to the shops, where supply chain restrictions are slowing down the turnaround times at Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) companies. At the same time, as airlines began preparations for summer by sending aircraft and engines to shops to ensure checks are completed before the peak season, a still ramping-up supply chain was unable to cope with additional demand, resulting in increased maintenance times for both airframes and propulsion systems. This has impacted even the largest aircraft, with Qantas saying that slot constraints at MROs have delayed the return on some of its Airbus A380 aircraft.
Airlines plan their schedules ahead of time, assuming demand for certain routes based on historic data, while also opening new connections on the assumption that enough people want to travel on the route, and they are willing to pay enough for the airline to recoup its expenses and investment. As such, if a route opened with the expectation that costs would be capped at a certain amount, a sudden switch to wet lease capacity to keep planes in the air is likely to result in higher charges. As such, the airline would be forced to operate at a loss to maintain its reputation, or pass the additional costs onto the consumer, leading to more expensive tickets. In the worst-case scenario, the flight would be cancelled or significantly delayed, possibly impacting connections and other itineraries. This has the potential to create the chaos seen during the summer of 2022.
But that is the bleakest picture. Fully aware of the supply chain challenges, airlines have reached out to Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance (ACMI) operators to cover their commitments for the next few months, at least until the peak season begins to wind down in the fall of 2023, as a solution for their capacity shortage. Another strategy has been keeping older aircraft in service or extending lease agreements, ensuring that passengers can still travel, while the airline manages to sustain a functional flight network.
According to Ch-Aviation data, since 26 March 2023, when the International Air Transport Association (IATA) summer season began, airlines have wet leased up to 51 aircraft globally, covering their capacity needs in the short term. Only time will tell whether that will be enough, considering that some engines have struggled to operate reliably in hot and / or harsh weather environments, resulting in shorter time-on-wing hours.
Boeing T-7A Red Hawk jet trainer completes first flight with US Air Force
The first Boeing T-7A Red Hawk jet trainer completed its inaugural flight with the US Air Force. The test flight took place on 28 June 2023, at Boeing’s St. Louis facility in Missouri, the United States. According to the manufacturer, a pilot from the 416th Test Squadron of the USAF along with the Boeing T-7 chief test pilot tested ‘key aspects’ of the aircraft. “This first flight with the Air Force represents our team’s commitment to delivering a new level of safety and training for fighter and bomber pilots,” said Evelyn Moore, vice president and programme manager of Boeing T-7 programmes. “We remain focused on engineering ways to better prepare war fighters for changing mission demands and emerging threats.”
The engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the programme will involve a fleet of five aircraft that will be delivered to the Air Force Air Education and Training Command for testing. The Red Hawk is a result of a partnership between Boeing and the Swedish manufacturer Saab. The duo won the TX competition, which aimed to find a replacement for the Cold War-era Northrop T-38 Talon.
The name Red Hawk was chosen as an homage to the African American fighter pilots of the Second World War, the Tuskegee Airmen, who painted their planes’ tails red. In 2018, the USAF awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract for 351 T-7A advanced trainers as a replacement for the Cold War-era Northrop T-38 Talon fleet.
Liechtenstein purchases six H125s
Airbus Helicopters and its Swiss distributor nabbed a deal for half a dozen H125 helicopters for the Principality of Liechtenstein. Europavia SA, the distributor for all Airbus helicopters throughout the Principality and Switzerland, obtained the deal by offering ‘swift availability of H125s’ according to the manufacturer. Each aircraft will be suitably customised for use as Liechtenstein desires, delivered quicker than their competitors around the globe. Europavia has been doing the needful throughout its purview, offering support, parts and overhaul capabilities from its home in Bern. The firm recently will soon take delivery of a brand-new H130s. The H125 family has continued to prove popular since its introduction, with 161 ordered throughout 2022. The somewhat finessed phrasing of its market share aside, the H125 is truly popular as helicopters go: Almost 4,200 remain in operation today.
Global Airlines to acquire three Airbus A380s and is expanding is advisory board
London-England start-up long-haul carrier Global Airlines has announced its intention to acquire a further three Airbus A380 aircraft. This will bring Global Airlines’ fleet up to four aircraft at the time it becomes fully operational in the spring of 2024. The first A380 was acquired from Doric, a Germany-based investment firm with an aviation subdivision. All four aircraft have been originally acquired from other carriers and will be refitted to meet with the high standards of passenger comfort Global Airlines aims to offer. Global Airlines is an offshoot of Holiday Swap, a London-based privately held company operating an online hospitality service platform. Both companies are headed by James Asquith.
In addition to the aircraft acquisitions, Global Airlines has announced two additions to its Advisory Board. Pierre Madrange and Ian Black. Pierre Madrange is a former French Air Force fighter pilot who later held the position of Chief Operating Officer at XL Airways, Managing Director at SR Technics and is a former Vice President of NAVBLUE, an Airbus company. He brings his extensive aviation knowledge to the new airline as well significant expertise in airline operations and P&L management as well as growing leadership functions.
Ian Black is a highly experienced commercial and former military pilot. He has flown commercial operations across the Far East, Australasia, India, Dubai and Europe. He worked for a major UK long-haul airline for over 25 years as a senior captain on the Airbus / Boeing fleet. He has extensive experience in long-haul flying and cumulatively has flown 20,000 hours on A330 / 340-300 / 340-600 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. At Global, Madrange and Black will advise the Executive Team and work closely with the Founder and CEO, James Asquith, on airline operations management and airline digitalisation.
MacArthur’s Connie ‘Bataan’ to be flown to Oshkosh
What is sure to be a star attraction at this year’s AirVenture is now undergoing flight tests at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, California. VC-121A Bataan, a military version of the Lockheed Constellation, has undergone a full restoration and flew for the first time on 20 June. The unique aircraft has been prepared for its cross-country flight to Oshkosh and the thousands of selfies that will capture its gleaming polished exterior. This particular Connie has an interesting history and is actually one of the longest serving examples of the type. It was originally bought in a block of 10 to serve as a passenger aircraft for the new Military Air Transport Service shuttling people and cargo over the Atlantic. In 1949 it was fitted for executive transport and became Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s personal aircraft up to and including his flight back to the US after he was fired by President Harry Truman. His successor, Gen. Matthew Ridgeway, used it and it continued to be flown by the Air Force until it was flown to the desert in 1965. It was dusted off six months later and sent to NASA where it supported the Apollo programme until it was decommissioned in 1970.
After 22 years at a museum at Fort Rucker, the plane was purchased by Planes of Fame and spent another 20 years at its second location in Valle, Arizona. The current owner, the Air Legends Foundation of San Antonio, purchased the aircraft and the full restoration begun by Planes of Fame mechanics. The restoration was kept quiet until last May when those huge TR3350-75 engines shattered the silence. The plane has been faithfully restored in the configuration as MacAurthr’s transport. No details of its activities at AirVenture have been released.
Turkish Airlines signs lease agreements for six 737 MAX 8 aircraft
All six aircraft are part of the lessor’s existing orderbook with Boeing and will be powered by CFM International Leap-1B engines. The aircraft will be built in AnadolouJet-specific configuration, which is a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines. Deliveries are set to take place in 2024 and 2025. “We are delighted to have signed these new lease agreements with our valued customer, Turkish Airlines, for the financing of the upcoming six 737 MAX aircraft deliveries from our orderbook,” stated Jie Chen, CDB Aviation’s Chief Executive Officer. “Turkish has become a leader among airlines in undertaking sustainability-focused initiatives to modernise every stage of their flight and ground operations. These highly efficient aircraft will bring Turkish closer to achieving its ambitious sustainability goals by lessening the environmental footprint of its mainline and subsidiary carrier’s flight operations. With the addition of the six MAX aircraft, CDB Aviation will have nine aircraft on lease to the carrier, including one 737-800, one 777-300ER and one A320neo. In 2022, the lessor delivered Turkish Airlines’ first A320neo, which marked a significant step forward in the airline’s ongoing fleet modernisation process.
Textron Aviation announces order for 40 Cessna Skyhawks
On Friday 30 June Textron Aviation announced an agreement with ATP Flight School for the purchase of 40 Cessna Skyhawk aircraft to be delivered in 2025. The piston aircraft will add to ATP’s existing fleet of nearly 200 Skyhawks, positioned across 82 training centres nationwide. The Cessna Skyhawk is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company.
This is the second fleet purchase of Cessna Skyhawks for ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Programme in less than a year, as the flight school scales to train 20,000 airline pilots by 2030. In October 2022, ATP and Textron Aviation agreed to the purchase of 55 Cessna Skyhawks, with deliveries starting in the third quarter of 2023.
The Skyhawk’s proven dispatch reliability and effectiveness as a trainer is crucial in meeting this mission and delivering industry-leading training. Since the aircraft first took to the skies, more than 45,000 Skyhawks have been delivered to customers worldwide, more than any other aircraft in aviation history.
Aura Aero reveals electric two-seat aerobatics trainer
New French manufacturer Aura Aero showed a fully electric version of its two-seat aerobatic training aircraft at the Paris Air Show. Called the Integrale E, it is also of interest to gliding clubs as a tow aircraft. It is operated by batteries that have an endurance of 60 minutes and can be charged in less than 30 minutes and will begin test flying soon. The Integrale E uses an electrical system from Safran.
Jérémy Caussade, President and co-founder of Aura Aero, said, “We are very proud to present today IntegraleE, the latest addition to the Integral family. At Aura Aero, we are convinced that electric is the future of light aviation, and we are just at the beginning of this revolution!”
GE Aerospace to produce fighter jet engines for Indian Air Force
GE Aerospace has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to produce fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force, a major milestone amidst Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official state visit to the United States and a key element in strengthening defence cooperation between the two countries. The agreement includes the potential joint production of GE Aerospace’s F414 engines in India and GE Aerospace continues to work with the US government to receive the necessary export authorisation for this. The effort is part of the Indian Air Force’s Light Combat Aircraft Mk2 programme.
GE Aerospace has operated in India for more than four decades with wide engagement in the industry including engines, avionics, services, engineering, manufacturing and local sourcing. In addition to potential new work in India, a number of US facilities that currently support work on the F414 engine will see additional volume as a result of today’s announcement. The agreement will advance GE Aerospace’s earlier commitment to build 99 engines for the Indian Air Force as part of the LCA Mk2 program. It places the company in a strong position to create a family of products in India, including the F404 engine that currently powers the LCA Mk1 and LCA Mk1A aircraft and GE Aerospace’s selection for the prototype development, testing and certification of the AMCA programme with its F414-INS6 engine. In addition, GE will continue to collaborate with Indian government on the AMCA Mk2 engine programme.
With more than five million flight hours and eight nations with F414-powered aircraft in operation or on order, the F414 continues to exceed goals for reliability and time on wing. To date, more than 1,600 F414 engines have been delivered globally. GE’s presence in India includes its research and technology centre, the John F Welch Technology Centre at Bengaluru, which opened in 2000 and its Multi-modal Factory at Pune, which opened in 2015.
Virgin Galactic completes its first commercial spaceflight
Virgin Galactic conducted its first suborbital commercial spaceflight from New Mexico’s Spaceport America on Thursday. The flight took off at 08h30 local time and touched down at 09h42 carrying three crew members and three paying passengers from the Italian air force and the National Research Council of Italy along with 13 research payloads. For the mission, the VSS Unity spacecraft was released from the company’s VMS Eve launch platform at 44,500 feet, reaching a maximum altitude of 52.9 miles and top speed of Mach 2.88 before returning to the spaceport.
“Today, our team successfully flew six people and more than a dozen research payloads to space in VSS Unity, our unique, suborbital science lab,” said Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier. “This historic flight was our first commercial flight and our first dedicated commercial research mission, ushering in a new era of repeatable and reliable access to space for private passengers and researchers.” Virgin Galactic is planning to launch its next commercial flight, dubbed Galactic 02, in August, after which it is aiming to conduct monthly spaceflights. Galactic 02 will be the company’s first spaceflight to carry private passengers. As previously reported, Virgin Galactic was approved for commercial passenger operations by the FAA in June 2021. To date the company has reportedly sold around 800 spaceflight tickets at prices ranging from $200,000 to $450,000.
Joby cleared for production flight testing
The FAA has issued a special airworthiness certificate to the company after the first production prototype Joby eVTOL came off its Marina, California production line. The company announced both milestones at an event this week at the factory. The FAA nod sets the stage for certification of the multicopter for a potential certification and entry to service at least close to the company’s 2025 target. It will also allow the first delivery of an airframe to the Air Force, which will test its capabilities at Edwards Air Force Base.
If all goes according to plan, Delta Airlines, which invested in Joby last year, will be the first commercial operator of the Joby and will likely be the first in the world. It was also announced that Toyota’s US CEO Tetsuo ‘Ted’ Ogawa would become a member of the board of directors on 1 July. Toyota poured $400 million into Joby, enabling its relatively rapid development. Joby founder JoeBen Bevirt said the company is on the cusp of turning all that research and development into a business. “Today’s achievement is the culmination of years of investment in our processes and technology and it marks a major step on our journey to scaled production,” he said.
Avidyne to develop and supply avionics to equip the Cassio 330
VoltAero has confirmed its selection of Avidyne for the development and supply of avionics to equip the Cassio 330 in an exclusive agreement, establishing a long-term relationship that includes customised software specifically tailored for the electric-hybrid operations of this clean-sheet design aircraft. The Cassio 330 will be equipped with a glass cockpit incorporating Avidyne’s new-generation Quantum 14-inch displays in a dual Primary Flight Display (PFD) and Multi-function Display (MFD) configuration. In addition to the screens’ significant size, the Quantum displays provide brightness and synthetic vision system (SVS) capabilities at 4K resolution, as well as processor performance improvements over legacy systems. Avidyne will customise the avionics’ human-machine interface (HMI) specifically for the Cassio 330’s flight operations, significantly facilitating the pilot workload while managing the aircraft’s electric-hybrid propulsion system. By accumulating and processing all aircraft information and delivering it in an intuitive manner, the avionics suite will simplify the pilot’s decision-making process, as well as improve flight safety and simplify pilot training. In addition, the avionics are designed for the connected aircraft environment.
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Precision payload dropping prototype by RigiTech transforms operations
RigiTech and its partners, Danish autonomous systems operator Holo and global transport and logistics company DSV, have achieved yet another remarkable feat in the realm of drone delivery, while collaborating on a transport test aimed at supporting the maintenance of offshore wind farms for energy company Ørsted. Building upon the success of their previous drone delivery testing in 2022 at the Anholt offshore wind farm in Denmark, the Swiss aerial logistics company has now unveiled an advanced precision dropping system prototype that revolutionises the precision and efficiency of deliveries, eliminating the need for landing and take-off.
The lack of necessary parts during turbine repairs can become costly, as it requires the service vessel to return to shore and back out, resulting in a significant time delay and consuming more than 500 litres of diesel fuel. RigiTech’s Eiger mounted with the dropping system can deliver spare parts to Anholt’s 111 offshore wind turbines within 30 minutes, ensuring same-day repair, enhanced safety for on-site technicians and guaranteeing minimal turbine downtime.
Seamlessly integrating drone delivery into existing workflows is possible thanks to RigiCloud and the Eiger’s fully autonomous nature. Local warehouse staff load the spare parts onto the drone, while the Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations are supervised remotely by Holo in Copenhagen, hundreds of kilometres away. Network-based video streaming from the Eiger provides live monitoring of each delivery, to both Holo and Ørsted warehouse staff. This fully electric logistics solution for transporting essential small parts represents RigiTech’s commitment to offer a commercially viable and environmentally friendly product that industrial sites and wind farms anywhere can deploy today.
A result of an innovative research and development project, the new cutting-edge dropping system prototype was designed as an optional add-on to the acclaimed Eiger platform. Thanks to the Eiger’s impressive precision target capability, this new mechanism ensures that items are delivered accurately to their intended destinations, streamlining operations and saving valuable time. The prototype addon is equipped with an automated connector that is remotely and automatically activated by RigiCloud to release the pod once its destination is reached. Throughout the project, RigiTech and Holo completed a total of 40 flights offshore, with multiple autonomous payload drops on top of the 95 m-high wind turbine located 30 km offshore, with a 100% success rate despite challenging wind conditions.
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