The best analogy about the lockdown I have heard to date by Kingsley Holgate:
“As we know, the wildebeest in Africa migrate every year in search of food to survive. When they reach the Mara river, the crocodiles are waiting. They know this and they also know they will lose a few of when they cross, but for the sake of survival of the herd, they cross anyway. They have done this successfully for hundreds of years and survived.
Implementing lockdown is like putting up a fence to prevent the wildebeest from crossing the Mara river to save those that would have been eaten by the crocodiles and as a result, the whole heard dies of starvation.”
For B1900: When transferring fuel to balance fuel level, is the fuel going to the opposite engine or the opposite tank and from where?
Answer: the fuel is being transferred via routes from the collector tank on the high fuel side to the collector tank on the low fuel side.
African Pilot’s September 2020 edition
The September edition of African Pilot featuring Avionics and Instrumentation (46 pages) completed its distribution phase last week. For African Pilot, this is a record edition consisting of 226 pages with 46 articles and features. At the same time, the new software programme I purchased has allowed for 14 embedded videos and two photo galleries. Now that the digital magazine is FREE to anyone in the world, African Pilot has now become a serious international aviation magazine, with features from all over the world. On behalf of African Pilot’s dedicated staff, I would like to thank those advertisers that supported the September edition during these difficult times.
African Pilot’s October edition
Work on the production of the October edition has already started. This edition of African Pilot will feature Aircraft Maintenance Organisations (AMOs) and Aircraft Refurbishment. Once advertisers see the benefits of marketing their products and services to a vast audience with short videos and picture galleries, they will realise that marketing is most important for future profitability. In South Africa and the African continent, African Pilot is the only aviation publication that has the latest software to provide digital enhancement to any advertiser.
The material deadline for the October edition is Friday 18 September 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:
Video of the week: Boeing 737 Max test flight lands at Seattle’s Boeing Field
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Launch of Wouter Botes’ e-book ‘Flights to Nowhere’
AERO South Africa news
Africa’s largest General Aviation trade show, AERO South Africa, launches a new era of the digital workplace with an all new Virtual Marketplace.
The one-stop business-to-business platform that allows visitors and exhibitors to engage and conduct business from one centralised virtual hub.
Visitor Registration is NOW LIVE for the AERO South Africa Virtual Marketplace. Register Here: https://bit.ly/31ISTTD #AEROSAMarketPlace
Launch of new ‘picture of the week’ from readers
This is a photo of Henley Air’s recently established Rocket HEMS Bell 222UT stationed at Rand Airport. Rocket was launched on 1 July and has since flown nearly 20 successful missions. I took this photo whilst my father was conducting night-time helicopter instruction at Henley Air. I decided to tag along to try and get some helicopter long-exposure photos and after much fiddling with various camera angles and cell phone torch fill-light placement, I eventually got a shot that I was pretty pleased with.
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.
SAA Museum Society
The SAA Museum has been given the green light to re-open its doors to the public. You can view all the information on the website as follows: www.saamuseum.co.za.
Editor comments: Now that South African Airways has effectively flown into history, it becomes all that more important to support the SAA Museum Society’s efforts to preserve what was once the finest airline on the African continent. That is before the ANC and its cadres got their filthy hands involved where corruption destroyed what was left of the airline. Please support the excellent calling of the dedicated persons who keep this museum alive, because we have so few quality aviation museums left in South Africa. Thank you.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Calibration at South African airports
After the SACAA initially ‘dropped the ball’ at last, over the past week the calibration of instrument systems is taking place at many of South Africa’s airports. It appears that the second eastern runway at OR Tambo has been completed. In addition, Cape Town International Airport, George Airport and several VORs have been calibrated by the Ukrainian crew manning a King Air 350. From Flight Radar tracks it also appears that this most important function is being undertaken correctly.
OR Tambo International airport expects more than 210 000 passengers in September
Speaking at a briefing on Friday 28 August about OR Tambo International Airport’s readiness to facilitate greater volumes of passengers, General Manager Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana said the gradual recovery in demand would be positive for thousands of employees and hundreds of small businesses within the airport’s ecosystem. Airlines have booked airport slots for more than 2 500 flights to depart from and arrive at the airport for the month. The anticipated load factor, critical for airline sustainability, is 85%.
“We are seeing encouraging signs that there is confidence in our ability to provide a safe environment for passengers across the journey from check-in to baggage collection at destinations. The forecast figure of 210 000 passengers for September is only some 12% of what we would have experienced before the pandemic. However, we are re-building from virtually zero with just 575 passengers for the entire month of May, for example,” said Pityi-Vokwana. “We believe that we are on the road to recovery and that demand will accelerate with Spring weather and growing trust that we are applying health protocols rigorously and consistently.”
Since the start of Level 2 last week, airport management reports that passengers appear comfortable with the health rules and processes, many of which have already become normalised across the country. On-time departure performance for airlines is currently 95% in spite of the additional processes and time required for passengers to proceed from parking to check-in, health screening and security.
Pityi-Vokwana also expects more employees to return to work as passengers return to the skies. She says employees are screened when coming onto and going off shift and are well-drilled in the rules and practices that keep them and the travelling public safe.
The airport’s response to the pandemic included mass screening of 6 000 employees in April and May, which was made possible by the collaboration of the National Department of Health. Since Level 5 of the lockdown, a total of 110 employees out of 38 000 normally working around the airport have tested positive for COVID-19. The airport ecosystem, which has had a 100% recovery rate, currently has six active cases where the individuals are in isolation.
Pityi-Vokwana also provided an update on the airport’s activities during early phases of the lockdown. Air cargo flights reached a total of more than 5 300 by mid-August with demand driven by shipments of PPE, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. The airport has also facilitated a total of 1 555 aircraft movements for repatriation and evacuation flights that have carried more than 50 000 passengers since April.
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.
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
19 – 20 September
Utopia Fly-in Southern Drakensberg
Contact Don Cell: 082 895 2009 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Great Train Race and Fly-in to Heidelberg airfield – Heritage Day
Contact Van Zyl Schultz E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 560 2275
29 September – 4 October
SAC National Championships Tempe Airport, Bloemfontein
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 and 4 October
Newcastle airshow at Newcastle airfield
Contact Johan Pieters E-mail: Johan@champ.co.za Cell: 082 923 0078
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting to be a zoom meeting
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: email@example.com
24 and 25 October
SAC North West Regionals TBC
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
26 to 28 October
Airport Show, Airport Security and ATC Forum DWTC, Dubai
Registration is now open for Airport Show, Airport Security and ATC
Forum. FREE registration: https://bit.ly/2SnJ33S
CAASA Awards at CAASA House Lanseria International Airport
Contact Sam Keddle E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 011 659 2345
13 to 16 November
Battlefields now in Mossel bay fly-in view poster for details
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 446 9916 or 082 875 5419
5 and 6 December
SAC Ace of Base TBC
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
As further dates are sent to me, I will continue to update the aviation calendar
I have started preparing the 2021 calendar with assistance from Air Show South Africa and the various sections of the Aero Club of South Africa. Please send me your planned aviation event fixtures for next year so that I may accommodate them on the calendar. Thank you.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Ethiopian Expands Its Global Hub - Addis Ababa Bole International Airport
Ethiopian Airlines Group, the Largest Aviation Group in Africa is pleased to announce that it has successfully completed a new passenger terminal at its hub Addis Ababa Bole International Airport with emphasis on Bio Security and Bio Safety measures. The new terminal has check-in hall with sixty check-in counters, thirty self-check-in kiosks, ten self-bag drop / SBD / sixteen immigration counters with more e-gate provisions, sixteen central security screening areas for departing passengers are the new faces of the airport. In addition, it has three contact gates for wide body aircraft along with ten remote contact gates with people mover – travellator, escalator, and panoramic lifts. It will house thirty-two arrival immigration counters with eight e-gate provisions at the mezzanine floor level.
Regarding the expanded infrastructure, Mr Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines remarked, “I am pleased to witness the realisation of a brand-new terminal at our Hub. While Addis Ababa Bole International Airport has overtaken Dubai to become the largest gateway to Africa last year, the new terminal will play a key role in cementing that position. What makes the new terminal unique is that it is the first terminal in the world to be completed after COVID-19. It was designed, not re-purposed, with Bio safety and Bio security in mind. I’m sure our esteemed customers will highly appreciate that.” Aviation infrastructure expansion is one of the core pillars of Ethiopian’s Vision 2025. Ethiopian is continuously working on expanding airport facilities. The features of the new airport play a key role in protecting passengers’ and employees’ safety as airport experience becomes contactless.
Qatari boost for Rwanda’s new airport
When Bugesera International Airport opens for business in 2022, it will be backed by one of the world’s most successful airlines. In December 2019, Qatar Airways signed a deal to take a 60% stake in the new airport, now under construction around 35km south-east of the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Under three agreements, a partnership between the Rwandan Government and Qatar Airways will build, own and operate the new airport. With the new airport project costing around $1.3 billion, Qatar Airways’ 60% stake is effectively an investment of $780 million in the central African nation.
Previously, Portugal’s Mota-Engil held an 85% stake in the facility. The Rwandan Government then bought this from the Portuguese construction company, giving it 100% ownership. It then signed the agreement with Qatar during a state visit by the Arabian Gulf state’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. Mota-Engil remains the contractor for the project.
Qatar is taking a strong interest in the small central African nation; in February this year, Qatar Airways’ Group CEO, Akbar Al Baker, announced that the Gulf carrier was in negotiations to buy 49% of RwandAir, the national carrier. “In very general terms, to go into a venture with a world-class airline like Qatar Airways [brings] a lot of benefits, as you can imagine,” RwandAir CEO, Yvonne Manzi Makolo, said. Capacity-building and staff training were just two potential plusses from the proposed partnership, she added.
Speaking at the CAPA Qatar Aviation Aero Political and Regulatory Summit in Doha, Al Baker said that Qatar Airways was attracted to Rwanda by several factors, including its strategic location and its business-friendly environment. Al Baker visited Kigali for the 2019 Aviation Africa Summit and talked there about opportunities for the two nations to work together. The new airport is necessary as the existing Kigali International Airport is located in a densely developed district of the city, just 10km from the central business district and is unable to expand.
Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, it had also become steadily busier, with the number of passengers around the one million per year mark and a compound growth rate of 10.6% over the past four years. Kigali International is the country’s main airport, but it is also of regional importance as it serves Congolese, Burundian and Ugandan cities.
A decision to create a new airport on a greenfield site was made in 2010, although construction only got under way in July 2017. As initially planned, the new airport was designed to have an initial annual capacity of 1.7 million passengers, expandable to 4.5 million once all the infrastructure had been completed. However, work was slowed in July 2019 due to the need to redesign the airport to accommodate the country’s new aviation strategy, which forecasts a higher growth rate than previously anticipated. The new airport will have a single runway, but with the option of a second being added at a later date if traffic required it.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
NTSB preliminary report: Cessna R182
On 24 August 2020, a Cessna R182 was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Crowley, Louisiana. The pilot was not injured. According to the pilot, the pre-flight engine run-up and take-off were normal. About 30 minutes into the aerial observation flight, the engine began ‘popping’ and running rough. The pilot was unable to maintain sufficient engine RPMs and elected to return to the departure airport for a precautionary landing. Based on the airplane’s location relative to the runway orientation, the pilot performed a downwind landing. During the approach, the airplane was ‘a little high and fast’. However, the pilot was committed to the landing due to the reduced engine performance. The airplane touched down, overran the end of the turf runway, impacted a ditch and came to rest upright. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage. Visual examination of the engine revealed the No. 4 engine cylinder exhaust valve push rod and housing were bent.
NTSB preliminary report: Piper PA14
On 15 August 2020, a Piper PA-14 airplane was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Susanville, California. The pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. According to a friend of the pilot who also witnessed the accident, the pilot, pilot-rated passenger and he had planned to fly over a landmark in the Nevada desert and then stay overnight in a campground north of Susanville. The friend was in his own airplane, while the pilot and passenger were in the accident airplane. They departed Redding, California about 09h30 and flew east, but during cruise flight they chose to discontinue the flyover and make an intermediate stop at Susanville Municipal Airport (SVE), Susanville, California. The friend landed on the airport’s only asphalt runway and the accident pilot landed on the dirt runway.
After lunch they returned to the airport and boarded their airplanes. The accident airplane’s take-off was not observed. While the witness was taxiing to the asphalt runway, he witnessed the accident airplane about 350 feet above ground level about midfield in a steep left bank angle. The airplane immediately transitioned into a nose down pitch attitude and descended rapidly toward the ground. The friend, a flight instructor, stated that the sequence resembled an aerodynamic stall / spin.
The wreckage came to rest in dirt about 50 feet southwest of runway 11/29 on an eastern heading. All major structural surfaces were accounted for at the accident site. The initial impact point was marked by left wing navigation light fragments that were in a small dirt impression a few feet north of the main wreckage. The nose and cabin were crushed aft and the propeller blades had separated from the propeller hub. Both wings were deformed but remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing displayed an upward bend about midspan and the right wing displayed a slight upward bend at the wing root, whilst the tail section remained attached to the airplane.
Antonov An-26 cargo plane
An Antonov An-26 cargo plane was destroyed when it crashed near the Referendum neighbourhood, shortly after take-off from Juba Airport, South Sudan. A post-impact fire broke out. Of the eight occupants, one person survived. The South Sudan Minister of Transport stated that the aircraft was chartered by the World Food Programme to transport supplies and wages for personnel at Wau and Aweil. The aircraft involved in the accident was registered EX-126. This aircraft was recently acquired by Gateway Export Aviation, an operator from D.R. Congo. The operator stated that the owner of the aircraft had misappropriated the aircraft for use by South West Aviation. Gateway reported that at the time of the accident the aircraft was loaded with 8 tons of cargo, whereas 5,5 tons would be the maximum.
Helicopter crash in Opebi Lagos
On 29 August, a Bell 206 helicopter crashed into buildings in killing everyone on board. According to reports, the helicopter registration 5N BQW belonged to Quorum Aviation an air transportation logistics company operating in Nigeria. Eyewitness reports said the helicopter appeared to struggle to become airborne before it landed on top of a fence that separated two buildings. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Lagos territorial office acting coordinator, Ibrahim Farinloye told the BBC that the helicopter arrived from Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital with two crew members and one passenger. It appears that the accident happened when the helicopter took off again to return to Port Hardcourt.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Canadian regulator completes first Boeing 737 MAX test flight
Transport Canada has started test flights of the Boeing 737 MAX, completing the first in a series on 27 August 2020. The Canadian regulator is the first foreign authority to submit its independent review of the changes to the aircraft proposed by Boeing. Transport Canada is now conducting its own safety upgrade checks of MAX nearly two months after flight evaluations were previously completed by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Canadian authority performed the test flight with the same aircraft as the FAA on 1 June 2020.
As recorded by FlightRadar24.com, during the first six minutes of the performance, the aircraft climbed up to 15,300 feet while a rate of the climb reached 2,500 feet per minute. Flight history showed that soon after departure, the jet immediately turned left then made a sudden right turn. On the whole, the aircraft made a series of more or less sharp turns within the first 12 minutes of flight. However, the descent was performed at a softer angle. After approaching the runway, the aircraft performed go-around and completed landing in Seattle (BFI), based on the playback of the flight (numbered as BOE701). The first test flight of the MAX lasted 40 minutes.
Previously, Bloomberg reported that Transport Canada laid its testing plan under which the Boeing 737 MAX was expected to fly the officials of authority from Vancouver to Seattle. Flight testing was supposed to take place in the United States airspace and then the aircraft had to return back to Vancouver. Due to the ongoing public health situation related to COVID-19, the Canadian regulator changed its testing plan.
Earlier on 26 July 2020, Robert Isom, the President of American Airlines, stated that the FAA is expected to recertify the Boeing 737 MAX in October and return the jet to service in December 2020, reported View from the Wing. Supposedly, the US will be the first country to allow the Boeing 737 MAX return to the sky.
Parallels between post-9/11 shock and current pandemic
Much like the current crisis, another crisis that engulfed aviation at the start of the century marked numerous job losses and swift changes. While different, at the same time they share quite a few similarities, including the fact that potential passengers drift away from purchasing flight tickets due to fears for their safety and well-being. The massive dip in demand almost immediately resulted in losses of jobs and changes in operations, as the landscape of aviation shifted. While the current pandemic-induced crisis in the industry ramped up slowly, the post-9/11 struggle can be immediately traced to the attacks on 11 September 2001. Despite the attacks commencing on United States soil, they affected the whole industry, as thousands upon thousands of jobs were lost when passengers became wary of boarding an aircraft.
Much like today, whereupon airlines have announced job cuts numbering tens of thousands of full-time positions. On 25 August 2020, for example, American Airlines indicated that as many as 19,000 jobs would be cut when the CARES Act stimulus package expires. Lufthansa Group set the number at 22,000, while British Airways has been under increased scrutiny for its plans to slash 12,000 jobs. Even the small guys have suffered, as ExpressJet, a U.S. based regional airline indicated that it would halt operations starting 1 October 2020. ExpressJet will stop its operations in September 2020, an abrupt end for a former United Airlines regional operator that previously announced gradual wind-down over the coming months.
But what was the atmosphere almost 19 years ago, when the industry had to deal with an unprecedented set of events? Almost immediately after the attacks, the airspace in the United States was closed. On 13 September 2001, some flights had resumed, but chaos continued. Eight people were arrested at New York’s John F. Kennedy International (JFK) and LaGuardia (LGA) airports.
“Certainly, this is being looked at, that a hijacking was thwarted. There is a concern in our office that this may have been another attempt,” responded a federal official to a question whether the arrests were related to additional hijacking attempts, reported CNN.
International travel also came to a halt, including the fact that foreign-registered aircraft were not permitted to land on United States soil. For example, a TAP Air Portugal Airbus A340 was forced to turn around, much like an Alitalia aircraft that departed Rome, Italy towards JFK, documented Reuters.
Airlines based outside the United States were waiting for orders from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as changes to safety procedures were coming. They did come, as the FAA issued new rules to enhance security on aircraft. Specifically, cockpit security was at the forefront of the issue. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) summarised the changes as follows:
“In light of the events of September 11 as well as incidents involving unruly passengers, the US believes that it is essential that States take action to protect the flight deck from forcible intrusion by persons. Given the urgency of the situation, the FAA has established new flight deck door requirements for part 129 airplanes, so that airplanes operating in the United States, whether foreign or domestic, will have improved flight deck doors by April 2003.” Summarising the changes, all airlines that operated or wished to do so, had to modify flight deck doors to be safe from a potential forcible intrusion, in addition to being able to withstand direct gunfire from a small gun.
Lifeline for Airbus A380 as British Airways schedules flights?
British Airways is seemingly set to become one of the few operators that still believes in the viability of the Airbus A380. The airline has scheduled daily flights utilizing the double-decker on routes to North America and South Africa. Starting in the Northern Hemisphere Winter 2021 season, the British airline will operate at least four routes using the Airbus A380. Daily flights to Johannesburg, South Africa, Los Angeles and Miami were scheduled effective 25 October 2020, while flights from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to San Francisco would start on 1 February 2021. The schedule is active untill March 2021, when the summer season kicks in.
Out of the 12 Airbus A380s that are registered to British Airways, 11 are stored in Chateauroux Centre Marcel Dassault Airport (CHR) in France, flightradar24.com data shows. One A380 (registered G-XLEI) was ferried to Manila, Philippines on 18 August to undergo heavy maintenance, switching its places with G-XLEH. The former returned from the Asian country to London on 22 August 2020.
In July 2020, British Airways announced that it would permanently retire its Boeing 747 fleet, another quad-engine aircraft, joining many airlines around the world who did the same. The Airbus A380 was also at the forefront of early permanent retirements and long-term storages, as such operators as Air France, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways shrunk their A380 fleets for good or phased them out for the time being.
Helicopter company sues air controllers for Kobe Bryant crash
A tragic case of helicopter crash that killed the 41-year-old retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and eight others, now is supplemented with new indictments. Two air-traffic controllers are blamed for the incident by Island Express, the company that operated the helicopter.
The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on 21 August 2020. The cross-complaint blames two air traffic controllers who worked on the fateful day for ‘a series of erroneous acts and/or omissions’ that led to the Sikorsky S-76 crash into the hills near Calabasas, California on 26 January 2020, reported CBS News. Following the Federal Aviation Administration request, the names of air-traffic controllers are not made public.
Island Express is facing at least four lawsuits, including one by Bryant’s wife and three filed by relatives of other victims of the accident. In the cross-complaint the company accuses two air traffic controllers for causing the excessive workload and stress level to pilot Ara Zobayan. “The pilot’s workload and stress level in deteriorating weather conditions were unnecessarily overloaded by multiple errors,” stated in the lawsuit.
As the City News Service reported, when the pilot contacted the first air-traffic controller and allegedly asked for radar assistance, his request was denied by the controller who reported “losing the radar and comms probably pretty shortly’. According to the report, a radar contact had not been lost and the services were being denied based only on “a possibility that the contact might be lost at some point in the future’.
Island Express stated that the pilot’s ability to contact the first air controller four minutes after making a request, proves the controller’s prediction of losing contact being wrong. The company blames the controllers that “services could and should have been provided continuously’, according to the City News Service report.
In addition, air traffic controllers are blamed for ineffective inner communication during a shift change just prior to the crash. “Failure to properly communicate termination of radar flight following, incomplete position relief briefing and lack of knowledge of current weather conditions are those failures that significantly impacted the pilot’s ability to fly the aircraft”, stated in the lawsuit.
The misleading communication among the pilot and two air traffic controllers allegedly became the main reason that led to the helicopter to crash. Just before the crash, the pilot reported about climbing when he actually was descending. His manned helicopter hit hilly terrain in thick fog and caught fire killing everyone onboard.
Special Mission King-Air business good for Textron
Textron has delivered a Beechcraft King Air 350ER aircraft to Australian aviation service company Skytraders, which will operate and maintain the aircraft on behalf of Victoria Police. The aircraft has entered service. The King Air 350ER will primarily support Victoria Police Air Wing (VPAW) and its team of Tactical Flight Officers, who lead airborne law enforcement, training, search and rescue and extended offshore marine safety missions throughout the state of Victoria, Australia.
The custom-configured mission package for Victoria Police includes advanced mission management system, ground moving target indicator object detection, Tactical Flight Officer workstations, tactical radios, satellite communications and a data downlink. The extended range King Air is also fitted with optional factory installed Pratt and Whitney PT6A-67A engines.
China and US in standoff after U-2 surveys live-fire exercise
Chinese Ministry of National Defence made a strongly worded statement accusing the US of flying its U-2 spy plane in the ‘no-fly zone’ over live ammunition exercises. The US military states it operated within international law. The incident occurred in an undisclosed location in China’s northern military region on 25 August 2020. According to Chinese MOD spokesman Wu Qian, the U.S. “seriously disrupted China’s normal exercises and training activities, violated China-US maritime and air safety code of conduct and related international practices”. Qian also called it a ‘provocation’, which could ‘easily lead to misunderstandings’.
Since then, the US military has issued a statement confirming the flight, but refuting allegations of its unlawfulness. “A U-2 sortie was conducted in the Indo-Pacific area of operations and within the accepted international rules and regulations governing aircraft flights. Pacific Air Forces personnel will continue to fly and operate anywhere international law allows, at the time and tempo of our choosing,” the statement read.
Lockheed U-2 spy plane involved in an incident, a heavily upgraded variant of the iconic cold-war aircraft, likely featured sophisticated surveillance and electronic warfare equipment capable of gathering intelligence on the unfolding of Chinese war games. A move was bound to prompt a harsh Chinese response, even though it did not have to involve direct overflight of the exercise or putting high-flying aircraft anywhere near the live-fire zone.
AD: GA8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd Airplanes
This AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as a design change to the fuselage strut pick up ribs No. 5 and 6 that requires a reduced life limit. The FAA is issuing this AD to require actions to address the unsafe condition on these products. This AD is effective 29 September 2020. Supplementary Information: The FAA issued an NPRM to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to GA8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd Models GA8 and GA8-TC320 airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on 12 August 2019 (84 FR 39782). The NPRM proposed to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products and was based on MCAI originated by an aviation authority of another country.
SpaceX to launch NASA-sponsored moon mission
SpaceX has secured a contract to act as the launch partner for Masten Space Systems for its first lunar lander mission carrying eight payloads in late 2022. Masten Space Systems has announced signing a contract with SpaceX to launch its Masten Mission One (MM1). SpaceX will send its XL-1 lunar lander for the delivery of eight NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) payloads to the moon’s South Pole, reported the Masten Space Systems in a press release. The payload delivery to the moon is only a part of NASA’s Artemis programme under which it also plans to land humans in the same region in 2024.
Earlier on 8 April 2020, NASA selected the Masten Space Systems as an appropriate company to accomplish MM1 in a collaboration with NASA’s CLPS Project Office and deliver the payloads that include instruments to assess the composition of the lunar surface, test precision landing technologies and evaluate the radiation on the Moon.
The agreement with Masten Space Systems becomes the latest itinerary in the ever-expanding list of SpaceX missions. Previously, SpaceX has signed a contract with Intuitive Machines, the company that won the first NASA CLPS award in 2019. At that time Intuitive Machines chose SpaceX to send its lunar lander IM-1 for mission on a Falcon 9 in 2021. Two years ago, in 2018, SpaceX was selected by Ispace, Japanese company, for an orbiter and lander launching mission on Falcon 9 rockets in 2022 and 2023.
First-ever airplane CO2 emission standards to be announced by EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to announce their new airplane emissions standards that will bring the US in line with international norms set by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The regulation was revealed on 22 July 2020, Reuters claims citing EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Standards will apply to in-production aircraft starting from 2028, while planes currently in use will remain unaffected.
ICAO’s global airplane emission standards regulate the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) a plane engine can emit, limiting the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on global climate. They were proposed in 2016 and aimed at all aircraft makers; both Airbus and Boeing, two largest manufacturers, have backed the decision. So far, the EPA has adopted ICAO’s standards on emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and carbon monoxide (CO), regulations that were implemented in 1997 and 2005 and updated in 2012.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
Turkish AKINCI combat drone reaches altitude milestone
The first prototype of Bayraktar AKINCI, an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) indigenously developed by Turkey, hit a new milestone by reaching an altitude of 30,000 feet (9.15 kilometres) during a test flight. The High-Altitude System Identification Test took place at Bayraktar facilities in Tekirdag-Çorlu Military Base (TEQ), Turkey, on 22 August 2020. The AKINCI PT-1 remained at ceiling altitude for three hours and 22 minutes. It was the fifth successful flight of the prototype since its maiden flight in December 2019. The latest model of the Turkish drone maker Baykar Technologies is a High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) combat drone powered by two turboprop engines. It is reportedly capable of deploying a payload of 1,350 kilograms (2,980 pounds), which include 400 kilograms (880 pounds) in the internal weapons bay and 950 kilograms (2,090 pounds) on external hardpoints. The second prototype started tests on 13 August 2020 and passed a 20,000-feet (six kilometres) altitude test on 19 August 2020. The integration work for a third prototype, to be delivered by the end of the year, is ongoing.
Russia rushes updated combat drone into service
Russian Ministry of Defence and manufacturing company Kronshtadt have signed a deal to start delivery of Russia’s first medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) drone, an upgraded variant of ‘Orion’, capable of carrying air-to-ground munitions. According to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, the deal was announced by Kronshtadt chief engineer Nikolai Dolzhenkov. The delivery of the first heavy ‘Orion’ drone for the Air Force is scheduled before the end of 2020.
Earlier, a number of Russian high-level military officials claimed that first deliveries of Russian MALEs were expected in 2021. A drone named ‘Altius’, manufactured by a conglomerate of different companies, was named as the most likely candidate for that position, owing to it being widely celebrated in Russian media.
In terms of size, weight and endurance, a standard version of ‘Orion’ is comparable to MQ-1 Predator, operated by various NATO and other air forces since 1995. Nevertheless, Russian Air Force is expected to operate an updated version, capable of carrying up to one ton of payload. Other characteristics of the new aircraft, such as size and endurance, are not yet announced. The Russian Air Force has already used prototypes of the original lightweight ‘Orion’ for reconnaissance in Syria in 2018. In August 2019, Russian media announced that Kronshtadt started mass-producing the drone, although there were no plans to upgrade it at the time.
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Until Thursday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)