“No man who is corrupt, no man who condones corruption in others, can possibly do his duty by the community.” Theodore Roosevelt
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or Cell: 079 880 4359. All editorial material should be sent to me at: email@example.com.
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:
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Flights to Nowhere E-book
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa is collating data regarding SACAA inspectors. CAASA has received complaints that SACAA inspectors are not coming out to aviation companies due to lack of PPE. CAASA requests details if this has happened to your company? Your company will remain anonymous, we are looking for the details to collate. Please kindly send through details to Kev@caasa.co.za as soon as possible. Your urgent assistance with this would be much appreciated.
Aero Club communique
During the past week the Aero Club engaged with the SACAA cover a number of topics of interest to the Recreational Aviation community, particularly as we are returning to some sort of normalcy in our flying operations, as well as to start recovering from the burdens imposed during the higher levels of lockdown. Very much at the forefront of discussions has been the processing delays experienced by our members on ATF and Licencing renewals hampered by office closures at the SACAA during lockdown. The Aero Club did engage with the SACAA in late July based on inputs received from a general member request on ATF renewal experiences, which lead to meetings held in this last week.
The Airworthiness Department has made significant changes to the process of handling ATF renewals, firstly that ATF applications are being dealt with by inspectors directly instead of currency fee officers, and that they are working to return to the promulgated turnaround times for ATF processing. Digital signing is also now being carried out for printing, where an E-mailed digital copy is acceptable document until the original has been received by post / courier / collection. Furthermore the Aero Club which has been offering a Membership Support Initiative for the last year in assisting in ATF and NPL renewals will now be enhancing this initiative to a more digital process similar to the process that was developed during lockdown for the maintenance preservation flights, which should improve the quality of submitted documentation and quicker turnarounds.
The SACAA is also due to release its long-awaited General Aviation Safety Strategy (GASS) on 11 September. The overall strategy will cover ‘Regulatory Empowerment’ where a devolution of powers of safety oversight be made at primary levels which should result in more cost effective operation and ‘Community Responsibility’ where regulatory measures are adapted to bring about more proportionality in aviation governance will place more responsibility on the GA community. In short, there will be more self-governance of our activities. This will lead to an amendment of part 149 in the coming months with a focus group that will lead the discussions on this topic. Overall, this will be of great benefit to Recreational Aviation and the way we operate but it comes with the added individual safety of flight responsibility.
Since the announcement of Level 2, we have returned to some level of flying normalcy, with industry and individuals now only needing to comply with National COVID-19 protocols and have at least had some Recreational Aviation events taking place amongst our sections, although most International events are still curtailed for the year.
If you are not a member and wish to join the Aero Club and any of its Sections feel free to do so http://www.aeroclub.org.za/member-renewals-and-new-memberships/
Sling Aircraft breakfast fly-in
On Saturday 17 October, Sling Aircraft will be hosting its first Sling Aircraft breakfast fly-in of the year at Tedderfield Airpark. Please see the invite link below which provides all details as well as allows you to RSVP. But of course, space is limited due to COVID-19 regulations so registration is vital.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
Jet Pack sighting at 3,000 feet over Los Angeles
Airline pilots are accustomed to sharing the sky with birds or, more recently, drones, but on Sunday two pilots reported a novel sighting at 3,000 feet approaching Los Angeles International Airport: a man flying a jet pack. “Tower, American 1997; we just passed a guy in a jet pack,” the pilot of American Airlines Flight 1997 from Philadelphia told air traffic control. The exchange was captured and posted by LiveATC.net, which shares live and archived recordings of air-traffic-control radio transmissions.
“Were they off to your left side or right side?” the controller asked. The pilot said the person was 300 yards to the plane’s left, and about 30 seconds later, another pilot said he had also seen the man pass by. The controller, after asking the pilot of JetBlue Flight 23 to keep a lookout, added, “Only in L.A.”
The FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.
Jet packs have long been portrayed as futuristic vehicles in comic books or spy movies, but not much headway has been made in making the technology safe and available for recreational or commercial use. The main issue is fuel efficiency, most jet packs are not equipped to fly for more than a few minutes, making it difficult for them to get very high. The devices are mostly popular among enthusiasts or used as tourist attractions for thrill seekers who want to experience a few minutes of airborne flight, typically over open fields, or open stretches of water.
JetPack Aviation, based in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, invented what it calls “the world’s only JetPack,” which can reach up to 15,000 feet in altitude and can be operated for about 10 minutes. Its founder introduced the jet pack in 2015 with a flight around the Statue of Liberty. But the company does not sell the jet pack for recreational use, requiring people to take a three-week course to learn how to operate it and use it in a controlled space.
Cessna 172M Skyhawk
On 15 May 2020, the solo private pilot reportedly used a wire to check the fuel tanks prior to take-off. He was in a dark hangar and not wearing his glasses, but thought he had ‘an inch or so’ of fuel in the tanks and departed. During the flight, the engine ‘sputtered’ and lost power. The pilot turned toward the destination airport but lost airspeed, so he lowered the airplane’s nose and performed a forced landing, impacting trees. Examination revealed the fuel tanks were empty and there was no fuel odour at the scene. The pilot was seriously injured.
Beech 35-A33 Debonair
On 27 May 2020 the airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with trees during a forced landing. The solo pilot was fatally injured. While en route and receiving VFR flight-following services from ATC, the pilot reported an unspecified issue and his intent to divert to a nearby airport. The pilot declared an emergency due to an engine issue and reported an airport at his one o’clock position, but a minute later informed ATC he could not glide to the facility Shortly, he stated he was going to land in a field. Witnesses saw the airplane at low altitude with a rough-running engine. The airplane impacted trees a few feet above ground level in a level attitude. Examination revealed fuel streaking from the lower right side of the engine compartment but no evidence of an engine mechanical malfunction.
Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee 235
On 31 May 2020 in Carlinville, Illinois the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain. The pilot and his three passengers were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed. The airplane’s ADS-B data show it in cruise at 5500 feet MSL when it entered a left turn, momentarily reversing course from northeast to the southwest. The left turn continued with a significantly decreased turn radius until the airplane was again on a north-easterly course. At 5600 feet, the airplane entered a right turn. Twelve seconds later, it began a right descending spiral until the final data point. The average calculated rate of descent from the apparent beginning of the spiral descent and the final data point was about 6900 fpm. The accident site was located about 0.15 miles north of the final data point. All major airframe structures were located at the accident site. A video camera and an ADS-B In receiver were recovered and are pending review.
Globe GC1B sticking intake valve leads to crash
During the airplane’s initial climb in crosswind conditions, the engine experienced a partial loss of power and the airplane entered an aerodynamic stall. The pilot attempted to lower the nose of the Globe GC1B, but with insufficient altitude, the plane hit a ditch parallel to the runway at the airport in Wellington, Florida, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings. The pilot sustained serious injuries, while a passenger sustained minor injuries.
Examination of the airplane revealed that the engine’s No. 3 cylinder had low compression and the No. 3 intake valve had hardened carbon deposit build-up on its stem. After the valve was cleaned and reinstalled, the engine compression returned to the normal range. It is likely that, during the initial climb, the intake valve stuck intermittently due to the carbon deposit build-up, which resulted in the partial loss of engine power and the airplane’s inability to climb.
Cessna 172P Skyhawk
On 14 May 2020, a Cessna 172P was substantially damaged during an off-airport landing following an engine out. About three hours and 50 minutes into the flight, the engine began to sputter. The pilot verified the fuel selector was in the ‘both’ position, checked the magnetos and pushed the mixture full forward. He pumped the throttle and was able to get a surge in engine power, but it could not be sustained. He initiated a forced landing to a road. However, the airplane encountered a downdraft and landed short of the road. Examination revealed the fuel selector was in the ‘both’ position. The left fuel tank was empty and the right fuel tank contained ‘a large quantity of fuel.’
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Boeing’s expensive 787 Dreamliner problem
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner became a dream for many airline executives, as its operational flexibility and reduced operating costs offered unprecedented gains over other narrow-body aircraft that were around when it entered service in 2011. To this day, it still does, since the Dreamliner is still on top of its class in Boeing’s line-up of aircraft.
It holds influence outside of it as well, as the 787 spawned its closest competitor, the Airbus A350. At first, Airbus pitched its new aircraft as a derivative of the A330. Instead, on the day of the launch, the European manufacturer called the A350 family ‘sisterships to the A330.’ The competition of the two resulted in the ongoing conflict between the European Union and the United States regarding tariffs. The headache has been only aggravated further during the current pandemic, as airlines have limited resources to take up new aircraft.
But for Boeing, the 787 Dreamliner has been and seemingly will be an expensive and migraine-inducing problem to solve in the near-term future, as the company considers consolidating the production of the wide-body into one production line. Boeing’s situation entering the current crisis was difficult and together with the 737’s reputation was destroyed as two 737 MAX jets crashed, resulting in a worldwide grounding of the type. The subsequent discoveries about the intricate relationship of Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hit headlines and made strides in the general public’s minds. While Boeing was focused on rebuilding its reputation and business, the manufacturer had a safety net that was full of dreams, as the 787 had a very healthy backlog.
It could rely on the aircraft to provide an influx of cash while the 737 MAX sat idle in airports, factories and parking lots all throughout the United States. So much so, that in Q1 2019, the manufacturer announced that more 787s would leave the factory than ever before, increasing its monthly output from 12 to 14 Dreamliners. The backlog stood at around 600 aircraft, stated the now-ousted chief executive Dennis Muilenburg at the time. Thus, the decision to increase the monthly rate was ‘well supported,’ according to Muilenburg. As of 31 August 2020, the 787’s backlog stood at 499 units.
Over the quarter, the programme managed to decline its deferred production costs by more than $1 billion. Furthermore, Boeing Commercial Aviation (BCA) Q1 2019 margins dripped down to 9.9%, as 737 programme deliveries numbers dropped. They were offset by the ever-increasing margins of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. “Key commercial milestones in the quarter included the 787 programme’s smooth transition to rate 14 per month while maintaining the highest quality standards,” commented Muilenburg, adding in that the “787 Dreamliner extended its status as the fastest-selling twin-aisle jet in history.” Every facet of the airline industry buckles under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic. As airlines are strapped for cash, they are not only laying off workers in their thousands, but also cancelling their aircraft orders.
Rolls-Royce takes next step in sustainability drive with new low-emissions testing
Rolls-Royce has started its latest phase of testing on its low-emissions technology for its next generation of engines. An ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) demonstrator engine – with technology that features in both the Advance3 and UltraFan®. Rolls-Royce has started its latest phase of testing on its low-emissions technology for its next generation of engines.
Reducing emissions from gas turbines is part of the wider Rolls-Royce sustainability strategy, which also involves support for the increased use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and intensive research into disruptive propulsion architectures and technologies. The lean-burn combustion system improves the pre-mixing of fuel and air prior to ignition, delivering a more complete combustion of the fuel, resulting in lower NOX and particulate emissions. The first series of tests began in 2018 and this latest phase will focus on validating emissions performance, engine control system software and functional performance.
Andy Geer, Chief Engineer and Head of UltraFan, said: “We know that the future of aviation can only be founded on greater sustainability and these tests are one element in our drive to support that goal. We’ve been excited by our results so far and we are now going to push on and see what more ALECSys can deliver.” The tests commence as Rolls-Royce starts to build the first parts for the UltraFan demonstrator, which will start ground tests next year. UltraFan offers a 25 percent fuel saving over the first generation of Trent engine. The ALECSys programme is supported by the EU via Clean Sky and in the UK by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK.
Garmin Autoland approved in Cirrus Vision Jet
Called Safe Return, the Garmin-built Autoland system previously announced for the Cirrus Vision Jet has been FAA approved. Safe Return joins with a full-airframe parachute to be what Cirrus calls “the most comprehensive, must-have total safety solution in general aviation.”
“With Safe Return, we are making personal aviation more accessible, elevating the passenger experience and taking the next step towards autonomous flight,” says Zean Nielsen, chief executive officer at Cirrus Aircraft. “The Vision Jet sets a new standard in personal travel with the combination of Safe Return and CAPS, offering the ultimate level of safety, control and comfort for the pilot and passengers.”
Pushing the centrally located activation button, placed in the headliner between the two rows of seats, not on the instrument panel, places the aircraft into ‘autonomous’ mode. The Garmin system, taking advantage of the information available to the Perspective+ avionics suite, considers environmental factors including weather and terrain, chooses the nearest feasible airport for landing, communicates with ATC and begins the approach phase. Autoland can, as the name says, land the airplane and bring it to a stop on the runway. In addition, the flight deck provides visual and aural updates to the passengers, including current location, remaining fuel, airport of arrival and estimated time of arrival.
I hate this F%&%9@ mask!
By Paul Bertorelli
It is in life’s moments of sheer misery that you’re most likely to question and perhaps rearrange your priorities. This occurred to me as I sat in an airplane Saturday with sweat running in rivulets inside the surgical mask I was wearing. Then I heard a PA announcement that would be absurd if this weren’t 2020: “Mask protocol. Let’s stay safe.”
No airliner obviously, but a skydiving airplane with maybe 15 others all, to varying degrees, wearing face coverings, which are now required. Such a delicious absurdity cannot go unnoticed. We are about to hurl ourselves out of an airplane, something that entails far less risk than most pilots think, but a little more than most skydivers think and we are wearing masks to protect against a virus we are unlikely to ever get. Or are we? The data available to judge this risk is hardly worthy of the name, but how about an order of magnitude wag at it? Let us see, maybe compare it to demonstrated risk of crashing in a GA airplane which, sitting there stewing in my own juices, I deemed far greater than the virus risk. I mean, c’mon. When I got home, I dredged up the numbers. The best way to compare this is demonstrated risk by population, not by hours flown or some other metric.
With COVID-19, most people worry about the death rate, but I am more worried about the hospitalisation rate because more people need critical care than die from the virus. Also, the hospital numbers are more reliable than either the total cases or the deaths and a serious case can cause long-lasting effects. The aviation equivalent here, for comparison’s sake, is accidents that involve injuries. So, the numerator is that number, the denominator (the exposure basis) is not hours, but participants. Let us say 600,000 active pilots. It is probably lower than that, but I am being conservative. FAA data typically shows 45 percent of GA accidents involve injury and that includes fatal injuries.
So, if GA has, say, about 1250 accidents a year, about 560 will involve injuries, including the fatalities. This is 93 injury accidents per 100,000 pilots. That is a tenth of a percent and it passes the smell test against the fatal and overall accident rate. Personally, I would deem this a small risk, but not exceedingly small. Certainly not zero. It is vastly larger than the airline risk.
For COVID-19, everybody in the country is a participant, not just 600,000 pilots. CDC keeps its own data on this and the latest overall hospitalisation rate is 157 / 100,000, but for my age group, 65 and older, it’s 426. So, my supposition was wrong. The COVID hospitalisation risk is higher than the crash risk. For me, it approaches a half percent. That is not crazy higher, but it is higher. Stuffed into an Otter cabin with 19 other people may elevate it some since physical distancing is not an option.
So, does that mean that the pilot (or skydiver) who decides to ditch the mask against this low risk is making a rational decision? Maybe, but probably not, for two reasons. The first is that mask wearing (and other interventions) is widespread enough to be baked into the current low numbers, even though mask efficacy is not well understood. Would you bet that infections would not rise if you universally trash this basic mitigation? Second, you are making a collective not a personal decision since your mask is, according to the accepted wisdom, protecting other people from you.
I will remember this when the sweat is soaking my mask on the next flight, but now let us apply it to the cockpit. The hot button for us is that when we shoot a cockpit video with masks in place, so begins the culture war. We are either sheep for knuckling under to government oppression or we are ‘virtue signalling.’ The latter is a perverse morphing of a common courtesy and a simple mitigation step into a moral failing, conformity as an ideological affront. For me personally, a hot button is the phrase ‘stay safe.’ There is no such thing as safe, there are degrees of risk which we attempt to reduce through various actions.
If you think the COVID-19 risk is overstated, you are probably right. In my non-expert but I hope informed opinion, the impact of COVID-19 on aviation is far out of proportion to the actual risk. Unfortunately, the actual risk is just not zero, it is some value that is non-zero and we are all left to decide what that is in a world muddled by extreme politics.
Cockpits of any size, but especially light aircraft cockpits, force close proximity. There is no choice, other than to not fly at all, which I, personally, have decided not to do. Since March, I have taken about 10 rides to altitude in a skydiving airplane where masks are expected and required. I will be flying in a small airplane next week and I expect the same standard, which I will comply with if asked or demand myself if not asked. One exception: Not doing this in the Cub with the door open. It is like being outside in a gale.
Sometime in mid-April I recalibrated my internal calendar with the expectation of being stuck in this situation until at least next spring. I have a feeling that is probably more hope than conviction that things will change a lot sooner than that. I am already noticing compliance fatigue. By early afternoon on Saturday, we kept the masks on in the airplane, but they were coming off elsewhere. I had to remind myself not to get sloppy, even if it is just a digit or two right of the decimal point. Of course, these numbers I have given here are not probabilities, they are retrospective data points. As the COVID-19 prevalence waxes and wanes, the probability of infection remains a shot in the dark, but it surely must be in decline.
Also I realised that I am not doing the mask and distancing out of fear any more than putting on a helmet, fastening a seatbelt, doing a gear check, draining a fuel sample, checking the mags or looking up-range before pulling onto the runway is done out of fear. It is just part of the routine now, for better or worse. I despise wearing the thing, by the way, but I am not interested in not doing it just to score an ideological point any more than I would sit on my seatbelt just to show how hard my head is.
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Pipistrel announces hybrid electric cargo eVTOL
The innovative Slovenian company that has been producing electric trainers for several years, Pipistrel now says it is ready to take orders for a hybrid-electric eVTOL cargo carrier capable of delivering up to 1000 pounds (460 kg) over an unspecified distance. But the Nuuva V300, says the company, will be able to fly a 50-kg load (110 pounds) to a distance of more than 1500 miles. A smaller variant, the V20, is designed to carry payloads up to 20 kg (44 pounds) over shorter distances.
The V300 has a unique planform that houses four independent vertical-thrust electric motors on twin booms with an internal combustion engine offering horisontal thrust in a pusher configuration. The aircraft has two high-aspect-ratio wings, one low-mounted forward and a high-mounted wing in the rear. It has no vertical fin or rudder. A center section between the two booms provides the cargo hold and is accessible via a hinged nose door.
This is not a small vehicle, according to Pipistrel’s specs. It can accommodate three so-called EPAL standard pallets that measure up to 47 by 31 inches (1200 by 800 mm). These can be loaded onto the V300 via forklift. The V300 would be capable of vertical take-offs and landings and would transition to level flight, relying on the wings for lift. The typical mission would be flown autonomously with an onboard redundant flight control system that can be continuously monitored by a ground operator.
The V300’s electric engines are Pipistrel’s own E-811 models, which it says are already certified. The company does not identify the hydrocarbon pusher engine other than to say it is a dependable and proven cruise engine. Thus far, Pipistrel has favoured Rotax engines in both its production airplanes and hybrid-electric prototypes. The E-811 engines are liquid cooled, as is the planned battery system in the V300. Effective cooling, the company has said, extends battery life and improves performance at the expense of a small weight addition. Pipistrel says the V300 combines the strengths of both airplanes and helicopters and will have a fraction the operating cost of rotary wing vehicles. No prices have been given, but the company is planning for the V300 to enter service during the second half of 2023.
Amazon gets approval for delivery drones
The FAA has approved Amazon Prime Air’s request for a Part 135 certificate for its unmanned delivery drones. ‘Amazon Prime Air’s concept uses autonomous UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) to safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers,’ said the FAA. ‘The FAA supports innovation that is beneficial to the public, especially during a health or weather-related crisis.’
The Amazon drones will be used for deliveries as far as 15 miles from a distribution center and for packages weighing five pounds or less. Amazon is targeting delivery in 30 minutes or less via the drones. ‘Prime Air has great potential to enhance the services we already provide to millions of customers by providing rapid parcel delivery that will also increase the overall safety and efficiency of the transportation system,’ the company says. No word on where or when the service will launch.
Twice weekly News from African Pilot Should you miss out on any edition of APAnews, please visit the website: www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the APAnews link on the front page. All past weekly APAnews publications have been archived on the website.
Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.
Twice Weekly News from African Pilot
Should you miss out on any edition of APAnews, please visit the website: www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the APAnews link on the front page. All past weekly APAnews publications have been archived on the website.
Until next week Monday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)