“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Robert J. Collier
Handley Page HP-42
(Information from Wikipedia)
The Handley Page H.P.42 and H.P.45 were four-engine biplane airliners designed and manufactured by British aviation company Handley Page, based in Radlett, Hertfordshire. It held the distinction of being the largest airliner in regular use in the world upon the type’s introduction in 1931. The H.P.42/45 were designed in response to a specification issued during 1928 by British airline Imperial Airways; the two models share considerable similarities, the H.P.42 being optimised towards greater range at the expense of payload while the H.P.45 had these priorities inverted, allowing the latter to carry more passengers over shorter distances. Imperial Airways approved of Handley Page’s proposals and ordered four aircraft of the two variants to serve as the new land-based long-distance flagships of its fleet.
On 14 November 1930, the prototype, named Hannibal, conducted its maiden flight. Following their introduction into Imperial Airways, they formed the backbone of the airliner’s land-based fleet through most of the 1930s and, along with the company’s numerous flying boats, have been considered to be icons of their era. A total of eight aircraft were built, four of each type; all were named, with names beginning with the letter ‘H’. Three of the survivors were pressed into Royal Air Force (RAF) service at the outbreak of the Second World War. By the end of 1940, all of the aircraft had been destroyed as a result of several accidents.
Work on what would become the H.P.42 was initiated in response to a specification released by British airline Imperial Airways in 1928, which sought a large airliner to operate upon its major routes, including its long-distance ones to various parts of the globe. British aircraft manufacturer Handley Page, who had already established a pedigree for developing and constructing above-average sized aircraft, saw the Imperial Airways opportunity as quite attractive and thus embarked on producing their own designs to fulfil it.
Handley Page ultimately designed two largely similar aircraft, designated H.P.42 and H.P.45 respectively, to meet different requirements: The H.P.42 was meant to serve Imperial Airways’ long-range Eastern routes, while the H.P.45 had been configured to serve their shorter routes across Europe. Imperial Airways, having been suitably impressed by Handley Page’s submissions, decided to order four of each variant for its passenger fleet. In Imperial Airways service, the H.P.42 was commonly referred to as the H.P.42E (E for ‘Eastern’ routes – India and South Africa), while the H.P.45 was the H.P.42W (W for ‘Western’ i.e. European routes). The H.P.42 and H.P.45 designations were internally assigned by Handley Page thus the HP.45 identifier was not commonly used during the flying lives of the aircraft.
Several efforts have been mooted to produce additional H.P.42s for heritage / preservation purposes. During 2015, a fundraising campaign was launched with the aim of producing a replica of the H.P.42. As there are no surviving examples, a replica must be somewhat original in construction, although authentic blueprints and other source material from the era is available for use in its construction. While it is planned for the replica to be built to an airworthy condition, various safety regulations would prevent the carriage of paying passengers.
The Handley Page H.P.42 was a large unequal-span sesquiplane. It was a relatively unorthodox aircraft, even beyond its size, having incorporated numerous original features throughout its design. As observed in an official evaluation by the American National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), amongst the uncommon elements included is a fuselage which extended more forwards beyond its wings than that of most contemporary aircraft. It used an all-metal approach in its construction, except for a few areas such as the fabric coverings present on the wings, tail surfaces and rear fuselage. The fuselage comprises two sections, the forward section being a metal monocoque and the rear formed from welded steel tubes; their construction was noted as seemingly quite strong, but also relatively expensive.
The wings were braced by a Warren truss. Automatic slots are fitted to the top wing, the auxiliary airfoils of which benefiting from a new construction approach involving single Z-section spars and planking, both composed of duralumin. Slot-type ailerons are also present, each being installed upon four hinges and supported by four box-section brackets; these ailerons are both statically and aerodynamically balanced, making them relatively light to control. Inboard of the lower engines, the lower wings slope upwards to pass above the fuselage rather than through it, thus keeping the spars from obstructing potential cabin space. Both the elevators and ailerons are controlled via a large diameter Y-tube; the core controls being duplicated. The tailplane was of a biplane configuration, being furnished with three separate fins.
The H.P.42 was powered by an arrangement of four Bristol Jupiter XIFs, each capable of producing up to 490 hp (370 kW), while the H.P.45 variant instead used four Jupiter XFBM supercharged engines, which could generate a maximum of 555 hp (414 kW) each. Both models placed their engines in the same positions: two engines on the upper wing and one on each side of the fuselage on the lower wing; while this arrangement was uncommon, it was not an original innovation, having been previously used on aircraft produced by Blériot. The upper engines are placed as close together as permissible by the diameter of their propellers. The engines are mounted on rigid duralumin plates that are attached to rear wing spar via welded steel tubing; fuel for the engines is housed within the upper wing and is gravity-fed to all four engines. The throttle controls for the engine includes a ‘lost motion’ mechanism, which uses the first degrees of movement from the idle position to turn on the fuel.
The crew compartment, which was located at the very front of the aircraft, was fully enclosed, then a relatively new and uncommon feature. There were two separate passenger cabins, one forward of the wings and the other aft. The H.P.42E carried six (later 12) in the forward compartment and twelve in the aft. There was also substantial space allocated for storing baggage. The improved H.P.42W variant seated 18 passengers forward and 20 aft, at the cost of a reduced baggage capacity over the preceding model. The cabins featured a high degree of luxury, having been intentionally styled to resemble Pullman railway carriages akin to the Orient Express; other features intended to increase passenger comfort were a high level of spaciousness, relatively wide windows and full onboard services. Initially, there were no seatbelts present upon any of the seating until an unrelated air accident motivated Imperial Airways to instate this feature. On the ground, passengers could both embark and egress without using steps or ladders due to the low position of both the doors and the fuselage overall.
On 14 November 1930, the type’s maiden flight was conducted by G-AAGX, later to be named Hannibal; it was flown by Squadron Leader Thomas Harold England. During May 1931, the aircraft was granted its certificate of airworthiness, permitting the instatement of commercial services. On 11 June of that year, the first flight with fare-paying passengers was conducted to Paris. Due to the high cost of air travel at this time, typical passengers were usually members of high society, such as royalty, celebrities and senior business figures; the H.P.42/45 fleet were viewed as the flagships of Imperial Airways and were accordingly provided with prodigious onboard service and an elaborately decorated interior. The type acquired a favourable reputation with the flying public, particularly for their dependability. It would accumulate a combined fleetwide mileage in excess of 10 million miles during a nine-year service life with Imperial Airways.
A key demand of Imperial Airways was for its airliners to be able to land safely at low speed, on grass or unpaved airfields, as opposed to the normal runway surface present at almost all airports: this requirement had necessitated the adoption of a large wing area (almost as much as a Boeing 767 that weighs more than 10 times as much). During 1951, Peter Masefield wrote, “The trouble about a slow aeroplane with a really low wing loading is the way it insists on wallowing about in turbulent air … One of the reasons why seven times as many people fly to Paris to-day, compared with 1931, is that the incidence of airsickness in modern aircraft is only one-hundredth of that in the pre-War types.” Another writer remembered “I had quite often been landed in a ‘42’ at Lympne to take on sufficient fuel to complete the flight (from Paris) to London against a headwind – 90 mph was its normal cruising speed.” However, 90 mph was still three times faster than the previous fastest way of making the journey, which via a combination of steamships and trains. When the H.P.42s were finally withdrawn from civil service on 1 September 1939, they had recorded almost a decade without any major accidents or fatalities.
In 1933, faced with rising demand in conjunction with reduction in capacity owing to accidents, Imperial attempted to purchase two more H.P.42s, to be powered by Armstrong Siddeley Tiger engines, but could not agree a price (Handley Page quoted a price of £42 000 each, compared with the average price of £21 000 in 1931) so, instead, they ordered two Short Scyllas, landplane versions of the Short Kent flying boat that could be brought into service quickly.
Those persons who correctly identified this week’s mystery aircraft: Nigel Hamilton, Rex Tweedie, Sam Basch, Kevin Farr, Brian Melmoth, Carl von Ludwig, Bary Eatwell, Righardt du Plessis, Lance Williams, Stuart Low, Andre Visser, Steve Dewsbery, Pierre Brittz, P. Rossouw, Charlie Hugo, Andre Breytenbach, Hilton Carroll, Colin Austen, Mike McLaughlin, Simon Tladi, Michael Schoeman, Rennie van Zyl, David Schumacher, Mike Transki, Joe van der Merwe, Amarjit Singh Bamrah, Howard Long, Selwyn Kimber, Geoff Street, Craig Brent, Danie Viljoen, Jan Sime, Bruce Margolis, Robyn Badenhorst, Piet Steyn, Wouter van der Waal, Cecil Thompson, Mickey Esterhuysen, Brian Millett, Jeremy Rorich, Keith Chiazzari, John Moen, John McCall, Ahmed Bassa, Ray Watts, Dave Lloyd, Bruce Prescott, Nic Manthopoulos, Andrew Peace, Danie van der Merwe, Ari Levien, Johan Venter, Rahul Vala, Peter Gilbert, Daryl Kimber, Aiden O’Mahony, (49).
Wisk performs first-ever public demonstration flight at Oshkosh
On Tuesday 25 July Boeing’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) company, Wisk Aero, has performed the first-ever public demonstration of a fully autonomous eVTOL fixed-wing aircraft. The flight was performed by Wisk’s Generation five aircraft, although the eVTOL developer is working on certification for the Generation six air taxi. Wisk Aero has focused on a fully autonomous aircraft, rather than one that is piloted, under the belief that the future of the industry will be based around self-driving vehicles. On 31 May 2023 the Californian startup became a fully owned subsidiary of Boeing.
Wisk Aero was founded in 2019 as a joint venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk Corporation, which was started by Google co-founder Larry Page. In 2022 Boeing invested almost half a billion dollars into the self-flying electric air taxi developer. Wisk’s aircraft is a fixed-wing platform, powered by 12 independent rotors (six on each wing). It can fly at altitudes of between 1500 and 5000 feet, traveling at speeds of up to 100 miles an hour (160km/h) with a range of about 25 miles (40 km).
The demonstration flight was a milestone for me since I started Future Flight on my return from AirVenture last year as a separate monthly magazine to compliment African Pilot’s 23 years of publishing. Adjacent to Boeing’s very large exhibition, Wisk has a smaller booth in which a mock-up of the sixth generation and final design of the Wisk is displayed. To all the sceptics out there, urban mobility in the form of air taxis is real and within the next few years these futuristic eVTOL aircraft will become as common electric cars are today.
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. I travelled to the United States on Friday 21 July to attend EAA AirVenture, Oshkosh for the 21st time – only missing the two pandemic years. This edition of APAnews is being brought to you from Oshkosh where once again I have encountered some of the greatest people in aviation from all over the world.
Our team completed the July 2023 edition of Future Flight on Friday 14 July and the magazine was released to the world on the dame day. This 144-page edition has nine picture galleries and 13 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 our 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: email@example.com. Thank you.
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AirVenture in Oshkosh
African Pilot’s full AirVenture report will be published in the September edition of the monthly magazine.
24 to 30 July
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA
29 & 30 July
SAPFA Speed Rally No.3 – Louis Trichardt FALO
Contact David le Roux E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com
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
Boeing to ramp up 737 MAX production amid supplier challenges
Reporting on its quarterly results, Boeing has announced an increase in production of the 737 MAX narrow-body aircraft. During the quarter, the Commercial Airplanes division recorded 460 net orders, of which 220 were from Air India at the Paris Air Show and 39 from Riyadh Air. In addition, a significant commitment was obtained from Ryanair, which expressed interest in acquiring up to 300 737 MAX airplanes. During the same period, the division successfully delivered 136 airplanes and reported a loss of $383 million.
Boeing revealed that it plans to ramp up production from 31 to 38 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft per month. In April 2023, the company faced setbacks due to an error from its supplier Spirit AeroSystems that temporarily derailed its plans for an earlier production increase. Boeing’s suppliers discovered an issue with the aft fuselage and vertical tail joining production process.
“We had a solid second quarter with improved deliveries and strong free cash flow generation. We are well positioned to meet the operational and financial goals we set for this year and for the long term,” said Dave Calhoun, Boeing president and chief executive officer. “While we have more work ahead, we are making progress in our recovery and driving stability in our factories and the supply chain to meet our customer commitments. With demand strong, we are steadily increasing our production rates across key programs and growing investments in our people, products and technologies.”
While the commercial aircraft division is showing signs of recovery, Boeing’s defence business continues to face challenges. Three major fixed-price programmes, including NASA’s Starliner capsule, the United States Air Force’s T-7 jet trainer and the US Navy MQ-25 tanker drone, have encountered issues in the second quarter, amounting to a loss of $527 million driven by losses on some fixed-price development programmes, labour instability and disruptions in the supply chain. Nevertheless, Boeing remains optimistic about its financial goals for the year, reiterating its intention to generate free cash flow ranging from $3 billion to $5 billion in 2023. The company aims to deliver at least 400 737 single-aisle aircraft and 70 787 Dreamliners this year.
EASA’s fuel tank safety requirements could compromise A321XLR range
According to a report by Reuters, the range of the A321XLR could be much lower than the advertised 4,700 nautical miles (8,700 kilometres) following EASA’s requirements to put additional protections to the rear center tank (RCT), located below the cabin floor. Sources said that the protective liner that needs to be added to the RCT of the aircraft adds between 700 and 800 kilograms (between 1,500 and 1,700 pounds) of additional weight, potentially reducing the type’s range by around 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres). However, an Airbus spokesperson told Reuters that the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) “expects no significant impact on the XLR’s unique range advantage”.
EASA issued a consultation paper on the special condition (SC) of the A321XLR in December 2022 after it received an application for a major change to type design on a large aircraft. Then, the regulator said while there has been a lot of experience and safety assurances with classical wing and center wing fuel tanks, as well as auxiliary tanks in cargo compartments, ‘the integration of an RCT located below the cabin floor, because of its design and location, is considered as an unusual design feature relative to design practices’ of large commercial aircraft.
As such, EASA saw the need to prescribe SCs ‘to ensure adequate occupants protection against the risks of external fire and burn through, fuel vapour ignition and fuel tank explosion as well to ensure crashworthiness of this fuel tank so that no fuel is released in sufficient quantities so to start a serious fire in an otherwise survivable crash event’. Despite the potential setback, Airbus believed that the A321XLR could be certified by the end of 2023, with deliveries to customers beginning in Q2 2024.
A long-range derivative of the A321neo, the A321XLR is able to fly farther than any other narrow-body aircraft that is currently on the market. Its nearest competitor is the A321LR, with Airbus saying it has a range of up to 4,000 nm (7,408 kilometres). Comparatively, the Boeing 737 MAX family’s longest-range jet, the 737 MAX-7, can fly up to 3,800 nm (7,040 km).
India’s Spirit Air signs LOI to buy six BN2T-4S Britten-Norman Islander aircraft
India-based domestic commuter airline Spirit Air has signed a Letter of Intent for the purchase of six factory new BN2T-4S turboprop Islander aircraft from UK aircraft manufacturer, Britten-Norman. The BN2T-4S Islander is powered by twin Rolls Royce (Allison) Model 250 turboprop engines and benefits from an extended cabin, allowing one extra row of seats compared with the standard piston Islander. With its engines offering an impressive 400shp (flat rated) the aircraft has a 22% increase in disposable payload, whilst maintaining impressive short-field performance. The BN2T-4S is the largest variant of the Islander. It achieved type certification with the FAA in late 2022 and has recently achieved validation in New Zealand. The type is also in the process of being validated in India, amongst other countries.
The new BN2T-4S aircraft are fully IFR capable, including FIKI. The cockpit will be equipped with the latest Garmin avionics including PFD, MFD and electronic engine instrumentation, whilst the interior and seating will be designed to meet the customer’s closely defined requirements. While its new fleet of aircraft are being built at Britten-Norman’s newly established UK facility, Spirit Air will initially take delivery of four fully factory refurbished BN2T-4S Islanders to enable it to advance its entry into service.
The regional airline will operate a fleet of BN2T-4S Islander aircraft on scheduled passenger services across India. Providing vital sub-regional connectivity between remote grass airstrips and municipal sub-regional landing strips with the country’s key primary airports.
Mark Shipp, Technical Director and Head of Design at Britten-Norman commented: “The Islander, both piston and turboprop, has a long-established history of operating successfully across India and the surrounding region. Its durability makes it highly suitable for operating into remote, semi-prepared locations and this sets the Islander apart within this class of aviation. The enhanced capabilities of the BN2T-4S will suit Spirit Air’s requirements perfectly and we are very pleased to be working with them as the first operator of this variant of our great aircraft.”
Blackhawk is launching TBM engine upgrade programme
Blackhawk Aerospace has purchased a TBM 700 testbed aircraft in preparation for flight testing of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66D engine for a future upgrade programme. On Monday at EAA AirVenture, Blackhawk CEO Jim Allmon said that the company hopes to have the modified aircraft on display next year at AirVenture. He said the engine upgrade being revealed this week at the show should boost a modified TBM 700’s cruising speed up to around 295 knots, nearly a 10-knot improvement.
Details regarding plans for the upgrade are still being formulated, but it is likely that the modifications specialist will be working with American Aviation on a revised engine inlet and with Blackhawk sister company Avex, a long-time TBM dealer and service center. Allmon estimated the market for a potential TBM 700 upgrade at approximately 380 aircraft.
Within the past two years, private equity firm New State Aviation Holdings acquired majority stakes in both Blackhawk and Avex. Blackhawk has developed engine upgrade programmes for several turboprops, including Beechcraft King Airs, Cessna Caravans and Pilatus PC-12s. Avex installs retrofit upgrades in TBMs, including Garmin glass cockpits and custom interiors.
Delayed Beechcraft Denali could have US$7M list price
The price of a new Beechcraft Denali turboprop single is likely to break the $7 million mark by the time it enters service in 2025. The current list price for the aircraft in 2024 dollars is $6.95 million. On Monday at EAA AirVenture Textron Aviation executives said that the delay in coming to market was the result of continued efforts by GE Aviation to certify the new Catalyst turboprop engine and the addition of Garmin Autoland as standard equipment on the aircraft, which will be certified for single-pilot operations. Certification for the engine, which is estimated to have an average fuel burn of 300 pounds per hour, is now expected next year.
Three test aircraft have been developed for the programme. Textron brought aircraft P2, fitted with a full-up executive interior, this week to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for AirVenture. Earlier this year, this airplane spent time in Canada for cold weather testing. The aircraft’s single executive cabin seats, which will meet the latest FAR Part 23 standards, are larger than those in the Beechcraft King Air 260 and were developed specifically for the Denali. Garmin G3000 avionics in the Denali are integrated with autothrottle and single-lever power control in a cockpit designed to ease pilot workload, according to Textron Aviation.
P&WC PT6 records 500 million flight hours
‘Smarter, cleaner, greener’ is the mantra for engine maker Pratt & Whitney Canada at EAA AirVenture this week. The OEM is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its ubiquitous line of PT6 turboprop engines, of which more than 61,000 have been delivered and installed on 42,000 aircraft, with a combined fleet time of 500 million hours. The company also is celebrating the one billionth flight hour of all its engines since 1928.
The latest iteration, the E series, has a 5,000-hour time-between-overhaul interval and requires 40 percent less maintenance. It features a dual-channel integrated electronic propeller and engine-control system, enabling single-power lever engine control. The control system helps to optimise power and efficiency in all phases of flight by constantly reviewing all engine parameters, as well as many aircraft parameters and making the necessary adjustments to the fuel flow and propeller blade angle. The data is used to deliver constant engine performance at all altitudes and temperatures and enables performance gains such as increased engine take-off, climb and thermodynamic power. Engine models in the series include the PT6E-67XP, which powers the Pilatus PC-12 NGX and the PT6E-66XT, which powers Daher’s TBM 960. Both are turboprop singles and the combined fleet of 400 E series engines has now amassed more than 100,000 flight hours.
Government of Canada orders four new Airbus A330 MRTTs
The Government of Canada has awarded Airbus Defence and Space with a contract for four newly built Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft (MRTT) and for the conversion of five used A330-200s in a quest to strengthen Canada’s continental defence capabilities. The current contract has an order value of approximately CAD $3 billion or 2.1€ billion (excluding taxes).
Known as the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC), this new fleet of aircraft will replace the ageing CC-150 Polaris (A310 MRTT), operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The existing A310 fleet is being used to perform air-to-air refuelling operations, military and personnel and cargo airlift, medical evacuations, as well as strategic transport of Government of Canada officials.
The newly built A330-200s will be assembled at the A330 aircraft Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, France. Scheduled to enter into conversion at A330 MRTT facilities in Getafe, Spain, in mid-2025, the first MRTT will be delivered to the RCAF in 2027. Under the agreement, the A330 MRTTs will be equipped with both the hose and drogue and a boom as refuelling options, cybersecurity solutions and countermeasures. All of them could be installed with the also included Airbus Medical Evacuation kit solution, consisting of two Intensive Care Units and additional stretchers.
The contract covers a full suite of training services including the most advanced training devices such as the Full Flight Simulator to prepare and maintain crew readiness as part of the modernisation of the Canadian Armed Forces’ air operational training infrastructure. Following an open procurement process, in April 2021, Airbus was selected as the only qualified supplier for the CC-150 tanker replacement. With 76 orders from 15 customers and able to carry up to 300 troops, the A330 MRTT accumulates 90 percent market share outside the US and more than 270,000 flight hours. As a mature platform, the aircraft has been proven in combat in theatres of operations like the Middle East and the Eastern Flank in Europe, with interoperability, mission success and availability rates as highlights of its performance.
Australia to purchase 20 Hercules military transport planes in $6.6 billion deal
On Monday Australia said it would spend A$9.8 billion ($6.60 billion) to purchase 20 new Super Hercules military transport aircraft, ahead of a visit later this week by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin. In November, the US State Department approved the potential sale of the aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin and related equipment to Australia. The deal comes amid the largest ever Australia-US joint military exercise, involving more than 30,000 troops and participants from 11 other countries, in a show of force and unity at a time when China has emerged as an increasingly assertive power in the Indo-Pacific. The biennial Talisman Sabre war games began on Friday and will take place in various locations across Australia for two weeks.
Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles and Austin will travel to north Queensland to watch the military exercise following the annual meeting of U.S. and Australian defence and foreign ministers, known as AUSMIN, in Brisbane on 28 and 29 July. The new C-130J Hercules aircraft will replace and expand upon the aging fleet of a dozen planes currently operated by the Royal Australian Air Force, with delivery of the first expected from 2027, Marles said in a statement.
Tecnam unveiled the P-Mentor to North American pilots at the Tecnam display at Oshkosh
Already a best-seller in the European training market, the aircraft is set to revolutionise the American training paradigm and personal flying marketplace. This modern aircraft represents the pinnacle of engineering excellence, offering superior flight performance, state-of-the-art technology with Garmin avionics and unparalleled low operating cost and CO2 emissions.
About the P-Mentor
The P-Mentor is a two-seat aircraft, powered by a Rotax 912 Is, fully IFR with PBN/RNAV/AFCS capabilities, compliant with the latest CS-23 EASA & FAA amendments. The Mentor is a turnkey solution for many flight schools to train students from their first flight up to their CPL-IR on a single platform. With a variable pitch propeller, a simulated retractable landing gear and an optional ballistic parachute, the P-Mentor has everything flight schools were looking for in today’s market. The P-Mentor is designed to offer the best human-machine interface, resulting in the most effective and efficient VFR/IFR training. The generous fuel tanks allow flight schools to fly all day without refuelling, which improves operational value. It has low fuel consumption of 3.70 US Gal/h (14 lit/h) and a low cost of operations with an average of $65 per hour.
During the ceremony, Tecnam also disclosed the launch customers that will be using the P-Mentor for their flying school needs: Kansas based Kilo Charlie Aviation, Vermont Flight Academy, Melbourne Flight Training in Florida and Stephen F. Austin State University, based in Texas.
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Turkey and Saudi Arabia sign deal for Baykar Akinci drones
Turkish drone-maker Baykar firm said it has signed its largest contract yet to export its Akinci unmanned combat aerial vehicle to Saudi Arabia, to ‘serve in the inventory of the Royal Saudi Air Force and Navy.’ Announced on Tuesday, the deal Akinci was sealed during Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the Gulf kingdom, which will be followed by visits to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The announcement by Baykar, which also makes the Bayraktar TB2 drone that rose to prominence in Ukraine, did not provide details concerning cost or number of units involved, but more could become clear at the International Defence Industry Fair taking place in Turkey next week. On Twitter, Baykar CEO Haluk Bayraktar, described the deal as ‘the biggest defence and aviation export contract in the history of the Republic of Turkey.’
The deal and was signed between the Saudi Defence Minister Khalid bin Salman and his Turkish counterpart Yasar Guler. Beyond the drones themselves, the deal states that Baykar will also provide training, technical support and logistic services. Joint production and technology transfer, a priority for Saudi Arabia, is also part of the deal and will ‘advance the high-tech development capabilities of both countries in the coming period,” Baykar said. From the Saudi side, Bin Salman said that two acquisition contracts were signed with Baykar “with the aim of enhancing the readiness of the Kingdom’s armed forces and bolstering its defence and manufacturing capabilities.”
According to the company, Bayraktar’s Akinci entered service with the Turkish armed forces in August 2021 and received six export contracts so far. “We are taking an important step that further strengthens the deep bonds between the two countries. This agreement will increase our capabilities regarding UAV technology and contribute to Saudi Arabia’s ability to develop high technology. This cooperation will not only reinforce the ties between our nations but also aims to contribute to regional and global peace,” the company’s CEO said in a statement.
Andreas Krieg, senior lecturer at King’s College London and CEO of MENA analytica, a London-based strategic risk consultancy firm focusing on the wider Middle East region, described the deal as a win-win situation for both sides. “Saudis made a sensible investment by investing in Turkey’s growing defence industry. It is a win-win deal in the sense of technology sharing, these drones will be exported to Saudi Arabia with a potential that some drones will be built in the Kingdom and it helps the Saudis build their defence industry,” Krieg said. “He noted that it also help Saudis to diversify their defence alliance from the West and this particular drone is probably on par with the best Western drone providers. It is a good product at a competitive price 25 percent cheaper than its competitors,” Krieg said.
This is not the first contract between the Turkish firm and Gulf countries. This year Kuwait’s Ministry of Defence signed a contract for the famed BayraktarTB2 UAVs in a $370 million deal. The UAE reportedly negotiated a deal for the drones in 2022 as well.
DJI launches Air 3 drone: dual cameras, omnidirectional obstacle sensing
DJI continues to raise the bar for small drones. Last week, DJI launched the Air 3: with a wide-angle camera and a three times medium tele camera. The Air 3 is an aerial photography hobbyists dream and a great all-rounder for commercial drone pilots. At a current price of $1,099 (up to about $1500 for the fly more combos) the Air 3 offers amazing capabilities for the size and cost.
Air 3 dual cameras, DJI Air 3, new DJI drone “The DJI Air 3 is the first drone of our Air Series which offers professional features like dual primary cameras and omnidirectional obstacle sensing and at the same time retaining its lightweight capabilities with a weight of just 720g for more freedom and flexibility,” said Ferdinand Wolf, Creative Director at DJI. “The drone is the perfect all-rounder for your outdoor adventures and offers you a more diverse camera language.”
DJI says that the Air 3’s dual cameras allow content creators to highlight the subject in the frame. The Air 3 features a 1/1.3-inch CMOS wide-angle camera and a 1/1.3-inch CMOS 3x medium tele camera. “The two cameras have the same sensor size but different focal lengths, which result in more consistent image quality and more diverse camera language,” explains the DJI announcement. “With the wide-angle camera, sweeping landscapes can be captured more fully. It offers 2.4μm pixel size, 24mm format equivalent and a F1.7 aperture. The 3x Medium Tele Camera offers 2.4μm pixel size, 70mm format equivalent and a F2.8 aperture.”
A maximum flight time of 46 minutes gives pilots a lot more flexibility. The DJI Air 3 also offers a new battery charging hub, with a power accumulation function. That means users can transfer the remaining power from multiple batteries to the battery with the highest remaining power. Optimising power and flight time gives the Air 3 a major advantage for work in the field.
Omnidirectional obstacle sensing
Designed with photographers and content creators in mind, the DJI Air 3 enables great photography without requiring expert piloting skills. The DJI Air 3 features omnidirectional obstacle sensing. “In the front and at the back the drone is equipped with a pair of fisheye lenses to achieve forward, backward, left, right and upward sensing, while the bottom is equipped with binocular lenses and a 3D TOF,” explains DJI’s release. “When an obstacle is detected, the DJI Air 3 can also use APAS 5.0 to actively avoid and smoothly bypass obstacles, which ensures uninterrupted shooting for a greatly enhanced flight experience. Even as an aerial photography beginner, users can fly with confidence and unlock more creative ideas. The ActiveTrack function further frees the pilots’ hands and works with Advanced RTH to achieve fully automatic flight as well as worry-free return- to-home.”
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