“Thoughts are free and are subject to no rule. On them rests the freedom of man and they tower above the light of nature.” Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus
Fairchild 100 Pilgrim
(Information from Wikipedia)
The Fairchild 100 Pilgrim was an American single-engined high-wing monoplane transport and was one of a series of single-engine utility transports built by Fairchild Aircraft. The 100 was similar in design to the Fairchild C-8 and was an enlarged version of it. The first flight of the aircraft (NC754Y) was on 22 October 1930. Although only one aircraft was completed, a modified version also known as the Pilgrim 100-A was in production for American Airways, the first operator of the type in 1931. After a total of 16 aircraft, an additional batch of ten aircraft with a larger fin were manufactured by the restructured American Aircraft & Engine Corporation that emerged in 1931 from the Fairchild Aircraft Co. The continuing series was built under the designations, Pilgrim 100-B and American / Fairchild Y1C-24. The first six in the new series went to American Airways. The parent company later reinstated the Fairchild name.
The sturdy Fairchild 100 series served as both an airliner and a bush plane. In 1932, the US Army Air Corps bought four Pilgrim Model 100-Bs designated the Y1C-24 and were initially assigned as light cargo transport and supply aircraft. After a short time in service, the Y1C-24s were adapted for use as aeromedical evacuation aircraft, carrying up to four litter patients. The aircraft were assigned to pilot training and pursuit aircraft airfields for use as crash rescue aircraft. Exploiting the Y1C-24’s ability to take-off and land in a relatively short distance, the Y1C-24s remained in service into the late 1930s when they were replaced by newer air ambulance aircraft.
Those who correctly identified this week’s mystery aircraft:
Willie Oosthuizen, Wouter van der Waal, Righardt du Plessis, Christiaan Haak, Ari Levien, Charlie Hugo, Danie Viljoen, Keith Chiazzari, Gregory Yatt, Rex Tweedie, Andre Visser, Piet Steyn, Andre Breytenbach, Kevin Farr, Selwyn Kimber, Erwin Stam, Robert Spencer, Jan Sime, Johan Venter, Andrew Peace, Bruce Prescott, Herman Nel, (22).
Aviation calendar for next year
I have started working on the 2024 aviation calendar, so if you have any dates that you would like to reserve, please send this information to me in the following order: Date, Event’s name, where the event is taking place and who to contact: Tel / Cell and e-mail. email@example.com. Thanks.
Within this 220-page edition of African Pilot with seven picture galleries and 14 videos features 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. Within the August edition, we have published a brief report on the largest aviation airshow and exhibition in the world, featuring the amazing South African group that camped with Neil Bowden’s Air Adventure Tours. However, the full report with a substantial video and picture gallery will be featured within the September edition of African Pilot.
The September 2023 edition will be featuring Southern African charter companies as well as Aviation Safety. EAA AirVenture and some of the British airshows will also be featured within the September edition. In addition, African Pilot features all aspects of aviation from Airline business to recreational and sport aviation, whilst helicopters, military aviation, commercial and technical issues are addressed monthly. Within African Pilot’s monthly historical section, we feature the Best of the Best, Names to Remember and the monthly aviation Fact File. Overall African Pilot has the finest balance between nearly all aviation subjects brought to you within a single publication every month and the best part is that the magazine is FREE to anyone in the entire world at the click of a single button.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
AERO South Africa 2023 results
AERO South Africa 2023 was a massive success and our exhibitors have confirmed it with over 90% of them saying they would like to exhibit again at AERO South Africa 2024. On Wednesday, 3 July 2024, AERO South Africa will welcome back the General Aviation Community at Wonderboom National Airport for its 4th year. We created this event to give businesses in the General Aviation Industry an opportunity to connect with trade visitors face-to-face to forge new relationships and strengthen old ones. With the emphasis of AERO South Africa on Business-to-Business trade only the event will be hosted from Wednesday to Friday next year. Exhibitors will benefit from the streamlined audience and it will ensure that every conversation you have is an opportunity to grow your market share.
The event features the latest in industry trends, technological advancements, regulatory changes and best practices and is, therefore, the ideal platform to introduce your products and services to the General Aviation Industry. Surround yourself with captains of industries along with multiple international aviation companies and claim your place in the industry. Call our team today to discuss your business goals and how we can help you achieve them.
SAAF to assist ATNS with air traffic control
Due to a staff shortage at the State-owned Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) company. The South African Air Force (SAAF) is to deploy Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) to civilian airports around South Africa. On 19 July a memorandum of understanding was signed by the Chief of the Air Force, Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo and the Chief Executive Officer of ATNS, Ms Nozipho Mdawe.
An internal memorandum from SAAF headquarters to the Chief Air Traffic Control Officers of its air force bases, communicated the latest developments regarding the strategic cooperation agreement as well as the subsequent new staffing opportunities that will become available to selected SAAF ATC officers. “One of the exciting new ventures of this cooperation initiative involves the sharing of human resources and human resource development responsibilities,” the memorandum states. “As a result, a new ATNS / SAAF Joint HR Strategy is now in final stages of being accepted.”
Available positions include that of Aerodrome Control Officers (ATCO2) at Upington, Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), King Shaka (Durban), Virginia (Durban), Rand (Germiston) and Bram Fischer (Bloemfontein) airports. Opportunities for Approach Control Officers (ATCO3) are at Polokwane and Kruger Mpumalanga airports.
In a briefing to the Parliamentary Transport Portfolio Committee in March this year, ATNS acknowledged that there was a 10% shortage of ATCs, particularly at Johannesburg International Airport, with staff loses of approximately 10% per year. It takes between four to four and a half years to train a new controller. A new system that is expected to alleviate the current staff pressures is due to go online in late 2023. The South African Advanced Air Traffic System (SAAATS) is designed to automate many processes, with sixteen overseas ATCs due to arrive in the country this year to allow South African ATCs the time necessary to train on the new system.
ATNS had previously recruited contract ATCs from Ireland, Britain, Uruguay and other SADC countries. It would appear that these plans are insufficient. Many retired ATNS employees have also commented that ATNS has been reluctant to re-employ South African ATCs that want to return from overseas. Whilst the SAAF has traditionally undertaken Air Traffic Management training in house at the Air Space Control School, it has also made use of the ATNS Aviation Training Academy. In recent years, some SAAF students have also received Air Traffic Management training in Cuba and Russia.
The requirement for additional training and civilian qualification of military members selected for placement at ATNS control centres is recognised by the SAAF. The memorandum clarifies that ATNS will undertake vocational assessments and any bridging training deemed necessary before validating and utilising that member at an ATNS ATSU for at least two years. The specific licencing and qualifications required by ATNS that bears responsibility when something goes wrong are other questions asked by pilots and former ATNS employees.
The first ATNS intake is planned to take place as soon as October 2023. The members will be placed under the administrative control and support of the nearest military base but will work within ATNS control environments on a daily basis. These members would also not be able to undertake any military courses or be available for military deployments. ATNS provides air traffic, navigation, training and associated services within South Africa and a large part of the Southern Indian and Atlantic Ocean, comprising approximately 6% of the world’s airspace. ATNS operates from nine State-owned airports and 12 other aerodromes nationally.
There are no planned aviation events that I know of this weekend.
There is no news to report in this edition.
Two firefighting helicopters collide in California, three people dead
Two helicopters have collided mid-air while fighting a raging blaze in Riverside County, southern California. The incident unfolded as California fire crews were responding to a building fire that had rapidly spread into the surrounding vegetation in the community of Cabazon. Several fixed-wing and rotary aircraft were involved in the operation.
For unknown reasons, a Sikorsky S-64E Skycrane heavy-lift helicopter, registration N4037S, collided with a Bell 407, registration N555AS. The Sikorsky S-64E managed to conduct a hard landing. However, the Bell 407 crashed on a rocky hillside, killing the contract pilot and two firefighters on board.
“Unfortunately, the second helicopter crashed and tragically, all three members perished,” California Fire Southern Region Chief David Fulcher said during a press conference. “Our hearts go out to the families of these brave individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice while battling the inferno to protect our communities.” In addition, the crash of the Bell 407 sparked a new wildfire around the crash site, which was later contained by firefighters.
Glider pilot bails out during aerobatic championships
On 4 August a glider pilot taking part in 2023’s World Glider Aerobatics Championships in Toru, Poland, bailed out of his imperilled aircraft and landed safely under canopy. Little is known of the incident, which occurred shortly before 19h00 Central European Summer Time (Zulu +2), excepting that it occurred whilst another nearby glider was being towed aloft by a powered aircraft. Online reports indicate the glider’s pilot, an Italian citizen, noticed a problem with controlling the aircraft after the towplane’s cable somehow entangled with his aircraft while he was in the aerobatic box, where the towplane should not have been. He elected to make an unscheduled, high-stakes egress from his aircraft at an altitude of approximately one-thousand-feet AGL. Emergency responders arrived on scene to find the glider’s wreckage on the airport apron and the pilot already in the event ambulance being precautionarily evaluated by a medical team.
Andrzej Bartosiewicz, deputy chairman of Poland’s State Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission, confirmed an accident had occurred and clarified the pilot had, indeed, landed by parachute. Formally billed the 25th FAI World Glider Aerobatic Championship / 13th FIA World Advanced Glider Aerobatic Championship, the event was organised by Aero Club Pomorski, a member-group of the Aero Club of Poland and held at the Torun airport. Competitors are required to hold a valid Glider Pilot License with an aerobatic extension issued by the individual’s home country, a valid FAI Sporting License, a valid medical certificate and valid liability insurance.
The competition was won by Poland’s Maciej Pospieszynski, who was followed up by France’s Charly Levy Louapre and Germany’s Michael Spitzer in second- and third places respectively. All three competitors flew Swift S-1 single-seat aerobatic gliders.
An aircraft manufactured by Poland’s Swift Ltd, the S-1 is among the world’s preeminent aerobatic gliders. The machine’s fiberglass-epoxy airframe is stressed to endure +10 and -10 Gs and its retractable undercarriage imparts considerable aerodynamic advantage. Superbly manoeuvrable (for a glider), the S-1, notwithstanding the 14:3 aspect ratio of its wings is capable of executing a full roll in less than four-seconds.
Cessna SkyCourier achieves Brazilian type certification
At LABACE 2023 Textron Aviation announced that Cessna’s SkyCourier utility turboprop twin has achieved type certification from the National Civil Aviation Authority of Brazil (ANAC). The approval allows for its operation in the expansive Brazilian market for regional, utility and special-mission aircraft.
Calling the SkyCourier an ideal fit for Brazil’s diverse geography, remote locales and growing demand for air transportation, Textron promotes the aircraft as ‘an unparalleled combination’ of performance, capacity and capability, positioning it as a catalyst for enhanced regional connectivity, efficient cargo transportation and reliable regional passenger operations.
The SkyCourier’s adaptability allows for what Textron characterises as seamless transitions between different mission profiles. Featuring short take-off and landing capability, the aircraft can operate from small runways, allowing it to reach remote communities and locations with limited infrastructure. Separately, the aircraft’s recently certified gravel kit option further expands the SkyCourier’s capability to operate from unimproved runways. Along with a freighter version, Textron offers high-wing turboprop in a 19-passenger variant that includes separate crew and passenger entries for smooth boarding, as well as large cabin windows for natural light and views. Both configurations offer single-point pressure refuelling to enable faster turnarounds.
Designing the SkyCourier to feature simple systems and easy access points throughout the aircraft for ease of maintenance, the aircraft’s development team also devised ways to convert the aircraft from a 19-seat passenger configuration to a cargo configuration using quick-release seats and removable bulkheads. Powered by two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC turboprop engines the SkyCourier flies to a maximum cruise speed of more than 200 knots and a 900-nm maximum range. It features a large cargo door and a flat floor cabin and the freighter variant can hold up to three LD3 shipping containers with 6,000 pounds of payload capability.
Piper M600/SLS HALO autoland approved in Canada
On 3 August Piper announced it has been awarded approval from Transport Canada’s Civil Aviation (TCAA) authorities for the M600/SLS HALO safety system, which includes Garmin Autoland and standalone autothrottle. According to Piper, “If necessary, HALO takes over the controls and guides the aircraft to the nearest runway for a precision landing.” The system can be engaged manually by a passenger with a switch on the instrument panel. Sensing that a pilot is incapacitated, it also activates automatically when the autopilot is in LVL mode for two minutes or when emergency descent mode is activated at 14,100 feet. According to Piper, the Garmin GFC 700 autopilot ‘seamlessly integrates a flight director, autopilot, automatic trim and yaw damper into the Garmin G3000 suite,’ navigating the aircraft to the nearest suitable airport for a fully automated landing, including ATC coordination / communication, engine shutdown and door opening. For existing M600/SLS aircraft already operating in Canada, a retrofit kit incorporating essential HALO components, combined with a software update, will bring the full Autoland system online.
Electric seaplane developer Jekta secures 50-strong order from India
Swiss-based company Jekta that is developing a brand new all-electric commercial seaplane, has confirmed an order for 50 PHA-ZE 100 aircraft from Indian seaplane operator, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services (MEHAIR). The deal includes deposits for the first 10 aircraft (the remaining 40 are options) to be delivered from 2029, by which time Jekta expects the PHA-ZE 100 to have completed its certification process and enter serial production. The first 10 aircraft have been ordered in the standard 19-seat configuration and are intended to fulfil regional services within India.
Mumbai-based MEHAIR has been operating seaplanes in India since 2011 and participates in the UDAN programme, an Indian government project to boost air connectivity at underserved, regional airports throughout the country by providing several subsidies and other incentives. In the context of unmitigated growth within the Indian air travel industry, with major Indian airlines ordering hundreds of aircraft to serve booming demand between major population centers, seaplanes are also expected to play a complementary role by connecting rural seaside communities as well as those located adjacent to India’s internal waterways.
Turkish Airlines dismisses a pilot for opposing ‘praying during flight’ regulations
While responding to a question on LinkedIn, in July Ahmet Bolat, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Turkish Airlines had announced the company was preparing to introduce a new regulation allowing pilots to pray in the cockpit. “First, there will be a regulation regarding those who wish to perform prayers in the cockpit and cabin. Thank you for reminding me,” Bolat responded to the LinkedIn question.
In an interview with Gazete Duvar on Saturday, the dismissed pilot how he was dismissed and Bolat’s response to his question on why he was dismissed. According to him, his co-pilot complained to management about his response during an international flight they were performing. He had said the regulation in question ‘is risky in terms of flight safety.’ The dismissed pilot continued saying he was dismissed days after that and when he approached Bolat on the reason for his dismissal, Bolat replied, ‘I do not have to give reasons, I dismiss whoever I want to.’
However, the dismissed pilot said his response to his co-pilot was made during Ramadan when said co-pilot had told him he /she was fasting during that flight to which he responded, ‘fasting during a 12-hour flight is risky.’ The first officer on the flight had three to four years of experience. They stated that they had high religious sensitivities. But in my opinion, they are not that sensitive about religion. They are someone who tries to gain a position by using religion. This person’s father is a professor of philosophy at a school in London, but I think he raised his child to be a snitch,” the dismissed pilot said.
The pilot added, “I am also a Muslim, but what we do (being a pilot) is risky. The co-pilot said to me, ‘I can pray as you go to the toilet.’ The toilet is a necessity, but you can pray after the flight.”
NASA re-establishes contact with Voyager 2
Launched in 1977, the same year a young filmmaker named George Lucas startled the world with an unlikely hit titled Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope, NASA’s Voyager programme is predicated upon two robotic interstellar probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, tasked in kind with studying the outer Solar System and the vastness of interstellar space.
The Voyagers’ launch windows took advantage of favourable alignments of the gas-giants Jupiter and Saturn, as well as the ice-giants Uranus and Neptune, to which the two probes journeyed and collected data prior to proceeding outbound, accelerating all the while, into the ineffable void beyond the Sun’s heliosphere. Both Voyagers remain in operation beyond the outer boundary of the sun’s solar winds, dutifully collecting and transmitting multiple daily hours of useful data back to their NASA masters on Earth.
On 21 July 2023, contact with Voyager 2 was lost after a programming error skewed the probe’s transceiver-array a few critical degrees away from Earth. Fortuitously, on 6 August, following a 16-day communication blackout, NASA reported contact with the spacecraft had been reestablished over a distance of some 12.3-billion miles.
NASA’s communication with Voyagers 1 and 2 is facilitated by the agency’s Deep Space Network (DSN), a worldwide aggregation of US spacecraft communication ground segment facilities spanning the United States (California), Spain (Madrid) and Australia (Canberra). In addition to supporting interplanetary spacecraft missions, DSN performs radio and radar astronomy observations conducive to the exploration of the cosmos and supports selected Earth-orbiting missions. DSN falls under the auspices of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
Had NASA teams failed to otherwise reestablish contact with Voyager 2, the probe would have remained dark until October and the auto-execution of a corrective protocol. NASA referred to its successful attempt to reorient Voyager 2 as an interstellar shout. Persisting in the metaphor, NASA’s shout, traveling at the speed-of-light, took approximately 18.5-hours to reach Voyager 2. A total of 37-hours passed between the time NASA transmitted the shout and Earth-bound controllers determined Voyager 2 had heard and heeded the command to reorient its transceiver array.
Following the so-called shout’s acknowledgement, NASA said in a statement: “At 00h29 EDT on 4 August, the spacecraft began returning science and telemetry data, indicating it is operating normally and that it remains on its expected trajectory.” Nearly fifty-years after its launch, five of Voyager 2’s sensory instruments remain operable, each using a phenomenally miserly four-watts of power annually. In April 2023, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory devised means by which to boost Voyager 2’s backup power to an extent commensurate with the probe’s remaining operational until 2026.
Switchblade flying car / bike gains more sales at Oshkosh
At the moment, the flying car has as many sceptics as believers. However, at Oshkosh last month the Samson Sky added 115 sales of the Switchblade to its order books. At about US$170 000 per street legal vehicle, the Switchblade is able to both drive on highways and take-off and fly from airports. The sales at EAA AirVenture represent nearly $22 million in value. With the added interest at Oshkosh, Samson Sky now has more than 2,400 reservations across 57 countries, including from customers in all 50 US states. Those buyers will put down a $2,000 deposit within 45 days of the announcement of Switchblade’s first flight. But about 100 have already pre-purchased the vehicle at full price to skip the queue.
“It was great to be back at AirVenture to take advantage of all the industry experts and suppliers who attend the show,” said Sam Bousfield, founder and CEO of Samson Sky and lead designer of the Switchblade. “We were able to hold several key meetings with future partners and investors that made the show an even bigger success for us.”
Bousfield and Samson Sky revealed the current iteration of the Switchblade, which has been in development for more than a decade, at Oshkosh in 2018, where it picked up over 100 reservations. Now, the design is headed for its first full flight after the company received FAA approval to begin airborne tests in June 2022. The firm describes its design as a flying sports car: the two-seat, three-wheel, street legal vehicle parks in the owner’s garage, drives on highways, taxis and takes off on an airport runway and flies like an airplane.
To get where they need to go fast, customers can drive Switchblade from home to a nearby airport, where it transforms from drive to flight mode with the push of a button. The vehicle’s retractable wings swing out, its tail unfolds and within three minutes it is ready to fly. After taking off from a runway at least 1,100 feet long, the driver-pilot can then cruise to their destination at around 160 mph (139 knots). The vehicle needs about 700 feet of runway to land, after which it transforms back to driving mode, again with the push of a button.
“The feedback we are receiving is that the Switchblade checks all the boxes for what people truly want in a flying car,” said Bousfield. “We hope a Switchblade will grace the skies and streets of your city very soon.”
With a 575-pound payload, Switchblade can fly at airspeeds of 200 mph (174 knots) and a top ground speed of 125 mph. A 200 hp, liquid-cooled, three-cylinder engine, which runs on premium gasoline and can be fuelled at a petrol station, supports a 450 miles (391 nm) range during flight. It includes state-of-the-art flight instruments as well as a high-tech dashboard for driving.
The Switchblade’s safety features include a whole-vehicle parachute, disk brakes, an optional autopilot, and a safety shell to protect against collisions akin to a Formula 1 race car. The vehicle also runs on the Skybrid safety system, which enables regenerative braking and reverse thrust that act like a drag parachute on a wet runway. Those features allow for shorter take offs and air brake assist on descent, among other capabilities.
The flying car is expected to start at $170,000, but it could also cost hundreds of hours of the owner’s time. That is because the Switchblade is being certified as an experimental category kit-built aircraft to avoid a more rigorous FAA certification path and is sold unassembled. This requires the owner / operator to have built at least 51 percent of the aircraft meaning that customers would need to spend about 2,000 hours building it entirely on their own. However, a purchase also includes access to the Samson Builder Assist Programme, which can bring the owner’s build time down to a week. Company engineers will provide training and automation for the owner’s portion of the build, preserving the 51 percent rule, then taking over the process from there.
On the ground, the Switchblade will be certified as a custom motorcycle or kit car, requiring an automobile or motorcycle license to operate it. Users will require a private pilot certificate to fly, but nonpilots can still purchase it as a car. In fact, it can be used as a flight training vehicle through the Samson flight school programme.
In addition to the Switchblade, Samson Sky is building a special edition vehicle with features designed for specific uses or climates and limited editions that allow buyers to customise features. Later models will include the ‘winterised’ Snowbird, the rugged Aurora and the multiuse Trek, each with its own unique features.
But first, the Switchblade will need to fly. A preproduction prototype rolled out for taxi testing in April 2022, a few months before it received the FAA green light for flight testing. Shortly after, the aircraft began taking short ‘hops’ from the runway at Moses Lake Municipal Airport (WA40) in Washington. That testing is expected to continue for several months.
Simultaneously, Samson Sky is gearing up for the Switchblade’s first full flight and has made some key design changes in preparation. For example, it switched from a five-blade to a seven-blade propeller and added custom transmission gears to improve thrust and rearranged its vertical fins to add control.
The company expects its Builder Assist assembly line to be up and running within 22 months of that maiden flight. Because of its experimental category classification, Switchblade needs no further certification before production can occur.
Opener Aero launches BlackFly early access programme
EAA AirVenture 2023 saw Opener Aero debut its Early Access Programme, a milestone heralding BlackFly’s market readiness and commercialisation. The programme enables participants to provide Opener Aero feedback pertaining to their individual customer experiences with the BlackFly eVTOL platform. Opener Aero CEO Ken Karklin stated: “We have a sound and novel aircraft design. Opener’s EAP establishes a two-way communication channel to inform how we address customer concerns, refine features and optimise the overall user experience. Our close partnership with early adopters is a huge step toward moving us closer to general release and fulfilling the promise of personal aerial freedom.”
BlackFly owner and inaugural EAP programme participant Tim Lum said “Flight in a BlackFly is amazing. Even though I have been in and around aircraft for years, this is my first time as an official VTOL pilot and the connection with my BlackFly goes well beyond the aircraft itself. It is all the things that Opener Aero does to assist me, from extensive flight-training to delivery and ongoing support. The level of hands-on service is off the charts.”
A pioneer in the light eVTOL sector, Opener Aero has busied itself for nearly a decade perfecting BlackFly, the company’s inaugural aircraft offering. Featuring a unique tilt-aircraft architecture, Opener’s BlackFly is designed to comply with FAA Part 103, which supports consumer recreation and short-hop travel. BlackFly may be operated in Class G airspace over uncongested areas. Moreover, the contraption may be operated by non-pilot certificated individuals. However, to ensure safe operation of its BlackFly eVTOL, Opener requires buyers and pilots thereof to undergo comprehensive flight-training. Building on the success of BlackFly and leveraging the tilt-aircraft architecture, Opener is currently developing additional manned and unmanned light eVTOL platforms for civilian and military applications.
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Red Cat subsidiary Teal Drones receives $2.6M purchase order
Last month Red Cat Holdings, Inc., a drone technology company integrating robotic hardware and software for military, government and commercial operations announced that subsidiary Teal Drones has received a $2.6 million purchase order to supply its Teal 2 sUAS to the US Defence Logistics Agency (DLA). Teal will deliver 172 units of the Teal 2 plus spare parts and training. This order was requested by US Air Force Security Forces, whose role is to defend Air Force bases and installations.
The procurement was sourced by global operations support company Noble Supply & Logistics, LLC (NOBLE) as part of the DLA’s Special Operational Equipment Tailored Logistics Support (SOE TLS) Programme. NOBLE is a DLA-designated provider for the SOE TLS Programme. This 10-year programme, capped at $33 billion, covers the delivery of logistics support to federal agencies, military bases and other DLA customers worldwide, helping them meet their SOE requirements.
Approved by the US Department of Defence as Blue UAS and available to purchase through the federal government’s GSA Advantage website, the Teal 2 is designed to Dominate the Night™ as the world’s leading sUAS for night operations. The Teal 2 is the first sUAS to be equipped with Teledyne FLIR’s new Hadron 640R sensor, providing end users with the highest resolution thermal imaging in a small form factor. The Teal 2 also features the latest intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technology, delivering time-critical information and enabling operators to make faster, smarter decisions. The system offers multi-vehicle control and artificial intelligence capabilities.
Officially launched in April, early-adopter customers for the Teal 2 have included US Customs and Border Protection, which has taken delivery of 54 systems and the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, which has purchased 10 systems for Civil Air Patrol’s North Carolina Wing.
NOBLE drives mission success with world-class products, logistics, services and training through accelerated procurement. The company’s footprint includes operation centres, distribution centres and consolidation points positioned to expedite delivery and enhance global product availability. In addition to distributing 13,000 manufacturer brands, NOBLE offers specialised technical and training services for customers. The company’s capabilities include supply and support for Aerospace, C5ISR, CBRNE, Expeditionary, MRO and Tactical requirements. NOBLE uses an established supply chain, existing vendor relationships and a vast catalogue to lower costs and increase selection and availability. As a result, NOBLE reduces the cost of readiness while maintaining the ability to respond rapidly to today’s challenges.
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