“We cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure. Honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public. Unless a man is honest, we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity.” Theodore Roosevelt
BE20 Question: When the Auto ignition is in the ARM position, the ignition is:
b. Continuous only when Torque is greater than 400 foot-pounds.
b. Continuous only when Torque is greater than 400 foot-pounds.
African Pilot’s October 2020 edition
The amazing October edition of African Pilot was completed in the final week of September and has been fully distributed. This edition of African Pilot features Aircraft Maintenance Organisations (AMOs) and Aircraft Refurbishment. This edition has been tailormade to be read on any laptop computer or any other electronic device such as your smart phone, iPad or desktop computer.
African Pilot’s September edition was the first utilising the new 3D software that greatly enhances your reading experience. Within that edition African Pilot became an international aviation magazine publishing on an international stage and not just an African aviation magazine.
This October edition, with 48 illustrated articles is available to anyone throughout the world FREE of charge, whilst this magazine has set the standard for digital publishing, not just in South Africa, but throughout the world. At 224 pages this edition has 24 embedded videos and 12 embedded picture galleries. Several of the videos were created by the African Pilot team, which again sets this magazine apart from ALL other aviation publications, especially South African aviation publications.
Advertisers can now see the benefits of marketing their products and services to a vast international aviation audience including short videos, picture galleries and actual virtual shops, 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 purchased the latest software to provide digital enhancement to any advertiser anywhere in the world. At the same time African Pilot is also the only aviation magazine that is easy to read on any digital smart device, because our team understands the importance of ensuring the ease of use in this ‘new normal’ digital age. It is now quite obvious that ALL the other aviation publications are copying what African Pilot has pioneered, but this was to be expected. At least African Pilot publishes correct aviation information such as the calendar of events on a regular basis.
African Pilot’s November 2020 edition
As we get closer to the end of this year, the November edition will feature ‘Gifts for Pilots’ as well as international news about all aspects and developments in aviation.
The material deadline for the November edition is on Wednesday 21 October 2020.
For advertising opportunities please contact Adrian Munro at e-mail: email@example.com or Cell: 079 880 4359. All editorial material should be sent to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About African Pilot
There is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall aviation media reach in Africa.
We are positioned 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.
The monthly magazine is available as a digital edition where ALL advertisers 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 or tap on any smart phone device.
Then of course this APAnews service has been part of African Pilot’s line-up since the inception of the magazine 20 years ago.
Do you want instant aviation news and opinions?
Visit www.APAcom.co.za and register yourself as a user
View and download African Pilot’s last three (3) 2020 editions.
Click on the covers below.
Video of the week:
Performed in Budapest in 2014. I doubt that anything like this held in the US would have disallowed it. Great restored B25 and helicopters doing things they should not be able to.
Launch of Wouter Botes’ e-book ‘Flights to Nowhere’
Wouter Botes’ E-book on Flight to Nowhere is available by visiting www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the button provided on the home page. We have provided an option for payment of R60 per download on the page.
AERO South Africa news
Take your business to NEW HEIGHTS this August at the one-stop business to business platform. The platform will be active for 12 months, allowing you to market your products and services to a targeted global General Aviation market and engage with visitors and other exhibitors on the portal. Want to book your booth on the AERO South Africa Virtual Marketplace or simply find out more? Contact one of our team members below to take your business to new heights.
African Pilot’s picture of the week
Something exciting for African Pilot’s readers to enjoy is the launch of the ‘Picture of the Week’. Please send any aviation related picture to me at: email@example.com at a resolution of at least 500 Kb. There is no payment or prize offered, just editorial recognition. However, all photographs submitted will be considered for the ‘Picture of the Month’ within the monthly magazine and I will be looking for a sponsor to cover the cost of a monthly fee.
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
How FlySafair’s new aircraft and travel demand may reduce fares
FlySafair revealed that their new aircraft ‘will help to increase capacity and hopefully push fares down a bit.’ The company welcomed the Boeing 737-800 Next-Generation aircraft, which touched down at OR Tambo International Airport on Thursday 1 October, whilst a second aircraft is due later this month.
FlySafair revealed the airline has been increasing capacity since restarting operations in June this year. These new arrivals will allow to increase capacity as demand for local travel grows.
FlySafair’s Kirby Gordon said the new aircraft, already painted in the company colours, will begin operations as soon as registration requirements are processed by the South African Civil Aviation Authority. “Now is a great time to look to expand your fleet, if you are in a position to do so because with the industry being where it is, there are plenty of aircraft up for grabs at very reasonable prices,” said Gordon.
According to The Center for Aviation (CAPA), capacity in South Africa is down about 70 percent from this time last year and that upwards of 74 percent of the seats available on the local market is being operated by FlySafair. Last week the International Air Transport Association (IATA), published new statistics that indicated that 4.5 million African jobs will be lost in aviation and aviation-related industries thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. This accounts for well over half of the 7.7 million jobs in the sector.
“It was important to us that we got our operations going as soon as it was feasible to do so, especially as it was clear that there was not going to be any state support for our sector. We are also in the fortunate position where we perform all our own maintenance, so there is no reliance on possibly unstable third parties in that regard,” he said.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Aero Club of South Africa centenary celebration
Hosted by the Balloon and Airship Federation of South Africa at Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris venue in Skeerpoort, Magaliesburg on Saturday 10 October. It was an early morning departure from home for the one hour travelling time to reach the venue by 06h30. The assembled group represented most of the sections of the AeCSA, but it was great to meet up with Bill Harrop and Terry Adams (Flamboyant Balloons) who is considered as the ‘father of ballooning in South Africa’. Richard Bovell, chairman of the BAFSA addressed the gathered group of dignitaries before proceedings started. Once the tethered balloon rose into the air the South African national anthem was played to the delight of all gathered close to the action.
On completion of the demonstration, we enjoyed a traditional South African breakfast compliments of the AeCSA. This was an opportunity to meet many friends, who we have not seen during the months of COVID-19 lockdown. The wonderful weather afforded everyone the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air in the countryside whilst catching up with the news within the sport aviation sector. The AeCSA had the Centenary book available at R300 each for the soft cover and of course I purchased a copy. A big thank you to everyone involved, especially the staff members of Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris for your terrific hospitality. More on this exciting morning in the sun with a video and pictures in the November edition of African Pilot.
Aero Club of South Africa’s Centenary Yearbook
Produced by John Illsley who is the second master at Pretoria Boys’ High School (I spent five happy years at PBHS), the AeCSA is taking pre-orders for the Centenary Yearbook, to assess the demand for a print run. It will be in the form of a hard and soft cover version as well as a limited-edition leather-bound book on request. Details of the book are available on the AeCSA Website.
Indicative Pricing: – Hard Cover Book – R 400 – Soft Cover Book – R 300 – Leather Bound Book – add +/- R 200 for Novalite & R 500 for Leather. Delivery options are collected at the Rand Airport AeCSA office, or door to door courier service anywhere in South Africa. Courier costs will range between R 100 to R 130 per book dependent on location. Volume purchases are also available should this be required. Once you have registered for a pre-order and the print run is complete, the AeCSA will send an invoice for payment, which once received will have the book dispatched.
To get your pre-order secured, please go to this link. Centenary Yearbook Order form:
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/
What is scheduled for the next few months?
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
We will publish the aviation calendar within APAnews three months ahead, but you can always visit African Pilot’s website: www.africanpilot.co.za if you would like to obtain the full calendar for the entire year.
AERO South Africa cleared for take-off
Theme: A pilot’s guide to returning to flying
Date: Thursday, 15 October 2020
With lockdown levels in South Africa becoming less restrictive and the resumption of international flights, Mayday-SA and the AERO South Africa Virtual Marketplace proudly present this webinar.
Join Paul Dickens for a presentation and discussion on preparing pilots to return safely and effectively to flying post-pandemic. It is definitely not just a case of turning up for a flight and starting the engines! This webinar is aimed at giving all pilots, whether general aviation, recreational or airline operations, information on how to return to flying after the long break of lockdown.
Paul Dickens is one of only 11 accredited Aviation Psychologists in the UK. He is a member of the British Psychological Society’s expert working group on Aviation psychology, the ICAO Mental Health Working Group, and is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Sling Aircraft breakfast fly-in
Contact Shanelle McKechnie Cell: 066 224 2128
Now that South Africa is at COVID-19 alert level 1, Sling Aircraft is thrilled to announce the first Sling Aircraft breakfast fly-in of 2020 is finally upon us! From 07h00 to 11h30, Sling’s breakfast fly-in will be held at the Tedderfield Airpark, 23 Nettleton Road, Eikenhof (FATA). At just R100 per person paid on arrival, bring your mask, bring your buddy, relish in a scrumptious breakfast, shop Sling branded merchandise from our Sling Store, enjoy a factory tour and possibly even a sneak peek the new Sling high wing! In addition, a spot landing competition will be held on arrival between 07h00 and 08h00. Of course, spots are limited due to COVID-19 regulations so, if you would like to experience the Sling lifestyle for yourself, RSVP by Wednesday, 14 October in order to avoid disappointment. Fly, drive, walk or bike, you will not be disappointed.
24 and 25 October
SAC North West Regionals TBC
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
26 to 28 October
Airport Show, Airport Security and ATC Forum DWTC, Dubai
Registration is now open for Airport Show, Airport Security and ATC
Forum. FREE registration: https://bit.ly/2SnJ33S
SAPFA spot landing training camp at Brakpan Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser Cell: 082 855 9435
Krugersdorp Flying Club breakfast fly-in
Refer to website www.fakr.co.za WhatsApp to 079 213 9059
EAA Chapter 322 AGM Venue TBA
Contact Neil Bowden Cell: 084 674 5674 E-mail: email@example.com
CAASA AGM to be a virtual meeting from 11h00
Contact Sam Keddle E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 011 659 2345
13 to 16 November
Battlefields now in Mossel bay fly-in view poster for details
Contact E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 446 9916 or 082 875 5419
27 and 28 November
SAPFA Speed Rally at Springs airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082855 9435
Aero Club of South Africa annual awards at Rand Airport
Contact Sandra Strydom e-mail: email@example.com Tel: 011 082 1100
5 and 6 December
SAC Ace of Base TBC
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
As further dates are sent to me, I will continue to update the aviation calendar
I have started preparing the 2021 calendar with assistance from Air Show South Africa and the various sections of the Aero Club of South Africa. Please send me your planned aviation event fixtures for next year so that I may accommodate them on the calendar. Thank you.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
SAA Technical reinstates its services
South African Airways’ maintenance arm, SAA Technical, has started reinstating its services after it had suspended them to four customers due to outstanding payments. However, the airline has said it has now reached an agreement with South African Airways and low-cost carrier Mango Airlines. SAA Technical reinstates its services after suspension. SAA Technical chief executive Adam Voss said: “The decision we took to suspend services to our customers was not taken lightly.” He added that the company is seeking “resolution and settlement” on the issue.
Airlink adds more services in Africa
Airlink will commence services to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique. Airlink’s re-introduced regional flight schedule will be phased in commencing from 5 October 2020. Services will also be increased in South Africa from the major cities including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein and Nelspruit, as well as regional destinations such as Harare, Lusaka, and Maputo.
Starlite Aviation Training Academy purchase AL250
ALSIM has announced the sale of an AL250 to Starlite Aviation Training Academy, based in Durban and Mossel Bay, South Africa. The ATO decided to choose ALSIM’s solutions to respond to the growing demand for single and multi-engine instrument simulator training at their campus in Durban. “After looking at various options, the options of simulating analogue or glass cockpit at the touch of a button, the instrument and in R/Nav capability and various other aspects like the fact that it fully also satisfies EASA and FAA certification requirements, played a big role in our choice of selecting the AL250.” explains Klara Fouché, managing director. “We are extremely satisfied with our decision to purchase the AL250 and look forward to a long-standing relationship with ALSIM” concluded Klara Fouché, elated with the investment Starlite has made in this exceptional piece of technology. The AL250 simulator addresses initial phase training needs (PPL, CPL, IR/ME) and offers both classic and glass cockpit instrumentation for each flight model at the simple flick of a switch. This device has been extremely well received since its creation and more than 65 of these have already been installed and are in successful operation worldwide.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
Vehicle drives onto runway while plane is landing
The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped Piper PA-16 reported that, while on final approach to the airport in Manchester, West Virginia, he noticed a vehicle stopped short of the runway on a road that intersected the runway. After touchdown, while taxiing and about 40 feet from the intersection, the vehicle slowly drove onto the runway. The pilot veered left to avoid the vehicle and the airplane exited the runway to the left. The plane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and firewall. The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. He added that he assumed that the driver could see the landing airplane.
Dead mouse leads to loss of engine power on take-off
Shortly after take-off for the cross-country, personal flight, the Piper PA28’s engine suddenly lost partial power. The pilot made a forced landing to a corn field near New Market, Virginia. During that landing, the left main landing gear penetrated the left wing and separated from the airplane, the nose landing gear collapsed and the firewall and engine mount sustained substantial damage. Post-accident examination of the engine did not reveal evidence of any pre-accident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The carburettor exhibited no external damage. However, when the air box and alternate air control were removed, a dead mouse fell out of the intake manifold.
NTSB preliminary report: Piper PA28R
On 1 August 2020, a Piper PA-28R-201 airplane, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Seiling Airport (1S4), Seiling, Oklahoma. The pilot and three passengers were not injured. In a statement from the pilot, he reported that he arrived with the same three passengers earlier that day for a rodeo event. After the rodeo, they returned to the airplane about 0100 and prepared to depart. The pilot confirmed that the take-off weight was 2,622.8 lbs (maximum take-off weight is 2,750 lbs) and about 25 to 26 gallons of fuel onboard. He calculated that the airplane required 1,700 to 1,800 feet for take-off from the 2,435-foot-long runway and elected not to perform a short field departure.
He added that he ‘still made the decision to spare every inch of runway’ when taxiing the airplane into position at the end of the runway. Prior to take-off the pilot held the brakes and applied the throttle, mixture, and propeller controls full forward. ‘When the engine was up to speed’ he let off the brakes and began the take-off roll. He reported that during the take-off roll, he noticed a sound and vibration from the engine, so he aborted the take-off. He was unable to stop the airplane and it continued off the end of the runway, over a road and into trees.
The airplane was equipped with an Electronics International Inc. MVP-50P engine monitor, which records engine data. The unit will be downloaded, and the data analysed. The airplane has been retained for further examination.
NTSB preliminary report: Piper PA46
The pilot was performing a straight-in approach to runway 35R and the approach was ‘bumpy’ due to winds and terrain. She reported that about touchdown, a ‘severe wind event caused what felt like a potential upset.’ The pilot felt the left wing lift up and an uncommanded downturn to the right. She applied full power to bank left and climb, but the airplane did not climb. The left-wing tip scraped the runway and the airplane was forced to the right. Before the pilot was able to regain control, the airplane impacted a taxiway sign and several runway lights. The airplane then landed and taxied to the ramp. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the rear wing spar and wing root. The pilot reported there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.
NTSB preliminary report: Cessna 172
On 13 September 2020, a Cessna 172I airplane, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Cottage Grove, Minnesota. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Radar data showed the airplane depart SGS at 14h28, climbing to about 1,800 feet mean sea level and proceed southbound before it turned southeast bound over Upper Grey Cloud Island. At 14h32, over Lower Grey Cloud Island, the target disappeared. Another airplane, inbound for landing at SGS, captured N8488L in a video and still photographs as it descended. Examination of the photographs indicated the airplane appeared to be intact. Some wreckage was located and recovered on 14 September 2020. The majority of the wreckage (about 90 percent) was recovered on 19 September 2020. The wreckage has been taken to a secure location where it will be further examined.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Can aviation turn to automation as growth rebounds?
· The aviation industry has a projection of 40,000 new aircraft including planes, helicopters, air taxis and unmanned aerial vehicles in the next 20 years
· An effective doubling of production rates is required to meet commercial aviation needs alone
· Industry 4.0 and its promise to deliver greater productivity and quality may help to boost aviation production
Few events in modern history have upset manufacturing, wholesale, as much as COVID-19. With the virus having disrupted internal supply chains or, in some cases, laying on demand for certain goods, organisations of all sizes which rely on production, warehousing and logistics are in discussions around how they can enact damage limitation and ensure businesses are able to tick over, both until the crisis resolves and long after. These discussions may well lead to a wider pool of businesses to consider the benefits of automation technologies and robotics.
Automation in aviation
One industry humbled significantly by the pandemic is aviation. From record low passenger numbers to 14-day quarantines, pre-flight COVID testing to re-routes in flight paths, travel and aviation has had a tumultuous year. An effective doubling of production rates is required to meet commercial aviation needs alone. In addition to commercial planes, the military is exploring avenues for unmanned aircraft to be produced in the thousands, while air taxis have been pegged as the ‘future of travel.’ The only way to satisfy that projected need is through increased automation, especially if the demand for flights resume to previous levels before restrictions were put in place.
Manual labour in the aviation industry, unlike many other sectors is common due to a lack of feasible alternative manufacturing processes. According to Deloitte, meanwhile, a shortage of skilled employees has been causing an increasing challenge even before the pandemic, with a possible 2.4 million manufacturing unfilled jobs by 2028. Add in the COVID-19 factor and some companies are simply unable to find people to fill these positions or cannot hire them due to restrictions.
While there are certain automated measures available including projecting instructions for assembly onto workstations and for automated sealant, fastening, marking and material handling processes, researchers are still busy trying to understand how to automate more other manufacturing processes.
At the end of last year, in Hamburg, Germany, Airbus implemented its A320 Family fuselage structure highly automated assembly line. The new facility has 20 robots, a new logistics concept, automated positioning by laser measurement, as well as a digital data acquisition system. In addition to the use of robots, Airbus has also implemented new methods and technologies to optimise production, improve ergonomics and shorten lead times with the help of autonomous guided vehicles.
However, going in the opposite direction, Boeing ended a four-year automation effort at its Everett, Washington factory using robotic arms to insert fasteners on two main fuselage sections of its 777 jetliners and the 777X and instead opted for manual insertion by skilled mechanics. Boeing’s first foray into robotics, was not wasted and has been a lesson learned in design for automation. Its new method creates less wear and tear on workers by pushing one of the most demanding tasks of drilling holes through metal on to machines developed by Electro Impact.
Boeing to sell more 737 MAX for Alaska Airlines?
Reuters reported last week that Boeing is in talks with Alaska Airlines, a major American airline, to sell more 737 MAXs after the aircraft recertification. While more details of negotiations among the manufacturer and the airline are not made public, the exact size of the new potential 737 MAX order is not clear yet. According to Boeing 737 MAX order list, Alaska Airlines aimed to purchase a total of 32 aircraft in 2012. However, none of the jets were delivered since that time due to two fatal Boeing 737 MAX aircraft crashes in 2018 and in 2019, after which the aircraft was grounded.
If negotiations succeeded, a new order of the Boeing 737 MAX by Alaska Airlines would potentially give the manufacturer a notable boost in the company’s finances. If the agreement on a new order would be reached, it is likely that Boeing would grant the airline a significant discount. While the authorities worldwide continue working on the 737 MAX recertification process, discussions among other airlines should help Boeing to stimulate a future demand for the grounded jet when it is allowed to return to the skies. The manufacturer is also in talks with Ryanair, the Irish budget airline, over the compensation for delays in MAX deliveries as well as the potential new deal. Boeing hopes to return the 737 MAX to service and resume the jet deliveries by the end of 2020.
FAA issues new training procedures for 737 MAX pilots
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a draft report on revised training procedures for Boeing 737 MAX pilots, moving the grounded jet a step further in the recertification process. The report includes the recommendations from the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) that was composed of the civil aviation authorities of the United States, Canada, Brazil and the European Union. The draft training report includes protocols that should help the MAX pilots to properly respond to inputs from the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The protocols outline that pilots must undergo a new flight simulator training during which they must experience the conditions of MCAS failure and activation. MCAS, which was designed to automatically push the jet nose down to stabilise it, was identified as a key factor in two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft crashes in 2018 and in 2019.
In the draft document, the FAA also states that pilots must be trained to act under the condition when horizontal stabiliser moves without a pilot command as well as familiarise the procedures of using electric and manual stabiliser trim during abnormal conditions. The protocols also include pilot training of erroneous high angle-of-attack (AOA) malfunctions. The FAA will be accepting public comments to the Flight Standardisation Board report until 2 November 2020. Following the comments, the authority will issue the final training recommendations for the Boeing 737 MAX pilots.
Airbus unveils ACJ TwoTwenty
Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) introduced its new ACJ TwoTwenty business jet on Tuesday. According to the company, the TwoTwenty will offer a lower operating cost than competitors, flexible cabin catalogue with 785 square feet of cabin floor space and range of 5,650 NM. The model, which is based on Airbus’ A220-100, is currently expected to enter service in early 2023. The first 15 TwoTwenty cabins will be outfitted by Switzerland-based ACJ partner Comlux at its completion center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Comlux is also the launch customer for the jet, announcing that it has placed an order for two aircraft. An additional four TwoTwenty jets have been ordered by undisclosed customers.
First serial Ilyushin Il-112V aircraft to be delivered in 2023
The Russian Aerospace Forces will receive the two prototypes of the Ilyushin Il-112V cargo plane in 2021, while the first production units should arrive two years later. The new twin-engine turboprop should eventually replace the Soviet-era An-24 and An-26 transport aircraft. The Russian Ministry of Defence will be in charge of checking that the new aircraft is well suited to their needs. The Il-112V is the first cargo plane entirely designed by the Russians since the fall of the USSR. It is powered by two UEC Klimov TV-117ST of 3,600 horsepower. The engine is a derivative of the TV7-117V powering the Mi-38 military helicopter. It can carry up to five tonnes of cargo and be configured for airdrop, personnel transport and parachuting, and medical evacuation. Given that the aircraft is due to replace a large and varied number of Soviet-era transport planes by 2030, Manturov said the assembly line could reach an output of 15 Il-112V assembled yearly. Russia also intends to export the plane.
Turkish F-16 deployment in Azerbaijan proved by satellite imagery
Satellite photographs taken on 3 October 2020, confirmed that two F-16 fighter jets and what resembles a CASA CN-235 transport plane were stationed on the tarmac of the Azerbaijani base in Ganja, located about 80 km from Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azerbaijani Air Force operates neither F-16 fighter jets nor CN-235 transport planes. It is likely that the jets were brought to Ganja during the ‘TurAz Qartali-2020’ joint exercise that took place in July 2020, after another series of border incidents between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
On 29 September 2020, the Ministry of Defence of Armenia claimed that a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Su-25 attack aircraft. Several aircraft took off from the Azerbaijani Air Force base in Ganja International Airport (KVD), western Azerbaijan, to ‘support the actions of Azerbaijani aviation and drones that were striking the settlements of Vardenis, Mets Masrik and Sotk in Armenia,’ the press secretary of the Armenian Minister of Defence Shushan Stepanyan said. An Armenian Su-25 attack aircraft, which was supporting the Armenian air defence at the time, was allegedly shot down by one of the Turkish F-16 fighter jets. The office of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied the allegation. “The Armenian claim is false”, declared presidential aide Fahrettin Altun.
If the presence of Turkish F-16s in Ganja now seems likely, their involvement in the fighting that raged between the Azerbaijani army and that of Nagorno-Karabakh is not proven. ‘The F-16s have been there as a deterrent against any Armenian attacks on civilian populations and military installations within Azerbaijan,’ sources told the Middle East Eye.
However, what was confirmed was the use of Turkish drones against Armenian targets. On 27 September 2020, as the fights erupted, a video released by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence showing airstrikes on several defence positions led to the suspicion that Turkey could be actively helping its neighbour. Indeed, the footage seems to have been shot from a Bayraktar TB2, as the interface suggests.
On 5 October 2020, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev confirmed that the drones used were of Turkish conception in an interview with the TRT Haber. “Thanks to advanced Turkish drones owned by the Azerbaijan military, our casualties on the front shrunk,” Aliyev said. Although the president did not specify the nationality of operators, no acquisition of the TB2 was finalised at this point. In June 2020, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry voiced its intention to procure some of the drones from its ally, but it seems unlikely that they could have been built and that Azerbaijani operators trained in such a short amount of time.
Airbus delivers A320 Family MSN10,000 to Middle East Airlines
On 9 October Middle East Airlines (MEA) took delivery of Airbus’ A320 Family aircraft with manufacturer serial number 10,000. MSN10,000 is the third A321neo to join the all Airbus MEA fleet, taking the fleet size to 18 aircraft. MEA received its first A321neo aircraft earlier in 2020 and will be taking another six A321neos over the coming months. The airline’s A321neo is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan engines and is configured in a comfortable two-class layout with 28 seats in Business and 132 seats in Economy Class. It is also equipped with the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and high-speed connectivity. Incorporating the latest engines, aerodynamic advances and cabin innovations, the A321neo offers a reduction in fuel consumption of 20% as well as a 50% noise reduction.
F-16 rebadged as F-21 for India
An F-16 by any other name is apparently an F-21 if it is being sold to India. Lockheed Martin is pitching a partly made-in-India version of the Viper that will carry the different numerical designation. For the record, Lockheed Martin says the V-21 will have a custom weapons system developed for India, a long-range infrared search and track system, a triple missile launcher system that increases weapons payload by 40 percent and a fairing that allows for additional equipment in the future. Lockheed Martin is hoping to sell 100 F-21s to India and has hinted it might be a path toward India getting access to the F-35. For decades Lockheed Martin has been working to break India’s preference for Russian and French designs and the fighter deal would break that market wide open. Two years ago, the company started making F-16 wings in Hyderabad and Lockheed Martin has pledged to expand F-16 / F-21 work if it gets the contract. It has also promised that the F-21 will be sold only to India. India’s frontline fighters now include the Dassault Rafale and the Indian-built Tejas and ‘will fill a critical operational gap for the Indian Air Force’, according to Lockheed Martin.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
uAvionix wins patent for drone remote identification
uAvionix has been granted a new patent for remote identification of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Company officials say this technology is ‘critical to (the) safe and secure integration of UAS into National Airspace System.’ The patent, Direct-Broadcast Remote Identification (RID) Device for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, addresses the need for direct air-to-air transmission of UAS identification information without requiring intermediary infrastructure such as cellular, satellite, or internet connectivity, company officials explain.
UAS RID functionality is one of three technologies, along with command and control (C2) and Detect and Avoid (DAA), ‘critical to enabling safe and secure UAS operations over people and beyond visual line of sight,’ company officials said. ‘RID has often been referred to as the digital license plate which protects the operator’s anonymity from the public while simultaneously providing for accountability to the regulator and authorities,’ officials said in a press release. ‘This is accomplished by transmission of position information and registration information of both the aircraft and the remote pilot. While transmission of this data can be accomplished over mobile networks, air-to-air broadcast functionality is critical for delivery of this information in rural areas and as an aid to DAA.’
The FAA is expected to publish its final RID rule by the end of 2020. In its draft Notice of Public Rulemaking (NPRM), the FAA requires broadcast RID capability to be a component of the ‘Standard’ RID type, which is required for any UAS that flies greater than 400 feet in any direction from the control station.
AeroVironment completes Sunglider Solar HAPS Stratospheric test flight
AeroVironment has announced the Sunglider solar-powered high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) achieved key test milestones, including reaching an altitude of more than 60,000 feet above sea level and successfully demonstrating mobile broadband communication. During the test flight, which began at 05h16 MDT on 21 September and concluded at 01h32 MDT on 22 September, the AeroVironment team piloted Sunglider to a stratospheric altitude of 62,500 feet above Spaceport America in New Mexico. Sunglider successfully achieved major test objectives relating to propulsion, power systems, flight control, navigation and datalink integrity, as well as structural performance during the most turbulent phases of the flight as it entered and exited the jet stream.
The broadband communication demonstration successfully linked teams in Tokyo, Spaceport America and Silicon Valley using an LTE payload jointly developed by Alphabet’s Loon LLC and HAPSMobile. Employing standard LTE smartphones, a team at Spaceport America conducted multiple video calls via the Sunglider’s payload while the aircraft circled for more than five hours in the stratosphere.
“In less than three years AeroVironment and HAPSMobile have made incredible progress, developing two Sunglider solar HAPS unmanned aircraft and performing five consecutive flight demonstrations, culminating in this latest significant milestone,” said Wahid Nawabi, president and chief executive officer of AeroVironment.
The Sunglider, a solar-powered HAPS, has a wingspan of 262 feet and is propelled by 10 electric motors powered by solar panels covering the surface of the wing and rechargeable battery packs, resulting in zero emissions. Flying at an altitude of approximately 65,000 feet above sea level and above the clouds, the Sunglider can carry payloads weighing as much as 150 pounds and is designed for continuous, extended missions of months without landing.
DroneSeed earns FAA approval for post-wildfire reforestation
DroneSeed reports that the FAA has approved its heavy-lift drone swarms for operation Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) and given the company the go-ahead to expand its use of heavy-lift drone swarms for reforestation to California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. The FAA’s approval allows DroneSeed to begin reforesting in California once a fire is contained and airspace is clear. The company will select specific sites affected by fires later this month and is receiving information from impacted forest managers via DroneSeed. Once sites are selected, DroneSeed will manufacture seed vessels with native Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine.
The approval from the FAA is a first for the agency, as each of DroneSeed’s aircraft carry a 57-pound payload and operate in swarms of up to five aircraft. This is the third precedent-setting FAA approval the company has earned, a significant achievement for the start-up. DroneSeed is the only company in the United States legally approved to operate with heavy-lift drone swarms. DroneSeed has developed the capability to reforest after wildfires within 60 days. The company, which utilises drone swarms to fly over rough terrain, boosts seed establishment rates with patented seed vessels. This rapid response avoids adding more reforestation debt to the increasing national backlog of forests that are not re-establishing due to the size and severity of wildfires. The speed also reduces forest manager weed removal costs of invasive species that grow over the two to three-year period while nursery trees grow.
In addition to California, DroneSeed is currently fielding inquiries and actively selecting sites for reforestation for multiple fires in Oregon and Washington. Individuals, businesses and organisations with forests affected by fires can send information about their land and the fire impact via DroneSeed’s website.
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Until Thursday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)