“They say it is better to be poor and happy than to be rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?” Princess Dianna
African Pilot’s November 2020 edition
As we get closer to the end of this year, the November edition features ‘Gifts for Pilots’ as well as many international newsworthy aspects and developments in aviation. The November edition is complete and once again I would like to thank our valuable advertisers for their support, because the only way that any magazine exists these days is through advertising expenditure. The November edition of African Pilot is the third magazine where we have used the new 3D software to publish a superb digital magazine.
This bumper edition consisting of 252 pages, has 53 illustrated articles, 16 videos and nine picture galleries embedded within the magazine. This is yet another record for African Pilot showing that the ‘new normal’ digital method of publishing has placed African Pilot onto the world aviation map. Therefore, whilst our small team continues to innovate within the digital space, other aviation magazines and weekly newsletters have been left behind.
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 attempting to copy what African Pilot has pioneered, but this was to be expected. However, at least African Pilot publishes correct aviation information such as the calendar of events on a regular basis.
African Pilot’s December 2020 edition
The December edition will feature Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Drones, Flying Cars and Urban Conectivity. These subjects have fascinated me over the past few years as more ambitious projects come to market. There is no doubt that our future world will be highly connected and far more robotic that ever before as mankind explores opportunities to improve service delivery.
The material deadline for the December edition is on Wednesday 18 November 2020. All editorial content should be sent to me Athol Franz e-mail: email@example.com.
For advertising positions please contact Adrian Munro
Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture of the Week
Photo by Myles Gray – Pambele Aviation’s King Air 200 (ZS-SWR) taken during sunrise at OR Tambo on the 27th of October 2020.
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.
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.
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/
Video of the week:
Launch of the Lincoln Aviator
The Lincoln Aviation was launched at the historical PMB Aero Club on Wednesday 21 October 2020 by husband and wife team Ken and Monica Phillips. This was the launch of the world’s first high flying adventure package, combining five flying genres as well as ziplining. Keynote speaker Captain Karl Jensen started his flying career with the SAAF in 1962 and in 1968 joined SAA. Karl’s achievements include co-recipient of the President’s Trophy Air Race 1st place, the SACAA Pilot of the Year Award, world record holder for speed over a commercial air route, Aero Club Gold Wings and the Dennis Jankelow Airmanship Trophy.
If flying is your passion and adventure your thing then Lincoln Aviator’s highflying adventures in Africa is what you have always dreamed about. Conceptualised by Lincoln Aviator CEO Ken Phillips, a private pilot and long-standing member of the PMB Aero Club, the Lincoln Aviator will make your dreams come true, when you take to the KwaZulu Natal South African skies. Unique packages combine never ending exhilaration, delectable dining, hidden heritage exploration, sunrise splendour and sunset safaris with a world first, the ‘Big-Five’ light aircraft, helicopter, glider, hot-air ballooning and microlight flights plus a ziplining experience is an investment in an unforgettable experience.
The flying component of the packages include the following:
- Aviation adventure – conventional flying where the Pietermaritzburg Aero Club offers an opportunity to actually experience being in control of the flight movements of an aeroplane while being air born. Your instructor will guide you and show you how to fly the Cessna 172. Chief Flying Instructor, Telani Lithgow who will be keeping a watchful eye on your Flying training.
- Aviation adventure – No aerial experience would be complete without a flight in a versatile Microlight aircraft. This adventure is offered at Umkomaas Airfield courtesy of the World of Wings Microlight Flying club. Apart from flying up the Umkomaas river valley, you will experience some exhilarating wave top height flying!
- After the Microlight adventure, you are transported to Virginia Airport and fly via Helicopter to Phezulu Cultural Village at Botha’s Hill, to enjoy a game drive and Zulu Dancing.
- Aviation adventure flying in a Glider is offered at Howick Flying Club situated close to the Midmar Dam. The person responsible for this is Tex Impey, a very experienced Glider Instructor. Gliding experience consists of either being towed up to altitude on flown up using their motorised Glider. Once at altitude your Glider is free to soar and go in search for thermals.
- Aviation Adventure Hot air ballooning is another exciting opportunity to experience being aloft. Hot Air Ballooning SA offers this adventure. Instructor, Warwick Cook, World Champion Hot Air balloonist with more than 25 years of Hot Air Ballooning experience behind him, is the man. The Balloon adventure takes place either near Eston or at Nottingham Road depending on the prevailing weather. Balloon inflated 30 minutes after sunrise and released for an hour-long flight.
- Ground based aviation adventure Kai Schultz, owner Karkloof Canopy Tours, a World Class Zip Line adventure experience, based in the Karkloof valley and his staff ensure an unforgettable day. Although not strictly flying, ziplining if never experienced before guarantees heart stopping excitement and an adrenalin rush like no other
For more information please contact:
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Aerotel at Zandspruit
Christine and I spent the weekend at Zandspruit in Hoedspruit photographing and videoing the new Aerotel Boeing 737-200 that Martin den Dunnen and Tracy Den Dunnen have turned into a beautiful six room hotel. This project started about 18 months ago when the Boeing was disassembled at OR Tambo International Airport and transported on several large trucks to Zandspruit. The pictures show the beautiful finishes that complement the beautiful bush surroundings. Aerotel is now open for guests and this will be a feature within the December 2020 edition of African Pilot. Thank you to Martin and Tracy for saving this delightful 39-year-old Boeing 737 from what could only have been the scrapyard.
Comair closer to take off as it reaches two major milestones in the business rescue process
Comair’s business rescue process navigated past two important milestones this week as the investors secured the required credit approval from various lenders of debt funding, as well as approval from various regulators necessary for their investment in Comair to proceed. Among the suspensive conditions in the Comair business rescue plan were the requirements to reach a collective agreement with trade unions representing 50% + one employees and for the investors to secure credit approval from various commercial lenders for new debt funding and the deferral of repayments on existing debt.
The first of these was met late last month. The second was achieved earlier this week when various lenders confirmed they would provide the requisite new debt and that capital and interest repayments in respect of existing debt would be deferred for certain agreed periods.
Comair also welcomed the Competition Commission’s approval of SA Bidco’s proposed merger with Comair resulting in its acquisition of the business, with certain conditions. These include that, after the current retrenchment process is concluded, Comair may not initiate further retrenchments as a result of the merger for three years from the flying start date, unless retrenchments are lawfully effected for operational requirements unrelated to the merger. Employees who are forcibly retrenched within the current process will have a recall period of three years should jobs become available and these employees be suitably qualified for the roles.
Richard Ferguson, one of the business rescue practitioners said that the focus is now on ensuring the remaining conditions are met so the investment can proceed and become unconditional before the end of November 2020. “We have a reached some major milestones in the business rescue process this week and we are making good progress in finalising the investment.”
Comair CEO, Wrenelle Stander welcomed the recent, significant developments and said the business rescue process had been difficult for everyone at Comair, however, that it was encouraging that these further major milestones have been reached. “We knew that the business rescue process was not going to be easy. However, when the lockdown grounded us and we were not able to earn any revenue it was the only way to save the company and most of the jobs. It is very reassuring that we took the right decision at the time. It is certainly encouraging that such material progress has been made toward returning to service.
Glenn Orsmond, representing the Comair Rescue Consortium, said he was confident that Comair flights would be back in the air in December. He said precise timings and details would be announced in due course. “We are immensely grateful for all the support we have had from everyone to reach this important point. We are all looking forward to welcoming the flying public back on board again and for Comair to help rebuild the aviation sector and play our part in South Africa’s economic revival.” It is anticipated the business rescue process will be concluded by 31 March 2021, after which Comair will continue to operate as a sustainable business.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Safomar Aviation delivers Enstrom helicopter to Botswana police
On Thursday last week, Safomar Aviation based at Rand Airport, officially handed over of the first of three-brand new Enstrom 480B turbine helicopters to the Botswana Police Service Air Support Branch. The Helicopter is installed with customised mission equipment selected by the BPS to support the operation the Botswana Police Service Air Support Branch, which has been operating for 11 years. The helicopter systems and avionics were installed by Century Avionics based at Lanseria International Airport.
EAA fly-in to Krugersdorp on Saturday
By Charlie Hugo
During these difficult times, caused by the widespread COVID-19 pandemic fly-ins have become extremely popular amongst aviators and various aviation enthusiasts. Krugersdorp Flying Club held a successful fly-in this past weekend. Although the weather was rather blustery at the airfield, with its extremely exposed position at the top of a hill, around 30 aircraft flew in to have breakfast and join in the general festivities. The Puma Energy Flying Lions display team placed the cherry on the cake, with their polished flat-show display to the delight of all attendees before landing for a boerewors roll (or pancake) and chat with like-minded aviators.
Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa statement on suspected drone collision with training aircraft at Rand Airport
▪ Drone suspected to have struck C172 airborne training aircraft on 27 October 2020
▪ Precautionary landing made after pilot heard loud bang shortly after take-off
▪ SACAA’s Accident and Incident Investigations Division (AIID) expected to communicate officially after confirmed accident report submission.
Initial unconfirmed accounts indicate that considerable wing damage to the training aircraft led to the suspicion that an aerial drone was responsible for the collision. While bird strikes are usually synonymous with visual clues like blood and feathers, they can cause substantial damage to an aircraft. The investigation will determine the actual cause of the accident and therefore it cannot be immediately assumed a drone is to blame.
However, it needs to be highlighted that airborne drones do pose a substantial risk to manned aircraft. A drone ingested into an engine could cause a catastrophic accident. It is therefore important to remind drone owners to follow the regulations and specifically not to fly their drone near aerodromes. CUAASA will issue a formal response upon the SACAA’s public release of the official accident investigation.
However, was the wing damaged by a drone?
Apparently photographs of the wing leading edge damage show damage that is consistent with a much heavier object hitting the wing. This together with the fact that the repair undertaken by a prominent Rand Airport AMO within one day raises suspicions that this may actually have been a hangar accident such as ‘hangar rash’ caused by colliding with a hangar door or even a heavy pole hitting the wing. However, we will have to wait to see what the investigation turns up.
What is scheduled for the next few months?
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
We will publish the aviation calendar within APAnews three months ahead, but you can always visit African Pilot’s website: www.africanpilot.co.za if you would like to obtain the full calendar for the entire year.
EAA Chapter 322 AGM Dickie Fritz MOTH Hall as well as via Zoom
Contact Neil Bowden Cell: 084 674 5674 E-mail: email@example.com
6 – 8 November
Pretoria Radio Flyers Jet Rally, EDF and Turbine Weekend
Contact Emil Cell: 082 962 2334
Children’s Flight at Orient Airfield – by invitation only
Contact Felix Gosher Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Spot Landing and SA Landing Championships – Brakpan Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser Cell: 082 855 9435
Helevate Helicopter Olympics at Krugersdorp Airfield
Contact Animike Cell: 072 219 3264 E-mail: email@example.com
Panorama Airfield breakfast fly-in
Contact Alan Cell: 083 702 3680
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
5 and 6 December
Sports Aerobatics Club Ace of Base TBC
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
As further dates are sent to me, I will continue to update the aviation calendar
I have started preparing the 2021 calendar with assistance from Air Show South Africa and the various sections of the Aero Club of South Africa. Please send me your planned aviation event fixtures for next year so that I may accommodate them on the calendar. Thank you.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Demand for FAI Air Ambulance’s corona transport
FAIs air ambulance division has been operating at maximum capacity to meet the high number of requests for repatriation and medevac flights, including difficult destinations such as South Sudan.
Since March FAI has performed almost 70 flights of covid-19 patients in 47 countries with the single patient isolation and transport system EpiShuttle. FAI is one of the world’s leading global provider of aviation services, logging far above 10 000 hours per year flying air ambulance missions. In the month of April FAI did nearly 800 hours of flying on mostly medevac missions. So far FAI has transported patients with the EpiShuttle in 47 countries. To this date, FAI has been to 69 airports all over the world with the EpiShuttle. The EpiShuttle opens up for transport of covid-19 patients by air.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
American Eagle Embraer overruns runway in Bahamas, two injured
An American Eagle Embraer ERJ145 suffered a runway excursion while landing at Freeport Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO), Bahamas. The incident occurred in the late hours of 24 October 2020, when the aircraft arrived from Miami International Airport (MIA), the USA to Bahamas. The initial inspection performed by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Authority of Bahamas (AAIA) showed that during landing both of Embraer ERJ145 main gear struts turned near 180 degrees and collapsed after opposing the landing direction. The malfunction of the landing gear led the jet to overrun the runway. American Eagle reported that straight after the veer-off, pilots managed to stop the aircraft safely on soft ground. Meanwhile, contact traces of aircraft paint were found on the runway surface. The aircraft was carrying 25 passengers and three crew members. Local media reported that two passengers were taken to the Rand Memorial Hospital after suffering minor injuries.
Eastern Cape pilot killed in Kirkwood plane crash
An Eastern Cape pilot was killed on Saturday when his aircraft crashed into an orchard while he was crop-spraying at Kirkwood. Uiteinhage police spokesperson, Sergeant Majola Nkholi, identified the deceased as 50-year-old Andries Duffy. Nkholi says the aircraft hit the ground and burst into flames shortly before 06h30. He says Duffy was busy spraying orchards in Bushby Way in Sunny Bank, Kirkwood, when the accident happened. An inquest docket has been opened and investigators from the South African Civil Aviation Authority are already on the scene. They said the aircraft was a Piper Pawnee used for crop spraying.
Student’s night flight ends in destroyed airplane
The student pilot was conducting a night, solo, cross-country flight, En route with the landing and taxi lights on, the cockpit panel lights on bright, as well as his cell phone and tablet charging from the electrical system, the Piper PA22 lost all electrical power, followed by the loss of all engine power. The student cycled both the electrical system master switch and the engine magneto switch twice, but electrical and engine power were not restored. He navigated to a dark area below the airplane’s flightpath hoping it was an open field, but the plane hit a heavily wooded area near Brownstown, Indiana and then came to rest upright. The student was not injured, but the airplane was destroyed.
The airplane’s electrical system was equipped with a master switch that, when turned on, routed all power through either a main or spare fuse. Post-accident examination revealed that when the master switch was positioned to the spare fuse position, the electrical system would not turn on because the spare fuse had blown. The main fuse was intact and when the electrical system was activated by toggling the master switch to the main fuse position, the electrical components powered on normally.
Based on the student’s account of the flight and the blown spare fuse, it is possible that, during the flight, the electrical load drew an excessive current through the selected spare fuse, which resulted in it blowing and interrupting electrical power. The student reported inability to restore electrical power by selecting the main fuse with the master switch could not be duplicated during post-accident testing. Further, post-accident examination of the engine did not reveal any evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined. The investigation also determined that the student had not received a flight endorsement for the solo flight, so he should not have been conducting the flight. However, having an endorsement would not have better prepared the student to deal with the reported engine issue.
NTSB preliminary report: Cessna 182
On 3 October 2020 a Cessna 182P airplane was involved in an accident near Byers, Colorado. The pilot sustained minor injuries, whilst the passenger was not injured. The pilot reported the departure and initial portion of the flight were routine. He proceeded to a nearby airport and entered the traffic pattern for landing. On final approach, about 400 feet above ground level, he applied full throttle to initiate a go-around. However, the engine did not provide full power. The airplane descended into a corn field and nosed over. The airplane sustained damage to the fuselage, engine mount and landing gear. Post recovery airframe and engine examinations are planned.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
EAA mourns the passing of Audrey Poberezny
Statement from Jack J. Pelton, Experimental Aircraft Association CEO and Chairman of the Board, on the death of Audrey Poberezny, wife of the EAA’s late founder Paul Poberezny. Audrey died in Oshkosh on Sunday 1 November aged 95. “The quiet power behind the leader in EAA’s formation and development was certainly Audrey Poberezny. She supported Paul from the very earliest days of EAA, from being the sounding board for ideas and balancing the books, to answering the phone and typing out membership cards. Audrey did whatever needed to be done, but never sought the spotlight for herself. Her understanding of people was also a gift that helped EAA grow and thrive into its unique place in aviation and her warmth will be remembered by all who knew her. She was indeed EAA’s First Lady. “Our deepest condolences to her children, Tom and Bonnie and to the entire Poberezny family. Our best remembrance is to live up to the high standards and inviting culture that Paul and Audrey began with EAA nearly 70 years ago.”
First A321P2F enters service with Qantas
Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) has achieved key milestones in the A321 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion programme with the delivery and entry-into-service on 2 October of the first converted aircraft to Qantas. This new P2F version is being leased by aircraft asset manager Vallair to Qantas, to operate services on behalf of Australia Post. Last month, following its flight tests, the newly completed aircraft had been delivered by EFW to Vallair.
These milestones mark the completion and ‘birth’ of the world’s first A321 converted freighter. EFW had received the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the A321P2F from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in February this year, and the Validation STC from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in July. Operator-specific enhancements were subsequently incorporated into the freighter and certified prior to its delivery from EFW to Vallair.
The A321P2F is the first in its size category to offer containerised loading in both the main (up to 14 full container positions) and lower deck (up to 10 container positions). With a payload-range capability that can carry 28 metric tonnes over 2,300 nautical miles, the A321P2F is the ideal Single-Aisle freighter aircraft for express domestic and regional operations. The conversion features a large main cargo door which is hydraulically actuated and electrically locked, a ‘Class-E’ main-deck cargo compartment with full rigid 9g barrier for optimal protection between crew and cargo, and a redefined flight deck that includes supernumerary seats.
Airbus boosts freight capacity with third BelugaXL
Airbus announced that its third BelugaXL freighter, specifically designed to carry oversize cargo, has entered into service. The cargo aircraft, based on the Airbus A330, made its first flight on 2 July 2020. Registered as F-GXLI, the third BelugaXL embarked on its first service flight from Toulouse Blagnac Airport (TLS) to Chester Hawarden Airport (CEG) on 26 October 2020. The freighter was built to carry various cargo from and to Airbus manufacturing sites across Europe and North America, including oversize aircraft parts. For some, Airbus is a French company. However, the manufacturer is a multi-national operation in every single way possible: bringing various parts from various sites to its Final Assembly Line (FAL) locations in Canada, China. France, Germany and the United States, Airbus has become a global powerhouse in the aviation industry, not just a European manufacturer.
Nationalise Air Canada? Union floats idea of returning to government ownership
A Canadian union has floated the idea of re-nationalising legacy carrier Air Canada in light of the ‘disheartening impact’ of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s lack of support for the industry. On 20 October, the Montreal-based airline’s machinists’ union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) sent a letter to the country’s ministers of transport and finance asking to discuss returning the airline to government ownership. The letter cites ‘unparalleled devastation’ of the industry. Air Canada was privatised in 1988.
The Air Transport Association of Canada, a trade organisation that represents smaller and regional passenger carriers, fears members may be left out if the country’s largest airline receives special treatment. “The government needs to support not one airline. It needs to support a whole bunch of airlines that offer regional service,” the group’s president John McKenna said recently.
Canadian governments imposed strict lockdowns and travel restrictions to stop the spread of the highly communicable virus earlier this year. But unlike in the United States, Canada did not offer its air transport sector an industry-specific financial assistance plan. Canadian carriers have laid off thousands of workers in recent months. The machinists’ union is calling on the Canadian government to invest in the airline, citing Germany as an example. There, the government stepped in to support Earlier this year the Lufthansa Group, took a 20% stake of the company in exchange for a €9 billion ($10 billion) financial support package.
Since March, Canada has had a 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement for all inbound passengers, including citizens. Domestic, inter-provincial travel also continues to be difficult amid a complex web of requirements that hinder free movement without subsequent self-isolation. The border to the US, the longest peaceful national frontier in the world, has been effectively sealed to non-essential travel since 21 March. This closure has been repeatedly extended, most recently to 21 November. As a result, Calgary-based WestJet said last week it was indefinitely suspending flights to far-eastern Canada, leaving the provinces of Atlantic Canada with fewer air-travel options.
Tupolev Tu-154 completes last civil flight in Russia
The final Tupolev Tu-154 performed its final regular civilian flight on 28 October 2020, marking the end of a 48-year-long career for the Soviet-era airliner. The Alrosa Airlines aircraft, registration number RA-85757, took off from the snowy runway of Mirny Airport (MJZ) in Yakutia with 141 passengers on board, for a three-hour flight to Novosibirsk-Tolmachevo Airport (OVB). This is farewell to the era as Russia’s last civil Tu-154 performs its final regular flight. Pilots Alexander Leshkevich & Nikolai Voroshilov safely brought 28-year-old Alrosa Airlines RA-85757 plane from Mirny in Yakutia to Novosibirsk. Given that the airworthiness certificate of the aircraft expired, it will remain decommissioned in Tolmachevo Airport while its fate is decided. The Tu-154M RA-85757 started operating with Alrosa in 2002. “During its service with Alrosa, the Tu-154M has performed 737 flights in both directions, carried over 160 thousand passengers, 1,224 tons of cargo and 52 tons of mail, the company said. Alrosa was the last commercial operator of the Tu-154 airliner.
A commercial and military success
The Tu-154 was designed by the Tupolev Design Bureau. In the early 1960s, as the Hawker-Siddeley Trident and the Boeing 727 entered the market, the Soviet Union decided to develop its own airliner using the innovative trijet design. Therefore, the order was given for Tupolev to catch up and on 4 October 1968, the Tu-154 took off for the first time. Whilst not impressive by its size, it was designed with enough comfort in mind to impress western passengers. It also featured several innovations such as the capacity to adjust the landing gear tyres pressure mid-flight to adapt to different runways.
After a year of operating as a freighter, the Tu-154 maiden passenger flight took place on 7 February 1972, with Aeroflot. The aircraft was assigned to service European capitals such as London, Berlin, or Paris, where it acted as a showcase of Soviet engineering. In parallel, its career as a military aircraft started, with both the Tu-154B to transport officials and the Tu-154S to act as a freighter for the Soviet Navy. Ten years later, an updated version designated Tu-154M entered the market. Bigger, faster and with more range, it rivalled the new Airbus A300. The variant was a commercial success and was sold to multiple carriers in the Eastern Bloc countries.
The Tu-154 continued operating after the fall of the Soviet Union, both as a civilian and a military aircraft. It was involved in two important tragedies. On 10 April 2010, a Tupolev Tu-154M of the Polish Air Force crashed, killing the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński along with several other important officials. On 25 December 2016, sixty members of the famous Red Army Choir died in the crash of a Russian Defence Ministry Tupolev 154B-2.
After baby found, Doha airport forced invasive exam on women
On 2 October 2020, flight QR908 was due to depart from Hamad International Airport at 20h30 local time but was delayed for three hours after a new-born was found abandoned in the terminal bathroom. All women on board were asked to leave the airplane without any explanation. They were taken to two ambulances waiting on the tarmac where an invasive check was carried out. The women reported being terrified and humiliated. Australia’s government condemned Qatari authorities for the inappropriate treatment of female passengers. “This is a grossly, grossly disturbing, offensive, concerning set of events. It is not something that I have ever heard of occurring in my life,” commented Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne. She announced that the matter had been reported to the Australian Federal Police and an international investigation was launched. Hamad airport released a statement explaining that they were concerned to find the mother of the abandoned baby before she left the airport. At this time, the new-born is still unidentified but it is taken care of by medical and social workers.
Qatar apologises for invasive examination incident
The State of Qatar issued an apology for forced genital examinations on female passengers travelling from Doha to Sydney on 2 October 2020. After being pressured by Australian government, Qatar’s authorities started an investigation. 13 Australian women on Qatar Airways Flight 908 were forced to disembark the aircraft and brought to two ambulances where an invasive check was carried out. The incident happened after a premature baby was discovered in the terminal bathroom of Hamad International Airport (HIA), Qatar earlier that day. Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that on the same day female passengers from 10 other planes were also checked, though it was not clear if all of them were invasively searched. The Qatari government could not explain why officials decided to perform a vaginal examination on women. Human rights activists equal these actions to sexual assault. Qatar’s Government Communications Office stated that the new-born was a girl. It was found wrapped in a plastic bag and hidden behind a trash bin. The officials rescued the baby and tried to find its parents immediately. “Whilst the aim of the urgently decided search was to prevent the perpetrators of the horrible crime from escaping, the state of Qatar regrets any distress or infringement on the personal freedoms of any traveller caused by this action,” the government said in a statement.
AML Global to purchase Eclipse Aircraft project from One Aviation
AML Global Eclipse LLC, a US company backed by Christopher Harborne a British businessman, technology investor and pilot, has reached an agreement with One Aviation Corporation, the Albuquerque, New Mexico based aircraft manufacturer in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, to purchase the assets of Eclipse Aerospace, Inc. and the Eclipse Aircraft project. In a statement, Christopher Harborne said: “In these extraordinary and challenging times we saw the need to act decisively to protect and keep together the essential aspects of the Eclipse Aircraft project: the intellectual property, human capital and supplier network. The alternative would have been a Chapter 7 liquidation which would have been catastrophic for the project, the workforce and the existing fleet. Whilst it is not yet clear what the future prospects for the Eclipse project might be, if our agreement is approved by the Bankruptcy Court, we look forward to working actively with all relevant parties to find a viable way forward. We welcome contact from any and all furloughed or former employees, suppliers, service providers, and Eclipse aircraft owners and to discussing how we can build a successful future together.”
Saudi Arabian Airlines sued over unpaid rent dues
The claim, filed by ALIF Segregated Portfolio Company, seeks to reclaim $460 million from Saudi Arabian Airlines, according to London’s High Court documents, as reported by Reuters. In addition, the lessor is looking to recoup damages and costs from the Saudi Arabian flag carrier. Through the lessor, it acquired 50 Airbus aircraft, namely 30 Airbus A320neo and 20 Airbus A330 jets. The company claims that after Saudi Arabian Airlines had failed to negotiate its payments, the airline stopped paying basic rent and conducted unauthorised engine and part swaps. “We are currently in discussions with the lessor to resolve contractual differences, and we believe that common sense will prevail in the end,” the Jeddah-based carrier told Reuters. ALIF and Saudi Arabian Airlines came to an agreement for the former to finance the 50 aircraft during the Paris Air Show in 2015. At the time, the order was valued at $8.2 billion at list prices and was the record-breaking financing deal secured via sharia-compliant financing. ALIF is the subsidiary of International Airfinance Corporation (IAFC), a Dubai-based aircraft leasing company that purchased the 50 aforementioned aircraft.
Report says flying is now safer than grocery shopping or eating out
It is all in the ventilation and the protocols, researchers at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found in their Phase One report. This first instalment covered travel solely on the aircraft, the researchers said; Phase Two, examining airport operations, will come out in two months. “Analysis from the report shows that ventilation of air on aircraft reduces the possibility of exposure to COVID-19, lower than other common settings, such as a grocery store or indoor restaurant,” the team said in a statement. “This effectively counters the proximity travellers are subject to during flights. Because of the frequent exchange of air and HEPA filters on planes, over 99% of the particles containing the virus are removed from cabin air.”
To maintain this safety level, air filtration must be combined with common sense measures including the wearing of masks by both passengers and crew members throughout the journey; keeping social distance and ensuring strong ventilation during boarding and disembarking; regularly disinfecting ‘high-touch aircraft surfaces’ and getting passengers to be honest about any symptoms and their commitment to remaining masked except when they are eating or drinking. The findings buttress previous studies that came to similar conclusions, one of them earlier this month. In that study, the US Department of Defence worked with United Airlines to run 300 tests in six months with a single mannequin on a United plane. Measuring output from simulated coughing and sneezing with and without a mask on the mannequin, the researchers determined that all but 0.01% of particles emitted by a masked person were pumped out of the plane within minutes. Previous studies that found a high rate of transmission during flights, especially long ones, were conducted before mask wearing was ubiquitous.
Of course, even these researchers pointed out that none of these measures are replacements for a vaccine. “Until there has been widespread vaccination, there remains the risk of infection in all walks of public life,” the report said. “As with any activity during this pandemic, the choice to fly is a personal one and depends on a traveller’s health assessment, individual risk tolerance and the potential consequences of becoming infected.”
First flight: The AirCar
The fifth generation AirCar designed by Professor Stefan Klein completed two 1,500-foot AGL flights at Piestany Airport in Slovakia on 27 October 2020. The AirCar safely achieved two full airport patterns, including two take-offs and landings, according to officials with Klein Vision. The two-seat model weights 1,100 kg (2,425 pounds) and can carry an additional load of 200 kg (440 pounds) per flight.
Powered by a BMW 1.6l engine, the flying car has an effective power output of 140 hp, according to company officials. Estimated travel range of AirCar is 1,000 km (621 miles) and flight consumption of 18 l/h (4.75 gallons). “The key flight parameters confirmed all theoretical concepts and calculations that the development of the AirCar was based on. Following the completion of all required flight tests in compliance with EASA regulations, we will deliver a model with a certified ADEPT, 300-hp engine within the next six next months,” said Professor Stefan Klein, Klein Vision’s CTO and test pilot. “The good news is, we already have a buyer.”
WORLD DRONE NEWS
Rigitech and Leonardo perform Italy’s first long range BVLOS delivery flight
In collaboration with Leonardo and Telespazio, Rigitech has made history in Italy last week by performing long-range drone-based deliveries of healthcare material between two hospitals near Rome’s Fiumicino airport. RigiTech have reached a new milestone on the way to opening the skies for healthcare deliveries in Europe; the first long-range Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) deliveries of biological samples in Italy. The RigiOne, a first-generation drone with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) has made this possible several consecutive times in a safe, fast and reliable manner.
On 19 and 20 October, RigiOne and RigiTech’s operations processes were put to test by connecting two sites of Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital near Rome. The deliveries were made between Santa Marinella Hospital and Palidoro Pediatric Hospital through a 32 km aerial route. Road transportation between the two sites takes from 45 minutes to one hour depending on the traffic, but the RigiOne drone was able to make this connection on-demand in just 25 minutes. The operation was fully automatic and supervised through redundant communications linked through the RigiCloud software which enabled reliable and constant monitoring and control of the operation during, take-off, landing and BVLOS parts of the delivery. Flight data was synchronised with Telespazio’s T-Drones UTM, providing coordination with other airspace actors. Safety was assured through RigiTech’s onboard algorithms, advanced geofencing and failsafe systems, which were critical to gain support from Italy’s Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC); the first BVLOS operation in Italy.
RigiTech is proud of this achievement and the fact that this operation will enable drone delivery to be a reality in Italy in the upcoming years. We would like to thank Leonardo, Telespazio, Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital and ENAC for trusting us with this operation. This is just the beginning of what the future holds and the benefit that drone logistics can do for the healthcare sector. RigiTech is a Swiss aerial logistics company founded in 2018 that focuses on creating fully integrated drone delivery solutions. Its inter-city RigiOne and upcoming urban Minto drones are designed with a network-first mentality, the key to scaling drone delivery into a sustainable business model. The centralised RigiCloud software infrastructure ensures reliable, compliant communications, flight tracking and fleet maintenance management. RigiTech has secured long-range flight permissions and performed trial operations in Sweden, Portugal and most recently in Italy, focused on healthcare and in-vitro diagnostics markets.
Twice Weekly News from African Pilot
Should you miss out on any edition of APAnews, please visit the website: www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the APAnews link on the front page. All past weekly APAnews publications have been archived on the website.
Until Thursday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)