“Everything is destroyed by its own vice: the destructive power resides within. Rust destroys iron, moths destroy clothes, the worm eats away the wood; but greatest of all evils is envy, impious habitant of corrupt souls, which ever was, is and shall be a consuming disease.” Menander
Since last week’s mystery aircraft was relatively easy to identify, according to the number of correct answers I received, this week I have provided another interesting aircraft type. Please send your answers to me at email@example.com. I will publish the names of those that identified the aircraft correctly within the Thursday edition of APAnews.
2024 aviation events calendar
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for their contributions towards the compiling of the 2023 aviation calendar, which is also used by ALL the other aviation magazines and blogs.
African Pilot’s calendar of aviation events is published within the African Pilot and Future Flight magazines every month, the African Pilot website and most important within every Monday edition APAnews, with weekend ahead reminders within the Thursday edition of APAnews (100 times per year). For the sake of General Aviation and so many of us who wish to see the calendar function correctly, thank you for your assistance. Please send the information to me firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that this year there were significant clashes of events, which given 52 weekends in the year, with advance planning this becomes unnecessary. The most important clash at the end of September is that between the EAA’s Sun ‘n Fun to be held at Tempe airfield and the Great Train race to be staged at Heidelberg airfield. If possible, I would like to prevent this significant clash of two major events happening in 2024. Thank you.
The 216-page September 2023 edition with eight picture galleries and 17 videos was completed and released to the world on Monday 4 September. We apologise for the slight delay, which was unavoidable due to a significant glitch within our licenced publishing software. This edition features EAA AirVenture and the UK airshow Flying Legends as well as many South African and international aviation features. African Pilotis also the only aviation publication that regularly records aviation events correctly within the monthly calendar of events. In addition, the calendar is published three months ahead on every Monday edition of APANews.
The October edition of African Pilot will feature Aircraft Maintenance and Refurbishment. Our marketing team will be contacting all known AMOs as well as aircraft refurbishment shops to include as many of the amazing businesses that keep our aircraft airworthy and in good shape. 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. African Pilot is also the largest aviation magazine in the world by number of pages and is well ahead of all other South African aviation publications.
The eleventh edition of Future Flight was sent out to the world-wide audience on Saturday 26 August. This 144-page edition has 13 picture galleries and 15 embedded videos. Due to the nature of the subject material, compiling this exciting new publication has been most rewarding, whilst at the same time, the magazine allows many of African Pilot’s advertisers to have their adverts placed in our second monthly magazine FREE of charge.
When I started Future Flight on my return to South Africa from AirVenture, Oshkosh 2022, the objective was to reduce the overall size of African Pilot to a more reasonable page count and this has been achieved. The next milestone will be to attract advertisers to make this publication sustainable and I have given myself a year to reach this goal. I would love to receive your feedback about this new digital publication: email@example.com. Thank you.
Children’s Flight 2023
Visit to Eagles’ Creek airfield on Saturday
On Saturday it was the turn of the Land Rover Club of South Africa to enjoy a drive in to Eagles’ Creek airfield to enjoy a delicious lunch at the restaurant on the airfield with several members of the Eagles’ Creek Flying Club. One of the visiting Land Rover members remarked that the food served up by the Eagles Creek club restaurant was ‘like mother’s home cooking’ and indeed for cost of this delicious meal, I concur. I found it fascinating listening to the many tales of travelling to far flung places in the various types of 4 X 4 Landrovers. I was told the club enjoys getting together at least once per month either for a local drive in the region or over weekends when several members of the club will travel to distant venues for the weekend. The only rule of the club is that you must own a Landrover. Before lunch was served, we parked a Vans RV10 in front of the fuel bay and then surrounded the aircraft with the Land Rovers that attended. The restaurant patio is raised and this allows for great picture opportunities of the vehicles with their owners and aircraft below.
Virginia airshow – Saturday 9 September 2023
By Charlie and Fiona Hugo
It has been 10 years since the last airshow was held at this special venue. With a history going back at least to 1985 it was a great pity that the Durban Virginia Wings Club airshow ceased to run after new airshow safety regulations were implemented during 1984. I have always enjoyed the airshow with the iconic backdrop of the mangrove bushes and from certain vantage points a view of the sea as a backdrop to the displays.
So, it was a great joy for the Durban airshow enthusiasts that a solution to the safety requirements was approved by the SACAA and an airshow was planned to be held. Originally scheduled to be held in early August, the airshow suffered a slight delay to allow a greater separation between the Sky Grand Prix and the airshow itself but finally the day dawned for the resurrected Durban Virginia Airshow. Airshow enthusiasts were lining up early to gain entrance so that they could setup in their favourite viewing point to enjoy the days displays. Although in comparison to past events the lineup appeared to be sparse as there was no South African fast jet participation, the spectators were not shortchanged in the quality of the displays. Highlights were Patrick Davidson flying his Gamebird, 15 Squadron Charlie flight with two vastly different displays of the BK-117 helicopters capability and impressive display from Airlink’s new Embraer E195 black beauty. A full report and photo gallery will appear in the October edition of African Pilot magazine.
SAPS pilots qualify for tailwheel endorsement
On Friday I was invited by Rainbow SkyReach at Springs airfield to attend the certificate ceremony for ten South African Police Services (SAPS) pilots who had recently completed their tailwheel training with Andy Kaspersen at Petit airfield. All ten pilots already have their commercial licences and are involved in further training on several different aircraft types that the SAPS operate. The idea of a tailwheel rating was undertaken on the nimble BushCat Rotax powered aircraft to prepare them to fly the much larger and heavier Pilatus Porter the SAPS operate. More on this exciting aspect of flight training in the October edition of African Pilot.
Air Accident SA – The Safety Goal
The popular international series Air Crash Investigation has seen multiple seasons being aired worldwide. It is one of the most watched TV series productions in history. The series focusses mainly on the airline aviation industry. The General Aviation sector has not been aired much as much as the airline industry. General Aviation forms a significant part of the aviation industry in all aspects, as this is where pilots mostly start their careers.
A new series focusing on specifically General Aviation in South Africa, is to be filmed soon, focusing on the various types of accidents and why they occur. Specialists, investigators and pilots will be interviewed for their opinions and recommendations, regarding the safety goal. This will be a unique and fresh look at the different aspects of accidents and incidents. Since all TV productions about aviation incidents and accidents prove to be extremely popular with viewers, this series will certainly not be different. The TV series ‘Flights to Nowhere’, that was aired in 2021 on People’s Weather, proved this fact. The new series ‘Air Accident SA – The Safety Goal’ will be hosted by plane wreck hunter, Wouter Botes, who also hosted ‘Flights to Nowhere.’
Wouter has involved veteran investigator, Charlie Marais as co-host and also experts and pilots who possesses a vast amount of experience in the aviation industry. Names include Capt. Flippie Vermeulen from Springbok Classic Air and many more famous aviators and experts. The series has already drawn sponsorship partners, who have been involved with Wouter Botes for the past few years. These include African Pilot Magazine, Blue Chip Aviation, Dart Aeronautical, Springbok Classic Air and Simuflight. However, further industry involvement in terms of sponsorships is needed, as this series is planned to be released on an annual basis with multiple seasons, in order to accommodate new cases and new safety technology.
We invite industry and non-industry related companies and organisations, to become part of this TV series. As a series like this will be popular with viewers as proven before, the exposure generated for sponsors and participants will be extensive. The viewer profile includes a wide range of age and background parameters. Attendance at airshows is a further proof of this fact. Please contact Wouter directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Canon XA11 HD video camera for sale
Since I have purchased a new Canon XA 60B 4K video camera, my Canon XA11 complete with battery charger and camera bag is for sale at R10 000 O.N.O. I used this camera for several years and the condition is good. If you are interested, please e-mail me at email@example.com or call me at 082 552 2940. Thanks.
African Pilot’s 2023 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.
13 & 14 September
Aviation Africa Abuja, Nigeria
Contact Alison Weller E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
EAA Pancake camp over & pancake breakfast Silver Creek airfield
Contact Sean Cronin E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 447 9895
Vans RV fly-in at Kitty Hawk
Contact Frank van Heerden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
16 & 17 September
SAC Limpopo Regionals Phalaborwa airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
Stellenbosch Flying Club 50th anniversary fly-in
Contact Sam Cell: 082 828 4553 or Anton Cell: 079 873 4567
SAPFA Stellenbosch Navigation Rally Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Alewyn Burger Cell: 082 416 1952
Baragwanath fly-in day morning of fun with free entry
Fly of drive to Baragwanath airfield, Westonaria
26 & 27 September
Drone-X Trade Show and Conference ExCeL – London
Contact Scarlett Russell E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
DCA Industry Roadshow Durban KZN
Contact Ms Charmaine Shibambo E-mail: email@example.com
29 Sep to 1 Oct
EAA Sun ‘n Fun Tempe Airfield
Contact Kassie Kasselman 082 404 1642 Lucas 082 566 0656
EAA Chapter 322 monthly gathering 18h00 at Tempe airfield
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saldanha West Coast airshow
Contact Clive Coetzee E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 084 614 1675
Great Train Race Heidelberg airfield
Contact Christopher Van E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
30 September to 7 October
SSSA Gliding Nationals at Potchefstroom airfield
Contact Carol Clifford E-mail: email@example.com
6 & 7 October
SAC World Advanced Aerobatic Championships training camp venue TBA
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
24 October to 4 November
SAC Advanced World Aerobatics Championships Las Vegas
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA SA Landing Championships – Brits & Stellenbosch airfields
Contact Ron Stirk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 445 0373
1 & 2 November
Drones in disaster and risk management conference Century City Conference Centre
Contact E-mail: email@example.com Cape Town.
EAA Chapter 322 breakfast fly-in gathering, boot sale, fly market EAA Auditorium
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brakpan Aero Club Cessna fly-in
Contact Clarissa E-mail: Clarissa@airborneaviation.co.za Cell: 074 113 2911
EAA Chapter 322 breakfast fly-in venue TBA
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: email@example.com
13 to 17 November
Dubai Airshow 2023
EAA National & Chapter 322 Annual Awards Dinner Venue TBA
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
19 to 21 November
55th African Airlines Association (AFRAA) Annual General Assembly (AGA)
Speke Resort in Entebbe, Uganda. Dedicated website: https://aga55.afraa.org/
Aero Club Awards 50 Viking Way Rand Airport (Menno Parsons hangar)
Contact Sandra Strydom email@example.com Tel: 011 082 1100
Traffic carried by African Airlines reaches 98.4% of 2019 levels – AFRAA
In August 2023, traffic carried by African airlines reached 98.4% of the 2019 level. Domestic market share was estimated at 34%, intra-Africa at 29% and intercontinental at 37%. The total number of intercontinental routes operated by African airlines exceeded pre-COVID levels since October 2022. In some major airports (Johannesburg, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Lusaka, Cairo, Casablanca, Abidjan and Lomé) intra-Africa connectivity has reached or exceeded pre-Covid level since December 2022.
2023 is witnessing a narrowing of the airline revenue gap attributed to Covid-19 compared to 2022. In the first three months of the year, African airlines missed the levels attained in a similar period in 2019 by US$0.3 billion. According to AFRAA data, this is expected to further narrow in the second quarter to US$0.2 billion. Though full-year estimated revenue gap is yet to be computed, it appears 2023 would be a better year compared to the prior year. The 2022 full-year cumulative airlines revenue gap was US$3.5 billion for all African airlines compared to 2019.
The Jet A1 price continues the upward trend, going up by over $22 in one month. The global weekly average jet fuel price during the week ending 25 August 2023 was up 2.9% at $126.37/bbl. In July, the average weekly price was $103.64/bbl. At the end of March 2023, total blocked funds reported by six airlines in fifteen countries (13 in Africa and two outside Africa) is approximately US$339.1 million. AFRAA has requested meetings with some central bank Governors and will soon meet them to agree on a solution to this recurrent problem as part of engagements to have the funds released.
Commemorative Air Force faces lawsuit in fatal midair collision
The family of Len Root, one of six people killed in the midair collision of a B-17G and a P-63F during the Wings Over Dallas WWII Airshow last year, is suing the Commemorative Air Force, the organisers of the event, for negligence that allegedly caused the death of Root and five other men. Flied last week in Texas, the lawsuit was on behalf of Angela Root, the wife of Len Root and his daughters, Larisa Lichte, Kendra Hockaday and Rebekah Lowery. Angela Root was at the airshow and witnessed the crash that killed her husband. The lawsuit seeks monetary relief of more than $1 million for the plaintiffs.
A retired airline pilot, Len Root was one of the pilots aboard the B-17G Texas Raiders. Also lost that day were crewmembers Terry Barker, Dan Ragan, Curt Rowe and Kevin ‘K5’ Michels. Craig Hutain was the pilot of the Bell P-63F. All were volunteer pilots with the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The accident occurred on 12 November 2022. The owner of the aircraft at the time of the accident was the American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum. The aircraft were part of a military showcase flying to honour veterans.
According to the preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there were two show lines, one 500 feet from the audience, the other 1,000 feet away. Show lines are established at airshows to keep aircraft from flying directly over the crowd. As previously reported in APAnews a video of the event shows the aircraft were flying on a northerly heading parallel to Runway 31 at Dallas Executive Airport (RBD) as part of the parade of planes. The P-63F was third in a three-ship formation of fighters and the B-17G was lead of a five-ship formation of bombers. According to the NTSB, there were no altitude deconflictions briefed before the flight or while the airplanes were in the air. Altitude deconfliction procedures are established in the event pilots find themselves at an improper altitude during the flight.
The lawsuit also names air boss Russell Royce as a defendant, alleging negligence by failure to maintain control of the flight paths of the aircraft involved, failure to maintain safe and adequate lateral, linear and temporal separation between all participating aircraft, failure to conduct a proper preflight briefing and failure to ensure that a safe and adequate flight plan was properly developed. In addition, the lawsuit alleges the CAF allowed ‘an unsafe, unqualified air boss to serve as the primary person responsible for the active taxiways, runways and flight paths of the subject aircraft; failing to properly monitor the subject aircraft and intervene in a timely manner; reckless incompetence and lack of airmanship awareness in failing to properly direct the subject aircraft flight paths and their operations; failing to establish proper safety management systems for the subject aircraft and failing to establish safe minimum qualification standards for an air boss.’
According to the recorded audio of the airshow radio transmissions, Royce directed both the fighters and bombers to manoeuvre southwest of the runway before returning to the flying display area, which was the designated performance area. ADS-B data shows the aircraft complied. Royce then directed the fighter formation to transition to a trail formation and fly in front of the bombers, then proceed near the 500-feet show line. The bombers were directed to fly the 1,000-foot show line. In the final transmission before the moment of impact, Royce can be heard saying, “Nice job, fighters. Come on through. Fighters will be a big pull up and to the right.”
When the fighter formation approached the display area, the P-63F was in a left bank. The fighter came up behind the B-17G, striking it on the port side just aft of the wings. The larger aircraft was sliced in half and exploded in flames. The P-63F disintegrated on impact. The accident happened around 13h22 in front of thousands of spectators. The collision was captured on multiple smartphones from multiple angles and these videos and still photographs were quickly posted to social media. The images show the P-63F in pieces, raining down on the grassy area on airport property south of the approach end of Runway 31 and the B-17G forward section tumbling forward in a ball of fire. Captured stills of the accident appear to show the copilot of the B-17 holding on to the roof as the forward section of the aircraft cartwheels to the ground. The next audio transmission is one of urgency as Royce cries, “Knock it off! Knock it off! Roll the trucks! Roll the trucks! Roll the trucks!” No injuries were reported on the ground.
The lawsuit alleges that Royce, as an employee / agent / representative of one or more of the defendants, “was responsible for drafting, organising and implementing an adequate and safe flight plan for the airshow and for controlling the aircraft in flight during the airshow, including controlling the flight plans, flight paths and aerobatics of the aircraft during the airshow. The CAF, by and through its employees, agents and representatives, including all other defendants, allowed Royce to serve as the air boss for the airshow knowing Royce lacked sufficient skill and experience to do so. Allowing Royce to control the flight plan, flight path and operations of these aircraft significantly increased the risk and danger of the airshow, which was a cause of the fatal crash.”
Kevin Koudelka, one of the attorneys representing the Root family said, “Filing this lawsuit was a difficult decision for the Root family. Angela considers the CAF lifelong friends and she did not want to sue the CAF, but that is the only way to get answers to questions. The lawsuit provides us with legal tools to ask the questions and get answers and find out if our assumption is correct in that this air boss screwed up and did not do what he was supposed to do.” Koudelka added that once it is determined who is to blame, the lawsuit will make sure “they are not allowed to do it again” and “help ensure safety for pilots participating in airshows.”
The Commemorative Air Force responded as follows: “We learned last week that a lawsuit was filed against the CAF on 31 August.” Leah Block, vice president of marketing for the CAF, said in an e-mail. “The suit was filed by the family of one of our members who was tragically killed in the accident at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow in November 2022. Our attorneys are looking into the petition and will respond through the appropriate channels.”
AeroGulf helicopter crash
On Friday the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority said an AeroGulf helicopter crashed into the sea with two pilots on board after taking off from the Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai. Rescue teams recovered the wreckage of the helicopter, but a search was still underway for the plane’s crew, the statement added. The authority received a crash report from its Air Accident Investigation Department at approximately 20h30 on Thursday night after the helicopter crashed while the pilots were on a night training flight. According to the statement, the two pilots were from Egypt and South Africa.
NBAA survey reports a significant leap in pilot salaries
According to the results of NBAA’s latest Compensation Survey, business aviation pilot salaries climbed by about 12 percent from 2022 to 2023. Aviation compensation expert Christopher Broyhill called the jump ‘pretty huge’ and added, “That shows something we were all wondering about. We are hearing about raises out there and people getting more money for these positions, but that pretty much anchors it, shows that what we are hearing is true.”
This year’s survey delved into further detail, including an entire section on retention compensation. According to NBAA, the results showed that the average captain received long-term retention bonuses of $27,000 a year. Further, the survey found a 7.22 percent increase for business aviation positions overall over the past year. Aviation managers and senior flight attendants were the only positions seeing decreases. “If you take those two positions out, then I am sure that the overall average increase would have been much higher than 7.22 percent,” said Broyhill, an NBAA Business Aviation Management Committee member who collaborates on the survey. “We are on an upward trend in general.”
Broyhill believes that airline pay is helping push up salaries across aviation. “We are seeing the results of airline pressure on wages in our industry because people are having to pay pilots more to keep them from leaving and going to the airlines or going to other operators who lose people to the airlines,” he said. Survey results encompassed responses from 455 NBAA members who provided data on 3,442 flight department employees. Responses this year reflected a jump from the 382 participants in the 2022 survey. “This was especially helpful as we wanted to start measuring a few new things related to retention strategies,” said Jo Damato, NBAA senior v-p of education, training and workforce development. “Everyone in aviation is focused on not only attracting new talent but also retaining the professionals already in our industry. These insights and more can help employers learn how to stay competitive so they can avoid the high expenses associated with replacing vacated positions.”
Indonesia to acquire 24 Boeing F-15EX fighter aircraft
During Indonesian Minister of Defence Prabowo Subianto’s recent visit to the United States, the Republic of Indonesia and Boeing finalised the sale of 24 F-15EX to Indonesia, subject to US State Department approval. Following a tour of the F-15EX production line at Boeing’s St. Louis, Missouri facility, Indonesian Ministry of Defence Head of Defence Facilities Air Vice Marshal Yusuf Jauhari and Boeing Fighters vice-president Mark Sears signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining the sale of the highly capable fourth generation-plus air superiority fighters.
For nearly 75-years, Boeing and Indonesia have worked in partnership to support the development of aerospace and defence capabilities in the Southeast Asian Oceanic island nation through training, supply chain development and collaborations. In 2023, Boeing’s presence in Indonesia spans commercial aviation, defence, space, supply chain, academic partnerships and talent development efforts. Proposed in 2018, Boeing’s F-15EX Eagle II fighter is a drastically upgraded variant of the F-15QA the storied American airframer built for the Qatar Air Force in 2016. The Eagle II is intended to replace the United States Air Force’s aging fleet of F-15C/D jets.
What capabilities will the Dutch and Danish F-16 fighters bring to Ukraine?
Minister Kuleba spoke of Ukraine’s ambitious approach towards its defence needs, indicating that the country does not intend to limit its aspirations solely to the US-made F-16 fighter jets that an international coalition had pledged to supply. “We are working with other countries which produce latest-generation aircraft,” Kuleba said, hailing the potential supply of Rafale by France as a ‘strategic’ long-term investment. However, the provision of combat aircraft presents various technical challenges in France. In February 2023, the Dassault Mirage 2000C fighter jet was regarded as a potential contender. The year before, the French Air Force bid adieu to this early single-seat version of the fighter, dating back to the 1980s and used primarily for air defence.
While the Mirage 2000C may have limited effectiveness against contemporary Russian fighter aircraft, it could potentially play a role in intercepting Iran-made Shahed-136 kamikaze drones and Kalibr cruise missiles utilised by Russia to target Ukrainian cities. However, considering that only 12 fighters remained when the variant was retired, the number of available aircraft might not have justified the investment in training or the potential for modernisation. While much more modern and capable, the availability of Rafale fighters is also limited due to its recent commercial success. Dassault’s assembly lines are operating at full capacity to meet an extensive order backlog.
In 2020, the then-Defence Minister, Florence Parly, outlined an ambitious plan to increase the fleet of Rafale fighters, a cornerstone of the French Air Force, from 102 to 129 jets by 2025. However, the fulfilment of two consecutive orders for Greece and Croatia, involving the transfer of 24 second-hand French Rafale fighters, has posed a significant challenge to this expansion roadmap. Given these constraints, Kyiv’s request may face hurdles in gaining acceptance from France in the short term. The prospect of Rafale fighters donning Ukrainian colours is not entirely far-fetched, though. In March 2021, during a visit to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President Emmanuel Macron reportedly held a conversation about the potential sale of Dassault Rafale fighter jets to Ukraine being one of his ‘top priorities’.
MOSAIC amphibian coming from New Zealand
A New Zealand company has flown a new amphibious aircraft that will likely benefit from the new MOSAIC rules when they come into force. The Vickers WAVE uses the Rotax 916 engine with constant speed prop to power what looks like a bulked-up ICON A5 and has numbers to match. The company says the WAVE will cruise at 120 knots, climb at 1100 feet per minute and has 750 pounds of useful load in an all-up weight of 1850 pounds. Range is projected at 1,100nm. It also features powered folding wings that can be used while on the water. It also has water thrusters in the hull. “We have been building the WAVE for 13 years, have a full production facility and will begin deliveries next year,” said owner Paul Vickers. He said, US investors have 60 percent of the company and there are plans to build the plane in the US.
Gulfstream ups G700’s range, speed and comfort
In addition to better passenger comfort, Gulfstream Aerospace’s flagship G700 will have more range and speed, than previously announced, the Savannah, Georgia-based company said. The G700 flight-test programme is also nearing completion, with more than 4,100 hours flown by five flight-test aircraft and two outfitted production-test aircraft. Certification and service entry of the ultra-long-range twinjet is set for the fourth quarter of 2023, a company spokeswoman said. The G700’s range has been increased to 7,750 nm at Mach 0.85 and to 6,650 nm at Mach 0.90, representing a 250-nm boost at both speeds versus original projections. Speed has also increased, from Mach 0.925 to Mach 0.935, matching the top speed of the midsize Cessna Citation X+. Meanwhile, the cabin altitude has been further reduced to 2,840 feet at 41,000 feet, meaning passengers should experience less fatigue on flights.
“We are undertaking one of the most extensive flight-test programmes as the G700 is the first business aircraft to undergo FAA certification following the passage of the 2020 Aircraft Certification, Safety and Accountability Act,” said Gulfstream president Mark Burns. “As a result, we will be delivering an extremely mature, rigorously tested aircraft that will outperform expectations in speed, range and cabin comfort.”
There are 40 G700s, including the seven used for certification flight testing listed in the FAA registry, with industry analysts estimating that about two dozen are in completions or already completed. Phebe Novakovic, chairman and CEO of Gulfstream parent General Dynamics, said in late July that Gulfstream plans to deliver 19 G700s to customers in the fourth quarter following FAA certification. The company spokeswoman also confirmed that certification of the G700’s shorter sibling, the G800, is expected to follow in mid-2024.
Eviation receives order from Solyu for up to 50 Alice all-electric aircraft
On 6 September, the Letter of Intent (LOI) was signed with South Korean lessor, Solyu and brings Eviation’s order book value for the Alice model to $5 billion. Solyu, a zero-emissions leasing company, is looking to provide financing and leasing solutions for the Alice to a global customer base of operators. The nine-passenger Eviation Alice is currently working toward certification and the company plans to launch its first flights in 2027, after already completing test flights in the US.
“Solyu’s order is a testament to how lessors are embracing Alice as the future of flight,” Eddie Jaisaree, vice president of Commercial Sales at Eviation, said. “The leasing community is an important constituent in bringing about sustainable change in the aviation industry. It is exciting to see a forward-thinking company such as Solyu recognizing Alice’s zero carbon technology, economic viability and beautiful design.”
Previous customers of Eviation that signed agreements to purchase Alice aircraft include DHL, charter airline GlobalX, Evia Aero and MONTE. First unveiled at the Paris Air Show in 2019, Alice, an electric commuter aircraft, is designed to carry up to 2,500 lbs. (1,134 kg) of payload for a range of up to 440 nm (815 kilometres). According to Eviation, Alice is being developed to target both commuter and cargo markets using a single pilot.
NASA’s Ingenuity flies again
On 26 August NASA’s remote-control whirlybird on Mars logged another sortie in its book with a 1,344-foot flight. The Ingenuity Mars helicopter programme has continued, against all expectations. Originally expected to serve as a proof-of-concept before losing power or functionality, the aircraft has continued on to log 56 flights in all. Its most recent flight held it aloft for two and a half minutes, flying at 39 feet AGL as it repositioned itself to a better vantage point for future missions. Ingenuity has continued to assist its sister, the Perseverance rover, with photo recon and survey as the duo searches for high-quality samples to send back home for analysis. The 28-mile-wide Jezero crater has been their home for more than 100 minutes of flight time, hopefully home to promising study once sufficient samples are collected. If successful, Perseverance will hopefully collect evidence of microbial life in the past.
The Mars Helicopter has managed to keep running through 885 days of extreme Martian weather as it heads on to prepare for mission 57 – far longer than initially imagined. Due to some of the delays in announcing flight progress and the time required to finish sending back all its imagery, telemetry and control data, the planned flight should be announced sometime soon.
PAL-V ‘flying car’ gains its first German showroom
‘The long-awaited future of transportation has arrived’ says PAL-V, ‘the pioneer in Advanced Air Mobility’, as it opens their first showroom in Germany. PAL-V says the new development is similarly significant for the country, as the ‘first-ever showroom dedicated to Flying cars’. The ‘dream of soaring through the skies in a sleek and innovative flying car is no longer a fantasy’, the company adds, though regulatory hurdles remain before buyers can simply sign and fly. However, if nothing else the development sets the point at how far along PAL-V is in bringing their aircraft to market. Where similar competitors with ‘flying cars’, better understood as flying trikes, given the nigh impossible task of wedding crashworthiness auto standards with airworthy gross weights, remain in the initial phases of testing, PAL-V is out there signing deals and decorating dealerships. That head start helps to embed their company as the first to market and hopefully first in mind when the early adopters set their eyes on a shiny new toy.
“We believe that the future of transportation lies in the skies and with our showroom now open in Munich, we are one step closer to turning this belief into a widespread reality,” said Robert Dingemanse, CEO of PAL-V. “Flying cars are no longer a distant dream; they are here, they are real, and they are ready to revolutionize the way we travel.” The showroom currently contains a single example of the PAL-V flying car, allowing buyers to see and feel the machine in the flesh as they imagine a purchase of their own. Beyond that, there is not too much to see, some baubles, some paint samples and a few brochures, but it is further along than the competition and in this business that is what counts at this stage in the game.
SAE: Tag us @SaudiExhibition
SAE: Tag us @saudiairportexhibition
SAE: Tag us @Saudi Airport Exhibition
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Official hashtags: #SAE2023 #saudiairportexhibition
FAA approval allows BVLOS drone flights in North Dakota
As a first-of-its-kind UAS system, the Federal Aviation Administration has granted uAvionix approval to conduct Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights utilising Vantis, North Dakota. With support from the Northern Plains UAS Test Site uAvionix, demonstrated to FAA personnel that it had established adequate risk mitigations to satisfy requisite safety standards for the specified BVLOS operation within the US National Airspace System (NAS). The precedent-setting approval speaks to the FAA’s determination that the Vantis system meets applicable requirements of industry consensus standards or an alternative set of requirements ensuring safe integration of routine BVLOS Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations in the NAS.
Northern Plains UAS Test Site director Trevor Woods stated: “This precedent-setting exemption approval marks a monumental milestone for Vantis, solidifying North Dakota’s unwavering leadership in aviation and UAS innovation. It is not just a step forward; it is a significant advance in the evolution of UAS policy, redefining what’s possible in the skies of tomorrow.” The described approval provides for repeatability, an exemption, which is technically rulemaking, that may be referenced for future approvals in a much faster manner. More importantly the approval exceeds the province of the original applicant, working for the whole industry. By dint of the exemption approval, the dawn of safe BVLOS operations, especially in North Dakota, where the infrastructure can be leveraged for repeatable operations, has been appreciably hastened. The same, or similar, infrastructure can be used in other geographies.
Vantis is North Dakota’s statewide UAS BVLOS network, the first of its kind in the US. Created in 2019, Vantis provides turnkey support to commercial and public UAS operators through infrastructure and regulatory approvals allowing applications and usability over a variety of industries. Vantis comprises ground-based aviation infrastructure, such as that used in traditional aviation, which significantly lowers the barrier of entry to BVLOS flights for multiple users.
The Northern Plains UAS Test Site, administering Vantis for the state of North Dakota, partnered with Thales USA to develop and implement the UAS system, which allows pilots to command-and-control BVLOS UAS and remain well clear of other aircraft. Thales USA director of ATC and digital aviation solutions Frank Matus remarked: “We thank the Federal Aviation Administration for acknowledging that our approach to BVLOS in North Dakota maintains the same safety standards that the agency expects for all users within the national airspace. We continue to collaborate with the FAA as regulations evolve to ensure that Vantis meets the needs of all stakeholders.”
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