“It is your place in the world; it is your life. Go on and do all you can with it and make it the life you want to live with.” Mae Jemison
Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu
(Information from Wikipedia)
The Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu (Eagle Owl) was a German twin-engine, twin-boom, three-seat tactical reconnaissance and army cooperation aircraft. It first flew in 1938 (Fw 189 V1), entered service in 1940 and was produced until mid-1944. In addition, Focke-Wulf used this airframe in response to a tender request by the RLM for a dedicated ground-attack airplane and later submitted an armoured version for trials. However, the Henschel Hs 129 was selected instead.
In 1937, the German Ministry of Aviation issued a specification for a short-range, three-seat reconnaissance aircraft with a good all-round view to support the German army in the field, replacing the Henschel Hs 126, which had just entered service. A power of about 850–900 hp (630–670 kW) was specified. The specification was issued to Arado and Focke-Wulf. Arado’s design, the Ar 198, which was initially the preferred option, was a relatively conventional single-engined high-wing monoplane with a glazed gondola under the fuselage. Focke-Wulf’s chief designer Kurt Tank’s design, the Fw 189, was a twin-boom design, powered by two Argus As 410 engines instead of the expected single engine. As a ‘twin-boom’ design like the earlier Dutch Fokker G.I, the Fw 189 used a central crew gondola for its crew accommodation, which for the Fw 189 would be designed with a heavily glazed and framed ‘stepless’ cockpit forward section, which used no separate windscreen panels for the pilot (as with many German medium bombers from 1938 onwards). Blohm & Voss proposed as a private venture something even more radical: chief designer Dr Richard Vogt’s unique asymmetric BV 141. Orders were placed for three prototypes each of the Arado and Focke-Wulf designs, in April 1937.
The Fw 189 had as part of its defensive armament, an innovative rear-gun emplacement designed by the Ikaria-Werke: a rotating conical rear ‘turret’ of sorts, manually rotated with a metal-framed, glazed conical fairing streamlining its shape, with the open section providing the firing aperture for either a single or twin-mount machine gun at the unit’s circular-section forward mount. The Fw 189 was produced in large numbers, at the Focke-Wulf factory in Bremen, at the Bordeaux-Merignac aircraft factory (Avions Marcel Bloch’s factory, which became Dassault Aviation after the war) in occupied France, then in the Aero Vodochody aircraft factory in Prague, occupied Czechoslovakia. Total production was 864 aircraft of all variants.
Called the Fliegende Auge (Flying Eye) of the German Army, the Fw 189 was used extensively on the Eastern Front with great success. It was nicknamed ‘Rama’ (‘frame’ in the Russian, Ukrainian and Polish languages) by Soviet forces, referring to its distinctive tail boom and stabiliser shapes, giving it a quadrangular appearance. Despite its low speed and fragile looks, the Fw 189’s manoeuvrability made it a difficult target for attacking Soviet fighters. The Fw 189 was often able to out-turn attacking fighters by flying in a tight circle into which enemy fighters could not follow.
Night Reconnaissance Group 15, attached to the 4th Panzerarmee in southern Poland during late 1944, carried out nocturnal reconnaissance and light bombing sorties with a handful of 189A-1s. These planes typically lacked the main model’s rear dorsal machine gun. Small numbers of A-1s were used as night fighters in the closing weeks of the war, the aircraft were modified by having their reconnaissance equipment removed and then fitted with FuG 212 AI radar in the nose and a single obliquely firing 20 mm MG FF autocannon in the common Schräge Musik upwards/forward-firing offensive fitment also used for heavier-air framed German night fighters, like the Bf 110G. For the Fw 189 the installation was in the crew nacelle in the space where the rear dorsal gun was normally housed. The majority of the nachtjager 189s were operated by NJG 100, were based at Greifswald. Chronic fuel shortages and enemy air superiority over the 189-defence area (chiefly Berlin) meant that few aircraft were shot down by these craft.
Those persons who correctly identified this week’s mystery aircraft:
Rex Tweedie, Willie Oosthuizen, Righardt du Plessis, Michael Schoeman, P Rossouw, Thomas Tonking, Joe van der Merwe, Bruce Margolis, Mickey Esterhuysen, Brian Millett, Andre Visser, Hilton Carroll, John Kimble, Kevin Farr, Andrew Peace, Bruce Prescott, Jaco van Jaarsveld, Ahmed Bassa, Rennie van Zyl, Charlie Hugo, Colin Austen, Pierre Brittz, Clint Futter, Lance Williams, Ari Levien, Andre Breytenbach, Barry Eatwell, Dave Lloyd, Jeremy Rorich, Brian Ross, Piet Steyn, Jeremy Rorich, Robert Spencer, Johan Prinsloo, Cecil Thompson, Wouter van der Waal, Ray Watts, Erwin Stam, Jan Sime, John Moen, Selwyn Kimber, Daryl Kimber, Peter Gilbert, Aiden O’Mahony, Jeffrey Knickelbein, Danie Viljoen, Johan Venter, Sam Basch, Samuel Rawlings, Marcel Nijdam, Mike Transki, Keith Chiazzari, (52).
Canon XA11 HD video camera for sale – price reduced to R6 000
Canon XA11 video camera complete with battery charger and camera bag for sale at R6 000 O.N.O.
I used this camera for several years and the condition is good. If you are interested, please e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 082 552 2940. Thanks.
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
CemAir sues the SACAA for R170-million
Privately-owned airline operator CemAir and its director Miles van der Molen are suing the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) for nearly R170 million for financial losses it says it incurred over the grounding of its air fleet in 2018. Van der Molen is also suing for what he deems defamatory statements made by the SACAA on its website relating to the grounding. The OR Tambo International airport-based company says the SACAA breached its statutory duties by halting its business without reasonable grounds, grounding its entire fleet under circumstances in which the SACAA’s investigation only pertained to one aircraft.
In its pleadings, the airline also says the SACAA and one of its officials, Simphiwe Salela, took the decisions intentionally, in bad faith and in a manner that was unfair. The company and Van der Molen allege that as a direct result of this conduct, it suffered damages amounting to R130-million. Furthermore the airline alleges it was defamed by the publication of articles on the SACAA website and seeks further damages of R40-million. Van der Molen says the public statements by the SACAA alleged there had been a dereliction of duty on his part in relation to an incident in which he was involved. The matter is yet to be ventilated in court.
According to CemAir’s website, the airline owns and operates a fleet of 23 aircraft, comprising three CRJ 900, six CRJ 100/200 LR Airliners, four Dash 8 Q400s, two Dash-8 Q300s, one Dash 8 100 and seven Beechcraft 1900D aircraft. The airline also operates leasing business throughout Africa and the Middle East, including Afghanistan, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mali, Gabon, Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Madagascar and South Africa.
In 2018 the South African regulator grounded CemAir’s fleet on two separate occasions. Earlier that year, the SACAA grounded 12 of the company’s aircraft when inspectors found they were serviced and cleared by unqualified staff in their maintenance department. The company was also grounded in December of that year after it was accused of having contravened the Civil Aviation Act and five other civil aviation regulations. The SACAA is authorised by law to control, promote, regulate, develop, enforce and improve aviation safety and security in South Africa.
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.
15 & 16 September
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
Aviation and Morocco earthquake relief efforts
The tragic earthquake that has struck Morocco has devastated significant parts of the country and killed and injured thousands of people. As part of the international relief effort, the aviation industry is playing a vital role, in the rapid delivery of humanitarian aid to Morocco.
IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Africa-Middle East, Kamil Al-Awadhi, expressed condolences of the aviation community to the people of Morocco. “The heart-breaking impact of this tragedy in Morocco has been felt worldwide. On behalf of IATA’s member airlines, we extend our heartfelt sympathies to all those affected,” he said. “Our thoughts remain with the communities impacted by this devastating event. We commend the exceptional work of rescue teams, and the important role aviation is playing in facilitating immediate relief.”
Countries including Czechia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Kingdom, facilitated by aviation, have transported aid including vital supplies, medical teams, and other specialist personnel to affected areas, thereby accelerating the humanitarian response.
In addition to the work airlines are doing to support the rescue and humanitarian efforts, IATA is collaborating with local stakeholders to ensure the continuity and effectiveness of critical industry support functions that it provides.
Deadly Cirrus SR20 crash results in 810-acre wildfire
A Cirrus SR20 crash in Toms River, New Jersey on Saturday night resulted in an 810-acre wildfire. The New Jersey Forest Fire Service announced today that federal, state, county and local officials have confirmed the plane crash was the cause of the wildfire. The plane departed from Monmouth Executive Airport (BLM) about 21h30 according to Patch. The plane reportedly circled the Ocean County airport (MJX) several times before the crash. The SR20 went down about 22h18 and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Forest Fire Service was dispatched to investigate smoke shortly before midnight. Upon arrival, personnel encountered the smoke condition and ash falling from the sky, resulting in a search of the area on foot.
The extensive search revealed a roughly 25-acre wildfire in the middle of a dense section of forest within Robert J. Miller Airpark and the discovery of the SR20 wreckage within the wildfire perimeter. Due to the difficult terrain, smoke and fire the authorities could not access the scene of the crash. By Sunday afternoon authorities were able to access the crash site and confirmed that the pilot, 61-year-old Oscar Molina was dead. The NTSB sent an investigator to the scene on Sunday.
An alert was put out about the fire Sunday morning and just hours later it had spread to over 100 acres. By Monday morning the fire had spread to 831 acres and was 70 percent contained, with road closures in effect and 25 structures threatened. By 10h30 Tuesday morning the fire was 100 percent contained. Initially, it was unknown if the cause of the fire was related to the plane crash, but this was confirmed after a wildfire investigation through the Forest Fire Service with assistance from the NTSB, FAA, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, Lacey Township Police Department and Berkeley Township Police Department. The NTSB is investigating but officials did not say whether the wildfire impacted the crash scene. A preliminary report can be expected up to two weeks after the crash.
Ural Airlines Airbus A320 lands in a field in Russia
A Ural Airlines Airbus A320 landed in a field just outside of Novosibirsk, a city in southern Siberia, Russia. The aircraft was operating Ural Airlines domestic flight U61383 from Sochi International Airport (AER) to Omsk Tsentralny Airport (OMS). Just as the aircraft was about to begin to line up with the runway at OMS, the aircraft turned away from the airport at an altitude of 2,150 feet (665.3 meters), continuing its journey towards Novosibirsk, overflying Omsk. After it overflew Omsk, Russia, the A320, climbed to an altitude of 18,000 feet (5,500 m). According to flightradar24.com data, the flight crew began squawking 7700, the transponder code for an emergency, 17 minutes before landing in the field.
Eventually, at 09h43 local time (UTC +7), the aircraft stopped feeding data to the radar at an altitude of 7,225 feet (2,200 meters). According to the Russian news agency TASS, the Airbus A320 experienced hydraulic problems and the flight crew feared that brakes would fail upon landing, which is why they decided to land the aircraft on a field.
United Airlines passenger tried to enter cockpit and open exit doors
A United Airlines flight was forced to return to the gate before take-off after a passenger attempted to enter the cockpit and open the aircraft’s exit doors. The Boeing 737 jet was due to depart Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at 19h40 but as the aircraft was taxiing for take-off the unruly passenger began disrupting the flight. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed in a statement that on 8 September 2023, Flight UA1641 returned to the gate shortly after 21h00. “The passenger was not successful, and law enforcement greeted the unruly passenger at the gate,” the FAA said in a statement. The flight was subsequently cancelled by United Airlines.
Robinson R44 ZS RKK destroyed
On Saturday 9 September a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter was destroyed when it caught fire after landing in a grassy area during a game capture exercise. It appears that hot exhaust set off the fire, which fully consumed the helicopter. There were no injuries.
Biden nominates Michael Whitaker as FAA administrator
After weeks of rumour, on Thursday the Biden Administration announced that Whitaker, who is currently the chief operating officer of Supernal, a company designing an electric advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicle, had been officially nominated to serve as FAA administrator. “Whitaker served as Deputy Administrator at the FAA from 2013–2016. There, he brought industry and government together to drive the successful transition of the US air traffic control system from radar to a satellite-enabled surveillance technology (ABS-B),” the White House said in a statement. “Prior to Supernal and his tenure at the FAA, Whitaker served as Group CEO of InterGlobe Enterprises, India’s largest travel conglomerate and operator of its largest and most successful airline, IndiGo.” He also spent 15 years in management at United Airlines.
“His broad portfolio at the airline included commercial alliances and joint ventures, international and regulatory affairs and strategic counsel to the Chairman and CEO on international matters,” the White House said. “He is a private pilot and holds a juris doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He serves on the board of the Flight Safety Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes aviation safety globally.”
AD for GE90 engine parts on Boeing 777
A proposed airworthiness directive follows a string of GE Aerospace findings pointing to ‘iron inclusion’ in powdered metal parts. The additional iron represents a weak point in the engine, resulting in parts that fail to meet longevity and strength specifications as designed. Premature failure and even uncontained engine failures are always a wildcard whenever fan blades, discs, spools and the like are not up to specification and an AD would help to ensure that any affected parts stay on the ground where they belong.
GE Aerospace says the AD is ‘consistent with existing GE recommendations to operators and reflects our proactive approach to safety management’. They maintain that the affected parts do not endanger flight safety (which is likely true thanks to the relative youth of the 777 fleet) and corrective actions will be in place to prevent similar issues in its engines going forward. The AD is on track to become a final order once the comment period ends on 20 October. Once in effect, it would require replacement of ‘affected HPT stage 1 disks, HPT stage 2 disks, forward HPT rotor seals, interstage HPT seals and stages 7–9 compressor rotor spools.’
Boeing and Vietnam Airlines agree to 50 737 MAX order
Initially, the United States (US) President Joe Biden confirmed the order between the manufacturer and the airline. The White House’s readout of Biden’s meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh read that both officials ‘welcomed a landmark deal between Boeing and Vietnam Airlines worth $7.8 billion that will support more than 30,000 jobs in the United States’. In a separate fact sheet, the White House clarified that Vietnam Airlines has purchased 50 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with the deal providing the country’s growing travel and tourism industry with ‘world-class aircraft’.
According to ch-aviation.com data, presently Vietnam Airlines does not operate any narrow-body jets made by Boeing and only flies the 787-9 and 787-10. Its single-aisle fleet consists solely of Airbus aircraft, with the airline operating 48 A321ceo (seven inactive) and 20 A321neos. Pacific Airlines, a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines, also has 11 Airbus A320s (two inactive) in its fleet.
In December 2021, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said that based on Boeing’s safety measures and investigations into the two accidents, it had re-evaluated the safety index of the aircraft and allowed the 737 MAX to operate within the country from 31 December 2021. According to the company’s Orders & Deliveries filings as of 31 July 2023, Boeing has not delivered a single 737 MAX to Vietnam. Meanwhile, ch-aviation.com data showed that no airlines in Vietnam operate the type. Only VietJet Air, a locally based low-cost carrier, has 150 737 MAX aircraft on order.
Aviation Capital Group to acquire 13 737 MAX jets
Arlington, Virginia-based aerospace titan Boeing and Aviation Capital Group (ACG), a full-service aircraft asset management concern and wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo Century Corporation, have finalised an agreement by which the latter will acquire 13 737 MAX jets, thereby increasing ACG’s order book to 47 737 MAX family aircraft. The incremental order comprises seven 737 MAX-8 and six 737 MAX-10 narrow-body airliners and speaks to ACG’s ambition to grow its single-aisle holdings for purpose of meeting robust customer demand for Boeing’s fuel-efficient 737 MAX lineup.
Under normal use, each 737 MAX aircraft emits up to eight-million fewer pounds of CO2 emissions than the airplanes it replaces. Moreover, the 737 MAX is approximately fifty-percent quieter than previous Boeing 737s.
COMAC reduces C919 number of orders by around 200 aircraft
While speaking at the 16th Pujiang Innovation Forum on 10 September 2023, the plane maker’s board chairman He Dongfeng said that the C919 has received 1,061 orders, according to a report by China’s CGTN. Dongfeng also provided a brief update on the C929, formerly known as the CR2929, saying that China’s domestically made wide-body jet is still in its ‘preliminary design stage’. Previously, Russia altered its participation status in the project, switching from a joint-venture partner to a key supplier, citing sanctions against its aerospace sector as the reason for the change.
UAC’s executive confirmed that the company is no longer a joint venture partner on the CR929. UAC confirms downgraded role in China-Russia CRAIC CR929 programme. However, in January 2023 Zhang Yujin, the vice president of COMAC, told CGTN that the Chinese manufacturer has amassed more than 1,200 orders for the C919, adding that ‘many other airlines are placing orders’. The executive also mentioned that COMAC will attempt to increase the production rate of the C919, with the Chinese aircraft industry now looking to focus on industrialisation.
China Eastern Airlines received its first COMAC C919 in December 2022 and the aircraft entered service in late May 2023. The C919, registered as B-919A, began exclusively transporting passengers between Chengdu Tianfu International Airport (TFU) and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA). COMAC delivered the second C919, registered as B-919C, to China Eastern Airlines on 2 August 2023. The aircraft also began shuttling passengers between TFU and SHA, with both aircraft operating no more than two flights per day. In its H1 2023 financial report, the carrier indicated that as part of its 2023 delivery plan that COMAC would deliver three more C919 aircraft, completing the airline’s order for the type. Other large China-based airlines, including Air China and China Southern Airlines, have planned no C919 deliveries for the remainder of 2023.
Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider strategic bomber begins engine runs
The B-21 Raider project, which has been shrouded in secrecy and anticipation, is taking tangible steps towards its first flight, scheduled to take place before the end of 2023. The next-generation strategic bomber of the United States Air Force has officially commenced engine runs as part of its ground test programme at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale facility. The aircraft is reportedly powered by two unnamed Pratt & Whitney engines. Engine runs refer to the testing and operation of an aircraft’s engines while it remains stationary on the ground. Various performance parameters are monitored and evaluated while the engines are running, to ensure that they operate correctly, produce the expected amount of thrust and function safely before the aircraft is cleared for flight.
Six B-21 Raider bombers are being assembled at Northrop Grumman’s facility in Palmdale, California. The B-21 is expected to enter service by 2026, gradually replacing the B-2 Spirit and the B-1 Lancer strategic bombers. Unveiled by Northrop Grumman on 2 December 2022, this new strategic bomber reuses some of the B-2’s general characteristics, with a similar sleek flying wing design. Ultimately, the USAF expects to operate a two-bomber fleet of B-21s and modified B-52s. It intends to order 100 B-21s, more than its current fleet of B-1s and B-2s combined.
Virgin Galactic completes its fourth successful flight in four months
Virgin Galactic completed its second private space tourist astronaut flight, ‘Galactic 03.’ The mission flew three of Virgin Galactic’s first customers. ‘Galactic 03’ was Virgin Galactic’s fourth successful spaceflight in the past four months, and the third flight of Virgin Galactic’s inaugural commercial spaceflight season. The flight followed the Company’s first research mission in June and first private mission in August.
Onboard ’Galactic 03’:
- Ken Baxter from the United States of America
- Timothy Nash from South Africa, and British Citizen
- Adrian Reynard from the United Kingdom
Spaceship VSS Unity was piloted by Commander Nicola Pecile and Pilot Michael Masucci; Chief Instructor Beth Moses was also on board. Mothership VMS Eve was piloted by Commander Jameel Janjua and Pilot Kelly Latimer.
Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, said: “What a thrilling day for our three new private astronauts and the entire team at Virgin Galactic. It is an honour to see our ‘Galactic 03’ crew realise their lifelong dreams of spaceflight as they inspire our manifest of Future Astronauts. Each successful flight shows how powerful and personally transformative space travel can be and we look forward to scaling our operations and making space travel more accessible to people around the world.”
The Company will now proceed with post-flight inspections and analysis in preparation for the next commercial space mission, ‘Galactic 04,’ which is planned for early October.
FAA closes SpaceX Starship ‘mishap’ investigation
The FAA has issued a brief statement in which they state that they have closed the SpaceX Starship Super Heavy mishap investigation. The final report cites multiple root causes of the 20 April 2023, mishap and 63 corrective actions SpaceX must take to prevent mishap reoccurrence. Corrective actions include redesigns of vehicle hardware to prevent leaks and fires, redesign of the launch pad to increase its robustness, incorporation of additional reviews in the design process, additional analysis and testing of safety critical systems and components including the Autonomous Flight Safety System, and the application of additional change control practices.
The closure of the mishap investigation does not signal an immediate resumption of Starship launches at Boca Chica. SpaceX must implement all corrective actions that impact public safety and apply for and receive a license modification from the FAA that addresses all safety, environmental and other applicable regulatory requirements prior to the next Starship launch. The letter notes that, ‘On 20 April 2023, Space Exploration Technologies, Inc. (SpaceX) conducted Starship Super Heavy launch operations from its Boca Chica, Texas site under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launch license VOL 23-129. During lift-off, structural failure of the launch pad deck foundation occurred, sending debris and sand into the air. On ascent, the vehicle deviated from the expected trajectory, resulting in the Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS) issuing a destruct command. After an unexpected delay following AFSS activation, Starship broke up, resulting in the loss of the launch vehicle. The FAA classified the Starship Launch as a mishap, as defined in Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) § 401.7 paragraphs (2), (6) and (7).’
The FAA missive concludes by stating, ‘Launch license VOL 23-129 for Starship authorised SpaceX to conduct one launch. SpaceX is required to apply for a modification to the VOL 23-129 license to allow for subsequent launches. When SpaceX applies for this modification, it will need to demonstrate compliance with 450.173(f) by evidencing the implementation of corrective actions adopted in response to its 20 April 2023 mishap. If FAA approves the modification, SpaceX will be required to conduct licensed activities in accordance with the representations made in its application (450.211). Failure to do so is grounds for enforcement. Once the FAA determines SpaceX has implemented the corrective actions directly tied to public safety, the agency will consider SpaceX to follow 450.173(f). Further, the FAA’s closure of the mishap investigation does not predetermine the results of any ongoing or future environmental reviews associated with Starship operations at Boca Chica.’
Jump Aero unveils its rapid medical crisis eVTOL aircraft with first order
Jump Aero has unveiled the first medical crisis-focused electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, while also confirming its very first order. The new eVTOL design, called the JA1 ‘Pulse’, is designed to help medical professionals arrive at the scene of a rural emergency with critical lifesaving equipment as quickly as possible. Once built, the Pulse will be capable of dash speeds of 250 knots, making it the fastest form of sustainable personal transportation. Jump Aero’s aim is to offer the critical eight-minute emergency response window to as wide an area as possible.
The company, which has been developing Pulse since 2019, has also announced that the first full-scale prototype will be partially funded by the United States Air Force (USAF), as well as confirming the first commercial order from Falck Ambulance Services. Falck has purchased an option for the first commercial delivery of a JA1 Pulse aircraft. Falck is a global first response business headquartered in Denmark, with 25,000 skilled and experienced professionals working in 26 countries around the world.
Jakob Riis, CEO of Falck said: “Falck is excited to partner with Jump Aero to help us revolutionize the future of emergency services. By enabling professional help to reach hard-to-access locations in a timely manner, Jump Aero will help Falck to deliver improved services to our customers.”
Jump Aero has won $3.6 million in contracts from the USAF to accelerate the company’s technology development. The latest $1.8 million Tactical Funding Increase (TACFI) will be used to fund the first full-scale proof-of-concept prototype. Lt Col John Tekell, Agility Prime’s Programme lead, said: “Jump Aero’s aircraft concept and development strategy focusing on rapid emergency response has potential for defence-related use-cases and is complementary to the other eVTOL programs that the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime programme has engaged with to date. We look forward to working with Jump Aero to help mature their dual-use technology.” The JA1 Pulse can fly one trained professional, plus emergency equipment, to unimproved landing zones in rural areas. Jump Aero is headquartered in Petaluma, California with satellite offices in Santa Paula, California and Chelsea, Massachusetts.
Wisk brings air taxi service to Washinton DC
Wisk Aero will make a showing at the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Aerospace Summit in Washington D.C from 12 to 13 September, stimulating discussion and enlightening stakeholders in the regulatory arena. The firm, currently working on certification for its ‘sixth generation’ vehicle, is hoping to enlighten industry leaders and regulatory personnel on the ‘importance of autonomy in realising the full potential and benefits of this new form of transportation.’ “We are thrilled to showcase our autonomous technology by bringing our sixth-generation air taxi to the heart of D.C.,” said Brian Yutko, Wisk CEO. “The Global Aerospace Summit convenes key stakeholders for important discussions to progress advanced air mobility. We look forward to being part of this discussion and emphasising the critical role autonomy plays in safety and maintaining US leadership in aviation.”
SAE: Tag us @SaudiExhibition
SAE: Tag us @saudiairportexhibition
SAE: Tag us @Saudi Airport Exhibition
SAE: Tag us @SaudiExhibition or retweet
Official hashtags: #SAE2023 #saudiairportexhibition
uAvionix partners with Iris Automation
Iris Automation, a startup company about the business of developing an artificial intelligence-based collision-avoidance system for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) has partnered with uAvionix to integrate the former’s Casia G ground-based collision avoidance data into uAvionix’s SkyLine services for combined Command and Control (C2) and Detect and Avoid (DAA) services. The described combination stands to enable operators of uncrewed aircraft to obtain comprehensive low-altitude airspace awareness and best-in-class command-and-control connectivity at price-points not antithetical to the economic advantages instantiated by small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS).
uAvionix Uncrewed Systems managing director Christian Ramsey stated: “Integration of the Iris’ Casia G data is another step toward enabling scalable and achievable Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights for UAS operators. With better range than the human eye and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse the optical image, the system can rapidly detect and classify other aircraft or objects in the air. That data is then ingested and combined with other sensor data, including ADS-B and displayed for UAS operators in the SkyLine system. It is the type of novel integration and approach that we feel is important for a Command-and-Control Communications Service Provider (C2CSP) to provide and one that we have seen successfully meets the safety, efficiency and reliably needs of rapidly evolving UAS operations.”
21st Century air traffic comprises two discrete facets: cooperative aircraft which share position data through transponders or Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) and non-cooperative aircraft that do not share position data. uAvionix, by dint of proven ADS-B IN solutions the likes of the company’s pingRX Pro and pingStation3 solutions, has established itself as a market-leader in the cooperative aircraft detection sector. uAvionix’s SkyLine software services bring additional value to UAS operators by visualising air traffic (ADS-B) data within the first cloud-based C2 network management platform. The resultant combination provides full optimisation of aircraft C2 communications links and enhanced situational awareness for remote UAS operators. The proven and scalable uAvionix SkyLine system, inclusive of airborne radios, ground stations and DAA sensor data is at the heart of two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) BVLOS waivers and the recent FAA BVLOS exemption granted to uAvionix.
Iris Automation’s Casia system utilises computer vision and AI to detect non-cooperative intruder aircraft likely to occasion well clear breaches or Near Mid-Air Collisions (NMAC), thereby providing time for uncrewed aircraft to alter their flight paths and grant right-of-way to crewed aircraft. Iris’s Casia G system is a ground-based variant of the self-same technology and provides a large area of coverage expandable based on the number of ground-based nodes deployed.
The data produced by Iris’s Casia G system serves as a natural complement to ADS-B data available through uAvionix by allowing cooperative aircraft positions to be validated through two independent sensors and rapid identification of non-cooperative aircraft. In combination, the uAvionix and Iris systems afford UAS operators a level of comprehensive situational awareness exceeding extant single-sensor-based systems. The partnership will take a cue from SkyLine, uAvionix’s ground-breaking C2CSP solution, which leverages path and frequency diversity to provide operators proven optimisation of C2 connectivity. By directly integrating the Casia G data into the uAvionix SkyLine system, multiple and diverse air traffic data points from both cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft will be displayed and utilized by UAS operators for DAA functions. The two companies are actively collaborating on the integration of the Casia G data into the SkyLine service using field tests and operational scenarios. The resulting capability for advanced airspace awareness and command-and-control is expected to be available for UAS operators in late 2023.
ERAU tapped to provide Bureau of Narcotics UAV training
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has been chosen to handle all needed curriculum and online training for the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Under the contract, the Office of Aviation (or Air Wing, colloquially) opted to lean on ERAU as the best choice for a one-stop solution to develop an appropriate framework for training its future UAV operators. The change follows a small bonanza of sorts in the uncrewed aircraft training scene, as the equipment gains capability at a pace just a bit quicker than regulators can keep up. In a time of increasing BVLOS applications and increasingly sophisticated long-range networking, government bodies will probably opt for the same choice in the future: It is easier to let the experts devise training that meets the standards and produces capable students.
ERAU was happy to talk about its ‘custom courseware’ under the contract, but aside from the usual PR platitudes, it is not quite apparent how much of the course will be reskinned content from other products in the school’s portfolio. Given the somewhat specialised mission of the Bureau of Narcotics’ Air Wing, it stands to reason there will be some fresh content tailored to their work. Graduates will hold standard ‘industry certification in sUAS’, always a nice boon for those in the state’s employ.
About African Pilot
About African Pilot and Future Flight:
After 23 years there is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall aviation media reach on the African continent and now in the world. Unlike many other aviation magazines, all African Pilot’s and Future Flight’s monthly editions are easily read on any digital device including smart phone.
Our team is positioned to provide professional video and stills photography, website development, social media platforms, company newsletters as well as several other important media services to customers.
The two monthly magazines are 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.
This twice weekly APAnews service has been part of African Pilot’s line-up since the inception of the magazine 23 years ago.
African Pilot is the third best English language aviation magazine in the top ten magazines in the world: https://blog.feedspot.com/aviation_magazines/
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.