George Bernard Shaw
Below 5000 feet the clearance is 1000 feet, above 5001 feet the clearance is 2000 feet.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For advertising positions please contact Adrian Munro
Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: email@example.com
About African Pilot
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Video of the week:
Dufour’s tilt-demonstrator completes initial flight testing
View and download African Pilot’s last three (3) 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
AERO South Africa Safety First Aviator
The third instalment in the series of Safety-First Aviator Webinars with the theme ‘PROP CLEAR’
Theme: Safety First Aviator – Fatigue Risk Management
Date: Wednesday, 11 November 2020 Time: 19h00
The 2020/2021 theme of ‘Prop Clear’, ensuring that engines are ready for take-off, following the COVID -19 Lockdown. The underlying theme for the campaign is ‘Resilience’, focused on how we will adapt to the change and the ‘new normal’ to ensure flight safety in preventing accidents. As part of this third instalment in the series of SFA webinars, Wynand Serfontein will be focusing on personal fatigue management and how fatigue impacts the daily decision-making process and impact the quality of the decisions we make. Wynand will cover strategies to manage personal fatigue to assist Aviation Safety. Ari Levien will share recent statistics from Mayday-SA that indicates how COVID-19 is currently impacting aviators and touching on how Mayday-SA can provide support in dealing with the stressful time that aviation is experiencing at present. Carl Bollweg looks forward to discussing the ALPA-SA proposal for amendment of part 121.02.13 which covers the Flight and Duty Period Scheme.
Wynand Serfontein – Fatigue Risk Management Specialist
Ari Levien – MayDay-SA
Carl Bollweg – ALPA-SA
Franz Smit (Moderator) – Pilot Insure
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/
Picture of the Week
Boeing Stearman taken by Charlie Hugo from an Alouette II helicopter flown by Charles Fuller late on Saturday afternoon at Brakpan airfield: Canon EOS -1DX: 1/160 sec, f/63, 105mm and ISO 100.
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
George runway closed for most of Friday afternoon after aircraft burst a tyre
FAGG runway was closed from about 11h30 to 17h30 on Friday causing several scheduled aircraft to divert, whilst hundreds of passengers were inconvenienced. It is understood that a Pilatus PC-12 belonging to the Red Cross Air Mercy Services burst a tyre probably due to excessive braking. There are many questions that need to be asked about this situation including why the fire and rescue services could not remove the aircraft from the active runway within a few minutes? How is it possible for a relatively minor issue to block the runway causing thousands of Rands of damage and lost revenue, whilst causing major disruptions to other users at the airport? What is the reason why the management of the airport and AMS have not made any public statements? Surely there needs to be an operational plan to deal with this very minor situation as speedily as possible.
Plenty of vision, but few details in R10.5bn SAA rescue
Restructuring SAA into a new airline would unfold early in 2021, once the government settled on ‘the right kind of partner’. This is what Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan put it to MPs. A new restructured SAA would follow the Telkom model, said Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in a reference to the part-privatised telecoms provider in which the government still holds a 39% stake. He said the new restructured airline with its eight planes (SAA has returned its 40 leased planes) would have an independent board and a skilled operating team that ‘is also able to train a new generation, particularly of black South Africans who have not had exposure to aviation, as the Ethiopians and Kenyans were able to do’.
Those ministerial comments echo previous talk of Ethiopian Airlines as a potential equity partner. In early October 2020, according to Bloomberg, ANC MPs were briefed that Ethiopian Airlines would be the best option to partner with SAA. ‘After a thorough analysis, our preferred strategic equity partner for SAA is Ethiopian Airlines’, said the study by African Aviation Services presented to ANC MPs, adding that the airlines shared a similar pan-African vision, according to Bloomberg. “Early in the new year we are able to settle for the right kind of partner, as far as government is concerned,” he told MPs, later adding, “We are unable to give any other details at this point in time. You will hear more about this in the next weeks as we make progress”. The first serving of details could well be about the SAA interim board and top executives. At the end of October, SAA interim board chairperson Thandeka Mgoduso resigned; so, had Adam Voss, CEO of SAA Technical, part of the SAA Group, by Monday 2 November. Despite bullish talk of an equity partner for SAA, which at its January lekgotla the governing ANC decided had to be retained, the efforts of an unnamed transaction adviser proved challenging.
None of the interested potential SAA partners was interested enough to pick up the cost of restructuring, or the legacy debt. The government decided it was necessary for SAA to get the R10.5-billion (not bailout) in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), just eight months after the national airliner was allocated R16.4-billion in the February Budget to meet maturing debt. Regardless of often repeated pledges that the new restructured SAA would not depend on the national purse, on Wednesday hints emerged that the MTBPS allocation may not be the last when Gordhan also talked of ‘the R10.5-billion and the additional amounts to the lessors over the next two years’.
Gordhan still maintained that the R10.5-billion SAA received at the cost of reductions to government departments (the MTBPS was very clear about that) was not a bailout, but monies needed for staff retrenchments, operating costs and the restructuring into a new airline. Hours earlier, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni also stayed on message during the economic ministerial Q&A in the House. At times it seemed this move involving the national airliner may well open the door to the restructuring of other non-performing state-owned entities (SOEs). This signalling came on the eve of President Cyril Ramaphosa chairing the inaugural Presidential SOEs Council. “The issue about SAA is a very difficult one, both politically and financially. We sought to approach this in a balanced way. I refuse the approach that the R10.5-billion is a bailout,” said Mboweni. “If you go to the components of the R10.5-billion, you see it’s meant for the components of the business rescue.”
However, it seems at least some of these components are moving targets. The numbers changed on Wednesday evening when SAA joint business practitioner Siviwe Dongwana briefed MPs. The numbers in the presentation submitted before the meeting pretty much reflected what had been said previously: R2.2-billion for staff retrenchments, R1.7-billion for plane lessors, R3-billion for ticket refunds, R1.4-billion to pay various creditors and R2-billion working capital to restart operations. On the night, Dongwana presented somewhat different numbers and curiously included in the business rescue process R2.7-billion to recapitalise Mango and SAA Technical. Other ‘new’ numbers included R2.8-billion for staff retrenchments, as the flown ticked component dropped to R2.2-billion and creditors’ payments to R800-million. While DA MP Alf Lees asked about this, answers were not quite forthcoming. Nor were answers quite forthcoming on the costs of the business rescue, while National Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane was present, he deferred to the minister. Throughout the three-and-a-half-hour, sometimes terse meeting that ended just before 22h00, Gordhan stayed on message to defend the R10.5-billion allocation to SAA as restructuring.
South African Express Airways SOC (Ltd) – assets going on auction
GoIndustry DoveBid Africa will be hosting the SA Express auction on 18 November 2020 closing at 16h00 South African time. SA Express was placed in Provisional Liquidation in May 2020. GoIndustry DoveBid Africa was mandated to perform valuation work, project management and disposal of assets. The online auction event is a culmination of months of work which included various processes to engage with interested parties to purchase the airline, with a view of restarting operations. The Expression of Interest process finally identified one consortium, ‘FlySax’, which will be led by an anchor investor and include a shareholding with previous SA Express staff. FlySax will not be purchasing any of the corporeal (movable) assets of SA Express, only the company itself which includes routes, landing rights and certain regulatory licenses that has not lapsed. GoIndustry DoveBid, with the Joint Provisional Liquidators and their legal advisors, are busy finalising agreements with the purchasing entity. GoIndustry DoveBid has been mandated to proceed with the online auction of the assets not included in the sale to FlySax.
The online auction will include assets such as eight Bombardier CRJ200 jet aircraft, which are not in an airworthy condition, with some even being scrapped by the SACAA. Also included are jet engines, APUs, rotables and spares for the aircraft and related aviation assets. The online auction will be the first event with a view to host a later event that will include the non-aviation assets such as office furniture. The assets are mostly located at Johannesburg OR Tambo airport, which is a restricted national key point. Interested parties who do not have the necessary permits will therefore not be able to view the assets and will have to make a purchase based on our comprehensive descriptions and photos provided. This is an unavoidable circumstance.
Editor comments on both the above stories
Frankly the SA Express Airlines auction is the right way to go, because after of years of state meddling in various aviation enterprises, mostly state owned, but also private aviation companies, by now one would have thought that ‘lessons had been learnt!’ But it appears that this so called BBEEE transformation, especially in aviation was always destined to fail. All BBEEE has done is to make about one million black people very wealthy, whilst it has impoverished more than 40 million black South Africans.
The R10.5 billion allocated to SAA will be consumed in a heartbeat and yet again soon, the ‘proverbial begging bowl’ will come out for another bail-out. Unfortunately, politics and aviation are seriously entwined and any person that denies this is not being truthful to him / herself. South Africans of all races have suffered severely at the hands of the present government that is being seriously exposed through the Zondo Commission hearings into State Capture, which certainly go well beyond the terrible Zuma years. How many more ‘connected’ people will be dragged before the Commission so that they can continue the lies about their own involvement in blatant theft? Then the question on everyone’s lips; will these people ever be charged to face the courts and end up in orange pyjamas?
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Children’s Flight on Friday 6 November
What a wonderful day we enjoyed with the Children’s Flight at Orient airfield on Friday 6 November. Apart from watching the excitement on the children’s faces, the pilots certainly enjoyed the experience. Felix Gosher has an amazing formula for those pilots and companies within the wonderful world of aviation to put something back and for this I applaud him. Of course, he could never do this all on his own, so I also wish to thank the many people that made this limited edition of his annual Children’s Flight an outstanding success. I have posted a sample of the pictures of the day, but there are many more to share, including some amazing video footage that will be shared within the December edition of African Pilot. Of course, Fiona and Charlie Hugo as well as Christine Brits pictures will be included in the feature. Thanks to everyone that made this day an outstanding success.
SAPFA Landing competition at Brakpan airfield
Some pictures from Saturday’s South African Power Flying Association’s National Landing Championships staged at Brakpan airfield. The marks on the runway are position markers at one-meter intervals so that the judges can determine where the main wheels landed. The day was perfect with wind from the north just off the runway heading. Congratulations to Hans Schwebel for winning the championships for the sixth time since 2006. As always, the friendship of the core SAPFA members is wonderful and it was good to see several media photographers including Charles Hugo and Fiona Hugo taking the most special pictures of this event. The full feature will be published in the December edition of African Pilot.
What is scheduled for the next few months?
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
We will publish the aviation calendar within APAnews three months ahead, but you can always visit African Pilot’s website: www.africanpilot.co.za if you would like to obtain the full calendar for the entire year.
AERO South Africa sponsored Safety First Aviator – Fatigue Risk Management
Time 19h00 Click here to join
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
Sport Aerobatics Club Ace of Base TBC
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Rand Airport challenge
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
SAPFA AGM also at Rand Airport after the rally
Contact Rob Jonkers e-mail: email@example.com cell: 082 804 7032
30 & 31 January
Sport Aerobatics Club Gauteng Regionals Vereeniging Airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Witbank Speed Rally at Witbank Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 855 9435
6 & 7 March
Sport Aerobatics Club Judges Trophy Venue TBA
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
12 & 13 March
Bethlehem Aero Club event TBA
Contact Stephan Fourie E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 072 344 9678
19 and 20 March
FASHKOSH airshow at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact: Anton Theart E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 079 873 4567
22 to 25 March
HAI Helicopter Association International La Nouvelle New Orleans Los Angeles USA
Contact E-mail: email@example.com
22 to 26 March
Flight Inspection Symposium (IFIS) and Trade Show ICC Convention Centre Durban
Contact Christo van Straaten (IFIS chair) Tel: 011 545 100 Cell: 083 451 2632 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
24 to 26 March
CAASA AAD Trade Show Lanseria International Airport
Contact Louise Olckers (GM) Cell: +27 (0)82 847 3403
SAPFA Brakpan Fun Rally at Brakpan Airport
Contact Frank Eckard, E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 269 1516
26 & 27 March
Uitenhage Wings and Wheels
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 320 2615
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.
It was with great amusement that I looked at the aviation calendar published in another South African aviation magazine where out of the nine events at least four are incorrect or have been cancelled. Attention to detail counts, especially when I provide this FREE service to everyone in aviation and all the editor needs to do is ‘cut and paste’ the correct information!
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Algerian Air Force receives the first batch of MiG-29M/MiG-29M2
The Algerian Air Force has received the first batch of MiG-29M/MiG-29M2 fighter aircraft from Russia, reports menadefense.net. The fighters were delivered disassembled and are now being prepared for their first flights at the Oran airbase and will replace MiG-29S aircraft operational in the Algerian Air Force’s 193rd fighter squadron.
Air Seychelles is back in Johannesburg
On Saturday, the flagship carrier of the Republic of Seychelles successfully resumed commercial passenger services to one of its most popular routes on the airline’s network, Johannesburg. The beautiful colours of the Air Seychelles A320neo aircraft was spotted at the OR Tambo International Airport upon landing at 12h30 greeted by a guard of honour salute. During the month of November, Air Seychelles will operate weekly flights on Saturdays between Johannesburg and Seychelles. In December, the airline will expand its operations to three flights per week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The exciting Friday evening departure will continue direct onto the Maldives, making it the fastest way to get from South Africa to the Maldives during the festive season. For bookings, travellers are invited to visit www.airseychelles.com.
African aviation set for a dismal 2020
According to IATA, African aviation’s recovery will be weaker than expected and reach just 30% of 2019 levels. In absolute numbers, the region is expected to see around 45 million travellers in 2020 rising to 70 million travellers in 2021. A full return to 2019 levels (155 million travellers) is not expected until late 2023. Though domestic travel is picking up across Africa as countries re-open their borders, international travel remains heavily constrained as major markets including the EU remain closed to citizens of African nations. Currently, residents from only two African countries: Rwanda and Tunisia are permitted to enter EU borders.
“The further fall in passenger traffic in 2020 is more bad news for the aviation industry in Africa,” said Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East. “A few months ago, we thought that demand reaching 45% across the continent in 2020 compared to 2019 was as grim as it could get. But with international travel remaining virtually non-existent and a slower than expected pick up in domestic travel, we have revised our expectations downward to 30%.” Four airlines across Africa have ceased operations due to the impact of COVID-19 and two are in voluntary administration, with many more in serious financial distress. Without urgent financial relief more carriers and their employees are at risk, as is the wider African air transport industry, which supports 7.7 million jobs on the continent.
The governments of Rwanda, Senegal, Côte D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso have pledged a total of $311 million in direct financial support to air transport. A further $30 billion has been promised by various governments, international finance bodies and other institutions including the African Development Bank, African Export Import Bank, African Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, most of this relief is yet reach those in need.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
Fatal Cirrus accident near Nelspruit
According to the Lowvelder, the pilot was André van Heerden of Summerfield’s Rose Retreat in Hazyview. It seems that the general consensus, lacking eyewitness accounts, is that the accident occurred following a go-around due to a decision by the pilot to reject the landing. However, it could have also been a straightforward touch-and-go as well. According to Netcare 911 media liaison officer, Shawn Herbst, they responded to reports of a plane crash near the Nelspruit Airport at approximately 15h45 on Friday 6 November. The Netcare 911 helicopter emergency medical service crew who were at the airfield when the incident occurred rushed to the scene, but they found the aircraft engulfed in flames. The Nelspruit Fire and Rescue Services managed to douse the blaze and on closer inspection found the pilot deceased next to the aircraft. R.I.P.
Night flight goes awry
The pilot reported that, during a night currency flight, he flew to the airport in Merced, California, which he was not familiar with. He recalled that the approach was normal and that, during the flare, the Piper PA-28 hit three of the runway’s medium-intensity approach lighting system runway alignment indicator lights. He then landed on the runway, and during taxi to parking, the nosewheel tyre deflated. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the lower right aft fuselage. The pilot reported that it had been more than 90 days since his last flight at night. He added that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
NTSB preliminary report: Cessna 310
On 29 October 2020 a Cessna 310 was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Henderson, Nevada. The pilot and the passenger sustained fatal injuries. The pilot departed North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), Las Vegas, Nevada at 09h29 en route to Gillespie Field Airport (SEE), San Diego/El Cajon, California. At 09h35, the pilot contacted Air Traffic Control (ATC), declared ‘engine-out’ and requested to change the destination to Henderson Executive Airport (HND), Las Vegas, Nevada. About three minutes later, the airplane crashed 4.5 miles northwest of HND Airport.
Sharp turn at low altitude a bad combination
The commercial pilot took off from a dry lakebed in Flanigan, Nevada, in a Kitfox S7 SuperSport with another airplane for people on the ground to visually compare the two. After a normal flight, the second airplane landed. The pilot flew past the landing spot, pulled into a nose-high attitude and made a rapid left turn. He pushed on the left rudder control and the left wing stalled. He attempted to recover from the stall, but the plane was at too low of an altitude to recover and it hit the ground in a nose-low attitude. The pilot was seriously injured in the crash. The pilot reported no mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that he failed to maintain airspeed during the sharp turn, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
The great US presidential election
Donald Trump, who defied political gravity with his extraordinary rise from reality star and businessman to the presidency, has fallen back to earth. In the end, his flurry of raucous rallies, an unprecedented turnout operation and sheer force of will could not overcome the reality of his enduring unpopularity and a raging pandemic that has killed more than 236,000 people in the US and thrown millions out of work.
Yet Trump’s acerbic brand of politics, his Twitter taunts, his vindictive drive to punish enemies, his go-it-alone approach to the world made its mark across the far reaches of the government and beyond. Yet his better-than-expected election performance against Democrat Joe Biden suggests his impact is likely to resonate for generations in politics, governing and policy, even in defeat.
It remains to be seen what Trump intends to do after his term ends on 20 January 2021. Retreat to the golf course? Launch his own television network? Lay the groundwork to run again? How fiercely will he try to contest his fate? I would absolutely expect the president to stay involved in politics. “I would absolutely put him on the short list of people who are likely to run in 2024,” Trump’s former chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said in an online interview with the Institute of International & European Affairs. “He does not like losing.”
How six Boeing 747s became logistical nightmare for Lufthansa
Storing aircraft could become quite a headache for airlines and Lufthansa might be a great case to examine. The German airline flew six Boeing 747s to storage at a small Dutch airport to park them where doing so is much cheaper. However, when it later wanted to send the aircraft to scrap them, Lufthansa was unable to do so, as the airport’s runway was not certified to allow such heavy aircraft to depart, yet they could land. Now, the first of the six 747s stored at the airport finally departed toward its destination, Mojave Air & Space Port. According to planespotters.net data, Lufthansa shipped six Boeing 747-400 aircraft to storage at Enschede Twente Airport in the Netherlands throughout June and July 2020. As the current crisis continued and with no end in sight, Lufthansa was forced to adjust its fleet size accordingly. In early-July 2020 the German company announced its intentions to reduce the number of aircraft by 100, including the already completed retirements of six Airbus A380s, 11 Airbus A320s and five Boeing 747-400s at the time. In September 2020, rumours broke out that Lufthansa was planning to retire the entire fleets of the Airbus A380, the Airbus A340 and the Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The airline confirmed the news later in the month, adding that the total amount of aircraft to be retired ahead of schedule would increase from 100 to 150. Even landing at the airport was not an easy task. According to the airport’s informational sheet, if an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Aircraft Approach Category (APC) D wants to operate to and from the Twente Airport, the flight crew must complete mandatory flight tests. Upon the completion of the tests, pilots obtain a license to fly in and out of the airport for one year. The aircraft would either end up as converted freighters, be scrapped or in a very unlikely scenario continue passenger service with a new airline.
Amazon launches first air hub in Europe
Online retailer Amazon confirmed the launching of air cargo operations in Europe. It is the company’s first such expansion outside the US. Amazon’s first European Air hub is based out of the Leipzig / Halle Airport (LEJ) in Germany. The airport was chosen due to its central location and expertise in airfreight operations. The airport is already number two in the German airfreight business and number five in Europe. The 20,000 m2 cargo facility at Leipzig / Halle Airport will create an additional connection within Amazon’s fulfilment network in Europe, bringing greater selection and more flexible delivery options at a lower price to Prime members. Amazon has been operating in the Leipzig region since 2006, where it has already created more than 1,500 jobs. The new hub would in addition generate more than 200 jobs.
The company will operate two Boeing 737-800 freighters flown by ASL Airlines on behalf of Amazon Air in Europe. During the pandemic, Amazon took advantage of the market for aircraft and expanding its aviation logistics. In June, Amazon leased 12 additional Boeing 767-300 passenger planes from Air Transport Services Group, adding to an existing fleet of 70 aircraft.
Boeing assessing technologies for next commercial jet
Boeing continues working toward development of a new commercial aircraft, though chief executive David Calhoun has disclosed few details. Calhoun mentioned the project during the company’s third-quarter earnings call on 28 October. “We have some incredible underlying technologies that are going to support the point-design for that next airplane,” Calhoun says. “We are going to assess this market, based on everything that has happened in the last year and probably the next year.” That review will enable Boeing to ‘call out that point design and pull these underlying technologies that we think will create a winning airplane’. In recent years, Boeing toyed with the idea of developing its so-called new mid-market airplane (NMA). As envisioned, that jet would have had 4,000-5,000nm (7,400-9,300km) range and carry some 270 passengers. Earlier this year, Boeing put the NMA programme on ice. It has since slashed production and cut staff in response to the coronavirus-driven downturn, leaving open questions about future aircraft programmes. “We are not out of the development business,” Calhoun says. “This deferral of the NMA, or whatever that slot was, is actually going to advantage us in determining the point-design, based on what I think are some changing market conditions.” In recent days, several news outlets reported that Boeing has been discussing the idea with customers on a new 200-250-seat passenger jet.
AD: Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH
The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Model EC135P1, EC135P2, EC135P2+, EC135P3, EC135T1, EC135T2, EC135T2+, EC135T3, and EC635T2+ helicopters. This AD was prompted by reports of improper heat treatment of titanium (Ti)-bolts installed on the forward and aft tail rotor drive shafts, resulting in a broken Ti-bolt. This AD requires an inspection to determine if Ti-bolts installed on the forward and aft tail rotor drive shafts are affected parts and replacement if necessary, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is incorporated by reference. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products. This AD becomes effective 18 November 2020. Model EC635P3, EC635P2+, EC635T1 and EC635T3 helicopters are not certificated by the FAA and are not included on the US type certificate data sheet; this AD therefore does not include those helicopters in the applicability. This AD was prompted by reports of improper heat treatment of Ti-bolts on the forward and aft tail rotor drive shafts, resulting in a broken Ti-bolt.
AD: Bell Textron Inc.
The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Bell Textron Inc. (Type Certificate previously held by Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.) Model 412, 412CF and 412EP helicopters. This AD requires revising the existing Rotorcraft Flight Manual (RFM) for your helicopter. This AD was prompted by an accident and multiple reports of a cracked main gearbox (MGB) support case. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products. This AD is effective 18 November 2020. This AD was prompted by an accident on a Model 412EP helicopter and multiple reports of a cracked MGB support case. Initial investigations showed that excessive pylon pitch vibrations likely caused overload that resulted in these failures and investigations are ongoing to determine the root cause of these vibrations. However, field experience and flight test data indicate that excessive degradation of the transmission mounts and friction dampers could cause the sudden increase in one-per-rev vertical vibration, and minimum collective and cyclic controls friction not meeting the maintenance manual specifications may also be a contributing factor. If not addressed, this condition could result in structural failure of the MGB support case and subsequent reduced control of the helicopter. To address this unsafe condition, this AD requires revising Section 2, Normal Procedures, under both ‘BEFORE TAKE-OFF’ and ‘IN-FLIGHT OPERATION(S)’ of the existing RFM for your helicopter.
First crew rotation flight on US commercial spacecraft later this week
NASA is preparing launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. This is the first crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket following certification by NASA for regular flights to the space station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Programme. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), entered their official quarantine period beginning Saturday 31 October in preparation for their flight to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission. They will lift off at 19h49 EST on Saturday aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon carried by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Dufour demonstrates eVTOL flight transitions
Dufour reports that it completed the first phase of flight testing of its eVTOL demonstrator, with 550 test flights. The company was able to show a high degree of stability and control in all conditions, including full transitions from hover to cruise and back again. The demonstrator was designed as a research platform to prove their understanding of the flight dynamics and develop their control laws for large size tilt-wing aircraft. It has helped them build the technology for aEro 3, its upcoming manned tilt-wing aircraft for medical transport and regional air mobility.
As a research platform, it has not been optimised for noise emissions. Nonetheless, Dufour believes it is interesting to hear the character of the noise it produces and the company is sharing some footage of a full transition flight with audio to show their progress as of summer 2020. As a result, Dufour will be equipping the next pre-series prototype with more optimised props, which reduce the total noise signature. Dufour believes that tilt-wing aircraft with electric propulsion enable many new opportunities in vertical mobility. They offer much greater safety, efficiency and speed than helicopters. Because they are also reportedly so much quieter and more affordable, they will be far more accepted by the public.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
DJI Mini 2 revealed
DJI has launched the DJI Mini 2, a high-performance camera drone that packs a number of new features into a small, portable design weighing less than 249 grams. The successor to DJI’s original Mavic Mini, DJI Mini 2 is reportedly easy to fly, with improved imaging capabilities, flight performance, and significantly enhanced transmission technology. Intelligent, pre-programmed modes have been optimised so that you can capture eye-catching footage with just a few taps while beginner tutorials and learning tools help get new pilots up to speed on how to fly this fun new drone. Supported with a wide array of fun, safe and creative accessories, DJI Mini 2 users can make the system their own with personalised items or show it off with the illuminated display case.
The DJI Mini 2 has a maximum transmission range of 10km; a 150% increase in transmission range when compared to the original Mavic Mini. Upgraded motors provide 31 minutes of flight time, along with the ability to withstand winds up to 24mph. A live feed from the drone’s camera can be sent to your mobile phone so that you can see exactly where Mini 2 is and what it sees. Simplified buttons and functions keep things streamlined and easy to understand compared to more advanced drones. GPS keeps track of where the drone is while the vision sensors on the bottom map out the ground below it and assist automated landing. The 1/2.3-inch sensor is capable of recording 12-megapixel images and a maximum video resolution of 4K/30fps @100 Mbps. Additionally, images can be saved in standard JPEG as well as RAW for advanced users who want to edit footage further. Shake-free, smooth footage is possible because of the 3-axis gimbal, which compensates for drone movement, wind and more. While recording in 1080p resolution, pilots can get closer to their subject without actually having to move the drone thanks to the 4 X Zoom (2X lossless in quality) option. Pre-programmed intelligent modes mean the drone does the hard work of capturing beautiful footage with set movements and imaging features.
Twice Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until Thursday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)