“Did you ever expect a corporation to have a conscience, when it has no soul to be damned, and nobody to be kicked?”
Lord Chancellor Thurlow
African Pilot’s aircraft of the week identification quiz
The Short SA.4 Sperrin (named after the Sperrin Mountains) was a British jet bomber design of the early 1950s, built by Short Brothers and Harland of Belfast. It first flew in 1951. From the onset, the design had been viewed as a fallback option in case the more advanced strategic bomber aircraft, then in development to equip the Royal Air Force’s nuclear-armed V bomber force, experienced delays; the Sperrin was never placed into production because by then swept-wing designs, such as the Vickers Valiant, became available. A pair of flying prototypes were used to gather research data on large jet aircraft and to support the development of other technologies, such as several models of jet engines. The two aircraft completed were retired in the late 1950s and ultimately scrapped sometime thereafter.
The Air Ministry issued a specification on 11 August 1947 B.14/46 for a ‘medium-range bomber land plane’ that could carry a ‘10,000-pound (4,500 kilogram) bomb to a target 1,500 nautical miles (2,780 kilometers) from a base which may be anywhere in the world’, with the stipulation it should be simple enough to maintain at overseas bases. The exact requirements also included a weight of 140,000 lb (64 t). The B.35/46 specification required that the fully laden weight would be under 100,000 lb (45 t), the bomber have a cruising speed of 500 knots (580 mph; 930 km/h) and that the service ceiling would be 50,000 ft (15,000 m). This request would become the foundation of the Royal Air Force’s V bombers, Britain’s airborne nuclear deterrent.
At the same time, the British authorities felt there was a need for an independent strategic bombing capability, in other words that they should not be reliant upon the United States Strategic Air Command. In late 1948, the Air Ministry issued their specification B.35/46 for an advanced jet bomber that would serve as a successor to the Avro Lincoln, the then-standard heavy aircraft of RAF Bomber Command, and that it should be the equal of anything that either the Soviet Union or the United States would have. This request would be the foundation of the V bombers.
However, the Air Ministry accepted that the requirement might prove to be difficult to achieve in the timescale required and prepared for a fallback position by re-drafting B.14/46 as an ‘insurance’ specification against failure to speedily develop the more advanced types that evolved into the Vickers Valiant, Avro Vulcan and Handley Page Victor, as this was to be a less ambitious conventional type of aircraft, with un-swept wings and some sacrifice in performance. The only significant performance differences between B.14/46 and the more advanced B.35/46 were a lower speed of 435 knots (806 km/h) and a lower height over the target of 35,000 to 45,000 feet (11,000 to 14,000 m). According to aviation authors Bill Gunston and Peter Gilchrist, the specification’s ignorance of a swept wing was odd for the era and had been made to allow the prospective bomber to be delivered more quickly.
A total of four firms submitted tenders to meet the B.14/46 specification, Shorts’ submission was selected as it had been judged to be superior. The selection of Shorts was ‘astonishing’ according to Bill Gunston and Peter Gilchrist and noted that their submission, while being a sound design, had apparently been subject to luck. Under this requirement, the Air Ministry placed a contract for two flying prototypes and a static airframe with Shorts. The design was known initially by the company designations of SA.4 and SA.4; the aircraft would later receive the name ‘Sperrin’.
As the Sperrin was a possible production aircraft early on, a decision was taken for the two prototypes to be constructed upon production jigs; this served to slow their construction. Bill Gunston and Peter Gilchrist commented that, if a subsequent production order had been issued, an initial operational squadron could have been equipped by late 1953.
The Sperrin was equipped with a tricycle undercarriage (a twin-wheel nosewheel and a pair of four-wheel bogies). The nose gear retracted backwards and the main gear into the wings towards the fuselage. A safety circuit prevented retraction of the landing gear until a sufficient air speed had been reached. The nose-wheel was steerable which was unusual for a British aircraft, the Sperrin being one of the first British aircraft to be fitted with one; the landing gear was operated by a Messier hydraulic system. A 24/28-volt DC electrical system was supplied by two generators; both generators and a compressor for cabin pressure were driven from two accessory gearboxes that were housed within the wings.
The SA.4 was designed for a crew of five: pilot, copilot, bomb-aimer, navigator and air signaler (later called air electronics officer). The prone bomb aimer’s position was a tube extending forward of the cockpit above the radome. It was fitted with an opaque nosecone, as the Sperrin was never used for visual bomb aiming. The pilots were the only crew members to have Martin-Baker ejector seats and these were positioned beneath a jettison able roof panel; other crew members had to bail out through a door under the navigator’s console from their rear-facing positions located behind the pilots. Unusual for an aircraft of this size, the flying controls were manually operated using servo tabs, a feature also used on the Bristol Britannia; artificial feel was also incorporated. Bill Gunston and Peter Gilchrist describe the control system as having been simple, light, reliable and low-friction and contrast it positively against powered systems of the era.
Those who identified this aircraft correctly: P. Rossouw, David Plew-Chisholm, David Hann, Gregory Yatt, Rennie van Zyl, Michael Schoeman, Richard Collocott, Righardt du Plessis, Bob Gurr, Ari Levien, Mike McLaughlin, Brian Millett, Erwin J.W. Stam, Selwyn Kimber, Hilton Carroll, Steve Dewsberry, Danie Viljoen, Kevin Farr, Nic Manthopoulos, Charlie Hugo, Karl Jensen, Dawid Hanekom, Danie van der Merwe, Brian Melmoth, Willie Oosthuizen, Colin Austen, Wouter van der Waal, Bernard Stander, Greg Pullin, Les Smith, Mickey Esterhuysen, Johan Venter, Ahmed Bassa, Jaco van Jaarsveld, Herman Nel, Jeffrey Knickelbein, (36)
What does Trip Fuel consist of?
Start and Taxi
The Departure SID
Climb to Cruise Level
Cruise to top of descent
Descent plus the STAR
Landing and Taxi
Within the aviation Facebook blog Fly Africa, Duncan Gilespie wrote: “It has just been brought to my attention (thanks Ilse Oosthuizen) that, incredibly, Siviwe Dongwana, one of the two BRP’s currently milking the SAA cash-cow dry was, quite remarkably, one of the three Director Generals (him, in just 2016) of the Department of Public Works (DPW) who were responsible for the upgrade cost overruns of the over R 200 million that went down the drain at Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla palace. All three DG’s (Dongwana being the third) were facing financial misconduct charges in a Special Investigations Unit (SIU) report on Nkandla, yet no criminal action was taken when the National Prosecuting Authority (under Shaun Abrahams, Zuma’s appointee and sidekick) declined (for no given reason) to press charges. Now this man is preparing himself for the biggest payday of his nefarious career to date, on the back of completely illegal and ridiculously drawn-out business rescue proceedings, which were never designed to save SAA but to obfuscate the criminal process by which the government was using to avoid a collapse of the house of cards which was and still is, their credit guarantees to the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), primarily through the Department of Public Enterprises.
Editor responds: Is it not amazing how the ‘cANCer party connected seem to always get away with blatant theft and corruption? Somehow all the so called ‘promises’ to ‘clean up’ government and state appointed persons that the president has made on many occasions, appear to slip through the cracks, just to reappear in some or other position a few months later!
African Pilot’s September 2021 edition
The 212-page September edition featuring EAA AirVenture fills 44 pages, more than ever before. This feature was compiled remotely, since South African citizens were not allowed to travel to the ‘Greatest Aviation Celebration on Earth’ since our country was placed on the ‘Red List’. The September edition includes 23 videos, 10 picture galleries and has 44 articles. The cover story is introducing the new Sling High Wing prototype, both the tricycle gear and the taildragger versions. In addition, we spent some time with Cirrus South Africa this past month to feature the exciting changes that have taken place at Cirrus. Other exciting features are Beechcraft Denali, Cessna SkyCourier, Cirrus Safe Return, Dassault Falcon 10X, Steyn City Ultimate Helistop, Top 10 Airline marketing failures, Embraer’s Eve and Kenya Airways as well as many more illustrated features. African Pilot is by far the largest aviation magazine in Africa and now the entire the world with a growing international audience.
African Pilot’s October 2021 edition
The October edition will feature aircraft / helicopter maintenance and refurbishing. Within this edition we will be offering advertisers the opportunity to showcase their respective businesses, together with picture galleries and videos that are not presented in any other South African aviation magazines. We will offer to visit your business to undertake photography and videos so that your business will receive a marketing package that no other aviation publication can match all at a cost that will surprise you as effective marketing for your business.
African Pilot Digital Calendars
Wallpaper calendar for the months of August and September. Go to our wallpaper page to download the calendars in three different resolutions.
View and download African Pilot’s last three (3) 2021 editions.
Click on the covers below.
The mystery of Flights to Nowhere
I have watched and enjoyed the full series to date and I was impressed with the production of the various episodes that African Pilot published as a series during 2019 / 20 and that we consolidated into Wouter’s eBook. I understand from Wouter that the series has been so popular that the television station will be re-broadcasting the series on Mnet catchup for the next few weeks.
Flights to Nowhere eBook
Aero Club coffee table Centenary Yearbook
The AeCSA Centenary Yearbook is now available to purchase from the online shop. Please visit www.aeroclub.org.za/shop.
Aero Club support
AERO South Africa
Spring has officially arrived and it is time to ‘Dust off the Rust!’. This is a call to all pilots – whether you are new to flying, or a seasoned pilot, to join our panel of experts as they offer professional advice on the most important things to keep in mind before flying an aircraft, as Spring has sprung. Three familiar faces to the Safety-First Aviator Webinar Series will be sharing valuable information and insights. Join Caroline Koll, Cobus Toerien and Santjie White as they provide industry tips in the webinar.
Date: Wednesday 22 September 2021
Registration link: https://bit.ly/3ltYztm
First of two AW189 helicopters received by Nigeria’s Presidential Air Fleet
Italy’s Leonardo Helicopters has delivered the AW189 painted in the colours of the Nigerian Air Force’s Presidential Air Fleet. The second AW189, expected to be delivered soon, was also seen painted in the colours of Nigeria’s Presidential Air Fleet during flight testing in Italy. The Presidential Air Fleet is based at Abuja / Nnamdi Azikiwe and already operates two Leonardo AW139 helicopters next to a fleet of fixed wing aircraft, which includes a Cessna 550, a Falcon 900, a Boeing 737-700, two Falcon 7X jets and a Gulfstream G550. To ensure there are enough pilots to fly the new acquisitions, the Nigerian Air Force is training personnel locally and in foreign countries.
Dornier D0 228 for Mauritius Coast Guard from India
On 13 September the High Commissioner of India to Mauritius, Nandini K Singla, said the aircraft had been leased to Mauritius by the Indian Navy for free to support the current increased load of air operations and that next year India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) would be handing over a brand-new Do 228 to Mauritius (HAL manufactures the Do 228 in India). This aircraft is being purchased through a line of credit between Mauritius and India.
The lease of the Do 228 comes months after the Indian government offered Mauritius a $100 million loan to fund the procurement of Indian-made aircraft and naval security equipment for the Mauritius Coast Guard. In terms of the agreement, Mauritius will procure military equipment, including aircraft and patrol boats, from Indian defence equipment manufacturers. In addition, the Indian government will loan a single Dhruv helicopter to boost the Coast Guard’s maritime surveillance capabilities.
B-2 Bomber crashes in Missouri; crew uninjured
A USAF B-2 stealth bomber sustained unknown damage during an emergency landing at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri shortly after midnight Tuesday morning 14 September. The Air Force reported there was no fire and no one was injured. The crew had reported an in-flight malfunction during what was described as a routine training flight. The FAA issued a temporary flight restriction (TFR) in the area that is scheduled to expire on Friday 17 September. The restriction was imposed ‘to provide a safe environment for an accident investigation’ according to an FAA statement. Twenty-one B-2s were built. One was lost in a 2008 take-off accident in Guam, in which no one was injured. The Air Force investigation blamed that mishap on heavy rains that compromised the aircraft’s instrument sensors. The B-2 that crashed this week has been stationed at Whiteman AFB since 1993, according to the US Air Force.
Pilot error, work culture highlighted in Kozhikode crash of Air India Express
Investigators have detailed how pilot error, poor communication and work culture were all factors in the crash of an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 at Kozhikode airport (CCJ) on 7 August 2020. The accident, which killed 19 passengers and two pilots after the plane ran off the tabletop runway, was caused by the pilots landing too far down the wet runway with a tailwind. Indian investigators from the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) released their final report into the crash on 12 September 2021.
The AAIB said the probable cause was the captain, who was pilot flying (PF), failing to follow standard operating procedures (SOP) when he ‘continued an unstabilised approach and landed beyond the touchdown zone, half way down the runway.’ This was in spite of a go-around call by the first officer (FO), the investigators said, also citing the FO’s failure to take over the controls and execute a go-around himself. Investigators added that poor crew resource management (CRM), referring to communication and teamwork among the crew, was a major contributory factor in this crash, highlighting the airline’s work culture.
On the first approach to Runway 28 at CCJ, the windscreen wiper on the captain’s side briefly stopped working. A first attempt at landing resulted in a go-around, with the crew citing weather as the reason for not having the runway in sight at the required time. At this point, another aircraft asked the tower if they could take-off from the opposite runway, Runway 10. The tower agreed and asked AXB 1344 if they would take an approach for Runway 10. The crew of AXB 1344 agreed. However, the tailwind component was much stronger than that reported by the tower.
On the second approach, which became unstable after the captain flew below the glideslope and then overcorrected, the aircraft landed in light rain with a tailwind component of 15 knots, exceeding the company maximum of 10 knots. The aircraft landed long after what the report deemed an ‘alarming extended float period’, touching down at approximately 4,438 feet, half way down a wet runway that was 8,858 feet long and more than 1,000 feet beyond the touchdown zone. In addition, thrust reversers were not fully deployed. Investigators said calculations and modelling showed the plane could not have stopped on the runway at the point where it landed in the weather conditions that day.
The investigators said the crew of AXB 1344 agreed to the runway change too hastily and failed to brief it properly. They noted the crew had sufficient fuel to take up a hold in order to discuss the implications of the runway change and how it would have changed critical factors such as landing distance, brake setting and tailwind on a tricky runway like that found at CCJ. The crew also did not discuss an alternate airfield, which was required in the event of a second missed approach and due to the unserviceability of the windshield wiper on the captain’s side, investigators highlighted.
While the first officer recognised that the approach was unstabilised and correctly anticipated the long landing, he did not speak up clearly enough, the investigators said. “The stiff and closed work environment, where hierarchy and seniority work to the detriment of the airline, contributed towards a breakdown of communication in the cockpit of flight AXB 1344,” they stated.
“During the critical phase of planning after the missed approach, preparation of the second approach for runway 10 and at the final phase of landing on runway 10 (onset on deviations towards an destabilised approach and long float) the FO did not offer the required corrective inputs and displayed a meek and unassertive demeanour in the presence of the senior pilot.”
The investigators recommended improved simulator training for Air India Express pilots, including a scenario where the FO is required to step in and perform a go-around if the captain does not respond. They also said trainers at the airline should carry out random observation flights to check on CRM principles in practice. The report also recommends that the Airports Authority of India ensures that initial and recurrent training for controllers emphasises the impact of tailwinds and precautions to be taken when changing a runway in adverse weather.
Baron hits power lines: Vietnam veteran pilot OK after forced landing
Combining local news reports and flight data from FlightAware, the particulars of a Beech Baron crash landing early this week suggest a confusing sequence of events. The good news is that the pilot, (reportedly) an 80-year-old Vietnam veteran, was the only one on board and is alive and well. FlightAware data, which does not pick up the airplane until it was a few miles from the airport, still suggests a very short flight. The 1982 B58P (pressurized) Baron twin was first recorded by ADS-B at 1:47 p.m. local time after departing California’s Bay Area Palo Alto Airport (KPAO). The flight data concluded just three minutes later after the Baron struck power lines and crash landed in rugged scrub brush terrain, ripping off the left-wing outboard of the engine. FlightAware listings indicate the Baron never exceeded 500 feet of altitude, according to ADS-B data. Reporters wrote that the pilot was a former Naval aviator and, according to his daughter, he ‘likely relied on his muscle memory in making Monday’s difficult landing.’ The flight track on FlightAware shows a U-turn pattern from KPAO, northeast over San Francisco Bay and button hooking back west to its final resting point nor far from the departure airport.
Beechcraft King Air 360/360ER and 260 aircraft achieve EASA certification
Textron Aviation has recorded another major milestone with its newest twin-turboprop models, the Beechcraft King Air 360/360ER and King Air 260, as both aircraft achieved European Aviation Safety Agency type certification. Deliveries to customers throughout the region will begin. “EASA certification begins a whole new era for the Beechcraft King Air in Europe,” said Tom Perry, vice president of Sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa. “The King Air has been the turboprop of choice throughout this region for more than five decades and the new 260 and 360 will build on that legendary reputation. We have incorporated innovative and next generation technologies that enhance the flying experience for an already proven aircraft.”
Half of the European King Air fleet are owned and operated in France, Germany and the UK. There are more than 460 King Air turboprops across Europe. Flights in a typical King Air 360 with four passengers and pilot, can travel comfortably from London to Athens or Frankfurt to Moscow without refuelling, with a maximum range of 1,806 nautical miles. The King Air 260 can travel from Rome to Madrid or Paris to Stockholm without refuelling with a maximum range of 1,720 nautical miles.
The King Air 360/360ER turboprop features the Innovative Solutions & Support ThrustSense Autothrottle, a digital pressurisation controller in the cockpit, an addition which automatically schedules cabin pressurization during both climb and descent. The aircraft also has a lower cabin altitude at the aircraft’s certified ceiling of 35,000 feet, providing greater comfort for passengers, especially during longer flights. Announced in 2020, the new King Air turboprops were introduced, achieving FAA certification in late 2020 and early 2021.
FAA introduces software to help pinpoint laser offenders
There have been some high-profile cases of people who targeted aircraft with laser pointers being identified and prosecuted. But in many cases, it was luck that played the largest role in tracking down the offenders. However, the FAA recently announced it has developed a visualisation tool for analysing laser strikes dating back from 2010 and through 2020.
The software can identify trends related to such parameters as geographic area, per capita data, year and time of day. Despite significantly lower flight activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, laser strikes increased in 2020. The FAA received 6,852 reports of laser strikes from pilots, the highest annual total since 2016. There were 6,136 reports of laser strikes in 2019.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said, “Pointing a laser at an aircraft can temporarily blind a pilot and not only affects the crew but endangers passengers and the communities they fly over every night.” In addition to federal, state and local criminal penalties, shining lasers at aircraft can bring FAA fines of up to $11,000 per violation and up to $30,800 for multiple offenses. The agency reports it has issued $120,000 in fines so far in 2021 and a total of $600,000 in fines since 2016.
Greece orders six additional Rafale fighter jets
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis confirmed that the government would be ordering six more Dassault Rafale fighter jets. An order for 18 French-made fighter jets was already placed for the Hellenic Air Force in January 2021. The previous contract, valued at €2.5 billion, included 12 used Rafale jets of the French Air Force and six new ones, all to the F3R standard, as well as an array of weapons that include Exocet anti-ship missiles and SCALP cruise missiles. The deduction of the fighter jets from the French Air Force fleet allowed a faster and cheaper procurement for Greece amid heightened territorial tensions with Turkey.
The six extra aircraft will be ordered new from Dassault Aviation. They will complete the squadron, which will be located in Tanagra, Greece, the home base of the 114th Combat Wing of the HAF, Mitsotakis explained during the Thessaloniki International Fair on 12 September 2021. The wing is accustomed to French-made aircraft: after flying the Mirage F1CG fighter from 1975 to 2003, it is currently equipped with the Mirage 2000-5. The first batch of HAF pilots and 50 technicians are currently being trained at the Dassault Aviation Conversion Training Center (CTC) in Mérignac, France. Dassault Aviation delivered the first Rafale fighter jet to the Hellenic Air Force on 21 July 2021. according to Mitsotakis, the aircraft should fly to Greece by the end of the year.
Environmental groups renew fight to ban Avgas 100LL
Spurred by a new study of lead levels in children living near a California airport, a coalition of environmental groups has renewed the effort to get the Environmental Protection Agency to issue an “endangerment finding” on the use of leaded gasoline in light aircraft. That initial step is crucial in getting a ban on leaded aviation fuel. Friends of the Earth, which launched a similar petition in the past, is joined by Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Center for Environmental Health, Montgomery-Gibbs Environmental Coalition Oregon Aviation Watch and Santa Clara County in the action.
In the petition, the groups note the EPA has already acknowledged that lead emissions endanger public health and that there is no safe level of lead in humans but is silent on its use in about 167,000 small aircraft. “To date, EPA has failed to regulate this significant source of lead exposures, even though emissions from these aircraft collectively represent the single largest source of air emissions of lead in the United States, accounting for 70 percent of lead released domestically into the environment. In the Santa Clara study, which was used to support a city council drive to close the local airport, children living near the airport had slightly elevated lead levels in their blood, although the levels were within the variables for kids in the rest of the state. Santa Clara has now banned the sale of 100LL at Reid Hillview Airport but that is an interim measure. The long-term goal is to close the airport and use the land for affordable housing.
Company exporting military jetpacks
The US’s newest military aircraft export fits into a couple of standard Pelican cases and can put a soldier into the action at a top speed of a 120 mph. Jetpack Aviation has announced it has sold two copies of the military version of its JB11 jetpack to an undisclosed country in Southeast Asia. “The ratification of this deal demonstrates that the JB12 JetPack provides defence forces with exceptional aerial capabilities to fulfill a wide array of mission requirements,” said company CEO David Mayman. “This order represents a significant step forward for us as it confirms that our development programme is meeting military needs.”
The deal is worth about $800,000 but it raises the spectre of a novel capability for ground forces. The specs of the JB12 are classified but they are expected to be similar to those of the civilian JB11. It is a true jetpack with six little turbojets that each deliver 88 pounds of thrust. They are controlled by a flight management computer that points them in right direction to hover, shift laterally or sprint through the air. The whole system weighs about 105 pounds and will keep the pilot airborne for about eight minutes.
The company is also working on the prototype of a ‘flying motorcycle’ it calls the Speeder. Rather than wearing the aircraft, the pilot rides it like a motorcycle and it too can hover, climb and dart at high speed. It looks like a cross between a snowmobile and a hovercraft and comes with removable wings that can be clipped on to provide aerodynamic lift that extends flight time to about an hour.
JB11 JETPACK – The world’s only fully functional jetpack:
US to rescue Afghan pilots and families from Uzbekistan
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that hundreds of Afghan air force pilots and family members will be taken out of Uzbekistan and flown to the US base in Qatar following intense negotiations over the last couple of weeks. The pilots took 46 aircraft, including helicopters, full of their relatives to the neighbouring country during the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Uzbekistan gave the total of 585 people refuge but also demanded they be removed from the country or it would send them back to Afghanistan.
The Journal says the Taliban have been pressuring the Uzbeks to send the pilots and their families home to help rebuild a new Afghanistan. “These pilots should return to their country, the country needs them,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told the Journal. “We are just starting to rebuild our country. The world should help us, instead of hurling hurdles in the way of reconstruction of Afghanistan and economic prosperity of our people.” The refugees will be processed at the US base in Doha but it is not clear how many will be sent to the US. The fate of the aircraft, which include Blackhawk helicopters and PC-12 surveillance planes, is not clear but the Taliban wants them back in Afghanistan, the Journal reported.
Korean Air partners with SK Energy to adopt carbon-neutral jet fuel
Korean Air has partnered with SK Energy, a major petroleum and refinery company in Korea, to introduce carbon-neutral jet fuel to actively counter climate change. Through the partnership, the airline will purchase a month’s worth of carbon-neutral jet fuel for domestic flights departing from Jeju and Cheongju. Carbon-neutral jet fuel can be achieved by measuring the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced through fuel production, transport and consumption and purchasing carbon credits to offset the carbon footprint.
Greenhouse gases generated from aircraft operations account for two to three percent of total global emissions. In line with the global aviation industry’s efforts for sustainable growth, Korean Air is seeking various methods to reduce carbon emissions to achieve carbon-neutral growth and fight climate change.
Korean Air is actively participating in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and introducing eco-friendly and high-efficient aircraft. The airline’s recently introduced A220-300 is equipped with the latest engine, which reduces carbon emissions per seat by 25% compared to existing models of similar capacity.
In 2017, Korean Air became the first Korean airline to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF); SAF was trailed on a flight departing from Chicago to Incheon. In June this year, the airline also partnered with Hyundai Oil Bank to develop a foundation for biofuel manufacturing and its usage.
In 2019, Korean Air replaced single-use plastics such as straws, coffee stirrers and cups with eco-friendly paper products and has also conducted tree planting activities in Mongolia and China’s Kubuqi Desert. Korean Air has been working to improve its environmental, social and governance (ESG) management and established an ESG committee, which reviews its management strategies focusing on ESG. The airline also issued ESG bonds in July to raise funds to purchase eco-friendly Boeing 787-10 aircraft.
Bombardier introduces new Challenger 3500
Bombardier has confirmed the upcoming launch of the Challenger 3500 aircraft. The Challenger 3500 aircraft, the evolution of the Challenger 350 aircraft, introduces a redesigned interior with intelligent and sustainably minded cabin features. Bombardier’s Nuage seat is included in the aircraft’s standard configuration. The C-3500 will provide a reduced cabin altitude of 4,850 ft at 41,000 feet, representing a 31% improvement over its predecessor.
The Challenger 3500 aircraft also introduces a voice-controlled cabin to manage lighting, temperature and entertainment systems, wireless chargers throughout the cabin and a 24-inch, 4K display. In the cockpit, Bombardier introduces a standard-equipped autothrottle system to the Challenger 3500 flight deck. This new business jet is expected to enter service in the second half of 2022.
The latest Challenger aircraft was also designed through a sustainable lens. Following Bombardier’s recent groundwork on making the Global 7500 aircraft the first business jet ever to receive an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), the Challenger 3500 aircraft will be the first business jet in the super mid-size segment to have an EPD.
Another sustainable initiative is the introduction of the first eco app solution in business aviation. The eco app is developed by SITA, a leading specialist in air transport communications and information technology, using its existing eWAS Pilot with OptiFlight solution. In line with Bombardier’s environmental objectives, the Challenger 3500 flight test program is using a sustainability approach designed by World Fuel Services. The solution removes some of the carbon emissions from the fuel of the test flights by using book-and-claim Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) purchases and then attains carbon neutrality by retiring offsets to balance the remaining carbon emissions from the jet fuel.
VoltAero hybrid-electric demonstrator crosses the English channel
On Monday 13 September, VoltAero’s Cassio 1 demonstrator hybrid-electric aircraft made its first English Channel crossing and is participating in this week’s ACE21 Air Charter Expo at London Biggin Hill Airport. VoltAero CEO and Chief Technology Officer Jean Botti is participating in the expo’s Green Charter 2021 panel discussion. The Cassio 1 flight originated at Calais in northern France. VoltAero’s facility is 500 miles south in Medis, southern France. The aircraft made a stop at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire, UK, for inspection by engineering students and faculty before continuing on to Biggin Hill for the expo.
In 2015, VoltAero’s E-Fan aircraft, developed as part of an Airbus-led programme, made what the company says is the ‘first end-to-end English Channel crossing with an electric airplane.’ While the E-Fan’s batteries provided 60 kilowatts for its two all-electric motors, the Cassio 1 is powered by VoltAero’s 600-kilowatt electric-hybrid ‘power module,’ which combines electric power with an internal combustion engine. ‘In providing dual sources of energy, the electric-hybrid power module is reported to provide highly safe and efficient operations by using one source of power, electrical or mechanical, or both depending on the flight scenario,’ according to VoltAero. The idea is to take-off ‘nearly silently’ on electric power, then use the internal combustion engine for en route cruise while charging the batteries and serving as backup power. VoltAero anticipates its four-seat Cassio 330 will be its first production aircraft with 330 kilowatts of hybrid-electric power. Service entry is targeted for the second half of 2023. The follow-on six-seat and 10-seat Cassio 480 and 600 (respectively) are expected to generate 480 and 600 kilowatts.
Does the space industry require its own regulator?
The commercial space industry has exploded in the last five years and when activity increases in anything, problems tend to rear their ugly heads. I have no way of knowing, but Dickson will likely get briefed on a new Office of Inspector General review of potential conflicts between spacecraft and aircraft, an investigation into the publicity ride featuring Virgin Galactic’s founder Sir Richard Branson that went off course and then there is Elon Musk. Dickson probably sets aside time every day to get briefed on what arrogant and irritatingly sensible buttons Musk is pushing.
That does not leave much time for the mundane aviation topics he also has to keep an eye on, like yahoos on airliners punching flight attendants because they do not want to wear masks, brand new airliners that do not get built right and a Wild West movement to fill the skies with tiny electric multi rotor aircraft that are somehow supposed to make urban transport safer and more convenient. The FAA was born of a need to provide regulatory foundation to the society-changing aviation industry. We all know the clichés but it’s hard to argue with the overall track record of the agency, despite its recent issues. Aviation is the safest way to travel, period, and when you consider what’s involved that’s pretty remarkable.
I think it is time the commercial space industry got its own regulatory body. Commercial space operations will fundamentally change the way we all live. What I do know is I would like some oversight whose vigour matches the Gold Rush pace of development. This is not an industry that should be run off the corner of the FAA administrator’s desk. It is not just regulatory issues that need the full attention of a standalone space bureaucracy. That agency has to have the same fundamental mandate at the FAA’s, which is to foster and promote the industry. There are also some practical reasons to hive off the space business to a new agency. If you read the FAA press releases about space information it is always in the context of finding room for space operations without disrupting aviation. Maybe there needs to be a little more give and take in that regard.
When it comes to funding, it seems like space governance might get a better shake as its own entity than as a department of an agency that is fundamentally at odds with its increasingly frequent intrusions in its sandbox. The final frontier is becoming an inextricable part of every human being’s life. Starlink will bring high speed Internet to every square inch of the earth. Industry needs robust and enforceable regulation to thrive in a free society and the space industry deserves nothing less than its own bureaucracy to hate.
As expected, Virgin Galactic calls a halt to Unity 23 mission
“During preparation for the Unity 23 test flight, a third-party supplier recently flagged a potential manufacturing defect in a component of the flight control actuation system that they supply to Virgin Galactic. At this point, it is not yet known whether the defect is present in the Company’s vehicles and what, if any, repair work may be needed. Out of an abundance of caution and in line with Virgin Galactic’s established safety procedures, the Company is in the process of conducting inspections in partnership with the vendor.” VG claims that this issue is unrelated to the Unity 22 flight or their difficulties with the FAA, which grounded the company from further flights until proper investigations could be completed.
As a result, ‘pending resolution of the FAA matter,’ the earliest the Company expects to open its flight window for Unity 23 is mid-October (and seems likely for great delays). A further update and specific flight window will be shared once the inspection is complete, in coordination with the Italian Air Force. Michael Colglazier, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Galactic, said: “We have a robust pre-flight readiness approach that is rooted in our thorough, proactive and safety-first culture. There is nothing more important to us than the integrity of our vehicles. Our test flight processes and procedures are rigorous and structured to identify and resolve these types of issues. We look forward to taking to the skies again soon.”
Pair of drones attack Iraq’s Erbil International Airport
On 11 September armed drones attacked Erbil International Airport (EBL). The airport, which is in a northern city in Iraq, lies near the US consulate and is also the base for a coalition force of anti-jihadist troops led by the United States. The airport’s director, Ahmed Hochiar, confirms that the airport suffered no damage. Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto confirmed via Twitter that two UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) attacked Erbil International Airport at approximately 23h43 local time.
“Each attack against the GoI, KRI and the Coalition undermines the authority of Iraqi institutions, the rule of law and Iraqi National sovereignty,” Marotto continued via Twitter. “These attacks endanger the lives of civilians and the partner forces from the ISF, Peshmerga and Coalition.” The two drones were later shot down by US troops using a counter-rocket, artillery and mortar system (C-RAM), a US official told Fox News. Attacks of similar kind, normally targeting US troops or US interests in Iraq, have become common in the past months. Roughly 2,500 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, with an additional 900 troops in neighbouring Syria, as safekeeping efforts to ensure the remnants of ISIS stay underground.
Leonardo supports UK-US counter-drone collaboration, integrates new technology
The company has integrated the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)’s NINJA technology into the Royal Air Force ORCUS counter-drone system. Leonardo has previously delivered four complete baseline ORCUS systems to the Royal Air Force for the Synergia research and development programme, to also be used as a national standby capability in support of Emergency Services. Counter-drone technology from Leonardo was operated by the RAF during the recent G7 summit in Cornwall.
As part of the UK and US Armed Forces’ continued collaboration on counter-drone research and development, Leonardo has integrated the US Air Force’s NINJA (Negation of Improvised Non-State Joint Aerial threats) technology into the RAF’s ORCUS counter-drone system. The integration follows Leonardo’s delivery of four complete baseline ‘ORCUS’ counter-drone systems to the Royal Air Force. ORCUS is playing a key role in the RAF’s wide-ranging ‘Synergia’ research and development programme, managed by Defence Equipment & Support’s Future Capability Group. ORCUS is also being maintained as a national standby capability, able to rapidly respond to a drone-based crisis anywhere in the UK in support of Emergency Services.
UK and US Armed Forces are collaborating on fixed site C-sUAS through the Synergia programme and ORCUS system operators have already shown the capability of a coherent system such as ORCUS/NINJA. The ability to detect dozens of small drone platforms in the airspace around airbases and then mitigate them has been aptly demonstrated.
NINJA, developed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), can electronically take command of a hostile drone. Its integration into ORCUS provides another tool for operators to defeat rogue drones, in addition to the system’s existing Leonardo Guardian system. Guardian provides a long range ‘electronic sniper rifle’ jamming effect, while NINJA provides a similarly surgical cyber effect at a shorter range which can take control of a drone’s protocols and manoeuvre it to a safe location.
Leonardo has completed the integration of NINJA into ORCUS and the complete system underwent evaluation this August at the RAF Spadeadam electronic warfare tactics facility in Cumbria. The trials saw ORCUS employed to detect, track, identify and defeat simulated drone engagements, with RAF and USAF personnel impressed by the performance and utility of the joint system.
About African Pilot
There is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall aviation media reach in Africa.
The African Pilot 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 our customers.
The monthly magazine is available as a digital edition where ALL advertisers enjoy the direct routing to their websites at a touch on a smart phone or tablet as well as a click of the mouse on a computer screen or tap on any smart phone device.
Then of course this APAnews service has been part of African Pilot’s line-up since the inception of the magazine 20 years ago.
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.