“Be not too hasty to trust or admire the teachers of morality; they discourse like angels but they live like men”
Dr Samuel Johnson
African Pilot’s aircraft of the week identification quiz
No prizes, but can you identify this aircraft? Last week’s aircraft proved to be a challenge for many so let’s see who gets this one correct. Please send your answers to me and not to other African Pilot e-mail addresses – Thank you: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will publish the names of all those that identified the aircraft correctly in the Thursday edition of APAnews.
What is the AIP?
SAA to resume operations this coming week
With SAA scheduled to re-start operations on Thursday 23 September, it is going to be interesting to see how the V2 airline is managed and if it will start making any money. On Saturday an ex-SAA training captain who had been with the airline for 30 years informed me that he was offered a pilot’s job back at the airline, but to become a ‘first officer’ all over again. Apart from a considerable drop in salary, this is an insult to a most experienced training captain. There is much discussion on the prospects of SAA V2 working after all the self-inflicted reputational damage the airline has sustained over the past 20 years, but I am certain the Department of Public Enterprises will ‘find ways’ to ensure that the airline does survive. Already the new management is saying that the fleet of Airbus aircraft are dated and that new aircraft are required. Here we go again with the cycle of corruption opening up again for ‘connected people’. What do you think? Please e-mail your thoughts: email@example.com.
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.
Video of the week
VAN’s RV Fly-In at Kitty Hawk – August 2021
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
SAA’S Chief Pilot and his team prepped and ready to fly
On Saturday 11 September Kitty Hawk airfield hosted its annual VANs RV fly-in in what could only be described as perfect flying weather, with a slight north-westerly breeze and a cloudless blue sky. Frank van Heerden, Kitty Hawk’s chairman told me that 103 aircraft were present of which 79 were RV types. The RV day was started by Dolph Kruger in 2009 when only six RVs attended. Frank has been organising the RV fly-in ever since 2013 and of course this was the best turnout ever. Congratulations to the Kitty Hawk Flying Club and all the participants. The full feature with a picture gallery taken by Charlie Hugo, Adrian Munro and myself as well as a video that I took on the day will be featured in the October edition of African Pilot.
Update on the restoration of Plettenberg Bay airport
Following a series of meetings between all interested parties, Bitou Local Municipality and CemAir (Pty) Ltd are in the process of entering into a binding agreement to restore the Plettenberg Bay Airport License and return CemAir’s scheduled airline flights to the Airport. In terms of the agreement CemAir will engage with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) to, jointly with the Bitou Local Municipality, manage the process of rectifying all identified non-conformances. As the owner of the Airport, the Municipality will provide its full co-operation and support to expedite this process.
Although some work on the resolution of issues has already begun, the signing of this co-operation agreement will allocate additional resources from CemAir to resolve the identified shortcomings, allowing the Airport to meet the safety compliance requirements as soon as possible once again. It is hoped that with the support of the SACAA it will be possible to recommence commercial flights to Plettenberg Bay during October 2021.
The Bitou Local Municipality has committed itself to create an enabling environment for the speedy resolution of this matter to ensure that CemAir continue to provide commercial flights. The duration of the agreement between the two parties will allow for the implementation of the Council Resolution to outsource the management of the airport to a suitably qualified private party through an open and transparent tender process.
Airlink ranked as South Africa’s most punctual airline
According to the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), based on 98% average on -time performance, Airlink has been ranked as South Africa’s most punctual airline. This places Airlink on track to repeat its 2020 top ranking when its overall on-time performance was consistently better than 96%. “Today, our fleet of more than 50 aircraft that serve more than 45 destinations across the widest network of all airlines in the region,” explained Airlink CEO and managing director, Rodger Foster. “Similarly, cargo shippers depend on Airlink to ensure their goods reach their markets on time and in pristine condition,” he added.
According to ACSA’s recent scores, Airlink achieved a 98.11% score for August 2021 and for the overall year to date for its flights departing and arriving at all ACSA-managed airports. To be classified as ‘on-time’, departures and arrivals have to occur within 15 minutes of their published schedule.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
EAA’s movie evening and pancake breakfast at Silver Creek Estate
On Friday evening EAA Chapter 322 staged a movie night with Tog Gun as the feature at Sliver Creek Estate north of the main Magaliesburg mountain range. Somewhere in the region of twenty aircraft and several helicopters arrived on the Friday afternoon, with many more arriving on the Saturday morning. Although the weather was not ideal with strong gusty winds and low cloud, it did clear up as predicted at around 11h00 on Saturday. Congratulations to Neil Bowden and his EAA Chapter 333 committee for this initiative. The full story with pictures and a short video will be published in the October edition of African Pilot.
Sport Aerobatics at Baragwaneth airfield
From Silver Creek, near Rustenburg, I drove to Baragwaneth airfield to arrive at around midday on Saturday for the Junior Coetzee Memorial Contest that was flown by about 10 pilots. Although the day started out with low cloud and strong northerly winds, later in the day the weather lifted and the wind became milder. This delayed the start of the contest until around 12h30 when the first aircraft took-off. A wonderful gesture was the considerable Henley Air presence who sponsored the event with four helicopters, paramedics, pilots and doctors who enjoyed the day. The full story with pictures will be published in the October edition of African Pilot.
Henley Air at Baragwaneth airfield
Junior Coetzee was the younger brother of Professor Johan Coetzee and the uncle of Andre Coetzee. This memorial contest staged at Baragwaneth airfield was sponsored by Henley Air and it attracted several family members and friends of the Coetzee family who were all treated to a delicious lunch as part of the sponsorship. Although he did not fly himself, Junior Coetzee was very involved in the Sports Aerobatics Club until his passing 20 years ago. Beautiful large block mounted pictures were placed onto the tables for the contestants, judges and visitors to sign – an incredible gesture. The full report with pictures will be published in the October edition of African Pilot.
What is scheduled for the next few months?
I have started working on the 2022 aviation calendar and so far, I have received many provisional and fixed dates. Please continue to send me this information that is shared with all the other aviation publishers in South Africa.
African Pilot’s 2021 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.
23 to 26 September
MISASA Africa Cup at Hotel Numbi in Hazyview
Contact Rob Mc Fie Cell: 082 498 8590
Stellenbosch Flying Club fly-in on Heritage Day
Contact Anton E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 079 873 4567
Great Train Race vintage cars and aircraft at Heidelberg airfield – Heritage Day
Contact Van Zyl Schultz E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 560 2275
24 & 25 September
De Havilland 90th anniversary a gathering of Tiger Moths at Brakpan Airfield
Contact Brakpan Aero Club Tel: 071 542 2993
Springbok Classic Air Beech-18 flight around Johannesburg R1 500 per person
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 550 7205
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting virtual via Zoom
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 084 674 5674
8 to 10 October
EAA Taildraggers at Warmbaths airfield
Contact Richard Nicholson E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 490 6227
12 to 14 October
NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) Las Vegas Nevada
Panorama breakfast fly-in
Contact Alan Stewart E-mail: email@example.com
Jack Taylor spot landings Krugersdorp airfield
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Cell 083 577 8894
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting virtual via Zoom
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 084 674 5674
Children’s Flight at Orient airfield
Contact Felix Gosher
5 to 7 November
EAA Sun ‘n Fun at Brits airfield
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 674 5674
SAPFA SA Landing Championships at Brits Airfield
Contact Ron Stirk E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 445 0373
14 to 18 November
Dubai Airshow DWC, Airshow Site, Dubai, UAE
SAPFA Springs Speed Rally at Springs Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 855 9435
Sports Aerobatics Club Western Cape regionals at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting virtual via Zoom
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 674 5674
2 & 3 December
Security Drone Conference at Emperors Palace Convention Centre
Contact Tawanda Mandaza E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 063 580 6400
Aero Club of South Africa annual awards venue TBA
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
4 & 5 December
Sports Aerobatics Club ACE of Base Baragwaneth Airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
2022 Aviation calendar
I have started compiling the 2022 aviation calendar, so if you would like to reserve a specific date even if this is provisional, please send the details to me. What I require is the date, venue, contact person(s) and contact details such as Cell number and e-mail. Thank you.
Kenyan Air Force gets Grob G120TP trainers
Following its earlier acquisition of G120A-K piston engined trainers, the Kenya Air Force is operating Grob G120TP turboprop trainers. Air Forces Monthly reported that the latest batch of three G120TP aircraft were delivered recently. After leaving the Grob factory in Germany, they flew through Crete, Egypt, Djibouti and Ethiopia to arrive in Kenya on 19 August. Two were previously seen in service with the Kenya Air Force’s Training Squadron at Laikipia Air Base in May this year. According to Grob, the Kenya Air Force is now operating nine new G120TPs in addition to its earlier acquisition.
In November and December 2013, the Kenya Air Force received six of the G120A-K piston engine models, becoming the first African air force to operate the type. Pilot training took place in Mattsies, Germany. One subsequently crashed on 28 March 2018, but the pilots survived. Kenya’s G120A-Ks were acquired to replace its fleet of ten Scottish Aviation Bulldogs. The G120A-K is powered by a six-cylinder Lycoming piston engine providing 260 hp. The largely all-composite airframe has a service life of 15 000 hours and is certified for +6/-4 Gs, allowing for aerobatic training. The modern glass cockpit features three Elbit 205 x 150 mm multi-function displays, a digital standby flight display and a digital engine display. Grob says the G120 has one of the lowest maintenance costs in the industry.
The G120TP is powered by the Rolls-Royce M250-B17F turbine engine, which can be limited to 312 shp for ab initio training, although it is rated at 380 shp for maximum cruise (380 km/h). The student pilot can be seated either in the left hand or right-hand ejection seat, both with individual throttle levers.
The Ethiopian Air Force became the second in Africa to operate the G120, acquiring 12 turboprop models from 2019. The G120 is flown by the Canadian, German, French and Israeli air forces while the turboprop G120TP, which first flew in 2010, has been adopted by the air forces of Argentina, Ecuador, Indonesia, Mexico, Myanmar and Jordan.
Commercial aircraft conflict at George Airport
The following is the report produced by the South African Civil Aviation Authority
History of Flight
On Monday morning, 23 August 2021, an Embraer EMB-135KL aircraft, registration ZS-ALJ, was on a scheduled flight from Cape Town International Airport (FACT) to George Airport (FAGG). On-board the aircraft were three crew members and 28 passengers. The flight, operated under the call sign Link621, was scheduled for departure at FACT at 0515Z. According to available information, the aircraft took off at 0520Z. The estimated flight time was 35 minutes.
On the same morning, a Bombardier CL-600-2B19 aircraft registration ZS-CMG was on a scheduled flight from FAGG to OR Tambo International Airport (FAOR). On-board the aircraft were three crew members and 38 passengers. The flight, operated under the call sign CemAir125 (KEM125), was scheduled for departure at FAGG at 0545Z. Both aircraft were tracked on Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR).
A notice to airmen (NOTAM) was issued for FAGG which stated that Approach Control at the aerodrome will open at 0530Z and the tower will open at 0545Z and close at 1700Z from Monday to Friday. At 05:40:56Z, Link621 called George Approach Control on frequency 128.20 (MHz) and the aircraft was cleared to descent to flight level (FL) 150- or 15 000-feet vectors for Instrument Landing System (ILS) Runway 11. The crew read back correctly and requested the aerodrome weather as no automatic terminal information service (ATIS) was available. The Approach Control indicated that the surface wind was northerly at less than five knots, temperature was 6°C, dew point was 4°C, barometric pressure was 1018 (hPa), whilst it was ceiling and visibility OK (CAVOK).
At 05:41:28Z, the first officer (FO) broadcasted on the tower frequency 118.90 MHz that KEM125 was taxiing to holding point Alpha 3 for Runway 29. At 05:42:09Z, the approach control called KEM125 informing them that the tower frequency will be opening within the next two minutes and informed the crew that there was an aircraft inbound for Runway 11 within the next seven minutes.
At 05:42:22Z, KEM125 requested Runway 29. The Approach Control informed KEM125 to hold position at Alpha 3 holding point. At 05:42:58Z, the Approach Control instructed Link621 to make a decent to 4500 feet (ft). At 05:43:41Z, the pilot-in command (PIC) of KEM125 called Approach Control, informing the station that they are ready for an immediate take-off. At 05:43:58Z, Approach Control informed KEM125 that Approach Control was unable to accommodate them as the Tower was closed.
At 05:44:02Z, the PIC informed Approach Control that they will be going unmanned procedure, taking off from Runway 29 and left-hand out over the sea, climbing overhead to FL100. At 05:44:23Z, the PIC of KEM125 broadcasted on the Approach frequency: “George traffic CemAir 125, a CRJ 200, ZS-CMG is lining up Runway 29, we are taking off, it will be an early left-hand turn out climbing overhead the airfield initially to FL100.”
At 05:44:58Z, the Tower Control advised all traffic that the Tower is now manned. At 05:45:11Z, the Tower control again informed all traffic that the Tower was now manned and at 05:45:39Z, the Tower Control requested any traffic on frequency 118.9 to please acknowledge.
At 05:45:21Z, Link621 called Approach Control informing them that they have the field in sight for visual approach. Approach Control response: “Link621 I might have to level you off I am just waiting to see where KEM125 turns he is lined up at the moment.” At 05:45:35Z, the PIC of KEM125 broadcasted on the Approach frequency: “George traffic unmanned, CemAir 125 is rolling level 29 turning out left”.
Following this broadcast, the Approach Control informed KEM125 that the Tower was now open.
At 05:45:48Z the Approach Control instructed Link621 to stop the descent at 8 000ft, which was acknowledge. At 05:47:06Z, Link621 was instructed by Approach Control to turn right on a heading of 165° and to descent to 6 000ft. At 05:47:20Z, KEM125 called Approach Control: “Climbing to 5 000ft heading 210°”. KEM125 was instructed to squawk 3271 and to climb to FL150. At 05:47:47Z, Link621 was instructed to descend to 4 500ft and, 40 seconds later, the aircraft was instructed to descend further to 3 500ft. At 05:48:48Z, Link621 was cleared for visual approach Runway 11 with no further restrictions and radar control was terminated. The aircraft landed at 05:54:12Z.
Link621 (ZS-ALJ) aircraft flew a straight-in approach for landing Runway 11 while under radar control. The aircraft was then instructed to turn right on a heading of 165° and could be seen flying towards the town of Mossel Bay. At 05:49:23Z, the aircraft commenced with a left turn for the visual approach Runway 11. The radar track flown by KEM125 (ZS-CMG) displayed the left turn out after take-off from Runway 29 and routing over the sea as broadcasted by the PIC.
The serious incident occurred during daylight at FAGG in the Western Cape province at Global Positioning System (GPS) co-ordinates determined: 34°00’15.64” South, 022°22’51.55” East, at an elevation of 639 feet.
Breeze confirms larger order with Airbus
Breeze Airways reveals that it has reached a purchase agreement with Airbus for 20 more of the Airbus A220-300. This brings the total number of the aircraft to 80, which are expected to be delivered by the end of the year. Airbus plans to deliver one aircraft per month to Breeze over the next six-and-a-half years and the airline plans to begin flying with the new aircraft mid-2022. Breeze plans to provide nonstop service between underserved routes across the US at affordable fares. The airline started its operations in May 2021. This first A220 is the first new aircraft that will be operated by the airline.
The A220 was specifically designed and purpose-built for the 120-160 seat market and brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines. The aircraft are being completed at Airbus’ facility in Mobile, Alabama.
So far, more than 170 A220s were delivered across the world in Asia, North America, Europe and Africa. To help with a seamless training transition for flight crews, as well as cost efficiency, both members of the A220 family share commonality in more than 99% of the line-replaceable units, as well as the same family of engines.
FAA awards millions to sustainable aircraft development
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded more than $100 million for companies to develop technologies that reduce fuel use, emissions and noise. The award is part of a series of steps President Biden is taking to coordinate leadership and innovation across the federal government, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, fuel producers and more to position America to soar towards net zero emissions by 2050. “Across the country, communities have been devastated by the effects of climate change but, if we act now, we can ensure that aviation plays a central role in the solution,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These awards will help America lead the way in sustainable aviation.”
The Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) Programme is a public-private partnership that began in 2010 and is a key part of the FAA’s overall strategy to tackle the global challenge of climate change and lower the impact aviation has. The programme requires the companies receiving the contracts to match or exceed the FAA’s investment, bringing the total to at least $200 million over a five-year period. Under CLEEN Phase III, the FAA and six industry partners will focus on reducing aviation emissions and noise, including pursuing goals of reducing carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions by improving fuel efficiency by at least 20% below the relevant International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard; NOx emissions by 70% relative to the most recent ICAO standard; particulate matter emissions below the ICAO standard; and noise by 25 dB cumulative relative to the FAA Stage 5 standard.
General Electric Aviation will develop an advanced engine propulsion system and advanced acoustic improvements to reduce noise and fuel consumption; electric and hybrid-electric systems to increase fuel efficiency and advanced combustion and thermal management systems to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. The company will also support the evaluation of alternative jet fuels that could enable further aircraft performance improvements.
Honeywell Aerospace will develop a more efficient engine fan, combustion system, compressor and turbine to reduce noise, emissions and fuel consumption.
Pratt & Whitney will develop an ultra-quiet engine fan and an advanced combustion system to reduce noise, emissions and fuel consumption.
Boeing will develop technologies to reduce noise from wings, landing gear and engine inlets. The company will also support the evaluation of alternative jet fuels that could enable further aircraft performance improvements and help to develop new algorithms that enable aircraft to fly quieter, more fuel-efficient routes.
The CLEEN technologies developed so far are estimated to reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to removing three million cars from the road by 2050 and to save the aviation industry 36 billion gallons of fuel. The fuel savings is the equivalent of 11.4 million Boeing 737 flights between New York and Los Angeles.
Covid-inspired innovation: how is cargo stored in a passenger cabin?
While stuffing cargo into the belly of an aircraft is a relatively easy job, passenger cabin loading is a much more complex process, requiring additional technical solutions and regulatory approvals. But with airlines increasingly retrofitting their cabins to carry goods instead of travellers in order to increase cargo capacity. Removable cargo containers installed in aircraft passenger cabins in just 24 hours are one of a number of solutions devised by carriers seeking to repurpose the cabin to transport cargo goods during the pandemic. For example, Colibri Aero, a Lithuania-based supplier of aircraft parts and interior refurbishments has introduced temporary removable containers, allowing the company to carry freight inside the passenger cabin of wide-body planes, such as Airbus A330s, A340s, Boeing 767s, and Boeing 777s.
The cargo container model is certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and comes in five different sizes, providing a wide selection of capacity for customers. Each container is equipped with a separate smoke detector and has a maximum capacity of around 850 kilograms (1873 lbs) of freight. A typical Airbus A330-200 passenger aircraft cabin can fit 36 containers on board, meaning that this innovation provides airlines with an opportunity to carry as much as 27 tonnes (58,640 lbs) of cargo per single flight.
Once a cargo-only or part-cargo flight is completed, complete container removal and reinstallation of passenger seats can take up to 24 hours, according to the manufacturer. It means that the technology allows airlines to serve both passenger and cargo flights within the same week, adapting to the actual demand. According to Colibri Aero, the price for a full passenger cabin conversion package (when all seats of a cabin are replaced by removable containers) varies depending on the aircraft type and the number of containers necessary. For instance, the price for a standard Airbus A330-200 passenger plane cabin may be between $1 million and $1.2 million, including container production, engineering, and the supplemental type certificate costs.
Another flexible cargo storage concept introduced amid the pandemic is the Cabin Cargo Box, a lightweight solution designed to help carriers boost cargo capacity for the main jet cabin to its maximum without the need to convert the passenger aircraft into a freighter. The Cabin Cargo Box was launched by German aerospace manufacturer EFW in July 2020.
A single Cabin Cargo Box, which has already received a green light from the EASA and can receive Supplemental Type Certification (STC) if needed, may be loaded up to 200 kilograms (440 lbs) of goods, with a tare weight of 28 kilograms (61 lbs) per container. The passenger cabin of a standard-configured Airbus A330-200 aircraft can carry 94 Cabin Cargo Boxes, loaded in the side-by-side principle of three containers in a row. It equals nearly 19 tonnes (41,887 lbs) of freight per flight in addition to the capacity of the plane belly if counted on the A330-200 jet.
All-electric aircraft by Rolls-Royce’s completes maiden flight in the UK
Rolls-Royce’s first all-electric aircraft, the ‘Spirit of Innovation’, has completed its maiden flight, which took place in the UK for about 15 minutes. The beginning of the flight-testing phase includes a collection of performance data on its electrical power and propulsion system. In time, the goal of the aircraft speed is to exceed 300 miles per hour. The current speed record stands at 210 miles per hour. 50% of funding has come from the Aerospace Technology Institute in partnership with the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.
Looking ahead, Rolls-Royce said it would use and apply tech from ACCEL in products connected to the commuter aircraft and electric vertical take-off and landing markets. Partnered with Tecnam, Rolls-Royce also works with Widerøe, a Norway-headquartered airline on the delivery of ‘an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market.’
“The first flight of the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is a great achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce. We are focused on producing the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea and capture the economic opportunity of the transition to net zero,” said Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce. “This is not only about breaking a world record; the advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Urban Air Mobility market and can help make ‘jet zero’ a reality.”
The Spanish Air Force receives its first PC-21
Through the General Directorate of Armament and Material, The Spanish Ministry of Defence delivered to the Spanish Air Force, the Ejército del Aire, its first PC-21. The 792 Squadron, the Basic Training School in the Spanish Air Force Academy, will integrate the aircraft. Pilatus will deliver a total of 24 PC-21s to Spain by June 2022. Pilatus won the contract with the PC-21 in 2020. The first PC-21 was handed over in San Javier on 14 September 2021. Brigadier General of the Air Force León-Antonio Machés, DGAM Deputy Director General of Programs commented at the handover, “We are very pleased to be able to integrate such an advanced training system. Not only will the PC-21 revolutionise our pilot training and take it to a whole new level, but it will also allow us to reduce the cost of our pilot training.”
“We are delighted that the first PC-21 in the national colours will take to the Spanish skies as of now. A renowned and highly professional air force, Spain is already the third air force in Europe to have opted for the world’s most advanced training system and we are confident that others will follow Spain’s example,” said André Zimmermann, VP Government Aviation at Pilatus. The air force will launch its first pilot training course in September 2022. Experience with existing PC-21 customers, according to the company, shows that the budget for training a student military pilot can be reduced by more than 50 percent with the PC-21.
Collins unveils Lilac UV for aircraft interior sanitisation
Collins Aerospace unveiled Lilac-UV, an ultraviolet (UV) lighting solution to sanitise aircraft interiors nearly anywhere a light is installed inside an aircraft. Lilac-UV emits a slight violet light that disinfects surfaces in seconds to minutes, depending on lamp configuration and specific pathogen. Lilac-UV can be applied in lavatories, galleys, flight decks, cargo bays and throughout the cabin and can be set for scheduled cleanings or manual applications during or between flights. The sanitising light, combined with other hygienic measures taken onboard aircraft, gives added peace of mind and protection to passengers while also reducing aircraft downtime for manual cleaning. Lilac-UV uses technology developed by Boeing as part of a licensing agreement granting Collins the ability to build on Boeing’s UV technology for in-flight operation. The new Collins-developed sanitizing lighting system operates with an intelligent dosage controller – for scheduled cleanings and manual treatments and an occupancy detector for enclosed spaces, like an airplane lavatory.
All-civilian spaceflight mission launches
Called ‘the world’s first all-civilian human spaceflight mission to orbit,’ Inspiration4 launched successfully from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday. The three-day orbital flight, which is using SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 launch vehicle, was booked by Shift4 Payments founder and pilot Jared Isaacman earlier this year. Isaacman elected to lead the mission and donate the other three seats as part of an effort to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by February 2022.
Along with Isaacman, Inspiration4 is crewed by physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and paediatric cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer Chris Sembroski and geoscientist, entrepreneur and pilot Dr Sian Proctor. In the six months leading up to the launch, the crew underwent centrifuge training, Dragon simulations, observations of launch operations, Zero-G plane training and altitude training along with classroom, simulation and medical testing. The venture has raised more than $130 million to date.
SpaceX’s Inspiration4 crew returns to Earth with historic splashdown off Florida coast
After three days in space, SpaceX’s first all-civilian crew returned to Earth, splashing down off the Florida coast to end a historic mission. The flight was part of a massive fundraising effort for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Jared Isaacman, billionaire and four of Shift4 Payments, purchased the flight from SpaceX in order to raise $200 million for childhood cancer research.
“Inspiration4, on behalf of SpaceX, welcome to planet Earth,” Kris Young, Space Operations Director at SpaceX mission control, told the crew after their successful splashdown. “Your mission has shown the world that space is for all of us and that everyday people can make extraordinary impacts in the world around them. Thank you for sharing your leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity.”
More about the crew:
Hayley Arceneaux: youngest American to reach space and first space flyer with a prosthesis
Sian Proctor: first black female spacecraft pilot
Jared Isaacman: places first-ever sports bets from space
While in orbit, the crew performed a host of medical experiments, collecting samples and data that will help researchers better understand how microgravity affects the human body. During their flight, the crew travelled up to an altitude of 367 miles (590 km) above the Earth, according to SpaceX, higher than both the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope. That will hopefully provide more insight into space radiation and its effects on humans.
“It has been really interesting to see how fluid shifts with this microgravity environment,” Arceneaux told viewers during an in-flight broadcast on Friday 17 September. “We have also been taking several swabs of different parts of our body to evaluate the microbiome and how that changes in these three days in space,” she added. “I have also been giving a bunch of samples, blood samples, for the research teams as well as doing cognitive tests.”
Chinese astronauts return to Earth after 90-day mission
China has completed its longest crewed space mission. Chinese state media reported that three astronauts returned to Earth on 17 September 2021, after spending 90 days in space. The astronauts, Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Honbo, left for China’s unfinished space station on 17 June 2021. They landed in the Gobi desert in Inner Mongolia the same day. The astronauts spent the mission in the Tianhe module, the living quarters of the future Chinese Space Station. The new space station, called Tiangong, forms a major part of China’s space ambitions. The space station is due to be fully operational by 2022. While there, the astronauts carried out various tasks, including a spacewalk on 4 July, which involved the astronauts working for seven hours outside the space station.
NASA, Joby complete eVTOL flight tests
The NASA Advanced Air Mobility National (AAM) Campaign team has wrapped up two weeks of flight testing on Joby Aviation’s prototype electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The tests, which were the first to be conducted by NASA using an eVTOL aircraft as part of the campaign, took place at Joby’s facility near Big Sur, California. Data collection included the use of NASA’s Mobile Acoustics Facility and an array of more than 50 pressure ground-plate microphones.
“NASA’s goal is to collect vehicle performance and acoustic data for use in modelling and simulation of future airspace concepts,” the agency said. “After the data is analysed, the test results will also help identify gaps in current Federal Aviation Administration regulations and policies to help incorporate Advanced Air Mobility aircraft into the National Airspace System.”
During testing, the Joby eVTOL prototype flew a series of planned scenarios aimed at providing data on “how the vehicle moves, how the vehicle sounds, and how the vehicle communicates with controllers.” NASA says it plans to use similar scenarios for evaluating the readiness of future partners’ aircraft. Designed as an air taxi, the commercial version of Joby’s aircraft is expected to have a range of 150 miles, top speed of 200 MPH and be capable of carrying a pilot and four passengers.
NASA and Joby complete air taxi testing:
India to invest $680 million in drone manufacturing industry
On 16 September, the Union Minister of Civil Aviation of India, Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, announced that the Indian drone industry would receive up to INR 120 crore ($16.3 million) over the next three years under the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme of the central government. The incentive amount is 1.5 times the combined size of the current Indian drone manufacturing sector.
The Indian government considers investments up to INR 5000 crore ($680 million) in the drone manufacturing sector, which is forecasted to have a turnover of INR 900 crore ($122 million) and help create 10,000 job opportunities by FY 2023-24. “The drone industry may grow to over Rs.900 crore in FY 2023-24,” said Scindia while addressing a press conference on 16 September 2021. The Indian government approved the PLI scheme for the drone manufacturing and component industry on 15 September 2021. The scheme is aimed at assisting India’s objective of becoming a global drone hub by 2030. The Indian drone service industry is expected to grow to over INR 30,000 crore ($4.8 billion) and create 500,000 jobs in the next three years.
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