“Nobody can be trusted with unlimited power. The more power a regime has, the more likely people will be killed. This is a major reason for promoting freedom.”
Rudolph J. Rummel
African Pilot’s aircraft of the week identification quiz
No prizes, but can you identify this aircraft? Last week’s aircraft proved to be rather easy, 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: email@example.com. I will publish the names of all those that identified the aircraft correctly in the Thursday edition of APAnews.
Do Comair, AirLink, Safair have to comply with Part 91?
This past Heritage Day long weekend was filled with several aviation events, some of which have brief reports within this edition of APAnews. Apparently, there were several complaints from prospective visitors to the Heidelberg vintage car and plane fly-in day. I don’t know why certain individuals were turned away, but our African Pilot team encountered no issues whatsoever. The food and liquid beverages were readily available. Perhaps the only fault was the lack of litter bins, which meant the few that were available started overflowing quickly. Please event organisers, make sure to take litter into account when you plan these events, because if the wind gets up then the airfield becomes a mess.
African Pilot’s October 2021 edition
The October edition featuring aircraft / helicopter maintenance will be distributed early this week. This 250-page edition has 12 embedded videos and 22 picture galleries making African Pilot the largest aviation monthly publication in the world. Within this edition African Pilot has showcased many AMOs and aircraft refurbishing companies where no single company shares any part of a double page spread with any other company. In addition, African Pilot is the only South African aviation magazine that presents embedded videos and picture galleries to increase its advertisers exposure to the market.
African Pilot’s November 2021 edition
The November edition will feature African Airlines, Gifts for Pilots and Aircraft Leasing. African Pilot has already undertaken research on African Airlines and we will be presenting factual information about these airlines, not just an inaccurate listing of airlines, many of which have ceased to exist. The Gifts for Pilots feature allows for any of the pilot shops to market their merchandise. Finally, Aircraft Leasing is a sector of the aviation industry that is often neglected and this feature will present an opportunity for leasing companies to present their business profiles. African Pilot is the ‘only aviation magazine’ that provides its advertisers with quality coverage within a well-designed publication that has South African, African and international reach.
Video of the week
EAA Silver Creek fly-in and movie evening
African Pilot Digital Calendars
Wallpaper calendar for the months of September and October. 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
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Heidelberg vintage cars, aircraft and steam train
We travelled to Heidelberg airfield on Heritage day to attend the vintage car and plane get together, whilst the Rovos Rail steam train arrived at the station. These are some of the fun pictures that I took mainly of the ladies dressed up in period costumes. According to the organisers there were 235 veteran motor cars, 75 veteran motorcycles, 87 aircraft of all types and of course one Rovos Rail steam train. I am sure everyone had a great time, I certainly did. Thanks to the organisers for your hard work. A full report with pictures and an embedded video will be published within the November edition of African Pilot.
Tiger Moths at Brakpan
I spent the morning at Brakpan airfield today covering the 90th anniversary of the Tiger Month. Today there were six Tigers and one Stampe that graced the skies. Over the past few years, the Brakpan Aero Club has grown and excelled at staging special events. It was great to interview some of the pilots and learn about the magnificent Tiger Moths they own. A BIG shout out to Susan Prinsloo who is Brakpan’s media person and she also owns and flies the maroon Tiger Moth ZS BGL. The event was very well organised and I did not see any evidence of the ‘fun police’ at this event. Col. Keith Fryer was in charge of safety and as always, he did a very good job. A full report with pictures and a video will be published within the November edition of African Pilot.
What is scheduled for the next few months?
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.
Springbok Classic Air Beech-18 flight around Johannesburg R1 500 per person
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 550 7205
2 to 9 October
South African gliding championships at Potchefstroom airfield
Contact Johan Badenhorst E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 874 9532
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting virtual via Zoom
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 674 5674
8 to 10 October
EAA Taildraggers at Warmbaths airfield
Contact Richard Nicholson E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 490 6227
12 to 14 October
NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) Las Vegas Nevada
Krugersdorp Flying Club spot landing at Jack Taylor airfield, Krugersdorp
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Cell 079 213 9059
Panorama breakfast fly-in
Contact Alan Stewart 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
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: email@example.com Cell: 084 674 5674
SAPFA SA Landing Championships at Brits Airfield
Contact Ron Stirk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com Cell: 082 855 9435
Sports Aerobatics Club Western Cape regionals at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting virtual via Zoom
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 084 674 5674
2 & 3 December
Security Drone Conference at Emperors Palace Convention Centre
Contact Tawanda Mandaza E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 063 580 6400
Aero Club of South Africa annual awards venue TBA
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 7032
4 & 5 December
Sports Aerobatics Club ACE of Base Baragwaneth Airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Zela Aviation and Precision Air sign strategic agreement
Aircraft chartering and sales company Zela Aviation has entered a strategic partnership with Tanzania’s Precision Air. The agreement involves the mediation of Zela Aviation, which will act as the general representative for leasing Precision Air’s aircraft, crews, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) to other airlines. During the signing of the contract, Precision Air’s managing director and CEO, Patrick Mwanri, said: “We are excited to begin this new venture; the aviation industry is witnessing many changes and challenges since the pandemic; therefore, as a business, we have no option than to be agile.” Mwanri added “Precision Air’s partnership with Zela Aviation will enable the optimum utilisation of their aircraft, as they are currently not fully utilized due to decreased demand in travel. The cooperation will most importantly provide a source of ancillary revenues during the low season.
Zela Aviation Chairman, Andreas Christodoulides, said they are thrilled to sign a GSA contract with a reputable Airline as Precision Air. He added that Precision Air is known for professionalism and is one of the airlines upholding high standards in Tanzania and the surrounding region. “We will work closely with Precision Air to see this partnership is fruitful and both sides achieve their business goals”, he concluded.
No survivors in An-26 crash in far east Russia
The crew of an Antonov An-26 that went missing near the city of Khabarovsk in the far east of Russia did not survive, Russian state news agency TASS reported on 23 September 2021. The aircraft, which belonged to a company called Letnye Proverki I Sistemy (Flight Inspections and Systems) and was carrying six people, disappeared from radar on 22 September 2021 during a flight to check airport communications equipment. “According to preliminary data, there are no survivors of the plane crash,” a source in the emergency services told TASS. “The crew actually had little chance to survive, the largest fragment of the aircraft was no more than half a meter long, they crashed into the mountain at full speed,” one of the members of the search group told the local news agency Khabarovsk Today. The wreckage of the plane was located by an Mi-8 helicopter and rescue teams are moving to the site, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Services told Tass earlier on 23 September 2021. “The plane crashed in difficult terrain. A ground group of personnel and equipment is moving to the crash site,” the ministry told the agency. The An-26 is a twin-engine turboprop cargo and utility aircraft built by Antonov between 1969 and 1986. According to the website of Letnye Proverki I Sistemy, the company owns one An-26 and one An-24.
Two killed in Mooney crash during air rally in Canada
Tragedy struck the Ninety-Nines’ Gold Cup Air Rally in Ontario, Canada, last week. Two participants, Susan Begg (73) of Ottawa and Dewi Livingston (43), of Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, were killed in the crash of Begg’s Mooney 201. A 41-year member of the Ninety-Nines who served as Governor of the East Canada Section from 2014–2016, Begg was described as ‘an experienced pilot,’ as was Livingston. Online posts show the pair had flown together previously in air races and rallies. Authorities said one of the occupants died instantly, while the second woman was airlifted to a hospital but did not survive.
The air rally was hosted by South River Sundridge Airpark (CPE6), near North Bay, Ontario, Canada. Local authorities said the Mooney was reported missing around 15h00 local time Friday 17 September and was found crashed about one-third of a mile from the airport. According to the Air Rally website, the three-day gathering ‘is a not a race. This all-women’s cross-country challenge is flown in day VFR conditions only. The competitive part is based on challenges such as aviation related questions, ground photos, calculation of fuel consumption, spot landing and more. There must be a minimum of two persons per aircraft. The rally was initiated in 2000 by two Canadian members of the Ninety-Nines, an international organisation dedicated to promoting women in aviation.
Hand propping goes awry
Aircraft is non-electrical with no starter and based at a private airpark home. Report by the pilot / owner. The aircraft was tied down at tail and triple chocked. Pre-flighted and prepared for a normal start and flight. Normal start but, as I was walking around the wing to the cockpit, engine power increased more quickly than expected after start. I was unable to reach the cockpit to shut the engine down before the chocks gave way, followed by the tie-down stake pulling out of the ground. The aircraft travelled un- occupied down sloping yard and hit a ditch, coming to rest on the taxiway, resulting in landing gear damage and propeller striking ground and pavement and engine shutdown. No injuries or property damage occurred.
In retrospect I have always been careful to secure the aircraft for start correctly with triple chocks and tie-down. It is possible, on this start, I may not have tightened the throttle friction lock fully, which may have allowed the throttle position to travel partially forward after start. The chocks in front of all three tires started to strain, then failed and the aircraft rolled forward as I was moving around the wing. The last available restraint was a tie-down at the tailwheel position. Momentum and some slack in the tie-down rope caused the tie-down stake to pull loose from the ground as the slack was taken up. The downhill slope of the yard added to the acceleration before impact with the ditch. I should have double checked the throttle setting and friction lock to make sure that throttle position would not change. The increase in power would not have happened.
FAA report suggests recent use of drugs in balloon pilot toxicology tests
According to an FAA toxicology report, Nicholas Meleski, the commercial pilot in the 26 June hot air balloon crash that killed all five on board in Albuquerque, New Mexico, had THC (marijuana) and cocaine in his blood and urine samples. Joe Riley, president of Melbourne, Florida-based National Drug Screening, reviewed the report and said the results suggest the drug use was likely significant, but could also have occurred the night before the flight. He said, “The difference in levels from the blood (lower levels) and urine (higher levels) suggest that the drug use was not immediately before flight, though it does not prove that.” Evidence of drug use dissipates more quickly from the blood but can remain visible in urine testing for far longer.
Riley added that, in general, levels of substances in the system are an inexact way of determining impairment at a given time (unlike a breathalyser test for alcohol, for example), but Meleski’s results suggest recent use. Riley’s interpretation is consistent with that of toxicologist Dr Ernest Chiodo, who told a local Albuquerque news outlet the results were “more consistent with partying the night before.” The report also showed cocaethylene in the urine sample, but not the blood sample. Cocaethylene is a substance formed by the liver when cocaine and alcohol coexist in the blood.
Emirates implements IATA Travel Pass across six continents
Emirates is the first airline to implement the International Air Transport Association’s IATA Travel Pass solution on six continents as it rolls out this digital health pass to customers at all its destinations.
Following successful trials in April on select routes from its Dubai hub, Emirates gradually expanded the IATA Travel Pass pilot to customers on 12 routes in June and the airline has now signed a contract with IATA to implement the solution across its global network. The pass is currently available to Emirates customers travelling from 50 airports, including Heathrow, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham. The roll-out across all 120+ Emirates destinations is expected to be completed by October.
Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer said: “Emirates continues to invest in technology and solutions, like IATA Travel Pass, so that we can deliver smooth journeys and contactless experiences for our customers while enabling our airport teams to handle document checks efficiently and in compliance with regulatory requirements.” He added: “We are pleased to partner with IATA on the IATA Travel Pass solution from early pilot trials to full implementation and we will continue to work closely with IATA on enhancements to facilitate even more secure and smoother journeys for travellers.”
Nick Careen, IATA senior vice president operations, safety and security said: “Emirates’ implementation of IATA Travel Pass across its global network cements its role as a key tool in managing the complex myriad of health credentials required for travel. By providing passengers with a one-stop-shop to demystify, manage and process these credentials through a secure automated process, they can arrive at the airport ready-to-fly using automated processes. This will avoid queuing and congestion for document checks, to the benefit of travellers, airlines, airports and governments.”
Airbus is more confident about hydrogen-based zero-emission planes by 2035
Airbus is more and more confident now of achieving its goal of making hydrogen-powered zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035 but various challenges such as finding the right fuel in the right quantity have to be resolved, said its CEO Guillaume Faury on Wednesday. Exactly one year back, Airbus had revealed concepts of new hydrogen-powered zero-emission commercial aircraft that could enter service by 2035.
Speaking during Airbus Summit 2021 here, Faury stated: “This challenge is not only about an airplane. It is about having the right fuels, hydrogen at the right time, the right place, the right quantity and the right price and that is something that aviation cannot manage alone.” We are more and more confident that this is an achievable goal when it comes to the hydrogen-powered plane, he mentioned. However, since the aircraft manufacturer is working every day to make the hydrogen-powered zero-emission plane a reality, it has realised that entering this aircraft into service in 2035 is just one of the challenges, he noted. “Given the number of ruptures and changes that we are going to bring to the aviation sector, we need to onboard the regulators,” he stated. There are a lot of things that need to be developed, to be decided to be written in terms of rules and regulations on how we are going to use the new fuels in airports and planes and how we are going to certify the planes, Faury mentioned. Also, there are obviously a large number of challenges when it comes to safety, reliability and the way this plane is going to be operated, he said. The two-day long Airbus Summit 2021 was conducted on the topic of ‘Pioneering Sustainable Aerospace’.
On 21 September, Airbus had revealed three models of hydrogen-powered zero-emission commercial aircraft that it plans to bring into service by 2035. First is the turbofan design that would be capable of operating trans-continentally and would be powered by a modified gas-turbine engine running on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel, through combustion. The second concept is a turboprop design that can carry up to 100 passengers and is powered by hydrogen combustion in modified gas-turbine engines. The turboprop design would be capable of travelling more than 1,000 nautical miles, making it a perfect option for short-haul trips. The third concept is a ‘blended-wing body’ design, which can carry up to 200 passengers. In this design, the wings merge with the main body of the aircraft. It will be able to operate trans-continentally.
Airbus launches extra high-performance wing demonstrator to fortify decarbonisation ambition
Airbus has launched an extra-performing wing demonstrator project focused on accelerating and validating technologies that will improve and optimise wing aerodynamics and performance for any future aircraft. This scaled demonstrator will integrate and fly breakthrough wing technologies on a Cessna Citation VII business jet platform in representative flight conditions. The applications of the extra-performing wing would be compatible with any propulsion solution and aircraft configuration and would reduce CO ₂ emissions, contributing greatly to Airbus’ decarbonisation roadmap.
“Airbus’ extra-performing wing demonstrator is another example of Airbus’ novel technology-oriented solutions to decarbonise the aviation sector,” says Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer. “Airbus is continuously investigating parallel and complementary solutions such as infrastructure, flight operations and aircraft structure. With this demonstrator, we will make significant strides in active control technology through research and applied testing of various technologies inspired by biomimicry”.
Similar to how an eagle soars, adapting the shape, span and surface of its wings and feathers, this demonstrator allows for increased flight efficiency. Various technology bricks will be investigated to enable the active control of the wing, including gust sensors, pop-up spoilers or plates that are rapidly deflected perpendicular to airflow, multifunctional trailing edges that dynamically change wing surface in flight and a semi-aeroelastic hinge.
The demonstrator is hosted within Airbus UpNext, a wholly owned Airbus subsidiary created to give future technologies a development fast-track by building demonstrators at speed and scale, in order to evaluate, mature and validate potential new products and services that encompass radical technological breakthroughs.
Becker Avionics has teamed with Iris Automation
The collision avoidance safety system will use computer vision and machine learning to ‘see’ when another aircraft is approaching from outside the pilot’s field of view and poses a risk, issuing 3D audio warnings. The solution will combine Iris Automation’s patented Casia detect and alert technology with Becker Avionics’ communication and navigation equipment for both manned and unmanned aircraft, company officials explain. While many general aviation aircraft are equipped with ADS-B, in some airspace traditional ADS-B signals are not available, increasing the workload on a pilot to monitor for incoming aircraft, company officials noted. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 1,450 near mid-air collisions were reported from 2016-2020. Another startling statistic: 82% of mid-air collisions occur from the rear, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Foundation. The Iris Automation / Becker Avionics opto-electric / audio system will monitor airspace in visual flight conditions independently, onboard the pilot’s aircraft, even if ADS-B or TCAS signals may be unavailable, company officials claim. It supplements a pilot’s situational awareness, whether in the cockpit or remote, officials add. By providing warnings in time to take appropriate actions to avoid potential collisions, the system is designed to improve safety with minimal impact on pilot workload, according to company officials.
Lockheed Martin unveils new LMXT refuelling tanker
On Friday Lockheed Martin unveiled its new LMXT refuelling tanker, a variant of the current Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport made specifically for the US Air Force. The LMXT was developed as part of the USAF’s KC-Y Bridge Tanker competition to develop a new aircraft that will supplement its fleet of Boeing KC-46A tankers. The company describes the LMXT tanker as “the most advanced aerial refueler to meet America’s immediate and long-term mission requirements.” Some improvements of the new model include an upgraded communications system, improved range and increased fuel-offload capabilities.
Executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Greg Ulmer said that with the company’s long track record of producing aircraft for the US Air Force, “We understand the critical role tankers play in ensuring America’s total mission success. The LMXT combines proven performance and operator-specific capabilities to meet the Air Force’s refuelling requirements in support of America’s National Defence Strategy,” he added.
In addition to better range and increased payload, the LMXT is equipped with a fly-by-wire boom currently in use by the US and allied countries, ‘the world’s first fully automatic boom / air-to-air refuelling (A3R) system,’ as well as an advanced camera and vision system. The aircraft is also equipped with an open system Joint All-Domain Command and Control 2, which makes it potentially interoperable with systems from other military forces.
India formalises acquisition of 56 Airbus C295 aircraft
India has formalised the acquisition of 56 Airbus C295 aircraft to replace the Indian Air Force (IAF) legacy AVRO fleet. It is the first ‘Make in India’ aerospace programme in the private sector, involving the full development of a complete industrial ecosystem: from the manufacture to assembly, test and qualification, to delivery and maintenance of the complete lifecycle of the aircraft. Under the contractual agreement, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain. The subsequent 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled by the Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) in India as part of an industrial partnership between the two companies.
The first 16 aircraft will be delivered over four years after the contract implementation. All the IAF C295s will be handed over in transport configuration and equipped with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite. “This contract will support the further development of India’s aerospace ecosystem, bringing investment and 15,000 skilled direct jobs and 10,000 indirect positions over the coming 10 years,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “The C295 has proven again as the segment leader and with the addition of India as a new operator, the type will enlarge its footprint even more, not only on the operational aspects but on its own industrial and technological development”.
‘Make in India’ is at the heart of Airbus strategy in India, with the company constantly increasing the country’s contribution to its global product portfolio. The C295 programme will see Airbus bring its complete bouquet of world-class aircraft manufacturing and servicing to India in collaboration with our industrial partners, including the Tatas and leading defence public sector units such as Bharat Electronics Ltd. and Bharat Dynamics Ltd, as well as private Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. The IAF becomes the 35th C295 operator worldwide, with the programme reaching 278 aircraft, 200 of which are already in operation and have booked more than half a million flight-hours.
Rob Holland wins tenth US National Aerobatic Championship
This week, ICAS member and airshow performer Rob Holland won his tenth consecutive US National Aerobatic Championship in Salina, Kansas. After winning his first unlimited national aerobatic championship in Denison, Texas in September of 2011, Holland has won every one since. (The National Aerobatic Championships were not held in 2020 due to the pandemic.) No other aerobatic pilot has won as many unlimited championships and, other than Rob, only the legendary Leo Loudenslager won as many as seven.
Flying his MXS monoplane in this week’s competition, Holland placed first in Known, first in Unknown and first in Free, with an overall score of 11,67.87 / 82.23% for the event. Holland describes his MXS-RH as “The MXS-RH is a one-of-a-kind, all carbon-fibre masterpiece. This single seat, competition and airshow ready aircraft is designed and built by MX Aircraft in North Carolina and incorporates design modifications suggested by Rob himself. Powering this aerobatic monster is a Lycoming engine producing 380 horsepower. Weighing in at a minimal 1200 pounds, this state-of-the-art aerobatic masterpiece boasts astonishing performance, is capable of pulling 16 positive and negative Gs and rolls at nearly 500 degrees per second.”
“It has been a long road and a lot of hard work, but I just won my tenth consecutive US National Aerobatic Championship,” Rob wrote at the end of the competition. “I cannot thank my sponsors, family and friends enough for their never-ending support, love and encouragement.”
Glasair Aviation has resumed operations
After a ‘COVID pause’, Glasair Aviation has resumed operations and will now resume selling kits. Updates include the Sportsman kits, which have now reduced the builder’s assembly time, with the Two Weeks to Taxi programme still on hold. Small changes have been made regarding the clean-up instructions, updated bill of materials, prefabricating assemblies and other improvements, according to Coby Young, Glasair’s Final Assembly Manager. The kit now includes many parts and assemblies that have been historically sold separately as sub-kits.
Key features that have changed are a black interior and black cage, corrosion-proofed wings and flight surfaces, and a Quick-Build option similar to the Two Week to Taxi program and instructions. “Quick-Build and Standard kits will contain the same components. For the Wing kit and Fuselage kits we have included all of the smaller installation kit BOM’s into the price rather than purchasing separately so overall the kit value is more significant” said Andrew Forrest, the company’s Supply Chain Manager. “The BOMs will follow our TWTT kit programme and these will follow our more up to date work instructions that we have been constantly updating.”
Alongside these updates, the builders manual will still be provided as an overview and contains many useful tips and techniques along with instructions for jigs and assembly fixtures. To simplify purchasing and inventory, new Sportsman kits are only available with the ‘high gross weight’ (HGW) wing, but the standard (LGW) wing is still supported. The total cost of a ‘standard kit’ with fiberglass Quick-build fuselage, standard wing, tail, IO-360 FWF kit and landing gear totals $104,000. Interested parties can reach Glasair Aviation for information on available engines and avionics packages. The builder can choose from seven propeller options and either an IO-360 or IO-390 engine. There are eight different avionics packages and the option to upgrade to a larger landing gear.
SpaceX to provide launch services for next GOES mission
SpaceX has been selected by NASA to provide launch services for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-U mission. GOES-U will provide advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s weather, oceans and environment, as well as real-time mapping of total lightning activity and improved monitoring of solar activity and space weather. By studying lightning, NASA scientists are working to develop new ways to help forecast the intensity of incoming hurricanes. According to NASA, GOES observations have proven helpful in monitoring dust storms, volcanic eruptions and forest fires.
Geostationary satellites circle the Earth in geosynchronous orbit, which means they orbit the Earth’s equatorial plane at a speed matching the Earth’s rotation. The total cost for NASA to launch GOES-U is approximately $152.5 million, which includes the launch service and other mission-related costs.
GOES-U is the fourth and final spacecraft in the GOES-R Series of geostationary weather satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The GOES-U mission aims to launch in April 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On 16 October 1975, NOAA’s first Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. GOES-1 returned its first imagery nine days after launching and became an essential component to NOAA. GOES-1 remained active throughout the launches of GOES-2-6, until finally being decommissioned on 7 March 1985, according to NOAA. The GOES-R Series is a joint effort between NASA and NOAA and includes GOES-R, GOES-S, GOES-T and GOES-U.
Lilium finalises business combination with Qell Acquisition Corporation
Lilium revealed the completion of its business combination with Qell, a publicly listed special purpose acquisition company, approved by Qell’s shareholders on 10 September. 98% of the votes were in favour of this combination. From 15 September 2021, Lilium’s Class A ordinary shares and redeemable warrants will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbols ‘LILM’ and ‘LILMW’, respectively.
“In 2015 with the clear vision that the decarbonisation of aviation is inevitable, we set out to build a team and product that would radically transform the way the world moves,” said Daniel Wiegand, Co-Founder and CEO of Lilium. “Six years and five generations of technology demonstrator aircraft later, we are closer than ever to this goal. Today’s milestone will bring us even closer to launching our service in 2024 and making sustainable, high-speed regional air travel a reality to communities around the world.”
Qell is equally pleased with the combination. “We see Lilium as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will be at the forefront of a whole new industry,” said Barry Engle, CEO and Co-Founder of Qell. “Lilium has the capacity to revolutionise regional travel, saving people hours so they can quickly travel from city to city. Using its seven-seater Lilium Jet, Lilium’s regional shuttle service should enable sustainable, high-speed transportation. Qell is proud to bring this exciting company to the public markets.”
Tom Enders will become Chairman of the Board: “Shareholders, management and more than 700 employees are united in their quest for sustainable aviation for everybody,” Tom Enders said. “It will not be an easy journey but we have the technology, the team and the resources to be very confident that Lilium will make it happen. Our role as a Board of Directors is to make strategic decisions, to supervise, to coach and to advise. I am proud to be leading one of the most diverse and competent Boards in our industry.”
Urban Aeronautics secures $10 million advance for CityHawk
Israel-based aerospace company Urban Aeronautics has revealed the first $10 million towards their next round of funding. After the latest test flights in July ran smoothly, the company has demonstrated the capabilities of their eVTOL called the CityHawk. According to the company, investors in the US, Brazil and Israel participated in the round. The CityHawk is a car-sized eVTOL designed for multiple trips within a city per day with zero emissions and minimal noise. The CityHawk is intended for commercial air charters and emergency medical services and will be fuelled by hydrogen.
The company was founded in 2006 and is in a Series A round of at least $100. October 2020 marked the arrival of new leadership, as Nimrod Golan-Yanay became the CEO. Since then, several milestones have been reached, including:
- The new exterior of the CityHawk features a compact, wingless shape.
- A partnership with California-based Hypoint to adapt hydrogen-fuel-cell technology for aviation.
- A pre-order from Hatzolah Air for four CityHawk eVTOLs for ambulance use.
Impact study agreements with Skyports to study the infrastructure for vertiports in urban hubs in the Middle East and in addition how vertiports can be designed to better support a hydrogen-fuelled air fleet. “The Urban Aeronautics team has formidable experience in aerospace engineering, aviation development and bringing emerging technology products to market,” says Urban Aeronautics CEO Nimrod Golan-Yanay. “While we know that the vigorous testing and regulatory compliance that comes with any new aviation technology is still in development across the globe, we are extremely excited and bolstered by the milestones we have achieved in recent months that show how ideally suited CityHawk is for practical applications right within the city itself.”
Volocopter China joint venture with Geely orders 150 electric air taxis
On 22 September German electric taxi company Volocopter has finalised a joint venture with Geely Technology Group, including an order for electric taxis for urban air mobility in China. The joint venture between Volocopter and Geely’s Aerofugia unit, called Volocopter Chengdu, has signed an agreement to purchase 150 Volocopter electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Geely Holding Group CEO Daniel Li Donghui has also joined Volocopter’s advisory board as part of the agreement.
“Today marks another important milestone on our journey to bring affordable electric air mobility to China, the biggest single market opportunity for the UAM industry,” Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter said in a statement. “With the joint venture company up and running and Daniel Li Donghui as the new Geely representative on our Advisory Board, we are in pole position to introduce air taxi services globally in a safe, sustainable and practical manner.”
The JV is based in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province and where Geely has a key manufacturing base. Volocopter also announced an agreement between the JV and Geely to produce Volocopter’s aircraft and parts in China. “This production agreement will strategically satisfy the fast-growing demand for air taxi services after commercial launch in China,” Volocopter explained in the statement. Volocopter Chengdu chairman Jing Chao said the venture could now accelerate the development of urban air mobility (UAM): UAM is an important part of the new aviation industry, which coincides with Aerofugia’s technical route and business plan of ‘new energy, vertical landing and take-off and autonomous driving.’
Volocopter performed its first crewed flight with its purely electric multicopter in 2011 and has since performed other flights, including an autonomous eVTOL flight in Dubai in 2017 and public test flights in Singapore in 2019. Along with the electric VoloCity air taxi, the German company is also developing the VoloDrone for heavy-lift cargo.
New cargo drone ‘Hammerhead eV20’ was presented at UAV Expo Americas 2021
The new drone Hammerhead eV20 from Airlogix company aroused considerable interest at the Commercial UAV Expo Americas 2021. Fellow developers, potential partners, and investors praised the machine and identified opportunities for future cooperation with Airlogix.
First of all, the public liked the fact that the drone has a fully electrical engine and still has a significant carrying capacity and range. The machine has aroused interest, especially in industrial and farming companies, as a working tool for logistics. Private users were deeply interested in the drone. But it was a challenge for engineers, to explain that it is not allowed to transport children or dogs by drone. Obviously, the developers will have to write a very detailed manual on the use of the machine. The only dog you could transport by it is a robot SPOT.
The Airlogix team conducted a small experiment with Boston Dynamics robot SPOT and placed it into the drone. Of course, that is only for fun, but it also demonstrates the potential of the luggage compartment of the drone. But this drone is not for fun, it can even be equipped with a refrigerator, for the transportation of biological samples between medical institutions.
The next step in Airlogix’s work will be to conduct Hammerhead eV20 test flights to check all aircraft systems in the field conditions, says Airlogix CEO, Vitalii Kolesnichenko: – We already confirmed all flight indicators on the downscaled model. And now we plan to move to a full-size model test and then move to serial production. All our work ‘on the ground’ is aimed at this goal, to raise Hammerhead eV20 into the sky as soon as possible. We believe this should significantly expand the capabilities of the entire UAV industry.
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