“You don’t make the poor richer by making the rich poorer.”
Sir Winston Churchill
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.
When must a non-pressurized aircraft be equipped with supplemental oxygen?
Wings clipped already, SAA postpones flights, reduces frequencies
A week after taking to the skies, the relaunched national carrier, SAA has been forced to delay the restart of scheduled services to Maputo, as well as to reduce frequencies on other routes. South African Airways (SAA), took to the skies again on 23 September, resuming domestic flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town. The national carrier also started its return to several international destinations (regional routes) this past week.
SAA interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo was enthusiastic about the airline’s restart and previously stated that the airline noted a promising number of flight bookings ahead of its relaunch. Kgokolo said that early booking figures indicated that SAA’s flights may be as much as 75% full. It seems that the jubilation and excitement of the national carrier’s restart have been short-lived. The airline has already been forced to reduce frequencies on certain routes, as well as to postpone the restart of scheduled services on one of the routes it intends to operate.
The airline, which will apparently no longer be dependent on state bailouts, despite having restarted scheduled services without its private-sector partner Takatso Consortium being fully on board, advises that it has been forced to push back the restart of scheduled services to Maputo, as well as cutting frequencies to other African cities in its new route network. “Part of our promise to you is to act in a financially prudent manner, to offer transparency in our business decisions and give you advance notice of planned changes,” SAA commercial performance South Africa manager Shabnam Vadachia said.
Tourism update states that SAA has made several changes to its new international schedule. The changes include delaying the restart of one of its routes by two months and reducing frequencies on other routes. “Following nearly a month of sales, SAA is making some proactive schedule adjustments to better match capacity to emerging demand and ensure you have all the information you need to plan with certainty,” Vadachia said.
Scheduled flights to Maputo (Mozambique) should have been started on 27 September but that the restart of this route has been pushed back two months. Flights are expected to begin in December.
Flights to Kinshasa (DRC) have also been affected. The route was expected to be serviced three times a week from 27 September. However, the airline has reduced the frequency of operations on this route, stating that selected flights have been removed for September and October. Daily flights were intended between Johannesburg and Lusaka (Zambia) from 27 September. SAA has cut the frequency of services on this route. It will offer four flights per week during September and October. Daily flights will resume from November 2021.
African Pilot’s October 2021 edition
On Tuesday, African Pilot released its October edition FREE to the world and at the time of writing this editorial, I had received several e-mails and even calls congratulating our team on a splendid production. At the same time, I have received several suggestions from our readers for future articles and whilst some of these suggestions are interesting, others are more difficult to undertake, but all will be considered in future editions. African Pilot’s undertaking to its audience is to present a wide range of aviation topics as well as reporting on aviation events that take place all over South Africa on a regular basis. For this reason, I usually attend these events in person to interact with the organisers, interview many of the aviation personalities, take pictures and videos for production. My sincere congratulations go to every member of the small African Pilot team, who work hard at their respective tasks to make the publication we present to you our readers the finest in the world.
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
The Heidelberg Great Train Race & Fly-In on 24 September 2021
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
Aero Club Communique October 2021 #1
There has been some further relief on the lockdown status with Level 1 having been declared commencing 1 October 2021, at least it allows larger gatherings allowing more aviation related events to take place with a 750-person indoor limit and 2000 outdoors.
The SACAA has released a link for a customer survey (see link below), with the following introduction – this is your opportunity to have your say regarding the service received from the CAA. “A key strategic outcome indicator of the SACAA is to measure and improve the customer service experience of all its customers and stakeholders. Critical to delivering good customer service, is feedback from the customers themselves on the standards that will satisfy them. The SACAA aims to give seamless services to its customers and further add value by being an enabler of our customers businesses. Participating in the customer satisfaction survey will take seven minutes of your time.”
There has been an update to the ATF form to be completed when renewing, amending, issuing an ATF. http://www.caa.co.za/Airworthiness%20Forms/CA%2024-03.pdf
The Civil Aviation Act, 2009 is being amended with updates, the content of these updates can be found at the link below. Comments as per the link has a deadline of 2 November 2021.
The latest Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) members newsletter at the link below:
Civil Aviation Amendment BILL
This past week the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) sent out the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill, which is included here. There are several changes to definitions and rulemaking that may affect Civil Aviation in South Africa, therefore it is advised that the Bill be read carefully to establish how this may affect your business or operation.
Click image to open PDF.
United Airlines and Airlink announce commercial agreement
On 28 September, United Airlines and Airlink, announced a new codeshare agreement that will offer customers more connections between the US and Southern Africa than any other airline alliance. The new agreement, which is subject to government approval, will offer one stop connections from the US to more than 40 destinations in Southern Africa. In addition, United will be the first airline to connect its loyalty programme with Airlink, allowing MileagePlus members to earn and redeem miles when they travel on Airlink flights. This new cooperation will be in addition to United’s existing partnership with Star Alliance member South African Airways.
This codeshare will make it easy for North American customers to reach the Okavango Delta, Chobe, the Kruger National Park and adjacent private game lodges, Cape Town, the Garden Route, Swakopmund and the Copperbelt, among others,” said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster. “Similarly, the codeshare means that our customers in the 12 African countries we currently serve, will have fast and seamless access to all of United’s network.”
End of an era - final flight test of Draken’s Cheetahs
On Wednesday Cheetah C tail number 376 performed its final flight acceptance test ahead of being shipped to the United States, marking the end of Cheetah flights in South Africa. Draken has acquired 12 ex-SA Air Force Cheetahs for adversary training. In 2017 nine single seat Cheetah C and three dual seat D models were sold to Florida-based Draken, which will use them for adversary training for the US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps. Draken sees the Cheetah as complementary to its recent acquisition of 22 modernised radar-equipped Spanish Mirages F1Ms.
After years of storage, painstaking efforts to reassemble and return the aircraft to airworthy status, each Cheetah is flown several times by Denel Aeronautics to make sure everything is working correctly (included upgraded avionics) before partial disassembly and shipping to the United States, which involves the wings being removed and the engine removed. Over the past year and a half, Denel has been flying and accepting Draken’s Cheetahs, culminating in Wednesday’s final flight with 376. The aircraft last flew, with the SA Air Force, in 2001. The first two Cheetahs (a single seat and a dual seat) arrived in the United States in October 2019. According to import tracking websites, Denel’s most recent shipment was in June this year. In addition to the 12 ex-SAAF Cheetahs, Draken has acquired a vast supply of spares and equipment from Denel to support the Cheetah fleet, including the Cheetah simulator from Air Force Base Makhado.
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.
2 to 9 October
South African gliding championships at Potchefstroom airfield
Contact Johan Badenhorst E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 874 9532
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
Krugersdorp Flying Club spot landing at Jack Taylor airfield, Krugersdorp
Contact E-mail: email@example.com or Cell 079 213 9059
Panorama breakfast fly-in
Contact Alan Stewart 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
Children’s Flight at Orient airfield
Contact Felix Gosher
SAA Museum Society Airline Collectibles at Rand Airport
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 076 879 5044
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.
Kenya Airways and SAA take historic step towards potential Pan African airline
Kenya Airways and South African Airways have struck an historic co-operation deal that could pave the way for the creation of a pan-African airline group. For more than a decade aviation conferences on the continent have heard analysts and experts calling for greater consolidation if the African airline industry is to reach its true potential on the global stage. But often national interests have stopped this happening. The two African carriers signed the memorandum in Johannesburg yesterday. Initially the move was justified as assisting post-Covid recovery but longer-term co-operation plans were not dismissed.
SAA interim chief executive Thomas Kgokolo says the next step is to set up a joint working group to further discuss the memorandum and to put in place systems to achieve their stated objectives. The agreement is not exclusive, meaning both carriers can also pursue further co-operation deals. Both SkyTeam carrier Kenya Airways and Star Alliance operator SAA have had a precarious time in recent years financially and politically. This was not helped by the Covid crisis. Kenya Airways is still awaiting finalisation of plans to nationalise the carrier while SAA only resumed fights earlier this month after a yearlong absence while it completed a major restructuring.
Kgokolo says collaboration will assist both airlines in the current and post-pandemic business and travel environment. This, he says, involves joint recovery strategies and other ‘cost-containment’ strategies that will aid the recovery of both carriers. “As well as being a strong local carrier, part of our broader growth strategy is to become a major player in regional travel and this joint memorandum with Kenya Airways, one of the continent’s strongest and most respected carriers, will do just that,” adds Kgokolo.
“It will also enhance related Kenya and South Africa tourism circuits, sectors which account for significant portions of respective country growth domestic product, benefiting from at least two attractive hubs in Johannesburg, Nairobi and possibly Cape Town. KQ and SAA, as iconic airline brands of Africa’s biggest and vibrant economies, in East Africa and Southern Africa respectively, are at the precipice of what could be Africa’s formidable Pan African airline.’’
Kenya Airways chief executive Allan Kilavuka adds: “The future of aviation and its long-term sustenance is hinged on partnership and collaboration. Kenya Airways and South African Airways collaboration will enhance customer benefits by availing a larger combined passenger and cargo network.” He says that the link-up will help improve the customer experience by offering a wider range of destinations, as well as helping to standardise product and service offerings.
Aaron Munetsi appointed as AASA Chief Executive Officer
On 27 September 2021, the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA), announced that Aaron Munetsi has been appointed as its new Chief Executive Officer, with effect from 27 September 2021. Mr Munetsi takes the helm from Wrenelle Stander who is leaving the industry body to take up a new position with Wesgro, promoting and developing in tourism and economic development in the Western Cape. “Aaron is reputed for his industry knowledge and formidable network of relationships that he has built over his more than 30 years of commercial and aero political experience in the airline industry. He has worked in Southern, Eastern and West Africa as well as the Middle East for airlines in the public and private sector, with industry bodies and as a consultant on aero political affairs, all of which make him a natural fit and a great asset for AASA as its new CEO,” explained AASA Chairperson, Elmar Conradie.
“I am looking forward to leading AASA and building on the solid base that has been prepared by my predecessors and its team. I intend to apply my broad industry experience to finding common ground with policy makers, legislators, regulators and our industry partners in developing solutions to the key issues facing airlines throughout the Southern Africa Development Community,” said Mr Munetsi.
Mr Munetsi holds diplomas and certificates in marketing, strategic management and leadership from the University of Zimbabwe, University of Witwatersrand Graduate Business School and the Gordon Institute for Business Studies.
He held several commercial management positions at South African Airways, including Regional Manager for Africa and the Middle East and as its Acting Chief Commercial Officer. For 10 years, Mr Munetsi served on the board of Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Business and After leaving SAA in 2018 he joined the African Airlines Association for a stint as its Director: Government, Legal and Industry Affairs. For the past year he has been working as an aero political and business strategy advisor to airlines.
AASA, represents most of the airlines in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region on matters of common interest. Its members include airport and air navigation service operators, aircraft and engine manufacturers, ground handlers, fuel suppliers and other role-players across the air transport value chain.
African airlines’ saw international cargo volumes increase by 33.9% in August
This was the largest increase of all regions. Investment flows along the Africa-Asia route continue to drive the regional outcomes with volumes on the route up 26.4% over two years ago. At the same time international capacity decreased 2.1%.
Etihad Airways launches flights to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Zanzibar
In November, Etihad Airways will begin flying to Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa and the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar. Tony Douglas, Group chief executive officer, Etihad, said: “We are proud to be launching Etihad’s newest destinations in Africa this winter and we are confident our guests will find they are all incredible places to visit. “Johannesburg is an important route on our network and offers vital connectivity to and from the southern African region. On the southern coast, Cape Town is a breath-taking part of the world, with something to offer the most discerning traveller. Likewise, the beautiful island of Zanzibar will complement our network to the Maldives and Seychelles offering more choice for leisure travellers looking to enjoy the glorious Indian ocean. Etihad will start flights to Johannesburg, from 25 November. At the same time, Etihad will launch its operation to the stunning coastal city of Cape Town. The new service to Zanzibar will operate from 26 November.
Airforce pilots critically injured
Two pilots of the Namibian Airforce were admitted to a Windhoek hospital in critical condition after the ejection seats of their jet aircraft were activated during take-off at the Karibib Air Force Base last Thursday. The incident has been confirmed by the Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs, Frans Kapofi but official details about it have not been forthcoming from either the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) or the Namibian Police.
It has since come to light that Chinese Aircraft Accident Investigators from the People’s Liberation Army will be dispatched to Namibia to determine what caused the accidental activation of the ejection seats of the Karakorum-8 jet aircraft moments after take-off. From civilian aviation circles, it is understood that the rocket-powered ejection seats shot the two crew members out of the air force jet at such a low altitude that the parachutes did not have enough time to deploy before the pilots struck the ground. It is understood that the two pilots each sustained various broken bones and that one of them has been comatose ever since the unfortunate incident.
It is not the first time that the Namibian Air Force has remained tight-lipped about an aircraft accident. At the end of November of 2013 when Flight TM 470 of Mozambique Airlines crashed in the Bwabwata National Park in north eastern Namibia several officers and soldiers were injured when an Antonov aircraft of the Namibian Airforce crashed upon landing at an airstrip near the crash site. The aircraft had been dispatched to assist with the clean-up operation at the crash site of the Embraer SA 190 aircraft as well as the retrieval of the bodies. At the time, aircraft accident investigators determined that the airline pilot deliberately crashed the Embraer jet into the ground. The crash claimed the lives of 34 passengers and crew.
NTSB dispatches investigative team to oversee the recovery of TransAir 737
A team of National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators is on its way to Hawaii to supervise the recovery of TransAir Flight 810, a Boeing 737-200 that ditched in the ocean on 2 July. Both pilots were rescued by the US Coast Guard and Honolulu Airport Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting personnel. NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said, “Having access to the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, the engines and other components will be critical to understanding not only how this accident occurred, but how future accidents might be prevented.” The flight crew “reported anomalies in both engines” according to the NTSB and ditched shortly after take-off from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu bound for Kahului, Hawaii. Both engines separated on impact and the fuselage broke into two pieces. All the wreckage is resting on an ocean shelf 350 to 450 feet below the surface about two miles offshore.
The recovery operation is scheduled to begin on 9 October and is expected to take 10 to 14 days. Plans include raising the aft fuselage section (with the wings still attached), loading it onto a barge and then removing the recorders. Equipment to be used includes remotely operated underwater vehicles, a research vessel and a barge with a crane. “NTSB investigators will document the wreckage in Honolulu before the engines and other selected components are crated and shipped to facilities on the US mainland for further examination and testing,” according to an NTSB press release.
IATA: passenger demand down, cargo still strong in August
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the recovery in air travel decelerated in August compared to July, as government actions in response to concerns over the COVID-19 Delta variant cut deeply into domestic travel demand. Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted all comparisons are to July 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern.
Total demand for air travel in August 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) was down 56 percent compared to August 2019. This marked a slowdown from July, when demand was 53 percent below July 2019 levels. This was entirely driven by domestic markets, which were down 32.2 percent compared to August 2019, a major deterioration from July 2021, when traffic was down 16.1 percent versus two years ago. The worst impact was in China, while India and Russia were the only large markets to show a month-to-month improvement compared to July 2021.
International passenger demand in August was 68.8 percent below August 2019, which was an improvement compared to the 73.1 percent decline recorded in July. All regions showed improvement, which was attributable to growing vaccination rates and less stringent international travel restrictions in some regions.
Skytrax names Qatar Airways ‘World’s Best Airline’
Qatar Airways was named Airline of the Year 2021 in the latest Skytrax awards, the sixth time it has won the award, with Singapore Airlines ranked second and ANA All Nippon Airways in third place, out of more than 350 airlines. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, said, “This award is the result of the incredible work by the Qatar Airways team and I want to thank our valued passengers for their loyalty and appreciation for all we have offered during the most challenging and uncertain times, without compromising on the service and excellence that the airline is renowned for throughout the world. We never abandoned our loyal customers when they needed us the most, we continued flying to get people home and implemented stringent biosafety measures to provide strong reassurance for travellers, all while continuing to innovate to ensure we remain the airline of choice for millions of passengers across the globe. Being named the ‘World’s Best Airline’ for an unprecedented sixth time is an enormous achievement.”
Skytrax, in its announcement of the awards, said “most of 2020 and 2021 has been a catastrophic period for the world airline industry, as passenger demand plummeted and countries across the world were affected by lockdowns and severe travel restrictions. The Skytrax customer survey operated for 23 months (September 2019 to July 2021), with the 2021 Awards representing a mix of more normal travel times combined with some travel during the global pandemic. Evaluating the Top 20 airlines, there have been some up and down movements versus 2019 results, although a core of airlines still dominate these higher positions.”
Qatar Airways, which earlier won the award for best airline given out by AirlineRatings.com, also received the awards for the World’s Best Business Class, the World’s Best Business Class Seat and the Best Airline in the Middle East. Singapore Airlines, ranked second worldwide, won the top accolade for the World’s Best Cabin Crew and was also honoured with awards for the World’s Best First Class, the Best Airline in Asia and the World’s Best First-Class Seat. ANA All Nippon Airways maintained its No 3 global ranking and repeated its earlier success by winning the World’s Best Airport Services award. Winning the 2021 award as the World’s Cleanest Airline is a particularly high-profile success during the global pandemic.
The world’s top 10 airlines of 2021
Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, ANA All Nippon Airways, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, EVA Air, Qantas Airways, Hainan Airlines, Air France.
Editor’s comment: South African Airways was rated as second-best airline in Africa for 2020-2021 (67th in the world) despite not flying a single scheduled flight during the period in question. Does this not make a mockery of the Skytrax awards?
New Italian national airline ITA to add 59 new Airbus jets
On 30 September 2021, Alitalia’s successor ITA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Airbus over the purchase of 28 new jets, including 11 A321 neo-Family jets, 10 A330s and seven A220 aircraft. In the meantime, the new Italian carrier also agreed with Air Lease Corporation (ACL) over the lease of 31 planes, including 15 A220s, nine A321neos, five A330-900s and two A320neo aircraft. The new national carrier expects to receive its first aircraft delivery under agreement with Airbus as early as the first quarter of 2022, while deliveries of ACL leased planes should start in the second half of 2022.
The newly born airline ITA, which will launch operations on 15 October 2021, has a promising business plan. Following its strategy, the company plans to expand its fleet gradually with a target to operate 80 aircraft by the end of 2022 and more than 105 jets by the end of 2025. ITA also aims to increase the number of its employees from 5,550 up to 5,700 people by 2025.
The European Commission reached a consensus with the Italian government on key parameters for separating Italia’s new airline ITA from ailing Alitalia. The initial network of the carrier will include mixed operations to short as well as long-haul destinations. As outlined in its business plan, ITA will fly to 45 destinations and operate 61 routes in 2021. The company will expand the network to 74 destinations and 89 routes by the end of 2025.
Airbus delivers first of 60 A220s to Air France
Air France has received its first A220-300 from an order for 60 aircraft of the type, the largest A220 order from a European carrier. The aircraft was delivered from Airbus’ final assembly line in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada and officially unveiled to the public during a ceremony held at Paris Charles-De-Gaulle Airport. The A220 is the most efficient and flexible aircraft in the 100-150-seat market segment today. The renewal of the Air France single-aisle fleet with this latest generation aircraft will increase efficiency along with customer comfort and support Air France to meet its environmental goals and sustainability objectives.
The first Air France A220-300 will be operated on its medium-haul network from the 2021 winter season. Currently, Air France operates a fleet of 136 Airbus aircraft. Air France is also renewing its long-haul fleet and has already taken delivery of 11 A350s out of an order of 38. The Air France A220-300 cabin is configured in a single-class layout to comfortably welcome 148 passengers. Offering superior single-aisle comfort, with the widest leather seats, largest windows and up to 20 percent more overhead stowage space per passenger, the Air France A220 also features full Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the cabin and two USB sockets at each passenger seat. As of the end of August, over 170 A220s have been delivered to 11 operators worldwide.
GE Catalyst completes first flight
GE Aviation announced that the new Catalyst turboprop engine successfully completed its first flight on Thursday. The flight, which took off and landed at Germany’s Berlin Schönefeld Airport, lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes and used a Beechcraft King Air Flying Test Bed. According to GE, its 16 Catalyst test engines have accumulated more than 2,600 hours of operation in ground tests and completed four certification tests to date. “The first flight was very successful. I must say, everything went flawlessly,” said GE Aviation chief test pilot Sigismond Monnet. “We actually flew longer than planned and the engine performed as we expected. I look forward to proceeding with the flight test campaign and expanding the Catalyst’s flight envelope.”
GE also reported that it has delivered an engine to Catalyst launch customer Textron Aviation for the company’s single-engine Beechcraft Denali prototype. The Catalyst engine is a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) controlled turboprop designed for the 850 -1600 SHP range. Built with 3D printed components, the engine features a 16:1 overall pressure ratio.
Bombardier receives 20-aircraft Challenger 3500 order
On Thursday Bombardier announced that it has received a firm order for 20 Challenger 3500 business jets from an undisclosed customer. The deal, which is valued at $534 million, is the company’s largest business jet transaction so far this year. As previously reported, Bombardier introduced the Challenger 3500 model, an updated version of the Challenger 350 earlier this month. Featuring upgrades such as an autothrottle system, reduced cabin altitude and redesigned interior, the 10-passenger Challenger 3500 is expected to enter service during the second half of 2022. The Honeywell HTF7350-powered aircraft will offer a top speed of Mach 0.83, 3,400-NM range and maximum payload of 3,400 pounds. The aircraft comes equipped with the Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite.
Vallair delivers third Airbus A321 freighter
Vallair, the mature aircraft asset specialist and launch customer of the A321 freighter conversion (A321F), has delivered its third Airbus A321 freighter, bearing serial number 1017. This aircraft follows two Airbus A321Fs already delivered by Vallair that are presently in operation: MSN835 delivered in October 2020 and MSN 891 delivered in June 2021. As the first ever Airbus A321 cargo conversion aircraft to have been inducted in China, MSN 1017 is now registered in Europe and has been delivered to SmartLynx Malta which will operate the aircraft on behalf of DHL.
Vallair has been engaged in cargo conversions for more than 10 years and this delivery further strengthens its pioneering vision established at the start of the Airbus A321F conversion programme. Data and feedback from existing operators confirm the A321 freighter variant is better for the environment due to its circa 15 percent reduction in fuel burn versus its most direct competitor, as well as offering exceptional range, payload, and additional cost benefits compared to other narrowbody competitors. Following conversion, maintenance and painting activities have been carried out at Vallair’s specialist MRO facility located in Montpellier, France. Vallair’s dedicated paint facility is adjacent to its Montpellier MRO facility and can be used in conjunction with any narrowbody maintenance or modification input.
Since delivering the world’s first A321 freighter to launch operator Qantas Freight in October 2020, Vallair’s cargo conversion programme has continued to gain momentum with several projects underway and indications of firm interest from forward looking freight operators. It is anticipated that cargo specialists will require about 1,500 narrowbody converted aircraft over the next ten years. Of this total, 1,000 will replace the existing older fleet and 500 will be needed to support increased demand fuelled particularly by booming e-commerce. Over the same period, Vallair believes the industry could see hundreds of A321 freighters taking to the skies.
C-17 flyover in Brisbane inspired awe in some and fear in others
The Royal Australian Air Force conducted a rehearsal for an upcoming airshow and locals were warned beforehand. However, viewers from the United States were not so excited. The C-17 plane flying over the Brisbane skyline wowed onlookers as the aircraft darted around the city at low altitudes, going viral online. Rehearsal was for the Sunsuper Riverfire event.
Some observers commented that although photos made it appear that the aircraft was darting in and out of buildings, it was actually following the Brisbane river and the dangerous aspects of the flight were actually just an illusion. However, other pilots in the US commented that the stunt was ‘very risky.’
“It is not immediately discernible in the angle in this video, but that plane is flying above a river that runs through the city. Not weaving in between buildings. Also, it was widely publicised before it occurred so people were not caught off guard,” Australian reporter Chad Ryan says. The RAAF posted an update before the flyover, advising those who may be concerned about the event of the precautions they were planning to take beforehand.
‘Safety, noise management and the environment are vital considerations in the planning and conduct of Defence flying activities and participating squadrons will operate with a view to minimising the impact on local communities,’ the statement read. ‘The health and safety of all personnel participating in this event is paramount. All Australian Defence Force personnel are required to adhere to state and territory government travel restrictions and health advice.’
Lufthansa Cargo to retire final MD-11 tri-jet in October 2021
The final MD-11, registered D-ALCC, is currently sporting a special farewell livery on its final flights to Cairo, Tel Aviv, Chicago and New York. The plane carries the messages ‘Farewell’ and ‘Thank you, MD-11’ on its fuselage. After 23 years of operation, Lufthansa Cargo is replacing its MD-11 freighters with the Boeing 777F. Its latest 777F, a used aircraft with registration D-ALFJ, has been brought into service so quickly, it has not even had time for the full Lufthansa Cargo paint job.
D-ALFJ was joined in the cargo airline’s FRA-based fleet on 29 September 2021, by D-ALFK, a new 777F straight from the Boeing factory in Washington state. That means Lufthansa Cargo now has 11 of the aircraft within its own fleet. The German airline also markets capacity from another four 777Fs operated by joint venture AeroLogic.
North Korea tests anti-aircraft missile to evaluate combat capability
The North Korean regime led by Kim Jong-un reported successfully testing its new ‘remarkable’ anti-aircraft missile on 30 September 2021, as part of a research initiative to develop and strengthen its anti-air missile system. Significant members and officials of the political bureau and the workers’ party of Korea witnessed the test firing of the missile, as reported by the North Korean state media.
The Academy of National Defence Science, based in Pyongyang, indicated that the successful test showed ‘faster response, improved guiding accuracy and increased impact distance of the anti-air missile after having modified the system’s twin rudder controlling technique and double impulse flight mortar.’ Kim Jong-un’s presence during the missile testing remains unknown.
The regime conducted its second missile test within one week as it had test-fired the newly developed hypersonic missile ‘Hwasong-8’ in the Jagang Province of North Korea on 28 September 2021. The development and execution of the hypersonic missile were one of the top five priority tasks within North Korea’s five-year strategic weapons plan. Pak Jong Chon, a member of the presidium of the political bureau of North Korea, indicated that the development of the hypersonic missile is of strategic importance to the country’s defence capability. It is speculated that the hypersonic missile recently developed by the North Korean regime might have nuclear capabilities.
Virgin Galactic cleared for further missions after FAA concludes probe
The space travel company announced on 29 September 2021, that an inquiry by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) into deviations during the Unity 22 test flight has been concluded. The Unity 22 test flight on 11 July 2021, was the first test flight with a full crew in the cabin, including founder Richard Branson. During the flight, the Virgin Galactic spacecraft deviated from its planned trajectory during its descent back to Spaceport America, New Mexico. That put SpaceShipTwo spacecraft outside the protected airspace area for a total of one minute and 41 seconds.
The FAA grounded the company’s spaceflights pending the outcome of a probe into air traffic clearance control and real-time mission communications. The actions include updated calculations to expand the area of protected airspace for future flights. “Designating a larger area will ensure that Virgin Galactic has ample protected airspace for a variety of possible flight trajectories during spaceflight missions,” Virgin Galactic noted. The space company will also include more steps in its flight procedures to ensure real-time mission notifications to FAA air traffic control. “The updates to our airspace and real-time mission notification protocols will strengthen our preparations as we move closer to the commercial launch of our spaceflight experience,” chief executive Michael Colglazier commented in the statement.
The company is now preparing for the Unity 23 mission with the Italian Air Force. However, it announced on 10 September 2021, that it was conducting inspections of its vehicles after a third-party supplier flagged a potential manufacturing defect in a component for the flight control actuation system. Virgin Galactic said the earliest flight window for Unity 23 would therefore be mid-October 2021.
Blue Origin announces next space passengers for New Shepherd
Blue Origin has announced New Shepard’s 18th mission, NS-18, will lift off on Tuesday, 12 October carrying four astronauts to space and back, including Dr Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs and Glen de Vries, Vice-Chair, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Dassault Systèmes and co-founder, Medidata. The two other astronauts will be announced in the coming days.
This flight follows Blue Origin’s successful first human flight on 20 July which included Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, aviation pioneer Wally Funk and Blue Origin’s first customer, Oliver Daemen. Here is a recap of their historic mission to space. Also, on board NS-18 will be thousands of postcards from Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future.
Night authorisation available for Part 107 drone pilots in the US
Drone pilots with current Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificates may now obtain near real-time authorisations to fly at night through FAA-approved providers of Low Altitude Authorisation and Notification Capability (LAANC) services. LAANC is an automated system for drone pilots requesting to fly below 400 feet in controlled airspace often found around airports. Drone pilots need FAA approval prior to flying in controlled airspace. In addition to the near real-time night authorizations, drone pilots will have more areas they can fly in since the FAA has divided the airspace into smaller segments.
Since April 2021, while LAANC providers updated their software, Part 107 pilots were able to operate in controlled airspace at night with a valid LAANC daytime authorisation and an authorisation letter from the FAA which expires on 30 September. This announcement provides a permanent solution for Part 107 drone pilots to operate in controlled airspace at night.
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.