“Socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money” Maggie Thatcher
(Information from Wikipedia)
The Bristol Type 167 Brabazon was a large British piston-engined propeller-driven airliner designed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company to fly transatlantic routes between the UK and the United States. The type was named Brabazon after the Brabazon Committee and its chairman, Lord Brabazon of Tara, who had developed the specification to which the airliner was designed. Bristol decided to submit the Type 167 proposal to meet Air Ministry Specification 2/44. Following a brief evaluation period, a contract to build a pair of prototypes was awarded to Bristol. At the time of its construction, the Brabazon was one of the largest aeroplanes ever built, being sized roughly between the much later Airbus A300 and Boeing 767 airliners. Despite its vast size, the Brabazon was designed to carry only 100 passengers, each one being allocated their own spacious area about the size of the interior of a small car. On 4 September 1949, the first prototype had its maiden flight. In addition to participating in a flight test programme in support of the intended production aircraft, the prototype made high-profile public flying displays at the 1950 Farnborough Airshow, Heathrow Airport and the 1951 Paris Airshow.
However, due to the high cost per seat mile compared to the alternatives, the Brabazon was unable to attract any firm orders, so the aircraft was a commercial failure. On 17 July 1953, Duncan Sandys, the Minister of Supply, announced that the Brabazon had been cancelled due to a lack of military or civil orders. In the end, only the single prototype was flown and it was broken up in 1953 for scrap, along with the incomplete, turboprop powered Brabazon I MkII.
Those persona who correctly identified this week’s mystery aircraft:
Charlie Hugo, Stuart Low, Righardt du Plessis, Hilton Carroll, Ari Levien, Steve Dewsbery, Erwin Stam, Marcel Bode, Brian Millett, Brian Ross, Kevin Farr, Willie Oosthuizen, Jaco van Jaarsveld, Mike Transki, Andre Visser, Richard Collocott, Rennie van Zyl, Wouter van der Waal, Robert Spencer, Adrian Maree, Gregory Yatt, Joe van der Merwe, Tom Agin, Nigel Hamilton, Jeremy Rorich, Selwyn Kimber, Rex Tweedie, Clif Martin, Lance Williams, Brian Hood, Rene du Toit, Michael Schoeman, Karl Jensen, Bruce Margolius, P. Rossouw, Anthony Bass, Andre Breytenbach, Trevor Miller, Jeffery Knickelbein, Danie Viljoen, Piet Steyn, Andrew Peace, Jan Sime, Aiden O’Mahony, Geoff Street, Peter Gilbert, Ahmed Bassa, Colin Austen, Cecil Thompson, Herman Nel, Magiel Esterhuysen, Johan Venter Johan Dries, Bary Eatwell, John Talbot, Johan Prinsloo, Greg Pullin, Carl von Ludwig, John Moen, (59).
Graphic designer position at African Pilot
Unfortunately, the person we appointed to this position did not work out, mainly because she oversold herself and soon proved she was not capable of the work required by magazines such as African Pilot and Future Flight. Although I have placed this advert onto several platforms, of the many respondents who have sent their CV’s to me clearly do not read, since the advert is very specific about the essential requirements for the required graphic designer. I have probably binned more than one hundred and fifty applications where the persons CVs are not even close to the advertised requirements. Please read the advert carefully, before responding so that you do not waste your time and my time by sending me your CV with inadequate qualifications and experience. E-mail: Editor@africanpilot.co.za
The October edition of African Pilot featuring Aircraft Maintenance and Refurbishment has been completed and will be published early this week. This 230-page edition with 14 videos and 19 picture galleries also features the high successful Children’s Flight, the disappointing Rand airshow, Durban, Virginia airshow, pipistrel aircraft now represented by Absolute Aviation, Textron and NetJets significant order, Airbus Helicopters PHI order, USAF F-15EX evaluation and USAF Red Hawk trainer amongst many other exciting features. I also wish to thank our many loyal advertisers that supported this special edition of African Pilot.
The November edition will feature Southern African airlines, Gifts for Pilots and Aircraft Leasing. In addition, African Pilot features all aspects of aviation from Airline business to Recreational and Sport Aviation, whilst Helicopters, Military Aviation, Commercial and Technical issues are addressed monthly. Within African Pilot’s monthly historical section, we feature the Best of the Best, Names to Remember and the monthly aviation Fact File. Overall African Pilot has the finest balance of all aviation subjects brought to you within a single publication every month and the best part is that the magazine is FREE to anyone in the entire world at the click of a single button. African Pilot is also the largest aviation magazine in the world by number of pages and is well ahead of all other South African aviation publications in terms of overall quality and relevance to the aviation market.
The twelfth edition of Future Flight was sent out to the world-wide audience on Monday 18 September. This 126-page edition has five picture galleries and 17 embedded videos. Due to the nature of the subject material, compiling this exciting new publication has been most rewarding, whilst at the same time, the magazine allows many of African Pilot’s advertisers to have their adverts placed in our second monthly magazine FREE of charge.
When I started Future Flight on my return to South Africa from AirVenture, Oshkosh 2022, the objective was to reduce the overall size of African Pilot to a more reasonable page count and this has been achieved. The next milestone will be to attract advertisers to make this publication sustainable and I have given myself a year to reach this goal. I would love to receive your feedback about this new digital publication: email@example.com. Thank you.
FlySafair continues to expand with the addition of four more regional routes this October
The most on-time airline in Africa, FlySafair, has continued to expand its regional network, adding an additional four African cities to its growing list of destinations. The new routes all link to Johannesburg, connecting the city with Harare, Victoria Falls, Maputo and Livingstone. Among the new routes are two Zimbabwean destinations; Harare and Victoria Falls. The former will fly daily with ticket prices starting at R1000*. The latter will connect Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International with the stunning scenery of Victoria Falls three times a week from R1400*. The Zambian city of Livingstone, which gives you access to the other side of Victoria Falls, is also among the destinations FlySafair will now be flying to, as is the Mozambican capital of Maputo. Both cities are popular with tourists and businesspeople, who can now take advantage of FlySafair’s hassle-free travel option from R1400* to Livingstone and Maputo.
The airline has seen extensive expansion in the last year, launching five new regional routes and one local route in 2023. There is no question that the airline’s growth is a positive indication of the state of tourism within South Africa and the reignition of international tourism to the country. But, with the introduction of more options to popular Southern African routes, South Africans will soon enjoy wider options when visiting our Southern African neighbours.
The airline was welcomed at each of these destinations with a customary water cannon salute and celebrated the launch with local stakeholders and media with a small function. At these events, key members of the FlySafair team introduced the brand to local media and government personnel, speaking to their excitement over the launch and hopes for the future at each destination. “We were fortunate to be able to meet with some important members of government and local media at each of these new destinations,” concluded Gordon. “Building relationships with the public and officials is extremely important to us. Hopefully, in the future, we can expand our vision of becoming South Africa’s favourite airline to becoming Africa’s favourite airline!”
Wouter Botes Air Crash Investigation
The most successful multi-season series ‘Air Crash Investigation’ has been viewed by millions of viewers on various media platforms worldwide. This series has an unlimited lifecycle, as new cases are added to the aviation industry, on a daily basis. The aforementioned series focuses more on the airline industry and some of the charter and military sectors of aviation, as cases in the General Aviation industry are not as much in the international public’s eye and is mostly reported on at a local community level. There are however exceptions to the rule if the accident or incident involves a famous person, world leader, or celebrity. There have been numerous cases of famous people losing their lives in aircraft accidents worldwide through the ages. These include country singer Patsy Cline, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, cricketer Hansie Cronje, band leader Glenn Miller, etc.
In South Africa we have most certainly had our share of not only airline accidents, but mostly General Aviation accidents and incidents. Although South Africa’s history of airline accidents is rare and far between, which we can attribute to high standards of training and regulation. We have had three major airline accidents in our history. The first was the Vickers Viscount ‘Rietbok’ accident on 13 March 1967 near East London off Kaiser’s Beach, followed by the Boeing 707 accident at Windhoek Airport on 20 April 1968 and the crash of the Boeing 747 Helderberg’ on 28 November 1987 near Mauritius into the Indian Ocean.
However, the General Aviation sector has not been as shielded. This can mostly be attributed to accessibility to the industry by private aviators and also our very extensive training facilities nationally. The so-called smaller aircraft are also more vulnerable to weather conditions and are in many cases utilising local airstrips and airfields, which can be challenging to some aviators flying with limited experience and ratings. The aforementioned is a generalisation but has been proven to be a deciding factor in both the fixed wing and helicopter sectors.
If we can improve safety and save lives by analysing every type of accident or incident and at the same time communicate these findings to the industry as a whole, we will most certainly achieve the safety goal. The investigation, analysis and safety recommendations of any accident or incident lies heavily on the shoulders of the appointed regulator of any country. It is therefore critical that all appointed persons in all sectors of any regulatory authority, be duly trained and qualified and given guidance in the effective processing of information gathered after each occurrence. This will ensure promotion of not only safety standards but will create a close and healthy relationship between the regulator and the industry as a whole. The sharing of skills, experience and knowledge needs to be promoted in order to ensure a mutually beneficial aviation sector for any country.
Editor comments: Wouter will be presenting the next illustrated talk in his series at the EAA Auditorium, situated at Rand airport on Saturday morning 07h30 on 7 October. Once again, I will introduce Wouter to the audience and we will be filming this talk for another You Tube video to be published by African Pilot.
6 & 7 October
SAC World Advanced Aerobatic Championships training camp venue TBA
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
EAA Chapter 322 gathering at the Rand airport auditorium talk by Wouter Botes
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: email@example.com
7 October @12h00
360 Aviation Safety Summit & Open Day Hangar 11C, Wonderboom Airport
Nigeria acquires MD 530F Cayuse Warrior plus scout / attack helicopters
MD Helicopters (MDH) has entered into a contract under which the Mesa, Arizona-based rotorcraft-maker will provide 12 MD 530F Cayuse Warrior Plus scout / attack helicopters to the federal government of the West African nation of Nigeria. The Aviation division of the Nigerian Army will utilise the helicopters to effectively address the security challenges peculiar Nigeria’s standing as the wealthiest and most populous of Africa’s 54 constituent countries. The acquisition of the new attack helicopters speaks to the Nigerian government’s ongoing efforts to enhance the mission capability and readiness of the Nigerian military, which operates, as a matter of convention, against a regional backdrop of socio-political unrest.
Based on Hughes’s OH-6 Cayuse single-engine light helicopter, MD Helicopters’s MD 530F Cayuse Warrior is designed specifically for military operations in hot, high-altitude environs. Considered broadly, the aircraft is a two-place, single-engine VFR helicopter fitted with a five-blade, fully articulated rotor-system with anti-torque provided by a two-blade, semi-rigid tail-rotor. The main- and tail-rotor blades are of all-metal construction. The MD 530F is powered by a single 650-shaft-horsepower Rolls-Royce 250-C30 turboshaft engine derated to 425-shaft-horsepower for thirty-minutes and 375-shaft-horsepower continuous power. To support the increased take-off performance demands typical of military operations, the engine is rated to transient power outputs 450-shaft-horsepower for thirty-seconds and five-hundred-shaft-horsepower for ten-seconds.
In 2017, MD Helicopters upgraded the MD 530F with an Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) comprising Garmin’s G500TXi and Howell Instruments Inc. Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System (EICAS). The latter encompasses two independent displays providing indication of aircraft systems even in the event of single failure. The dual G500 TXi displays serve as a Primary Flight Display (PFD) and the Multi-Functional Display (MFD). MD Helicopters’s MD 530F is a proven tactical scout and light attack aircraft valued for its power, safety, speed, agility and favourable confined-area capabilities. The machine’s Plus version features mission enhancements the likes of a precision weapons system, avionics improvements and armour.
Air Safety Institute’s Richard McSpadden dies in aircraft accident
On Sunday Richard McSpadden, the senior vice president of the AOPA Air Safety Institute died, along with one other person, in the crash of a Cessna 177RG near Lake Placid Airport in upstate New York. McSpadden was in the right seat. According to the Lake Placid News, Russ Francis, a former NFL tight end and the new owner of Lake Placid Airways was in the left seat. AOPA spokesman Eric Blinderman said early reports indicate the Cardinal had ‘an emergency on take-off’ from Lake Placid shortly before 17h00. “They tried to get back but did not make the runway,” said Blinderman. The nature of the emergency was not immediately known.
McSpadden was a former commander of the USAF Thunderbirds air demonstration team and joined the Air Safety Institute in 2017. He was well known in the GA community for his analyses of accidents and the safety related content he and his staff created for free distribution. He was also highly regarded by his many friends and colleagues. “We are beyond heartbroken,” said Blinderman. “This is the worst kind of news to process as a friend, colleague and fellow aviator.” He is survived by his wife Judy, son Grant and daughter Annabel.
Collings Foundation reaches a settlement with Nine-0-Nine crash victims
The Collings Foundation has settled legal claims involving eight of the 10 passengers who were aboard its B-17 Nine-0-Nine when it crashed at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport on 2 October 2019. Two other passengers reached a deal in 2021. Terms of the settlement, which was mediated by a retired judge, will not be made public, but lawyers for both sides released a joint statement to NBC. “While it is our sincere hope that this resolution brings peace and closure to those affected, The Collings Foundation deeply regrets the injuries and losses suffered by the passengers and their families that day,” the statement read.
The NTSB said in its final report the aircraft lost partial power in two engines on take-off for a fundraising flight and the pilot headed back to the field. The board faulted the pilot for lowering the landing gear prematurely, causing drag that resulted in the plane losing altitude and clipping approach lights before hitting the ground before the runway and colliding with some unoccupied vehicles. It caught fire after coming to rest in a tank farm. The NTSB also rapped the foundation for lax maintenance practices and dysfunctional safety management system.
LATAM Airlines takes delivery of its first A321neo and adds 13 more to orderbook
LATAM Airlines has taken delivery of its first A321neo leased from AerCap and placed an order for 13 additional A321neo aircraft to further expand its route network and drive its regional growth. This is the first delivery of a committed backlog of 76 A321neo aircraft. In total, LATAM has 111 A320 Family aircraft to be delivered. The newly delivered A321neo for LATAM can seat up to 224 passengers and feature Airbus’ Airspace XL bins in the cabin. The larger bins provide a 40% increase in storage space and facilitates 60% more carry-on bags, allowing a more relaxed boarding experience for passengers and cabin crews. The newly delivered A321neo flew to its destination with 49% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
The A321neo is the largest member of Airbus’ best-selling single-aisle A320 Family. The A321neo allows operators to cover the entire market, while offering the lowest seat-mile cost of any single-aisle available. To date, more than 5,200 A321neos have been ordered by customers worldwide. LATAM Airlines Group and its affiliates are the main group of airlines in Latin America, with presence in five domestic markets in the region: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, in addition to international operations throughout Europe, Oceania, the United States and the Caribbean. Today, LATAM operates 240 Airbus aircraft and is the largest Airbus operator in Latin America. In July this year, LATAM took delivery of a new Airbus A320neo, the first delivery using 30% SAF.
Portuguese government looks to sell off TAP as it becomes profitable
Portugal’s flag-carrying airline, TAP Air Portugal (TAP), has now become profitable and, as a consequence, is being placed on sale by the government. The move comes after the stricken carrier was granted a €3.2 billion bailout in the form of a taxpayer-funded restructuring programme. Portugal’s Finance Minister has announced that a minimum 51% stake in the carrier will be up for grabs. While price will be a major consideration, weight will also be given to offers which will see the airline keep Lisbon as its hub and that investment in staff and expansion will also be on the cards.
TAP is one of Europe’s smaller national airlines yet managed to carry approaching 14 million passengers last year. This was a record for TAP and should be surpassed this year. It also made money in 2022, posting a profit of €65.6 million on revenue of €3.5 billion after four years of losses, according to company financial reports. TAP has more than 11,000 staff and 90-plus aircraft flying to more than 80 destinations, mostly in Europe but also in North and South America, especially Brazil, the United States and Africa. There is likely to be strong interest from established British and European carriers, including Lufthansa, Air France-KLM and International Airlines Group, which combines Spain’s Iberia and British Airways among others.
Two previous attempts to privatise TAP failed amid financial difficulties and interminable political squabbling over the carrier. Conflicts with trade unions also have plagued the company. Eight years ago, a newly elected Socialist government undid a privatisation three months after it took place under a previous administration, demanding that the buyer sell a majority stake back to the state. In 1998, Swissair bought 34% of TAP but the agreement to buy a bigger stake in the company fell apart three years later when the Swiss flag carrier went bankrupt.
Royal Danish Air Force welcomes first four F-35 jets
The Danish Air Force has welcomed the in-country arrival of its first four permanently based F-35A Lightning II aircraft at Skrydstrup Air Base, Denmark. “Arrival of the first F-35 combat aircraft in Denmark is a historic event for the Danish Defence and the Royal Danish Air Force. It is thanks to close and professional cooperation between Lockheed Martin, the F-35 partnership and the Danish Defence, that Danish Defence now cross the threshold into the future of air defence,” said Danish Minister of Defence, Troels Lund Poulsen.
Denmark has played a critical role on the F-35 programme, joining in 2002 as a partner during the System Development and Demonstration phase, strategically influencing technical elements of the programme. The Royal Danish Air Force also contributed a Danish F-16 to the Joint Strike Fighter 461st Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California where it served as a chase plane for the F-35 Development, Test & Evaluation programme. Danish industry has also contributed to F-35 production, development and sustainment activities and today, is building parts and components for each of the projected 3,100+ aircraft to be manufactured. Denmark has taken delivery of ten F-35s to date, four of which are now at Skrydstrup Air Base and six of which are stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where Danish pilots and maintainers are conducting training. Denmark has plans to purchase 27 F-35 aircraft in total.
Reports of GPS spoofing in Middle East rising FAA issues risk warning
Multiple concerning reports have come from Iranian airspace over complex navigation failures due to fake GPS signals. The FAA warned civil air operators in Iraq and Azerbaijan about the recent GPS spoofing and the threat to safety. According to McAfee, GPS spoofing occurs when someone uses a radio transmitter to send a false GPS signal to a receiver antenna to counter the real GPS satellite signal. While most navigation systems use a strong signal, a stronger fake signal will override the legitimate signal. On Monday a flight data intelligence website, Ops Group, issued an alert tracking numerous instances of GPS spoofing occurring in the Iranian airspace. The alert identified 20 reports of near-identical situations. “The impact of the nav failures is becoming clearer, with one operator almost entering Iranian airspace without clearance and another left requiring ATC vectors all the way to their destination in Doha,” Ops Group said in a Thursday update.
Ops Group reported that one instance involved an Embraer Legacy 650 en route from Europe to Dubai. The crew reported losing GPS in the aircraft and on both iPads and the IRS stopped working. The autopilot reportedly began turning left and right and a few minutes later the crew received an error message on the FMS regarding the GPS. During the incident, the crew nearly entered into Iranian airspace without clearance. Another crew in a Bombardier Challenger 604 received a warning near the north of Baghdad, losing everything related to Nav and the IRS suggested they had drifted by 70-90 miles, according to Ops Group. They had a ground speed of zero and the aircraft calculated 250 knots of wind. The FMSs reverted to DR and the crew did not know where they were, requiring vectors from Iraq to Doha for an ILS. The crew reported that they did not get the GPS sensors back until they fired up the plane and went to home base two days later.
The FAA released a memo on the situation, advising of potential spoofing activities in Iraq and Azerbaijan. “The recent opensource reporting regarding spoofing incidents, if confirmed, would pose increased safety of flight risks, due to potential loss of aircraft situational awareness and increased pilot and regional air traffic control (ATC) workload issues, which can lead to potential accidents and / or loss of life,” the FAA said. “FAA recommends that US civil air operators transiting ORBB and UBBA monitor regional NOTAMs, put additional emphasis on maintaining continuous communications with appropriate air traffic control authorities while monitoring aircraft equipment performance closely for any discrepancies or anomalies and to be prepared to operate without GPS navigational systems.”
The spoofing is coming from an unknown source but causing complete system failures in airliners and business jets. Ops Group notes that there Is a difference between GPS jamming and GPS spoofing, stating that the spoofing attacks have an immediate impact on on-board navigation and most of the crews reporting having received the faux signals have been unable to override or de-select the input and have had to resort to radar vectoring from ATC. While jamming will interrupt the signal and render it unusable, spoofing will produce false positioning without warning, as some systems will not detect it. There are previous NOTAMs issued for the GPS jamming that has occurred in the area since 2018, but do not cover the extensive problems spoofing can cause.
Ops Group gave some background information, stating that Iran has recently deployed additional military forces to the northwest border with the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and its northwest borders with Armenia and Azerbaijan. Forces were sent to the Armenia and Azerbaijan border in response to the Azerbaijani military operations in the region, as tensions rise between the Armenian military and Azerbaijani armed forces. Iraq has deployed forces to the area as well. These countries also are all said to have equipment capable of GPS jamming and spoofing. The US military is also present at numerous bases in northern Iraq and Turkey has many military bases on its side of the Iraq border as well as inside Iraqi territories. An intelligence brief from Dyami Security Intelligence Services reported that in the past, Iran has successfully intercepted a drone by GPS spoofing. The area in which the spoofing has occurred is considered a conflict zone and loss of situational awareness adds to the danger of flying in this airspace.
GPS World also reported that in 2011 a CIA drone was captured and Iran’s government claimed this was done by sending false GPS signals. While at the time this was thought not to be possible, testing was done which proved a drone could be intercepted by spoofing. In addition, in 2016 Iranian forces captured US Navy boats that had strayed into Iran’s territorial waters and the speculations were that this was due to GPS spoofing. In February 2022 Middle East Eye reported that Israel blamed a Russian air base in Syria for GPS spoofing and signal jamming planes landing at the Tel Aviv airport.
Russians deploy Cold War amphibious aircraft to battle sea drones
The Russian Air Force has dusted off a 60-year-old relic to meet a thoroughly modern threat. A Beriev BE-12 amphibious patrol aircraft has been spotted over the Black Sea and it is apparently looking for Ukrainian boat drones. The uncrewed boats have had some success in carrying loads of explosives to damage Russian warships. The drones are apparently more than a match for the gangly Soviet-era flying boats, which lack the modern sensor systems needed to track the stealthy little floating bombs.
“Except for some very lucky sightings, the handful of Be-12s the Black Sea Fleet has available should not be counted on to have a major impact on the Russian attempts to stop the Ukrainian USV attacks,” Frederik Mertens, a strategic analyst with the Hague Center for Security Studies, told Newsweek. Mertens also said bringing back the Berievs “shows how far its naval air force is unprepared.” The Be-12 first flew in the 1950s and was originally designed as a surveillance and submarine hunting platform.
Rotor X / RotorWay community seeks answers from the troubled company
A couple of years ago, new ownership bought the Rotorway operation and thereupon rebranded it as Rotor X. In addition to their work with the kit helicopter designs they ‘inherited’ from Rotorway, this company also claims to be working in various vertical lift and military markets. Over the course of a number of months media outlets have received numerous complaints about the status of Rotor X with reports of dozens of customers (though the complete number appears much higher) who claim to have bought kits or sub kits for the newest RX helicopter and not received what they paid for. Some have paid in full, with amounts exceeded well in excess of $100,000 and received little or nothing (so far) in return. Others have received parts of their kits with few, if any, reporting having received the more expensive / complex parts of the assemblies, with the engines being AWOL in virtually every report. Many report demanding refunds, but few have reported any degree of success in obtaining them. Most recently, reports escalated with complaints about skilled personnel, who had become quite expert in fabricating sections of the Rotorway designs at the factory, leaving the company after long periods of nonpayment.
Rotor X boss Don Shaw admitted that the company was in poor financial shape, that many customers were owed parts or kits and the much lauded 180 horse turbocharged engine that had been promoted heavily for the last year or so is not yet complete. Unfortunately, the only operating 180 Hp engine was fitted into the Rotorway helicopter that was involved in the midair at Oshkosh 2023 when it was hit by a Gyroplane that reportedly was not operating correctly within the lightplane area at the south end of Wittman field. Unfortunately, this helicopter crash killed a Rotorway expert by the name of Mark Peterson and his passenger, Tol Volz, with Peterson apparently involved in putting some flight time on the prototype engine. As tragic as that was, the engine development programme appears to have fallen far behind where it was reported to be.
Rotor X’s Don Shaw repeatedly claims that the company can make everything good, furnish refunds to all those who want them, hire all the employees back (with back pay for the times in which they were not paid) and pretty much make everything okay as soon as investors are found. Shaw’s story varied as to when, where and how this was supposed to occur, ranging from a day or two, to many weeks. Furthermore, there are a number of lawsuits already filed or in the process of being filed, not to mention the potential of governmental response once someone actually begins to understand the scope of this. Class action legal solutions have also been discussed among the affected.
The Rotorway generation has been through a number of problems over the decades, with management changing, the company being bought and sold. Rotor X appears to be in very serious trouble. The company does not have the capability of fulfilling the orders that they have received a great deal of money for, possibly numbering in the millions and despite this the company is attempting to sell helicopters right up to this day.
EHang delivers five EH216-S AAVs to Boling in Shenzhen
EHang Holdings, an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company, announced that it has delivered five units of EH216-S to a new customer, Shenzhen Boling Holding Group Co., Ltd., as part of Boling’s plan to purchase up to 100 units of EH216-S from EHang. Boling’s purchase of up to an additional 95 units of EH216-S is conditioned upon EHang’s receipt of the EH216-S type certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and subject to the parties’ further agreement on details such as delivery timeline. The delivery of the first five units to Boling in Shenzhen is the initial step of the company’s commercial plans in launching aerial tourism and sightseeing experience services in Shenzhen under EHang’s strategic partnership with Bao’an District government and joint efforts with local customer Boling. The AAVs are expected to be used for regular flight operations at EHang’s first Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Operation Demonstration Center at OH Bay in Bao’an District following the CAAC’s type certification of EH216-S, which will lay a solid foundation for future commercial EH216-S operations in Shenzhen, a pioneering city dedicated to developing China’s low-altitude economy.
Boling aims to be a long-term AAV operator in Shenzhen through collaboration with EHang and deploy the EH216-S AAVs purchased for activities such as aerial sightseeing and experience flights, further expanding the UAM strategic layout in Shenzhen. UAM is a key aspect of the low-altitude economy. According to the recently released Implementation Plan for Innovative Development of Low-Altitude Economy Industries in Bao’an District, Shenzhen (2023-2025) by the local government, a multitude of business scenarios will be developed in UAM, aerial sightseeing, aerial logistics, emergency rescue, smart city management, industrial applications and entertainment. Over 50 unmanned flight routes are planned with over 100 low-altitude aircraft take-off and landing platforms deployed in a grid pattern.
FAA to recognize Axe eVTOL as LSA
An acronym denoting Modernisation of Special Airworthiness Certificates (MOSAIC) proposes to ‘enable enhancements in safety and performance and increase privileges under a number of sport-pilot and light-sport aircraft rules.’ Ostensible enhancements under the inchoate rule include increasing suitability for flight training, limited aerial work and personal travel. The proposed rule seeks to expand the number and types of aircraft sport pilots may operate.
Moreover, MOSAIC proposes to amend special purpose operations for restricted category aircraft; amend the duration, eligible purposes and operating limitations for experimental aircraft as well as add operating limitations applicable to experimental aircraft engaged in space support vehicle flights.
Under the FAA’s extant certification model, only single-engine aircraft may be classified as LSAs. However, it is expected that the agency’s cognizance of the high-probability of a near-future proliferation of electric aircraft will compel the FAA to reform regulations in a manner commensurate with the LSA category being broadened to include multi-engine aircraft.
Produced by UK-based Skyfly Technologies, the Axe is a carbon-fibre, fixed-tricycle undercarriage, two-passenger eVTOL personal aircraft available in all-electric and hybrid-electric propulsion architectures. The Axe’s all-electric iteration manages a cruise speed of 86-knots and a range of 86-nautical-miles. The hybrid-electric version, while maintaining the same maximum forward speed, boasts an advertised range of 173-nautical-miles. The Axe’s 1,323-pound maximum take-off weight comprises the craft’s 401-pound empty-weight and 379-pound maximum payload. The remaining 543 pounds remain unaccounted for in the manufacturer’s literature.
By way of powertrain, the Axe features eight electric motors and four rotors situated bilaterally at the distal ends of forward and aft canard wings. Subject rotors are mounted at fixed angles to the fixed canards, thereby reducing the machine’s complexity and manufacturing and maintenance costs. The Axe’s occupant compartment is covered by a canopy providing excellent visibility. Skyfly expects its Axe eVTOL to attain certification by 2025. Axe is likely to qualify as an LSA under MOSAIC insomuch as the contraption’s four canards, which develop aerodynamic left and fixed, 45-degree-angled rotors enable it to operate after the fashion of a normal airplane.
The Axe 2-seat personal eVTOL is not intended to function as a commercial air-taxi. Rather, the machine is designed to accommodate private owners flying themselves within the planned Urban Air Mobility (UAM) structure. The Axe can be hovered via controls approximating those of a consumer camera-drone and features an autopilot and moving-map display. Skyfly’s engineering team anticipates flight-testing of the Axe platform will commence in December 2023. The aircraft is priced from $180,000.
First ‘Vertiport’ gets FAA conditional approval
The FAA has issued conditional approval for America’s first vertiport at Allen C. Perkinson Blackstone Army Airfield (KBKT), in Blackstone, Virginia. The public-use vertiport is the cornerstone of a research project that will look into key aspects of integration of uncrewed aircraft into the National Airspace System. The project, sponsored by the Virginia government, will be carried out by NAVOS Air, a Virginia-based air navigation services company.
“The vertiport will be used as part of research on an end-to-end concept of operations NAVOS Air developed based on modifying and designing terminal instrument procedures and enroute infrastructure specifically for uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) and AAM use cases, with vertiports serving as the anchors to that system,” the news release said. The project is aimed at speeding up the integration of uncrewed aircraft by using existing infrastructure. “Designating vertiports is part of the beginning of real progress towards enabling AAM,” said NAVOS technical director Matt Burton.
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Control airport safety with AtlasNEST
Airport security systems are usually structured clearly and coherently. However, the capabilities of human control can be limited by the length of the runway, frequent lack of communication with the board, poor visibility in difficult weather conditions, inaccessibility of the runway due to icing of certain areas, third parties entering into the airport territory which can lead to a lack of timely response to unforeseen life-threatening situations. The UAV is able to identify problem areas in advance to quickly speed up the cleaning or decision-making process and provide the security service with fast and relevant data.
AtlasNEST will help go beyond these limits and will become as essential a tool for airport safety personnel as a smartphone is for a business person. “The ATLAS team considered, what if an aircraft has some difficulties landing? How can a tragedy be avoided? Visibility is limited and nobody has an accurate understanding of the situation. We need an eye that will promptly provide a picture from different angles so that an emergency team can determine a clear plan of action without wasting a minute. The UAV is able to identify problem areas to speed up the cleaning process and provide the security service with fast and relevant data”.
AtlasNEST is the solution. The docking station for drones can be integrated into the infrastructure and general airport monitoring system. Upon request from the unified command centre, the system is deployed and the drone flies out on a mission, finishes it and returns home to the docking station on its own. “AtlasNEST does not replace the airport safety system; it perfectly complements it. The device is easily integrated into the overall system and helps the control centre to get operative, high-quality data from inspected area, by providing accurate geoinformation and awareness of the situation. AtlasNEST
helps to avoid possible accidents and tragedies through a balanced algorithm of team actions”.
AtlasNEST docking station is operated fully remotely and independently. Just send a request from the command center from anywhere in the world to start controlling the device; no matter how far you from AtlasNEST are, 5 km or 5000 km, the system is accessible just by clicking on the mouse. In addition, the device ensures continuous operability of the AtlasPRO drone by changing its batteries automatically. Just three minutes from landing to take-off takes AtlasNEST contains four batteries: one in the UAV and three spare batteries in the docking station. When one battery runs out, the drone returns to replace its battery fully automatically. AtlasNEST is a scalable system. The number of devices that need to be deployed at an airport depends on the coverage area. All AtlasNESTs can communicate with each other and work in the same network.
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