African Pilot’s December 2020 edition
The December edition featuring Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Drones, Flying Cars and Urban Connectivity is complete and will go into international circulation later this week. These subjects have fascinated me over the past few years as more ambitious projects come to market. There is no doubt that our future world will be highly connected and far more robotic that ever before as mankind explores opportunities to improve the speed of service delivery. Once again at 272 pages the December edition has become a new record with 46 articles, 9 picture galleries and 14 embedded videos. This edition is larger and has more variety than any other aviation magazine in the world.
African Pilot’s January 2021 edition
The January edition’s feature will exposé Professional Aviation Services in terms of aircraft and pilot insurance as well as aircraft financing and other aviation financial services. Advertisers can now see the benefits of marketing their products and services to a vast international aviation audience including short videos, picture galleries and actual virtual shops, they will realise that marketing is most important for future profitability.
In South Africa and the African continent, African Pilot is the only aviation publication that has purchased the latest 3D software to provide digital enhancement to any advertiser anywhere in the world. At the same time African Pilot is also the only aviation magazine that is easy to read on any digital smart device, because our team understands the importance of ensuring the ease of use in this ‘new normal’ digital age. It is now quite obvious that ALL the other aviation publications are attempting to copy what African Pilot has pioneered, but this was to be expected. However, at least African Pilot publishes correct aviation information such as the calendar of events on a regular basis.
All editorial content should be sent to me Athol Franz e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For advertising positions please contact Adrian Munro
Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: email@example.com
About African Pilot
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View and download African Pilot’s last three (3) 2020 editions.
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Launch of Wouter Botes’ e-book ‘Flights to Nowhere’
Wouter Botes’ E-book on Flight to Nowhere is available by visiting www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the button provided on the home page. We have provided an option for payment of R60 per download on the page.
AERO South Africa news
Take your business to NEW HEIGHTS this August at the one-stop business to business platform. The platform will be active for 12 months, allowing you to market your products and services to a targeted global General Aviation market and engage with visitors and other exhibitors on the portal. Want to book your booth on the AERO South Africa Virtual Marketplace or simply find out more? Contact one of our team members below to take your business to new heights.
Aero Club of South Africa’s Centenary Yearbook
Aero Club of South Africa initiative for members
What is scheduled for this weekend?
PilotInsurance Fly In Rhino Park Airfield
Contact Franz Smit Tel: 084 979 8632
5 and 6 December
Sport Aerobatics Club Ace of Base TBC
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAASA year-end function and award ceremony
Contact Sam Keddle E-mail: Sam@caasa.co.za
On behalf of the CAASA Board, CAASA members are cordially invited to attend the CAASA Year End Function and Awards Ceremony:
Venue: CAASA House, Gate 9, Lanseria International Airport
12h00 Arrival (cash bar)
12h30 CAASA Award Ceremony
13h00 Networking: The braai will be available if you want to bring some food
Kindly ensure that you register in order to arrange for access to Lanseria International Airport.
Send confirmation email on or before 27 November 2020 to Sam Keddle on Sam@caasa.co.za
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Pilot Proficiency Check (PPC) training credits on Simuflight’s Beech 1900 and Beech King Air 200 Simulator
In February 2019 after many years of allowing Pilot Proficiency Checks (PPC) to be carried out on selected higher fidelity non-motion FNPT II simulators the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) withdrew these training credits from all non-motion FNPT II’s industry wide; in so doing creating a costly problem for Part 135 and Part 121 operators and pilots.
PPC’s henceforth needed to be undertaken either in a Level D full flight simulator or in the aircraft itself at a substantially higher cost and in the case of the aircraft a substantially higher risk to crew and aircraft in return for a superficial PPC at best
It should be borne in mind that high risk exercises like engine failure after take-off into IMC are not recommended to be done in the actual aircraft. It is also impossible to realistically recreate emergencies that cause master warning annunciations in the actual aircraft during flight without incurring substantial risk by shutting down critical aircraft systems and compromising safety.
An intensive campaign spearheaded by a team of aviation industry experts under the auspices of the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) engaged the SACAA in a meaningful consultation process and in collaboration developed a CAR and CATS Part 60 according to ICAO document 9625 guidelines that ultimately serves the unique requirements of South African aviation. These regulations and technical standards contain, amongst others, the training credits table for Flight Simulation Training Devices (FSTD’s). It now formally includes training credits for PPC and type rating training for fixed base FNPT II, FNPT II MCC and FTD FSTD’s subject to the proviso that the approval is dependent on the level of fidelity of the FSTD and that the approval is device specific. FSTD’s seeking these training credits need to prove compliance to the required type specific fidelity level in accordance with the Technical Guidance Material (TGM) published by SACAA.
Simuflight is proud to announce that after walking this long road and upgrading its Beech 1900D and Beech King Air 200 FNPT II MCC simulator to meet the type specific fidelity requirements an evaluation by the SACAA was completed successfully and the Beech 1900D/200 simulator was awarded the new type specific approval and credits for PPC and type rating training by the regulator.
In what could possibly be a world first, Simuflight’s Beech 1900D and Beech King Air 200 FNPT II MCC simulator is the first non-motion FSTD in South Africa to now be approved by SACAA as type specific in accordance with SACATS Part 60, FSTD-A and the relevant technical guidance material.
Simuflight has embarked on a similar upgrade project for its Cessna C208B Caravan FNPT II FSTD, the target timeframe for completion and obtaining the type specific approval being February 2021.
Simuflight invites you to contact Joey at their training facility on 011-314 0152 or via e-mail email@example.com to enquire about and enrol on its highly cost effective and thorough PPC programme and type training for the B1900 and B200 to the standard that industry has become accustomed to receiving from Simuflight.
Alternatively, their Head of Training and Standards, Dean Smith can be contacted on 011-314 0152 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org discuss specific PPC programme needs as the first step to concluding service level agreements.
Airlink disappointed, but respects Supreme Court of Appeal decision on claim against SAA
Airlink, the independent and privately-owned airline, notes with disappointment, but respect, the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss its claim against South African Airways (SAA) with costs. This follows Airlink’s application to the Johannesburg High Court in January for leave to sue the state-owned airline, which had then just recently been placed in business rescue and for a declaratory order that would compel it to return ZAR 510million of funds from ticket sales that SAA had collected on Airlink’s behalf. While Airlink fully respects the Supreme Court of Appeal’s order dismissing the case, it is nonetheless disappointing and demonstrates that the law is not always just. It has always been Airlink’s firm view that the funds collected by SAA on Airlink’s behalf, was never for SAA to keep or spend. However, SAA has been able to hide behind the legal veil of business rescue, to withhold and consume Airlink’s money, even though it had no legitimate commercial or transactional basis for doing so.
Unlike other trade creditors that are owed money by SAA for goods supplied or services rendered, Airlink’s claim relates to funds collected on its behalf by SAA for services Airlink provided to its own customers. Under the twenty-three year old franchise agreement between the two airlines that existed at the time, Airlink tickets were sold and ticketed through SAA’s computer reservations system and SAA was obliged to collect and temporarily hold the funds and pay them over to Airlink in monthly tranches for those tickets flown in the preceding month. In turn Airlink paid SAA for those services rendered. SAA defaulted on remitting funds for tickets flown in November but owed in December. Shortly after entering business rescue, SAA made it clear it would not honour the terms of its agreement with Airlink. This prompted Airlink to terminate the franchise (it ended in June 2020) and to rebuild its business independently of SAA. Airlink will study the judgment and consider its options.
In the interim, Airlink is focussed on rebuilding its business which was ravaged by SAA’s default and the national lockdown regulations that decimated the air travel and tourism industries. Airlink recently unveiled its new livery and is in the process of launching and resuming flights on a number of new and reinstated domestic and regional routes across Southern Africa. It has also entered into commercial agreements with some of the world’s leading airlines including Qatar Airways, Emirates, Air France-KLM, British Airways and United, which enable it to develop new traffic feeds plugging into the world’s biggest global networks.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
CAASA holds emergency meeting with its members about SACAA inspector victimisation
On Monday the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) held an important zoom meeting attended by numerous members about the specific issue of South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) inspectorate victimisation which has become widespread throughout General Aviation. Almost every commercial aviation business has been subjected to typical victimisation due to inspectors not being qualified to handle the job to which they are assigned. Since I walk the ramps at many of South Africa’s airports, I often hear the most ridiculous stories about SACAA inspectors, who clearly do not understand much about aviation. Some examples:
- The inspector who demanded to see the ‘gear retraction’ of a C-208.
- The inspector that grounded a Cessna Caravan because it was filling with Jet A.
- An inspector grounded a Mitsubishi Mu2 also for filling with Jet A – the customer lost a charter.
- The inspector who demanded to see the serial numbers of the ‘propellers’ on a business jet.
- The inspector who grounded a Turbo 206 Stationair because it was filling up with AVGAS.
- The SACAA for not accepting a name change of a charter company and effectively grounding the fleet. The SACAA lost the High Court case with costs, but then failed to pay the costs.
- The executive of the SACAA grounded 46 airliners because supposably the SAA Technical engineers licences were not signed, but this was a SACAA problem, because the regulator failed to authorise the licences and get them back to the engineers in the required time span.
- The SACAA has not produced a register update since March 2020 – shocking!
The reality is the level of service delivery by the regulator is dismal at best. Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period, the regulator’s staff were at home on a ‘glorified holiday at full pay’, whereas those of us in the industry all took pay cuts and worked from home. Because the SACAA has had very little income due to lockdown and airlines not operating, it reached a stage where the proverbial ‘begging bowl’ was presented to government for a financial bail-out in order to pay salaries. It has become abundantly clear that the attitude of the management at the SACAA has to chance, because the South African aviation industry is under considerable pressure to remain in business and the added challenge of dealing with poorly educated inspectors and staff members at the regulator has become significantly worse in the past five years. I welcome your input into this discussion, because something has to change and this has to be soon. I sincerely believe that the entire aviation industry must stand together to stop the cancer within the South African regulator from spreading any further. Thank you e-mail: email@example.com
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Ethiopian Airlines leading African carrier at Decade of Airline Excellence Awards
Ethiopian Airlines has been recognised by the judges in the Decade of Airline Excellence Awards as Africa’s best-performing airline of the past 10 years. The carrier took the accolade in the African regional category of the Awards. Operating in an incredibly challenging region for airlines, state-owned Ethiopian Airlines evolved over the decade from a national carrier to the first true pan-African airline, based on a strategy that leveraged its hub in Addis Ababa and strategic equity investments in smaller national African operators.
“Under the leadership of Tewolde Gebremariam since 2011, the year in which the carrier also joined the Star Alliance Ethiopian’s core strategy has been underpinned by disciplined management and a productive relationship with its government owners,” said Lewis Harper, Managing Editor of Airline Business magazine. All the while it deployed a modern fleet and progressive business approaches, leading to some impressive financial returns. It recorded an eight-fold increase in revenues and a six-fold rise in profitability over the decade. By the end of the decade, the airline commanded the lion’s share of the pan-African network, having overtaken Dubai as the biggest transfer hub for long-haul travel to Africa in 2018. The airline’s maturity shone through in its response, cementing its status as a rare example of an African carrier that sits comfortably alongside the world’s top airlines.
Tigray crisis: three African airways called ‘unsafe at present’
Due to a major escalation of the conflict in the Tigray Region near the Ethiopia and Eritrea border, the Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA) of Ethiopia and Sudan restricted some airways on Europe to East Africa routes. On 17 November 2020, the CAAs of Ethiopia and Sudan restricted the UN321, UG300 and UL432 airways after multiple airports in the region were targeted by rockets. The same day, OPSGROUP, a membership organisation for airlines and aircraft operators that monitors airspace and airports on risk and changes on flight safety, released the Airspace Risk Warning document, in which the organization scattered some criticism for the authorities. In the warning document, OPSGROUP recommended air carriers to avoid the particular airspace while transiting Ethiopia, Eritrea or Sudan due to possible danger as missiles were fired across the border into Eritrea targeting HHAS/Asmara as well as HABD/Bahir Dar and HAGN/Gondar at the beginning of November 2020. The document stated that airports in the northern part of Ethiopia, including the Tigray and Amhara regions, were considered as ‘unsafe at present’. The organisation alerted that the most recent missile attack was carried out in HHAS/Asmara in Eritrea on 14 November 2020. OPSGROUP put under the question the objectivity of the local NOTAMs (notice to airmen) issued by the Ethiopian CAA earlier in November 2020, which allegedly were inaccurate as the Ethiopian authority neither specified why the airways UM308 and UT124 were closed nor explained why the airlines transiting airways UN321 and UL432 must reroute.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
Passenger’s cell phone strikes tail rotor
The pilot reported that, before the helicopter tour flight in Lihue, Hawaii, he briefed the passengers, but they still attempted to take cell phones onboard without cases. He then gave the passengers cases and attached them to their wrists. During the flight, while the helicopter was flying about 100 knots, the right-side passenger held her cell phone and case outside of the cabin into the airflow, which resulted in the cell phone and case without the strap exiting the helicopter and hitting the tail rotor. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail rotor. The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
2020 ‘The Worst Year’ in aviation history says industry head
Despite the fact that millions of folks took to the skies to travel for the holidays, 2020 is set to be ‘the industry’s worst financial year, bar none’ according to the International Air Transport Association CEO Alexandre de Juniac and there is not really an end in sight. To get the full scope of the numbers, I am just going to lay them out for you, courtesy of Business Insider:
- The airline industry will lose $157 billion in 2020 and 2021, five times more than they lost during the 2008 financial crisis.
- Airlines lose $66 for every passenger carried this year.
- Airlines have cut costs by 46 percent but have still lost 60 percent of revenue.
- That equals cost cutting of about $1 billion per day.
What is even worse for the airline industry is the fact that we are probably not going to see a return to pre-pandemic levels of air traffic until 2024 and that is honestly feeling a little optimistic. Even seeing growth in air travel in 2021 is going to rely heavily on a readily available vaccine and open borders. The IATA is predicting that they will not even be able to predict the loss and that is even with the holiday season coming up. The day before Thanksgiving saw the highest number of people flying in the United States since COVID-19 shutdowns began in March, with 1,070,900 people passing through TSA checkpoints. Even though that seems like a big number now, it is a 40 percent decrease when compared to pre-Thanksgiving travel in 2019. Other countries might see an uptick in travel around Christmas, but it is not going to dig the industry out of the red. That is not to say it is all bad. In fact, the dramatic decrease in air travel has contributed to a dramatic 8.8 percent drop in global carbon dioxide emissions during the first half of 2020 when compared to that same period in 2019. Neither previous recessions nor the onset of World War II can match that drop. In September, the BBC reported that aviation carbon emissions dropped up to 60 percent during the heat of lockdowns. Then there is the fact that avoiding unnecessary contact with people is, probably going to save some lives.
Still scheduled, HAI plans for a safe HAI Heli-Expo 2021
With other aero-events falling to the wayside (as well as a few rumoured to be in the chopping block) and others pushing their events farther into 2021 or even 2022, HAI seems intent on pulling off a safe, healthy Heli-Expo. HAI Heli-Expo 2021 is just four months away and the HAI staff reports that they are deep into preparations to ensure attendees and exhibitors have a safe, healthy and successful show. The world’s largest helicopter-oriented event, HAI Heli-Expo 2021 will be held between 22 and 25 March 2021 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
Australian wasp nesting habits endanger planes
The wasps of the Pachodynerus species have a problematic habit: they slip into human-made equipment to build their nests. Already a hassle when they decide to settle in someone’s home, they become even more dangerous when they get near an aircraft. Several reports of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) have traced back incidents and abandoned takeoffs to “mud-dauber wasp activity”, especially at Brisbane Airport (BNE). The ATSB indicates that from 2008 to 2018 at least four of the 15 incidents at Brisbane airport where one of the pitot probes had a partial or total blockage were attributed to insect nests.
Following the recurring problem, a study was launched by the consulting firm Eco Logical Australia. The experiment took place between 2016 and 2019 at Brisbane airport and saw researchers create 3D-printed mock pitot tubes of various dimensions corresponding to different aircraft to observe the behaviour of the Pachodynerus nasidens, also known as the keyhole wasp.
Over the 39 months of observation, 93 instances of fully blocked probes were recorded. The probes of the Boeing 737, whose diameter was the largest reviewed, represented 56.3% of all blockages. Then came the A330 pitot tube, corresponding to 19.3% of blockages. The smallest probe, from an Embraer ERJ90, was the least affected.
Pitot probes are critical during flight operations. The devices are responsible for measuring airspeed. Without proper reading, pilots cannot keep an appropriate speed in order to maintain sufficient lift during take-off or landing. “We hope this research will bring attention to a little known but serious issue for air travel in tropical and sub-tropical regions,” Alan House of Eco Logical and his colleagues explain in their study. “Having found its way across the Pacific Ocean, there is no reason to doubt that it could spread to other parts of Australia. The consequences of not managing this clever but dangerous pest could be substantial.”
Pitot probe covers are already in use in Brisbane due to the high level of insect activity. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) states that wasps can build a nest in an uncovered pitot probe in less than 20 minutes. But as highlighted in the study, the problem could spread, as the species is invasive. Originally native to Central and South America and the Caribbean, the keyhole wasp was first identified in Brisbane in 2010. Researchers call for further control and eradication measures.
Russian pilots to use paper maps as software update goes wrong
On 4 December 2020, a new air traffic management structure will be rolled out by the Russian Federal Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) and the State Air Traffic Management Corporation of the Russian Federation. The layout of all routes and corridors, as well as their designations will be overhauled with the aim to make air navigation above Russia more efficient. The transition to the new system was announced in 2019. According to government officials, there are no safety risks involved. But an internal presentation, distributed by the Russian flag carrier Aeroflot and acquired by TV station RBK, warns that providers of navigational data are unable to keep up with the coding of flight procedures due to frequent changes and delays.
Jeppesen (subsidiary of Boeing) and Lido Navigation (subsidiary of Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA)) are the two main providers of aeronautical data to Russian airlines. According to Jeppesen, the data, which should have been provided to the company by the beginning of October 2020, was sent only in late October and early November and its inclusion into new databases is impossible. As a result, databases that are due to go online on 3 December 2020, will lack navigational data on 49 airports in Moscow and adjacent regions. Pilots are advised to use paper maps and rely on vectors provided by air traffic controllers upon landing.
Some missing data will be uploaded shortly, but more than 30 airports will not appear there before 30 December 2020. Meanwhile, airlines are scrambling to provide their pilots with additional training related to the mishap. According to news agency Interfax, Andrei Kalmykov, CEO of Aeroflot’s low-cost subsidiary Pobeda, appealed to the governor of Yaroslav region asking to send Rosaviatsiya a request to delay the introduction of the new system. According to Kalmykov, Pobeda will be forced to stop conducting flights until the issue is resolved. Meanwhile, a number of other Russian airlines, including Aeroflot, S7 Airlines and Red Wings stated that they will not cancel any flights, relying on ‘the readiness of the air crews to conduct flights in accordance to change’, RBK reports.
Situation in South America’s busiest airports
South America’s airports are being hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), since March 2020, the passenger traffic in most of them was practically non-existent with a drop of 92.2% compared to 2019. Between May and June 2020, the biggest Latin American carriers Aeromexico, Avianca (AVHOQ) and LATAM were forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The majority of the airports remained open due to ongoing domestic flights and air cargo operations, which were vital for the countries’ economies. However, the decrease of passengers means losses for the airports. IATA estimates that during Q1 2020 the region’s airports have lost $700 million. Mexico and Brazil are recovering quicker than other Latin American countries due to domestic traffic activity, pointed out the association. Some South American countries are slowly opening for visitors, while others remain closed. Brazil opened its borders on 29 July, Colombia on 21 September, while Peru did so on 5 October 2020. Chile is planning to welcome passengers once again in December 2020.
São Paulo Guarulhos Airport (Brazil)
São Paulo Guarulhos Airport (GRU) is the busiest airport in Brazil and the country’s main international gateway. On 20 January 2020, the airport celebrated its 35 years of existence. In 1985, it started operations with only one runway when a flight landed from New York. The second runway opened in 1989. In 2019 the airport welcomed 43 million passengers. Guarulhos is a hub for Avianca Brazil, LATAM Brazil and Gol. Azul (AZUL) and other regional Brazilian carriers also operate flights to the airport. GRU is served by all major North American and Latin American carriers, as well as many European carriers. It is the leading hub in the continent and the primary international airport serving São Paulo. The airport is looking to improve its infrastructure. For example, the terminals so far are not connected by trains, making the logistics between them less convenient. Also, the journey between GRU and the center of São Paulo can take around two hours by bus due to the traffic.
Bogotá El Dorado Airport (Colombia)
El Dorado International Airport (BOG) serves the capital of Colombia, Bogotá. Construction of its first passenger terminal started in 1955 and it opened for service in 1959. In 2010, the construction of the airport’s second terminal started. T1 became one of the most modern terminals in South America. In 2019, the airport welcomed 35 million passengers and had a route map of over 42 national and 48 international destinations. Meanwhile, there have been discussions about the expansion of the airport to accommodate the growing demand. A possible second airport could be built, tentatively known as El Dorado II. BOG airport’s main carriers are Avianca (AVHOQ) and LATAM Colombia, while low-cost carriers Satena and Wing are also based here. The airport is proud of its environmental initiatives. It started solid and wastewater recycling programs and will shortly install solar panels at BOG to make the gateway more energy efficient.
Lima Jorge Chávez Airport (Peru)
Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) is located in Lima, the capital of Peru. Situated on the Pacific coast, LIM is used as a connecting hub between South American and Central American countries and North America. Built in 1950, it started operating flights in 1960. Its name comes from the Peruvian aviation pioneer Jorge Chávez Dartnell, the first man to cross the Alps with a monoplane in 1910.LIM’s passenger traffic growth has been consistent throughout the last decade. However, it has seen an uptick of growth since 2015. The airport welcomed 23 million passengers in 2019. At the end of December 2019, the airport started its expansion project, which includes a second runway and a new Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower.
Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (Chile)
Also known as Santiago Airport (SCL), it is the main international gateway to Chile and its capital Santiago de Chile. Located 15 km from downtown Santiago it is the fourth busiest airport in South America. The construction of the airport started in 1961. In 1980 it opened for operations and was given the name of Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in honour of the founder of the Chilean Air Force and Chilean carrier LATAM Chile. In March 2007, after several reconstructions, the second runway was opened for traffic. It is the hub for flights to Europe, Oceania and the Americas. The busiest routes are to Lima, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Bogotá, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Panama City, Miami, Mendoza and Mexico City. In 2019, it welcomed 24.6 million passengers. There were a total of 23 airlines operating flights out of Arturo Merino’s Airport. Approximately 82% of the airport’s flights are operated by LATAM Airlines. The second-largest operator is the Chilean low-cost Sky Airline. In 2020, only 13 airlines were operating from Santiago’s Airport. There were only 14 direct routes, a 78% decrease in comparison with the previous year. All connectivity to Oceania and North America was lost. The Chilean government has prohibited foreigners to enter the country during the pandemic, but it plans to lift the restriction in December 2020.
São Paulo Congonhas Airport (Brazil)
São Paulo-Congonhas Airport (CGH) is the second busiest airport in Brazil and the fifth busiest airport in South America, having transported nearly 21 million passengers in 2019. The name Congonhas comes from the neighbourhood where it is located, previously called Vila Congonhas, former property of the Viscount of Congonhas do Campo, first president of the Province of São Paulo. CGH is owned by the City of São Paulo but operated by Infraero. Opened in 1936, it is one of the oldest civil airports in Brazil. When the airport opened, the surrounding area had only a few buildings, but with time, the area got more populated. To date, nearly 12 million inhabitants live in São Paulo, where CGH is located. The airport has one of the most dreadful runways to operate in Brazil. The deadliest crash in Brazil’s civil aviation history happened in CGH on 17 July 2007. A TAM Airlines Airbus A320 overran the runway and crashed into a nearby warehouse as it landed in rainy conditions, killing all 187 people onboard and 12 people on the ground. After the incident, several restrictions were set on the airport to improve safety, which led to CGH losing its international airport status. Congonhas Airport is mainly operating domestic flights and is restricted to 30 operations per hour with narrow-body aircraft. CGH’s main airlines are LATAM, GOL (the largest domestic airline in Brazil) and Azul Brazilian airlines. In April 2020, Congonhas Airport had no regular flights whatsoever. There was an increase in traffic during the months of June-July but it was interrupted by construction works by Infraero. Until September 2020, only smaller airplanes were able to land in CGH.
#SaveLandor – effort to save British Airways Boeing 747
The fortunes of British Airways Boeing 747 fleet turned for the worst very fast. While the British airline initially planned to retire the Queens in 2024, the current pandemic derailed the plans. Yet some enthusiasts are trying to save the retro-livered aircraft, namely the 747 painted in the Landor livery to celebrate the 100th birthday of British Airways. The aircraft in question is a British Airways Boeing 747-400 (registered as G-BNLY). The Jumbo Jet, delivered to the airline in 1993, joined the centenary festivities in March 2019, when it was repainted into the Landor livery. The paint scheme was previously used as the default livery between 1984 and 1997, meaning that the G-BNLY was initially delivered in the then-default paint scheme. In 1997, the airline began to phase out the Landor, named after the brand consulting agency that designed the paint scheme and replaced it with the Chatham Dockyard livery across its fleet.
Nevertheless, celebrating its 100th anniversary, British Airways brought back several of the old liveries on its Boeing 747-400s, namely the old British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), Negus and Landor paint schemes. While the Boeing 747 (registered as G-CIVB), bearing the Negus livery, was saved from being scrapped, the same could not be said about the BOAC and Landor Queens. It has been reported that British Airways plans to scrap the latter, while the former could be preserved. In a statement a British Airways spokesperson commented that the airline was exploring all available options regarding the Landor-bearing 747. ‘No final decision on its future has been made.’
British Airways announced that one of the Queens of the Skies, registered as G-CIVB, would be converted into a private hire venue for business purposes as well as a unique cinema. However, some enthusiasts are hopeful to save the G-BNLY from potentially becoming just a heap of metal. “If you ask any aviation enthusiast, they say that this livery should be the one used on all aircraft, it screams British aviation and it will be a sad day if it cannot be saved and displayed to the general public.
FAA investigates uses for Aireon space-based ADS-B
Aireon has entered into an agreement with the FAA to see how its space-based ADS-B can play a role in the US air traffic management system. Aireon uses a constellation of satellites to track ADS-B signals from aircraft all over the world with no gaps in service. It is not compatible with the ground-based system in the US, largely because many American aircraft do not have the top-mounted antenna necessary to get the satellite signals. Part of the US system also works on a different radio frequency. But many aircraft do have that ‘antenna diversity’ and Aireon has essentially tossed the keys to the system to the FAA to see what it can do with the powerful technology. “With this new partnership, the FAA will have broad access to Aireon’s data to evaluate its use for a variety of applications,” Aireon said in a news release.
Among those potential uses are analysis and validation of existing and future systems, accident investigation, search and rescue and as support for controllers using the current system. L3 Harris, the FAA’s prime contractor for its terrestrial system, will do the analysis of the ways Aireon’s system can help. Aireon has partnered with air traffic service providers all over the world to provide ADS-B surveillance for use as primary air traffic control technology. It has also extended high fidelity service and allowed much closer spacing of trans-Atlantic and polar flights where there is no radar coverage.
EmbraerX and Airservices Australia release concept of operations for urban air mobility
EmbraerX, Embraer’s disruptive business subsidiary and Airservices, Australia’s civil air navigation service provider, have developed a new concept of operations (CONOPS) for the air taxi market, also known as urban air mobility (UAM). Going forward, Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions, the new EmbraerX spin-off, will be responsible for this partnership with Airservices and for the development of Urban Air Traffic Management solutions.
Australia is one of the countries benefitting from this innovation revolution and is attracting industry interest and investment, largely due to strong government support and a world-leading aviation safety record. This CONOPS was created to help safely introduce and accelerate the growth of the UAM market in Australia. This CONOPS explores new and practical concepts to safely facilitate the introduction of the air taxi industry. Using the City of Melbourne, Australia as a model, the CONOPS examines how existing air traffic management solutions can initially enable UAM operations while simultaneously preparing for scale of operations through new traffic management technologies. The CONOPS leverages Airservices’ sophisticated simulation technology to demonstrate how air taxis could be integrated with existing airspace users in the highly complex Melbourne airspace. This level of simulation provides a scientific basis to the CONOPS.
African Drone and Data Academy accepting new student applications
Drones, data and artificial intelligence are leapfrog technologies that allow more informed and agile development response and potentially accelerate economic growth in the region. However, to achieve this, Malawi and neighbouring countries lack qualified and skilled personnel needed to seize the opportunities offered by drone and data technology. To respond to the skills deficit, UNICEF established the first African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) in January 2020. The African Drone and Data Academy: The African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) aims to be a centre of excellence that will dually equip young people in Malawi and the African region with necessary 21st-century skills while strengthening the drone ecosystem for more effective humanitarian and development response.
The ADDA course, developed by the international project lead Virginia Tech, combines theoretical and practical methodologies in making, testing and flying drones. The curriculum allows young people to learn how to construct and pilot drones, to integrate them into a supply chain system and to analyse drone data. It follows UNICEF’s ‘Drones and Data for Good’ vision, focusing on the potential of technology to deliver positive results for every child. The ADDA will initially be implemented over four years. From January 2020 until July 2021, some 140 students will enrol in a 10-week course in six cohorts (24 students per cohort) gaining a Certificate in Drone Technology (CDT) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, commonly known as Virginia Tech upon successful completion.
Virginia Tech is partnering with the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST). International ‘flying faculty’ will travel to Malawi from international partner universities throughout the year and are supported by ADDA local instructors during the lectures. Through this co-teaching approach, the local instructors will learn the curriculum on-the-job, and subsequently, be able to deliver the training themselves. Virginia Tech has the responsibility to ensure that the accreditation of the certificate and master’s degree is of international standards and approved and recognised by the Government of Malawi and the Malawi Department of Civil Aviation.
What a pleasure that other African nations can embrace the concept of training young people for a career in drone technology and operations. Of course, the question must be asked; why can this not be done in South Africa? Probably due to the fact that the SACAA’s Part 101 UAS department is so far behind what is happening in the rest of the world that it has no idea of the importance of educating young people in any sphere of aviation, let alone the UAS sector.
Twice Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week Monday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)