CATs 61. Subpart 5.
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.
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: email@example.com.
For advertising positions please contact Adrian Munro
Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
About African Pilot
There is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall aviation media reach in Africa.
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View and download African Pilot’s last three (3) 2020 editions.
Click on the covers below.
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.
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
News from CAASA
The Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa regularly updates the General Aviation industry with regulatory notifications. Please find the latest consolidated and hyperlinked Aviation Regulations and Directions in terms of the Disaster Management Act (57/2002) published by Aviation4SA.
On 3 December 2020, the Commercial Aviation Symposium Africa 2020 was held virtually at 09h00 and attended by various industry leaders. CAASA would like to thank all members that attended the symposium and a special word of thanks to all the speakers that availed themselves and contributed to the success of the symposium. A special word of thanks to our sponsors namely Pratt n Whitney Canada, CAMASA, Aerosud Aviation, DJA Aviation and ATNS. Your support is highly appreciated.
If you were unable to attend today please follow the link below to see the symposium on YouTube.
Thank you again for all your support in 2020.
Aerospace and Defence Trade Show 2021 at Lanseria International Airport 24 to 26 March 2021
The organisers of the AAD Expo are excited to announce a new event on their calendar, Aerospace and Defence Trade Show 2021 which will be hosted on 24 to 26 March 2021 at Lanseria International Airport (Lanseria). Leading up to Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo in September 2022, AAD continues to create platforms that will promote innovation and capabilities within the defence and aviation industry.
The Aerospace and Defence Tradeshow 2021 (ADTS 2021) is about exploring new paths, sharing solutions and showcasing innovation beyond COVID-19. Accessible to trade visitors only, the event will be industry focused and aptly emphasise industry capabilities and technologies that emanated from the challenges posed by the pandemic. ADTS 2021 will include business to business meetings, onsite capability demonstrations for aircraft and UAVs and a conference. Parallel to the Lanseria event programme, traders can also expect a fully-fledged display of land forces innovation and capability demonstrations at the Gerotek Testing Facility. Located west of Pretoria, Gerotek offers a variety of testing and capability demonstration set to marvel participants.
ADTS 2021 is set to bring together approximately 150 exhibitors consisting of 80% local industry and 20% international industry including the Defence and General Aviation industry, Airports, UAV / Drone operators, Security System Operators (Cybersecurity, Crowd Control, etc), Medical Supply Companies , Support and Logistic services to name but a few. This experience gives the South African and International defence and general aviation industries an opportunity to showcase their products and services, while also engaging in dialogue and discourse on what is pertinent to their industries. The AAD Expo traditionally brings together a plethora of local and key international guests to explore and discuss opportunities on the African Continent. Through ADTS2021, AAD will entrench its position as an economic catalyst for the Defence and Aerospace industry.
Please explore the various exhibition opportunities available by visiting: http://www.aadexpo.co.za/files/ADTS/ADTS_2021_Sales_Brochure_V2.pdf
Aero Club Communique Dec 2020
We are nearing the end of this most unusual year, where flight was curtailed world-wide, affecting our GA and RA flying ability and even though there is promise of a vaccine, this is probably only likely mid of next year. Also, it appears second wave of infections may hit our shores as well that could affect South Africa’s lockdown status, but we trust there will be sensibility in how this would be applied.
We are entering membership renewal season, with renewal notices that will be sent out shortly for the 2021 membership. Overall, our membership decreased this year, mainly due to the economics of the pandemic, as well as the economy and flying activity recovers. We trust that you as members past and present will be part of our recreational aviation community as the Aero Club continues to support strong advocacy on regulation matters to preserve our freedom of flight.
The last Industry Liaison Forum (ILF) for 2020 was held on 26 November, a good proportion of the meeting covered accident statistics, where although the number of incidents / accidents is on par with previous years, the accident rate per 10 000 flying hours has increased dramatically in the GA / RA environment as the overall flying hours have been low compared to other years, which may be related to the upkeep of proficiency standards. We will continue to analyse the consequent effects as part of the GASS.
On the subject of CoA and ATF renewals, the SACAA has indicated that CoA applications are all up to date within the 20 day turnaround time, whilst the ATF backlog has been reduced by 70% with the plan to fully recover all the backlog by 10 December. All licence renewal applications are up to date within the seven to ten-day service standard. If any member is having difficulties in their renewals, please contact the Aero Club for us to escalate it. Also, to note that the SACAA has established an ASO Assistance Cell as per the link below, that if the service standard is not upheld, that there is a process to escalate and lodge a complaint. See the notice link as below. We are also working closely with this Cell to resolve overdue applications.
Notice to Industry regarding lodging of complaints
The Aero Club continues to provide its membership support initiative to facilitate ATF and Licence renewals on behalf of members. This will be developed into a more comprehensive on-line system, the specification of which is on the AeCSA website. We are inviting any members that have the ability to develop such a system to be in contact for an RFP.
If you are not a member and wish to join the Aero Club and any of its sections feel free to do so. Please visit the website: www.aeroclub.org.za. The Aero Club office will be closed over the festive season from 23 December to 4 January 2021.
Aero Club of South Africa’s Centenary Yearbook
The AeCSA Centenary Yearbook is now available to purchase from the online shop. Please visit www.aeroclub.org.za/shop.
SA Express licence in jeopardy because the fleet remains grounded
The clock is ticking for SA Express to resume operations following 10 months of its fleet being grounded. Should the airline not return to the skies within the next two months, it could have its Air Service Licence (ASL) revoked by the Air Services Licensing Council. Once an ASL is issued the Air Services Licensing Act requires that an airline’s air service must not be interrupted for a period exceeding 12 months. If it is, the licence must be returned to the council.
The airline’s aviation training organisation and aircraft maintenance organisation approvals, as well as its air operator certificate expired earlier this year. These approvals, which are issued by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), are required by law to operate commercial air transport operations in the country.
SACAA spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba said SA Express has submitted an application for renewal of its air operator certificate, but the process remains on hold as a result of the airline’s unfolding business rescue process. In a letter sent to the Department of Transport, International Air Service Licensing Council, and the domestic Air Services Licensing Council last month, aviation company Fly Modern Ark says the SA Express licences should be cancelled ‘with immediate effect’ because the airline has not been operational for most of the year. ‘SA Express is financially not in a position to operate anytime soon. It is no longer an airline and can therefore not hold licences,’ the letter reads.
Government owned SA Express went into business rescue in February but the rescue practitioners failed to secure the post-commencement financing required for the state-owned entity. In April the high court placed the airline under provisional liquidation, but in September worker-owned entity Fly SAX won the bid to buy the airline.
Fly Modern Ark was one of the 16 other bidders that lost the bid to buy SA Express. The aviation company offered the provisional liquidators in April R400 million to recapitalise the airline and to pay off its debt. However, Fly SAX won the bid and the entity has opted to raise an initial R250 million from crowdfunding to recapitalise the beleaguered airline. Theunis Crous, CEO of Fly Modern Ark, has denied that the failure of his company to secure the bid is behind its calls to cancel the SA Express licence. He said: It is only fair to the rest of the country’s aviation industry that the SA Express licence be cancelled, adding that the airline’s new proposed owners should be treated as ‘any other new role player.’
What is scheduled until the end of this year?
African Pilot’s 2020/1 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 2021 year.
CAASA year-end function and award ceremony sponsored by ExecuJet
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
Witbank Aeronautical Association fun rally and fly-in
More information at: www.speedrally.co.za
SAPFA Rand Airport challenge
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 269 1516
SAPFA AGM also at Rand Airport after the rally
Contact Rob Jonkers e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org cell: 082 804 7032
30 & 31 January
Sport Aerobatics Club Gauteng Regionals Vereeniging Airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Witbank Speed Rally at Witbank Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 855 9435
6 & 7 March
Sport Aerobatics Club Judges Trophy Venue TBA
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
12 & 13 March
Bethlehem Aero Club event TBA
Contact Stephan Fourie E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 072 344 9678
19 and 20 March
FASHKOSH airshow at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact: Anton Theart E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 079 873 4567
* Postponed indefinitely
22 to 25 March
HAI Helicopter Association International La Nouvelle New Orleans Los Angeles USA
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
22 to 26 March
Flight Inspection Symposium (IFIS) and Trade Show ICC Convention Centre Durban
Contact Christo van Straaten (IFIS chair) Tel: 011 545 100 Cell: 083 451 2632 E-mail: email@example.com
24 to 26 March
CAASA AAD Trade Show Lanseria International Airport
Contact Louise Olckers (GM) Cell: +27 (0)82 847 3403
SAPFA Brakpan Fun Rally at Brakpan Airport
Contact Frank Eckard, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
26 & 27 March
Uitenhage Wings and Wheels
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 320 2615
As further dates are sent to me, I will continue to update the aviation calendar
I have started preparing the 2021 calendar with assistance from Air Show South Africa and the various sections of the Aero Club of South Africa. Please send me your planned aviation event fixtures for next year so that I may accommodate them on the calendar. Thank you.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Indonesia preparing to deliver another CN235 to Senegal
PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) will soon deliver another CN235 aircraft to Senegal, which will use it for maritime patrol. On 8 December PTDI posted photos of the aircraft on its Twitter account, announcing the aircraft’s maiden flight. “A few more test flights to go before this airplane reaches Senegal,” the company said. Delivery is expected before year-end. The latest CN235 for Senegal was rolled out by PTDI on 4 August and is equipped with a forward-looking infrared sensor ball under the nose and belly-mounted radar for the maritime patrol role. In August 2017 it was reported that Senegal had ordered a single CN235-200 for maritime patrol through AD Trade Belgium and in mid-2019 Indonesian Aerospace was busy constructing a CN235-220 MPA for Senegal.
In February this year it emerged that the West African country was in final negotiations with Indonesia for an additional CN235 and on 16 May the Indonesian Embassy in Senegal announced that the Senegalese government had agreed to purchase a CN235 configured for maritime patrol. The most recent acquisition will bring Senegal’s order tally to five CN235s (two second hand and three new and of those three new, two in maritime patrol and one in transport configuration).
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
Two pilots successfully eject from engine failure F/A-18 Super Hornet
A F/A-18 Super Hornet of the Royal Australian Air Force suffered an engine failure during its take-off run and the two pilots successfully ejected from the aircraft. The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18E Super Hornet was taking off with several other jets from Amberley airbase in Queensland, north-eastern Australia, when the fighter jet suffered what appeared to be an engine failure. Both pilots managed to safely eject from the aircraft. “The aircrew of that aircraft are safe and no other personnel were involved in the incident,” the Australian Department of Defence said in a statement. “The cause of the incident is not known at this time and will be subject to investigation.” The fighter was substantially damaged during the incident. Pictures of the crash site show burning marks around the cockpit of the aircraft, which could have been caused by the explosive charge of the ejection.
Weight shift trike accident in South Africa
On Monday morning 7 December at around 06H27 Netcare 911 had received a call from Monitor Net armed response regarding a plane crash in an open veld near the Mooiplaats area Tshwane. Reports indicate that the pilot of a microlight allegedly got into difficulty while trying to land resulting in an impact with the ground. Paramedics assessed two adult males who had sustained serious and moderate injuries respectively. Due to the nature of the seriously injured patients condition a Netcare 911 helicopter ambulance was activated to airlift the gentleman to a specialist facility for the care he required. Circumstances relating to the incident will be investigated by the relevant authorities.
Cosmos Phase 3
On 19 September 2020, about 18h45 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Cosmos Phase III weight-shift control aircraft, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Wayne, Oklahoma. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries. According to the pilot’s wife, she surmised that the pilot was taxiing out to fly the aircraft for a short flight, land and then pick her up for a local flight. She heard a loud ‘bang’ but did not observe the accident sequence, nor did anyone else on the large ranch property. The aircraft was found upright against a fence next to a horse stable and along a grass taxiway that the pilot would use to access the airstrip. The pilot’s son reported that his father recently replaced the throttle cable on the aircraft. After the throttle cable change, the pilot reported the throttle cable was ‘sticking.’ The pilot’s son surmised that his father was taking the aircraft for a flight to perform an operational check of the throttle cable one more time before the pilot flew with his wife. It was undermined if the pilot was performing any ground runs to check the operation of the throttle cable before taking off. The aircraft sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. A team of Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspectors documented the accident site and examined the airframe and engine. All components of the aircraft were located at the accident site. Airframe and engine control continuity were established. The throttle cable was found installed at the engine and at the cockpit. The fuel tank was intact and was full of fuel.
Student pilot’s selfie ends in forced landing in water
The student pilot reported that, while attempting to take a picture of himself, he accidentally moved the fuel shutoff switch to the OFF position. The engine experienced a complete loss of power. He initiated a forced landing onto open water near Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and was rescued by boaters. The Quicksilver sustained substantial damage to the wing and the structural tubing of the fuselage.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Brigadier General Chuck Yeager has gone west
Yeager’s Life of 97 years is without parallel. The tweet was characteristically short, but spoke volumes, from Mrs. Yeager, @VictoriaYeage11, “It is with profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 21h00 ET. An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot and a legacy of strength, adventure and patriotism will be remembered forever.”
The first man to break through Mach One, a WWII fighter pilot and a symbol to millions around the world, Yeager’s legend was a remarkable piece of American history. He passed away on Monday evening. NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine noted that, “Today’s passing of Gen. Chuck Yeager is a tremendous loss to our nation. Gen. Yeager’s pioneering and innovative spirit advanced America’s abilities in the sky and set our nation’s dreams soaring into the jet age and the space age. He said, “You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.”
“Among many firsts in more than 60 years in aviation, Chuck was the first man to fly at the speed of sound and his achievements rival any of our greatest firsts in space. Not content to rest on his laurels, he went on to break his own record and travel at Mach 2.44. But even before that he was serving his country heroically in World War II. Long after he became a legend in his own time, he continued to serve his country through the military and later in his ongoing work to test new aircraft.
“Chuck’s bravery and accomplishments are a testament to the enduring strength that made him a true American original and NASA’s Aeronautics work owes much to his brilliant contributions to aerospace science. As a young naval aviator, I was one of many around the world who looked up to Chuck Yeager and his amazing feats as a test pilot. His path blazed a trail for anyone who wanted to push the limits of human potential, whilst his achievements will guide us for generations to come.”
Dassault rolls out the Falcon 6X: a game-changer?
As Dassault rolls out the Falcon 6X business jet, will it be the jet that changes the game in business aviation? The French aircraft manufacturer hopes and anticipates so, as the Falcon 6X is set to become the first twin-business jet that it has developed and plans to release into service since the Falcon 2000. Previously, Dassault wanted to develop the Falcon 5X, a programme that ended in controversy and subsequently, birthed the Falcon 6X.
The French plane maker promised to deliver a redefined business jet travel experience with its newest design. While the Falcon 6X was announced after the controversial cancellation of the Falcon 5X, Dassault did indicate that the newest jet is a ‘major redesign’ rather than a slightly changed 5X. While manufacturers like to focus on various characteristics for a jet, Dassault seemingly went all-in on the passenger experience to lure in clients.
The French manufacturer boasts about the fact that the Falcon 6X is the tallest and widest in the business aviation sector. The Falcon 6X has a cabin height of 1.98 meters (78 inches), while its main competitors, the Bombardier Global 7500 and the Gulfstream G650, have a cabin height of 1.88 meters (74 inches) and 1.91 meters (75 inches), respectively. In terms of width, the 6X once again comes out on top with a width of 2.58 meters (102 inches), while the Global 7500 and the G650 are as wide as 2.44 meters (96 inches) and 2.49 meters (98 inches).
The innovations in PaxEx continue, with a cabin pressurised to match the air at 3,900 feet when the aircraft is cruising at FL41. Falcon Connect, Dassault’s own connectivity solution for passengers to be able to work while flying will also be offered to the 6X’s owners, allowing them to access an ‘all-in-one suite of services and applications.’ The wing, specially designed to smoothen any turbulences, is equipped with a flaperon (a hybrid of flap and aileron), a control surface usually used in larger commercial planes. It gives the 6X additional controlling edge during the approach.
Seemingly, Dassault is trying to compensate for the operational disadvantages of the Falcon 6X. Both the Bombardier Global 7500 and the Gulfstream G650 can travel much further and cruise much faster to sustain the long-range reach of the jet. At the same time, both Bombardier and Gulfstream jets are already in service. Entering the market in an economic downturn due to the pandemic might prove a challenge for Dassault’s newest business jet. That was not the company’s initial plan, as the Falcon 5X was scheduled to enter service in 2017. But problems with the development of the jet’s engine of choice put an end to it.
What next? Paris Air Show cancelled due to pandemic
Considering the uncertainty linked to the current COVID-19 health crisis, the Paris Air Show organisation reports that it has made the decision to cancel the 2021 edition of the show, which was scheduled to take place from 21 to 27 June 2021. Together with the Board of Directors of the GIFAS (French Aerospace Industries Association), the Board of Directors of the Paris Air Show has taken this decision in response to the international health crisis and the large number of visitors that this show attracts. This decision was agreed upon unanimously by the Paris Air Show Board members in the context of a crisis that has had an unprecedented impact on the aerospace industry. The next edition of the Paris Air Show will be held in June 2023, at a date yet to be announced.
The Paris air Show will take full financial responsibility for this decision. “We are obviously disappointed not to be able to hold the 2021 edition of the Paris Air Show. After many months of all trade show activities being suspended throughout the world, the entire international aerospace and defence community was very much looking forward to being able to meet. We have already started work to ensure that the 2023 edition celebrates the resurgence of the aerospace industry on an international scale,” explains Patrick Daher, Chairman of the International Paris Air Show and Chairman of the Daher Group.
Gilles Fournier, CEO of the International Paris Air Show, added, “We would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our partners, exhibitors and service providers for the trust they have placed in us. We share their disappointment, as the Paris Air Show continues to be an extremely popular event, even in periods of crisis. The 2023 edition will be larger than ever and our teams are already working to ensure its success.” Established in 1909, the International Paris Air Show is a pivotal event for the aeronautics and space industry.
SpaceX cargo Dragon docks to station
While the International Space Station was traveling 268 miles over the southern Indian Ocean, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft autonomously docked to the space-facing side of the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module for the first time at 1h40 p.m. EST, on Monday 7 December. NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover monitored docking operations for Dragon. Some of the science being delivered on this mission includes a study aimed at better understanding heart disease to support development of treatments for patients on Earth, research into how microbes can be used for biomining on asteroids and a tool being tested for quick and accurate blood analysis in microgravity.
The first commercially owned and operated airlock on the space station, the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock, arrives in the unpressurised trunk of the Dragon cargo spacecraft. Bishop will provide a variety of capabilities to the orbiting laboratory, including CubeSat deployment and support of external payloads.
The Dragon launched on SpaceX’s 21st contracted commercial resupply mission at 11h17 EST on Sunday 6 December from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After Dragon spends approximately one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with cargo and research.
Emirates welcomes first of three A380s to be delivered in December
Emirates has welcomed A6-EVL, its 116th A380 as the first of three A380s to join its fleet in 2020. The aircraft arrived in Dubai in the early hours of Saturday morning, powered by a blend of conventional jet fuel and sustainable aviation fuel. Emirates is scheduled to receive two more A380 aircraft later this month, one of which will feature its long-awaited signature Premium Economy product. Since its entry into the Emirates fleet 12 years ago, the A380 has been the airline’s flagship and a customer favourite, captivating the imagination of travellers by providing an unmatched travel experience. Signature elements such as A380 onboard lounge and shower spa, continue to be talked about around the world. The Emirates A380 experience remains highly sought after by customers, with many ensuring they book their travel on this aircraft to experience its spaciousness, quietness and comfort across every cabin. Emirates has recently reinstated its iconic products for customers to enjoy, balancing an elevated experience during the pandemic with measures that prioritise the health and wellbeing of passengers.
Deutsche Aircraft accelerates transition to zero emissions aircraft
Deutsche Aircraft, the new purpose-driven German aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), unveiled plans to develop the D328eco, a game-changing platform that will align the future of aviation towards a zero-emission flight objective. Deutsche Aircraft is built on the heritage and expertise of 328 Support Services GmbH, the Type certificate holder of the Dornier 328 aircraft (D328). Together with participation of the German government, Deutsche Aircraft will lead the way in a new era of clean aviation through the development of the D328eco platform, a more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly aircraft. The D328eco will offer an alternative, eco-efficient solution within the sub-50-seat regional commuter and multi-role aircraft markets, which the OEM plans to introduce by 2025. State-of-the-art flight deck design and capabilities offered by the latest avionics’ suite will target future single pilot operation for greater operational efficiency. Pratt & Whitney PW127S engines and a SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) compatible airframe, set the stage for the D328eco to change the way the world flies while reducing our carbon footprint. The stand-up and new cabin design will offer increased comfort and compliance with the latest health and safety requirements.
ANTONOV Airlines puts giant AN-225 into commercial service
Ukrainian airline ANTONOV Airlines is launching its AN-225 Mriya into commercial operation to support customers in the heavy-lift market, where capacity is in high demand. The Mriya, which has onboard loading equipment and a cabin, which can be pressurised, will compliment ANTONOV’s fleet of seven AN-124s, two with a capacity of up to 150 tonnes. Earlier in the year, the AN-225 was actively involved in delivery of humanitarian and medical cargoes and safely transported more than 1,300 tonnes of such cargoes to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. “There is a surge in demand for AN-124 aircraft at the present time and therefore ANTONOV Airlines is doing its best to help customers in this difficult situation and support them worldwide, providing the required airlift capability,” said Andriy Blagovisniy, commercial director, ANTONOV Airlines. “Taking into consideration the current very limited availability of AN-124 aircraft on the market, we are giving priority to time-critical cargo and to give additional lifting capacity, we will enter our AN-225 aircraft into commercial operation after running routine maintenance.”
France to become the main shareholder of Air France-KLM?
After providing the national carrier with €7 billion of state aid in April 2020, France could now double its share in the airline with an injection of €4 to 5 billion by Spring 2021. The French state, which currently holds 14% of Air France-KLM’s capital, could increase its share to almost 30%, the economic journalist François Lenglet told TF1. It would thus become the main shareholder and distance the Netherlands, which upped its stake to 14% in February 2019. The decision of the Dutch authorities had taken everyone by surprise at the time, including the board of the airline group and the French government.
Netherlands entry into Air France-KLM judged unlawful
When the Dutch authorities upped their stake in Air France-KLM in February 2019, the decision raised many eyebrows. It was not only surprising but also unlawful, as a Dutch courts’ ruling now shows. The last recapitalisation of Air France by France dates back to 1994. At the time, FRF20 billion (approximately €3 billion) had been injected into the ailing airline. The nationalisation of the airline is reportedly still ruled out. “We will continue to support our national airline if necessary,” Bruno Le Maire had commented in November 2020. “It is a question of national sovereignty to have our own national airline, and then behind there are dozens of thousands of jobs concerned.” Air France-KLM Group announced that it will cut 7,580 positions in Air France and its regional subsidiary Hop! by the end of 2022. No conditions for this new financial help have been revealed for the moment.
Ukraine to make first Antonov order ever
The Ukrainian government plans to place a much-anticipated order for three new Antonov AN-178 planes, the country’s ministry of strategic industries announced. The minister of Strategic industries, Oleg Urusky, said that this is Antonov’s first governmental order in 29 years since the creation of independent Ukraine. The order is not yet signed, but according to the ministry’s press release, the authorities and Antonov are ‘preparing to sign.’ It was not announced what the new planes will be used for or what governmental institution will use them. In June 2020, state company Ukroboronprom, to which Antonov belongs, hinted that there were plans to purchase two AN-178s in 2021: one for the army and one for the police.
In 2019, the Ukrainian company broke the four-year-streak of not manufacturing a single aircraft by beginning the construction of the first serial AN-178. The new transport aircraft was announced in 2010 and first flew in 2015. It is based on the AN-158 regional airliner and can carry a payload of 18 tonnes. Antonov’s first customer for the AN-178 was the national police of Peru, which ordered one plane in 2019.
VerdoGo Aero, Embry-Riddle team up on noise mitigation
VerdeGo Aero, a hybrid-electric aerospace powertrain firm and tenant in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Research Park, has teamed up with the university to develop and commercialise patent-pending technology designed to mitigate electric aircraft noise. Under an exclusive option agreement, VerdoGo Aero CEO Eric Bartsch and Executive Chair Erik Lindbergh will further develop the Embry-Riddle technology for commercialisation. “Although electric aircraft show great promise for reducing carbon emissions, fossil fuel use and operating costs, the propellers or rotors can be relatively noisy,” Bartsch explained. “Traditionally, electric aircraft rotors can spin faster to gain efficiency while also increasing noise levels or spin slower and be less efficient but quieter.” The patent-pending invention sprang from work by an Embry-Riddle graduate student, Lenny Gartenberg (now a Northrop Grumman engineer), Aerospace Engineering professor and Eagle Flight Research Center Director Dr Richard ‘Pat’ Anderson and research engineer Dr Borja Martos. The technology being commercialised by VerdeGo Aero would automatically adjust the pitch of rotating propeller blades, while also adjusting motor torque to maintain constant thrust, Bartsch said.
Flying car training simulator coming to Springfield Airport
US Air Force research into flying cars is taking root in the Dayton, Springfield area in a new way, with a ground-breaking for an ‘advanced urban air mobility technology simulator’ facility set for Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. Designed to be used by BETA Technologies and Joby Aviation, two pioneer businesses in the field of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, the facility will speed the Air Force’s deepening exploration of the vehicles, a project called ‘Agility Prime.’
The US Air Force recently launched the $35 million programme, seeking to create and speed a commercial market for advanced air mobility aircraft while creating a supply chain to support production of the cars, sometimes called ‘air taxis,’ the Air Force Research Lab said in an announcement. Over the years, Springfield has become increasingly important to Air Force research. Its airspace has also been approved for testing beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities for unmanned aircraft or drones above the airport.
“Agility Prime is an exciting opportunity for the Air Force to engage with industry and learn about the difficult task of developing electric air taxis,” AFRL Commander Pringle said. “It also paves the way for AFRL and the Ohio community to advance the science and better understand an innovative capability with both military and commercial benefits.” The facility will exist for both Joby Aviation and BETA Technologies. Both companies are working on development of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
Textron Systems awarded contract to build 36 new Shadow Aircraft for the US Army
The total contract award value of $66 million includes ongoing engineering services to continue fielding and supporting the new Block III system configuration. “We are proud to maintain our strong partnership of more than 20 years with the US Army on the Shadow programme,” said Senior Vice President David Phillips of Textron Systems. “The Shadow Block III will support the customer with the enhanced capabilities soldiers need to fulfill today’s and tomorrow’s missions.”
The Shadow Block III system builds on the success of previous configurations. The upgraded system incorporates design improvements, allowing for increased availability to operate in adverse weather conditions, the latest high-definition day-and-night video payload, increased engine power and reliability with a reduced acoustic signature, enhanced manned-unmanned teaming with the Army’s Apache assets and an advanced communications relay. The Shadow Block III system is ready and able to provide aerial support to our customers, even in the most challenging of environments. With 1.2 million flight hours and counting, the Shadow system’s proven track record provides a solid foundation for continued development and use around the world.
Matternet launches drone delivery operations at Labor Berlin in Germany
Matternet, developer of the world’s leading urban drone logistics platform, announced the launch of operations at Labor Berlin Charité Vivantes in Germany. The programme kicked-off on 17 November 2020 with permanent operations expected to take flight next year, creating the first urban BVLOS medical drone delivery network in the European Union. The drone network expects to significantly improve the timeliness and efficiency of Labor Berlin’s diagnostics services by providing an option to avoid roadway delays, which will improve patient experience with potentially life-saving benefits and lower costs.
Labor Berlin is Europe’s largest hospital laboratory with state-of-the-art facilities in 13 hospitals across the city. The organisation is responsible for diagnostics for 80 percent of patient beds in Berlin. Currently, over 15,000 samples are transported daily across Labor Berlin’s extensive network. With Matternet’s world-leading drone technology and Labor Berlin’s impressive scale, the drone delivery network has the potential to serve millions of patients each year. The network will connect three locations initially: Labor Berlin’s central lab on Charité Campus Virchow-Klinikum, the Charité Hospital Campus Benjamin Franklin and the Corona Clinic by Vivantes – Corona-Behandlungszentrum Jafféstraße.
During the initial phase of the programme, Matternet will work with Labor Berlin to determine optimal ways to integrate drone delivery into the laboratory group’s existing workflow. The partners intend to invite government and public sector representatives (subject to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions) to observe drone flights and engage other airspace users such as Helicopter Emergency Rescue Services, Berlin police and Berlin’s Airports. Matternet will also work closely with the Air Navigation Service Provider in Germany and UTM providers to integrate the drones safely into Berlin’s airspace.
Matternet is a proven leader in the urban drone delivery space, and we are excited to collaborate to provide our patients, especially those in emergency situations, an innovative, safe and rapid alternative to lab sample transport by car,” said Nina Matternet’s drone system has been operating around the world since 2017 through partnerships with Swiss Post, UPS and most recently with Japan Airlines. In Switzerland, the system is operating at Lugano’s EOC hospital and the University Hospital Zurich. In the US, operations are taking place at Wake Forest Baptist Health and WakeMed’s flagship hospital and campus in Raleigh, N.C. Matternet’s technology is also enabling UPS to provide drone delivery service of prescription medicines for The Villages, Florida, one of the US’s largest retirement communities. The service provides an option for seniors at higher risk for the Coronavirus infection to receive prescriptions without going to a store.
Twice Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week Monday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)