“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to prevailing superstition or taboo.” H. L. Mencken
Since last week’s mystery aircraft was very easy to identify, according to the number of correct answers I received, this week I have provided another interesting aircraft type. Please send your answers to me at email@example.com. I will publish the names of those that identified the aircraft correctly within the Thursday edition of APAnews.
2024 aviation events calendar
As this year draws to a close, the aviation events calendar planning for next year is already at an advanced stage. Every few weeks I send the provisional 2024 calendar to all those persons who I know are involved with the planning of events so that various updates and additions can be made. One of the important reasons for this specialised service from African Pilot is an attempt to prevent clashes of aviation events within the same region of South Africa, which was clearly the case over several weekends this past year. In addition, African Pilot is the only African family of aviation publications to regularly provide an accurate aviation events calendar that is to be found in every edition Monday of APAnews, both African Pilot and Future Flight as well as on the African Pilot website. As an organiser of aviation events, I am appealing to you to send me the important information about the events your organisation is planning: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
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. We will also be featuring NBAA-BACE in Las Vegas. 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 material deadline for the November 2023 edition of African Pilot was on Friday 20 October 2023, but I am holding this edition open until Thursday 26 October.
All editorial content should be sent to me Athol Franz
For advertising opportunities please call Cell: 079 880 4359
The thirteenth edition of Future Flight will be sent out to the world-wide audience on Monday 16 October. This 144-page edition has seven picture galleries and 14 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.
Fly-in at Krugersdorp Flying Club
As its business expands Incomar grows its fleet
With a focus on systems design, development and integration; testing on a range of platforms; product development; as well as flight testing and support, Incomar operates from two hangars at Wonderboom National Airport, three offices in Gauteng and a flying school in Robertson, Western Cape. It has multiple aircraft dedicated to flight testing, including a Cessna 208 Caravan that is used for testing electro-optical systems, camera pods and synthetic aperture radars. In addition, a Vans RV-7A is used for flight test instrumentation development and flight modelling.
Incomar CEO Lance Wellington revealed that the company has acquired an Aermacchi AM.3C Bosbok which it aims to use as a light weapons development support platform. A Learjet 35 business jet has been acquired for high-speed testing and will arrive by year-end and will support missile testing. The company’s jet fleet will be further expanded with the acquisition of L-39 Albatros jet trainers.
Speaking at the recent Aerospace Simulation and Training Symposium in Pretoria, Wellington explained that Incomar was established in 1999 with a focus on flight testing and avionics integration. The company offers full flight physics and aeronautical engineering capabilities, including stores clearance and integration, ground vibration testing, aero modelling and simulation etc. Mechanical, hardware and electronic engineering covers structural design and analysis, development of avionics enclosures, thermal management and analysis, printed circuit board development and firmware development.
On the software side, Incomar develops software engineering and regarding avionics the company develops mission computers, flight computers, stores management systems and ground control systems. The company can test and integrate benches and consoles. Incomar has been building mission computers, flight computers, stores management systems and ground control systems for a number of foreign clients.
For flight testing, Incomar employs Class I and II experimental test pilots and flight test engineers who can perform basic and full experimental testing of aircraft and systems – for example, Incomar pilots were the first to fly Paramount’s Ahrlac / Mwari and its pilots have amongst others tested a Hensoldt sensor pod on the company’s Caravan. Incomar is part of the privately owned Arya Group. It was grown and developed together with Mongezi India, that has worked extensively in the aerospace, defence and civil security sectors. Incomar has grown rapidly in recent years and presently employs north of 240 people.
Finally support contract for SAAF Gripen engine awarded
GKN Aerospace has been awarded the maintenance contract by Armscor for the maintenance of the South African Air Force’s (SAAF’s) Gripen engines, meaning both engines and airframes are now fully supported for South Africa’s fighter jet fleet. According to an Armscor presentation delivered to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) in mid-September, Saab as the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) has an airframe support contract for the Gripen in place from September 2022 to end August 2025, worth R650 million (of which R476 million is funded). It took some time for the contract with GKN Aerospace to be finalised for Gripen engine support, this contract is now in place and covers the period from August 2023 to end July 2026. It is worth R327 million.
South Africa has been operating the Gripen C/D since 2008 and is Saab’s first export customer for the type. The South African Air Force was forced to ground the Gripen in September 2021 due to budget constraints that saw a delay in finalising a new maintenance support contract with Saab and GKN as the original airframe and engine manufacturers respectively. With the maintenance contract being finalised, a Gripen took to the air again on 5 September 2022. Members from 2 Squadron at Air Force Base Makhado as well as Saab representatives assisted in getting the aircraft airworthy ahead of the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2022. Gripens were more recently displayed prominently in August for the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, where they performed combat air patrols along with Hawk Mk 120s.
Due to the SAAF’s tight budget, the support contract with Saab covers 13 aircraft over three years. The SAAF had 26 Gripen C/Ds, but one was written off following a ground incident. The remaining 12 will remain in storage. It is not clear how many engines the GKN contract covers.
The other combat aircraft in SAAF service, the Hawk Mk 120 lead-in fighter-trainer, also has maintenance contracts in place. OEM BAE Systems was awarded the airframe maintenance contract, valid from September 2021 to end August 2024. This is worth R250 million, of which R221 million is funded. Armscor said the order is progressing well, with 90% of the material supply already delivered. Rolls Royce, as the engine OEM, was contracted to provide support from June 2022 to end May 2025 for the Hawk’s Adour Mk 951 engine. This is valued at R29 million, with R19 million funded. “The order is progressing well,” Armscor reported.
From August 2023 to the end of July 2026 Paramount Advanced Technologies will be responsible for Hawk avionics maintenance. This contract is worth R9.6 million, with over half (R4.6 million) funded. Line replacement units that require repair are already at Paramount.
African Pilot’s 2023 calendar We will publish the aviation calendar within APAnews three months ahead, but you can always visit African Pilot’s website: www.africanpilot.co.za if you would like to obtain the full calendar for the entire year.
24 October to 4 November
SAC Advanced World Aerobatics Championships Las Vegas
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SACAA Safety Management System Durban Industry Workshop
Contact Nomhle Dlamini E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 451 2628
26 to 29 October
Border Aviation reunion weekend
Contact Seth Cell 061 432 8248 or Bianca Cell: 081 263 3998
SACAA Safety Management System Cape Town Industry Workshop
Contact Nomhle Dlamini E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 451 2628
SAPFA SA Landing Championships – Brits & Stellenbosch airfields
Contact Ron Stirk E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 445 0373
SACAA Safety Management System Johannesburg Industry Workshop
Contact Nomhle Dlamini E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 451 2628
1 & 2 November
Drones in disaster and risk management conference Century City Conference Centre
November Contact E-mail: email@example.com Cape Town.
EAA Chapter 322 breakfast fly-in gathering, boot sale, fly market EAA Auditorium
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAA Museum Society Technical tour of historical aircraft
Contact E-mail: email@example.com or Cell: 076 879 5044
Brakpan Aero Club Cessna fly-in
Contact Clarissa E-mail: Clarissa@airborneaviation.co.za Cell: 074 113 2911
Gyro fly-in to Kitty Hawk
Contact Juanita Cell: 082 040 9798
EAA Chapter 322 breakfast fly-in venue TBA
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
13 to 17 November
Dubai Airshow 2023
19 to 21 November
55th African Airlines Association (AFRAA) Annual General Assembly (AGA)
Speke Resort in Entebbe, Uganda. Dedicated website: https://aga55.afraa.org/
Aero Club Awards 50 Viking Way Rand Airport (Menno Parsons hangar)
Contact Sandra Strydom email@example.com Tel: 011 082 1100
SAA Museum Society Trains, Planes and Automobiles hobby fair
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Cell: 076 879 5044
SAA Museum Society SA 295 Helderberg 36 years on 08h00
Contact E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 076 879 5044
27 and 28 November
AfBAA African Business Aviation Association conference Cape Town
Contact Sam Keddle E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: +27 (0)63 717 3460
DCA Industry Roadshow East London, Eastern Cape
Contact Ms Charmaine Shibambo E-mail: email@example.com
EAA Chapter 322 monthly gathering, fly-in breakfast EAA Auditorium
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 to 3 December
SAC ACE of Base Heidelberg airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
4 to 7 December
Egypt Defence Expo (EDEX) Egypt International Exhibition Centre
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
8 & 9 December
SACAA ICAD annual airshow Bisho
Contact Noel Godwin E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 414 7702
9 & 20 December
Saudi Airport Exhibition Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center
Contact Stephanie Ramos E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: +971 50 395 2025
African Development Bank grants US$23 million to Rwanda’s new Aviation Centre of Excellence
The African Development Bank Group has approved a US$23.6 million loan for the construction and equipment of a new aviation training facility in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. The proposed Centre of Excellence for Aviation Skills (CEAS), including an aircraft hangar, will partner with higher learning institutions to produce a skilled workforce to meet global aviation training standards and industry demands. The project will boost Rwanda’s ambition to become a regional aviation hub and draw international investment from the aviation industry. It aligns with the country’s Vision 2050 to improve human capital by providing high-quality training, upskilling labour and transforming the workforce for higher productivity. The centre is expected to enrol up to 500 students starting from 2025 when it becomes partly operational. It will offer training for pilots, maintenance and cabin crew. There will also be dispatch and ancillary courses, including in-airport emergency operations services. The facility will also provide drone piloting training, flight simulator recurrent training, and other advanced pilot training for specialized missions.
Industry experts estimate that Africa will need over 50,000 aviation professionals in the next two decades, including 15,000 pilots, 17,000 technicians and 23,000 cabin crew members. Nnenna Nwabufo, the Bank’s Director General for East Africa, said the centre will enable opportunities for skills building for the youth in Rwanda and across the East Africa region. “Overall, the project aligns with the Bank’s Skills for employability and productivity in Africa Action Plan, which stipulates ways of elevating the skills level of Africa’s workforce,” she added. The project’s construction phase will require up to 1,000 workers and the operation phase is expected to create 98 jobs. The proposed site is close to other related structures, connecting project components to Kigali International Airport’s existing services and facilities.
Incident involving light aircraft at Bram Fischer International Airport
Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) can confirm that a light aircraft carrying two people crashed on the airfield at Bram Fischer International Airport, in Bloemfontein in the Free State, this morning. The aircraft, believed to be a Piper, crashed in a grassy area on the airfield and caught fire at about 09h20. Airport Fire & Rescue team and the paramedics responded to the incident accordingly. All relevant local authorities including SAPS responded to the scene. Rescuers proceeded to extinguish the fire and administered first aid to the victims. Despite rescuers’ best efforts, one of the plane’s occupants was unfortunately declared dead at the scene. The other one was taken to hospital with severe injuries. The cause of the crash will be investigated by the relevant authorities. ACSA would like to extend its condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased individual and wish the surviving occupant a speedy recovery.
Ryanair flight forced to make emergency U-turn after aircraft door is left open
A Ryanair flight bound for Edinburgh Turnhouse Airport (EDI) from Belfast International Airport (BFS) had to perform an emergency U-turn after it was found that the aircraft door had been left open. Flight RK 178 departed on 17 October 2023 at 19h48 local time. It was not long after take-off that the emergency light went on in the B737-800’s cockpit. Passengers on the flight later told UK media outlet BirminghamLive that the pilot repeatedly checked on the aircraft door, while the flight attendants seemed ‘shaken’ and were in tears. The aircraft landed safely back in Belfast Airport at 20h21 local time, less than an hour after it had departed.
NBAA-BACE all about people
NBAA-BACE is arguably business aviation’s largest event of the year that showcased the latest aviation technology and innovation. However, what made this past week’s gathering in Las Vegas special was its unwavering focus on the people who make this industry move and thrive. Attendees were exposed to a wealth of insights and wisdom on workforce-related matters ranging from fostering connections and building confidence to nurturing a positive culture and enhancing communications. Also in the spotlight were the critical issues of compensation and career-path development, mentoring and networking. All of this reflects the industry’s commitment to recognising and rewarding talent.
Throughout NBAA-BACE, there was a strong emphasis on sessions catering to a bevy of industry professionals, including recent business aviation interns, young professionals 40 Under 40 award winners, safety leaders, maintenance professionals, schedulers and dispatchers. These sessions underscored the importance of investing in the next generation of aviation talent and ensuring that these professionals have a clear path for growth within the industry. The luncheon honouring the 40 Under 40 award winners was particularly rewarding. Also inspiring was witnessing the aviation departments recognised for their 50, 60 and 75 years of safe flying.
In the spirit of nurturing the business aviation community, this year’s NBAA took a significant step by introducing the Career Fair. This event was designed to bridge the gap between job seekers and employers in the aviation industry, highlighting the incredible range of career options available. This Career Fair was not merely a recruitment drive, but also a networking platform from which aspiring aviation professionals could explore the diverse roles the industry embodies. Speaking of excellence, another central theme of this year’s show was the imperative of addressing environmental concerns. To kick off the event, NBAA’s president and CEO, Ed Bolen, highlighted the NBAA’s ambitious campaign to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with the campaign aptly named ‘Climbing Fast.’ The industry’s commitment to environmental sustainability is a testament to its recognition of its broader responsibilities, which extend well beyond profit margins and bottom lines. The resounding message broadcast throughout the show was a reminder that business aviation is not merely about airplanes; it is about the people who operate, maintain and support these aircraft. This sentiment resonated with attendees, reinforcing the idea that the aviation community is a tight-knit family and one that is driven by passion, dedication and a shared commitment to excellence. Whether you are a seasoned professional, a newcomer to the industry, or simply someone who is passionate about aviation, NBAA-BACE serves as a reminder that, in the grand scheme of things, the focus is always on the people and this principle extends far beyond the boundaries of the event.
African Pilot will be presenting an extensive feature on this year’s NBAA-BACE staged in Las Vegas within the November edition of the monthly magazine.
Aircraft operators face multiple risks around Israel’s airspace
Airspace over Israel and neighbouring countries is becoming increasingly hazardous for air traffic, according to security analysts monitoring the conflict initiated by Gaza-based Hamas forces on 7 October. Business aviation flights in and out of Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport (LLBG) are effectively blocked, with access limited to scheduled flights and chartered airliners.
During a webinar recording distributed on Friday morning, Osprey Flight Solutions’ chief intelligence officer Matthew Borie warned operators about the risk of a civil aircraft being shot down inadvertently by high-altitude, long-range air defence missiles fired from Iran-backed groups in Lebanon or Syria. Aviation regulators from the US, Europe, the UK and Canada have all warned of ongoing risks from missiles and GPS / GNSS signal interference within a 200-nm radius of Israel.
On 12 October the Israeli Air Force attacked the Syrian airports at Aleppo and Damascus, destroying runways there to prevent military resupply flights to its enemies. With further air attacks expected and the prospect of an imminent Israeli ground invasion of Gaza, operators have been warned to expect a dangerous environment across the Tel Aviv, Damascus and Beirut flight information regions for a prolonged period. Dyami Security Intelligence has also warned its clients to maintain a high degree of vigilance if operating into or over Israel and the surrounding area. In particular, it advised operators to have robust security and contingency plans in place if sending aircrew and passengers into the region.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel, the agency is monitoring the military situation closely to determine whether a further escalation might require the closure of Ben Gurion International Airport. Libby Bahat said that traffic volumes are being restricted to mitigate the risk of having multiple aircraft on the ramp refuelling or loading passengers at the same time.
In a written statement, Bahat said that to date there has been no direct missile strike on Israel’s main airport. He explained that civil and military air traffic controllers are working in the same units to ensure that the Israel Defence Force’s Iron Dome and David’s Sling air defence system do not pose a threat to civil aircraft. He added that to guard against human error, these systems have built-in protection to prevent the missiles from intercepting aircraft on designated arrival and departure routes, which are separated.
Meanwhile, Gulfstream Aerospace has indicated that manufacturing of its G280 super-midsize business aircraft by its partner Israel Aerospace Industries has so far not been impacted by the conflict. At its Beersheva facility around 60 miles south of Tel Aviv, IAI makes the fuselage, empennage, landing gear and also handles final assembly with wings supplied by Spirit AeroSystems.
Reno replacement? Six cities vying to host National Championship Air Races
On 30 May, RARA said it was accepting bids from airports and localities seeking to partner with the Association for purpose of hosting future air racing events. Now on 19 October 2023 and upwards of fifteen hundred pages of supporting documents have been submitted by six cities vying to earn the distinction of being named the new home of the National Championship Air Races.
Reno Air Racing Association chairman and CEO Fred Telling stated: “Seeing the interest to host the National Championship Air Races at each of these unique venues gives me great hope for the future of air racing. We are looking for our next home, somewhere we can celebrate many more anniversaries, so we’ve assembled an expert committee that is putting an extreme amount of care and diligence into choosing our next location.”
Respondents to the RARA’s request for proposals include Casper, Wyoming; Buckeye Arizona; Pueblo, Colorado; Roswell, New Mexico; Thermal, California and Wendover, Utah. The committee reviewing the bid submissions comprises RARA personnel representing, in part, the Association’s operations, safety, security and business development facets. The Races’ seven classes are also represented on the committee and will continue to be integral to the evaluation process. Currently, the selection committee is carefully vetting the proposals; site visits of the proposed racing locales will be conducted in late 2023. Critical criteria requiring consideration and confirmation include open land in acreage conducive to the establishment of racecourses; suitable runways, ramps and hangar space; administrative and security facilities; as well as proximity to hotels, commercial airports and restaurants.
A final decision pertaining to a new racing venue is expected to be announced in early 2024. Racing will commence at the winning city in 2025. The National Championship Air Races are a vibrant facet of aviation’s culture and history. The only event of its kind across the wide world, the annual air racing series attracts tens-of-thousands of global patrons and has, since its 1964 inception, supplemented Nevada’s economy with upwards of $100 million.
Appositely billed The World’s Fastest Motorsport, the Reno Air Races have, for decades, thrilled spectators with head-to-head competition across seven aircraft classes ranging from hot-rodded STOL airplanes to highly modified WWII fighters. The latter machines, primarily P-51 Mustangs, F-8F Bearcats and Hawker Sea Furies are capable of straight-line speeds in excess of five-hundred-miles-per-hour.
The yearly event is among aviation’s high sacraments and occasions displays of engineering brilliance, masterful airmanship and raw courage demonstrative of the very best of humankind’s intellect and spirit. Historically, the Reno Air Races have comprised two-and-a-half days of qualifying followed by four-and-a-half days of multi-aircraft heat racing divided into seven-classes: STOL Drag; T-6; Sport; Biplane; Formula-1; Jet and the main-event Unlimited Class. The competition culminates in the Unlimited Class Gold Race, an incomparable syncretism of speed and sound that imprints upon the eyes, ears and soul like an AC/DC – Iron Maiden double bill at Red Rocks with pyrotechnics by the US Army’s 56th Artillery Command.
Philippines announces acquisition of three C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical airlifters
The Republic of the Philippines Department of National Defence announced the acquisition of three new C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical airlifters from Lockheed Martin through a direct commercial sale. In choosing the C-130J, the Philippines joins 21 other nations that rely on the Super Hercules to support tactical airlift mission requirements. The tactical mission profile requires a proven aircraft that delivers known operational results and capabilities when operating in challenging environmental and geographic conditions. The C-130J-30 provides these attributes and more to the Philippine Air Force, which will operate these new Super Hercules. All three aircraft are scheduled to deliver in 2026.
The Philippines is a long-standing C-130 operator, receiving its first Hercules in the early 1970s. The PAF currently operates a mixed fleet of legacy C-130s to support critical humanitarian, military and natural disaster relief missions throughout the Indo-Pacific region. PAF crews will operate the C-130J-30, the stretch version of the C-130J that offers an additional 15 feet (five meters) of cargo space. The Super Hercules’ increased power, range, integration, space and capability will support PAF crews in meeting complex and evolving tactical mission requirements.
With its new C-130J fleet, the Philippines is part of a global network of Super Hercules operators and offers the PAF unmatched commonality among allied partners, access to a robust international support community, an active supply chain, an innovative block upgrade program and training opportunities with other C-130J operators across the world. The PAF’s existing knowledge of the Hercules aircraft and existing infrastructure also offers a seamless transition between airframes as compared to introducing an entirely new aircraft variant into a fleet, which requires significant time and investment that can prolong fleet readiness.
Rolls-Royce to cut thousands of jobs in ambitious overhaul
Under the leadership of its new CEO, Tufan Erginbilgiç, Rolls-Royce is embarking on a significant transformation, poised to eliminate up to 2,500 positions company wide. The eagerly anticipated unveiling of the firm’s long-term strategy is imminent. As reported by The Guardian, the renowned jet engine manufacturer is set to disclose a workforce reduction ranging from 2,000 to 2,500 jobs, with the United Kingdom expected to bear the brunt. A former BP executive Erginbilgiç, assumed the helm at Rolls-Royce in January, igniting a sense of urgency by characterising the company as a ‘burning platform.’ His stark assessment underscored the need for substantial changes to secure the future of one of Britain’s most esteemed and intricate industrial players.
Rolls-Royce’s financial performance experienced a notable upturn over the past year, primarily attributed to the resurgence in global air travel following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, its focus on long-haul aviation has hindered its competitiveness against peers specialising in short-haul aircraft engines. Despite its share price doubling since the outset of 2023, it still falls short of pre-pandemic levels recorded in 2019. The company’s civil aviation revenues rely heavily on maintenance services for the engines it manufactures, making it especially vulnerable during the pandemic. In response, the company reduced its workforce by 9,000 jobs, deeming it an existential threat to its operations. Rolls-Royce’s workforce currently stands at 42,000 employees, with approximately half of them based in the UK. While British jobs are expected to be impacted, exact figures are anticipated to be disclosed in the coming week.
Rolls-Royce maintains three key divisions: civil aerospace, responsible for crafting jet engines for larger passenger planes like the Airbus A350; a defence unit, which manufactures jet engines for fighters and nuclear submarine reactors and a power systems segment, specialising in engines for marine vessels and generators.
Amid North Korea’s threats, B-52 bomber will make a rare landing on Korean Peninsula
The Air Force bomber will also conduct a pair of flyovers during the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition, between Tuesday and Sunday, according to a statement from US Forces Korea. “These flyovers, air demonstrations and static displays, including the landing for the B-52 on the peninsula, is part of our continued pledge to promote peace, stability and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula,” Maj. Rachel Buitrago, spokeswoman for 7th Air Force at Osan Air Base south of Seoul, said in the release.
The landing will mark the first time a B-52 has touched down in South Korea in at least 30 years. The bomber announcement comes four days after the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan arrived at Busan, South Korea, following joint drills with South Korea and Japan. North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency responded to the port call by calling it an ‘undisguised military provocation’ in a report. US bombers, including B-52s, have flown over South Korean airspace several times this year as shows of force following North Korean missile tests.
A B-52H flew alongside four US F-16s and three South Korean F-15K Slam Eagles for an escort drill on 13 July, a day after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that flew for 74 minutes, a flight record for the communist regime. KCNA has accused the US and South Korea of destabilising the region with nuclear assets after past bomber flights. A day after a US B-52H flew with South Korean F-35As on 5 April, KCNA published an article threatening the allies with ‘offensive action’ and accused them of fuelling the crisis ‘to the brink of a nuclear war.’
President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol agreed to deploy ‘strategic US military assets in a timely and coordinated manner’ during a White House summit on 21 May. The two leaders cited the deployments as a means of addressing Pyongyang’s ‘evolving threat.’ ‘The two presidents share the view that North Korea’s nuclear programme presents a grave threat not only to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula but also the rest of Asia and the world,” Biden and Yoon said in a joint statement at the time. ‘Both leaders condemn North Korea’s escalatory ballistic missile tests this year, including multiple launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, as clear violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions.’
USMC Red Devils squadron arrives in Japan
In late-September 2023, the first contingent of legacy fighter aircraft operated by the United States Marine Corps’ famed Red Devils Fighter Attack Squadron 232 arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, a USMC installation located in the Nishiki river delta southeast of the city of Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. The F/A-18C and F/A-18D Hornets, all sporting Raytheon’s APG-79(V)4 advanced combat radar system, will be operated from MCAS Iwakuni as part of a six-month unit deployment.
Squadron Commander Lieutenant Colonel Michael McMahon stated: “We are the first F/A-18C squadron to get this new, active electronically scanned array radar, that is very similar to what the Super Hornets have. He continued: “This radar has definitely increased our capabilities in all aspects of what we do.” The APG-79(V)4 radar affords Hornet aircrews improved situational awareness, better ability to track targets nearly instantaneously and improved capacity for tracking multiple targets. The radar comprises open system architecture and commercial-off-the-shelf parts delivering increased air-to-air and air-to-surface targeting and tracking capabilities.
AOG Technic-CFM court battle rages on
AOG Technics is suspected of selling dubious engine parts to aircraft service centres and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities around the world. The company is presently under the scrutiny of international investigators about the business of determining the source or sources of thousands of aero-engine components sold with forged paperwork. CFM International, the Cincinnati, Ohio-based producer of aircraft turbine engines and joint-venture of GE Aerospace and Safran Aircraft Engines has, to date, discovered no fewer than 72 discrete instances in which AOG Technics sold aircraft engine parts with falsified documentation.
As a precaution Southwest Airlines removed parts acquired through AOG Technics from its aircraft. Shortly thereafter, United Airlines announced it had become aware two of its aircraft had been fitted with AOG Technics-supplied engine components and grounded the planes tout suite. Southwest, United, Virgin Australia and other air-carriers in receipt of dubious engine components purchased such from AOG Technics, which functions after the fashion of a retailer, acquiring and distributing parts produced by a large number of OEMs.
Shabby optics notwithstanding, the lack of legitimate paperwork does not discount entirely the possibility that the parts sold by AOG Technics are authentic. Illicit trade in aircraft components often includes genuine parts too old, too worn, or non-conformal to manufacturers’ tolerances or industry standards. Currently, CFM and AOG Technics are embroiled in litigation moving with characteristic languor through the UK’s court system. CFM’s attorneys have accused AOG Technics of engaging in a ‘deliberate, dishonest and sophisticated scheme to deceive the market with falsified documents on an industrial scale.’ CFM asserted, also, that AOG’s alleged subversions have forced the removal-from-service of between 48 and 96 commercial aircraft operated by global air-carriers. The engine-maker further accused AOG Technics of indolence vis-à-vis the release of documentation germane to the tracing of dubious parts.
AOG Technics was founded in 2015 by entrepreneur Jose Alejandro Zamora Yrala. The company operated, initially, as an intermediary between engine shops. However, by 2018 the AOG had reportedly devised a scheme by which it acquired and restored, superficially, anyway used aircraft components, then generated fraudulent documentation, including signatures, indicating subject parts were OEM new.
AOG’s machinations are neither novel nor new. Following upwards of 120 convictions involving counterfeit aircraft parts handed out by courts between 1990 and 1996, the FAA implemented a programme of voluntary audits of aerospace component and system suppliers. The programme benefits accredited sellers without expending limited agency resources. Regrettably, the lack of oversight occasions opportunity nefarious players may readily exploit, particularly as the airline industry and FAA contend contemporaneously with staffing shortages.
Former US Department of Transportation Inspector General Mary Schiavo said, “We were busting people and sending them to prison twenty-years ago for this, it is the same old scheme.” Since the hybrid-concern’s September 1974 founding, CFM has produced upwards of 33,000 turbine aircraft engines, of which some 23,000 remain in service. The CFM56, which powers ubiquitous aircraft families such as Boeing’s 737 Classic and NG series as well as many Airbus A320 models, is among the world’s most produced and popular jet engines. CFM’s more contemporary LEAP-1 engine was selected by Boeing and Airbus to power the marques’ respective 737 MAX and A320neo narrow-body airliner families. Interestingly, AOG Technics appears to have sold not a single LEAP engine component.
Textron Aviation delivers 100th King Air 360
Textron Aviation has delivered its 100th Beechcraft King Air 360 turboprop twin. The aircraft was delivered to the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center, a cancer research and treatment facility in Bakersfield, California, that conducts clinical trials around the world. According to Textron, nearly 7,800 King Airs have been delivered to customers since the original aircraft debuted in 1964, which makes it the best-selling family of business turboprops.
The King Air 360, the latest variant of the iconic turboprop, received its FAA type certification in October 2020, followed by EASA certification in September 2021. Upgraded features on the King Air 360 include Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion touchscreen avionics with autothrottles, a digital pressurization system and a fully redesigned cabin.
Rotor X declares bankruptcy
It has been reported that Rotor X has filed for bankruptcy in the state of Arizona under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code which tends to suggest that they actually think they are going to reorganise the complex and convoluted mess that was reported a few weeks ago. Nearly 100 customers are reportedly affected by more than a year’s worth of broken promises, undelivered kits, incomplete kits, and what can only be termed as untrue statements by the company as it attempted to prop up its faltering operations.
Transportation leaders break ground on State’s first multimodal electric charging stations
North Carolina took a step toward sustainable aviation with today’s groundbreaking of the first electric aircraft chargers. The electric chargers were designed by BETA to be multimodal, meaning they support the charge of electric aircraft and electric cars and trucks at the airport. Two electric charging stations will be installed in early 2024 at Raleigh Executive Jetport in Sanford, the site of last week’s groundbreaking ceremony.
BETA Technologies, an electric aerospace company, will install the two multimodal charging stations to serve electric aircraft and ground electric vehicles. The site will include a Level-3 fast-charge Charge Cube, which will charge electric aircraft in under an hour and an accompanying Charge Center where aircraft crew can rest. The site will also include a Level 2 car charger, which will be installed in the airport’s parking lot. The project required a significant expansion of the airport’s apron, where the charging stations will be located. The expansion of the apron, which NCDOT funded, was recently completed and is ready for additional construction. Electrification will be a key component of the state’s Advance Mobility NC strategic plan. It will leverage the work of NCDOT’s efforts to create a multimodal transportation system that improves the mobility of people and freight.
These new chargers in North Carolina will be part of a growing national network of charging stations BETA is building to enable electric flight. The company has also developed electric aircraft capable of moving passengers and cargo more efficiently and with fewer environmental impacts. This groundbreaking event also featured one of these aircraft, BETA’s ALIA conventional take-off and landing electric aircraft. The plane originated at BETA’s headquarters in Burlington and stopped in North Carolina during its 1,500-mile flight down the East Coast. The tour is being coordinated by the US Air Force programme AFWERX.
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HUIDA TECH’s HD540Pro agricultural drone improves spraying efficiency by 60%
Heilongjiang Huida Technology Co., Ltd. a leading Chinese manufacturer of agricultural drones, tractor guidance systems and autopilot systems, has partnered with Mexican dealer ORBITECH to deploy the HD540Pro agricultural drone in the Ensanada region of Mexicali, Mexico to spray nutrients and pesticides in local orchards, supporting the development of intelligent agriculture in Mexico and improving planting efficiency. “The region’s mountainous terrain posed difficulties for fruit growers in manually spraying nutrients and pesticides on blue gum trees. However, HUIDA TECH’s HD540Pro drone provided a solution. With its 360-degree rotating radar, the drone autonomously avoided obstacles, making the operation safer and more efficient. In just four hours, a team of three completed spraying over 40 hectares. The drone’s ability to track changes in terrain while spraying makes it ideal for mountainous areas.
HUIDA TECH prioritises customer success by offering technical support and on-site coordination. Flight prevention teams provide tailored services and the flexible business model creates opportunities for customers and partners. Seamless warehousing and logistics coordination shorten delivery cycles, improving operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. With extensive experience in the agriculture industry and continuous innovation of technology and application scenarios, HUIDA TECH has built a strong product and solution portfolio including IoT terminal monitoring systems, automatic driving systems, and intelligent cabins for agricultural machinery, planting protection drones, and intelligent irrigation.
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