“Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and therefore, religious and spiritual influences; education, knowledge, well-being.”
African Pilot’s aircraft of the week identification quiz
No prizes, but can you identify this aircraft? Last week’s aircraft proved to be difficult because so many respondents identified aircraft as the well-known Russian Il-76 and although based on the Il-76 airframe, this was the prototype Beirev A100EW. Please send your answers to me and not to other African Pilot e-mail addresses – Thank you: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will publish the names of all those that identified the aircraft correctly in the Thursday edition of APAnews.
Where in the Law will I find requirements for Glider Pilot Licence?
Having just gone through the local elections process in South Africa, once again we are seeing so many would be politicians making the same empty promises that they have made for the past 26 years. What is sad is that so many impoverished South Africans will continue to vote for the continued corruption of the present ANC party that has done everything to keep these poor people uneducated so that they continue to vote for empty promises.
African Pilot’s November 2021 edition
The November edition featuring African Airlines, Gifts for Pilots and Aircraft Leasing is complete and has been fully distributed. This 334- page contains a 108-page feature devoted to the 94 African Airlines. The Gifts for Pilots feature has been planned for the pilot shops and on-line companies to market their merchandise with direct clicks on the product they are marketing (another first). Finally, Aircraft Leasing is a sector of the aviation industry that is often neglected and this feature presented an opportunity for leasing companies to present their business profiles. The November edition is certainly the largest aviation magazine we have ever produced and is probably larger that all the other South African aviation magazines put together.
African Pilot’s December 2021 edition
The December edition will feature Drones, UAVs and Urban Mobility. Over several years African Pilot has consistently covered the exciting developments within the drone and urban mobility industry since these developments will change everything we know in aviation’s future. Although there are some people who say ‘flying cars’ will not be with us for decades, my belief is that they are just around the corner and like the drone industry, regulators all over the world need to start preparing for the explosion of aerial vehicles in our cities. African Pilot is the ‘only aviation magazine’ that provides its advertisers with coverage within a well-designed publication that has South African, African and International reach.
Video of the week
Panorama Flyers Breakfast Fly-in on 23 October 2021
African Pilot Digital Calendars
Wallpaper calendar for the months of September and October. Go to our wallpaper page to download the calendars in three different resolutions.
View and download African Pilot’s last three (3) 2021 editions.
Click on the covers below.
Wouter Botes new TV series Plane Wreck Hunter
Aero Club coffee table Centenary Yearbook
The AeCSA Centenary Yearbook is now available to purchase from the online shop. Please visit www.aeroclub.org.za/shop.
Aero Club support
Airlink first southern African airline to trial secure digital iata travel pass
Airlink will become the first carrier in Southern Africa to trial the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass, a secure digital smartphone app for passengers to provide accurate information on their COVID-19 health status and access the entry requirements of any countries they intend visiting. The trial will be carried out on Airlink’s flights between South Africa and Namibia during November 2021. Airlink operates flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town to both Windhoek and Walvis Bay.
The IATA Travel Pass is being developed to support the re-opening of borders without quarantine and safely restart international aviation and tourism. It is more secure and efficient than current paper processes used to manage health requirements (the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, for example). In the Airlink trials, the IATA Travel Pass will confirm pre-departure, that passengers meet the COVID-19 test requirements for travel with Airlink on flights between South Africa and Namibia.
Airlink customers flying on those routes will be able to download the IATA Travel Pass app from the Apple Store or from Google Play. Currently it can only be used when travelling with airlines participating in the trials. As this is a trial and subject to adjustments, passengers should still carry printed copies of their negative COVID-19 PCR test results on their journey.
The IATA Travel Pass app provides:
- Governments with the means to verify the authenticity of tests or vaccinations and the identity of those presenting their certificates
- Airlines with the ability to provide accurate information to their passengers on test requirements and verify that a passenger meets the requirements for travel
- Laboratories with the means to issue certificates to passengers that will be recognised by governments
- Travelers with accurate information on test requirements, where they can get tested or vaccinated, and the means to securely convey the results / certificates to airlines and border authorities.
IATA Travel Pass has been undergoing development since 2020 and is being tested by airlines and government authorities in several other parts of the world.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Henley Aeronautical Institute of Learning launched
On Saturday morning Henley Air launched its ‘Open Day’ at Hangar 6 Rand Airport that was attended by many school children and other interested parties. Tables had been set up all around the large Henley Air hangar showing all aspects of helicopter flying from medical rescue (ROCKET), drones (Henley Air), helicopter maintenance (Emperor Aviation), Flight Training (Henley Air) Aviation4SA, Pilot Insure, ABSA Bank to informal talks with pilots who have already achieved the licences. Although planned in a somewhat laid-back atmosphere, clearly the mostly matric students showed considerable interest in this excellent initiative. African Pilot is proud to be associated with all aviation education initiatives which show the younger generation choices for their future careers.
New safety Fire Block bags launched - Please use the Lanseria Aircraft Interiors & Exteriors
Breast cancer awareness day
On Saturday afternoon Christine and I attended the amazing talk by Professor Carol-Anne Benn as the head of the Helen Joseph Breast Care Clinic at Helen Joseph Hospital. The well-attended function of mostly women was sponsored by the SAA Museum Society and the Immortal Guardians motorbike club and held inside the Boeing 747SP Maluti. Well, done to Margaret and her team for organising this informative talk by an incredible lady. More about this special function in the December edition of African Pilot.
Lydenburg annual Fly Festival by Charlie and Fiona Hugo
Held over from earlier this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Lydenburg Flying Club hosted a very successful fly-in festival. With the added attractions of live bands for the afternoon and evening entertainment hundreds of locals descended upon the airfield for a day’s entertainment. Numerous aviators from as far afield as Cape Town flew into the event, whilst the Brakpan Flying Club contingent were strong attendance. The Goodyear Eagles as well as the Puma Energy Flying Lions provided the aerial displays to entertain the appreciative crowd before returning to their home base to avoid some nasty looking weather that was brewing. By all accounts, everyone enjoyed the days entertainment. Although this was not an airshow the crowd were testament that the public are starving for events to return to the calendar.
What is scheduled for the next few months?
African Pilot’s 2021 calendar
We will publish the aviation calendar within APAnews three months ahead, but you can always visit African Pilot’s website: www.africanpilot.co.za if you would like to obtain the full calendar for the entire year.
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting virtual via Zoom
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 084 674 5674
Children’s Flight at Orient airfield
Contact Felix Gosher
5 to 7 November
EAA Sun ‘n Fun at Brits airfield
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 674 5674
SAA Museum Society Airline Collectibles at Rand Airport
Contact E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 076 879 5044
SAPFA SA Landing Championships at Brits Airfield
Contact Ron Stirk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 445 0373
14 to 18 November
Dubai Airshow DWC, Airshow Site, Dubai, UAE
Krugersdorp Flying Club fly-in at Jack Taylor airfield
Contact E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 577 8894
SAPFA Springs Speed Rally at Springs Airfield
Contact David Le Roux E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 073 338 5200
Sports Aerobatics Club Western Cape regionals at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting virtual via Zoom
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 674 5674
2 & 3 December
Security Drone Conference at Emperors Palace Convention Centre
Contact Tawanda Mandaza E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 063 580 6400
Aero Club of South Africa annual awards venue TBA
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
Cancelled due to very few international events
Sports Aerobatics Club ACE of Base Baragwaneth Airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
Steady Climb fly-in and expo at Rhino Park airfield
Contact David Le Roux Cell: 073 338 5200
2022 Aviation calendar
I have started compiling the 2022 aviation calendar, so if you would like to reserve a specific date even if this is provisional, please send the details to me. What I require is the date, venue, contact person(s) and contact details such as Cell number and e-mail. Thank you.
LAM aircraft damages Botswana Defence Force C-130
According to news agency Lusa, the incident happened on Tuesday 27 October, Linhas Aereas de Mocambique (LAM) said its aircraft was preparing for take-off when its wingtip hit the other aircraft.
LAM Mozambique Airlines aircraft at Pemba airport. Maputo-bound passengers were forced to disembark and wait for another aircraft to transport them to their destination. LAM has two Boeing 737s in service. One was involved in a runway excursion during landing at Quelimane airport in February this year. The BDF C-130 (OM2) is one of three Hercules in service with the BDF Air Wing, although one is in storage. The aircraft was ferrying troops and equipment to Mozambique as part of Botswana’s contribution to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique that is combating insurgents in Cabo Delgado province.
Fatal accident for South African aerobatic pilot
On Thursday 28 October at around 14h00 Neville Ferriera was killed when the KR-2 he was flying ‘lost a wing’ and the aircraft hit the side of a rocky outcrop at high speed. I have known Neville for many years and he often contributed beautiful photographs to African Pilot. As a highly experienced aerobatics pilot, Neville was very well respected in General Aviation circles and especially at Kitty Hawk airfield, which was his home base. Although not much is known about the reason for the departure of the wing from the KR-2, am sure that the accident investigation will turn up reasons for this catastrophe. To Nevil’s family and friends, my sincere condolences. Neville wishing you a safe journey to that Great Hangar in the Sky.
Cessna 182 crash near Rand Airport
Another bad week for South African aviation as a Cessna 182, ZS PMT crashed short of Runway 11 on Saturday morning whilst we were attending the Henley Air function. According to reports the pilot called Rand tower indicating engine problems and he was trying to reach the runway for an emergency landing. According to news just in this was a carbon copy of the previous accident also flying a Cessna 182 with the same owners, same pilot and the same mission to deliver the aircraft to Rand, this time from Lanseria. We have since heard that the pilot has been discharged from hospital, but the co-pilot is critical with burns.
Aircraft makes a successful emergency landing on highway
After experiencing an engine failure shortly after take-off on Wednesday, a Piper Warrior made a successful emergency landing on Highway 407 outside of Toronto, Canada. The two people onboard, both pilots, were not injured. According to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Highway Safety Division, there was no damage to the aircraft or any vehicles on the ground.
The aircraft, which was on its first flight following a 100-hour inspection, departed from Buttonville Municipal Airport (CYKZ) at a little before 11h00 local time heading for Grimsby Regional Airport (CNZ8). The plane is registered to the Caribbean Flying Club, which is based at CNZ8. The pilot flying, an instructor at the club, reported that the runup was normal and the aircraft climbed to approximately 2,000 feet before the engine began sputtering following a fuel tank switch. The aircraft was removed from the road via crane and flatbed truck several hours after landing.
Avianca Airbus A320 makes hard landing in Colombia
An Avianca Airbus A320 aircraft experienced a hard landing, reaching almost 5G as the aircraft touched down at Ibague Perales Airport (IBE), Colombia. The rough landing occurred on 8 October 2021, when the Avianca Airbus A320-200 jet, registered as N742AV, was conducting a test flight from Ibague Perales Airport (IBE). According to the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA), the aircraft was supposed to complete a verification flight in order to validate a new approach procedure. The aircraft climbed to 12,000 feet and returned to runway 32 an hour later. However, the flight crew landed the jet in an extremely hard way, reaching a peak of 4.9G. The plane was only carrying the flight crew onboard and no injuries were reported after the incident. However, such a hard touchdown could severely affect passenger health.
A hard landing is considered to be one of the most common aircraft incidents. It occurs when an aircraft hits the ground with greater speed and force than in a normal landing. From a technical perspective, a hard landing is a peak recorded vertical aircraft acceleration, which exceeds a force of 2.1G. At 5G, a typical human body is considered to experience a force equal to five times its weight. Such a force is enough to overwhelm the heart’s ability to pump blood to the brain. Typically, a human can withstand no more than 9Gs. It was the first hard landing by an Avianca (AVHOQ) aircraft this year.
Russia gives green light for US airlines to overfly its airspace
The government of Russia accepted the request made by Airlines for America (AAA) over securing a right for the carriers of the United States to overfly Russian airspace. Late on 28 October 2021, the US Department of State (DOS) confirmed that the Russian government gave a green light for the US carriers to expand their air services and issued them a right to overfly the country’s airspace. However, the DOS did not specify which airlines and how many flights will be affected by the decision. “The Department of State continues to engage with the relevant Russian authorities to secure expanded air services opportunities for US carriers,” was written in the DOS letter seen by the media.
At the beginning of October 2021, the American trade association AAA, which represents the interests of major US carriers such as United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), FedEx Express and others, asked the DOS to address the airlines’ needs to operate flights from the US to countries in Asia and the Middle East by crossing the Russian airspace. The AAA argued that in order to meet the increased passenger demand and secure their competitiveness globally, US airlines needed to secure particular approval from Russia. Otherwise, carriers would be forced to choose longer alternative routes. This would negatively affect their efficiency and could result in the loss of some slot rights.
American Airlines cancels hundreds of weekend flights
Over the past three days American Airlines cancelled more than 1,600 flights, citing blustery weather conditions in Texas and a shortage of flight attendants. The disruptions were similar in their initial cause and size to problems suffered in early October by Southwest Airlines and they raised ominous questions about whether major airlines are prepared for the busy upcoming holiday travel period. According to tracking service FlightAware, by early afternoon Sunday, American had cancelled more than 800 flights, almost 30% of its schedule for the day, after scrapping nearly 900 flights on Friday and Saturday.
American’s troubles began late in the week, when high winds at times shut down flights and prevented the airline from using all runways at its busiest hub, Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport. That made it difficult for American to get crews in position for upcoming flights, whilst the cancellations and delays grew worse through Saturday and Sunday. A spokeswoman for American said the airline expects considerable improvement starting Monday, although there will be ‘some residual impact from the weekend.’
Airlines were barred from laying off workers during the pandemic as a condition of billions in federal pandemic relief, whilst American temporarily furloughed 19,000 workers when the money lapsed last year, but reversed the furloughs when aid was restored. However, this didn’t stop the airlines from persuading thousands of employees to accept cash incentives and quit voluntarily. American, Southwest and others are now hiring employees to replace some of those who left in 2020.
Aircraft laser strikes continue to rise in 2021
Shining a laser at an aircraft is not only a federal offense but can incapacitate pilots, putting everyone on the aircraft in serious danger. As of 14 October, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has received 7,186 laser strike reports in 2021, which increased by 4.8 percent from 2020 numbers. This year marks the highest number of reports since 2016. Laser strikes are likely increasing for a number of reasons, such as the availability of inexpensive lasers, lasers being given as gifts, stronger power levels of lasers and the use of green lasers, which are more visible to the human eye than red lasers. The software platform Tableau was developed by the FAA as a visualisation tool to show laser strike data, highlighting trends by geographic area, per capita data, time of day and year. Tableau data showed that over the last 10 years, there has been a 148% increase in reported laser events in the United States and US territories.
The FAA has already issued $120,000 in fines for laser strikes in 2021. An offender could be left with a fine of up to $11,000 per violation, but multiple laser incidents will lead to a fine of $30,800. In addition to the federal law, some cities and states also have laws against shining a laser at aircraft. In some cases, federal, state and local prosecutors have even sentenced laser violators to jail time, community service, probation and additional financial penalties for court costs and restitution. Whether a pilot, air traffic controller or member of the public, the FAA encourages that laser incidents be reported as soon as possible.
Alaska Air Group partners with ZeroAvia to develop hydrogen power for regional airliners
According to a 26 October announcement made by the two companies, Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines, has partnered with ZeroAvia under a collaboration that will develop a hydrogen-electric powertrain capable of flying a 76-seat regional aircraft with a range of 500 nautical miles. The partnership marks the latest milestone for ZeroAvia, the California-based green start-up that has been testing its hydrogen powertrain in the UK over the last year, in their effort to de-carbonise regional airline operations. Under the new partnership, the two company’s engineering teams will scale ZeroAvia’s existing hydrogen electric powertrain to produce the ‘ZA2000,’ that will be retrofitted onto a 76-seat De Havilland Q400 previously operated by Horizon Air.
“Alaska is committed to creating a sustainable future for aviation, working on all aspects of a five-part path toward our goal of net zero by 2040,” Diana Birkett Rakow, vice president of public affairs and sustainability for Alaska Airlines said in a statement announcing the new partnership. ZeroAvia notes that the ZA2000 will be an engine family capable of producing between 2,000 and 5,000 kilowatts of power allowing for a 500-mile range. A new facility will be established near Seattle to support the development of the ZA2000 engine.
Alaska has also secured options for up to 50 kits to begin converting its regional aircraft to hydrogen-electric power, starting with the Q400. Alaska is including the new partnership in the five-step plan it laid out earlier this year to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040. Ben Minicucci, CEO of Alaska Airlines, previously commented on the carrier’s view of electric aircraft during an appearance on a US Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit panel in April, describing how it could eventually be used on small passenger carrying aircraft.
According to a 25 October press release ZeroAvia’s Alaska Air Group partnership announcement came a day after another partnership agreement was announced with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Regional Jet Aviation Group (MHIRJ) to provide engineering services in support of their effort to certify its hydrogen-electric propulsion technology for regional jets. MHIRJ will also provide ‘advisory services evaluating the feasibility of a green retrofit programme for regional aircraft.’
Both the Alaska Air Group and MHIRJ partnership agreements come following a series of programme development ups and downs for ZeroAvia, including an off-airport landing of their test aircraft near Cranfield Airport in April and the start of ground-testing for a 600-kilowatt powertrain designed for a 19-seat aircraft several months later in August.
FAA approves 611 engines for GAMI unleaded fuel
The FAA-approved model list that was posted on Thursday, approving 611 certified piston aircraft engines to run on GAMI’s G100UL high octane unleaded avgas. With the announcement, about 70 percent of existing engines in service are now able to use the fuel, which received FAA approval itself in July. “This is a very bullish sign that the FAA is continuing to honour their commitment to move unleaded avgas forward as fast as possible,” Paul Millner said. Another approved list in which those engines are mated to approved airframes will be coming soon.
The approved list covers most lower-powered engines by Lycoming, up to 360-cubic-inch displacement (CID) and Continental up to 470 CID plus many Franklins. The list also includes dozens of radial engines by Pratt & Whitney and Curtiss-Wright up to some of the largest models. Engines not on the list include the high-powered six-cylinder Continental and Lycoming engines that power most of the commercial piston fleet. Although they account for about 30 percent of in-service engines, they burn more than 80 percent of the avgas sold in the US. GAMI is working with Avfuel to distribute the fuel and is concentrating in areas where 100LL sales are being phased out.
Plug Power invests in hydrogen fuel cells
Known for its hydrogen engines and mobility fuelling systems, Plug will help in the development and certification of a hydrogen fuel cell for short haul regional aircraft. Their new agreement with Airflow is hoped to bring their ProGen hydrogen cells to a wider market of vehicles, later branching to a wide spectrum of missions and aircraft types in the aviation industry.
Airflow has had a run of good luck, recently securing more than $600 million in LOI’s from eleven airlines operating sub-regional aircraft. Hoping to grab market share from other short-haul aircraft by offering fleet replacements, Airflow is working on a few options to best meet the propulsion needs of airline customers hungry for carbon-neutral, ‘green’ aircraft to boost their ESG scores. The use of hydrogen as a fuel source has already begun, under the Plug umbrella, with some test airports already using the cells to power ground support equipment. The partnership is hoped to expand these facilities throughout the airport ecosystem, possibly through a combination of Plug’s hydrogen provisions and Airflow’s battery and SAF locations.
The programme with a full-scale ground-based powertrain prototype, the companies will move on to aircraft fitment once bench testing proves successful. The Hydrogen fuel cell tech will be a parallel development on their battery and SAF-powered aircraft models, allowing Airflow customers to select the systems most suited to their needs. Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh believes hydrogen is a great match for aviation. “Airflow represents another vital leg of the stool in our aerospace strategy. In order to establish a complete ecosystem for the aviation market and enable a global transportation system powered by green hydrogen, it is essential that we work with players across aircraft classes who deeply understand the unique applicability of hydrogen in an industry as weight sensitive as aviation. We see the development and certification of a system for Airflow’s Part 23 aircraft as an ideal entry point into the aerospace market that enables expansion into larger aircraft programmes.”
Marc Ausman, CEO of Airflow says his company can’t wait to start work. “We are thrilled to have an industry leader in the hydrogen economy supporting our ambitious objectives. We see hydrogen fuel cell technology as a key thrust of our next generation power systems, which along with Sustainable Aviation Fuel-based hybrid systems and advanced battery systems, allow us to provide flexibility to our customers to deliver an aircraft that best meets their individual mission needs and sustainability goals.”
ScaleWings 70% scale P-51 kit now shipping
Many classic aircraft lie sadly out of reach for the average pilot. With production lines shut down a half-century prior, the few surviving warbirds in the world find their value increasing with each passing year. ScaleWings Aircraft has the perfect remedy. A P-51 Mustang replica, at 70% scale of the original, with ultra-lightweight carbon fibre manufacture and economical, reliable operation.
Now shipping its quick build kit, called SW-51 Mustang, ScaleWings says its version of the legendary fighter is the most accurate on the market. In standard trim, the kit has a MTOW of 1,654 pounds, owing to its all-carbon construction, control elements, seats and electrically actuated landing gear. When designing their kit, ScaleWings took painstaking efforts to replicate the seams, the rivets and the screws inherent to a metal aircraft fuselage. Those lines and textures come to life even in a composite body, taken to the next level with appropriate attention to paint detail. The result is a close approximation of the original plane, with all the modern amenities of a new production aircraft.
The standard kit includes the wings, fuselage, stabiliser, control surfaces and systems, landing gear, both seats and their coverings and fuel tank system. Optional additions include a firewall forward kit, which includes a new Rotax 915iS and MT-4-blade propeller. Avionics are available from Dynon or Garmin, suited to pilot preference. The launch edition kits are priced at a starting point of roughly $138,000 or €119,000.
Another safer year for Experimental category aircraft
The EAA is happy to announce another year of increased safety, as the fatal accident rate has once again decreased. Experimental category aircraft, often the problem child of aircraft operations, has seen its fatal accident total fall another 5% to finish below the FAA never-exceed total for the federal fiscal year ending 30 September 2021.
Overall, general aviation has seen increasing flight hours flown, thankfully without a corresponding increase in accidents. Improvements in aviation are too multivariate to give full credit to any one change today, but advances in pilot awareness, EFB tools enabling better flight planning and weather avoidance, as well as the addition of ADS-B on aircraft undoubtedly help prevent the root causes of many incidents. Experimental category aircraft, the EAA’s focus, only accounted for 42 fatal accidents in FY 2021. Of those, it should be noted, 33 incidents took place with amateur-built aircraft. Amateur-built aircraft have been a point of attention for the FAA, with safety enhancements and pilot training making slight gains in addressing concerns. In their General Aviation Safety fact sheet, the FAA states that from 2013 to 2018, almost a quarter of fatal GA accidents were the result of only 5% of the flying hours. In the majority of those cases, loss of control remained the leading cause of fatalities, prompting the release of Advisory Circular (AC-90-190A) to aid pilot transition to unfamiliar fixed-wing airplanes, be they type-certificated or experimental.
The FAA sought to promote another circular, the Additional Pilot Programme for Phase I Flight Test (AC 90-116), in the hopes that Builder / Owner Pilots (BP) can enhance their skills and mitigate risks during a period of increased pilot vulnerability. Additional safety in the post-build flight testing phase is available for those desiring an extra, experienced hand in evaluating and learning their new aircraft. Interested pilots can find assistance through EAA’s Additional Pilot Programme and consult their EAA Flight Test Manual for a convenient guide to task-based flight testing of homebuilt aircraft. “As positive as these figures are, EAA will not stop here and will continue to lead in making safety the top priority for all of us who fly,” Elliott said. “We have pushed the totals to very small numbers that are substantially fewer than many other common recreational pursuits, such as boating or all-terrain vehicles. But with such small numbers, even one or two accidents can have a negative impact on the overall safety trend.”
So much for Halloween launch... next ISS crew launch delayed
NASA and SpaceX now are targeting Wednesday 3 November for the agency’s Crew-3 launch to the International Space Station due to a large storm system meandering across the Ohio Valley and through north-eastern United States this past weekend, elevating winds and waves in the Atlantic Ocean along the Crew Dragon flight path for the 31 October launch attempt.
NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander, Tom Marshburn, pilot and Kayla Barron, mission specialist and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, also a mission specialist, will launch on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Crew-3 astronauts are scheduled for a long-duration science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory, living and working as part of what is expected to be a seven-member crew.
Crew-2 NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet are currently targeting return in early November. Crew-3 astronauts are set to return in late April 2022.
Eve to start urban air mobility ecosystem evaluation flights in Brazil
Embraer’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) subsidiary Eve Air Mobility will start operating an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) simulation with six passenger-carrying flights a day from Barra da Tijuca to the Tom Jobim International Airport – RIOgaleão, according to a 26 October 2021 announcement from the company. The UAM simulation will use a helicopter with flights charged at a ‘more affordable cost than a conventional helicopter service,’ Eve said. On-demand private aircraft flight provider Flapper has already started selling tickets for the UAM simulation, scheduled to begin on 8 November 2021.
“Eve’s human-centred approach to development seeks practical validation of concepts and assumptions that will help us understand and address the key challenges associated with delivering the service. Rio de Janeiro is one of the cities with the worst traffic in the world and the simulation will help us to survey the real needs of users, partners and the community who will benefit from our mobility solutions,” André Stein, Eve’s CEO said in a statement. Eve is leading the simulation as part of a concept of operations that began in August in Rio De Janeiro and will collaborate with more than 50 specialists from 12 institutions. A key goal for the simulation is to identify the needs of users, the community and other stakeholders involved in the type of operation that Eve is pursuing with the eVTOL aircraft it is developing.
The decision by Eve to launch the helicopter-operated UAM simulation comes several weeks after Brazilian private jet operator Aviation Management Services – Serviços Aeronáuticos Ltda. (Avantto) signed a letter of intention (LOI) to order 100 of its eVTOL aircraft. Vertiports provider Skyports will be involved in the simulation, along with National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) and the Department of Airspace Control (DECEA) that will each be monitoring the operation. Eve is developing an all-electric air taxi that it expects to be ready for entry-into-service by 2026. Universal Aviation, a global airport services company, will run ground operations for the simulation.
Volocopter eyes air taxi operations in Italy
According to a 27 October announcement from the two companies, German urban air mobility developer Volocopter has established a new partnership with the largest airport operator in Italy in an effort to start developing the infrastructure that will enable electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) operations in Rome and other areas of the country. Following a commitment made last year by Paris to bring electric air taxis there in time for the 2024 Olympic Games, under the new partnership, Rome has become one of the first cities in Europe to commit to establishing electric air taxi operations in the near future. Together with the Italian authorities and regulators and with Atlantia’s full support, Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) and Volocopter will raise public awareness about UAM and bring it to Italy within the next 2-3 years.
“We are confident that the collaboration between ADR and Volocopter can give rise, in the short term, to important innovations from the industrial point of view. These two companies are strongly focused on the development of sustainable businesses and have a strong technical expertise,” Carlo Bertazzo, CEO of Atlantia said in a statement. “As Atlantia, we will continue to support the diffusion of Urban Air Mobility in our international hub in Rome and in our airport system of Nizza, Cannes and Saint Tropez, proud to be developing a new transport technology that we can then export to our other European airports, as well as on a global scale.”
Volocopter describes ADR as being industrially and technologically committed to the development of new vertiports in support of the new partnership. In particular, the new service will connect the international hub ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ with various places in Rome, through vertical airports. In addition to the new partnership, Atlantia also recently became an investor in Volocopter.
The partnership to bring eVTOL flights to Italy is the latest development for the German eVTOL maker, following a recent joint venture agreement with Aerofugia to be operated as Volocopter Chengdu in China. Volocopter is developing two electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, VoloCity and VoloConnect and a heavy-lift drone, VoloDrone.
Japanese HoverBike debuts at Fuji Speedway
A new face in the Advanced Air Mobility, or AAM-Adjacent market, has appeared in Japan touting their ‘world’s first practical hoverbike’ at the Fuji Raceway. The initial demonstration was distinctly Japanese in its appearance, showing the crowded stands what they can expect out of the current state of hoverbike technology without the usual hype and exaggerated, fantastical performance of the final product.
The XTurismo Limited Edition model will be sold north of half a million dollars, with only 200 units available. Powered by a combination of battery power and traditional gas engine, it can carry a payload of 100kg, or 220 lb. Cruise time is estimated at half an hour, with a to-be-disclosed max speed rumoured to be around 62 mph. At the demonstration, crowds watched a tightly leathered pilot, equipped just like the track’s superbike riders, stride out and, after a brief pre-flight, mounted the XTurismo. The pilot thumbed the ignition and the crowd was treated to a rising crescendo, a sonic medley of a wide-open sport bike engine with the loud, high-pitched thrum of a very large drone. After the noise stabilised to a constant, grating buzz, the machine ascended and stabilised at 15 feet or so, then began hovering in place, slowly meandering around the section of speedway facing the stands and advancing for the photographers at a brisk walking pace. After two slow, 180-degree turns, the pilot landed once again.
In a field of constant development and the rapid release of new AAM products all contending for the same slice of VC funding and industry attention, it is easy to forget the differences in corporate culture between western product launches and Japan. The staid, boring appearance could optimistically be seen as an earnest demonstration of exactly what is possible at this point in the developmental cycle, with A.L.I. Technologies free from the need to court funding sources.
The bike itself looks closer to a wide-hulled jet-ski than a sport bike, despite their efforts to make the fuselage appear as sleek and streamlined as possible. Like many insular projects from the region, it is somewhat freed of communal design practices and industry trends. Most hovercraft, advanced aerial transports and personal air cars tend to be powered almost exclusively by battery power for vital sustainability cachet. Larger, multi-passenger AAMs may include a small turbine to generate additional power on the go, but the XTurismo breaks even from that convention in favour of a standard internal combustion engine and battery system. Details remain sparse at the moment, but the live test sounded much like a motorcycle’s inline four as it ran up the RPM range to steadily hang at maximum output, briefly dipping with changes in thrust demand and power demands.
Beihang University team breaks UAV world record
A Chinese student team broke another world record in UAV development again, when their custom-built carbon fibre aircraft stayed airborne for 80 hours, 46 minutes and 35 seconds. The Feng Ru 3-100 took the honour for the U-1 class UAV, a category of drones powered by ICE or jet engines from 55lb to 220lb. The flight took place on 18 May 2021 when they successfully launched the aircraft from the supporting rack of a small sedan, sending the aircraft on to its flight path without the increased fuel burn an unsupported take-off would require. The Feng has a wingspan of 32 feet and at full fuel load weights 120lb, with a simulated payload of almost seven lbs. Named after Feng Ru, the father of Chinese aviation, the aircraft was taken to the international flight competition in San Francisco, California to represent its homeland.
The student team broke the same record in 2019, when a second generation of the Feng Ru flew more than 30 hours. Their success then attracted new talent, increasing the size of the Beihang University team. Now on their fourth generation of their UAV, they feel the future of the programme looks bright. This May, when observers verified their endurance record, instructor Wang Yaokun told reporters: Beihang University team breaks UAV world record. When observers verified their endurance record, instructor Wang Yaokun told reporters: “I am more than happy to create a new world record and witness its birth with all teachers and students again. Tempus fugit, how time flies! Unconsciously, we have strived together for over 1,000 days and nights. We have encountered lots of difficulties, such as violent storms and severe weather. However, they never stop the pace of our scientific and technological innovation, nor resist us from pushing the limits of mankind!”
Ukraine confirms the first combat use of Turkish drone against separatists
General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claim that one of its Bayraktar TB2 drones has destroyed an artillery piece belonging to Russia-backed militants in the east of the country. A video was posted on governmental social media channels, capturing what appears to be a D-20 122 mm howitzer being destroyed in an explosion. According to the post, a battery of howitzers started shelling Ukrainian positions, defying a ceasefire and wounding two Ukrainian soldiers, one of whom later died. In response to the attack, a Bayraktar TB2 drone has been scrambled. It was reported that it destroyed an artillery piece without crossing the frontline. According to Ukrainian news outlet Censor.net, a MAM-C semi-active laser guided bomb was used.
Ukraine acquired the first batch of Bayraktar TB2 drones in 2019 and has received several additional batches since then, including a number of drones specifically designed for the navy. The first operational use of the new drones took place in July 2021, when a drone conducted a reconnaissance operation. In recent years, Ukraine has made numerous attempts to modernise its air force with combat drones. As well as buying Turkish-made aircraft, Antonov announced the development of an indigenous design. The country has also been attempting to organize domestic production of Turkish drones. Since 2014, Ukraine has been involved in a long-standing conflict in the eastern part of the country, with parts of the Donbas region occupied by self-declared republics.
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