“The idea that men are created free and equal is both true and misleading: men are created different; they lose their social freedom and their individual autonomy in seeking to become like each other.” David Reisman
Mississippi State University XAZ-1 Marvelette
(Information from Wikipedia)
The Mississippi XAZ-1 Marvelette (or MA18-B Marvelette) was an American research aircraft of the 1960s. A converted Anderson Greenwood AG-14 light single-engined pusher aircraft, it provided the testbed, or test platform, on which to test the boundary layer control system and ducted propeller installation of the planned XV-11 Marvel STOL research aircraft. One aircraft was converted to XAZ-1 configuration; although underpowered, it provided valuable test data over a year-long flight programme. Following the conclusion of test flying, the aircraft was used for ground testing before being scrapped.
The Department of Aerophysics at the Mississippi State University had been involved in a programme of research into boundary layer control on behalf of the Office of Naval Research and the US Army since 1950, carrying out trials on a modified Schweizer TG-3 glider, a Piper L-21 and a Cessna O-1. As a result of these studies, the US Army awarded the Department a contract to develop a new STOL research aircraft: the XV-11 MARVEL (Mississippi Aerophysics Research Vehicle, Extended Latitude). The new aircraft was to feature a novel form of wing warping to deflect the wing trailing edges to vary the wing’s camber instead of conventional flaps, while the wings were to be built of glass fibre in order to ensure that the wing was as smooth as possible. In order to test these features, it was decided to build a smaller and less powerful testbed.
The aircraft chosen as the basis for the testbed was the Anderson Greenwood AG-14, a single-engined, twin-boom pusher light aircraft that had been built in small numbers in the late 1940s and early 1960s. The type was already familiar to Mississippi State University, as it had used one to test ducted propellers. Initially, a simple conversion, to be designated MA-18, was planned, but it was later decided to make the test bed more closely resemble the final full-scale aircraft, with the resultant changes causing re-designation to MA-18A. It was later named ‘Marvelette’ and received the military serial number 62-12147 and the US Army designation XAZ-1.
The Marvelette was a high-winged monoplane with an aluminium monocoque rear fuselage and a glass fibre nose. The twin tail booms of the AG-14 were replaced by the propeller duct, which incorporated movable segments of its trailing edge to replace the rudder and elevator and a non-retractable tricycle undercarriage was fitted. The new wing was made of glass fibre and incorporated the camber-changing mechanism and perforations to allow suction for boundary layer control.
After making its maiden flight on 16 November 1962, the Marvelette was used in an extensive test programme to evaluate the aircraft and its novel features. The aircraft retained the original 95 horsepower (71 kW) Continental C-90 engine of the AG-14, which powered the boundary control system as well as providing the propulsion for the aircraft. As the Marvelette was heavier than the original AG-14, the engine proved to be underpowered for its task. Nevertheless, the test successfully evaluated the novel features planned for the Marvel. The full-sized aircraft had a modified camber-changing mechanism and more conventional tail control surfaces. The Marvelette completed 25 test flights, with the last flight in March 1964 and was subsequently the platform for Marvel development ground tests before being dismantled.
Several persons identified this aircraft as the Bede XBD-2, which was incorrect.
Those persons who correctly identified this week’s mystery aircraft:
Theo Bosch, Adrian Maree, P. Rossouw, Andre Visser, Bernard Stander, Kevin Farr, Wouter van der Waal, Magiel Esterhuysen, Willie Oosthuizen, Righardt du Plessis, Piet Steyn, Rex Tweedie, Steve Dewsbery, Daryl Chakamanga, Colin Austen, Andre Breytenbach, Clint Futter, Hilton Carroll, Pierre Brittz, Ari Levien, Jan Sime, Selwyn Kimber, John Skinner, John Moen, Bruce Prescott, Christiaan Haak, Aiden O’Mahony, Johan Venter, Andrew Peace, Brian Ross, Bruce Margolius, Danie Viljoen, Dave Lloyd, (33).
Taxpayers mistrust SARS due to rampant government corruption
Following a business survey of corporate taxpayers views, which found that SARS has a way to go to gain their trust, OUTA used its social media channels to ask the public what SARS needs to do to regain public trust. OUTA’s social media users were overwhelmingly critical of SARS as the collector of revenue who hands over these funds to what is strongly believed to be a corrupt government. Responders linked the distrust of SARS to government looting, even though, as several responders pointed out, SARS does not control the spending and the main problem lies with government misspending.
- “There is no trust deficit with SARS. The problem is the crooks stealing the money in government,” said @ankeliwarona.
- “Get rid of corruption. SARS collects and then hands it over to criminals and incompetents. As long as that continues, I will resent and fight SARS. SARS is the enforcer of the mafia state,” said @ChrisGibbonsSA.
- @VimleshRajbansi wants digital systems used to track the revenue SARS collects when it is disbursed.
- @Bazinga757 called for SARS to create ‘cost centres’ and ‘attach payment milestones to approved projects, instead of handover billions of Rands to corrupt departments’.
- “Arrest all the crooked politicians who have stolen billions,” said @Petar_DRC.
- “Why have Paul Mashatile, Edwin Soni and Julius Malema not been prosecuted for tax evasion and under reporting?” asked @AmbercommOne.
- “Trust is earned. Right now, our revenue collection service represent the very people that misappropriate public funds. Taxpayers feel that their hard-earned money is thrown into this endless pit of corruption. Why should people feel good about paying taxes?” said @AurigenZA.
- “They punish those who declare and pay. let the crooks go. Very shocking system,” said @seja2000.
- “SARS is merely a revenue collection agency of a Government which proved to be systemically corrupt. It cannot earn trust on behalf of a failed Government,” said @JamesSpies12.
- “Trusting SARS is the same thing as believing a stripper really likes you,” said @NicoletteBailey.
Respondents to the OUTA query called for: lifestyle audits for politicians; investigations into high-profile people who had publicly been linked to dubious behaviour; accountability on spending; higher taxes for the super-rich; faster SARS refunds and better communication with businesses over registering for VAT, PAYE and UIF. Of serious concern were calls to end tax evasion by illicit trading (cigarette dealers being the most obvious) and a need for SARS to broaden the tax base, including in the taxi industry. There is a view that SARS should go beyond our borders and also look for missing money in foreign countries (like the UAE).
Suggestions were also made for government, through SARS, to provide tax incentives for: having to pay for extra security companies to make us feel safe; generating our own power; introducing water recycling systems; life-saving medical treatments that government cannot provide and school fees.
Overall, what comes across very strongly is that SARS is a government institution and is the entity that demands payment from the public and then hands this over to a government that is notorious for maladministration, wasteful and corrupt expenditure. It will unfortunately be tarred with the same brush of mistrust which the public applies to the government at large.
SARS could do more to earn the public trust if it is seen to be improving tax collections from known corruption perpetrators and sectors known for evasion. While recent efforts by SARS and the police leading to arrests and charges against illicit coal contractors to Eskom suggests there is movement in this regard, SARS has a long way to go with similar matter on a broader scale to improve public trust.
The main feature of the December 2023 edition features the lesser-known regional airports in and around Gauteng. These include Baragwaneth, Brakpan, Brits, Eagles Creek, Kitty Hawk, Krugersdorp, Panaroma, Petit, Rhino Park (now Legend Sky), Springs and Tedderfield. This edition also includes the spectacular SACAA Aviation Industry Awards and the Dubai Airshow.
Every month, 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 Fact File as well as a Historical feature. 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 January edition will feature Aviation Insurance, Aircraft Finance and Aircraft Sales. In addition this edition will feature the annual Aero Club awards as well as a wrap up for the 2023 year. Every month, 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, Fact File and our monthly Historical feature. 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 January 2024 edition is on Friday 8 December 2023. This is far earlier than usual so that the magazine can be published before the festive season.
All editorial content should be sent to me Athol Franz
For advertising opportunities please call Cell: 079 880 4359
The fifteenth edition of Future Flight was sent out to the world-wide audience on Wednesday 15 November. This 134-page edition has seven picture galleries and 10 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. I would love to receive your feedback about this new digital publication: email@example.com. Thank you.
The material deadline for the December 2023 / January 2024 edition of Future Flight is on Friday 12 January 2024.
All editorial content should be sent to me Athol Franz
For advertising opportunities please call Cell: 079 880 4359
CAASA is collecting evidence of impact of withdrawal of AIC 18.19
With regard to aircraft you own or maintain:
1) How many commercially operated aircraft engines have operated beyond the 12-year TBO, per OEM name (e.g. Continental, Lycoming)
2) How many privately operated (Part 91) aircraft engines have operated beyond the 12-year TBO (e.g. Continental, Lycoming)
3) If you have on hand recent quotes/invoices for engine overhaul prices, please supply details of costing & engine model, so commercial impact may be shown.
You can either quote a figure in the e-mail or supply quote (you can redact any info e.g. names, addresses, financial details etc, as you deem necessary), whichever is easiest.
Please use the link above to complete the google form: https://forms.gle/4sLuFcJ4k8XGjjh16
Please send all queries to Melissa Sewgolam: E-mail: Melissa@caasa.co.za
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
Passenger jumps from 737 at New Orleans
On Sunday evening, apparently suffering from a mental health emergency, a passenger popped an overwing emergency exit on a Southwest plane in New Orleans and jumped to the ramp. Airport police were called to the gate after ground personnel detained the passenger. No one was hurt but the passenger was described as being ‘incoherent.’ When deputies contacted the man, they found he was incoherent and not fully aware of his surroundings, a news release from the police said. He was still in the hospital on Monday for evaluation. Southwest said everyone did everything right in the incident. “We commend our flight and ground crews for their swift action and apologise to our customers for their inconvenience,” Southwest Airlines said in an e-mail. The plane was ready to push back so passengers had to be placed on another aircraft for their flight to Atlanta and Baltimore.
Two Zambian EMB-120 Brasilia’s crashed on the same day
On Tuesday 28 November Tanzanian pilots managed to severely damage two Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia’s, on the same day, in unrelated accidents at the same airport, Kikoboga airstrip (HTMK), Tanzania. 5H-MJH of Sindbard Air suffered an undercarriage collapse and departed the runway, whilst 5H-FLM of Unity Air collided with a building. Both aircraft were severely damaged. There were no indications of injuries at the time of reporting.
On Sunday an air travel record was set in the USA
The TSA says Sunday 26 November was the busiest day on record for air travel in the US. TSA head David Pekoske said screeners put more than 2.9 million passengers through checkpoints at US airports headed for more than 50,000 flights. The Sunday total eclipsed the previous record of 2.8 million on 30 June. Before that, 1 December 2019 stood as the busiest day. Hordes of travellers continue to flock to the airport. There were some weather delays thanks to systems that moved through the Midwest and Southeast on Sunday but there was nothing that even approached the weather-related meltdowns that occurred last winter. Ohare likely had the most delays but Atlanta and New York also had their share of weather problems. Fog in Seattle also caused some regional issues. Delays have averaged about 20,000 a day since Sunday and cancellations about 500.
Bell delivers 505th Model 505 turbine single
Bell has delivered its 505th Model 505 Jet Ranger X turbine single, handing over the milestone helicopter to North American operator Austin Claborn. The aircraft will be configured for corporate transportation. The delivery ceremony took place at the Bell Textron Canada facility in Mirabel, Quebec, where the company assembles its commercial helicopters. Calborn has operated Bell 505s since 2021.
Certified by Transport Canada in 2016 and now operating on six continents, the Bell 505 has accumulated more than 185,000 flight hours. The five-seat helicopter features the Garmin G1000H NXi digital avionics system and a dual-channel FADEC Safran Arrius 2R engine. The aircraft cruises at 125 knots and has a maximum useful load of 1,500 pounds.
Virgin Atlantic’s world first 100% SAF flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK
On Monday 27 November Rolls-Royce announced Flight100, Virgin Atlantic’s historic flight on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) takes off from London Heathrow to New York JFK today, marking the culmination of a year of radical collaboration, to demonstrate the capability of SAF as a safe drop-in replacement for fossil derived jet fuel, compatible with today’s engines, airframes and fuel infrastructure. Flown on a Boeing 787, using Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, the flight marks a world first on 100% SAF by a commercial airline across the Atlantic. The milestone flight was made possible by a Virgin Atlantic-led consortium, including Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Imperial College London, University of Sheffield, ICF and Rocky Mountain Institute, in partnership with the UK Department for Transport.
While other technologies such as electric and hydrogen remain decades away, SAF can be used today, but SAF represents less than 0.1% of global jet fuel volumes and fuel standards allow for just a 50% SAF blend in commercial jet engines. Flight100 will prove that the challenge of scaling up production is one of policy and investment and industry and government must move quickly to create a thriving UK SAF industry. In addition to proving the capabilities of SAF, Flight100 will assess how its use affects the flight’s non-carbon emissions with the support of consortium partners ICF, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Imperial College London and University of Sheffield. The research will improve scientific understanding of the effects of SAF on contrails and particulates and help to implement contrail forecasts in the flight planning process. Data and research will be shared with industry and Virgin Atlantic will continue its involvement with contrail work through RMI’s Climate Impact Task Force, which is part-funded by Virgin Unite.
The SAF used on Flight100 is a unique dual blend; 88% HEFA (Hydro processed esters and fatty acids) supplied by AirBP and 12% SAK (Synthetic Aromatic Kerosene) supplied by Virent, a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corporation. The HEFA is made from waste fats while the SAK is made from plant sugars, with the remainder of plant proteins, oil and fibres continuing into the food chain. SAK is needed in 100% SAF blends to give the fuel the required aromatics for engine function. To achieve Net Zero 2050, the innovation and investment needed across all available feedstocks and technologies must be harnessed to maximise SAF volumes as well as continuing the research and development needed to bring new zero emission aircraft to market. Recently Rolls-Royce announced that it has proved all its in-production civil aero engine types are compatible with 100% SAF.
Cirrus Aircraft adds a second FAA-certified Vision Jet simulator
On 28 November Cirrus Aircraft announced the addition of a second FAA-certified Level D full-flight Vision Jet simulator to serve the company’s expansion plans and provide access to world-class flight training, including initial type-ratings and recurrent training for new and pre-owned aircraft owners at the Cirrus Aircraft Vision Center in Knoxville, Tenn. The latest Vision Jet simulator, built by CAE, is now fully operational.
As the world’s first single-engine personal jet, the Vision Jet has continued as the best-selling jet for the last five years. Owners enjoy the Vision Jet’s luxurious and spacious interior design, advanced safety systems such as the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System® (CAPS®) and Safe Return™ Emergency Autoland, reduced workload flight deck, convenience and entertainment features and impressive regional flight capability. Today, there are over 500 Vision Jets in the market and more than 1,055 pilots have been type-rated.
First established as a Factory Service Center in 2016, the Vision Center campus has grown to include an Experience Center, Delivery Center, Flight Training Center, additional Factory Service Center and a Flight Center / Hangar Complex. Through the company’s award-winning flight training programme known as Cirrus Approach™, all Vision Jet and SR Series training is accompanied by a dedicated Cirrus Standardised Instructor Pilot (CSIP), individual training aircraft and a diverse catalogue of instructional video courses. The Vision Center is complemented by three Cirrus Flight Training locations in Scottsdale, Arizona: McKinney, Texas and Orlando, Florida and more than 100 Cirrus Training Center partners worldwide. The Vision Center in Knoxville is the only location that offers Vision Jet type ratings.
China says missile simulation shot down B-21
Chinese researchers say they have already shot down a B-21 Raider in a computer simulation and they are confident the $700 million bomber, along with all other Western stealth aircraft, will be sitting ducks for its hypersonic missiles. The B-21 has just begun flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base and will not be flying over Asia anytime soon. But according to the Eurasian Times (quoting the South China Morning Post), scientists at the Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xian claim they have tested new tactics and technology that exploit a flaw in the Raider’s defences by attacking the bomber from above. ‘In one war game, a B-21-like stealth platform and its companion drone were both shot down by China’s air-to-air missiles, which can reach a top speed of Mach 6,’ the report said.
While that seems like something Northrop Grumman and the Air Force might have anticipated, the scientists claim there is something the brainiacs in the high desert did not factor in. In their simulation, the B-21 took evasive action but it did not consider a second missile going after the Raider’s accompanying drone. The missiles switched targets and the one headed for the drone changed direction and took out the B-21. The drone was then nailed by the missile originally headed for the bomber. As simplistic as it sounds, there might actually be a breakthrough in there. Like spacecraft re-entering the atmosphere, hypersonic missiles blasting toward a target at Mach 6 are normally blacked out from external communications because of the heat of friction with the air. The Chinese have said they have figured out how to maintain continuous communications with their hypersonic missiles, leading to the course corrections of the missiles and simulated defeat of the Raider.
Virgin Australia increases pipeline of 737 MAX-8 aircraft orders
The new MAX-8 aircraft will reduce emissions by at least 15% per flight compared to older generation 737s, supporting the airline’s 2030 ambition of reducing carbon emissions intensity by 22% and commitment to targeting net-zero emissions by 2050. The MAX-8 aircraft also feature new-generation interiors and are 40% quieter than existing 737s. The existing order of 25 MAX-10s, with an expected delivery from late 2025, remains in place. The larger MAX-10s will transport more passengers for a similar amount of fuel to current 737 aircraft, resulting in 17% less emissions per seat per trip.
Virgin Australia maintains one of the youngest commercial fleets in Australia, with an average age of 11.7 years. In coming days, work will start on an AU$110 million (£58 million) interior refresh and product upgrade across the airline’s existing 737s. The first refitted aircraft is scheduled to come out of maintenance in Melbourne in early December, and the project will be completed during the next 18-24 months. The project includes installation of in-seat power for all business-class and economy-class seats, installation of new business-class seats, consistent with the new Boeing MAX-8 aircraft, installation of new or refreshed economy-class seats, with seat design to be consistent with the new Boeing MAX-8 aircraft, as well as introduction of in-flight Wi-Fi and complimentary in-flight entertainment (via a guest’s own personal device) to aircraft not yet upgraded for Wi-Fi.
Embraer delivers fifth upgraded E-99M aircraft to the Brazilian Air Force
The fifth EMB 145 AEW&C aircraft, upgraded and designated as E-99M, has been delivered by Embraer to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). The aircraft has been updated to perform Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) functions, as well as participate in intelligence, surveillance and airborne reconnaissance missions. Developed utilising the platform established by the successful ERJ 145 regional jet, the FAB’s E-99 is capable of detecting, tracking and identifying targets in its coverage zone and transmit the information via data link. The aircraft conducts airspace surveillance, interception control and management, electronic intelligence and border monitoring missions.
The E-99M aircraft now features an updated Erieye Radar and Command & Control (C2) system and will also include a new Electronic Warfare (Non-Communication – NCOM) system, a new IFF Transponder, seven software-defined V/UHF radios, a new Mission Audio system with VoIP technology and a new Mission Audio and Data recorder, as well as a data-link function adapted to a new architecture. The interior of the aircraft has also seen an update to improve crew comfort and expand the operating capacity with five consoles redesigned and optimised for more efficient use of the upgraded systems.
The E-99M project is led by the Combat Aircraft Programme Coordinating Committee (COPAC) together with Embraer and international suppliers such as SAAB, Aeroelectronica International (AELI), and Rohde & Schwarz. Atech, a subsidiary of Embraer, is participating in the project by developing part of the command-and-control system, as well as six mission planning and analysis stations which will provide training and development opportunities for the crews. The EMB 145 AEW&C is also operated by the air forces of India, Mexico, and Greece. EMB 145 AEW&C aircraft.
Russia seized 10 times as many airliners than it lost to sanctions
Russia’s Transport Minister has come out with what he says is the final tally of aircraft lost and gained when sanctions from the Ukraine invasion were imposed and it would appear the country made out like bandits. Vitaly Savelyev told Russian media outlet RBC (and translated by Business Insider) that 76 Russian-registered aircraft were stranded outside the country when most countries closed their airspace to them almost two years ago. By contrast, Russia effectively seized more than 800 aircraft owned by Western leasing companies and placed them on its own registry.
Savelyev suggested Russia was the aggrieved party in the whole affair. “We were unexpectedly taken by surprise by the decision to take away the planes,” Business Insider quoted Savelyev as saying. The aircraft were outside the country for maintenance, storage or on flights. An An-124 owned by Volga Dnepr is caught up in a diplomatic snarl in Toronto. It was supposed to be donated to Ukraine, but the cargo company has since sued the Canadian government alleging the seizure of the plane violates a trade treaty between the two countries.
Savelyev says the country has 1,302 commercial aircraft, 1,167 of them airliners. Many of those are in a state of questionable airworthiness. However, since the sanctions have virtually stopped the flow of parts needed to maintain the aircraft. Savelyev said Russia has actually offered to buy some of the seized planes from the leasing companies but to no avail. “There is a ban and a demand for return; they do not want to enter into negotiations on compensation for their payment and the purchase of ships from them,” Savelyev said. Sending the planes back is out of the question, he added, because doing so ‘means leaving itself without aviation.’
Hartzell Engine Tech acquires Kelly Aero
Hartzell Engine Tech, a portfolio company of Arcline Investment Management, has acquired the assets of Kelly Aero LLC, a leading manufacturer of aftermarket aircraft magnetos, replacement parts and ignition harnesses for General Aviation and military applications. “With this acquisition, Hartzell Engine Tech is excited to add manufacturing capabilities for aircraft ignition products to our existing lines of engineered, firewall forward, engine accessories,” said Hartzell Engine Tech President Keith Bagley. “We extend our appreciation to Jeffrey Kelly, his family and Neil Clark for creating and stewarding a great product line that will integrate nicely with Hartzell Aviation’s Built on Honor philosophy,”
Beginning in early 2024 and after a thorough technical evaluation and receipt of PMA approval, Hartzell Engine Tech will rebrand the newly acquired products as PowerUp Ignition Systems. PowerUp Ignition Systems will be the largest operation in Hartzell Engine Tech’s product portfolio, joining Janitrol Aero, Fuelcraft, Plane-Power, Sky-Tec and AeroForce Turbocharger Systems.
Hartzell Engine Tech is incorporating new PowerUp Ignition Systems production within its main Montgomery manufacturing facility. Hartzell Engine Tech total employment will increase by about 40 employees as a result of the acquisition. Kelly Aero’s former Montgomery facility will be used to expand the capacity of Hartzell Engine Tech’s existing machine shop. The customer direct magneto service work will be accomplished at Quality Aircraft Accessories, Hartzell Engine Tech’s sister company in Tulsa, Okla and Fort Lauderdale, Floridia.
Airbus flies a fully automated helicopter with a tablet
Airbus has successfully tested a new simplified human machine interface (HMI) along with advanced autonomous features through a project code-named Vertex. These technologies, developed by Airbus UpNext, are controlled by a touchscreen tablet and aim to simplify mission preparation and management, reduce helicopter pilot workload and further increase safety.
The Airbus Helicopters’ FlightLab flew fully automated from lift-off, taxi, take-off, cruise, approach and then landing during a one-hour test flight by following a predefined route. During this flight, the pilot monitored the system which is able to detect unforeseen obstacles and automatically recalculate a safe flight path. Whenever necessary the pilot can easily override the controls through the tablet and resume the mission afterwards. The flight test period ran from 27 October through to 22 November at the Airbus Helicopters’ facility in Marignane, France.
Airbus Helicopters will continue to mature the different technologies that comprise Vertex: vision-based sensors and algorithms for situational awareness and obstacle detection; fly-by-wire for enhanced autopilot and an advanced human-machine-interface – in the form of a touchscreen and head worn display for inflight monitoring and control.
Azul plans to electrify Caravan fleet with Surf Air
Brazilian airline Azul has agreed to work with Surf Air Mobility on plans to convert its fleet of Cessna Caravans to electric propulsion. Surf Air Mobility is partnered with electric motor developer MagniX and systems integrator AeroTEC in seeking a supplemental type certificate to convert the turboprop single. With Azul’s support, Surf Air now aims to seek approval from Brazil air safety regulator ANAC.
Azul operates 27 Cessna Caravans through its Azul Conecta regional division. According to Surf Air, converting these would eliminate carbon emissions and reduce direct operating costs by up to 50 percent, potentially allowing operators to launch routes that are not economically viable with current aircraft. Surf Air aims to receive FAA approval in 2026. It is one of several companies working to convert the Caravan to either all-electric or hybrid-electric propulsion. Others include Ampaire, aircraft OEM Textron Aviation and hydrogen fuel cell developer ZeroAvia.
NZAAL places order with Tecnam for 10 aircraft
Tecnam and New Zealand Airline Academy Limited (NZAAL) announced a firm order for 10 Tecnam aircraft, consisting of eight single engine P2008 JC Night VFR, one single engine P-Mentor IFR trainer with RNAV capability and ballistic safety parachute, plus one multi-engine P2006T Premium edition aircraft. The first of these, the Tecnam P2006T aircraft, is flying direct from the factory in Capua, Italy to the NZAAL base in Oamaru, New Zealand. The remaining nine training aircraft are scheduled for delivery starting in the 2nd quarter of 2024. This strategic investment underscores NZAAL’s dedication to providing unparalleled training experiences and further solidifies its position as a global leader in aviation education.
New Zealand Airline Academy Limited (NZAAL) is a New Zealand based award-winning flight training organisation, holding certifications under Part 141 of the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand and Part 141 of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam. As an exclusive cadet pilot training provider for Air India’s group AIX Connect (formerly Air Asia India), NZAAL is strategically located in the picturesque locale of Oamaru, North Otago. Three towered airfields with instrument approaches are in close proximity to the base airfield with many more coastal and mountain airfields offering challenging and varied weather conditions that create real-world flying conditions for cadets. Established in 2018, by two seasoned aviation professionals, NZAAL started flight training with one Tecnam P2008. Five years later, this ten aircraft expansion will take their Tecnam fleet to a total of 24 aircraft and overall fleet total to 26 aircraft including two P2006T Twin advanced Multi IFR trainers a tribute to the two Directors of NZAAL who embarked on their commercial pilot training journey in New Zealand more than sixteen years ago.
AutoFlight unveils AAM firefighting programme
eVTOL company AutoFlight announced the launch of a high-payload firefighting programme and released a fully functional prototype. With a maximum take-off weight of two metric tons (MTOW), the firefighting model is designed to lift a 400kg payload over a distance of up to 200km and can reach speeds in excess of 200km/h. It can transport four high-performance fire-extinguishing canisters, each weighing 100kg, with the capacity to extinguish fires covering up to 200 sq. / m individually. This means that in a single payload, the four canisters can collectively extinguish fires spanning up to 800 sq. / m. The firefighting model is based on the CarryAll, AutoFlight’s cargo eVTOL, for which Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) certification is expected by early 2024.
Kellen Xie, Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Business Development at AutoFlight said: “Compared to existing fire-fighting Unmanned Aerial Vehicles available in the market, AutoFlight’s prototype has achieved significant breakthroughs in terms of load capacity, flight duration, coverage, flight efficiency and firefighting effectiveness. The initial demonstrations with potential customers received very encouraging feedback. We will now enter discussions with clients and development partners to evolve the prototype into product, including ground station and supporting systems.” Xie added that units can now be sold for joint development by firefighting organisations for operation in 2024.
eVTOL developer Lilium secures key commercial aircraft requirement from EASA
On 27 November the German company announced that its Lilium Jet had received Design Organisation Approval (DOA) which formally acknowledges an aircraft maker’s ‘ability to design and develop safe and compliant’ vehicles. Lilium’s DOA means the developer is qualified to design and be a type certificate holder for aircraft developed according to EASA’s SC-VTOL rules, which were published in 2019 as a requirement guide to designing and making eVTOL vehicles.
Klaus Roewe, the Lilium CEO, said the development marked a ‘cornerstone’ for the Lilium Jet and ‘differentiates’ the firm from other eVTOL aircraft makers. Lilium confirmed that the process in gaining DOA qualification started in 2017. “In simple terms, the Design Organisation Approval is our License to Operate and confirms that Lilium has the organisation, procedures, competencies, resources and demonstrated rigor required to design and certify aircraft according to the very highest safety standards. This pays great tribute to our team at Lilium. Receiving Design Organisation Approval from EASA further motivates us on our path to commercialise the revolutionary Lilium Jet,” Alastair McIntosh, Lilium Chief Technology Officer and Head of Design Organisation, said.
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Scout Aerial Africa – unleashing technology to preserve our biodiverse planet
In the heart of our natural world, where lush forests stretch as far as the eye can see and the biodiversity of our planet thrives, something extraordinary is taking place in Africa. Above the treetops, beyond the canopy, and high into the skies, technology has taken flight to capture the secrets of nature in ways never before imagined. But how did we get here? The journey begins with a partnership between Fair-share ESG and Scout Aerial Africa, two organisations committed to harnessing the power of technology for a greater cause. Together, they embarked on a mission that would take them to the very skies they sought to protect.
Over the course of three weeks, multiple drones took flight, soaring above the untouched landscapes of our planet. With precision and grace, they captured high-resolution multispectral and RGB data, pixel by pixel, hectare by hectare. These 550,000 images are not just pictures; they are windows into the heart of our natural world. Processing this vast trove of raw multispectral imagery was a monumental task, one that could have easily overwhelmed even the most advanced systems. Yet, in an astounding display of human determination and computational prowess, it was achieved in just four weeks.
The combined efforts of Fair-share ESG and Scout Aerial Africa transformed raw multispectral imagery into a powerful tool for understanding, preservation and conservation. It is a testament to human ingenuity and dedication to safeguarding our planet. But the real marvel lies in what these images can tell us. They offer an extremely detailed view of our biodiversity, allowing us to zoom in on individual species and ecosystems with unprecedented accuracy. Our scientists and researchers can now monitor their health, track changes, and pinpoint threats with a clarity that was once unimaginable, whilst offering a staggering 11,000% increase in efficiency, compared to traditional monitoring methods.
What is even more astonishing is the project’s ability to estimate carbon biomass output for the entire 30,000-hectare area. As climate change looms large, comprehending our planet’s carbon storage capabilities has never been more critical. This data is not just about understanding local ecosystems; it’s a crucial piece in the global puzzle to combat climate change. As we stand on the precipice of a new era in conservation, let this monumental project serve as a rallying cry. It is a reminder of what is possible when technology, corporate responsibility and a passion for preserving our planet’s natural beauty converge. The 550,000 images captured across 30,000 hectares are more than just data: they are windows into the future. They are a promise that, with innovation and cooperation, we can make a difference, one pixel at a time, one hectare at a time and ultimately, for the entire planet.
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