THIS WEEK IN MIDWEEK UPDATE
Plan your weekend
This week in aviation history
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12 February: EAA Aviation Legends Talk Show EAA Auditorium, Rand Airport. Guests: Ex RAF Bomber Command "V" Force officers Louis Nel and Colin Francis. For more information contact email@example.com
27 February-1 March February: Swellengrebel fly-in. Contact Pieter Venter firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 250 9504
28 February: Bethlehem Aero Club annual Sling, Bushbaby and chopper fly-in. Contact Izak Venter e-mail: email@example.com or Francois Marais e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
7 March: SAAF Museum flying training and open days. Contact Capt. Kobus Kapp 012 351 2342 or E-mail: email@example.com
7 March: SAPFA Fun Rally Stellenbosch. Contact Alewyn Burger email firstname.lastname@example.org
7 March: Coves Breakfast Fly-in. Contact Rudi Geyling 0832459955 or email@example.com
21 March: SAPFA Fun Rally Virginia Airport. Contact Mary de Klerk e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
21 March; Touring Motor Glider Fly-in Kittyhawk. 2015. Contact Marietjie van Niekerk 0827656670 email@example.com
21-22 March: RV's at Parys. Pylon event, a formation competition, an aerobatics event (competition?) as well as possibly a "best build" competition. Contact Scully Levin e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
27 March: Bethlehem fly-in and Riana Nel show. Contact Jacolene Jacobs 082 854 1003
28 March: Bethlehem Aero Club fun navigation rally. Contact Izak Venter e-mail: email@example.com or Francois Marais e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or
27 - 28 March: Uitenhage Wings & Wheels festival. Contact Lourens Kruger 082 320 2615 Website: www.wingsandwheelsfestivalutenhage.co.za
28 - 29 March: Sports Aerobatics Club North-West regionals - Klerksdorp. Contact Annie Boon email@example.com
4 April: SAAF Museum flying training and open days. Contact Capt. Kobus Kapp 012 351 2342 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
11 April: Fashkosh (Stellenbosch) Website: www.stelfly.co.za Contact Alewyn Burger Alewyn@burger.org.za Cell: 082 416 1951
11 April: Henley Air Annual Skills Day at Rand Airport.
15 to 18 April: AERO Friedrichshafen dedicates itself in offering a significant collection of aviation related products and accessories. Exhibitors will be showing engines, modern ultra-lights, powered aircraft, avionics and related products and services. Over the years, this show has gained huge reputation from all over the world and the positive reaction from the attendees has motivated the exhibitors to improve the existing range and manufacture more such effective spare parts and products. For further information on the tour African Pilot is planning please send an e-mail to Athol Franz: email@example.com. The idea is to get a package deal together for about 10 to 12 persons wishing to visit AERO Friedrichshafen.
17 & 18 April: Zebula airshow. Contact: Paul Weich 083 290 6525 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Chris Potgieter 083 314 1669 e-mail: ChrisPotgieter@flysaa.com
18 to 29 April: Sun 'n Fun Tour 2015, Lakeland, Florida, USA. Contact Neil Bowden: e-mail: email@example.com .
Neil Bowden will once again be organising a tour to the USA's second largest fly-in, the Sun 'n Fun Fly-in and International Expo. In addition to the airshow, we will be arranging an excursion to the Kennedy Space Centre. A great new feature here is the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibition building housing the original Atlantis Shuttle. Also planned is a visit to the Kermit Weeks Fantasy of Flight Museum which is home to some very rare aircraft and while we are in the area there are planned visits to the theme parks - Disney and Universal. The price is from R14 750 per person plus airport tax (about R7 400).
25 April - 2 May: 8th NAC Fly Away Namibia. Contact Deneys Potgieter 082 891 4354 or firstname.lastname@example.org
29 April-3 May: Aero Club Air week at Parys airfield contact Kev Storie 011 082 1100 Website: www.aeroclub.org.za
1 - 2 May: Lowveld Airshow (Nelspruit) Cell: 079 499 5733 Contact Willemien Hodgkinson e-mail: email@example.com
8 - 9 May: SAAF Museum Swartkops Airshow, Pretoria Contact Lt. Col Mike O'Connor e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 012 351 2290
8 - 10 May: Battlefields fly-in (Dundee) Lourens Roos 082 875 5419
E-mail: email@example.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.battlefieldslodge.co.za
February 11 2006 - Steve Fossett set the absolute world record for "distance without landing" by flying his GlobalFlyer from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, around the world eastbound, then upon returning to Florida continuing across the Atlantic a second time to land in Bournemouth, England. The official distance was 25,766 statute miles (41,467 km) and the duration was 76 hours 45 min.
February 11 2000 - Jacqueline Auriol, French aviatrix, dies (b. 1917). Auriol earned a military pilot license 1950 then qualified as one of the first female test pilots. She was among the first women to break the sound barrier and set five world speed records. Her exploits earned her the Harmon Trophy 1951 and aga1952.
February 11 1959 - A US meteorological balloon achieves a record height of 146,000 ft. carrying a special package of detectors sending information by radio signal to the ground.
February 12 1969 - The Mil Mi12, the world's largest helicopter, establishes a number of load-to-height records.
February 12 1928 - Lady Mary Hearth leaves Cape Town in an Avro Avian in an attempt to make the first solo flight by a woman from South Africa to England. She will arrive in Croydon on May 17.
February 12 1903 - The world's first successful heavier-than-air aircraft engine, which will power the Wright brothers' first airplane in December 1903, runs for the first time in Dayton, Ohio.
February 13 1923 - Chuck Yeager, American fighter & test pilot, and the first person to break the "sound barrier". in level flight, is born (1947).
February 14 1896 - Birth of Mary Anita 'Neta' Snook Southern, American pioneer aviator who achieved a long list of firsts, first woman aviator in Iowa, first woman student accepted at the Curtiss Flying School in Virginia, first woman "aviatrix" to run her own aviation business and first woman to run a commercial airfield. She was Amelia Earhart's first flying instructor.
February 16 1922 - Birth of Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, German Luftwaffe night fighter pilot and highest scoring (121) night fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare.
February 16 1912 - Frank Coffyn takes aerial views of New York City with a cinema camera while controlling his airplane with his feet and knees.
February 17 1993 - Death of Johann "Hans" Baur, German WWI flying ace, Airliner pilot and Adolf Hitler's personal pilot.
February 17 1864 - Birth of Hilda Beatrice Hewlett, first British aviatrix to earn a pilot's license, successful early aviation entrepreneur. She created and ran the first flying school in the UK.
FRANK VERSTEEGH AND NIGEL HOPKINS AT CHAPTER 322 EAA OF SA
On the first Wednesday of every month members and guests meet at the Dickie Fritz MOTH Hall for Chapter 322's monthly meeting. Besides the normal Chapter business the meetings that are always well attended gives members and visitors the change to socialize and swop stories and ideas.
Guest speaker are regularly invited and on Wednesday 4 February it was no surprise that the venue was packed to capacity. The speakers for the evening were Nigel Hopkins and Frank Versteegh. Nigel needs no introduction. His numerous titles include World Precision Flying Champion, Advanced Aerobatics Champion and a consummate airshow display title has made him a household name.
Frank the author of "Niet for piloten" started to fly in 1972. He first visited in 1985 when he competed in the La Mercy in the South African Masters of Aerobatics in a Pitts Special. He has flown in 40 countries, displayed in 1,400 airshows, is an expert airshow commentator and organiser as well as TV producer.
Frank's light hearted presentation had the audience either on the edge of their seats or in stiches. He said that the biggest risk a display pilot face is not getting paid. Some of the excuses offered why no funds were available were that the cashbox has been stolen, the weather was bad on the second day of the show, there was an aircraft crash or the event was badly organised. In Frank's opinion display pilots face a bigger risk during the ferry flight to events than during the actual display.
He was adamant that there is no place in aviation for show-offs, so called experts and that the most dangerous trait of all is those whose egos exceed their ability. Frank completed his presentation by saying "display your professionalism, not your ego. "
EMBRAER KC-390 MILITARY TRANSPORT MAKES SUCCESSFUL FIRST FLIGHT
Embraer successfully performed the first flight of the new military transport and aerial refuelling jet, the KC-390. Test pilots Mozart Louzada and Marcos Salgado de Oliveira Lima and flight test engineers Raphael Lima and Roberto Becker flew the aircraft for 1 hour and 25 minutes, conducting an evaluation of flying qualities and performance.
"This first flight is a fundamental step toward accomplishing the task with which we were entrusted. The KC-390 is the result of a close cooperation with the Brazilian Air Force and international partners, representing what is most likely the greatest technological challenge that the Company has ever encountered in its history. We are profoundly moved for having achieved this key milestone", said Frederico Fleury Curado, President and CEO of Embraer.
"The program continues to move forward as planned and the KC-390 has drawn interest from several countries around the world", said Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer Defence & Security. "We are proud to once again keep our commitments in the development of this aircraft, which will set a new standard in the category of tactical military transport."
"The KC-390 will be the backbone of transport aviation for the Brazilian Air Force. From the Amazon to Antarctica, the fleet of 28 aircraft will play a key role in the diversity of projects of the Brazilian State, from scientific research to the maintenance of sovereignty", said Aeronautics Commander, Lieutenant-Brigadier General Nivaldo Luiz Rossato.
On its maiden flight, the KC-390 crew performed manoeuvres to evaluate its flight characteristics and conducted a variety of systems tests, having benefited from an advanced campaign of simulations and extensive ground tests. "The KC-390 behaved in a docile and predictable manner," said Captain Louzada."The advanced fly-by-wire flight control system and the latest-generation avionics make flying easy and render a smooth and precise flight."
About the KC-390
The KC-390 is a joint project of the Brazilian Air Force and Embraer to develop and produce a tactical military transport and air-to-air refuelling plane that represents a significant advance in terms of technology and innovation for the Brazilian aeronautics industry. This is an aircraft designed to set new standards in its class, at a lower operational cost and with flexibility to perform a wide range of missions: transport and airdropping of cargo and troops, aerial refuelling, search and rescue, and forest fire response, among others.
On May 20, 2014, Embraer and the Brazilian Air Force signed the serial production contract for the delivery of 28 KC-390 aircraft and initial logistic support. Besides the order from the Brazilian Air Force, there are current purchase intentions from other countries, for a total of 32 additional aircraft.
SIKORSKY S-97 RAIDER™ PROGRAM BEGINS GROUND TESTS
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) announced the start of bladed ground testing, a major milestone, for the S-97 RAIDER™ program. The RAIDER™ is an armed reconnaissance rotorcraft designed to significantly outmatch conventional military helicopters in manoeuvrability, payload, speed, range and high/hot environmental conditions.
"Testing all of the aircraft's systems together, for the first time, marks significant progress in the development of this next generation helicopter and moves the program closer to first flight," said S-97 RAIDER Program Manager Mark Hammond.
During the ground runs phase, the S-97 RAIDER team is testing the first of two aircraft prototypes as a completed system for the first time. The team will perform initial ground tests with the aircraft tied down and will focus on verifying correct operation of the propulsion system, drive train, rotor control system and pilot-vehicle interface.
This testing comes on the heels of the recent successful completion of software qualification testing, component fatigue testing, and gearbox testing, for the first S-97 RAIDER prototype.
Sikorsky launched the S-97 RAIDER program in October 2010 with the objectives of maturing the X2™ rotorcraft design and offering a helicopter to meet U.S. Army reconnaissance and special operations needs.
In addition to ground runs for the first prototype, the program team at Sikorsky's Development Flight Centre in West Palm Beach, Florida, is prepared to begin final assembly of the second prototype S-97 RAIDER helicopter, following acceptance last month of the fuselage structure from Aurora Flight Sciences. Sikorsky rolled out the first prototype in October 2014.
Based on Sikorsky's rigid X2 rotor coaxial design, the S-97 RAIDER helicopter features next-generation technologies in a multi-mission configuration, capable of carrying six troops and external weapons. The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller provide cruise speeds up to 220 knots (253 mph).
"We look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate the RAIDER's revolutionary performance and unmatched manoeuvrability for the U.S. Army," said Steve Engebretson, Director, Advanced Military Programs. "We're delivering on our promise to design and build a helicopter with performance capabilities not seen before."
The S-97 RAIDER helicopter demonstrator program is 100% industry-funded. Sikorsky provides 75% of the investment and the suppliers provide the remaining funding. Sikorsky's goal is to attract government interest in the program.
NTSB: SELFIES CAUSED FATAL COLO. PLANE CRASH
DENVER - Investigators with the National Transportation and Safety Board said selfies likely contributed to a plane crash that killed two eight months ago.
The pilot, 29-year-old Amritpal Singh, and his passenger were killed near the Front Range Airport near Watkins on May 31. The Cessna 150 took off at around 12:30 a.m and was reported missing at 3:45 a.m. by family members. It was discovered around 7 a.m. that morning.
According to an NTSB report, recordings from a GoPro camera recovered from the crash scene revealed that Singh and his passenger were taking selfies with their cellphones during the flight. The flash from the phones disoriented Singh, causing him to lose control of the airplane, the report said.
The NTSB said the 29-year-old pilot did not meet the requirements for night flights with passengers. Singh was listed as the owner of the plane.
Source: © Curt Lewis and Associates. www.curt-lewis.com
THIRTY-SIX FOKKER AIRCRAFT PLACED IN 2014; FOUR NEW OPERATORS
Fokker Services, part of Fokker Technologies, announces that a total of thirty-six Fokker aircraft were placed with four new as well as nine existing Fokker operators during 2014 by their respective aircraft sellers and lessors. These comprise thirteen Fokker 50s, ten Fokker 70s and seven Fokker 100s. In addition, leases were extended on two Fokker 50s, as well as four Fokker 100s.
'This significant number of placements demonstrates the continued attractiveness of the Fokker aircraft. Prevailing low fuel prices make operating Fokker aircraft an even smarter choice now', says Fokker Services' Director of Aircraft Remarketing Peter van Oostrum.
Latin America continues to represent a significant market. Fast-expanding Insel Air, based in the Netherlands Antilles, has added 4 Fokker 50s, making 7 in total, while also taking 3 long-range Fokker 70s to expand its international network. In Surinam Fly All Ways also took delivery of 2 Fokker 70s. Mexico's Air Cuahonte, dba Mayair, took delivery of a Fokker 50 to grow its regional operations. The Peru Navy, which operates all 4 Fokker 60 aircraft, also took delivery of 2 Fokker 50s.
High durability and good operating characteristics in a very harsh environment have increased the Fokker 50 popularity in Africa. Four airlines have added a total of 6 Fokker 50s to their fleets.
Kazakhstan's Bek Air added 2 Fokker 100s to its fleet, making a total of 6, serving both scheduled and charter routes.
In Germany ACMI specialist Avanti Air purchased 2 Fokker 100s and started operating this month, while Dutch Denim put 2 Fokker 100s on its AOC. An undisclosed operator also purchased 1 Fokker 100.
Papua New Guinea's Air Niugini added an initial long-range Fokker 70 to its fleet of 7 Fokker 100s. Transnusa from Indonesia also took delivery of a Fokker 70, while leases on a couple of Fokker 50s were extended. Virgin Australia Regional Airlines had leases on 4 Fokker 100s extended as well, while Australian stalwart operator Alliance added 3 Fokker 70s to its ever growing Fokker fleet.
Fokker Services does not sell nor lease Fokker aircraft. Rather, it facilitates placements by sellers and lessors through its FLYFokker program, in addition to providing comprehensive support to Fokker aircraft operators throughout the world.
At present there are more than 500 Fokker aircraft operational across the world. The Fokker aircraft have earned a reputation for advanced technology, comfort, operational reliability, low noise levels and durability. Many consider the Fokker aircraft among the best mid-size aircraft ever built, or as Markus Baumann, Managing Partner of Avanti Air puts it: 'Avanti Air selected the Fokker 100 as the most versatile and cost-effective aircraft in the 100-seat segment to serve our ad hoc charters in Europe and elsewhere'.
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS STRENGTHENS ITS GLOBAL POSITION WITH 4-STAR RATING
South African Airways (SAA), the leading airline on the African continent, has strengthened its global position by being awarded a 4-Star rating for the thirteenth consecutive year.
This achievement which comes on the back of the airline announcing its financial results for the year ending March 2014 and progress with the 90 Day Action Plan implementation of its Long-Term Turnaround Strategy (LTTS), further strengthens the airline as a world player in the aviation world. South African Airways, the flag carrier for South Africa, also celebrates its 81st birthday this February.
"The 4-Star rating shows that we are on the right path as we implement the LTTS, in that it recognises continued quality improvement in our on-board product and service, and the continued improvements to airport product and service levels at our base in Johannesburg.
"Awards demonstrate that the airline can rightfully stand its ground as one of the leading airlines in the world, despite the challenges it faces. Awards also engender a sense of pride in the airline from customers and airline employees alike. Our customers can continue to expect a high quality of product and service from us," says Nico Bezuidenhout, SAA Acting Chief Executive.
The 4-Star rating which was awarded to SAA by Skytrax, the independent, global airline rating organisation, puts the airline in good company, with other international partner airlines. "South African Airways has maintained quality levels throughout what has been a difficult year for the airline, delivering world-class Product and Service standard to their customers, making this 4-Star Airline ranking well-deserved.
"The 4-Star ranking signifies that the airline has achieved a good standard of product across all travel categories, with standards of staff service delivery in both the on-board and airport environments also being well ranked," said Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax.
The Skytrax Star Ranking audit examines more than 800 areas of product and service delivery, across both airport operations and the cabin experience, and this demonstrates that South African Airways passengers can look forward to a high quality of product and service. The Skytrax Ranking provides an accurate and independent guide for travellers around the world, and the 4-Star Airline status is a most respected category.
Established in 1989, Skytrax are specialist Research Advisors to the air transport industry. Dedicated to improving the Customer Experience for airlines and airports across the world, Skytrax are leading specialist advisors delivering unique knowledge, expertise and innovative thinking to help make change happen.
SAA annually wins a host of awards, with the Skytrax 4-Star ranking the second award since the start of the year. Last month SAA was awarded as both "Best Airline in Africa" and "Best Business Class to Africa" from top US travel magazine, Business Traveller. Readers of the US based magazine are world-class experts in the business of travel who know quality when they experience it and they selected South African Airways among a variety of top travel products and services.
DASSAULT AVIATION'S NEW FALCON 8X TAKES TO THE AIR
Ultra-Long Range Trijet on Track for Second Half 2016 Service Entry
Dassault Aviation announced that the company's new flagship, the ultra-long range Falcon 8X, successfully completed its first flight a little more than one month after rollout.
With test pilots Eric Gérard and Hervé Laverne at the controls, aircraft 8X s/n 01 lifted off from Dassault Aviation's Mérignac plant near Bordeaux at 02:00 PM. The aircraft leveled off at 5,000 ft (1,500 m) and raised its landing gear before beginning flight handling maneuvers and system tests at 15,000 ft (4,500 m). It later climbed to FL400 (12,000 m) accelerating to Mach 0.80. The aircraft subsequently descended to 5,000 feet for approach and landing at 03:45 PM.
"Throughout the flight, the Falcon 8X demonstrated excellent handling qualities, the hallmark of all Dassault Aviation aircraft," said Gérard. "We reached each of the performance objectives set for the first mission and, in a few cases, surpassed target goals. I am confident that the remainder of the flight test program will proceed just as smoothly and feel extremely honored to fly such a handsome and well-engineered aircraft."
"Today we reached a key milestone in the Falcon 8X program, and are right on target for mid-2016 certification and second half 2016 deliveries," said Dassault Aviation Chairman/CEO Eric Trappier. "The new Falcon has been well received in the market place and already shows every sign of being a commercial and technical success. This early achievement reflects Dassault Aviation's half century of experience in the business aviation industry. Dassault Aviation's state-of-the-art military aircraft know-how enables us to design and build business jets that combine exceptional reliability, flight handling and technical capabilities with unmatched cabin comfort and operating economics. I congratulate the pilots, engineers, technicians and line workers, both at Dassault Aviation and at our numerous industrial partners and subcontractors facilities for their contributions in getting the 8X off to such a great start."
Falcon 8X s/n 02 and 03 are scheduled to take to the air in the coming months. Each will take part in the flight test program that is expected to last around 500 flight hours. Serial number 03 will leave midyear for the Dassault Aviation completion facility in Little Rock, Arkansas, where it will be fitted with a complete interior and undergo a stringent system test campaign.