THIS WEEK IN MIDWEEK UPDATE
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This week in aviation history
Worldwide incidents and accidents
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15 October: EAA Auditorium. Guest: Commandant Rynier Keet (SAAF Retired). Rynier was appointed as the Project Officer of Project Brahman and the Cheetah was the result. He retired as OC of 5 Squadron which was equipped with Cheetah E's at the time. Before this he flew and instructed on the usual suspects such as Harvards but was also fortunate enough to fly Vampires, Sabres, Impalas and Mirages. His list of recollections will no doubt include his ejection from a Cheetah E during a test flight. Venue: EAA Auditorium adjacent to TAC and holding point of Runway 29, Rand Airport, Hurricane Road. Germiston. Time: 18h30 for 19h30 (time to order your drinks & Boerewors/ Steak roll). Cost: R50.00 each (R30 for card carrying EAA, members). Booking: Send an e-mail to book at firstname.lastname@example.org
24 - 25 October: Sports Aerobatic Club KZN regionals - Ladysmith. Contact Annie Boon email@example.com
28 - 29 October SADC Aviation Safety & Security conference at Gallagher Convention Centre Contact Obert Chakarisa e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 076 895 6868
31 October: Bethlehem Aero Club fly-in and hangar dance. Contact Izak Venter e-mail: email@example.com or Francois Marais e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 November: EAA Chapter 322 meeting at Dickie Fritz Moth Hall. Edenvale. 18.30 for 19.00. Refreshments available. Go to http: www.eaa.org.za/Chapter_322
6-9 November. Limpopo Flight School - Potties Vliegklub fly in. Breakfast and camping. For more information contact Nico Willemse 082 852 5961
7 November: SAAF Museum flying training and open days. Contact Capt. Kobus Kapp 012 351 2342 or E-mail: email@example.com
7 November: Aero Club of South Africa annual awards SAAF Museum Swartkops. Contact Sandra 011 082 1100 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
7-8 November: Fort Beaufort Fly-in. Camp at the airfield or stay in town. Contact Matthew 0836527576
13 - 15 November: The EAA of SA Sun 'n Fun Fly-in to Brits will include the following: Peter Hengst Memorial Breakfast Fly-in on 14 November, Neil Bowden Oshkosh Pilgrims Reunion, Mass Airplane Factory Sling Fly-in and SAPFA organised 'Poker Run'. Camping on the airfield, numerous B&B accommodation in town. Braai on Friday evening at the BFC Clubhouse, sit-down dinner on Saturday - come and experience bushveld hospitality and EAA camaraderie with the famous delicious catering of BFC. All aircraft and pilots welcome. Further info email@example.com 083 259 7691
13 to 15 November: Mafikeng annual fly-in and hangar dance. Contact Connie Conradie 082 449 1546 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
21 November: SAPFA Fun Rally Brits. "Peter Hengst Memorial Fun Rally Contact Jonty Esser email@example.com for Rally information and entries and Trixiie Heron firstname.lastname@example.org for EAA"
5 - 6 December: SAC ACE of Base - Baragwaneth airfield (Syferfontein) Contact Annie Boon email@example.com
5 December: SAAF Museum flying training and open days. Contact Capt. Kobus Kapp 012 351 2342 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
7 December: ICAD (International Civil Aviation Day) Contact Mark Swarts e-mail: SwartsM@caa.co.za Cell: 082 878 0875
4th & 5th March 2016: Uitenhage Wings and Wheels Fesitval Incorporating the Doug Davidson Memorial Airshow - Uitenhage Airfield, Eastern Cape. Stalls, Entertainment, Beer Garden, Plane and Stock Car race, Parades, Vintage and New Car exhibits, Bike Raffle and moreÖ. Contact Lourens Kruger 082 320 2615.
October 14 2012 - In the Red Bull Stratos project, Austrian Felix Baumgartner sets a new height record for a parachute jump, diving from a capsule suspended beneath a helium balloon over Roswell, New Mexico, at an altitude of 128,097 feet (39,044 meters; 24.26 miles; 39.04 km). The 9-minute descent includes a 4-minute-20-second free fall of 119,846 feet (36,530 meters; 22.7 miles; 36.5 km), during which he reaches Mach 1.24 (833.9 mph; 1,342.8 km/hr), becoming the first person to exceed the speed of sound without travelling in a jet aircraft or spacecraft.
October 14 1927 - Dieudonne Costes and Joseph le Brix make the first non-stop aerial crossing of the South Atlantic, flying a Breguet 19 from Saint-Louis, Senegal to Port Natal in Brazil, as a part of their round-the-world 57,000 km trip.
October 14 1908 - Henry Farman makes the first cross-country flight in a power-driven aeroplane, from Bouy to Reims (27 km) in 20 min.
October 15 1913 - Lieutenant Ronin makes the first official airmail flight in France.
October 16 1992 - Flt Lt Nicky Smith, graduated from 89 Course at Shawbury to become the RAF's first female helicopter pilot
October 16 1963 - A B-58 Hustler bomber of the U.S. Air Force?'s 305th Bombardment Wing sets a new speed record by flying from Tokyo, Japan, to London, England, via Alaska and Greenland in 8 hours 35 minutes at an average speed of 938 mph (1,510 km/hr).
October 16 1909 - German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin forms the world's first commercial airline.
October 17 1931 - The first hook-on test of the U. S. Navy's parasite fighter program takes places, as the Curtiss XF9 C-1 prototype successfully docks with the dirigible USS Los Angeles (ZR-3).
October 18 1909 - Charles Comte de Lambert, Wilbur Wright's first aviation pupil, flies around the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
October 19 1977 - Concorde made its first landing in New York City and for New Yorkers, it was love at 1st sight!
October 20 1986 - The presidential aircraft of Mozambique, a Tupolev Tu-134, crashes in South Africa, killing President Samora Machel and 33 other passengers. The aircraft (registered C9-CAA) crashes into hills after the pilots fail to follow proper instrument procedures for landing at Mbuzini. Though an investigation of the crash would show no indication of any sabotage or intentional grounding, many people such as Nelson Mandela claim that Machel was murdered. Ten people survived.
October 20 1922 - Lt Harold Harris makes the first parachute escape from a stricken aircraft, bailing out of a Loening PW-2 over Dayton, Ohio.
Poland, Krzesiny: A Polish F-16 collided mid-air with a small drone suffering damages to its fuselage and fuel tank. According to the Polish Aviation Law Act and the Polish Civil Aviation Authority, a person charged with causing an aviation incident may be sanctioned with 12 years of imprisonment, while sole flight inside the controlled airspace of an airfield, may face 5 years of imprisonment.
USA, Syracuse: The Captain of American Airlines Airbus A-320 died during the flight. The aircraft was on its way to Boston and carrying 152 passengers. The co-pilot landed the plane safely. Eight pilots in the USA had died whilst at the control since 1994.
Syria: Two USA F-16s were diverted over Syria to ensure they could maintain a safe flying distance from a Russian fighter aircraft in the same area. The two F-16s were on their way to a location near the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa were not able to complete their mission. U.S. pilots have been under orders to change their flight path if there is a Russian plane within 20 nautical miles.
Slovenia, Bovec: A 54-year-old Austrian man, deployed the ballistic parachute of a Pipistrel Virus after the aircraft's wings were torn off mid-air. The pilot and a passenger were flying over Slovenia when they got into difficulties after running into a cloud bank. In an effort to get out of the cloud they most likely exceeded Vne which caused the break-up. Both pilots and passenger survived.
USA, Tampa: Police arrested a 40 year old man for pointing a laser at their helicopter. They were conducting routine flight operations at approximately 3:40 a.m. when the helicopter was targeted by a blue laser being directed from a location on the ground. The air crew was able to direct patrol units to the location where the laser shot originated and officers came into contact with a subject who was in possession of a blue lases in the backyard of a residence.
CHINA PLANE MAKER REVEALS STEALTH JET CAPABILITIES TO LURE BUYERS
Photo © Avic
China's top aircraft manufacturer has revealed specifications of an advanced stealth fighter jet in a bid to lure foreign buyers, the official China Daily reported on Friday.
In a rare disclosure, the state-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China (Avic) unveiled the capabilities of the J-31 aircraft at an aviation show, even though the jet is still being tested, the newspaper said.
Avic officials have made no secret of the fact that they are seeking foreign buyers for the aircraft, hoping to compete with Lockheed Martin's F-35. Countries that cannot buy weaponry from the United States have increasingly sought them from China, particularly because Chinese arms are often cheaper.
Avic said the fifth-generation fighter jet, which has a 1,200 km (750-mile) combat range and a top speed of 2,205 kph (1,370 mph), is designed to be in service for up to 30 years, the China Daily reported. It has a maximum payload capacity of 8 metric tons, the newspaper said.
An Avic executive said last year the jet could "take down" foreign rivals in the sky. The twin-engine J-31 took its maiden flight in 2012.
Defense analysts have often compared the jet to the U.S.-made F-35, and U.S. officials have speculated that China may have used cyber espionage to acquire classified knowledge about the aircraft's development.
Stealth aircraft are vital to China developing the ability to carry out both offensive and defensive operations, the Pentagon has said in a report about developments in China's military. The J-31 is China's second domestically produced stealth fighter jet.
President Xi Jinping has pushed to toughen the 2.3 million-strong armed forces as the country takes a more assertive stance in the region, particularly in the South China and East China seas.
NEPTUNE AVIATION AWARDED CONTRACT WITH FOREST SERVICE
Photo © Neptune Aviation. The Forest Service will double the number of next generation air tankers it uses against wildfires. The aircraft can fly faster and carry more retardant than older firefighting aircraft that are still in use. Neptune Aviation in Missoula was selected for a five-year contract to supply four of the air tankers.
Neptune has been in the business of flying air tankers for 23 years. Each summer they fly air tankers to fight forest fires under temporary contracts.
Neptune officials said being selected for a five-year contract for four air tankers is a big deal. It means stability for the company to grow and build.
"We're excited about it. We've been working four years to get these five-year contracts, so it's been a long effort. It's been very satisfying and rewarding to get them. So we're excited about going forward," said Neptune Aviation CEO Ron Hooper.
Neptune Aviation works with the Forest Service during fire season. They have an exclusive-use contract, which means the Forest Service decides where the aircraft go and what fires they are assigned. Neptune Aviation provides the flight crews and all the maintenance on the aircraft.
Over the summer, Neptune had 12 aircraft fighting fires. Currently, workers are adjusting the planes and doing winter maintenance on all the aircraft after a busy summer.
"(It's been a) very busy year. We flew primarily in California, Oregon, Washington, but we flew over 2,160 hours with that fleet of 12 aircrafts, so it's been a very busy year," said Hooper.
Hooper said the company is grateful for the contracts. It means they can watch the business grow for many years to come.
The new addition of the four air tankers means Neptune Aviation will now have 11 air tankers under contract with the Forest Service.
PIPER BEGINS DELIVERY OF NEW WARRIOR TRAINING AIRCRAFT TO FLIGHTSAFETY INTERNATIONAL
Photo © Piper. Piper Aircraft, Inc. announced that FlightSafety International has begun taking delivery of 20 factory new, single-engine Piper Warrior aircraft. The first five aircraft were handed over to FlightSafety Academy at the Piper factory in Vero Beach, Florida during a delivery ceremony last week. The remaining aircraft will be delivered throughout the fourth quarter, with all 20 expected to enter service before the end of the year.
"As a recognized leader at the forefront of building training aircraft, Piper is honoured to provide FlightSafety with these initial Warriors for the Academy," said Piper President and CEO Simon Caldecott. "We are committed to manufacturing the most reliable, best value aircraft for the next generation of pilots."
"Our students will benefit from the training they receive using these well-equipped, efficient and reliable aircraft," said Nancy Ritter, Manager FlightSafety Academy. "We appreciate the outstanding value, quality and support Piper provides, and look forward to receiving the additional aircraft."
All of the aircraft will be equipped with Garmin G500 avionics suites and ADSB for the most comprehensive traffic and weather solution. The aircraft will have satellite enhanced dual antenna traffic awareness technology, enabling one-second updates for traffic situational awareness. All aircraft come equipped with GTN 650, replacing the former GNS 430.
Established in 1966, FlightSafety Academy is a world leading provider of ab initio training. It is a reliable and highly respected source of well-trained pilots for a growing number of airlines around the world. Over 21,000 graduates fly for some 62 airlines and 100 corporate flight departments worldwide.
ALASKA AIRLINES INCREASES OVERHEAD STORAGE NEARLY 50 PERCENT WITH FIRST 737 FEATURING NEW BOEING SPACE BINS
Photo © Boeing. Boeing (NYSE: BA) and hometown partner Alaska Airlines celebrated the first 737 featuring Boeing's new Space Bins, which increase the room for carry-on baggage by 48 percent. Alaska is the launch customer of Space Bins.
"Alaska is relentlessly focused on making the travel experience better," said Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines vice president of marketing. "We've been on a mission to improve our cabin experience for several years and Space Bins are part of a $150 million investment we've made to make flying more comfortable and enjoyable. By the end of 2017, nearly half of our fleet will have larger bins to accommodate a carry-on bag for virtually every customer."
Alaska will take delivery of 34 Next-Generation 737s and one 737 MAX in the next two years and will also begin retrofitting 34 aircraft with the Boeing Sky Interior, primarily 737-900ERs (Extended Range), in 2016.
Each Space Bin stows six bags, two more than the current pivot bins installed on Next-Generation 737s with the Boeing Sky Interior. That's based on a standard size carry-on bag measuring 9 in x 14 in x 22 in (23 cm x 36 cm x 56 cm).
"We work closely with our customers to continuously enhance their airplanes so they can offer great passenger experiences," said Brent Walton, manager of 737 Interiors New Features for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We have a strong record of delivering value with innovative interior features like bigger bins that help reduce passenger anxiety about overhead storage and provide a better travel experience."
When open, the bottom edge of a Space Bin hangs about 2 inches (5 centimetres) lower, so travellers can lift their carry-on bags more easily. The deeper bins allow more bags to be stowed and increase visibility into the back of the bins. Alaska Airlines also reports that the Space Bins, designed without a flight attendant bin assist mechanism, are easier to close.
Alaska Airlines is installing Space Bins on all its 737-900ERs and 737 MAX aircraft currently on order and by 2017 will have 69 airplanes, or 46 percent of its passenger fleet, outfitted with Space Bins.
Boeing's Space Bins are available as an optional feature on in-production Next-Generation 737s and 737 MAXs. Space Bins are also available for retrofit on in-service Next-Generation 737s.
ASCENSION AIR SERVICE TO AND FROM ST HELENA
Photo © Comair. Ascension Island Government (AIG) and St Helena Government (SHG) are pleased to announce that Comair Limited has been selected as the preferred bidder for the provision of air services between Ascension Island and St Helena.
Comair has recently been awarded the contract for return flights between Johannesburg and St Helena. The service to and from Ascension will be an extension to this service - initially on a frequency of once every four weeks and for a trial period of one year.
Photos © Basil Read
Comair will utilise a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, configured for economy and business class, for the weekly Saturday service from Johannesburg to St Helena. Under the new arrangement, on one Saturday in four, the service will be extended to include a flight from St Helena to Ascension Island. This flight will take approximately two hours, with an overnight stay on Ascension Island. The flight will then depart Ascension Island on Sunday morning for St Helena Airport - and then on to Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport.
AIG is grateful for the strong support given by Governor Mark Capes, Executive Council, Enterprise St Helena and officials on St Helena.
BOND AIR SERVICES TO DELIVER UK'S FIRST H135 TO THAMES VALLEY AIR AMBULANCE
Night Vision capability key in H135 selection
Photo © Bond Air Services
The first H135 in the UK, acquired and operated by Bond Air Services on behalf of Thames Valley Air Ambulance, is imminently entering into service in the Thames Valley region. The public launch of the aircraft took place in Oxfordshire on Monday 12th October and will see the start of the H135's first operations in the UK, in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) role.
Initially delivered to Bond Air Services in August 2015 for the fitting of an Aerolite EMS interior and completion, the H135 will replace Thames Valley Air Ambulance's current EC135T2, in service since 2008. Replacing this aircraft with an H135 is a testament to Thames Valley Air Ambulance's satisfaction and confidence in the performance and capability of this family of aircraft.
Mark McGeown, CEO Thames Valley Air Ambulance said, "We are looking forward to bringing it into service as our next generation EMS aircraft. The improved performance, increased payload and better fuel economy of the Airbus H135, combined with NVIS capabilities, will enable our crews to take the major step into night HEMS operations. This is key to the future development of our air ambulance service"
The commitment to the new helicopter, a decision not lightly made by a charity, comes as a result of the additional capabilities the H135 brings, including night flights, advanced avionics, further reduced noise footprint and increased payload. Furthermore, the light maintenance requirements, coupled with high reliability ensure the H135 has the lowest direct operating costs in its class.
Colin James, UK Managing Director Airbus Helicopters, said "The H135 is the latest evolution of Airbus Helicopters' most successful light, twin-engine helicopter. It has been the backbone of British police and EMS operations for the last decade and the H135 provides the improved capability for it to continue in this role for the decade to come".