Plan Your Weekend……..Forthcoming Events…….Aviation News

Worldwide Incidents and Accidents……This Week in Aviation History

10: Rand Airport Challenge. Contact Frank Eckard e-mail: frank.eckard@mweb.co.za cell: 083 269 1516

10: SAPFA AGM - Rand Airport Saturday. Contact Rob at

15-17: SAPFA Committee Bosberaad - Paddafontein.

17: Rustenburg (FARG) Breakfast Fly-In .

3rd Saturday of every month. Microland. Bring and braai. Fires and bykos provided. Fires start from 09h30. Contact person: Nick Swardt 082 441 8011 or Alan Hussey 072 82 2341

21 to 25: Armed Forces Day Kimberley.

3 & 4: SAC Western Cape Regionals and annual fly-in Swellendam airfield. Contact Annie Boon E-mail: chunge@mweb.co.za or contact Pieter Venter E-mail: pventer@vgv.co.za

3: SAAF Museum AFB Zwartkop open practise day. Officer Commanding - Museum oc@saafmuseum.org.za 012 351 2290

3: Durban Wings Club Fun Rally. Virginia Airport, Airport Street, Durban North, 4051, South Africa (map). Contact: Mary de Klerk maryd@expandingbranding.co.za

8: EAA Chapter 322 meeting. Dicky Fritz Moth Hall Edenvale. Contact:

9 to 11:Aero Club of South Africa air week at Middleburg airfield. Contact Alan Evan-Hanes E-mail:
alan@aeroclub.co.za . Kindly follow this link and complete the RSVP form, to indicate your intentions to attend the Airweek from 9 to 11 March 2018 at Middelburg. https://goo.gl/forms/lgvAlo1sUSu2ugjt2

3rd Saturday of every month. Microland. Bring and braai. Fires and bykos provided. Fires start from 09h30. Contact person: Nick Swardt 082 441 8011 or Alan Hussey 072 82 2341

25: Piet "Vlieg" Smit Memorial Fly In. Aviators Paradise .

4: EAA Chapter 322 meeting. Dicky Fritz Moth Hall Edenvale. Contact: editor@afskies.co.za

4 to 11: Stars of Sandstone at Sandstone Estates Ficksburg .Contact Louise Norton E-mail: sandstone-Estates-Pty-Ltd@mail.vresp.com

7: Ermelo Airshow Contact Andre van Rooyen E-mail: tolderia@gmail.com Cell: 082 417 0174

8: SAAF Museum AFB Zwartkop open practise day. Officer Commanding Museum oc@saafmuseum.org.za 012 351 2290

7 to 8: Sport Aerobatics Western Cape Regionals Swellendam. Contact Annie Boon E-mail: chunge@mweb.co.za

2-14: SAPFA Rally Nationals and Fun Rally - Brits Airfield. Contact Frank Eckard e-mail: frank.eckard@mweb.co.za cell: 083 269 1516

14: Zebula Airshow. Contact Hans Potgieter E-mail: airshowevents@gmail.com Cell: 082 460 4970

21 & 22: SAC KNZ regionals - Ladysmith airfield. Contact Annie Boon E-mail: chunge@mweb.co.za

28: Wings & Wheels Uitenhage. Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: imk@telkomsa.net Cell: 082 320 2615

3rd Saturday of every month. Microland. Bring and braai. Fires and bykos provided. Fires start from 09h30. Contact person: Nick Swardt 082 441 8011 or Alan Hussey 072 82 2341

27 April to 1 May: South African Canopy Piloting National Championship 2018 will be hosted by the CP Committee at Pretoria Skydiving Club in Gauteng from.

27 April - 1 May 2018 NAC Fly Away; the 10th Fly Away to be staged by NAC
Contact Deneys Potgieter deneys.potgieter@nac.co.za or Mobile 082 891 4354

27-29: EAA Convention, Vryheid Airfield.

28: EAA Convention Adventure Rally. Contact Rob Jonkers e-mail: rob@aerosud.co.za cell: 082 804 7032

The Aviation Radio Show; get all your questions answered in one place. To listen to a recording of the live broadcast click on the link:


The first pilot from South Africa to fly in the Challenger Class, Patrick Davidson is new to the Red Bull Air Race in 2018, but his name will already be familiar to many aviation fans. Photo © Red Bull.

In aerobatics, Davidson has not only claimed multiple national championships and podiums on the world stage, but he's also a leading display pilot who performs for audiences globally.

Born in 1982, Davidson has aviation in his blood, as both his father and grandfather were renowned display pilots. Growing up at airfields with his dad as his mentor and trainer, young Patrick was eager to get behind the controls himself. He earned his private pilot licence at age 17, and by 25 he became South Africa's youngest aerobatic champion, securing a berth in his first FAI World Aerobatic Championship.

In the decade since, Davidson has not only added more national titles to his name, but his numerous podiums at the World Championships include highlights such as third place overall in individual competition, as well as silver medals with Team RSA. He has clinched wins and podiums at a variety of other prestigious international events as far afield as China, and he was named Aeroclub South Africa's pilot of the year in 2014 and 2016.

Beyond competition, Davidson has a strong passion for preserving historic aircraft and sharing them with the public in display flights. His personal collection includes biplanes and classic World War II fighters as well as today's high-performance aerobatic planes and even a jet. Altogether, the South African, who also has experience flying as a commercial pilot, has logged more than 2,500 flight hours in over 30 different aircraft.

"I feel that becoming a part of the Red Bull Air Race is one of the highest accolades that an aerobatic pilot could dream of. This is a different kind of flying and I would like to learn as much as I can - but having the personality that I have, I also want to achieve as best I can!" Davidson shares. "It is an awesome privilege and an honour for me to fly the South African flag in this sport."

Patrick finished 6th in his first race in the Challenger Class at Abu Dhabi on 3 February 2018. "It was an interesting experience and there was a lot of information to take in. This morning I was nervous, but the run was my best net time so far, but I picked up a penalty. I'm looking forward to the season and going to new venues with the new race plane. It's a good learning ground and a great way to get into the Master Class, and now that we have the Edge we're getting closer to them." Patrick said.


Michael Goulian had the perfect race plan this week and it paid dividends today in the race. He collected his second career win in the Abu Dhabi track after a nine year wait. Here's what he and the other Master Class pilots thought about the first race of 2018. Photos © Red Bull.

"It's been a long time coming to get that second win, but it feels great. I was very fast all week and very consistent. I was excited for Qualifying, excited for the race, but I knew I couldn't get too excited. So we worked on just putting one foot in front of the other and make small improvements. I had a feeling we would do well today, but I didn't want to put the cart in front of the horse. We want to be consistent now and we want to win races, but our aim is make the Final 4, get the points and be in the challenge for the World Championship."


Sevenair currently operate a training fleet of 20 aircraft, which includes both the Tecnam P2010 and P2006T Twin. Photo © Tecnam.

Tecnam announced today that Sevenair Academy, Portugal's leading flight training organisation (FTO) has placed and order for 10 Tecnam P2008JC Mk II aeroplanes.

Sevenair currently operate a training fleet of 20 aircraft, which includes both the Tecnam P2010 and P2006T Twin. This new and significant investment is part of Sevenair's commitment to continue to not only become one of Europe best and largest FTO's but ensure potential commercial pilots are being trained on state-of-the-art aircraft such as on its wide range of Tecnam models.

2018 sees the Sevenair Academy celebrating 30 years of operations. Throughout this period, it has trained thousands of pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians and flight dispatchers which are now employed by some of the largest airlines in the world

Alexandre Alves, Chief Commercial Officer of Sevenair Group said: "The Tecnam P2008JC Mk II is without doubt the best replacement for our legacy trainers such as the Cessna 152, due to its design, superlative performance, technology and innovation. Our Tecnam aeroplanes have more than proven their value too in terms of operational capability, reliability, training advantages and cost effectiveness."

Walter Da Costa, Tecnam Global Sales and Marketing Director said: "This major acquisition reaffirms the Sevenair Academy endorsement of the superlative range of Tecnam aeroplanes. Their Tecnam fleet enables Sevenair to offer their students the most cost effective training by employing state of the art aircraft, equipped with advanced avionics."


The successful capability enhancement for the H145M continues. Photo © Airbus

In the first weeks of December 2017, Airbus Helicopters demonstrated the ability to fire laser guided rockets (FZ275 LGR from Thales) with its new H145M platform at the Älvdalen test range of the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration Flight test Centre.

The successful capability enhancement for the H145M continues. In the first weeks of December 2017, Airbus Helicopters demonstrated the ability to fire laser guided rockets (FZ275 LGR from Thales) with its new H145M platform at the Älvdalen test range of the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration Flight test Centre. In a rough and challenging environment the system performed flawlessly.

The electro-optical system (MX-15D) from L3 Wescam with embedded laser designation enabled a deviation of less than a meter for all rockets fired at a distance of up to 4.5 km. This 70mm laser guided air-ground rocket enhances the H145M's engagement capabilities. It fulfils the precision strike needs of the armed forces worldwide by reducing the risk of collateral damage, particularly during asymmetric combat operations.

"The laser guided rockets from Thales performed incredibly well especially taking into consideration the weather conditions we experienced during the trials which were far from ideal with a lot of moisture in the air" said Raymond Laporte, test pilot at Airbus Helicopters.

Following the success of the ballistic firing tests, held in Hungary in October 2017, the achievement of this new milestone with laser guided rockets is in continuity of Airbus Helicopters' HForce development strategy to boost the H145M mission capability.

Final qualification of the ballistic HForce system on the H145M is scheduled for end of this year, while the laser-guided rockets are planned for end 2019.


This long-range A321neo variant opens new markets for airlines. Photo © Airbus.

Airbus' new A321LR completed its maiden flight today, marking a major milestone in the expansion of the company's best-selling A320 airliner product line.

This A321LR variant - its LR designation signifies 'long range' - is able to cover 7,400 kilometres nonstop, allowing airlines to tap into new long-haul markets, such as transatlantic routes not accessible with current single-aisle aircraft. Its 'long legs' are signified by the depiction of a New York-to-Paris route on the fuselage, represented by illustrations of Paris' Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty in New York.

The A321LR's interior is based on the A321neo ACF, or Airbus Cabin Flex configuration, itself an evolution of the twin-engine A321neo that has captured more than an 80 percent share in its middle-of-the-market category.

Passenger cabin updates and an additional centre fuel tank

Incorporated in ACF's interior are a new centre section and modified passenger door/emergency exit arrangement, allowing for 206 passengers in a comfortable two-class layout or up to 240 passengers in single class layout - all with the widest single-aisle fuselage cross-section in the skies. Passengers have the possibility of stowing up to three bags each, and the availability of the Airspace by Airbus cabin further enhances an unrivalled travel experience for passengers.

The A321LR version that performed its maiden flight today features an increased maximum take-off weight and an additional centre fuel tank, extending the aircraft's range to 7,400 km.

Today's maiden flight was performed from Airbus' industrial facility in Hamburg, Germany, with the aircraft powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines. Nearly 100 hours of flight tests are planned as Airbus seeks A321LR type certification from the European and American airworthiness certifying authorities. Deliveries to airline customers are expected beginning in the fourth quarter of this year.


Milestone in advancing Urban Air Mobility achieved as Vahana celebrates two years since launch
. Photo © Airbus.

Vahana, the all-electric, self-piloted, VTOL aircraft from A³ by Airbus, today announced the successful completion of its first full-scale flight test, reaching a height of 5 meters (16 feet) before descending safely. The test was completed at 8:52AM Pacific on 31 January 2018 at the Pendleton UAS Range in Pendleton, Oregon. Its first flight, with a duration of 53 seconds, was fully self-piloted and the vehicle completed a second flight the following day.

"Today we are celebrating a great accomplishment in aerospace innovation," said Zach Lovering, Project Executive of Vahana. "In just under two years, Vahana took a concept sketch on a napkin and built a full-scale, self-piloted aircraft that has successfully completed its first flight. Our team is grateful for the support we've received from A³ and the extended Airbus family, as well as our partners including MTSI and the Pendleton UAS Range."

Vahana is a project developed at A³, the Silicon Valley outpost of Airbus. A³ enables access to unique talent and ideas, new partnership opportunities, and execution at speed. Vahana aims to democratize personal flight and answer the growing need for urban mobility by leveraging the latest technologies in electric propulsion, energy storage, and machine vision.

"Vahana's first flight demonstrates Airbus' unique ability to pursue ambitious ideas quickly, without compromising the quality and safety for which the company is well-known. For A³, it proves that we can deliver meaningful innovation with aggressive project timetables, to provide a real competitive advantage for Airbus," said Rodin Lyasoff, A³ CEO and former Project Executive of Vahana. "Our focus now is on celebrating the work of the tireless Vahana team while maintaining the momentum of this accomplishment."

Vahana leverages its self-piloted capabilities to operate without a passenger. Following these successful hover flights, the team will turn to additional testing, including transitions and forward flight.

USA, Chicago: Sixty six year Marilyn Hartman whose repeated efforts to sneak onto flights earned her the nickname "serial stowaway" was arrested on charges of misdemeanour criminal trespass and violation of bail bond at Chicago's O'Hare Airport just three days after she was released in another case stemming from the London trip. On January 14, she made it through O'Hare security and onto a flight bound for Heathrow Airport. British Customs officials detained her at Heathrow on January 15. She returned to O'Hare on January 18 and was arrested on the spot. Hartman made national news in 2014, when she was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport for successfully boarding a flight from Mineta San Jose International Airport without a ticket. She pleaded no contest to the charges and was sentenced to probation. The next day she was rearrested at Los Angeles International Airport. She was arrested in Florida in 2015. Another arrest followed at O'Hare in 2016 for violating her probation, which forbid her from setting foot on airport property.

France, Cabasse: Five people have died after two Aérospatiale SA 341 Gazelle helicopters of the Army's School of Light Aviation crashed in Southern France. One person was also confirmed missing.

UK, London: A bunch of party balloons almost brought down a Cessna 560 private jet minutes after it had taken off from a central London airport. Thankfully, a pilot on board of the spotted the bundle of 20 yellow and black balloons shortly after takes-off. The crew disconnected the autopilot and dodged them, passing just 6ft above it and 3ft to the left, around 2,300 ft in the air.

USA, Orange County: A Robinson R44 Raven II operated by Revolution Aviation/Spitzer Helicopter LLC impacted residential structures and terrain in Newport Beach shortly after take-off from John Wayne-Orange County Airport in Santa Ana, California. The helicopter sustained substantial damage and two of the four occupants onboard as well as one person on the ground were fatally injured. Two people onboard the helicopter received serious injuries.

UK, London: The pilot of an Airbus A321 passenger jet arriving at Heathrow thought he hit a 'three or four engine drone' approaching the airport after spotting the device less than five feet from the aircraft. The jet was flying at 1,700 feet over Kew in West London when the jet's first officer spotted the drone out of his window at a range of about 5 feet. The crew believed the drone was so close to the jet that there was no way it could not avoid striking the aircraft's tail. Fortunately the aircraft was able to land on runway 27 left without incident and engineers found no evidence that the jet had been damaged by the drone.


The Federal Aviation Administration retires an aircraft registration number for the first time - That of Amelia Earhart's airplane, which disappeared over the Pacific in July 1937.

Photo Underwood & Underwood / commons.wikimedia.org
The Federal Aviation Administration has retired the airplane registration number used by pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart when she disappeared on a flight over the Pacific Ocean 50 years ago, officials said Monday.

FAA Administrator T. Allan McArtor said that number N16020 was retired at the request of Earhart's sister, Muriel Earhart Morrissey of West Medford, Mass.

The number, reserved for Amelia Earhart for infinity, is never to be used by anyone ever again.

Earhart's silver twin-engined Lockheed 10 Electra was marked with the number when she and Fred Noonan, her navigator, were lost at sea July 2, 1937, as they tried to set a record flying around the world.

A seeker of records and publicity to popularize aviation, Earhart was almost 40 when she was lost.

Midweek Update

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