COVID 19 REGULATIONS, INITIATIVES AND AEROCLUB NEWS
AERO CLUB COMMUNIQUE DEC 2020 #3 YEAR-END MESSAGE
This past year has been a calamitous year where the world order has fundamentally changed - nowhere with more consequence and impact than in aviation, with substantial repercussions in the airline industry that all but collapsed world-wide. Downstream effects were also felt in the general & recreational aviation industry, as lockdown restrictions curtailed most flying for some months and even with restrictions lifted to allow maintenance and later proficiency flying, the activity levels remained low. Thereafter, with a significant backlog in CoA and ATF renewals as the regulator returned to work, it is been a challenge to get airborne in any significant way.
The Aero Club and its sections were instrumental in working with the regulator & the DoT to secure the lifting of restrictions from April onwards defining protocols at the various lockdown levels to allow us access to flight. These included from Level 3 to be able to hold sporting events under specifically developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which were shared among all our sections. 2020 was also a significant year in that it celebrated a Centenary of Recreational Aviation, started in 1920 by the Millers Boys, with power flying as the prime activity. This year, the Aero Club had planned a Centenary Airweek, the Silver Queen Air Rally and a 100 aircraft fly past, which all had to be shelved. As a silver lining, the Centenary Yearbook, originally planned for publication in April, was extended to add more content, with the resulting 560 page compendium of all SA Recreational Aviation - it's a gem to own and recommended reading - see post below for details on how to obtain a copy.
This past year has also seen the Aero Club gain much interaction with the CAA and began to establish monthly meetings (since March) with the regulator on a number of advocacy topics, which has allowed us to re-orientate a more comprehensive interaction post the RAASA era with the various CAA functions that were integrated the previous RAASA functions. This has proved very successful to a point that a GA/RA Industry Liaison Forum (ILF) has been formally constituted. Regular mails have been sent out to the membership on each of the meeting interactions. We will continue to take concerted efforts to ensure recreational aviation is embraced by you, the recreational aviator and supported by the regulator to uphold our charter of ensuring freedom of flight. Foremost activities include simplifying the ATF renewal process, and establishing multi-year licencing protocols while and reducing the service level turn-around times, among others.
The CAA also released their General Aviation Safety Strategy (GASS) plan to be rolled out in the next 5 years and the Aero Club will feature volunteers to take part in developing the details of this plan from 2021. The idea is to develop improved safety standards and also looking at devolution of powers to achieve a measure of self-regulation in our GA/RA environment. How this will be achieved will take significant participation by all our various entities to develop the eventual protocols. We still need more volunteers to participate in the various focus groups:- those that are able to take part can let the Aero Club know. Details on the contents are available from the CAA website or from previous Aero Club mail Communiques.
Over the last number of years, the overall membership of the Aero Club and its constituent sections has been in decline:- a loss of 1200 members over the last five years has been observed and we are now under 3000. This is surely a sign of increasingly tough economic conditions, a turbulent regulatory environment and a few other challenges that we find ourselves in that plays a large part in lessening the recreational participation within the sections. This continues to put significant pressure on the Aero Club budget and we continue to operate without the services of a GM. This workload is shared among members with the requisite skills in various advocacy and technical areas co-opted to represent us on the various forums dealing with these matters. The membership fee was significantly reduced in 2019, with a CPI increase applied for 2020 - with a view to ensure affordability going forward.
One of the many benefits of being an Aero Club Member is the third-party insurance scheme, as within context of a wide membership base, can enjoy significant discounted premiums especially in the category of aircraft below 600 kg from 25% to 75%, depending on aircraft type (see the Aero Club website for details). Similarly, with NTCA aircraft above 600 kg and below 2700 kg, there is also an Aero Club beneficiation Third Party Liability Scheme. The premiums in terms of benefit as such far outweigh the membership fees in many cases. The Aero Club is also still working on insurance to cover APs, as well as benefits for Aero Club members on wider insurance coverage. These will be communicated as they come to hand. The Aero Club has also renewed its Airmeet Third Party Policy, which covers all the events that the Aero Club and its sections hold throughout the year, which number close to 80 or so events.
The Aero Club is also the National Aero Club (NAC) representing sporting events for competitions held internationally under the auspices of the FAI, as such, is affiliated to SASCOC in governing the conferring of Protea Colours. The FAI has also gone through some troubling fiscal times in the last 2 years with the withdrawal of major sponsorships and with income severely reduced in 2020 with virtually no international events having taken place. The General Conference held in early December was held via Zoom, also a first, and indicative of the future of holding such conferences. With many of the NACs having downgraded their memberships, a new funding model will be looked at as a project for 2021.
Celebrations and activities for our Centenary Year of 2020 has of course has been scuppered. However, many of the planned events will now take place in 2021. These will include, among others, Airweek, as our signature centenary event to be held end of April at Middelburg Airfield. This encompasses all our sections with the ambition to achieve an Oshkosh type of event which is a fly-in, forums, air displays, flymarkets and camping which will bring together our recreational fraternity and simultaneously promote youth development in aviation. Furthermore, a planned Silver Queen Air Rally will be held in conjunction with the SAAF Association as well as a 100 (101) aircraft flypast at Zwartkops. We will also be hosting an international event, which SAPFA have won the rights to and host the World Rally Flying Championships in November of 2021 which will take place in the scenic area of Stellenbosch.
Our aim continues to focus to make aviation appealing to the recreational aviator and the youth, in order for them to share and progress in the wonderful passion of all types of aviation sport offered by the various sections of the Aero Club in South Africa. As such, we are fortunate to have in our midst, many professional and retired professional career and military aviators that continue to share their mentorship and guidance freely with anyone who is interested in aviation in South Africa. With this, and with 2020 essentially behind us, let us all work together and support the structures that represent recreational aviation to make 2021 a year of recovery, growth, focus and revitalisation. It will only be our coordinated collective efforts that will ensure the survival of our disciplines in the future. If you have any comments or contributions to make you, are most welcome to contact us at the Aero Club.
If you are not a member and wish to join the Aero Club and any of its sections, feel free to do so by clicking on the member-renewals-and-new-memberships
SAPFA YEAR END MESSAGE
Dear SAPFA Member and enthusiast,
This past year, SAPFA had planned a bumper year of events, 20 in all, including a Rally World Championship to be held in Stellenbosch in November, which basically evaporated in this calamitous 2020 year where the world order fundamentally changed. The consequences and impact were felt in aviation in general and had substantial repercussions in the airline industry that all but collapsed world-wide. Downstream effects were also felt in the general & recreational aviation industry, as lockdown restrictions curtailed most flying for some months. Even with restrictions lifted to allow maintenance and later proficiency flying, the activity levels remained low. Thereafter, with a significant backlog in CoA and ATF renewals as the regulator returned to work, it is been a challenge to get airborne in any significant way.
SAPFA was able to pioneer the first Level 3 event under a drawn up Covid Standard Operation procedure (SOP) protocol held as an ANR at Brakpan in August and which attracted 20 entrants, the maximum allowed plus officials for a 50 person outdoor event. Thereafter, two Speed Rally events, one in Secunda and a Season 2 finale in Springs at the end of November were held, with a national landing competition in between. Thus, from the 20 original events, we at least managed 8.
The speed rallies have remained hugely popular, attracting up to 40 entrants. Some adjustments have been made to the rules after having debriefs between the officials and competitors with the aim to keep improving the format. This 2nd season ended with 4 events instead of the original planned 6 and going forward, we will hold four events to constitute a season. The PTAR, having been a victim of lockdown and which was planned to take place in Ermelo, will now take place in the same town in May 2021.
One of the highlights since 2018 was that SAPFA earned the prestige of hosting the World Rally Flying Championships (WRFC), which was to be held in Nov 2020. Sadly, of course, this did not happen, although we have negotiated with the GAC to postpone it to the same time frame in 2021, where all future world events have been indexed one year in advance. All our planning activities were also put-on hold, but now the hard work on the organisation needs to be done with less than a year to go. The biggest challenge will be obtaining +/- 30 rental high wing C150 & C172 type aircraft and then ferry them all to FASH. Any volunteers who can assist with this mammoth task are asked to put their hands up. See the dedicated website www.worldrallyflyingchampionship2020.com
We also need to prepare our teams to take part and would like to see a full complement of 10 teams in the South African camp and we thus need all opportunities to train teams prior to the Rally Nationals for April 2021. We did have a number of rally events in 2019, of which two were in Stellenbosch, the first in April which was a practice Nationals, and again, in November. Thus included 10 foreign teams from France, Austria, Switzerland and Poland who were here to practice and recce the Western Cape landscapes. This also allowed our own teams to familiarise with the mountainous scenery, which is unfamiliar to most of the up-country teams. As an additional SAPFA activity, we set-up a Virtual Flying competition, which took place over the original FASH 2020 World Championship period. This was to allow potential competitors to familiarise themselves with the Stellenbosch scenery.
To take part or just to practice, go to this website for further details. www.worldrallyflying.com/virtual-flying
As we close with 2020, the committee is working to make 2021 the best we can muster in a post Covid world, with a modest 11 planned events, culminating in the World Champs in November. The next AGM is planned for the 30th January 2021, the details of which will be circulated shortly to members. The agenda, nomination form & minutes from the previous the AGM are on the website. We are also looking for nominations to serve on the committee: if you could please provide any nominations you may have to serve on the committee, please send to the SAPFA secretary Leon Bouttell email@example.com by latest 18th January 2021. I would like to thank our committee and SAPFA supporters, who have worked hard at making each event and activity a success. Despite the challenges we faced in this most unusual year, and with our team approach, we could not make these happen without your assistance.
Let 2021 be a remarkable (and a recovery) year in our sport with your support.
All the Best
Rob Jonkers (Chairman)
AERO CLUB MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL TIME
Dear Aero Club Member,
It is the Aero Club and Members Association renewal time for the year 2021. Please note that we had a payment system glitch related to credit card payments that has been resolved as of 7 Dec 2020. Many thanks for your continued support for recreational aviation in South Africa. Although the current year was supposed to be a significant milestone for the Aero Club as our centenary year, we were not able to celebrate as planned. We were at least very active in securing our ability to fly during the lockdown period and made significant progress in engaging with the regulator. We will continue to build on this relationship to improve the overall service standards and work on regulatory improvements.
To renew your membership or join the Aero Club and its sections go to www.aeroclub.co.za where you can use the Aeropay System, or you can pay via EFT. The Aero Club fee has seen a small nominal increase (from a previous reduction applied for 2020) and section fees have either remained the same or have also applied nominal increases. We continue to manage our budgeted finances to apply our resources to facilitate advocacy matters with the regulator with collaborative support from the sections. Please review and renew your membership as per the payment methods noted. If you have any difficulties, please contact the Aero Club office by email or phone as given below: - Sandra and Charne are ready to assist.
Tel: 011 082 1100
Fax: 086 635 3755
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.aeroclub.co.za
THE AERO CLUB CENTENARY YEARBOOK
MORE PRIZES ADDED - THE CHOCK NORRIS AVIATION THEMED PHOTO CONTEST
How to Enter:
Entering your aviation related photo is easy and simple. All images must be emailed to email@example.com with the following detail included:
Where the photo was taken,
A theme name of the photo (Optional).
Due to the large amount of entries we expect, Pilot's Post will not acknowledge your entry!!
1. When entering the competition and by sending your photo to Pilot's Post, you explicitly grant the publication of your submitted photograph at Pilot's Post team's discretion without any remuneration or obligation to you.
2. Submitted photos must be resized to be less than 1 megabyte in size. If full-size photographs are required, the Pilot's Post team will request them from you.
3. Only photos taken with cell phones will be accepted.
3. All submissions must have an aviation theme.
4. Photo submissions may be cropped and / or resized only. Any other form of photo alteration or manipulation is not allowed and will be disqualified.
5. You may submit up to three entries per week.
1. The Pilot's Post team will select the 2 best photos submitted every week and add them into our "Midweek Update" published every Thursday morning, where our readers will then cast their votes by simply clicking the link below the photo of their choice.
2. At the end of each month, a complete article will be published on Pilot's Post to include the weekly photo submissions with the most reader votes. Our readers will then again have the opportunity to cast their votes by simply clicking the link below the photo of their choice. The photo with the highest number of votes will then be judged the Winner of the Month.
3. A prize of a set of Chock Norris personalised Aircraft Chocks with leather storage bag valued at R500
a voucher from the Pilot Shop valued at R200.00 will be awarded to each monthly winner
a soft cover copy of the Aero Club of South Africa's Centenary Yearbook valued at R300.00 sponsored by Chapter 322 of the EAA of SA
The Pilot's Post "Chock Norris 2020" aviation related photo competition is only open to photographers resident in South Africa as our prizes are not transferable and can only be redeemed in South Africa.
The following events will to take place under the rules controlling the number of people congregating together and are therefore not open to the general public.
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting via ZOOM. The meeting will be joined via ZOOM by Chapter 932 Galt Airfield, Chicago, USA.
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 674 5674
30 JANUARY 2021
SAPFA Rand Airport challenge
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 269 1516
30 JANUARY 2021
SAPFA AGM at Rand Airport after the rally
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org cell: 082 804 7032
30 & 31 JANUARY 2021
Sport Aerobatic Club Gauteng Regionals Vereeniging Airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting virtual and Dicky Fritz MOTH hall
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 674 5674
5 & 6 FEBRUARY
SAPFA Witbank Speed Rally at Witbank Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 855 9435
EAA Chapter 322 drive-in or fly-in night at Jack Taylor Krugersdorp. We will show a movie on a giant screen on the airfield. Members can drive in or fly in (camp that night on the field). The planned movie is 'Flying the Feathered Edge' with Bob Hoover.
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 674 5674
TEXTRON AVIATION SPECIAL MISSIONS DELIVERS BEECHCRAFT KING AIR 350CER AIRCRAFT TO AID IN AERIAL SURVEY AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE MISSIONS
Textron Aviation has delivered a special missions Beechcraft King Air 350CER (cargo, extended range) to the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Marine & Aviation Operations, joining one that was delivered in 2009 and used for coastal mapping, as well as aerial survey and emergency response missions following earthquakes, oil spills, and other man-made and natural disasters.
"We are honoured that the King Air 350CER aircraft continues to be the aircraft of choice to fill a variety of critical mission needs for NOAA," said Textron Aviation special mission sales VP Bob Gibbs. "The aircraft's custom sensor port modification, combined with its extended-range-performance features, makes it a powerful and reliable platform to carry out the agency's unique missions during critical times."
It is capable of loitering for up to eight hours and, using a dual-sensor port modification, can simultaneously collect data from multiple onboard sensors. Removable optical-grade glass plates allow the aircraft to be operated in a pressurized or non-pressurized environment.
This newest King Air will join NOAA's fleet of manned aircraft that is operated, managed and maintained by its aircraft operations centre at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Central Florida.
LOCKHEED MARTIN CELEBRATES A YEAR OF F-35 SUCCESSES
Despite COVID-19 challenges, F-35 Production delivers 123 aircraft. The 123rd aircraft is an F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant, built at the Cameri, Italy, Final Assembly and Checkout (FACO) facility and delivered to the Italian Air Force. In 2020, 74 F-35s were delivered to the United States military, 31 to international partner nations and 18 to Foreign Military Sales customers.
In response to COVID-19 related supplier delays, in May the initial annual delivery goal was revised from 141 to 117-123 aircraft to strategically avoid surging, which would increase production-related costs and create future delays and disruption.
"The F-35 joint enterprise team rapidly responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to deliver the unmatched combat capability the F-35 brings to the Warfighter," said Bill Brotherton, acting vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. "Achieving this milestone amid a global pandemic is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the team and their commitment to our customers' missions."
Lockheed Martin took proactive measures to mitigate COVID-19 supplier impacts and position the program for the fastest possible recovery by adjusting employee work schedules, maintaining specialized employee skillsets and providing accelerated payments to small and vulnerable suppliers. Lockheed Martin provided accelerated payments to more than 400 F-35 suppliers in 45 states and Puerto Rico.
Though COVID-19 will have short-term impacts on production, the F-35 program continues to work diligently and is on track to meet the joint government and industry recovery commitments over the coming years.
With more than 600 aircraft operating from 26 bases and ships around the globe, the F-35 plays a critical role in today's global security environment. More than 1,200 pilots and 10,000 maintainers are trained and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 350,000 cumulative flight hours. Nine nations have F-35s operating from a base on their home soil, nine services have declared Initial Operational Capability and six services have employed F-35s in combat operations. The United States Air Force deployed the F-35 for 18 consecutive months from April 2019 until October 2020 in the Central Command Area of Responsibility with hundreds of weapons employments in support of U.S. servicemembers and their allies.
LEONARDO: FIRST TWO M-345 JET TRAINER AIRCRAFT DELIVERED TO THE ITALIAN AIR FORCE
Leonardo delivered the first two M-345 jet trainer aircraft to the Italian Air Force, which to-date has ordered 18 units from a total requirement for up to 45 aircraft. The new type, designated T-345A by the Italian Air Force, will gradually replace the 137 MB-339s which have been in service since 1982.
Marco Zoff, Leonardo Aircraft Managing Director, said: "Building on our heritage and expertise in jet trainers, the M-345 will allow our customers to achieve a significant improvement in training effectiveness while at the same time reducing operating costs. This first delivery to the Italian Air Force is a key milestone, the result of a longstanding and productive team working closely together with the operator."
The new M-345, designed to meet basic and basic-advanced training requirements, will complement the in-service M-346, which is used for advanced pilot training. Leonardo's integrated training system developed around the M-345 platform, is representative of the company's technological leadership in training pilots to fly current and future generation aircraft. The system benefits from experience with, and technology developed for, the M-346, which includes a "Live Virtual Constructive" capability. This allows aircraft which are flying live training missions to incorporate simulated "friend" or "foe" elements into scenarios, allowing the pilot to be exposed to the full range of possible operational situations.
The M-345 is a high-performance aircraft which supports a pilot's transition from basic trainers to latest-generation fighters. The Italian Air Force's acquisition of the new aircraft is an important step forward in the modernization of its fleet, with the M-345 replacing the MB-339A in Air Force's second and third military pilot training phases. The M-345 has also been chosen as the new aircraft of the Italian Air Force's acrobatic team, the "Frecce Tricolori".
DEFIANT CONTINUES TO EXPAND FVL FLIGHT ENVELOPE
The Sikorsky-Boeing team continues to make significant progress as they advance DEFIANT's rigorous flight test program. Just this week, with only about two-thirds of available prop torque and engine power, DEFIANT achieved 211 knots flying straight and level. Sikorsky Experimental Test Pilot, Bill Fell, further expanded the flight envelope by reaching 232 knots while descending.
With every flight, the team increases DEFIANT's speed, angle of bank and climb rate. These crucial tests gather essential data to reduce the program's risk while validating the team's modelling and simulation tools for future designs.
"Together, Sikorsky and Boeing provide nearly 90% of the aircraft in the Army's inventory today," said Andy Adams, Vice President, Sikorsky Future Vertical Lift. "We understand how tomorrow's multi-domain operations require aircraft that provide survivability, agility and speed - where it matters."
"That's why we're planning ahead with continued flight testing, refining our designs to specifically match the Army's requirements and building a weapon system that will give the Army transformational capability with unsurpassed training and sustainment capabilities - giving our Soldiers what they need to achieve aviation overmatch for the next 40 years," Andy Adams continued.
AIRBUS DELIVERS THE FIRST A400M TO THE BELGIAN AIR FORCE
The Belgian Air Force has taken delivery of its first of seven Airbus A400M military transport aircraft. The aircraft was handed over to the customer at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville (Spain) and subsequently performed its ferry flight to the 15th Wing Air Transport in Melsbroek (Belgium), where the aircraft will be based.
Alberto Gutierrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said: "With the delivery of this aircraft, all launch customers are now equipped with the A400M. MSN106 will join Luxemburg's aircraft in the binational unit operated jointly with Belgium. Despite challenges due to Covid-19, our teams have achieved all 10 aircraft deliveries scheduled this year, bringing the global fleet in operation to 98 aircraft."
LEONARDO: QATAR'S NH90 HELICOPTER PROGRAMME MARKS MAJOR MILESTONE WITH FIRST FLIGHTS
The Qatar Emiri Air Force's NH90 helicopter programme marked a major milestone last week with first flights performed in Italy and France. The first NH90 NATO frigate helicopter (NFH), assembled at Leonardo's Venice Tessera facility, and the first tactical troop transport (TTH) over-land aircraft, assembled at Airbus Helicopters' Marignane site, took to the air on 15th and 18th of December respectively. The flights allowed crews to evaluate general handling and basic systems and the helicopters performed as expected.
Qatar's NH90 programme includes 16 NH90 TTHs for land operations, 12 NH90 NFHs for naval missions, a comprehensive support, maintenance & training services package and associated infrastructure. The programme has the potential to be extended in the future with the addition of 6 + 6 units in a mixture of TTH and NFH variants. Leonardo is prime contractor for the overall programme and is also responsible for the final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFH helicopters from its Venice Tessera facility.
The company is also supplying simulators, training aids and an extensive maintenance support and training services package for aircrews and maintenance technicians. Leonardo is providing, contributing to or supporting the integration of various avionics and sensor payloads, including the Leonardo LEOSS-T HD electro-optical system, HD Mission Video Recorder, Automatic Identification System, Tactical video link and Full HD display for cabin consoles. Airbus Helicopters is responsible for carrying out the final assembly of the 16 NH90 TTH aircraft. Acceptance of the first batch of NH90s by the Qatar Emiri Air Force is scheduled to start before the end of 2021, with the last helicopter planned to be delivered in 2025.
Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD, said "We're extremely pleased to celebrate this important achievement as we continue to work to deliver this programme. The NH90 is set to provide the Qatar Ministry of Defence, an important and longstanding customer, with outstanding operational capabilities suitable for a range of missions. Together with our industrial partners, we're committed to completing and introducing this essential defence and security enabler for our customer."
÷AMTC AIR RESCUE STARTS FLEET MODERNIZATION WITH FIVE AIRBUS H135 HELICOPTERS
Airbus Helicopters and ÷AMTC Air Rescue have signed a firm contract for the purchase of five H135s. The delivery of the first helicopter of this contract is scheduled for early 2022.
"Our demanding missions require the most modern helicopters available for enhancing our capability for critical missions, e.g. during the night. We have been operating the H135 for more than 20 years and we look forward to benefiting from the advantages that the Helionix version brings," said Reinhard Kraxner, CEO at ÷AMTC Air Rescue. "The reduced pilot workload combined with the 4-axis autopilot will be a valuable asset onboard for our crews that rescue patients often in challenging environments."
"We thank ÷AMTC Air Rescue for their continued trust in Airbus Helicopters and particularly in the H135," said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. "The H135 continues to demonstrate that it is the reference in air medical rescue all over the world."
÷AMTC Air Rescue operates 28 H135 helicopters from 17 permanent bases and 4 additional bases during the wintertime in Austria. Last year, the operator performed more than 20,000 missions, with on average 52 missions per day.
The H135 is the helicopter of reference for helicopter emergency medical service operators worldwide. It combines a wide, unobstructed cabin with excellent performance, range and payload capacity - along with low sound levels. The oversized sliding side doors and rear clamshell doors enable fast loading/unloading of patients, with additional safety during ground operations provided by Airbus' signature shrouded Fenestron tail rotor.
On top of the 4-axis autopilot, Helionix offers an innovative cockpit layout which helps to increase situational awareness. Designed with three large electronic displays on the H135, the cockpit is Night Vision Goggle compatible and includes a First Limit Indicator which highlights the appropriate engine instrument data for the pilot in one indicator.
To date, more than 1,400 helicopters of the H135 family have been delivered around the globe with more than 5,6 million flight hours.
AIR FORCE CONTRACT GIVES ANOTHER BOOST TO CARGO DRONE MAKER ELROY AIR
San Francisco-based Elroy Air has landed a Phase 3 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the U.S. Air Force that will help operationalize its hybrid-electric VTOL cargo drone, Chaparral.
The amount of the contract has not yet been announced, but is expected to be greater than the $1.5 million the Air Force awarded to Elroy Air last year under a Direct to Phase 2 SBIR contract. The new funding comes via Agility Prime, the Air Force effort to accelerate development of the commercial eVTOL industry.
According to Elroy Air CEO David Merrill, under Phase 3, the company will demonstrate technical progress of its subsystems and development tools as well as its next-generation Chaparral platform, which is expected to launch flight trials in the second half of next year.
Because Elroy Air is between prototypes at the moment, it is not yet participating in Agility Prime's so-called "air race to certification," although it expects to do so next year. In the meantime, Merrill said, the SBIR contract will provide a framework for collaboration with the Air Force similar to the ones established with air race participants Beta Technologies and Joby Aviation, with the goal of clearing a path for adoption of the aircraft by the Air Force and other government customers.
Although the Chaparral is undergoing some modifications from the version that first flew in August 2019, Merrill said that the company continues to target a range of 300 miles (480 kilometres) and a payload of 300 pounds (135 kilograms) for the VTOL platform. With some refinements, the Chaparral will also retain the autonomous cargo handling system revealed last year, which uses a combination of technologies including lidar and camera navigation to pick up and drop off cargo pods without human intervention.
South Africa, Cape Town: A New SANParks Airbus AS350B-3+ (Squirrel) helicopter was badly damaged at Cape Town International airport after the pilot lost control during take-off. The aircraft was based in Cape Town to assist with aerial law enforcement and conservation management operations in the Table Mountain National Park and surrounding areas. The pilot, who was flying alone during the incident, only suffered minor injuries and received medical attention.
Italy, Fiumicino: An Alitalia Airbus A320-200, was accelerating for take-off from Fiumicino for a flight to London when the crew observed a flock of birds, believed to be gulls, sitting on the runway and preparing for departure. The crew rejected take-off at low speed (about 74 knots over ground), the birds flew up and departed, while the crew brought the aircraft down to taxi speed, vacated the runway avoiding a bird strike. It returned to the threshold runway 25 and departed without further conflict, from a then unoccupied runway, about 17 minutes after the rejected take-off. The aircraft landed in London without further incident about 10 minutes past schedule.
Netherlands, Amsterdam: A Delta Airlines Airbus A330-300 was climbing out of Amsterdam for a flight to Atlanta, USA when the crew stopped the climb at FL060 reporting they had a minor issue with the landing gear and requested to enter a hold while trying to figure it out. The aircraft entered a hold over waypoint SUGOL. After about 25 minutes in the hold, the crew advised the company wanted them to return to Amsterdam, the landing gear didn't want to come up, no assistance was needed though it would be an overweight landing. The aircraft landed safely on Amsterdam's runway 27 about 35 minutes after departure.
Atlantic Ocean, 660nm eastnortheast of Goose Bay: A Maleth Aero Airbus A340-600, on a flight from from Bournemouth,EN (UK) to New York JFK,NY (USA) with 5 people on board, was enroute at FL380 over the Atlantic Ocean when the crew reduced their speed in preparation for predicted moderate turbulence. About 660nm eastnortheast of Goose Bay,NL (Canada) the turbulence increased to severe making it impossible for the crew to type a descent request into the CPDLC (Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications) and the crew was also unable to establish contact with Gander Oceanic on HF radio. The crew therefore performed oceanic contingency procedures, broadcast a PAN PAN call and descended to FL340. Gander Oceanic subsequently acknowledged and cleared the flight for FL340, the crew cancelled PAN PAN and continued to destination without further incident, landing at JFK about 4 hours later. The Canadian TSB reported there were no injuries.
USA, Farmingdale-Republic Airport, NY: A Raytheon Hawker 800XP suffered an accident during landing on runway 14 at Farmingdale-Republic Airport, New York, USA. Both occupants sustained minor injuries and there was damage to the nose radome while the main and nose landing gears had collapsed.
Colombia, Bogota: An Avianca Airbus A319-100 was on final approach to Bogota when the aircraft collided with a large plastics object floating in the air, the object got entangled with the left-hand engine, left wing and left horizontal stabilizer as well as the right-hand engine, right hand wing and right-hand horizontal stabilizer. The crew managed a safe landing and steered the aircraft off the runway via a high speed turn off and stopped immediately after crossing the hold short line. Colombian media are speculating the plastics object might have been a pyrotechnic balloon.
Strait of Malacca, Port Klang Free Zone, Malaysia: A Robinson R66 operated by My Heli Club with two occupants experienced an apparent dynamic rollover during a landing attempt on gravel terrain at Port Klang Free Zone in the Strait of Malacca, Klang, Selangor. The helicopter sustained substantial damage and the two occupants onboard received minor injuries.
USA, Fort Lauderdale: A passenger's cell phone battery charger on board an Air Canada flight with 134 occupants on short final to Fort Lauderdale caught on fire on short finals. The flight attendants extinguished the fire with water and put the device into the PED (Portable Electronic Device) Secure containment bag. The aircraft continued for a safe landing on runway 28R and taxied to the apron.
Pakistan, Minimarg: At least four soldiers including two pilots of the Pakistani army were killed in a helicopter crash in the northern areas of the country during a casualty evacuation operation in the Minimarg area of Gilgit Baltistan. The military chopper was evacuating the dead body of a soldier Sepoy Abdul Qadeer to Combined Military Hospital located in Skardu when it crashed.
1 JANUARY 1946
A British South American Airways Avro Lancastrian becomes the first commercial flight to depart Heathrow Airport
The Avro 691 Lancastrian was a Canadian and British passenger and mail transport aircraft of the 1940s and 1950s developed from the Avro Lancaster heavy bomber. The Lancaster was named after Lancaster, Lancashire; a Lancastrian is an inhabitant of Lancashire.
In 1945, deliveries commenced of 30 British-built Lancastrians for BOAC. On a demonstration flight on 23 April 1945, G-AGLF flew 13,500 mi (21,700 km) from England to Auckland, New Zealand in three days, 14 hours at an average speed of 220 mph (354 km/h).
The Lancastrian was fast, had a long range and was capable of carrying a heavy load, but space inside was very limited as the Lancaster had been designed with space for its seven-crew dispersed throughout the fuselage, with the majority of the load being carried in the 33 ft (10.05 m) long bomb bay. Consequently, as passengers are bulky but low in weight, it was not suited to carry large numbers of passengers, but was suitable for mail and a small number of VIP passengers. BOAC used it for flights between England and Australia from 31 May 1945. It also served with the RAF; RAF Lancaster I serial number PD328, was converted to a Lancastrian and renamed Aries, as well as serving with Qantas and Flota Aťrea Mercante Argentina.