Midweek Update 5 January 2023

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein


Textron Aviation today announced that Aerus, a new regional airline in Mexico, is launching its fleet with the purchase of two 19 passenger configured Cessna SkyCourier twin-engine turboprops and four Cessna Grand Caravan EX turboprops. The airline recently took delivery of the first three Grand Caravan EX aircraft.

The Cessna SkyCourier and Cessna Grand Caravan EX are designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company.

"A fleet of Cessna SkyCouriers and Cessna Grand Caravans will enable Aerus to be successful in growing service range and frequency of flights," said Marcelo Moreira, vice president of Sales, Latin America region, Textron Aviation. "Both aircraft offer superior performance and low operating costs in combination with flexibility in cabin and payload."

The Cessna SkyCourier and Grand Caravan EX aircraft are versatile and reliable business tools that enable customers like Aerus to fulfil their missions. Based in Monterrey, Mexico, Aerus will cover unserved national and international routes in order to meet the needs of its customers.

“When we looked at options within the market to operate the routes we had in mind, it was a no-brainer decision to choose the Grand Caravan EX and the SkyCourier from Textron Aviation, which will be the cornerstone of the Aerus project,” said Javier Herrera, CEO, Aerus. “We are very proud to be one of the first operators of the new SkyCourier, which we are sure will be a great success for Textron Aviation and Aerus. We appreciate Textron Aviation's support as we set launch operations.”

Aerus is part of Grupo Herrera, which has 80 years of experience in the automotive, financial, and real estate industries, and has had an air taxi permit since 1990. The company plans to begin its airline operations in the first quarter of 2023.


Piper Aircraft, Inc. has been awarded FAA approval for its flagship product the Piper M600/SLS single-engine turboprop aircraft to be operated from unpaved fields. Piper has received numerous requests for unpaved field certification from several global markets and is pleased to announce kit approval has also been completed for Canada, the UK, and Europe (EASA). Brazil certification is expected in early 2023.

All 2022 M600/SLS aircraft, starting with serial number 198, are factory provisioned to operate on unpaved fields with the incorporation of Supplement #5 into the approved aircraft Pilot's Operating Handbook. Fielded 2016-2021 M600 aircraft equipped with five-blade propellers also have the option to be modified by Piper Kit #88705-702 to accommodate the same unpaved field operations. The primary kit components include a slightly redesigned nose fork and scissor link to handle unpaved field surface inconsistencies, the installation of a small nose gear wheel well plate cut-out allowing the nose wheel to stow properly with the gear retracted, and a POH supplement.

“The Piper M600/SLS is known for its performance, reliability and versatility over a wide array of general aviation missions,” said John Calcagno, President and CEO of Piper Aircraft, Inc. “Now, with the addition of unpaved field capability, the M600's versatility and asset value are taken to a whole new level.”

Piper Aircraft is running an introductory promotion for all M600 unpaved field kits ordered before November 30, 2022. All M600 owners are encouraged to contact their local Piper Dealer/Service Centres to learn more.


Tecnam announced today that the renowned CANAVIA Spanish Aviation Academy based in the Canary Islands, will incorporate three new Tecnam aircraft: One multi-engine P2006T MarkII and two P2008JC MarkII's into their fleet.

The school already operates two multi-engine P2006T MarkII's and three single-engine Tecnam P2008JC MarkII”s operating 365 days a year.

With this new acquisition the academy will have a total of five P2008JC MKII, and three P2006T MKII. The P2008JC is an ideal aircraft for all phases of single-engine training, as it is equipped with the latest Garmin G3X Glass Cockpit technology and the renowned Tecnam flying qualities.

The Tecnam P2006T MkII is a twin-engine four-seat aircraft with fully retractable landing gear. Its simplicity, performance, efficiency and ergonomics are what make this aircraft ideal for multi-engine training, as well as cross-country flying. The P2006T offers unbeatable value proposition and innovative design with the modern Garmin avionics suite, and (2) Rotax 912S3 engines, allowing unrivalled fuel saving.

The P2006T MkII can compete with single engine aircraft on consumption, and in a single platform it offers different ratings as Multi Engine Piston (MEP), Variable Pitch Propeller, EFIS, and retractable landing gear.

“We are so proud to have CANAVIA as one of the major flight academies using our modern fleet solution. Together we are innovating the Flight Training in Europe.” says Tecnam's Chief Sales Officer, Walter Da Costa.

“CANAVIA achieved the goal to having a fleet composed exclusively of Tecnam aircraft, a brand characterised by its commitment to the safety, reliability and quality of its wide range of aircraft. By doing so, CANAVIA guarantees its students and future pilots a training distinguished by excellence.” Said CANAVIA's CEO, Mario Pons.

The aircraft delivery is also a fantastic training opportunity: as for the rest of our fleet, a student will ferry flight the aircraft, together with an instructor, from Tecnam headquarters in Capua, Italy to CANAVIA base in Canary Island, gaining experience of an international cross-country flight.

By choosing Tecnam as the fleet for their academy, CANAVIA is embracing the new philosophy in flight training only offered by Tecnam. This fleet expansion will not only improve the quality of training and reduce the costs for its students, but also help to preserve the environment. Recent study shows that flight schools operating with TECNAM single engine fleet can reduce emissions by up to 60%. This equates to10 tons of CO2 for each student by the time they receive their Commercial Pilot License.


The UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has granted a permit to fly for ZeroAvia's Dornier 228 aircraft, which has been retrofitted with its prototype hydrogen-electric powertrain. ZeroAvia secured the permit to fly following an extensive ground testing campaign and a rigorous review of the full development program.

It means that ZeroAvia, the leader in zero-emission aviation, can now begin the first test flights of its 600kW hydrogen-electric powertrain. The 19-seat twin-engine aircraft has been retrofitted in an engineering testbed configuration to incorporate ZeroAvia's hydrogen-electric engine powering the propellor on its left wing, operating alongside a single Honeywell TPE-331 stock engine on the right for appropriate redundancy to allow the safe testing of the novel propulsion technology.

The test flights are set to be a landmark achievement for ZeroAvia and the HyFlyer II project, a major R&D program backed by the UK Government's ATI Programme, which targets the development of a 600kW hydrogen-electric powertrain for 9-19 seat aircraft.

For this testing program, ZeroAvia has worked with the CAA in meeting a far more stringent set of requirements when compared to the E-Conditions framework ZeroAvia had used for its 6-seat prototype in 2020. Part 21 is an industry-standard term used to describe the regulatory approval of aircraft design and production organizations, and the certification of products, parts, and appliances for aircraft. Securing this permit to fly is a significant milestone in ZeroAvia's path towards commercialization.?

“Earning our full Part 21 permit to fly with the CAA is a critical milestone as we develop a zero-emission aviation propulsion system that will be the most environmental and economical solution to the industry's climate impact. We're going to be starting 2023 in the best way possible, by demonstrating through flight that true zero-emission commercial flight is much closer than many think.

It will pave the way for a commercially certifiable configuration for ZA600 to be submitted by the end of 2023, ahead of delivering powertrains for the first commercial routes for 9-19 seat aircraft to commence by 2025. With 1,500 engines under pre-order, partnerships with seven aircraft manufacturers and multiple fuel and airport partnerships, ZeroAvia is well positioned to lead the industry's transformation to a clean future.

When test flights begin in January, ZeroAvia's Dornier 228 testbed is expected to become the largest aircraft to ever fly using a hydrogen-electric powertrain.


Textron Inc (NYSE: TXT) announced today that Bell Textron Inc., a Textron company, has been awarded the development contract for the U.S. Army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program. The award is based on Bell's V-280 Valor tiltrotor that was developed and tested as part of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR TD) program that began in 2013.

The V-280 progressed through design, manufacturing, and more than three years of rigorous flight testing that provided extensive data validating the technical and operational advantages of the aircraft for the long-range assault mission.

"We are honored that the U.S. Army has selected the Bell V-280 Valor as its next-generation assault aircraft," said Scott C. Donnelly, Textron's chairman and chief executive officer. "We intend to honor that trust by building a truly remarkable and transformational weapon system to meet the Army's mission requirements. We are excited to play an important role in the future of Army Aviation."

“This is an exciting time for the U.S. Army, Bell, and Team Valor as we modernize the Army's aviation capabilities for decades to come,” said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO of Bell. “Bell has a long history supporting Army Aviation and we are ready to equip Soldiers with the speed and range they need to compete and win using the most mature, reliable, and affordable high-performance long-range assault weapon system in the world.”

This award builds on a decade of the V-280 Valor's progress through design, manufacturing, and thorough testing to demonstrate that this aircraft will deliver on the FLRAA program requirements. Bell and its industry partners have systematically validated the V-280 aircraft and their modular open systems approach in collaboration with the Army.

“For the past several years the Bell team demonstrated the exceptional operational capabilities, digital thread synergies, and platform affordability enhancements the V-280 provides,” said Keith Flail, executive vice president, Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. “Bell stands ready with our world-class manufacturing facilities to apply our nearly seven decades of tiltrotor expertise to deliver a modern FLRAA fleet to the Army.”

The initial contract refines the weapon system design, sustainment, digital enterprise, manufacturing, systems integration, flight-testing, and airworthiness qualification.


An Israeli-made electric vehicle designed to fly commuters on short trips far above streets overcrowded with cars has made its maiden unmanned flight, a milestone the developer says will help it reach the market in the next two years.

The test-phase voyage may not look out of the ordinary at first given the huge progress made in drone technology. Another propellered aircraft rising vertically off the ground and then thrusting forward high in the sky.

But this one, being developed by Israeli start up AIR, will be able to carry two people - an operator and passenger - as far as 100 miles on a single charge, the company says. AIR, and many competitors around the world, are betting this kind of travel will eventually become commonplace.

An employee of Israeli start up AIR sits in a prototype of AIR ONE, an electric vehicle designed to fly commuters on short trips far above streets overcrowded with cars in Beersheba.

"This is a major milestone," said CEO and co-founder Rani Plaut. "We have transitioned today to forward flight ... bringing (closer) our dream of mass production of the AIR ONE.


EHang Holdings Limited (Nasdaq: EH) (“EHang” or the “Company”), the world's leading Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (“AAV”) technology platform company, announced that EH216 AAV has completed its maiden flight by the Spanish National Police (“SNP”) at the National Academy of Police in Ávila, Spain, to initiate its trial operations by SNP in Spain.

The public maiden flight ceremony was attended and witnessed by distinguished guests and officials from the Spanish State for Security, SNP, the Spanish State Aviation Safety Agency (“AESA”), members of academia institutions, as well as the media.

By leveraging and joining forces with EHang since October 2021, SNP plans to utilize EH216 AAV for potential use in emergency and public safety missions, such as accessing contaminated areas with nuclear, radiological, bacteriological or chemical risks, landing in confined areas, aerial logistics, and other police services that may require agile and efficient aerial mobility.

The ceremony guests including Rafael Pérez, Secretary of the Spanish State for Security, Francisco Pardo Piqueras, General Director of SNP, Montserrat Mestres Domenech, Director of AESA, Pedro Prieto, Director of Aerial Means of Spanish National Police, and Victoria Jing Xiang, Chief Operating Officer of EHang Europe and Latin America .

The ceremony was presided by Rafael Pérez, the Secretary of the Spanish State for Security. “The SNP is the first security institution in the European Union to operate an AAV. Unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) constitute an alternative technological asset for multiple purposes, such as deployment in dangerous areas following a natural disaster or an accident, without endangering human lives. The lower operating costs of UAS and their constant new applications show great advantages over traditional aerial means,” Pérez said.

Pedro Prieto, the Director of Aerial Means of Spanish National Police, noted, “The capability to operate the EH216 AAV from a remote command and control station, which may be hundreds of kilometers away, reflects the National Police's commitment to fulfil its digital transformation objectives.”

Victoria Jing Xiang, Chief Operating Officer of EHang Europe and Latin America, commented, “EHang is proud to partner with a law enforcement agency and support SNP with our AAV technologies to fulfil emergency response and public safety missions. SNP's entry into trial operation of EH216 AAV lays a foundation for the deployment of Urban Air Mobility in Europe and sets an excellent example of commitment to public safety through advancing technology.”


NASA's InSight mission has ended after more than four years of collecting unique science on Mars. Mission controllers at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California were unable to contact the lander after two consecutive attempts, leading them to conclude the spacecraft's solar-powered batteries have run out of energy - a state engineers refer to as “dead bus.”

NASA had previously decided to declare the mission over if the lander missed two communication attempts. The agency will continue to listen for a signal from the lander, just in case, but hearing from it at this point is considered unlikely. The last time InSight communicated with Earth was Dec. 15.

“I watched the launch and landing of this mission, and while saying goodbye to a spacecraft is always sad, the fascinating science InSight conducted is cause for celebration,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The seismic data alone from this Discovery Program mission offers tremendous insights not just into Mars but other rocky bodies, including Earth.”

Short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, InSight set out to study the deep interior of Mars. The lander data has yielded details about Mars' interior layers, the surprisingly strong remnants beneath the surface of its extinct magnetic dynamo, weather on this part of Mars, and lots of quake activity.

Its highly sensitive seismometer, along with daily monitoring performed by the French space agency Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and the Marsquake Service managed by ETH Zurich, detected 1,319 marsquakes, including quakes caused by meteoroid impacts, the largest of which unearthed boulder-size chunks of ice late last year.

Such impacts help scientists determine the age of the planet's surface, and data from the seismometer provides scientists a way to study the planet's crust, mantle, and core.

“With InSight, seismology was the focus of a mission beyond Earth for the first time since the Apollo missions, when astronauts brought seismometers to the Moon,” said Philippe Lognonné of Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, principal investigator of InSight's seismometer. “We broke new ground, and our science team can be proud of all that we've learned along the way.”

The seismometer was the last science instrument that remained powered on as dust accumulating on the lander's solar panels gradually reduced its energy, a process that began before NASA extended the mission earlier this year.

“InSight has more than lived up to its name. As a scientist who's spent a career studying Mars, it's been a thrill to see what the lander has achieved, thanks to an entire team of people across the globe who helped make this mission a success,” said Laurie Leshin, director of JPL, which manages the mission. “Yes, it's sad to say goodbye, but InSight's legacy will live on, informing and inspiring.”

All Mars missions face challenges, and InSight was no different. The lander featured a self-hammering spike - nicknamed “the mole” - that was intended to dig 16 feet (5 meters) down, trailing a sensor-laden tether that would measure heat within the planet, enabling scientists to calculate how much energy was left over from Mars' formation.

Designed for the loose, sandy soil seen on other missions, the mole could not gain traction in the unexpectedly clumpy soil around InSight. The instrument, which was provided by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), eventually buried its 16-inch (40-centimeter) probe just slightly below the surface, collecting valuable data on the physical and thermal properties of the Martian soil along the way. This is useful for any future human or robotic missions that attempt to dig underground.

The mission buried the mole to the extent possible thanks to engineers at JPL and DLR using the lander's robotic arm in inventive ways. Primarily intended to set science instruments on the Martian surface, the arm and its small scoop also helped remove dust from InSight's solar panels as power began to diminish. Counterintuitively, the mission determined they could sprinkle dirt from the scoop onto the panels during windy days, allowing the falling granules to gently sweep dust off the panels.

“We've thought of InSight as our friend and colleague on Mars for the past four years, so it's hard to say goodbye,” said Bruce Banerdt of JPL, the mission's principal investigator. “But it has earned its richly deserved retirement.”

JPL manages InSight for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed by the agency's Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission.


The Learjet 45 that collided with the airport perimeter fence after running off 6,602-foot Runway 8 after landing at Batesville (Arkansas) Regional Airport (KBVX) on November 29 initially touched down at 190 knots and about 2,000 feet past the threshold, according to an NTSB preliminary report. The twinjet, on a Part 91 business flight, was substantially damaged in the night-time accident, and the two pilots sustained minor injuries while the six passengers were not injured.
ATC cleared the airplane for the RNAV (GPS) Runway 8 approach and the crew cancelled IFR after visually acquiring the landing zone. The airplane crossed the final approach fix at 265 knots ADS-B groundspeed and the Runway 8 threshold at 190 knots ADS-B groundspeed. Tire marks indicated intermittent braking started about 3,021 feet from the end of the runway. Continuous anti-skid braking application began about 2,069 feet from the end of the landing strip and continued until the end of the pavement.
The airplane exited the runway at an airspeed of about 100 knots ADS-B groundspeed, then continued forward and struck a ditch and the airport perimeter fence. The forward fuselage sustained substantial damage. Initial examination revealed normal flight control continuity. The spoilers were found in the deployed position, matching the cockpit spoiler handle position. The flap handle was at the 20-degree position, consistent with the position of the left and right flaps.

USA. Montgomery Regional Airport, AL: A luggage handler was fatally sucked into the left engine of an Embraer ERJ-175LR operated by Envoy Air/American Airlines at Montgomery Regional Airport. The aircraft had just arrived from Dallas (DFW) and was stationed at Gate 4, when the accident occurred.

USA, Thief River Falls Regional Airport, MN: A Bemidji Aviation Services Fairchild SA227-AC Metro III was cleared for the ILS runway 31 approach. During landing, and prior to touchdown, the right-wing tip struck the runway. The pilot conducted a go around and landed safely. Photos shows that the right-wing tip was completely torn off. Airport workers reported that it "fell off" about 2 miles from the runway while the airplane was on base to final during the second landing attempt.

Germany, Liebenau, Meckenbeuren: A Diamond DA42 NG Twin Star had just taken off from Friedrichshafen Bodensee Airport (FDH/EDNY), Germany, when the door detached. It fell into a garden in Liebenau, Meckenbeuren. Afterwards the pilot landed the airplane safely back at the airport. He ignored the door safety warning before take-off.

USA, Dalton Municipal Airport, GA: A Piper PA-24-260 Comanche was destroyed subsequent to a forced landing and impact with wooded terrain during an attempted return to the point of departure following an inflight loss of engine power shortly after take-off from Athens/Ben Epps Airport (AHN/KAHN), Athens, Georgia. The two occupants onboard the airplane received minor injuries.

USA, WD106 Oil Drilling Installation, Gulf of Mexico, 10 miles off Plaquemines Parish, LA: Rotorcraft Leasing Company Bell 407 from Galliano five on board landed on the helideck of WD106 where It dropped off four arriving passengers and picked up three departing passengers. On take-off, it crashed back onto the helideck, breaking apart, and fell into the Gulf of Mexico. The four people on board are missing. USCG dispatched a CG Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk and a CG Station Venice 45-foot Response Boat-Medium. Only debris was found (including skids and the emergency flotation system). Recovery operations were delayed by poor weather the next day. This is RLC's third accident of 2022 and second fatal accident.

USA, Carrollton, NW of Addison Airport, Dallas, TX: A Mooney M20K 231 with two occupants was destroyed in a forced landing to major roadway terrain in Carrollton, about 3 miles northwest of Addison Airport (ADS/KADS), Dallas, Texas. The two occupants received serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Italy, about 5 miles E of Trapani-Birgi Airport: An Aeronautica Militare Italiana Eurofighter F-2000A Typhoon operated by 37° Stormo 'Cesare Toschi' / 18° Gruppo, crashed into the ground 5 miles SE from the Trapani-Birgi Airport (TPS/LICT) threshold. The pilot died and the aircraft was destroyed.

Greece, off Karteros beach, Crete: A Smart Aviation Pilatus PC-6/B2-H4 Turbo Porter with two on board crashed under unknown circumstances in the sea off Karteros beach, Crete. Search operations were being conducted. The airplane has been located in the sea, both occupants were rescued, but one occupant died from the injuries sustained in the crash. The brand-new Smart Aviation Turbo Porter aircraft (the last one built and the production has ended now) was on a delivery flight to Indonesia.


29 DECEMBER 1944

F/L RJ Audet, flying a Supermarine Spitfire of No. 411 (Fighter) Squadron near Rheine, Germany, destroyed five enemy fighters in his first combat mission

Richard Joseph "Dick" Audet DFC* born on 13 March 1922 was a Canadian fighter pilot ace during World War II. In his first contact with enemy aircraft on 29 December 1944 he destroyed five planes.

Audet enlisted for service in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) on 7 August 1941 and received his pilot's wings in October 1942. He was then posted to the UK where he received five months of advanced operational training followed by non-fighter operations.

On 20 September 1944, he was transferred to a RCAF Spitfire Unit, 411 Squadron. Later that year on 29 December, piloting a Spitfire IXe. In his first contact with enemy aircraft on 29 December 1944 he destroyed two Bf 109s and three Fw 190s in five to seven minutes over Osnabrück. This action earned him a promotion to Flight Lieutenant and he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).

By the end of January 1945, he had claimed a further five victories and shared a sixth.

On 3 March 1945, Flight Lieutenant Audet was strafing a German train west of Münster. The train returned fire and Audet's Spitfire crashed to the ground. There is some uncertainty as to whether he died in the crash or was captured, but his body was never recovered.

RV Formation New Tempe Bloemfontein

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