Midweek Update 18 January 2023

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein


Planning for this year's Airweek is now well underway, with detail planning having started after a kick-off meeting having taken place in early December 2022.

Essentially the outline theme will follow the successful Airweek held in 2021 & 2022, which is an event for all our recreational aviators.

The dates are 3 - 5 March 2023, with early arrivals on the 2nd for those who wish to have an extended stay.

Various Sections of the Aero Club will be participating in their various disciplines - this is still in progress. Please visit the website for more details.

Registration is also open for attending - and those who plan to attend if you can register at this link


Those who wish to camp and hire tents, the booking link is


For Exhibitors wishing to book exhibition space, visit the website
for details and Exhibitor forms.

If you have any queries or require information, please email rsvp@aeroclub.org.za - as well as to be contact for sponsorship / Donations which would be welcome.

If you are not a member and wish to join the Aero Club and any of its Sections feel free to do so


CubCrafters, the leading designer and manufacturer of Light-Sport, Experimental, and Part 23 Certified backcountry aircraft, announced today that the company's flagship certified CC19 XCub aircraft was recently selected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a new government aircraft fleet modernization contract.

Since 2003, CubCrafters has supplied aircraft to the US Government that have been used by various agencies to complete missions in some of the most remote and extreme flying environments imaginable. Renowned for their reliability, durability and the ability to fly where few others can, CubCrafters aircraft have been used by multiple Federal Government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Department of the Interior, the United States Department of Agriculture, United States Air Force Flight Academy and the United States Air Force Research Laboratory.

The new aircraft manufactured under this most recent contract will be the first certified XCubs in fleet service with the US Government and will be primarily used for natural resources management. Delivery of the first two aircraft in the multiyear contract to USDA Wildlife Services is scheduled for the late Summer of 2023.

"Our long relationship with the US Government is a strong testament to our ability to design and manufacture exceptionally rugged utility aircraft for backcountry missions," said Patrick Horgan, CubCrafters' president & CEO. "This contract is not only important for us as a supplier for the US Government, but also for investors participating in our ongoing public offering. This sale demonstrates that our newest generation of fully certified modern utility aircraft can replace the aging fleet of legacy aircraft now in service. It shows that there is a very bright future for our fleet sales program."

CubCrafters was recently qualified by the US Securities and Exchange Commission to make a $50 million public stock offering under Regulation A+, which allows investors at all levels to purchase stock in the company for the first time in its 42-year history. Interested investors can go to www.manhattanstreetcapital.com/cubcrafters to learn more about the stock offering.

"CubCrafters aircraft are built tough and durable for use where few other aircraft can go. They are reliable, easy to operate and require very little maintenance. We appreciate that the Federal Government trusts the lives of its employees with our aircraft and no one takes that trust more seriously than we do," stated Brad Damm, CubCrafters' vice president. "We are proud of this win and the continuing relationship that we have with multiple government agencies to provide the most safe, reliable, and mission-capable fixed-wing aircraft in the backcountry. We will continue to keep our focus on improving our product quality and performance, along with optimizing service and support for our customers."

Among civilian agencies, CubCrafters aircraft are typically used for forward-deployed patrol, surveillance, search and rescue, natural resource management and aerial survey missions. They are also used by the US Air Force for glider towing and flight-testing various sensors. For these types of missions, CubCrafters aircraft provide a low-cost and highly effective alternative to helicopters or other more expensive fixed-wing aircraft.


The Cessna SkyCourier has recently been recognized with two prestigious aviation awards. The Aviation Week Network Laureate Award for Business Aviation and the James McDonnell Team Achievement Award from the Society of Flight Test Engineers were recently bestowed and presented to the Textron Aviation Cessna SkyCourier teams.

Textron Aviation's SkyCourier team is made up of some of the most talented and dedicated employees in the aviation industry. Without their hard work, the aircraft would not have been able to achieve the level of success it has.

"It continues to be my privilege to lead this impressive team, as they've shown relentless determination, expertise, and hard work in bringing a new, innovative product to the market," Hearne said. "This aircraft will have a significant impact on the industry for decades to come."

Laureate Award
The Aviation Week Network Laureate Award for Business Aviation recognizes the extraordinary achievements of individuals and teams in the business aviation industry, particularly those who have made the greatest impact on aerospace over the past year.

Following a boom in online commerce and package deliveries, Textron Aviation began designing the aircraft with input from FedEx Express, and the SkyCourier became the first clean-sheet aircraft in this segment in years.

Senior vice president of Engineering Chris Hearne, director of Engineering and Programs Ab Dirkzwager, project engineer Darrel Hornbaker and program manager Miranda Konowitz travelled to Washington, D.C., to accept the award at Aviation Week's 65th Annual Laureate Awards banquet on November 3, 2022.

Other honourees included 4AIR for Business Aviation Sustainability, RedTail Flight Academy, Signature Flight Support SAF Utilization, and VRM Switzerland.

James McDonnell Award
The James McDonnell Team Achievement Award was awarded to the SkyCourier program by the Society of Flight Test Engineers for the team's work in developing this clean-sheet aircraft to reach certification status. It recognizes "a team that has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of flight testing through the application of innovative technology or operational procedures."

Flight Test engineer senior specialist, Keith Gittemeier, SkyCourier assistant manager, Julie Brown, Performance Flight Test engineer, Josh Bosire and Flight Test engineering manager, Shannon Lunsford, travelled to London, Ontario, to celebrate the achievement on October 27.

The James McDonnell Award recognizes the SkyCourier's exceptional 22-month journey to FAA certification in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite roadblocks like associated manpower, quarantine processes and remote work challenges, the SkyCourier was the first FAA Part 23 program using the new Amendment 64, which requires the use of the new consensus standards for aircraft certification.


Textron Aviation recently announced that an electrically driven air conditioning system will soon be a standard feature on all new production Beechcraft King Air 360 aircraft. This new feature provides cooled air throughout the cabin while the aircraft is on the ground and in flight, enhancing passenger and crew comfort. Deliveries with the new air conditioning system are expected to begin in the coming months.

"The new system for the King Air 360 represents our continued investment in an already iconic product," said Lannie O'Bannion, Textron Aviation's senior vice president for Sales & Flight Operations. "Last year we brought all new interiors and enhancements to the cockpit, and now we are bringing more amenities and comfort to the passengers and crew ahead of each flight."

The new electric air conditioning system is built into the structure of the aircraft and it does not impact any cabin space. The system can operate without the aircraft engines running by plugging into a ground power unit (GPU). The system offers an environmentally friendly solution by cooling the cabin without the use of the aircraft engines.


Development of the HX50 is right on schedule and has met all major milestones. This has led us to the point where we will be able to launch three prototypes for testing next year. This will be followed by the first deliveries in Q4 2024.

More than 550 units of the HX50 have already been pre-sold, surpassing our target and setting us up to meet the demand that is building as news of this revolutionary aircraft spreads.

Especially favourable conditions are being made available to new customers, so this is the moment to book a presentation and get yourself on the pre-order list.


the Government of Canada recently announced that it is procuring Lockheed Martin's 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II aircraft as a result of the Future Fighter Capability Project competition. The Royal Canadian Air Force will receive 88 F-35A multirole stealth fighters, a sustainment solution tailored to Canada's sovereign requirements and a comprehensive training program.

"Canada is our friend and a close ally. Their decision to procure almost 90 jets underscores the value of the incredible F-35 Lightning II," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt, program executive officer, F-35 Joint Program Office. "The F-35 is the best in the world, providing unmatched interoperability to America, Canada and the additional 15 nations that have selected the fighter. It is a global game-changer. Through power-projection, the F-35 is at the tip of the spear for deterrence. Its forward presence will continue to ensure that potential adversaries choose diplomacy over armed conflict."

"We are honoured the Government of Canada has selected the F-35, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian defence industry to deliver and sustain the aircraft," said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin's vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. "The selection of F-35 strengthens allied airpower in Canada, North America and around the world."

The F-35 strengthens Canada's operational capability with its allies as a cornerstone for interoperability with NORAD and NATO. As a critical node in the 21st Century Security mission space, the F-35 gives pilots an advantage against any adversary and enabling them to execute their mission and come home safe.

"Together with our Canadian industry partners, we are honoured by this selection and the sustainment of critical jobs that will continue to equip Canadian workforces with advanced skills," said Lorraine Ben, chief executive, Lockheed Martin Canada. "The F-35 program yields tremendous economic benefits for Canada's aerospace and defence industry, and we look forward to continued growth."

To date, the F-35 operates from 27 bases worldwide, with nine nations operating F-35s on their home soil. There are more than 890 F-35s in service today, with more than 1,870 pilots and 13,500 maintainers trained on the aircraft.


Martin-Baker is proud to have completed the 3000th US14A Ejection Seat for the NACES programme. NACES has saved the lives of 150 aircrew to date from 8 operators in 7 different countries.

US14A is the designation given to the Navy Aircrew Common Ejection Seat (NACES) which aimed to provide a common platform for aircrew to learn. It is fitted to the T-45 Goshawk trainer and the F-18 Hornet and Super Hornet fighters. Early versions of the US14A were also fitted to the F-14D Tomcat.

Over 200 tests have been conducted, including 72 sled tests. The most recent testing included high-altitude ejections from our Meteor aircraft in 2020.


HAL recently handed over the last of the 16 ALHs (Mk-III, Maritime role) contracted with the Indian Coast Guard at a program here today to DG Coast Guard V S Pathania in the presence of senior officials from CG, Defence and HAL. "We are proud to be associated with HAL and happy to issue a Letter of Intent (LoI) for nine more helicopters.

Despite COVID-19, HAL delivered all the helicopters at the shortest time with seamless production activities and this allows us to strengthen India's Maritime security", he said. The CG had signed a contract with HAL for supply of 16 ALH Mk III in March 2017.

Mr. C B Ananthakrishnan, CMD, HAL said a unique feature of the contract has been the Performance Based Logistics (PBL) - the one stop solution for maintenance of these helicopters by HAL. "This will serve as a benchmark for all our future contracts and boost our resolve to work with private partners to speed up the work in the interest of all our customers and strengthen Make-in-India activities in the Defence eco-system", he added.

Mr. S Anbuvelan, CEO (Helicopter Complex), HAL in his address pointed out the major challenges in execution of the contract that included integration of new systems sourced from foreign OEMs, conducting flight trials for certifications and overcoming disruptions in the supply chain due to lock-downs.

ALH Mk III is indigenously designed, developed and produced by HAL. The company has so far produced more than 330 ALHs, a versatile helicopter which has logged more than 3.74 lakhs of flying hours.




4 JANUARY 1989

On 4 January 1989, two USN F-14s while flying from John F. Kennedy during a routine patrol over the Gulf of Sidra, two VF-32 F-14s encountered two Libyan MiG-23 Floggers, which had originated from the Al Bumbai airfield in Tobruk.

After attempting a peaceful intercept, the F-14s used their Television Camera System (TCS) to verify that the MiGs were armed. Hostile intent was declared and the aircraft were cleared to engage.

The lead fired an AIM-7 Sparrow, which failed to track. His wingman also fired an AIM-7, which tracked and destroyed one of the MiGs, its pilot ejecting.

The first F-14 then closed to AIM-9 Sidewinder range and downed the remaining MiG-23, whose pilot also ejected.

They were the third and fourth of five kills scored by F-14s during the Tomcat's career in U.S. Navy service.

Legends at Duxford 2019

Aviation Economy
Midweek Update

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