Midweek Update 30 November 2023

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein


CAASA statement on AIC 18.19 unnotified withdrawal by the regulator.
SAAF C212 damaged in crash-landing at Lohatlha.
SAAF Chief heads SADC Aviation Committee.
Deutsche Aircraft takes part in Aero Asia 2023.
Boeing shifts toward production of MH-139A Grey Wolf.
Zipline achieved a first-ever industry milestone in the country and unlocking national drone delivery at scale.
Elroy Air achieves industry-first flight of turbogenerator-hybrid hVTOL aircraft.
Textron Aviation announces agreement to purchase 48 Cessna Skyhawks BAA training.
This week in history - First flight of the Boeing 720
Worldwide incidents and accidents.

Bonus Video - A busy Saturday morning flying

EAA Chapter 322 monthly gathering, fly-in breakfast EAA Auditorium. For more information contact Neil Bowden E-mail:

9 Tedderfield, FTA Fly In. Contact Alan 083 702 3680

8 & 9 December
SACAA ICAD annual airshow Bisho. Contact Noel Godwin E-mail: noelcg05@gmail.com Cell: 082 414 7702


On the 2 November 2023 with no notification to the industry via an AIC or at an industry liaison forum or by any official process, the regulator withdrew AIC 18.19.(in place to cater for old aircraft with low hours) utilising various acceptable safety methods at AMO's to ensure safety and continued airworthiness.

Due to US manufacturers' concern of litigation, the life span before overhaul was recommended by some OEM's to be no longer than 12 years.

What makes a SAFETY mockery, one can fly their entire family and friends in the same aircraft if it is deemed not commercial based on the provisions currently in place. If payment is received it is unsafe - but if not, is considered safe. It is therefore no longer safety but only being looked at from a litigation perspective and revenue generation by the OEMs and the regulators.

The cost to overhaul let alone cost of the time make bookings with AMOs, await an appointment, and ensure the relevant spares which could be anything from 3 months to a year, the latter being closer to the reality. The withdrawal forces immediate compliance without which there is no insurance. The effect only directly affects commercial operators and training schools but will ultimately negatively affect the entire industry in the long-term with many of these perfectly serviceable aircraft being sold out of the country.

The regulator knowingly and even after repeated request by industry to allow the regulated AIC to remain in place, giving industry suitable time to undertake compliance for cost around the 1-millionrand mark, has not reinstated the AIC even though regulation points to it.

The regulator has also not considered having many aircraft on the ground as urgent, kicking the can down the road for two weeks with a promise of correction not realised. The regulator has confused industry with an irregular Notam with differing dates and has not followed due process of notification or internal and external change management.

At present there are training schools that have not operated for the past few weeks and have a very real possibility of closing for good with the loss of jobs, and students that cannot complete training that effectively uses these very types of aircraft. Additionally, if these schools are to remain open with additional costs or loss of aircraft from the fleet, will increase the costs of training which will affect transformation additionally.

In discussion with the authority representatives at the CAL meeting, they additionally that SACAA could not understand the glaring difference between their new promulgated regulations and the AIC 18.19. Industry at the CAL meeting was asked to explain this. This is worrying to industry.

The regulator, based upon statements made at the meetings, has no idea of the quantum of how many aircraft it would affect despite being the custodians of this information.

The bottom line is that the regulator with poor processes and feeble communication on this matter prior to withdrawal, with no idea if the magnitude or the consequential effect, has been very slow to address the matter and is trying to force individual exemption application that cannot cope with at this time of year, and additionally attempt to make further revenue out of the matter by attempting to individualised this matter to Case-by-Case exemption basis.

CAASA representing many of these affected operators and schools seeks to achieve legal relief for the industry funded by the affected operators with the aim to achieve sufficient time (at least 180 days) to comply while the giving the regulator time to adequately consult with industry experts to develop an AMOC or change regulation to correctly manage the situation with a correct fit for the South African industry and older fleet.

Contrary to the Regulator's knee jerk reaction to only one accident (the cause of which has little we believe, to do with the 12-year overhaul guidance from some OEM's) can show no effective data/empirical evidence from South Africa to underpin this withdrawal especially an exemplary safety record over the past 17 years of these older aircraft maintained as they are required in AIC 18.19.

This unfortunate position taken by the regulator comes on the back of the debilitating COVID epidemic from which industry still has not recovered and which depleted all cash reserves. CAASA with other affected organisations hope that the regulator and specifically the director will urgently rethink and allow a suitable time to get industry to comply and should regulator not make a favourable implementation date for which we are still hopeful. CAASA intends to seek relief to the fullest extent of the law as per legals councils' guidance.


A South African Air Force (SAAF) C212 light transport aircraft has been damaged in a landing accident while taking part in Exercise Vuk'uhlome 2023 at the SA Army Combat Training Centre in Lohatlha.

The aircraft (8011) flew members of the media from Air Force Base Waterkloof to Dippies Airfield at Lohatlha on Wednesday morning before dropping paratroopers as part of the Vuk'uhlome Distinguished Visitors Day demonstration.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in a statement said the incident happened as the aircraft was landing following its manoeuvres for the exercise.

Members of the South African Medical Health Service were swiftly on site to provide the necessary medical support and all members on board the aircraft were confirmed safe, as there were no injuries sustained, said Director Defence Corporate Communication, Brigadier General Andries Mokoena Mahapa.

He added that a board of inquiry will be convened to determine the cause of the incident as well as the damage to the aircraft.

It is unclear what caused the incident, with speculation of either an engine issue or undercarriage collapse.

The SAAF's 44 Squadron only had one of three C212s serviceable prior to the accident. In September, Armscor reported that a maintenance contract with Airbus was in progress and spares and repairs provided to the SAAF to make the fleet serviceable.

The SAAF inherited four C212s in 1994 from the air wings of the former Bophuthatswana, Transkei and Venda states. Registrations are 8020, 8021, 8010 and 8011.

The fleet has suffered a number of incidents over the years. 8021 was damaged in October 2008 after getting caught in a gust of wind on take-off from Air Force Base Bloemspruit, and in January 2013, 8020 landed heavily and ran off the runway at Bloemspruit. On 12 May this year, 8010 was landing at AFB Waterkloof when the brakes locked and the aircraft ran off the side of the runway. Damage was caused to the right wingtip, but the aircraft was subsequently repaired.

Kitplanes for Africa


SA Air Force (SAAF) Chief Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo now chairs the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Standing Aviation Committee (SAC).

His chairmanship of the regional bloc aviation committee was "an important event as the responsibilities of SADC air forces now is under South Africa," Mbambo is reported as saying by Ad Astra editor, Captain Tebogo August. Elaborating, he is quoted as telling those present at a recent Air Force communication and operational forum that, "we are all aware of the many challenges in the region for the SADC air forces to tackle under these limited funding conditions".

The SADC Standing Aviation Committee usually meets once a year, on a rotational basis among members. The meetings are convened in line with the aims and ideals of the SADC Inter-State Defence and Security Committee (ISDSC). Established in 1977, the ISDSC is a forum for defence and security co-operation and played a crucial role in the liberation struggles of SADC members.

"Blue Exercises of SADC Air Forces must still take place in the midst of peacekeeping responsibilities that must be attended to. The humanitarian disasters are on the rise in the form of floods and fires, the rise in armed terrorist groupings that are destabilising the region is on the rise, challenging the traditional approach of peacekeeping and the use of air assets in the peacekeeping domains," is how August reported on the air force chief's additional responsibility.

Numerous humanitarian relief exercises have been conducted by SADC members to improve co-ordination and co-operation among air forces and air wings in joint air operations, in line with the ISDSC and Standing Aviation Committee efforts: the SADC Standing Aviation Committee decided to hold a 'blue' exercise approximately every two years, starting with Exercise Blue Hungwe in Zimbabwe in 1997.

Other blue series exercises by SADC air arms have taken place in South Africa (Blue Crane in 1999, Blue Cluster in 2011), Tanzania (Blue Ruvuma in 2006), Angola (Blue Zambezi in 2011), Zimbabwe (Blue Leopard in 2013), Botswana (Blue Okavango in 2015), and Namibia (Blue Kunene in 2017).

The aim of the recent Air Force forum, August reported, was "to take the SAAF back to its glory days with fresh, innovative ideas that highlight that reaching greater heights is possible when the African eagle is free".

Mbambo said at the forum, which ended on 2 November, "We aim to be on par with matters of combat readiness and the world's pioneering developments, as our mandate is getting broader by the minute. We are at the heart of securing the lives and safety of the people of this country and we do that with fruitful collaborations with captains of the industry including the ATNS [Air Traffic and Navigation Services of South Africa], CSIR [Council for Scientific and Industrial Research], SANSA [South African National Space Agency], and the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] Summit, to name but a few, and the society at large. This is because the enduring debate on guns and butter is an old argument which does not surrender easily without casualties in any society".


Deutsche Aircraft has made its debut at one of China's prominent aviation events, Aero Asia 2023, which takes place from 23-26 November. As regional flights play a vital part of the transportation network in China, the German aircraft manufacturer aims to provide sustainable regional connections with the D328® legacy aircraft and the new D328eco™, the 40-seater sustainable turboprop. According to market forecasts, the Chinese aviation market will require 20% of the world's commercial aircraft in the next 20 years.

The outstanding flight characteristics and versatility of the D328eco allows it to access destinations with short and unpaved runways, in a variety of weather conditions. This will open up new route possibilities for businesses and people who rely heavily on regional aviation across China. The D328eco will also facilitate sustainable regional flights with the lowest fuel consumption and CO2 emissions on the market. This aircraft is designed to operate on 100% SAF Power-to-Liquid (PtL), which can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 95%.

An integrated Garmin Companion™ flight deck, brand new PW127XT-S engines and a comfortable and quiet cabin make the D328eco turboprop ahead of its time: an innovative and robust aircraft which offers maximum comfort for passengers and flight crew. These features set the D328eco apart as the most efficient, modern and sustainable regional aircraft in its class.

Ryan Ding, China Regional Director at Deutsche Aircraft shares his insights on the Aero Asia airshow. "The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is trying to encourage general aviation operators with a maximum limit of 30 passengers to handle short regional routes. This is a perfect match for our D328® legacy aircraft as well as our D328eco in the next phase," he says.

"Aero Asia is a great opportunity for us to introduce the D328eco regional turboprop to the Chinese market while building solid relationships with industry partners. Deutsche Aircraft are pleased to be in Zhuhai to witness the latest developments in China's aviation industry. Additionally, with the launch of our official WeChat account and Chinese website, we will become more accessible to the market."


Boeing [NYSE:BA] continues to transition towards low-rate initial production of the MH-139A Grey Wolf after completing the program's Research, Development, Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) phase, delivering the sixth and final test aircraft to the U.S. Air Force last month.

"Delivering all of the RDT&E aircraft to the Air Force enables them to continue critical operational testing and allows Boeing to focus on building the first production aircraft." said Azeem Khan, MH-139 program director. "The Grey Wolf will provide crucial national security capability improvements to the Air Force. This is an important step in getting the aircraft into service."

Boeing expects to provide the first low-rate production aircraft to the customer in 2024. To date, the Air Force has awarded Boeing a contract to build the first 13, with the first aircraft already in final assembly. Ultimately, Boeing will provide up to 80 MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters to the Air Force.

"With the final test aircraft delivered, we're headed into an exciting production phase. With the MH-139, the United States Air Force is getting a faster and more capable aircraft to bring them into a new era of service for this mission," said Robert Beyer, MH-139 Senior Program Manager, Leonardo Helicopters US. "Leonardo is incredibly proud of this aircraft, and we look forward to the continued partnership with Boeing and the USAF as we deliver additional Grey Wolf helicopters."

MH-139A aircraft will replace the UH-1N Huey and are tasked with protecting intercontinental ballistic missiles across the U.S. and transporting VIP and security personnel.


Zipline is one step closer to achieving its mission of building the first autonomous delivery system that serves all people equally. At 1pm on Friday, November 17, 2023, we completed our first U.S. BVLOS flight in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The ability to fly without visual observers on the ground along flight routes is a result of meeting the rigorous safety requirements laid out by the FAA and a major step towards drone delivery at scale across the United States.

Zipline's onboard perception system has been tested by flying tens of thousands of real-world miles around the globe and has been designed to operate with the highest level of safety. Just an hour after getting the news from the FAA that they've approved Zipline as a drone delivery operator using this perception system, Zipline flew its Platform 1 aircraft without the previously-required visual observers.

The company will now be flying in Utah without this requirement and will soon expand that approach across its U.S. operations.

"Earlier this year Zipline became the first company in U.S. history to receive approval from the FAA to leverage an onboard perception system to enable autonomous long-distance drone delivery flights, and today, we made history doing just that," said Okeoma Moronu, Zipline's Head of Global Aviation Regulatory Affairs. "This means that Zipline can now go from serving a few thousand homes to serving hundreds of thousands of homes within the U.S. This is widely considered the holy grail of approvals for scaling drone delivery operations. We thank the FAA for their leadership and support throughout this process."

The company has hundreds of Platform 1 drones in its fleet and makes about 10,000 commercial deliveries each week. Zipline's Platform 1 system has been operating at scale across 7 countries, currently completing a delivery every 70 seconds. The company has already made more than 815,000 customer deliveries to date and will be deploying its Platform 2 system, built to serve more urban areas, in 2024.


Elroy Air flew the world's first turbogenerator-hybrid electric vertical take-off and landing (hVTOL) aircraft on November 12 at its test-flight facility in Byron, California - the Chaparral C1. The C1 is an autonomous hVTOL aircraft, with distributed electric propulsion and a turbogenerator-battery architecture. The milestone marks a significant step forward in the company's mission to enable same-day shipping to every person on the planet and agile, low-risk resupply for Defence.

The Chaparral recently took flight from Byron Airport, where the Elroy Air Team runs flight test operations. Leveraging both its turbogenerator system and high-power batteries the C1 took off vertically, flew for 57 seconds, and landed successfully.

"This is an exhilarating day for our team and the industry as a whole," said Elroy Air co-founder and CEO Dave Merrill. "In 2017 we had an unconventional idea to develop an autonomous long-range VTOL aircraft that would fill a major capability gap for middle-mile express shipping, humanitarian logistics, and military resupply. On Sunday our Chaparral C1 became the first turbogenerator-hybrid electric hVTOL aircraft to take flight. This marks a major moment for the industry as hybrid-electric aircraft enable the dual benefits of runway-independent safe redundant propulsion, and long-range flight well in excess of battery power alone. Our accomplishment puts Elroy Air one step closer to delivering a transformative logistics capability to our customers and partners."

Hybrid-electric aircraft represent a critical advancement in the aviation industry. For vertical flight, distributed electric propulsion (DEP) using multiple redundant rotors enables robust and safe operations even in the case of motor failure - a key enabler for autonomy. However, today's battery-electric eVTOL aircraft designed for Air Taxi and cargo operations are range-constrained due to the energy density limitations of available battery cells, and they must be operated in locations with substantial battery-charging infrastructure. The combination of DEP and turbine-based electrical power generation yields a best-of-both-worlds option first suggested by NASA researchers in 2008. Turbogenerator-hybrid architecture addresses the limitations of all-electric systems by combining a gas turbine-driven generator with batteries - enabling long-range missions (a "must-have" for logistics) without requiring charging infrastructure, as well as safe redundant flight for autonomous operations.

"The use of hybrid electric powertrains is not trivial - balancing battery and turbogenerator power output to respond to load demand requires power management systems that are properly governed to facilitate effective and efficient flight. Such systems for true VTOL and vertical flight capable aircraft are more complex and demanding than for fixed wing systems because of the discrepancies in power requirements in different flight regimes," explained Ashish Bagai, advanced rotorcraft expert. "This is a major step in the development of hVTOL flight - one that underscores the potential utility value of DEP concepts. It's very encouraging."

To develop and bring the world's first hVTOL air vehicle into flight test, the Elroy Air team overcame substantial technology challenges in electrical power management and structural vibration. The company's intellectual property and deep accumulated technical experience positions Elroy Air at the forefront of hVTOL aircraft development. Elroy Air's engineering team is led by Zach Lovering, an aerospace engineer and eVTOL industry veteran who contributed to multiple aircraft development programs at Zee Aero (now Wisk), and subsequently led the pioneering Vahana eVTOL aircraft program at Acubed by Airbus.

"The team at Elroy Air has achieved an exciting milestone with the first flight of their Chaparral aircraft," said Dr. Mark Esper, 27th US Secretary of defence and Elroy Air Board Member. "Their work to enable autonomous cargo delivery for the resupply of troops in the field will create a game-changing capability for supporting and sustaining the United States military and allied forces in future campaigns."

Elroy Air's Chaparral is in high demand from a number of leading partners in commercial, humanitarian, and defence logistics. Its vehicle backlog - reflected in LOIs and MOUs with a growing number of deposit-backed agreements - today exceeds $3Bn in future revenues. Since starting work with AFSOC in 2019, the company now holds 3 active contracts with US Air Force (SBIR Phase II, SBIR Phase III, and TACFI). The Chaparral's capabilities address an urgent operational need for logistics in contested environments where today's alternative is dangerous resupply missions using expensive crewed aircraft, a demand reflected by its active partnerships with the defence community.

"AFWERX is excited to see the progress in hybrid electric powertrains for transformative vertical lift aircraft. Hybrid flight marks a key technical milestone for the industry to increase VTOL range and payload while validating the investment strategies of both AFWERX Prime and AFVentures TACFI program," said Col. Elliott Leigh, AFWERX director and chief commercialization officer for the Department of the Air Force.

"They say it takes a village. Without the support of our investors, commercial partners, and the Department of the Air Force's visionary Agility Prime effort we would not be this much closer to making our vision a reality," said Elroy Air co-founder and Chief Product Officer Clint Cope.

"This groundbreaking initial flight of the C1 will be followed by an ongoing envelope expansion campaign in coordination with the US Air Force in which we'll advance the vehicle's demonstrated flight capabilities through subsequent modes of airborne operations," said Elroy Air VP of Engineering Zach Lovering. "These modes include expanded hover, system identification, transition, and cruise flight."


Aviation today announced an agreement with BAA Training for the purchase of 48 Cessna Skyhawk aircraft, expected to be delivered in 2026. The deal, inked at the Dubai Airshow, substantially expands BAA Training's existing fleet, offering increased capacity for students, streamlining the flight training process and ensuring an overall enhanced student experience.

"For over six decades, the Cessna Skyhawk has inspired the next generation of pilots and served as the world's leading flight trainer," said Chris Crow, vice president of Piston Sales. "We are delighted to continue the relationship with BAA Training to provide their students access to the most produced single-engine aircraft globally."

The stable flight characteristics, advanced avionics and demonstrated dispatch reliability of the Skyhawk have made it a dependable training platform. The new airplanes will be used by students to put them in the pilot's seat of the most popular training aircraft in the world.

"BAA Training has set an ambitious milestone to achieve a capacity of 500-1000 students per year, necessitating a significant expansion of our fleet. We are glad to finalize this order, as the addition of 48 Cessna Skyhawks will bolster our resources, enabling us to accommodate the growing demand for training and further solidify our position in the industry," said Marijus Ravoitis, CEO, BAA Training.

BAA Training offers comprehensive aviation training solutions for aspiring commercial pilots, ranging from Ab Initio training to Type Rating, available across multiple locations, including Spain, Lithuania, France and Vietnam. Additionally, pilot training services are provided through its consultancy office in India and a sales representative office in the UAE.

23 NOVEMBER 1959

The Boeing 720, a derivative of the 707 for shorter flights from shorter runways, first flew on 23 November 1959. Its type certificate was issued on 30 June 1960 It entered service with United Airlines on 5 July 1960. A total of 154 Boeing 720s and 720Bs were built until 1967. As a derivative, the 720 had low development costs, allowing profitability despite few sales.

Compared to the 707-120, it has a length reduced by 8.33 feet (2.54 m), a modified wing and a lightened airframe for a lower maximum take-off weight. Originally designed to be powered by four Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojets, the initial 720 could cover 2,800 nautical miles [nmi] (5,200 km; 3,200 mi) range with 131 passengers in two classes. The reconfigured 720B, powered by JT3D turbofans, first flew on 6 October 1960, and entered service in March 1961. It could seat 156 passengers in one class over 3,200 nautical miles [nmi] (5,900 km; 3,700 mi) range. Some 720s were later converted to 720Bs specification. It was succeeded by the Boeing 727 trijet. The 720 is the only Boeing-designed production jetliner that does not follow the "7x7" naming scheme.

South Africa, Dippies Airfield, Lohatla Combat Training Centre, Northern Cape: A SAAF CASA C-212 Aviocar 200, operated by 44 Squadron, suffered a runway excursion when landing at Dippies Airfield, Lohatla Combat Training Centre, Lohatla, Northern Cape. There were no injuries. On-scene photos show one engine in reverse and the other not.

South Africa, Vereeniging Airfield: The aircraft came to the rest inverted in an apparent forced landing. The CFI and student sustained apparent minor injuries.

South Africa, Waterfall Cemetery, Midrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng: The helicopter crashed in Waterfall Cemetery during a training flight. Both occupants were seriously injured.

Sout Africa, Grassland Airfield, Centurian, Gauteng: A Micro Aviation Bat Hawk crashed under unknown circumstances, killing both occupants.

USA, Richard B Russell Airport, Rome, GA: A Cessna 525B Citation CJ3+ struck a deer when landing at runway 19 at Richard B Russell Airport (RMG/KRMG), Rome, Georgia. The four occupants were unhurt and the aircraft received minor damage.

A busy Saturday morning flying

Aviation Economy
Midweek Update

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