This week in Midweek Updates
Use of SAAF aircraft for party political purposes slammed.
This year we're giving you 24 NEW reasons to come to SUN 'n FUN in 2024!
Cirrus Aircraft redefines personal aviation with SR Series G7.
Airbus Helicopters delivers solid sales performance in 2023.
MEHAIR places order for 20 ZeroAvia ZA600 Hydrogen-Electric Engines.
Lockheed Martin delivers first C-130J-30 Super Hercules to the Georgia Air National Guard.
DARPA moves forward on X-65 technology demonstrator.
Lockheed Martin delivers first two F-16 Block 70 aircraft for Slovakia.
Leonardo: the C-27J Spartan global fleet sets major milestone achieving 250,000 flight hours in operations.
Worldwide incidents and accidents.
This week in history - German aces Max Immelmann (born in South Africa) and Oswald Boelcke are the first pilots awarded with Pour le Mérite.
Bonus video - The Bearhawk Patrol
20 EAA Chapter 322 fly-in breakfast to Eagle's Creek airfield. Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
USE OF SAAF AIRCRAFT FOR PARTY POLITICAL PURPOSES SLAMMED www.defenceweb.co.za
The apparent "commandeering" of SA Air Force (SAAF) platforms to transport senior government officials, seemingly including President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy Paul Mashatile, to venues for ANC (African National Congress) political events, was grabbed with both hands by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) ahead of South Africa going to the polls this year.
The party's shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais has it the use of a 21 Squadron Falcon 50 is "exploitation of the ambiguity" between the Ministerial and Presidential handbooks. He maintains the reported presence aboard of ANC political officials and guests with no clear link to official work for Ramaphosa and/or Mashatile "violates the spirit of the Presidential Handbook".
At the core of Marais' argument is a flight schedule showing LMG2, the call sign used when the Deputy President is aboard. LMG1 is the call sign reserved for the President, and LMG3 is used for the Minister of Defence.
Marais has a flight schedule purporting to show Ramaphosa and Mashatile undertook a flight between CTIA (Cape Town International Airport) and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) on 5 January 2024 aboard a SAAF Falcon 50 jet as well as a further nine flights between KMIA and AFB (Air Force Base) Waterkloof in Centurion, under the LMG2 call sign.
According to Marais, the Presidential Handbook "makes no provision for the use of the SAAF for the transportation of members of the executive and political party functionaries for party political party purposes. Ramaphosa and Mashatile's actions are not only irresponsible and inappropriate, but also show unbridled abuse of state resources despite the horrendous state of the SANDF, especially the SAAF, whose budgets continue to deteriorate rapidly affecting the defence force's mission preparedness; the dilapidated state of the SAAF's prime mission equipment, with more than 85% of air platforms grounded; and clear evidence that there is no money to maintain, provide essential upgrades and ensure that our pilots and aircrew are compliant with minimum currencies/competency levels of flying."
Marais added that all the costs of flying and entertaining the President, Deputy President and all their guests with the 21 Squadron VIP jets are paid from the already depleted SAAF budget. "The SAAF is essentially being deprived of funding to comply with section 200(2) of the Constitution which requires the SANDF to protect the territorial integrity of South Africa and its citizens. The ANC and their cadres are not only plundering the rest of government but it seems they most certainly are doing everything to bring the SANDF, more specifically in this case, the SAAF, to its knees," he said.
Presidency spokesman Vincent Magwenya is reported by IOL as saying the DA was "trying to play political mind games" with South Africans adding "lies were peddled by opposition political parties and shoddy journalists".
"The president and the deputy president needed to travel. The issue is not the reason for their travel. There's also nothing wrong or illegal in them travelling for ANC meetings or celebrations," Magwenya said.
"The Presidential Handbook does not prescribe the nature of their travel that must be supported by the Air Force, because they never stopped being President and Deputy President regardless of where they are," he added.
While not always in election years, there have been a number of instances where former Cabinet Ministers were taken to task for apparent abuse of State-owned SAAF aircraft.
They go back as far Lindiwe Sisulu, occupier of the defence and military veterans Cabinet portfolio between 2009 and 2012, who reportedly used aircraft, including executive jets belonging to or operated by SAAF Reserve Force squadrons, between Pretoria and Cape Town.
Defence and Military Veterans minister between 2014 and 2021, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, found herself similarly accused on one occasion in 2016 for reportedly smuggling a 28-year-old Burundian woman into South Africa using "state resources" in reference to a SAAF aircraft.
In 2020 she was fined three months' salary and formally reprimanded by Ramaphosa after permitting an ANC delegation to accompany her on a SAAF operated aircraft to and from Zimbabwe. Ramaphosa also instructed his ANC to "reimburse" the State for the flight costs from AFB Waterkloof to Harare and back.
Meanwhile, in October 2022 Ramaphosa was reported to the Public Protector by the DA for misusing State resources after he arrived at an ANC Letsema campaign event in the Free State town of Welkom aboard a SAAF Oryx medium transport helicopter.
THIS YEAR WE'RE GIVING YOU 24 NEW REASONS TO COME TO SUN 'N FUN IN 2024!
Celebrate SUN 'n FUN's 50th Fly-In with us in 2024 and create lasting memories! Here are 24 incredible reasons why you can't miss this legendary event:
1. **Unforgettable Opening Day Concert** Join Trace Adkins with special guest Sara Evans for an electrifying performance on Tuesday, April 9.
2. **Unique Warbirds** Witness a variety of one-of-a-kind warbirds on display.
3. **Mesmerizing Fireworks** Enjoy a spectacular fireworks display on Wednesday AND Saturday night.
4. **Ride Hops are Back** Experience the thrill of flying in different airplanes.
5. **Debut of the Ghost Squadron** See the Ghost Squadron for the FIRST TIME EVER with the Mig 29 at SUN 'n FUN.
6. **Tora Tora Tora returns to SUN 'n FUN ** Come see Tora Tora Tora and all of the great civilian airshow performers.
7. **Exclusive Airshow Pit Access** Get up close for performer meet and greets in the Airshow Pit.
8. **SUN 'n FUN Echo of Champions** Celebrate 50 years of past Reserve and Grand Champion aircraft.
9. **Return of the International Tent** Meet old and new friends from around the world!
10. **Future 'n Flight Plaza** Discover pathways to your aviation career in this NEW dedicated area.
11. **Teachers' Pre-Flight Experience** Get the tools to bring aviation to your classroom!
12. **Innovation Showcase** Explore cutting-edge aerospace innovations from new companies in the NEW Future 'n Fight Plaza.
13. **Innovation Preview** Be the first to hear exciting announcements from the world of aviation on Opening Day.
14. **Enhanced Youth Activities** Engage in enhanced Junior ACE's youth activities.
15. **New Exhibitors** Over 500 exhibitors offering more aviation products and services than ever before.
16. **Family Oasis** Relax in an air-conditioned tent designed for families to unwind.
17. **Fly-In Early Package** NEW bundled aircraft camping and ticket offer.
18. **Effortless Navigation** Find your way easily with NEW way-finding signs around the campus.
19. **Shaded Resting Spots** Take refuge from the sun in newly added shaded areas.
20. **More places to sit** Rest and relax with more picnic tables and benches across the campus.
21. **Convenient Charging Stations** Stay powered up with multiple charging stations.
22. **Accessible Water Stations** Refill your bottles at convenient water stations.
23. **Re-vamped Museum Exhibits** Explore improved exhibits at the Florida Air Museum.
24. **Aviation-Themed Playground** Excite the little ones with a NEW aviation-themed playground at the Florida Air Museum.
CIRRUS AIRCRAFT REDEFINES PERSONAL AVIATION WITH SR SERIES G7
Cirrus Aircraft, the company that brought you the aircraft with the parachute and the Vision Jet that lands itself with the touch of a button, today announced the newest generation of the world's best-selling, high-performance, single-engine piston aircraft - the SR Series G7.
The SR Series G7 aircraft features touchscreen interfaces, large high-resolution displays, advanced safety systems, improved visibility, increased legroom, enhanced convenience features, and the Cirrus IQ mobile app that provides remote access to real-time health and readiness indications for your aircraft so you can travel faster, safer and smarter wherever you go.
The G7 integrates an intuitive touchscreen-controlled flight deck with a comfortable and stylish cabin to create an approachable personal aviation experience. This simplified yet incredibly powerful flight deck reduces pilot workload while offering enhanced situational awareness for both pilot and passenger. Cirrus Aircraft has defined the personal aviation category with both the SR Series and the Vision Jet, and has aligned the flight deck, cabin experience and training programs, including our Private Pilot Program, to provide a clear progression from learning to fly and owning a SR Series aircraft, all the way through piloting your own Vision Jet.
Now with nearly 10,000 aircraft delivered, the SR Series product line - TRAC20/22/22T, SR20, SR22, SR22T - continues to lead the high-performance, single-engine piston market with a rich history of industry-first advancements inspiring generations to come.
First delivered in 1999 and now memorialized in the 'We All Fly' exhibition at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, the SR20 altered the light aircraft industry with a 10" multi-function display and later added a complete glass flight deck with the very first primary flight display in a small, certified aircraft. These technological advancements revolutionized the industry and helped improve safety while simplifying the way pilots navigate around the world - forever changing the aviation landscape.
Today, the SR Series G7 features Cirrus Perspective Touch+™ by Garmin®, the most advanced flight deck in the industry, and is the first-ever piston aircraft to incorporate dual Garmin Touch Controllers. Perspective Touch+ offers larger, high-resolution displays with expanded systems integration, enabling a more intuitive flight deck experience, reducing pilot workload and increasing situational awareness. The interior creates a refined inflight experience for pilot and passengers, increasing the comfort for every occupant with easy-to-see and understand flight details such as - current position, fuel level, destination arrival time and more.
Pilot and passenger comfort continue to inspire reimagined interiors. The SR Series G7 reveals the seamless convergence of luxury, comfort and innovation. The 2024 SR Series G7 features a limited-edition aesthetic package as well as five new exterior and premium interior aesthetic options, all of which can be explored in the Cirrus Aircraft Configurator.
The SR Series G7 continues to raise the bar as the modern flight training aircraft for forward-thinking, world-class flight training institutions. Cirrus Aircraft is proud to partner with Western Michigan University College of Aviation, the first collegiate program to take delivery of the new TRAC20 G7 for advanced student flight training in early 2024.
Cirrus Aircraft is the recognized global leader in personal aviation and the maker of the best-selling SR Series piston aircraft and the Vision Jet®, the world's first single-engine Personal Jet™, and the recipient of the Robert J. Collier Trophy. Founded in 1984, the company has redefined aviation performance, comfort and safety with innovations like the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System® (CAPS®) - the first FAA-certified whole-airframe parachute safety system included as standard equipment on an aircraft. To date, worldwide flight time on Cirrus aircraft has passed 17 million hours, and 250 people have returned home safely to their families as a result of the inclusion of CAPS as a standard feature on all Cirrus aircraft. The company has seven locations in the United States, including Duluth, Minnesota; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Greater Dallas, Texas; Greater Phoenix, Arizona; and Greater Orlando, Florida; Knoxville, Tennessee and Benton Harbor, Michigan. Learn more at cirrusaircraft.com.
AIRBUS HELICOPTERS DELIVERS SOLID SALES PERFORMANCE IN 2023
In 2023, Airbus Helicopters logged 410 gross orders (net: 393), highlighting a steady market recovery with a strong performance this year for the light twin and medium twin helicopters. Orders came from 179 customers in 47 countries. The Company delivered 346 helicopters in 2023, resulting in a preliminary 54% share of the civil and parapublic market.
"Airbus Helicopters' order intake in 2023, with an increase bordering 10 percent in units in comparison to 2022, highlights its stable growth despite the ongoing global context of inflation and geopolitical instability," said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. "It's also a testament to the versatility of our products on both the civil and military market and I'd like to thank our customers for continuing to entrust their critical missions to Airbus Helicopters," he added.
2023 was a year of many firsts, with the first flight of the DisruptiveLab demonstrator featuring a new aerodynamic architecture aimed at reducing fuel consumption and the first flight of the NH90 Sea Tiger, the state-of-the-art anti-submarine warfare helicopter for the German Navy. The Company also welcomed a new member to the Airbus family when the Spanish Navy took delivery of their first H135 helicopters.
"Defence and security is one of Airbus Helicopters' strategic priorities and we continue to innovate and develop to increase mission capabilities for our customers. The German armed forces signing the largest H145M contract with up to 82 light attack helicopters at the end of 2023 is testimony to that. On the development side, the H175M successfully performed flight demonstrations in the extreme hot and high conditions of the desert in Saudi Arabia while the VSR700 demonstrated its performance during sea trials from a French Navy multi-mission frigate. We also continue to expand our UAS portfolio with the acquisition of Aerovel which will allow us to offer our customers additional mission capabilities with manned-unmanned teaming," continued Even.
Global support contracts and the HCare offering continued to prove popular in 2023 both with civil and military customers. 140 new helicopters were covered by "by-the-hour" contracts bringing the total to 2760 helicopters.
Innovation and sustainability remained a strong focus for the Company as it continued to invest in demonstrators aimed at advancing its decarbonisation roadmap and enhancing aviation safety. Airbus Helicopters' FlightLab successfully tested an electric flight control system that allowed for a single pilot stick to replace all three conventional pilot controls, a first in the helicopter industry. Following these successful FBW flight trials, Airbus Helicopters, in partnership with Airbus UpNext, was able to test advanced autonomous features in order to simplify mission preparation and management, reduce helicopter pilot workload, and further increase safety.
"In the same way as the DisruptiveLab will be used to test hybridisation for single-engine helicopters, we unveiled the PioneerLab with the aim of testing hybridisation for twin-engine aircraft as well as introducing bio-based materials. We also started assembling CityAirbus NextGen in Donauwörth and wrapped up the year by performing the power-on. We also ramped up the use of SAF for our own development test flights, training, deliveries and ferry flights in Marignane and Donauwörth to 10% and we will continue to roll this out to our other sites in 2024," continued Even.
MEHAIR PLACES ORDER FOR 20 ZEROAVIA ZA600 HYDROGEN-ELECTRIC ENGINES
ZeroAvia today announced that MEHAIR has placed a conditional order for up to 20 ZA600 hydrogen-electric engines. The order adds to the over 2,000 engine pre-orders secured by ZeroAvia.
MEHAIR (Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt Ltd.) has historically offered services across the Indian sub-continent, commencing with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2011. The company now has ambitious plans to grow across a range of sub-regional routes across India with both amphibian and wheeled aircraft.
MEHAIR will explore a range of options for financing the acquisition and retrofit of the engines to its upcoming fleet of 10 Cessna Caravan aircraft , including working with potential leasing partners. The company already has a relationship with MONTE as its preferred ZA600 lessor partner. ZeroAvia and MEHAIR will also work together on establishing the fuel supply for the operator's services across India.
ZeroAvia plans to certify the ZA600 by the end of 2025 and is already working closely with the UK's CAA as well as other regulators to ensure harmonization and rapid certification globally.
India has big aspirations to use hydrogen as a key enabler of its clean energy future, particularly in hard-to-abate sectors like aviation, and to deliver net zero by 2070. A target of reaching 5 million metric tons of hydrogen production per annum has been set for 2030.
Aviation too is growing dramatically across the country, with passenger numbers more than doubling over the last decade and more than 500m passengers per annum predicted by 2030 according to CAPA, India.
LOCKHEED MARTIN DELIVERS FIRST C-130J-30 SUPER HERCULES TO THE GEORGIA AIR NATIONAL GUARD
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) delivered the first of eight C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical airlifters to the Georgia Air National Guard during a ceremony today, commemorating a new era in Hercules operations for this longtime C-130 Hercules operator.
The 165th Airlift Wing - the first C-130 operator in the state of Georgia - received its initial Hercules in 1975 and has operated several variants over the years. The Savannah-based unit will now operate the C-130J-30 Super Hercules, which offers unprecedented power, space, integration and versatility.
"Today's delivery of this C-130J-30 Super Hercules is another symbol of Lockheed Martin's long-term commitment to the Hercules' home state. On behalf of our 6,000+ Georgia employees, it is an honor to deliver this Georgia-built, Georgia-flown aircraft to Savannah's 165th Airlift Wing," said Rod McLean, vice president and general manager for Lockheed Martin's Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business and its Marietta production site. "The addition of the C-130J Super Hercules, the most advanced Hercules ever produced, to the Georgia Air National Guard's fleet enables its crews deliver hope and help - all over the world for many years to come."
The 165th Airlift Wing has the distinction of operating the first all-C-130J-30 Super Hercules fleet in Georgia. Its crews will rely on the C-130J-30 - the stretch version of the C-130J that adds 15 feet of cargo space - to support strategic and tactical airlift mission requirements.
The C-130J Super Hercules is Georgia's aerospace ambassador to the world, with almost 2.7 million flight hours and a $2 billion annual investment into the Georgia economy, which includes 18 Georgia-based suppliers.
This delivery marks the first U.S. Air Force C-130J-30 aircraft to receive the Block 8.1 configuration during its initial production. The Block 8.1 configuration improves interoperability across the fleet with features such as a new flight management system, enhanced navigation and inter-communication systems and updated friend-or-foe identification.
The U.S. Air National Guard, which has one of the most visible and active C-130 fleets in the world, continues to operate a mixed C-130J and C-130H fleet. The addition of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules to the Air National Guard fleet ensures these crews will continue to support the Guard's motto of "Always Ready, Always There" for decades to come.
The C-130J Super Hercules is the proven standard in tactical airlift, providing a unique mix of versatility and performance to complete any mission, anytime, anywhere. To date, 26 operators in 22 nations are part of the C-130J global fleet. Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 530 C-130J Super Hercules in 18 mission variants.
DARPA MOVES FORWARD ON X-65 TECHNOLOGY DEMONSTRATOR
DARPA has selected Aurora Flight Sciences to build a full-scale X-plane to demonstrate the viability of using active flow control (AFC) actuators for primary flight control. The award is Phase 3 of the Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) program.
In December 1903, the Wright brothers flew the world's first fully controllable aircraft, which used wing warping to successfully achieve flight. Virtually every aircraft since then has used a system of movable, external control surfaces for flight control.
The X-65 breaks this century-old design paradigm for flight control by using jets of air from a pressurized source to shape the flow of air over the aircraft surface, with AFC effectors on several surfaces to control the plane's roll, pitch, and yaw. Eliminating external moving parts is expected to reduce weight and complexity and to improve performance.
"The X-65 is a technology demonstrator, and it's distinctive, diamond-like wing shape is designed to help us maximize what we can learn about AFC in full-scale, real-world tests," said Dr. Richard Wlezien, DARPA's program manager for CRANE.
The X-65 will be built with two sets of control actuators - traditional flaps and rudders as well as AFC effectors embedded across all the lifting surfaces. This will both minimize risk and maximize the program's insight into control effectiveness. The plane's performance with traditional control surfaces will serve as a baseline; successive tests will selectively lock down moving surfaces, using AFC effectors instead.
"The X-65 conventional surfaces are like training wheels to help us understand how AFC can be used in place of traditional flaps and rudders," said Wlezien. "We'll have sensors in place to monitor how the AFC effectors' performance compares with traditional control mechanisms, and these data will help us better understand how AFC could revolutionize both military and commercial craft in the future."
The 7,000+ pound, unmanned X-65 will have a 30-foot wingspan and be capable of speeds up to Mach 0.7. Its weight, size, and speed - similar to a military trainer aircraft - make the flight-test results immediately relevant to real world aircraft design.
"We're building the X-65 as a modular platform - wing sections and the AFC effectors can easily be swapped out - to allow it to live on as a test asset for DARPA and other agencies long after CRANE concludes," said Wlezien.
Aurora Flight Sciences has already started fabricating the X-plane; the X-65 is scheduled to be rolled out in early 2025 with the first flight planned for summer of the same year.
"It's thrilling to be able to say, 'we're building an AFC X-plane," said Wlezien. "I came to DARPA in 1999 to work on a program called Micro Adaptive Flow Control, which help pioneer the foundational understanding of fluid dynamics that eventually led to CRANE. I left DARPA in 2003 after managing MAFC, and it's the chance of a lifetime to come back and help see that early work come to fruition in a full-scale physical aircraft. Aerospace engineers live to see their efforts take flight."
LOCKHEED MARTIN DELIVERS FIRST TWO F-16 BLOCK 70 AIRCRAFT FOR SLOVAKIA
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is proud to announce the successful delivery of the first two Slovakian F-16 Block 70 jets. These advanced aircraft represent not only a leap in technology but also a firm commitment to enhancing Slovakia's national security.
OJ Sanchez, vice president and general manager of the Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed Martin, emphasized the significance of this delivery: "The delivery of the first two F-16 Block 70 jets to Slovakia signifies a crucial starting point in bolstering the country's defence capabilities. We are proud to be part of this endeavour and are committed to delivering a total of 14 jets to Slovakia."
Sanchez continued: "The integration of this proven platform will allow the Slovak Air Force to effectively safeguard its borders and partner with allies across Europe, NATO, and the world. We stand committed to our mission of advancing 21st Century Security through cost-effective operations and strategic partnerships, ensuring the safety and well-being of U.S. allies."
These F-16 Block 70 jets, proudly manufactured in Greenville, South Carolina, are a testament to advanced engineering and technology. With a current backlog of 135 jets, the production line serves as a cornerstone of national security, offering state-of-the-art F-16 fighter jet capabilities to allies worldwide.
Furthermore, Bulgaria has signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for an additional eight jets for its fleet. Once the agreement is finalized, the backlog will increase by eight.
Deliveries for Slovakia will continue through 2025, and the first group of jets, known as a ferry cell, is expected to arrive in Slovakia mid-2024.
The F-16 is a strategic and valuable choice for many customers around the world seeking advanced fighter aircraft capabilities, regional and worldwide partnerships, and affordable lifecycle costs. More than 3,100 F-16s are operating today in 25 countries. The F-16 has flown an estimated 19.5 million flight hours and at least 13 million sorties. Today's latest version, the Block 70/72, offers unparalleled capabilities and will be flown by six countries and counting.
LEONARDO: THE C-27J SPARTAN GLOBAL FLEET SETS MAJOR MILESTONE ACHIEVING 250,000 FLIGHT HOURS IN OPERATIONS
Leonardo celebrates a major operational milestone achieved by the C-27J Spartan global fleet, which has now logged 250,000 flight hours. Chosen by military operators in 17 countries worldwide, the C-27J has been deployed since its entry into service into the most challenging terrains, environmental and operating contexts, from the Andes to Afghanistan.
Dario Marfè, Senior Vice President of Commercial, CSS&T & Proprietary Programmes Business of Leonardo's Aircraft Division, said: 'The Spartan embodies the very essence of the national security concept, proving to be the ideal solution for defence force operations and making a vital contribution to population support and civil protection tasks. In a world impacted by many emergencies, like the Covid-19 pandemic, the Spartan has sustained support to communities in need."
The aircraft's capabilities, which have been extensively demonstrated in many challenging operations, with its modular design have grown over the years to meet evolving requirements in the market, both in terms of technical characteristics and military/civil missions, leading to the latest standard, designated the C-27J Spartan Next Generation. This configuration features state-of-the-art avionics and winglets for greater efficiency and enhanced operational performance. Core avionics include a glass cockpit with five multi-functional colour screens, a radar system for tactical transport missions and advanced communication systems. The system architecture ensures interoperability with other transport aircraft. The addition of winglets further enhances the overall aerodynamics performance, by increasing the lift-drag ratio with benefits, including even better hot and high runway performance, increased payload, range, endurance and the overall deriving reduction in operating costs. The winglet design includes parts produced with modern 3D Additive Manufacturing technology.
The inherent growth potential and versatility of the C-27J leverages a solid basic design, a wide-ranging in-service experience as well as an established strong industrial know-how and expertise backing the type's ability to meet evolving market needs. The C-27J can be provided with in-flight refuelling, self-protection, secure communications and ballistic protection systems to operate in high-threat environments. With multiple roll-on/roll-off mission kits easily installed and transportable roll-on/roll-off mission systems, the C-27J can be quickly reconfigured into the configuration required for the current mission. A wide spectrum of mission configuration/versions also include fire-fighting, Maritime Patrol (MP), Command-Control-Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C3ISR) and special operations versions.
South Africa, Ermelo Airfield (FAEO), Mpumalanga: An Ayres S2R-T34 Turbo Thrush crashed on short final of runway 13 in fog at Ermelo Airfield (FAEO), Ermelo, Mpumalanga, and a post-crash fire ensued. The pilot perished and the aircraft was destroyed by fire. Local aviation sources suggest that the accident aircraft was registered ZS-LUW or ZS-LUZ and later confirmed as ZS-LUW.
Libya, Tripoli-Mitiga International Airport (MJI/HLLM): The Cessna 560XL Citation XLS, veered off the runway during an emergency landing at Tripoli-Mitiga International Airport (MJI). The plane was heading from Tripoli to Benghazi on an emergency ambulance mission, when a 'technical failure' forced the crew to return to MJI.
Mexico, near Tepic Airport (TPQ//MMEP), Tepic, Nayarit: A Piper PA-31T Cheyenne II, XB-OQA, was destroyed when impacted terrain while on approach to Tepic Airport (TPQ/MMEP), Tepic, Nayarit. The pilot and three passengers perished in the accident. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the pilot forgot to lower the landing gear so maximum thrust was applied, but the aircraft pitched up and entered a stall/spin.
USA, near Weston, FL: A Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N737VC, was destroyed when it impacted swampy terrain and a post-crash fire ensued near Weston, Florida. The two commercial pilots were fatally injured. ADS-B data show the aircraft took off from Hollywood-North Perry Airport, FL (HWO/KHWO) at 23:30 UTC. It climbed to about 1700 feet, followed by an erratic altitude profile until it began a steep descent before it impacted the swamp at ~23:45 UTC.
USA, NE of Telephone, TX: On the evening of January 24th, 2024, the student pilot of Cessna 172SP N23107 (Careertrack 655) told KADS Tower that he was "not going to listen to KADS Tower 's instructions", was "heading to east Texas" and would "pull the com 1 circuit breaker and com 2 circuit breaker as soon as [he] un keys the mic". The aircraft's ADS-B track shows a departure from KADS towards the east. The aircraft turned north over Sulphur Springs, Texas, and then towards the northwest once over Paris, Texas. The aircraft last reported a vertical descent of -4736ft/min, impacting a field about nine miles northeast of Telephone, Texas, south of the Red River. The pilot perished and the aircraft was destroyed. According to a Texas DPS statement said that preliminary investigation indicated that the aircraft was stolen from ATP Flight School. The pilot reportedly was, or used to be, a student there and he probably committed suicide.
Venezuela, Catatumbo, Zulia: A Grumman G-1159 Gulfstream II TT illegally entered Venezuelan airspace. After landing at an airstrip in Catamumbo, Zulia, it was destroyed by Venezuelan law enforcement officers. It was likely engaged in transporting drugs.
USA, Leesburg Executive Airport (JYO/KJYO), Leesburg, VA: A Pilatus PC-12/45 veered off of runway 35 at Leesburg Executive Airport (JYO/KJYO), Leesburg, Virginia, after touching down without the landing gear fully down and locked. The nose and left main gear collapsed and the aircraft skidded down the runway on its left wing and partially extended nose gear. The engine appeared to increase in power, as if attempting a go-around or max reverse, but the prop was already destroyed. The aircraft veered left and came to rest in the grass. A large piece of a prop was found on the ramp about 500 feet from the runway. The five occupants were not injured and the damage may or may not be reparable.
Belgium, near Spa-La Sauvenière Airfield (EBSP): A Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee D Flite Liner attempted a go around after approaching runway 23 at Spa-La Sauvenière Airfield (EBSP). The aircraft veered to the right, hit a perimeter fence and then a car parked on the adjoining road bursting into flames 100m from the airfield. Both occupants of the aircraft died. The driver of the car survived after he left the car just before the impact. Flight tracking websites show D-EMGE arriving from Germany about the time of the accident.
12 JANUARY 1916
German aces Max Immelmann (born in South Africa) and Oswald Boelcke, with 8 kills, are the first pilots awarded with Pour le Mérite ("the Blue Max")
Max Immelmann was the first German World War I flying ace.
He was the first aviator to receive the Pour le Mérite, colloquially known as the "Blue Max" in his honour, being awarded it at the same time as Oswald Boelcke. His name has become attached to a common flying tactic, the Immelmann turn, and remains a byword in aviation. He is credited with 15 aerial victories.
In the late afternoon of 18 June 1916, Immelmann led a flight of four Fokker E.III Eindeckers in search of a flight of eight F.E.2b fighter/reconnaissance aircraft of 25 Squadron Royal Flying Corps over Sallaumines in northern France.