Midweek Updates 8 May 2024

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This week in Midweek Updates

Enhanced Cessna high-wing piston aircraft enter into service following first deliveries.
Joby progresses to next phase of aircraft flight test program.
Eviation completes wind tunnel testing in another milestone for Alice.
The Rafale enters service in the Croatian Air Force.
South Korea's defence industry takes flight.
Textron Aviation unveils expanded global parts distribution facility, elevating customer service.
World military spending rises for the ninth year.
This week in history - Death of William Edward George "Pedro" Mann CB, CBE, DFC, British WWI flying ace.
Worldwide Incidents and Accidents.
Bonus video - Aircraft Movements EAA 322 Fly In to Kitty Hawk Airfield


Textron announced the entry into service of its enhanced Cessna Skyhawk, Cessna Skylane, Turbo Skylane and Turbo Stationair HD following first deliveries for each aircraft. These latest product investments aim to provide a modern and stylish tone that aligns with the newest Cessna Citation jets, while maintaining the renowned comfort, durability and performance of the iconic Cessna piston lineup.

"These enhancements to the iconic Cessna piston family offer improved comfort, functionality and style," said Chris Crow, vice president, Piston Sales. "Whether you're a student pilot or an experienced aviator, the extensive product lineup offers something to meet your needs, elevate your flying adventures and inspire the journey of flight."

With new features and design elements, the Cessna aircraft continue to be versatile and reliable tools that enable customers to fulfill a wide range of missions. The new interior designs include: All-new comfortable seats with additional support and padding. Power headset jacks at every seat. A and C USB charging ports at every seat. Sleek, black instrument panels. Thoughtfully placed side and cell phone pockets throughout the aircraft. Integrated overhead air conditioning on equipped aircraft and a new centre armrest available on certain models.

When it comes to the exterior, owners can select from a variety of new modern exterior schemes to match their preferences.


Joby's two pre-production prototype aircraft completed more than 1,500 flights, spanning a total distance of more than 33,000 miles, over the past four years. J

Joby Aviation, Inc. (NYSE:JOBY), a company developing electric air taxis for commercial passenger service, today announced it has successfully completed its pre-production flight test program and is now focused on the next phase of flight testing, during which the Company will use its production prototype aircraft to prepare for upcoming for-credit flight testing.

Joby first began flying full-scale pre-production prototype aircraft more than four years ago, and the Company's two pre-production aircraft subsequently completed more than 1,500 flights, spanning a total distance of over 33,000 miles, including more than 100 flights with a pilot onboard. The second pre-production aircraft also completed the first electric air taxi exhibition flights in New York City, when it flew from the Manhattan Downtown Heliport over the Hudson River in November 2023.

"Over the course of this test program, our team has shown the world how real electric air taxis are, with tens of thousands of miles flown using today's battery technology," said JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby. "Our pre-production aircraft were the second full-scale generation of Joby's design, and their performance met or exceeded our predictions throughout the program, successfully achieving our targets for maximum range, speed, and a revolutionary acoustic footprint."

"Successfully completing this rigorous test program has allowed us to proceed to ramp production with full confidence, the second of which rolled off the line at our production line in Marina, California, earlier this week. Learnings from the flight test program have been invaluable to our certification program and to the broader development of regulatory frameworks around electric VTOL aircraft, validating the performance, safety, and acoustics of our design while providing insight into daily operations and maintenance."

Kitplanes for Africa


Eviation has marked a new milestone towards Alice's certification and entry-into-service. Eviation completed wind tunnel testing of an Alice prototype at the University of Washington's Kirsten Wind Tunnel in Seattle.

With more than 400 runs completed and almost 9000 individual test data points, the testing has provided rich data to validate Alice's production design. The test data complements data gathered during Alice's pioneering first flight in 2022, and is another significant step forward in bringing zero emissions flight to passengers everywhere.


The first six Rafale operated by the Croatian Air Force were welcomed at the Zagreb operational base by the President of the Republic of Croatia Zoran Milanovic, the Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and the Minister of Defence Ivan Anušic.

Following the acquisition of 12 Rafale from the French Air and Space Force in November 2021, the first six Rafale of the Croatian Air Force - Hrvatsko ratno zrakoplovstvo i protuzracna obrana (HRZ i PZO) - operated by its pilots trained in France, arrived today at the 91 operational base, near Zagreb. They were welcomed by the President of the Republic of Croatia Zoran Milanovic, the Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and the Minister of defence Ivan Anušic, during a ceremony.

Coming from the Dassault Aviation site in Mérignac, these six Rafale will join the 191 Squadron of the Croatian Air Force. The next Rafale will arrive from the end of 2024, to form a complete squadron by mid-2025.

"The mastery with which the Croatian Air Force carried out this first ferry testifies to the excellence of its pilots and personnel, and brilliantly illustrates the quality of Croatia's cooperation with France. Dassault Aviation is fully committed to completing the full integration and logistic support of the Rafale into the Croatian Air Force, which will contribute to ensuring Croatia's sovereignty and enable it to successfully carry out its operational missions within NATO", declared Éric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.


South Korea, a technological savvy nation, is internationally famous for its successful soft culture export. From K-drama to K-pop, the country has conquered the hearts of millions of fans and made remarkable tourism profits. However, globally acclaimed groups such as BTS or Blackpink are not the only industry to gain foreign markets. Indeed, the Land of the Morning Calm has successfully grown its defence industry and secured major deals abroad in the past few years.

South Korea's aircraft exports surged to over 1$ billion in 2023, primarily driven by the delivery of FA-50 light combat aircraft to Poland. The outbound shipments of aircraft parts from South Korea also reached a record high of $2.4 billion in 2023, marking a substantial increase of over 34% compared to the previous year. In July 2022, Poland had announced the largest arms contract with South Korea ever signed by a European country from the former Soviet bloc. In total, Warsaw has ordered 980 K2 battle tanks, 672 K9 155 mm self-propelled guns and 48 FA-50 fighter jets from various South Korean companies.

The total contract value is estimated by analysts at some $15 billion (€15.07 billion), the equivalent of Poland's annual defence budget. Such impressive spending is motivated by Poland's reawakened fears of Moscow's expansionism in Europe's eastern flank. Using to its advantage order-saturated European and American manufacturers, South Korea established itself as a reliable and fast supplier for countries wishing to arm themselves efficiently and within a short timeline.

Another example: Korea Aerospace Industries is partnering with German weapon manufacturer Diehl Defence to tap into the European defence market by integrating Diehl's IRIS-T air-to-air missile with South Korea's FA-50 fighter jet. The IRIS-T missile, developed by Diehl Defence in collaboration with NATO members, boasts impressive capabilities including a maximum speed of Mach 3 and the ability to engage targets from all directions, aided by its solid propellant motor and thrust-vector control. KAI aims to enhance South Korean fighter jets with this collaboration, targeting European export markets, especially after the successful delivery of 12 FA-50s to Poland in 2023, with plans to customize and deliver the remaining 36 units between 2025 and 2028. The FA-50, a variant of the T-50 supersonic trainer aircraft, has garnered interest from Poland, which is replacing its aging fleet of MiG-29s with these multirole fighters. Additionally, the IRIS-T missile will also be incorporated into KAI's KF-21 fighter plane, designed to replace South Korea's outdated F-4 and F-5 fighters, boasting impressive specifications including a maximum speed of Mach 1.81 and a range of 2,900 km.

Turbulences on the way

This impressive industrial growth naturally attracts unwanted attention and opportunistic employees. Recently, employees from Indonesia working at Korea Aerospace Industries, the developer of the KF-21 aircraft, were found attempting to take a USB flash drive containing confidential data from KAI's manufacturing plant in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province. A joint investigation team, including officials from the National Intelligence Service, the Defence Counterintelligence Command, and the Defence Acquisition Programme Administration, has been conducting an inquiry into the incident. Despite assurances from Indonesia's defence ministry of continued cooperation with Korea, the incident has raised doubts within the industry about Indonesia's commitment to the joint project. This project goes back to 2016, when South Korea and Indonesia entered into an agreement to collaborate on a joint development programme. Under this agreement, Jakarta was supposed to fund 20 percent of the total development cost, amounting to 8.8 trillion won ($6.59 billion), in exchange for 48 planes to be produced for the Indonesian Air Force and technology transfer. However, complications arose regarding cost-sharing, with Indonesia having only paid 227.2 billion won by 2019 due to financial challenges. Despite multiple discussions between the two parties to resolve the issue, additional payments totalling 50 billion won were made between 2022 and 2023, leaving outstanding payments estimated at nearly 1 trillion won as of last October. Now that South Korea has achieved its global defence leader status, it will naturally seek out stronger alliances.

A strong Korea-Saudi partnership

The country is pushing its defence champions in promising markets, such as Gulf countries. Defence Minister Shin Won-sik and Saudi National Guard Minister Abdullah bin Bandar Al Saud met recently in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, signalling Korea's pursuit of deeper defence ties with the Middle East. Following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Korea and Saudi Arabia, the discussions aimed to strengthen defence procurement and cooperation, especially considering Saudi Arabia's significant military spending and ambition to lead the Arab world in defence capabilities. Discussions are also underway regarding potential collaboration for the development of a sixth-generation fighter aircraft, leveraging groundwork from Korea's KF-21 fighter programme, as both nations seek to secure a significant share of the global aerospace export market amidst increasing competition and evolving geopolitical dynamics. This strategic meeting took place during the World Defence Show in February.

What next?

Cheaper than western-made weapons and equally reliable equipment coupled with fast deliveries put South Korea's defence industry on the international front row. The main question for South Korea now revolves around whether the government intends to authorize arms sales to Ukraine. Currently, Korean legislation prohibits direct arms exports to conflict zones. However, experts like the German Korea specialist Professor Kristina Spohr suggest that President Yoon is advocating for a more proactive global role for South Korea, recognizing that supplying arms to Ukraine could bolster the country's alliance with the USA.

However, this move is fraught with political risks, as there is apprehension among the populace about potential repercussions, including heightened support from Russia for North Korea. Consequently, Spohr believes that direct arms exports are improbable at the time, especially given the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming American presidential election, where a victory for Donald Trump could potentially lead to a cessation of American aid to Ukraine and reluctance to participate in a fragile coalition.

Written by ADIT - The Bulletin and republished with permission.


Textron Aviation today announced the grand opening of the company's largest parts distribution facility at its headquarters in Wichita, Kansas. With the addition of 180,000 square feet of space, this state-of-the-art facility is now better equipped to serve the company's global customer base with increased parts storage and faster shipping.

Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker customers receive factory-direct support, maintenance and modifications by Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, through its global network of service and part centres, mobile service units and 24/7 1CALL AOG support.

With thousands of Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker aircraft operating worldwide, Textron Aviation recognizes the importance of having readily available parts to keep customers flying. The facility's larger footprint allows for increased parts inventory investment, supporting parts availability for both new and existing models. The expansion also aims to improve the overall customer experience with a new, dedicated lane for customers to conveniently drop off or pick up parts in person.

TEXTRON"Adding 180,000 square feet to our headquarter facility provides expedited support to our customers around the globe and continues our investment in parts inventory," said Brad White, senior vice president, Global Parts and Distribution. "The expansion of our parts distribution operations is a testament to Textron Aviation's commitment to designing and delivering the best aviation experience for customers."

Consistent with the company's commitment to sustainability, the project features energy-saving LED lighting and high-efficiency systems and process improvements that consolidate shipments and reduce vehicle travel by an estimated 30,000 miles annually. Work on the facility began in October 2022. PEC Engineering and GLMV Architecture designed the facility and CONCO Construction completed the project. All companies are local to Textron Aviation's headquarters and the expanded facility in Wichita.

The company's expanded parts facility in Wichita is part of a global network of seven parts distribution centres and 17 stockrooms. With over 150,000 unique part numbers and a dedicated team of more than 600 professionals, Textron Aviation is well-equipped to support its customers' parts needs worldwide.


World military expenditure is up for the ninth consecutive year to an all-time high of $2 443 billion as war, rising tensions and insecurity manifest in various parts of the world.

For the first time since 2009, military expenditure went up in all five geographical regions defined by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), with particularly large increases recorded in Europe, Asia and Oceania and the Middle East.

"The unprecedented rise in military spending is a direct response to the global deterioration in peace and security. States are prioritising military strength but they risk an action-reaction spiral in the increasingly volatile geopolitical and security landscape," Nan Tian, 01Senior Researcher with SIPRI's Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme, said to coincide with the release of new data on global military spending.

SIPRI found that military expenditure in Africa totalled $51.6 billion in 2023. It was 22% higher than in 2022 and 1.5% higher than in 2014. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) saw the largest percentage increase in military spending - 105% - by any country in 2023. There has been and is protracted conflict between government and non-state armed groups.

South Sudan recorded the second largest percentage increase of 78% amid internal violence and spill-over from the Sudanese civil war.

Last year, military spending in Algeria grew by 76% to reach $18.3 billion. This is the highest level of expenditure ever recorded by Algeria and was largely due to a sharp rise in revenue from gas exports to countries in Europe as they moved away from Russian supplies.

European defence spending on the rise

SIPRI found that Russia's military spending increased by 24% to an estimated $109 billion in 2023, marking a 57% rise since 2014, the year Russia annexed Crimea. In 2023 Russia's military spending made up 16% of total government spending and its military burden (military spending as a share of gross domestic product [GDP]) was 5.9%.

Ukraine was the eighth largest spender in 2023, after a spending surge of 51% to reach $64.8 billion. This gave Ukraine a military burden of 37% and represented 58% of total government spending.

Ukraine's military spending in 2023 was 59%the size of Russia's. Ukraine also received at least $35 billion in military aid during the year, including $25.4 billion from the United States (US). Combined, this aid and Ukraine's own military spending equalled about 91% of Russian spending.

In 2023, NATO's 31 members accounted for $1 341 billion, 55% of the world's military expenditure. Military spending by the US rose by 2.3% to reach $916 billion in 2023, representing 68% of total NATO military spending. In 2023 most European NATO members increased military expenditure. Their combined share of the NATO total was 28%, the highest in a decade. The remaining four percent came from Canada and Turkey, SIPRI data showed.

"For European NATO states, the past two years of war in Ukraine have fundamentally changed the security outlook. This shift in threat perceptions is reflected in growing shares of GDP being directed towards military spending, with the NATO target of two percent increasingly seen as a baseline rather than a threshold to reach," Lorenzo Scarazzato, Researcher with SIPRI's Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme, said.

A decade after NATO formally committed to a target of spending two percent of GDP on the military, 11 out of 31 NATO members met or surpassed this level in 2023 - the highest since the commitment was made. Another target - of directing at least 20% of military spending to "equipment spending" - was met by 28 NATO members in 2023, up from seven in 2014.

China, the world's second largest military spender, allocated an estimated $296 billion to the military in 2023, an increase of six percent from 2022. This was the 29th consecutive year-on-year rise in China's military expenditure. China accounted for half of total military spending across the Asia and Oceania region. Several China neighbours linked spending increases to China's rising military expenditure, according to SIPRI

Japan allocated $50.2 billion to its military in 2023, 11 percent more than in 2022. Taiwan's military expenditure also grew by 11% in 2023, reaching $16.6 billion.

"China is directing much of its growing military budget to boost the combat readiness of the People's Liberation Army. This has prompted the governments of Japan, Taiwan and others to significantly build up their military capabilities, a trend that will accelerate further in the coming years," Xiao Liang, Researcher with SIPRI's Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme, said.

War and Middle East tensions fuel spending increase

Estimated military expenditure in the Middle East increased by nine percent to $200 billion in 2023 - the highest annual growth rate in the region in the past decade.

Israel's military spending - the second largest in the region behind Saudi Arabia - grew by 24% to reach $27.5 billion in 2023. The spending increase was mainly driven by Israel's largescale offensive in Gaza in response to the attack on southern Israel by Hamas in October 2023.

"The large increase in military spending in the Middle East in 2023 reflected the rapidly shifting situation in the region - from the warming of diplomatic relations between Israel and several Arab countries in recent years to the outbreak of a major war in Gaza and fears of a region-wide conflict," said Diego Lopes da Silva, Senior Researcher with SIPRI's Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.

In other notable developments, India was the fourth largest military spender globally in 2023. At $83.6 billion, its military expenditure was 4.2% higher than in 2022.

4 MAY 1966

Death of William Edward George "Pedro" Mann CB, CBE, DFC, British WWI flying ace, one of the first to fly an inverted formation at Hendon. He also served in WWII and helped to develop mobile radar and signals units that served as models for the entire RAF

Mann, born on 20 April 1899, began his military career as a Sopwith Camel pilot in the Royal Naval Air Service in 1917. It took him several months before he was successful, but from 8 May through 26 September 1918, he scored thirteen aerial victories while with 208 Squadron (formerly 8 Naval). His final tally was six German planes destroyed (including two shared victories), and seven more driven down out of control.

After his retirement from military service, Mann became the Director of Telecommunications of the Ministry of Civil Aviation from 1948 to 1950. He then became Director-General of Civil Aviation Navigational Services until his final retirement in 1959.

Namibia, Pioneerspark, Windhoek: A Westair Aviation Ltd Reims-Cessna F406 Caravan II crashed in the suburb Pioneerspark, Windhoek, during an attempted return to Eros Airport (ERS/FYWE), Windhoek. The two pilots and an aircraft mechanic, who were carrying out a maintenance test flight, perished and the aircraft was destroyed by a post impact fire.

USA, near Daniel Village, Augusta, GA: A Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, N629BE, was destroyed when it struck a tree and crashed during an attempted return to Daniel Field (DNL/KDL), Augusta, Georgia. The sole pilot perished in the accident.

Slovakia, near Košúty, Martin: A Schleicher ASG 29 E 18 crashed during a competition flight at a high voltage station near Košúty, Martin, and caught fire. The pilot perished and the glider was destroyed by fire.

Spain, near Alcázar de San Juan, Ciudad Real: An Extra EA-330SC had given a performance at the Festival Aéreo Internacional de San Javier. During the return flight to Matilla De Los Caños Airport (LETC), Valladolid, Castile and Leon, a vulture collided with the aircraft canopy and it crashed near Alcázar de San Juan, Ciudad Real. Pilot Olivier Masurel (42), Spanish unlimited aerobatic champion of 2023, perished and the aircraft was destroyed by fire.

Aircraft Movements EAA 322 Fly In to Kitty Hawk Airfield

Aviation Economy
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