Tag Archives: Avgeek

Africa Aerospace and Defence postponed till 2022

Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD), Africa’s premier aerospace and defence exhibition and airshow, scheduled to take place 16-20 September 2020, has been deferred to 21 -25 September 2022 as a result of the current global COVID-19 pandemic. This decision follows a series of events which included the close monitoring of the pandemic’s global roll-out as well
as its prevalence in South Africa.

The organisers announced the deferment to September
2022 following consultations with the Department of Defence (DOD) and other key stakeholders associated with the biennial flagship event.
The Show organisers advised that several factors were taken into consideration in arriving at
the decision, which include – amongst others:


● The absolute need to ensure the battle against the Covid-19 virus is won and to further
safeguard human lives,
● The severity that the pandemic has imposed on the global aviation and defence
exhibition sector
● A decision by the DOD to put a hold on all foreign activities and events (inbound and
outbound missions)
● South African borders remaining closed with no travelling anticipated to take place by
September 2020.

The announcement also comes at the time when South Africa is currently under level 3 lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which restrictions include the prohibition of any public gatherings, a trend also seen around the world during lockdown phases.
“We are aware that the deferment of AAD 2020 comes as an additional setback to the international defence and aerospace industries, and in particular the South African industry, given that AAD Expo is identified and diarised as a platform to showcase the latest advances and technological innovations that the world’s best in aviation and defence has to offering. .

However, everyone’s health, safety and security come first; we can and will only proceed with giving you the best of AAD when it is absolutely safe to do so. We can assure you though that we are already working and planning on delivering an enhanced AAD 2022”, said Exhibition
Director, Leona Redelinghuys.

The organisers will engage directly with all exhibitors whose participation had been confirmed
for AAD2020 on various options available to them, as a result of the deferment.

Another Rescue for 15 Squadron and the Mountain Club of SA


The Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) section rescue team was called out on this past Saturday morning to a woman who had sustained a broken leg in the southern Drakensberg. She was stretchered out to a private ambulance by the Underberg MCSA rescue team.

Pictures courtesy of MCSA

Then near mid night on Sunday the South African National Defence Force requested help with a soldier who had sustained serious injuries in a fall in Leslie’s Pass in the Injasuthi area. At first light on Monday an Oryx helicopter from 15 Squadron , AFB Durban was dispatched, which then picked up 3 Mountain Club members at Pietermaritzburg. A rescue then took place high in Leslie’s Pass, before bringing the patient to a hospital in Pietermaritzburg.

Pictures courtesy of MCSA

Thanks to Gavin Raubenheimer for the story!
KZN Search & Rescue Convener

Pictures courtesy of MCSA

15 Squadron is one of the helicopter squadrons based at the still Air force Base Durban. It is currently a transport/utility helicopter Squadron flying the Oryx medium transport helicopter as well as the Agusta A109LUH . 15 Squadron “Charlie” flight is based at Air force Station Port Elizabeth flying the BK117 helicopter.

Embraer Services & Support completes first Praetor 500 conversion

Embraer Services & Support announced the completion of the first conversion of a Legacy 450 to a Praetor 500 for an undisclosed customer.

The conversion was performed at the Embraer Executive Jets Service Center at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. The full process to convert a Legacy 450 (2,900 nautical miles range) into a Praetor 500 (3,340 nautical miles range) can be performed at the Bradley Service Center, as well as at Embraer-owned Service Centers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Sorocaba, Brazil, and Le Bourget in Paris, France.

“Embraer-owned Service Centers are well prepared with parts kits and skilled labor and are ready to bring the most disruptive and technologically advanced midsize business jet ever made, the Praetor 500, to our existing Legacy 450 customers, with the company’s primary vision of delivering the ultimate customer experience,” said Johann Bordais, President & CEO, Embraer Service & Support.

“This conversion makes a great airplane even more industry leading.” In order to generate the impressive range improvements synonymous with the Praetor 500, the level-sensing wiring in the fuel tanks were replaced, the over-wing gravity fueling ports were moved, the fuel-measurement system was relocated, and the wing ribs were reinforced to hold additional weight.

These adjustments entailed updates to the flight control systems, including a new avionics load for the acclaimed Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion flight deck. Most noticeably, the iconic swept winglets of the Praetor were installed, and the placards and logos were replaced to officially convert the Legacy 450 into a Praetor 500. The conversion was made possible by the expertise of structures and avionics specialists, A&P mechanics, logistics teams, and engineers from Embraer operations around the globe.

With the Praetor 500 comes an unparalleled blend of technology, comfort, and performance. In terms of technology, the Praetor 500 features the industry-first E2VS ― a head-up display that combines synthetic and enhanced vision. Plus, it’s the only midsize business jet with full fly-by-wire flight controls and turbulence reduction capability.

Comfort abounds in the Praetor 500 cabin as it’s the only midsize business jet to feature a true six-foot-tall, flat-floor cabin, stone flooring, a wet galley, and a vacuum lavatory ― all with best-in-class baggage space. As for performance, the conversion to a Praetor 500 entails an intercontinental range of 3,340 nautical miles (6,186 km) with four passengers and NBAA IFR Reserves

MD Helicopters Launches Flight Support For COVID-19 Humanitarian Missions

MD Helicopter launches flight support for COVID-19 humanitarian missions

Mesa, Ariz., May 14, 2020 – MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) begins flying humanitarian aid missions in a company-owned MD 520N supporting the fight against COVID-19.

An MDHI pilot flew the first mission in one of the Company’s helicopters to the Navajo Nation, whose border is approximately 150 miles north of MDHI’s Mesa, AZ base of operations.  The Navajo Nation covers 27,000 square miles that can be logistically challenging for transport of goods due to terrain and obstacles throughout its vast expanse.  During the COVID-19 crisis, large quantities of relief aid accumulated in the Phoenix area awaiting distribution.  The urgent situation called for a helicopter solution to deliver the desparately needed aid to multiple locations much faster than ground transport could provide.  MDHI accepted the opportunity to assist our neighbors to the north.

Relief goods were accumulated at MDHI’s Mesa base, loaded into an MD 520N helicopter, and flown to Chinle Municiple Airport deep in the Navajo Nation, where the aid was delivered to relief workers. The entire mission covered approximately 500 nautical miles, included 2 fuel stops, and lasted roughly 5 hours.  “MD Helicopters has been a proud part of the Arizona community since its birth over 20 years ago” said Chris Jaran, the Chief Operating Officer of MD.  “We have always stood ready to help our neighbors and contribute to the welfare of our community.”  Jaran continued, “Our helicopters are flown by first responders and military units all over the world, and we are pleased to join the efforts of Arizonans to address humanitarian needs here at home in these challenging times.”

MDHI will continue flying relief aid missions in support of the Navajo Nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airline Debt to Balloon by 28% Heavy New Debt Levels Will Weigh Down Airline Recovery

Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released analysis showing that the airline industry’s global debt could rise to $550 billion by year-end. That’s a $120 billion increase over debt levels at the start of 2020. 
 

  • $67 billion of the new debt is composed of government loans ($50 billion), deferred taxes ($5 billion) and loan guarantees ($12 billion).
  • $52 billion is from commercial sources including commercial loans ($23 billion), capital market debt ($18 billion), debt from new operating leases ($5 billion), and accessing existing credit facilities ($6 billion). 


Financial aid is a lifeline to get through the worst of the crisis without folding operations. But during the re-start period later this, the industry’s debt load will be near $550 billion—a massive 28% increase. 

“Government aid is helping to keep the industry afloat. The next challenge will be preventing airlines from sinking under the burden of debt that the aid is creating,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

In total governments have committed to $123 billion in financial aid to airlines. Of this, $67 billion will need to be repaid. The balance largely consists of wage subsidies ($34.8 billion), equity financing ($11.5 billion), and tax relief / subsidies ($9.7 billion). This is vital for airlines which will burn through an estimated $60 billion of cash in the second quarter of 2020 alone.

“Over half the relief provided by governments creates new liabilities. Less than 10% will add to airline equity. It changes the financial picture of the industry completely. Paying off the debt owed governments and private lenders will mean that the crisis will last a lot longer than the time it takes for passenger demand to recover,” said de Juniac.

Regional variations

The $123 billion in government financial aid is equal to 14% of 2019’s total airline revenues ($838 billion). The regional variations of the aid dispersion indicate that there are gaps that will need to be filled.

There are still large gaps in the financial aid needed to help airlines survive the COVID-19 crisis. The US government has led the way with its CARES Act being the main component of financial aid to North American carriers which in total represented a quarter of 2019 annual revenues for the region’s airlines. This is followed by Europe with assistance at 15% of 2019 annual revenues and Asia-Pacific at 10%. But in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America average aid is around 1% of 2019 revenues.

“Many governments have stepped up with financial aid packages that provide a bridge over this most difficult situation, including cash to avoid bankruptcies. Where governments have not responded fast enough or with limited funds, we have seen bankruptcies. Examples include Australia, Italy, Thailand, Turkey, and the UK. Connectivity will be important to the recovery. Meaningful financial aid to airlines now makes economic sense. It will ensure that they are ready to provide job-supporting connectivity as economies re-open,” said de Juniac.

The Impact of Debt

The kind of aid provided will influence the speed and strength of the recovery. IATA urged governments still contemplating financial relief to focus on measures that help airlines raise equity financing. “Many airlines are still in desperate need of a financial lifeline. For those governments that have not yet acted, the message is that helping airlines raise equity levels with a focus on grants and subsidies will place them in a stronger position for the recovery,” said de Juniac.

“A tough future is ahead of us. Containing COVID-19 and surviving the financial shock is just the first hurdle. Post-pandemic control measures will make operations more costly. Fixed costs will have to be spread over fewer travelers. And investments will be needed to meet our environmental targets.  On top of all that, airlines will need to repay massively increased debts arising from the financial relief. After surviving the crisis, recovering to financial health will be the next challenge for many airlines,” said de Juniac.

Last week, the IATA Board of Governors committed to five key principles for the industry re-start.  Among these are commitments to the safety and security of staff and travelers, to meeting the industry’s environmental targets and to being a meaningful driver of the economic recovery with affordable connectivity. 

Lockheed Martin Announces Proactive Measures to Mitigate COVID-19 Impacts to F-35 Production

F-35 Production Employees Will Temporarily Adjust Schedules to Sustain Aircraft Delivery

FORT WORTH, Texas, May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In response to previously reported COVID-19 F-35 supplier delays, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is taking proactive measures to mitigate impacts and position the program for the fastest possible recovery by adjusting work schedules, maintaining specialized employee skillsets, and accelerating payments to small and vulnerable suppliers, to continue meeting customer commitments.

Lockheed Martin Logo (PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin) (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com)

Today Lockheed Martin and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) agreed to a temporary alternate work schedule for F-35 production line employees in Fort Worth to maintain their skilled workforce.

The new schedule, which will begin May 23, divides each shift into three groups. On a rotation, each group will work for two weeks and then will have a week off. During the adjusted three-week work schedule, employees who work 96 hours or more will be compensated an additional 24 hours for their off week while receiving full pay and benefits.

The alternate schedule allows Lockheed Martin to staff the production line to meet a slower workflow resulting from supplier delays. In addition, it provides a work rhythm that retains the expertise of the talented workforce and provides opportunities to adjust work to better support production.

“These are challenging times, but managing tough challenges is when the F-35 program performs at its best. The alternate work schedule maintains the specialized skillset of the employees and provides opportunities to for us to adjust our workflow to account for supplier delays due to COVID-19,” said Aeronautics Executive Vice President Michele Evans. “Our F-35 workforce is the best in the world at what they do, and we will continue to deliver on our customer’s mission.”

The temporary alternate work schedule agreement will continue for its first three-week cycle. The company will then evaluate business needs and can alter the schedule as needed with the option to discontinue as warranted or continue until Sept. 4. Lockheed Martin and the IAM have also agreed to allow employees to volunteer to be furloughed for 30 days where they maintain their benefits but forgo pay during this period.

Raytheon Technologies to train Afghan Air Force pilots

ORLANDO, Fla., May 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. Army Contracting Command has selected Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a business of Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX), to train Afghanistan Air Force pilots under a three-year contract valued up to $145 million.

Raytheon will conduct initial flight training for the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation. The Afghanistan Air Force students will go through flight school in third-party nations in Europe and the Middle East. Raytheon will provide tailored training for the Afghanistan Air Force pilots, including classroom, fixed-wing and rotary aircraft instruction.

“Raytheon training experts help the Afghanistan Air Force develop a pipeline of skilled flyers and officers,” said Bob Williams, vice president of Global Training Solutions at Raytheon Intelligence & Space. “Our program uses the latest training techniques, and a focus on individual mentorship to produce well-rounded officers that will help create a secure future for Afghanistan.”

The Raytheon Afghanistan Air Force pilot training program began in 2010. The original mission for basic flight proficiency has expanded to advanced aircraft qualifications and flight techniques. Raytheon’s focus on mentorship and leadership training helps the program maintain a 93 percent graduation rate with every student returned to Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan Air Force Pilot Training program was awarded under the Enterprise Training Services Contract vehicle. Raytheon previously announced a related task order for the Aviation Maintenance Training program.

About Raytheon Technologies
Raytheon Technologies Corporation is an aerospace and defense company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers worldwide. With 195,000 employees and four industry-leading businesses ― Collins Aerospace Systems, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Raytheon Missiles & Defense ― the company delivers solutions that push the boundaries in avionics, cybersecurity, directed energy, electric propulsion, hypersonics, and quantum physics. The company, formed in 2020 through the combination of Raytheon Company and the United Technologies Corporation aerospace businesses, is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Rolls-Royce Launches First-time Immersive Virtual Reality Training For Business Aviation Customers

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rolls-Royce continues to ensure world-class support for our global customer base. As part of our IntelligentEngine vision we are further expanding the use of immersive Virtual Reality technology for customer training.

The latest addition to the remote training programme is an instructor-led distance learning course, providing a comprehensive overview of the construction, design and operation of the Rolls-Royce BR725 engine that powers Gulfstream’s current flagship G650 business aircraft family. After completion of this comprehensive two-day training course, participants will be able to service the engine and undertake non-routine maintenance.

Gulfstream’s current flagship G650

Andy Robinson, SVP Customers and Services – Business Aviation, Rolls-Royce, said: “Rolls-Royce has been the leading engine supplier for business aircraft for more than two decades thanks to our continued commitment to the highest levels of service support. We are tremendously proud to have been voted number one in the latest Engine Product Support Services Survey of Aviation International News (AIN) by our operators.

Digitalisation plays a vital role in in bringing our IntelligentEngine vision to life; we use it to design, test and maintain our engines. This new immersive live Virtual Training tool is nothing short of a game-changer – it makes us the leader in technical training and allows customers to participate in the new training, wherever they are in the world. They just need an internet connection, and the required VR equipment, which will be shipped directly to their door,” Andy added.

Lee Bradshaw, Director of Technical Operations, Cox Aviation, said: “The new Virtual Reality maintenance course is a great example of the innovative thinking that is needed to meet the challenges of our ever-changing world. This programme allows each student to immerse themselves in an augmented environment full of realistic images, interactive functions and auditory feedback to delve deeper into the engine like never before. The course complements the industry-leading service already provided by Rolls-Royce and is another reminder of why this company is pioneering the way in creative solutions for the future.”

While not intended to completely replace practical training, Rolls-Royce see the value Virtual Reality adds for customers, such as higher flexibility and the elimination of the need to ship a full size training engine. The user finds themself as part of two realistic scenarios – the engine installed on the aircraft in a virtual hangar and the BR725 engine alone, just like it would be in our in-person training courses. The immersive environment allows them not only to watch the process steps to get familiar with the respective task, but to interact with the engine and the tools, and actually accomplish the task under the constant supervision of the instructor.

Where to enroll? https://rollsroycetraining.wufoo.com/forms/maj05r114g9sx7/

About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc

1.          Rolls-Royce pioneers cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions to meet our planet’s vital power needs.

2.         Rolls-Royce has customers in more than 150 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces, 70 navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear customers.

3.         Annual underlying revenue was £15.3 billion in 2019, around half of which came from the provision of aftermarket services.

4.         In 2019, Rolls-Royce invested £1.45 billion on research and development. We also support a global network of 29 University Technology Centres, which position Rolls Royce engineers at the forefront of scientific research.

5.         The Group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment and to further developing employee skills.

At Cruising Altitude in 2019 and Prepared for Turbulence in the Future-Pilatus

Pilatus reported another very successful business year in 2019, exceeding the one billion mark yet again with turnover of approximately 1.1 billion Swiss francs. Operating income totalled 153 million Swiss francs, incoming orders amounted to 1.1 billion Swiss francs. Pilatus staff enjoyed a share in this success with a generous bonus payout – even in the current difficult economic climate.

2019 will go down in the company’s 80 year history as another very successful twelve months overall. The figures were very similar to those reported in 2018. Total aircraft deliveries came in at 134 – 83 PC-12 NGs, 40 PC-24s and 11 PC-21s – the most extensive production programme yet.

Successful PC-24 market launch

The market rollout of the brand-new PC-24 is now complete and Pilatus has well and truly left the build-up phase. 75 PC-24s have been delivered to date and are in use on every continent. The PC-24 with the most hours in the air has already flown over 1,800 hours. The order book re-opened in May last year and demand for the world’s unique Pilatus Super Versatile Jet remains as high as ever. The PC-24 has won prestigious new clients such as Volkswagen and KSA, the Swedish air ambulance service – important milestones in a programme which is still young as yet.

Pilatus PC24

A comprehensive post-certification test campaign was performed in 2019 to have the Super Versatile Jet approved for operations on rough field runways and in other conditions. All PC-24s are now authorised for use on wet and snow-covered unpaved and grass runways. In the same vein, other PC-24 product improvements have been made to eliminate initial teething problems and provide customers with extra added benefits.

Excellent response to the PC-12 NGX

Pilatus launched the PC-12 NGX in autumn 2019: compared to its predecessor, this further development of the world’s best-selling single-engine turboprop in class now boasts an improved engine, smarter avionics and a completely re-designed cabin with larger windows. The new PT6E-67XP engine by Pratt & Whitney Canada is particularly impressive: its electronic propeller and engine control system is a worldwide first in this market segment. After obtaining certification in 2019 and making appropriate changes to the production line, the market launch generated a large number of orders. This month saw the first customers take to the skies aboard their new NGXs.

Pilatus PC12 NGX

Major PC-21 order from Spain

Finalised in 2019 and signed in January 2020, the PC-21 order from Spain is a very important step in securing future operations. From 2021 onwards, Pilatus will deliver a total of 24 PC-21s to the Spanish Air Force, the Ejército del Aire. Spain is the third European air force to opt for this Next Generation Trainer. If the General Aviation Division is indeed heavily impacted by the current economic difficulties, this order will prove essential for Pilatus in terms of providing sufficient activity for the workforce and continued business success for the company. It also demonstrates the importance of the two-pillar strategy – civilian and military business – in guaranteeing future economic viability.

Pilatus PC21

Pilatus delivered the last of a total of 49 PC-21s to the Royal Australian Air Force in November 2019. This delivery – the final one for the time being – brings the worldwide fleet of PC-21s up to a total of 211 aircraft. An impressive figure indeed, and proof that the PC-21 is now the world’s most modern, most efficient training system.

Employee profit-sharing – nothing changes

At 2,289 the number of full-time jobs across the Pilatus Group increased slightly in 2019. The very good figures for the year deliver the most effective means of thanking Pilatus employees: from apprentice through to senior manager, all employees received their personal share in the profits for 2019 as usual. This year’s bonus, paid in April 2020, is equivalent to almost 1.5 times the respective monthly salary. This performance-related employee profit-sharing model is contractually agreed with the company’s own Workforce Committee and has been in place for over 25 years.

Turbulent times in 2020

Pilatus started the year with orders worth over two billion Swiss francs, not including the major order from the Spanish air force. But the corona crisis is bound to leave its mark, and the promising outlook of the early weeks of the year has had to be revised downward. Pilatus was quick to take appropriate countermeasures, including the introduction of short-time work for large numbers of staff. In the meantime, fewer than 20 percent of employees are still affected by this measure. Supply chains remain disrupted, necessitating continuous reassessment of the situation.

Oscar J. Schwenk on 2019 and the future

Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of Pilatus, commented on the annual results as follows: “I am very pleased with our performance in 2019. I note, however, that the corona pandemic has pitched us – and many others – into a period of severe turbulence requiring constant fact-based readjustment of our chosen heading. Every pilot learns how to make the all-important corrections to flight path and altitude. We are doing exactly, reverting to the basics, as taught from the first hours of flight instruction – encompassed in the term good airmanship: aviate, navigate, communicate. In other words, retain control of the business, apply an analytical approach to problems and, finally, define a fact-based plan of action and communication.

Under the leadership of CEO Markus Bucher, I have always tailored my management style to economising during the good times in preparation for the challenges of the future, all the time keeping our feet firmly on the ground – all entrepreneurs know that healthy liquidity comes before everything else! Specifically, that means paying realistic salaries, monitoring fixed costs at all times and distributing profits with prudence. Happily, our investors have supported this sustainable corporate strategy – one which we have deliberately kept free of external loans – for years.

We are not the only ones having to tighten our belts. In a situation which no one could have foreseen, it is reassuring to know that the financial reserves set aside in the past will ensure we are able to navigate the current crisis in preparation for a clean landing and a renewed take-off into the future, together. In the final instance, our business success benefits everyone!”

Gulfstream G700 Development Accelerates

SAVANNAH, Georgia, May 8, 2020 — Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. today announced the second and third all-new Gulfstream G700™ test aircraft have taken flight, further advancing toward certification and customer deliveries of the industry’s new flagship.

The second G700 flight-test aircraft had its first voyage on March 20, departing Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) and flying for 2 hours and 58 minutes. The aircraft reached an altitude of 45,000 feet/13,716 meters and a speed of Mach 0.85. Also departing from SAV, the third flight-test aircraft flew for the first time today, soaring over Savannah for 3 hours and 2 minutes. It also reached an altitude of 45,000 ft/13,716 m and a speed of Mach 0.85.

“The G700 flight-test program is running very well, a reflection of the extensive testing we conducted in our ground labs,” said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream. “All three flight-test aircraft are performing exactly as we expected them to, and that helps us ensure a safe and thorough certification of the highest performing, most spacious and technologically advanced aircraft in business aviation.”

The three flight-test aircraft have flown more than 100 hours since the program’s first flight on Feb. 14. The G700 has reached a maximum altitude of 54,000 ft/16,459 m and a maximum speed of Mach 0.94.

The current flight-test aircraft are being used for envelope expansion, flutter testing, flying qualities and flight control, as well as mechanical systems, flights into known icing and environmental control systems, among other tests.

The G700 features the longest, widest and tallest cabin in the industry with 20 Gulfstream panoramic oval windows and up to five living areas, along with an ultragalley with more than 10 feet of counter space and a crew compartment or passenger lounge; a master suite with shower; and the industry’s only ultrahigh-definition circadian lighting system.

The G700 is powered by Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines and can fly at its high-speed cruise of Mach 0.90 for 6,400 nautical miles/11,853 kilometers or at its long-range cruise of Mach 0.85 for 7,500 nm/13,890 km. The G700 also includes the Gulfstream Symmetry Flight Deck™ with the industry’s only electronically linked active control sidesticks; the most extensive use of touch-screen technology in business aviation; and Gulfstream’s award-winning Predictive Landing Performance System.      

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