Tag Archives: Aviation Central

Birth of the Inspiration Pattern ship “Inspiration 1”

This is the story of a model radio-controlled aircraft, which was designed and built from scratch, during the lockdown in South Africa in 2020. It was built by Alec McNamara, from Durban South Africa, who told his story to Aviation Central Durban reporter Trevor Viljoen.

History on the design and build of the INSPIRATION 1
At the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic Lockdown in South Africa on the 26th of March 2020, I was in the process of building and covering a 101” Big Stik. Around the 3rd of April 2020, I ran out of shrink cover and could not get any delivered as the shrink cover I use, is imported.

After two days of watching TV and being totally bored, I decided to clear my build table and take my roll of drawing paper and cut a piece at 2.5 meters. I then put a center line on the page and started drawing. I had the idea that I wanted to build a Patterns Ship. Over the next two and a half weeks I sat drawing, erasing and redrawing until I got a rough plan of what I wanted.
The following two weeks I just sat and fine-tuned the plan, taking into consideration I do not have a drawing program on my computer.

On the 7th of May 2020, I was required to return to work and with great excitement, I took the wood sizes that I had worked out with me and on my way home I stopped by the local wood shop (Timber City Pinetown) to purchase a sheet of the lightest 3.0mm commercial plywood they had and got it cut to size as they offer that service. They obliged with no hesitation and 30 minutes later I walked out with all my wood cut to the required size.

The Inspiration then started to develop.

All the cutting and shaping was done by hand using sanding blocks and a Dremel.
The canopy and cowl are made with moulded fibre glass and painted with 2K paint. The landing gear is made of a fibreglass inner with a double carbon outer layer. The Inspiration took all of Eight (8) months to develop into this flying giant.

After an extensive meeting with Jason Barker “The Durban Drone Guy”, an experienced Pattern and Advanced 3D Pilot, six (6) hours were spent going through the, almost ready, Inspiration. He advised on some changes that I should consider. I heeded his advice and made the changes accordingly.

The Inspiration 1…
On Sunday morning of the 6th of December 2020 at around 08:45 I loaded the Inspiration 1 in the car and my daughter and I headed for MMAC (Maritzburg Model Aircraft Club) where we met Jason. We went through the Inspiration 1 for the final time and did a second range check. I then did the Pre-Flight Inspection and got the Inspiration 1 ready for her maiden flight. We then found on taxiing that the landing gear was a little unstable. We made a bit of a jimmy by putting linked rubber bands on the landing gear to hold them in a suitable stable position for the maiden flight.
Only once Jason was satisfied with the makeshift repair would he take her into the air. Jason did some ground runs and we found that the spring from the rudder to the rear wheel was too soft and steering was a bit erratic. Once he saw that and we still had some form of control Jason lined the Inspiration 1 up for take-off, did some final checks, revved the motor to feel for unwanted vibration and was then ready for take-off.

At approximately 13:15, the INSPIRATION 1 was born as she left the ground on her maiden flight, piloted by Jason Barker. Oh My… What A Spectacular Sight She Was!
I give many, many thanks to Jason (the test pilot) for the time expended and all the advice given with getting this model to where she is today and for taking her through her paces on her maiden flight.

Specifications:
Wingspan – 1930 mm
Fuselage – 2100 mm
Wing Aspect Ratio – 5.68
Dry Weight – 8.1 kg

Motor – CRRC Pro 36cc
Propeller – 19 x 8 Falcon painted wood propeller
Motor cut off – RCEXL opto ignition kill switch
Ignition Battery – X-power 2100mah 2S1P Life battery
Ignition unit – RCEXL Ignition unit (Comes with Motor)

Electronics:
Receiver – AR8010T 8CH Air Telemetry with satellite receiver
Throttle servo – CYS S3006 – 6 kg (Plastic Gear)
Aileron Servo – 2 x CYS S0110 – 11 kg (Metal Geared)
Elevator servo – 2 x CYS S3006 – 6 kg (Plastic Gear)
Rudder servo – CYS S0150 – 15 kg (Metal Geared)
Receiver batteries – 2 x X-power 2100mah 2S1P Life battery

Alec McNamara

Remembering Souths Africa’s only civilian English Electric Canberra T17A

With the birth of Thunder City at Cape Town International airport in South Africa. Thunder City was an aircraft operating and maintenance company, It was well known for owning the largest civilian collection of former military jet aircraft in the world.

Aircraft types included in the Mike Beachy Head inventory, English Electric Lightnings, Buccaneer’s, Hawker Hunters, StrikeMaster and a Puma Helicopter.

Established under the name Thunder City in 1998, the brand has gone on to become one of the most globally recognised as a home-grown South African one. Seen by millions of TV viewers in countries across the planet, the iconic Thunder City jets have inspired many to travel to Cape Town to experience the thrill and adrenaline-rush of flying in a supersonic ex-military jet. We have had a lot of worldwide media exposure, especially in Europe and the USA.

TV networks from all over the world have filmed documentaries on the Thunder City operation. These include household names such as Sky TV, CNN and the Discovery Channel, as well as Turkish, Austrian, Chinese, Dutch, French, Spanish and several German TV channels and also our own Top Billing and MNet’s Carte Blanche.”

English Electric Canberra T17A ZU-AUE Final Flight!

The one particular aircraft that did not fulfill its life span at thunder city was the ill fated flight of The Canberra, built in 1953 and formerly registered WJ607/EB with 360 Squadron Royal Air Force RAF had been de-commissioned and registered G-BVWU on the British Civil Register on 22/12/94. It was brought to South Africa to join the fleet of classic warbirds at Thunder City, based at Cape Town International Airport and registered ZU-AUE on August 25, 1995.

WJ607/EB with 360 Squadron RAF
English Electric Canberra T17A ZU-AUE at Cape Town International Airport

The aircraft crashed on 30th September near Yzerfontain, on the Capes west coast sadly killing both crew. The Canberra took off from Cape Town International on a test flight up the west coast. In the vicinity of Yzerfontein, the aircraft turned inland and suddenly spun in leaving a crater in the ground. Nothing of the aircraft remained. Although the crew were wearing parachutes, there appeared to be no time to eject.

English Electric Canberra T17A WJ607/EB with 360 Squadron RAF

South African Airforce Canberra’s

The SAAF received the first B(I) Mk 12 aircraft in 1963. Six B(I) Mk 12 bombers (451 to 456) and the T Mk 4 trainers (457 to 459) were operated by 12 Squadron.

Zambia Airforce Celebrates 10,000 accident free flying hours!

The Zambia Air Force (ZAF) has accrued 10, 000 accident free flying hours in the 2020 calendar year. And ZAF Commander, Lieutenant General David Muma says the Air Force organized a parade to celebrate this milestone. Lieutenant General David Muma in a statement said the parade was held at the ZAF Lusaka base and was officiated by Defence Minister Davies Chama.

Picture by-ZAF Facebook page

“The increased flying effort is as a result of command’s objective to carry out the Air Force mandate in full; conduct of military operations, aid to civil authorities and training of aircrew, conveyance of WIPs/VIPs with particular emphasis on good management and best aviation safety practices,” Lt Gen David Muma said.

“He mentioned the 10, 000 accident free flying hours milestone has only been achieved owing to the concerted effort made by both the aircrew, ground support crew, and all ZAF personnel in ensuring maximum aviation safety. And Lt Gen David Muma has thanked President Lungu and the government for the support.”

The Zambia Air Force is the air force of Zambia and the air operations element of the Zambian Defence Force. Following the creation of the Republic of Zambia in 1964, the former Northern Rhodesia Air Wing was renamed as the Zambia Air Wing. The Zambia Air Force was then established.

The ZAF currently fly the C27J ‘Spartan’, Xian MA60 and the Yarbin Y-12 this being the air forces transport aircraft. Their helicopter innovatory comprises of Textron Bell 205,Bell 206s,Mil Mi-17s and finally Yarbin Z-9 Helicopters.

C27J Spartan
MA60
Yarbin Y-12Picture by ORTIA Spotter
Yarbin Z-9
Bell 205\212
Mil Mi-17

The fighter assets of the ZAF,with the newest Hongdu L-15 and jet trainer the familiar Hongdu K-8.Basic trainers of the ZAF are the PAC MFI-15 and SF.260TW.

L-15
K-8
PAC MFI-15
SF.260TW.

SANParks Celebrates South Africa’s First Black Game Capture Pilot

South African National Parks (SANParks) today celebrates Captain David Simelane, South Africa’s first black game capture rated pilot. Nicknamed “Blackhawk”, Simelane completed his game capture rating, which is an endorsement on his pilot license, with flying colours on 2 December 2020.

SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said, “we are extremely proud of Simelane and his achievement. He is an inspiration to many young black aspiring pilots and we hope that his passion will inspire more people to choose this industry as their careers.”

Game capture rating is a very complex pilot endorsement rating where a helicopter pilot needs to take into consideration the environment, animals and the crew all while managing the actual helicopter itself.

Simelane has been a helicopter pilot for 16 years and has flown all over the world including Madagascar and South Sudan. “I have a passion for flying and now I get to combine that with my love for wildlife and nature. I wake up in the morning knowing that every flight I do is to make a difference in nature conservation and in people’s lives.”

Simelane, who started working for SANParks earlier this year, is KNP’s first black helicopter pilot working under SANParks Air Services which provide aerial support for many of the departments within SANParks. He said “working as a pilot for SANParks is a calling, it is tough but I am in a blessed position to say that this is not a job for me, it’s a passion. Couple that with the fact that I am doing it in the same park I first fell in love with wildlife 25 years ago, is just a dream come true for me”

Mketeni emphasised that Simelane’s achievement is a reflection of SANParks’ action to improve employees’ expertise to address inequalities and disparities in staff profiles. SANParks is committed towards the development and implementation of access, equity, and equal employment opportunities within the organisation.

“As a world society has started to realise how important both our natural and cultural heritage is and with a passionate and educated person like Simelane at SANParks we can continue to conserve and leave future generations with the natural beauty and heritage of South Africa. Today is a proud day for SANParks and the SANParks Air Services, we salute David Simelane and wish him well as he goes onwards and upwards” concluded Mketeni.

Boeing Responds to FAA Approval to Resume 737 MAX Operations

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today rescinded the order that halted commercial operations of Boeing (NYSE: BA) 737-8s and 737-9s. The move will allow airlines that are under

“We will never forget the lives lost in the two tragic accidents that led to the decision to suspend operations,” said David Calhoun, chief executive officer of The Boeing Company. “These events and the lessons we have learned as a result have reshaped our company and further focused our attention on our core values of safety, quality and integrity.”

Throughout the past 20 months, Boeing has worked closely with airlines, providing them with detailed recommendations regarding long-term storage and ensuring their input was part of the effort to safely return the airplanes to service.

An Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA spells out the requirements that must be met before U.S. carriers can resume service, including installing software enhancements, completing wire separation modifications, conducting pilot training and accomplishing thorough de-preservation activities that will ensure the airplanes are ready for service.

“The FAA’s directive is an important milestone,” said Stan Deal, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We will continue to work with regulators around the world and our customers to return the airplane back into service worldwide.”

In addition to changes made to the airplane and pilot training, Boeing has taken three important steps to strengthen its focus on safety and quality.

  1. Organizational Alignment: More than 50,000 engineers have been brought together in a single organization that includes a new Product & Services Safety unit, unifying safety responsibilities across the company.
  2. Cultural Focus: Engineers have been further empowered to improve safety and quality. The company is identifying, diagnosing and resolving issues with a higher level of transparency and immediacy.
  3. Process Enhancements: By adopting next-generation design processes, the company is enabling greater levels of first-time quality.

Rolls-Royce to test 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel in next-generation engine demonstrator

The Rolls-Royce Trent engine, housing ALECSys technology, that will be used for the Sustainable Aviation Fuel tests Ground tests with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to demonstrate Rolls-Royce engines can unlock SAF’s potential to reduce emissions As part of its ongoing decarbonisation strategy, Rolls-Royce is to use 100% sustainable aviation fuel for the first time in engine ground tests on next-generation engine technology.

The tests will aim to confirm that unblended SAF makes a significant contribution to improving the environmental performance of gas turbine engines.

The SAF being used in the tests was produced by low-carbon fuel specialist World Energy in Paramount, California, sourced by Shell Aviation and delivered by SkyNRG. This unblended fuel has the potential to significantly reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by more than 75 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel, with the possibility of further reductions in years to come.

These tests aim to demonstrate that our current engines can operate with 100% SAF as a full “drop-in” option, laying the groundwork for moving such fuels towards certification. At present, SAF is certified for blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel and can be used on all current Rolls-Royce engines.

Starting in the coming weeks in Derby, UK, the ground tests will involve a Trent engine which also incorporates ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) lean-burn technology.

ALECSys is part of the UltraFan® next generation engine demonstrator programme, which offers a 25% fuel saving over the first generation of Trent engines.

Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce Chief Technology Officer, said: “Aviation is a tremendous force for good, keeping the world connected, but we have to do that sustainably. These tests aim to show that we can deliver real emissions reductions. If SAF production can be scaled up – and aviation needs 500 million tonnes a year by 2050 – we can make a huge contribution for our planet.”

Gene Gebolys, Chief Executive Officer and founder, World Energy, said: “World Energy exists to empower leaders to innovate by providing the world’s most advanced low carbon fuels. Rolls-Royce is putting their technological prowess to work to understand how to maximise their potential in engines and we are proud to support them.”

Theye Veen, Managing Director, SkyNRG, added: “This programme is a great example of what can be achieved when companies from across the aviation value chain that share an ambition of reducing emissions work together. As a pioneer in SAF, SkyNRG encourages innovative tests like this run by Rolls-Royce.”

In addition to supplying the SAF with SkyNRG, Shell Aviation is also providing Rolls-Royce with AeroShell lubricants for the ALECSys engine test programme.

Anna Mascolo, President, Shell Aviation, commented: “For over 100 years, Rolls-Royce and Shell have worked together to drive aviation’s progress. This collaboration brings us one step closer to decarbonising Aviation. As well as the SAF, Shell Aviation will provide offsets using nature-based solutions to make the test net zero emissions, reinforcing how multiple measures are essential if aviation is to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions.”

The ALECSys programme is supported by the European Union via Clean Sky and in the UK by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK; the 100% SAF testing programme is additionally supported by ATI, iUK and Gulf Aviation.

Aerospace and Defence Trade Show 2021 to be showcased at Lanseria International Airport

Aerospace and Defence Trade Show 2021 to be showcased at Lanseria International Airport from 24th to 26th March
AAD2021

The organisers of the AAD Expo are excited to announce a new event on their calendar, Aerospace and Defence Trade Show 2021 which will be hosted on 24 to 26 March 2021 at Lanseria International Airport (Lanseria). Leading up to Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo in September 2022, AAD continues to create platforms that will promote innovation and capabilities within the defence and aviation industry.

The Aerospace and Defence Tradeshow 2021 (ADTS 2021) is about exploring new paths, sharing solutions and showcasing innovation beyond Covid-19. Accessible to trade visitors only, the event will be industry focused and aptly emphasise industry capabilities and technologies that emanated from the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic.  ADTS 2021 will include business to business meetings, onsite capability demonstrations for aircraft and UAVs and a conference. Parallel to the Lanseria event program, traders can  also expect a fully-fledged display of Land forces innovation and capability demonstrations  at the Gerotek Testing Facility. Located in the  West area  of Pretoria, Gerotek offers a variety of testing and capability demonstration set to marvel participants.

ADTS 2021 is set to bring together approximately 150 exhibitors consisting of 80% local industry and 20% international industry including the Defence and General Aviation industry, Airports, UAV/Drone operators, Security System Operators (Cybersecurity, Crowd Control, etc), Medical Supply Companies , Support and Logistic services to name but a few. This experience gives the South African and International defence and general aviation industries an opportunity to showcase their products and services, while also engaging in dialogue and discourse on what is pertinent to their industries.

“The hosting of AAD events, for the past 21 years, has made a significant contribution to the growing  South African economy and that of its neighbouring countries through leveraging intellectual property into tangible products and export contracts.   We will continue to create an enabling environment for dialogue in our sector. As one of our key mandates pronounces, it will remain our goal to bring together subject matter experts in thought leadership dialogues such as ADTS2021.” Said Sandile Ndlovu – Executive Chairman of AAD Expo.

The AAD Expo traditionally brings together a plethora of local and key international guests to explore and discuss opportunities on the African Continent. Through ADTS2021, AAD will entrench its position as an economic catalyst for the Defence and Aerospace industry.

About AAD

The Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) is Africa’s only aerospace and defence expo that combines both a trade exhibition and an air show. Held biennially in the City of Tshwane – South Africa’s administrative capital, the AAD Expo is one of South Africa’s largest contributors to the country’s GDP in show years, and is regarded as a national asset.

About Lanseria International Airport

Privatized in 1991 the airport is a secondary base for local carriers and services the general and commercial aviation business. Approximately 2.3 million passengers travel through the airport annually. Lanseria International has established itself as a niche-market boutique airport operating scheduled daily domestic routes between Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Picture by Niel Swart,Aviation Central
Picture by Niel Swart,Aviation Central

The airport is also the chosen international port of entry for overseas corporate and government aircraft visiting South Africa. The airport is conveniently located close to the northern suburbs of Johannesburg and Sandton business district with only 25 minutes of travel in either direction it also provides access to tourism hubs such as The Cradle of humankind, Sun City and the Hartbeespoort.

Picture by Niel Swart,Aviation Central

American Flying Classic’s Cherokee 235

One of many light aircraft come to mind that teaches a student to fly, but Piper itself brought out one of the many of its aircraft types, that being the  Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee Charger. The first flight for this type of Cherokee was 14 January 1960 and over 32,778+ built.

For some years the aircraft was hangered at Rand Airport for some some years and eventually was brought back to live and put into the right hands of having this aircraft gracing South African skies once again!

The only Cherokee 235 based at Brakpan airfield East of Johannesburg, owned by the American Flying Classics Van der Schaar Family. The van der Schaar’s who are well known in the airshow circuit flying the Randolph sponsored Boeing Stearman. They also have a Pitts Special S2A and a couple of other flying toys in their inventory.

Ivan today is flying with Comair Limited as Captain on the Boeing 737-400 and 800 series aircraft, operating local British Airways and Kulula routes.

Ivan van der Schaar
Jeandre van der Schaar
Sonica van der Schaar
Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee Charger
Brakpan Airfield

 In 1963, the company introduced the even more powerful Cherokee 235 (PA-28-235), which competed favorably with the Cessna C182 for load-carrying capability. The Cherokee 235 featured a Lycoming O-540 engine de-rated to 235 horsepower (175 kW) and a longer wing which would eventually be used for the Cherokee Six. It included tip tanks of 17-gallon capacity each, bringing the total fuel capacity of the Cherokee 235 to 84 gallons. The aircraft had its fuselage stretched in 1973, giving much more leg room in the rear.

Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee Charger

The stabilator area was increased, as well. In 1973, the marketing name was changed from “235” to “Charger”. In 1974, it was changed again to “Pathfinder”. Production of the Pathfinder continued until 1977. No 1978 models were built. In 1979, the aircraft was given the Piper tapered wing and the name was changed again, this time to Dakota.

The Cherokee featured a Lycoming O-540 engine de-rated to 235 horsepower (175 kW) and a longer wing which would eventually be used for the Cherokee Six. It included tip tanks of 17-gallon capacity each, bringing the total fuel capacity of the Cherokee 235 to 84 gallons.

Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee Charger
O Incrível Show Aéreo de Maputo
Boeing Stearman during a display in Maputo Mozambique Airshow in 2019
O Incrível Show Aéreo de Maputo
Boeing Stearman ZU-IES

For more information contact: Ivan van der Schaar: 082 375 9180 or Sonica van der Schaar: 082 682 2825

Children’s Flight 2020

On the 6th of November 2020 an army of aviators descended upon Orient
Airfield just outside of Magaliesburg. Their mission was to give 30 children,
from different charities, a Willy Wonka like experience through aviation.

The flying program commenced at 08:30 with a paradrop from the Atlas Angel. This was followed by the children getting individual flips in fixed wing aircraft. These aircraft included many Van’s RV variants, a Cessna 140, FK9, Sling 4, Navion, Mushshak and more.

The fixed wing flips took a pause at 11:00 as the rumble of Pratt and Whitney radials was heard. Soon the 4-ship Puma Energy Flying Lions came roaring overhead. The children were treated to a fantastic display by Scully Levin, Ellis Levin, Arnie Meneghelli and Sean Thackwray.

After the last children had enjoyed their fixed wing flights, the rotary wing flips begun. The 2 Alouettes flown by Charles Fuller and Rob Osner made light work of the Orient Circuit.

Whilst the flips were being flown, the children also competed in a color in competition and a balsa wood glider building competition. The two winners got a flip in a glider after the fixed wing and rotary wing flips. This means that two of the children experienced fixed wing powered flight, rotary wing flight and glider flight all in their first ever day of flying!

The two lucky children that won a glider flight were: Romy Dekoker – color in competition and Bontle Ipeleng – balsa glider competition.

This year has changed aviation as we know it. Events like the Children’s Flight especially have been forced to adapt. Although only 30 children got to experience the magic of flight this year, the success of the event is undoubted.


This success however could not have been possible without each and every sponsor that opened their hearts and wallets towards the event. This ranges from all the companies that helped with donations, the private individuals that all donated as well as everyone that took part in the raffle to fly with some of South Africa’s top pilots.

The pilots that made up the huge Children’s Flight Squadron were:

Nigel Hopkins – RV8
Patrick Davidson – RV7
Trevor Warner – RV7
Elton Bondi – C140
Derek Hopkins – RV7
Johan van Solms – RV7
Grant Timms – Mushak
Charles Fuller – Alouette II
Rob Osner Alouette III
Daniel Ralefeta – FK9
Goitse Diale – Sling 4
Ryan Beeton – RV7
Scully Levin – Flying Lions
Arnie Meneghelli – Flying Lions
Ellis Levin – Flying LionsSean Thackwray – Flying Lions
Karl van Seyldlitz – SF25
Arjan Schaap – Navion
Tokkie Botes – Bell 206
Riaan Denner – SF25
Clyde Strachan – Beechcraft Baron

And lastly, the group that brought it all together, Felix Gosher and his
organizing team. Felix is an incredible person that does wonders through his different aviation initiatives like the Children’s Flight, Elders Flight and more recently, the COVID Flight and Repat Flight.

We get so used to thinking of aviation as a means of transport or form of entertainment. It is events like these that truly makes one realize what aviation really is. Aviation is magic and the joy it can bring people is priceless. No photos or videos can suffice in capturing the joy aviation has brought these
children.

Browse our event gallery:

The Day The Lions Roared Over Heidelberg!

Photographs and text by Jessica Bezuidenhout

f you are any kind of an aviation lover you will immediately recognize the powerful sound of a Harvard’s radial engine in the skies. And when the early morning skies are filled with that sound you rush out and to find the flying lions above your house and on your doorstep, well you make a plan pretty quick to get to the airfield. Along with a Pitts special and two extras, the rumbles that trembles the earth when close by.

Heidelberg airfield in Gauteng was unexpectedly blessed with appearance of the living legends of the flying lions for two days in a row. From the air whizzing by and from up close it was worthy of more than a few goose bumps. Both days the weather was clear and hot making for some sizzling pics.

With only a few spectators around and clear air space ,the Flying Lions ,along with aviation photographer Justin de Reuck, could focus on their moves with ease and made my day by filling it with their sounds and giving me the chance for some exclusive photos. Up close and majestic ,the Harvard’s carry a presence bringing immediate respect. The pilots all legends in themselves.

Friendly and willing to share and just enjoy flying. The pilots – in no specific order- Scully Levin -Harvard-ZU-AYS Ellis Levin-Extra 300L-ZS-PWL Sean Thackwray and Grant Timms -Harvard-ZU-BMC Rodney Chinn and Justin de Reuck-ZU-BEU Arnie Meneghelli-Extra 300-ZS-EOE.

The purpose of the photoshoot was to capture the new sequence between the Puma Flying Lions Harvard’s and two Extra 300s for the upcoming airshow season in 2021.

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