Tag Archives: Aviation News

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.

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

Joe Ford joins Draken International as Chief Executive Officer

Las Vegas, NV – The Board of Directors of Draken International, LLC has elected Joseph “Joe”Ford as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Ford will also serve as a member of the company’s Board of Directors.


Ford previously served as President, DynAviation at DynCorp International. At DynAviation, Ford was responsible for all aspects of the segment’s profit and loss performance with functions including operations, supply chain management, finance, quality assurance, human resources, contracts and internal and external business development.


Ford will succeed Jared Isaacman who has served as Draken’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer since 2011. Isaacman will become the non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors and will assist Ford through the transition.

Mirage F1B


“During a period of tremendous growth for our company and the commercial adversary air industry, there is no better person to lead Draken International,” stated Isaacman. “After serving
his country with distinction for 25 years and growing defense companies that support the U.S. military, Joe has the leadership, strategic vision and record of execution to fly Draken to new heights. His insight for how to apply modernization to our comprehensive fleet of fighters will prove beneficial and is exactly what Draken needs as the company enters its next
chapter of expanded growth.”


“I am beyond thrilled to join the Draken family,” stated Ford. “I understand the need to provide the U.S. military aviation community with the readiness it needs while making every taxpayer dollar go further. Draken is the best in the business and I am honored to have Jared and the Board’s support as we remain focused on supporting our nation’s military aviators every day.”
Before his career in the private sector, Ford had a distinguished military career, retiring from the U.S. Air Force as a Colonel in January of 2007 as the commander of the 401st Air Expeditionary Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

Other roles during his military career include commander of the
18th Operations Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan and commander of the 35th Fighter Squadron at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. Mr. Ford is a combat veteran with four fighter deployments to
the Middle East. His aviation career includes over 4,000 hours in aircraft including the F-4C/D,A-7D, F- 117, F-16A/B/C/D, F-15C/D, HH-60, E-3 and KC-135R.

Aero L159s


“Draken is the kind of mission driven company with which we like to partner,” said Todd Hirsch, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone Tactical Opportunities and a member of the company’s board. “A decade ago, Draken was an idea – that commercial adversary air support
can improve readiness and reduce sustainment and training costs for the U.S. Armed Forces.


Today, Draken is the industry’s leading provider of military aviation readiness training,completing over 20,000 flight hours with a fleet of more than 100 mission capable aircraft.

Ex South African Air force 2 Squadron Cheetah C (375) recently took to the skies after 18 years on the ground 2 weeks ago at Denel Aeronautics base at OR Tambo International Airport,South Africa.This will also be one of Drakens assets!Picture by Casper van Zyl

Under Joe’s leadership, it will continue to set the standard in airborne adversary support, flight training, threat simulation, electronic warfare support, research, testing, as well as other missions
uniquely suited to their fleet of aircraft.” Hirsch continued: “On behalf of the rest of the board and all our employees, we thank Jared for

creating this industry leading firm and guiding it so well. We are grateful to continue to have him as a partner.”

Mirage F1M


The board also elected Bill “Sweet” Tart as Chief Operating Officer. Sweet joins Draken from DynAviation where he was Senior Vice President, Business Development. Prior to his private sector career, Sweet served in the United States Air Force for 25 years, retiring in 2014 as the Director of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Division at the Pentagon. He previously served as the commander of the 432nd Operations/Expeditionary Operations Group at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada and the senior military assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. Sweet is a Risner Trophy winner for outstanding performance at USAF Weapons
School.

Ex South African Air force Cheetah C serial (370) “Vlaggie” one of twelve Cheetahs that have been sold to Draken International from Denel Aeronautics.
Dassualt Mirage F1B, recently Draken got a handful of ex Mirage F1s from various air forces around the world that recently retired them for use.

Draken International is the world’s largest operator of ex-military aircraft. With over 100 tactical fighter aircraft incorporating modern 4th generation capabilities, the company is the partner of choice to support the growing global demand for commercial air services. Draken
employs world class, military trained fighter pilots including USAF Weapons School Instructors,Fighter Weapons School Graduates, TOP GUN Instructors, Air Liaison Officers, and FAC-A Instructors. In 2019, funds affiliated with Blackstone Tactical Opportunities completed a strategic investment into Draken International to facilitate the next phase of modernization and growth. 

Retirement Of SAAF Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang

On Wednesday 30 September,members of the South African Air force and members of the media got to witness a series of beautiful flypasts from a number of aircraft of squadrons based across South Africa.A fitting tribute and thank you to the former Chief of the South African Air force!

Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande (Zakes) Msimang integrated into the South African National Defence Force in 1994 after the first Democratic Elections as a qualified helicopter pilot.He received his flying training at Frunze 1 Central Officers Training Center – Kirghistan, in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics between 1986 to 1991.

He graduated from the institution with a diploma in Command and Tactics of Military Aviation.During Msimang’s Career he has flown the Mi8, Mi25 ,Alouette III and Oryx Helicopters.He also completed a factory conversion onto the Agusta A109E Helicopter at Agusta/Westland now known at Leonardo in Italy.

Mil Mi8
MIL MI25
Alouette III
Agusta A109LUH

He was a member of the Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK),the military wing of the African National Congress.He engaged in combat in Angola in 1986.In 1994,he completed the Air force Junior Staff Course in Zimbabwe before returning to the South African National Defence Force.Post 1994,he served as an operational pilot in both maritime and inland operations.

In 2000,Msimang was appointed the assistant project officer on the acquisition programme of the Agusta A109LUH in Italy.He went onto successfully complete the Senior Staff Course at the Italian Air force War School.On his return in 2003 from Italy,he was appointed the Officer Commanding of 87 Helicopter Flying School at Air force Base Bloemspruit. The Following year he successfully completed the Joint Senior Command and Staff Programme at the South African National War College.

First South African Air force Agusta A109 In Italy
Oryx Helicopter

In 2005,he was appointed officer commander of Air force Base Bloemspruit and promoted to the rank of Colonel.In 2006,he completed the Executive National Security Programme at the South African National Defence College.In 2007,Msimang,after a two and half year tour as OC at Air force Base Bloemspruit,he was appointed Director Helicopter Systems and Promoted to the rank of Brigadier General at Air Command.

Eldorado Park Aviation Expo 2017 with Gripen display Pilot Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper

In November 2010,he was appointed Chief Director Air Policy and Plans and then promoted to the rank of Major General,responsible for Air force Strategy,policies,capabilities and resource allocation.On 28 September 2012 he was accepted command as the Chief of the South African Air force from Lieutenant-General Carlo Gagiano.

First Airbus C295 aircraft arrives in Canada

Ottawa, 25 September 2020 – The first Airbus C295 aircraft, purchased by the Government of Canada for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft Replacement (FWSAR) project, has arrived at 19 Wing, Canadian Forces Base Comox, in British Columbia, Canada.

The aircraft, designated CC-295 for the Canadian customer, landed at its home base on September 17th and is the first of the 16 aircraft contracted in December 2016. The contract also includes all In-Service Support elements, training and engineering services, the construction of a new training centre in Comox, British Columbia, and maintenance and support services.

“Airbus is really proud to be able to celebrate this important milestone: the arrival of the first out of 16 Fixed Wing Search and Rescue C295 at the Canadian Forces Base Comox. Thanks to the excellent collaboration with Canadian officials we have overcome the challenges caused by COVID-19 and we were able to deliver the aircraft. Despite the current pandemic, we are confident of achieving the program target of six deliveries by the end of this year.

We look forward to our continued collaboration and to the C295 Canada”, said Airbus Defence and Space Chief Executive Officer, Dirk Hoke, on a video statement displayed during an official event held today at the 19 Wing Comox Air Base.

Airbus has formally delivered three aircraft to date, the second of which is scheduled to arrive in country in the coming weeks. Deliveries will continue until 2022.

Africa’s First Aeroplane built in the Free State

In the Free State town of Branford,one can visit the house of the man who built the first aircraft in Africa. He was M.J.L Weston,who was born in a ox-wagon,spent much of his youth in the United Stated of America (USA), and returned towards the end of the Anglo-Boer War to fight on the side of the Boers.

No two sources agree on Westons pioneering exploits in aviation,but the main thread of the story seems to run as follows.He designed and flew a glider in the USA in 1892,when hewas 19 years old.

Back in South Africa,he designed and built his first aeroplane on the farm called Kalkdam in Bultfontein district,from 1907 to 1909.The machine turned out to be under powered he took it to France,where,in the workshops of the Farman Brothers ,he installed a 50-hp Gnome rotary engine.

Weston was a founding member of the Aeronautical Society of South Africa. He also established the John Weston Aviation Company to raise funds for the establishment of a flying school with a permanent aerodrome. 

He flew the machine for the first time in Kimberly Northern Cape on 18 June 1911.During this and subsequent flights he remained in the air for as long as eight and a half minutes.

It was during this period that he lived in Brandfort. The last version of Weston’s aeroplane engine,the oldest in the country and the only one of its kind,can be seen in the National Museum in Bloemfontein.During the First World War Weston served as a pilot in the Royal Naval Air force.At one stage he was posted to the Greek Navy,with the honorary rank of rear-admiral.

LSA Gauteng Regionals 2020

As South Africa moves to Level 2 of the nationwide lockdown, people can go out and enjoy their outdoor hobbies again. One of these hobbies is RC Flying. On the 23rd of August, LSA (Large Scale Aerobatics) hosted their Gauteng Regional Competition at the Rand Model Aeronautical Club.

Pilots took off from the various runways at the flying club and then started with their flying routine. 2020 IMAC Known Sequences were flown in all classes with pilots having the opportunity to fly Unknown and Freestyle sequences as well.

Unfortunately with level 2 of the lockdown only allowing for up to 50 people at social gatherings, spectators were not allowed at the event.

Although we know many aviation enthusiast are hungered out for some flying action and are disappointed that most events are still off limits to the public, there is a light at the end of the tunnel…

Airports are starting to open up again with trips to Rand Airport and Grand Central becoming more and more worthwhile. Event planning for 2021 has also commenced. Keep an eye on the Aviation Central Facebook Page to be the first to know about events happening in the near future! 

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.

M-345: Leonardo’s new jet trainer certified and ready for the global market

  • The DAAA (Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness), the certification Authority of the Italian Ministry of Defence, has given the initial certification for Leonardo’s new M-345 trainer 
  • Leonardo’s new M-345, close to entering into service with the Italian Air Force, and future aircraft of the Italian Airforce acrobatic team Frecce Tricolori, is an aircraft capable of providing jet trainer aircraft-like performance and efficiency at the cost of a turboprop
  • The initial certification of the M-345 is the result of intense in-flight and on-ground test activities – which total almost 200 flights, carried out also thanks to the collaboration with the Italian Air Force, aimed at assessing aircraft and equipment compliance with stringent performance and safety standards   

Leonardo is pleased to announce that the DAAA (Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness), the Italian Ministry of Defence’s Certification Authority, has issued the “Initial Certification” for Leonardo’s new M-345 training aircraft. This important achievement for the M-345 programme is the result of intense activities with two hundred dedicated flights logged alongside the critical support of the Italian Air Force’s Flight Test Centre, 61st Wing and 10th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.

Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Managing Director of Leonardo Aircraft Division, commented: “The achievement of the Initial Certification for the M-345 – unique in its segment for acquisition and operational costs – confirms the aircraft features excellent characteristics and capabilities and makes it available for the international market. This result stems from a consolidated collaboration between the industry, the Certification Authority and the Italian Air Force under a full national effort and embodies the heritage in training excellence which is widely acknowledged to the Italian Armed Forces.”

The Initial Certification of the M-345 marks the first case of enforcement of the new AER (EP) P-21 rule for a fixed-wing aircraft. This rule adopts the European EMAR-21 – (European Military Airworthiness Requirements) – a stringent international certification requirement that will also be beneficial to the export of the aircraft. 

The M-345, thanks to its performance and advanced integrated training system provides the Air Force with a significant improvement in training effectiveness greater efficiency and a strong operating cost reduction. The new aircraft, designed to meet basic and basic/advanced training needs,  will complement the M-346s used for the advanced phase of pilot training and, in the framework of the “International Flight Training School” project, will support the reinforcement and internationalisation of the training offer launched by Leonardo in partnership with the Italian Air Force.

The Integrated Training system based on the M-345 confirms Leonardo’s world technological leadership in training pilots allocated to current and future generation aircraft, benefiting from the experience and technology already developed for the M-346, including the “Live Virtual Constructive” capability. This allows the integration of the in-flight aircraft with simulated “friend” or “foe” elements, allowing the future pilot to be exposed to the complexity of every possible operational scenario. 

Piper Aircraft Steps Up to Help Stop Spread of COVID-19

  Piper Aircraft, Inc. announced today that it will be making protective gear to help support the growing needs of the Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital. Additionally Piper Aircraft will be donating over 1300 3M, N95 approved masks to the hospital.

The Manufacturing Engineering team at Piper Aircraft has been following the growing demand and resulting shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) and has been looking for ways to support the need. Earlier this week, the team designed a prototype face shield with off-the shelf materials such as: plastic, industrial tape, foam and elastic. With approval of the prototype, the team set out to source the necessary materials from wholesale suppliers and create a manufacturing line within the Piper factory.

With a designated production area in place, the team will begin making face shields this week for use by medical personnel.  Given the current supply of materials and labor, Piper has the ability to produce thousands of face shields daily to help support the current demand.

“This is a critical time for our community, our country and the world. It is a time for action, cooperation and collaboration.  As a team, we can make a difference for people in need and directly support those fighting the battle on the front lines of this unprecedented crisis. This is just one small way that we are trying to help,” said James Funk, Piper’s Chief Operations Officer. “We want healthcare providers, especially, and patients to be safe, therefore it’s vital that we all pull together to help our community, weather this crisis and come out the other side stronger than ever.”

About Piper Aircraft

Piper Aircraft Inc., headquartered in Vero Beach, Fla., offers aviators throughout the world efficient and reliable single- and twin-engine aircraft and is on track to be the first general aviation aircraft manufacturer in the world to certify Garmin Autoland The single-engine M-Class series – the M600SLS, M500, and M350 – offers businesses and individual’s elegant performance, value and a superior ownership experience. The Personal Class Seneca V, Archer LX and Archer DLX balance proven performance, efficiency, and simplicity in a piston powered aircraft. The Trainer Class Pilot 100/100i, Archer TX, Archer DX, Arrow, Seminole and Seneca V aircraft form the most complete technically-advanced line of pilot training aircraft in the world. Piper is a member of the General AviationManufacturers Association. To learn more about Piper Aircraft, visit the company’s website at www.piper.com.

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