Tag Archives: Help the fight against Covid-19

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.

Airbus develops solution for airlines to use their widebody aircraft for pure cargo operations during the COVID-19 pandemic

Toulouse, 30 April 2020 – Airbus is developing a modification for A330 and A350 family aircraft which will enable airlines to install freight pallets directly onto the cabin floor seat tracks, after removal of the economy-class seats.

This solution will help with the airlines’ own business continuity, and also alleviate the global shortage of ‘belly-freight’ air cargo capacity due to the widespread grounding of long-haul aircraft in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it helps the industry to address the high demand for humanitarian flights to transport large quantities of medical equipment and other supplies rapidly over large distances to where they are needed.

Compared with loading cargo onto seats, this Airbus solution facilitates easier and quicker loading and unloading operations, as well as reduced ‘wear & tear’ to the seats themselves. Other important benefits include the added security of robust fire protection, and the 9g load restraint capability to prevent anything from shifting in flight.

The modification is packaged for operators as an Airbus Service Bulletin (SB). Under this arrangement Airbus defines the engineering workscope and also manages the process for obtaining the one-time certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Its scope includes the removal of the seats & IFE (Inflight entertainment), installation of cargo pallets and associated safety equipment – and also the re-installation of the original passenger cabin elements for reverting back to passenger operations. The SB approach will also be valid beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAAF Casa 212s keeping busy during SA Covid-19 lockdown!

The South African Airforce as well as the South African National Defence Force, South African Police Service and other Private Security firms have been deployed to carry out a task of directing citizens of South Africa to stay at home during the countries lockdown and a further two week extended lockdown to clamp down on the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus with a number of people testing positive for the disease and a major loss of human life across the world.

44 Squadron Casa 212

44 Squadron based at Airforce Base Waterkloof, have been keeping the skies above South Africa with the transportation of essential goods including medical equipment.

Parts of the country the light transport aircraft has been tasked to help transport these goods, have been Kwa-Zulu Natal, The Eastern Cape, The Western Cape and other Provinces dealing with high risk area’s with COVid-19 patients.

Airforce Station Port Elizabeth
Picture by Captain Mark Kelbrick
Picture by Captain Mark Kelbrick
King Shaka International Airport Durban
Picture by SANDF
Airforce Base Ysterplaat, Cape Town
SAAF Crew and Personnel

44 Squadron SAAF is a squadron of the South African Air Force. It is currently a light transport squadron. First formed: 12 March 1944. The Squadron has a total of 3 Casa 212s, Two 200s and One 300 as part of their light transport assets.

SAAF Casa 212 & Airforce of Zimbabwe Casa 212
Eswatini Airshow 2019

SAA Cargo Ramped Up capacity using passenger aircraft for cargo only to transport Essential Cargo during COVID-19 Lockdown

 For the first time in its history, the Cargo division of South African Airways, SAA Cargo, operated a passenger aircraft for a pure cargo uplift. 

On 06 April 2020 and in response to the increased demand for cargo flights to distribute critical and essential goods during the lockdown, SAA Cargo operated an Airbus A340-600 as a cargo only flight, transporting essential goods between Johannesburg and Frankfurt.

The outbound cargo included perishables such as fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, laboratory supplies as well as automotive and aircraft parts for repairs. On the inbound leg from Europe the aircraft landed last night in Johannesburg and the cargo included testing kits for COVID-19, immunological pharmaceuticals, insulin, surgical personal protective equipment (PPE), and processing equipment for food such as baby milk powder.

“SAA has demonstrated agility and we are working with our partners to provide them and our country with solutions that are relevant in these difficult times.

The decision to deploy an A346, is based on both its capacity and range and so bolsters our freighter services during this time when there is high demand for cargo shipments,” said SAA Cargo’s acting General Manager, Justice Luthuli.

The next pure cargo flight is scheduled to depart from Johannesburg to Guangzhou on Friday, 10 April 2020. It will operate on the same aircraft type for collection and delivery of medical supplies.

SAA Cargo has stepped up as a trade facilitator and a solution provider to sustain supply chains to and from various countries. The solution is provided on a charter basis at the request of our customers, who are producers and suppliers of essential cargo.

All flights are operated under strict operating procedures and in full compliance to COVID-19 civil aviation and health regulatory measures by both our staff and our customers. 

“As a national carrier, we are pleased that we can contribute in response to our country’s needs to bring in much needed medical supplies and other essential goods to assist in the fight against COVID-19. We extend our gratitude to all our employees for their commitment and service during this time,” Luthuli concluded.

About SAA Cargo

SAA Cargo, the airfreight division of SAA provides terminal services and a global distribution network for purposes of cargo air transportation logistics. 

The division is integral in providing various solutions for global rapid movement of essential goods such as agri-products, pharmaceuticals, valuable and vulnerable cargo, human remains, spare parts, pets, courier, diplomatic mail, dangerous goods and other related service. 

The operating model for SAA Cargo division is based on a combination of the line flights, purchase of capacity from strategic partner airlines and freighter service for regional transhipment. This is supplemented by an extensive global interline and road feeder service.

Russian Airforce Antonov A124 lands at JFK International Airport.

A Russian military plane carrying medical supplies arrived in the United States Wednesday last week, the Russian mission to the UN said, as the Kremlin flexes its soft power during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Antonov-124, landed at JFK Airport in New York — the epicenter of America’s coronavirus outbreak — pictures and video posted on the mission’s Twitter page showed.

Russia’s defense ministry had earlier announced that the plane “with medical masks and medical equipment on board,” left for the US overnight, without providing further details.

Video released by the ministry showed the cargo plane loaded with boxes preparing to take off from a military airbase near Moscow early Wednesday morning.

“We have to work together to defeat #COVID19. This is why the U.S. agreed to purchase urgently needed personal protective equipment from #Russia,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Wednesday evening.

The supplies, also including ventilators, were given to the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in New York, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

Russia’s defense ministry refused to provide AFP with any further information on the delivery, which came after Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with US counterpart Donald Trump on Monday.

Russia has previously sent medical supplies and experts to coronavirus-hit Italy as part of a humanitarian effort that analysts said carried geopolitical overtones.

Moscow said the aid for Italy included about 100 virus specialists with experience dealing with Ebola and swine fever, but Italian media have reported that much of the aid was not useful in the fight against the virus.

In March, Russia said it had sent nearly 1,000 coronavirus testing kits to ex-Soviet states and countries including Iran and North Korea.

Antonov A124

The US now has more than 215,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, by far the highest of any country, according to a Johns Hopkins tally, and more than 5,100 deaths.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that Putin expected the US to return the gesture if Russia faces a similar crisis and US producers have increased their capacity to produce medical supplies.

“Today, when the situation touches absolutely everyone and is of a global nature, there is no alternative to acting together in the spirit of partnership and mutual assistance,” he said.

Trump said earlier this week that “Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice.”

Health officials in Russia have registered a sharp increase in the number of infections, with 2,337 cases and 17 deaths confirmed, according to the latest figures last week Wednesday.

Denel Joins Local Drive To Develop Ventilators

Denel is mobilising its resources and expertise towards a priority project for the local design and development of medical ventilators in support of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Danie du Toit, Group Chief Executive of Denel says engineers from Denel Dynamics and Denel Aeronautics are already working round the clock on Project Sabela – ‘we are heeding the call’ – in partnership with other state-owned entities, research bodies and medical technology companies.

“We are still in the early stages of the project, but we are optimistic that this local initiative will help to alleviate the dire need for medical ventilators that are required in great numbers at both public and private hospitals,” says Du Toit.

The defence and technology company is also considering other initiatives in which it can repurpose its current operations and technology to assist the national efforts. This include the production of sanitisers and the conversion of Casspir mine-protected vehicles into ambulances.

“We are proud to respond immediately and positively to a request from the Department of Public Enterprises to drive the ventilator project. As a state-owned company we are committed to utilising our skills, technology and experience in support of the national objectives to combat the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic at our doorstep”.

A task team has been formed consisting of experts from Denel, Armscor, Eskom, the CSIR and other entities to investigate designs and produce a prototype of a local medical ventilator.

Denel Dynamics is a global leader in the design and manufacturing of sophisticated missile and precision-guided weapon systems and also pioneered research and design for the production of unmanned aerial vehicle systems. Denel Aeronautics is the original equipment manufacturer of the Rooivalk combat support helicopter and design authority of the Oryx medium transport helicopter.

Rooivalk Attack Helicopter
Oryx Helicopter

Du Toit says Denel employs some of South Africa’s top engineers, researchers and scientists who have worked on sophisticated technology projects in the past. This accumulated knowledge and expertise will now be mobilised to work closely with medical scientists to produce life-saving ventilators.

Globally the defence industry has been a catalyst for the development of products that have brought immense benefits to the broader society. Innovations that have been derived from Denel’s defence research are vastly used in areas such as border security, agriculture, mining, construction and civilian aerospace within the country.

“Through Project Sabela we are now focusing all our efforts on the current medical and humanitarian crisis facing South Africa and the world,” says Du Toit. “We are confident that we will soon make huge strides in the development of locally-designed ventilators at a time when global shortages are experienced.”

Denel PMP, Africa’s leading manufacturer of small- and medium-calibre ammunition is looking at options to produce sanitisers for industrial and medical uses once the product certification issues have been clarified. Many of the chemicals used in the manufacturing of explosives can also be utilised to make sanitisers.

The Casspir, is a highly mobile and versatile vehicle used extensively in conflict zones in demining and protection operations. Denel Land Systems are looking at options to convert Casspirs into field ambulances, says Du Toit

Airbus to produce 3D-printed hospital visors in fight against Covid-19

Getafe, 1 April 2020 – The majority of Airbus sites in Spain have joined forces to produce 3D printed visor frames, providing healthcare personnel with individual protection equipment in the fight against Covid-19.

More than twenty 3D printers are working day and night. Hundreds of visors have already been produced and dispatched to hospitals close to the Airbus facilities in Spain. Airbus leverages a patented design to manufacture the visor frames, using PLA plastics.

“One of the reasons I love my job is the capability we have for advanced design and quick manufacture. Overnight, we have gone from making aerospace concepts to medical equipment. This genuinely makes a difference in the fight against the pandemic and I couldn’t be prouder of our teams working day and night on this Airbus project,” said Alvaro Jara, Head of Airbus Protospace, in Getafe, Madrid.

Despite the pause of the majority of production at Airbus’ sites in Spain following the Royal Decree of 29 March, Airbus employees are allowed on site to continue with this essential activity.

In addition, Airbus in Germany also joined the project. The Airbus Protospace Germany and the Airbus Composite Technology Centre (CTC) in Stade, together with the 3D-printing network named “Mobility goes Additive,” are now supporting this project in Spain, also coordinating the collection and transport of visors to the Madrid region.

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