Historic SpaceX Demo-2 Astronaut Launch and the man behind it

When it comes to watching SpaceX's historic first astronaut launch for NASA on tonight you have plenty options. The mission, called Demo-2, will launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into orbit on a Crew Dragon spacecraft on-top a Falcon 9 Rocket. Lift-off is set for 16:33 pm EDT, That is 22:33 in South Africa, from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida. While the major international news networks are sure to host their own special reports, we have put together a webcast guide to get the most out of your SpaceX launch viewing. Just click the underlined links NASA webcast NASA's webcast of the SpaceX launch will begin at 18:00 Bravo, when the space agency will be

“Hurricane Hunters” The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron

Aviators as a general rule are taught to avoid sever weather where at all possible, but in the US Air Force there are a small group of aviators that do the exact opposite and during hurricane season they intentionally fly directly into the eye of these monsters. This bunch of specialist are affectionately known as the “Hurricane Hunters” The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron is a flying unit of the United States Air Force, and "the only Department of Defence organization still flying into tropical storms and hurricanes." Aligned under the 403rd Wing of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) and based at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, with ten aircraft, it flies into tropical cyclones

Returning Safely to the sky after the Pandemic

Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK8303 crashed during a “Go-around” after a, widely reported, “wheels up” on their first approach. The Airbus A320 slid on its nacelles at the airport in Karachi for more than three hundred meters before getting airborne again. Sometime during the go-around the engines quit and the aircraft crashed just short of the airport in a residential area talking 97 souls, four people on the ground were also treated for severe burns. The aircraft and crew were reportedly making their first flight in over two months due to the Covid -19 restrictions. One must ask the question did this have an effect on either the crew or the aircraft leading up to this tragedy? Bo

Van’s Approve IO-390A for use in RV-7 and RV-8

Since the introduction of the Lycoming IO-390A engine, RV fans have expressed their desire to install this engine on a RV-7/7A or RV-8/8A airframe. Van’s Aircraft has recently completed an in-depth review of horsepower limitations for the RV-7/7A and RV-8/8A and is now approving the use of Lycoming’s 210HP IO-390A (YIO-390-A3B6) engines on these models. Good news for the guys that feel the need for more power. IO-390 IO-360 With the IO-390 there will be 10 HP increase above the angle valve IO-360, there were concerns of the increased possibility of exceeding the Vne limitation of 200 KTAS. Our extensive experience with the IO-390A on the RV

The ESA and Airbus join forces for the first moon visit in 50 years

The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a contract with Airbus for the construction of the third European Service Module (ESM) for Orion, the American crewed spacecraft. The contract is worth around €250 million. By ordering this additional service module, ESA ensures the necessary continuity in NASA’s Artemis programme. The third European Service Module (Artemis III Mission) will be used to fly astronauts to Earth’s neighbour in space in 2024 – the first to land on the Moon since Apollo 17 following a hiatus of more than 50 years. “Our know-how and expertise will enable us to continue to facilitate future Moon missions through international partnerships,” said Andreas Hammer, Head of Spa

Cessna SkyCourier twin utility turboprop makes its long-awaited maiden flight

Textron Aviation finally announced the successful first flight of its new twin utility turboprop, the Cessna SkyCourier. The milestone flight is a significant step toward entry into service for the clean-sheet aircraft, and it kicks off the important flight test program that validates the performance of the Cessna SkyCourier. “Today was an exciting day for our employees, our suppliers and our customers. The Cessna SkyCourier performed exactly as we expected, which is a testament to the entire team of men and women who worked together to prepare for this day,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO, Textron Aviation. “I’m proud of the way the team has persevered through disruptions caused by the

Robinson takes the Bird Strike Risk to heart

Bird strikes have been an ongoing hazard since the beginning of aviation, all aviators have either experienced a near miss or an actual bird strike. The damage caused by bird strikes is immense and sadly they often result in the loss of life. Helicopters are by no means immune to bird strikes and many incidents have been recorded over the past few years some with catastrophic results. Robinson recently introduced optional impact-resistant windscreens for R22, R44, and R66 helicopters to provide protection from bird strikes. Due to the lack of requirements governing small category helicopters, Robinson based the impact-resistant design on FAA requirements governing large transport category he

What are the benefits of Aviation CBT learning?

by Anthony Foxcroft CFI of Aviation Training, with 20 years’ experience as an airline pilot and instructor Each lesson is standardised and ensures compliance with the entire syllabus and can be presented at your own pace that allows the student to go back a step or repeat lessons as needed. The use of audio, visual and interactive elements ensures the lessons are engaging and memorable. Gamification can bring out your competitive streak and gives a sense of achievement as you complete each section. Quizzes at the end of each section make sure you have understood each concept before moving on. Computer-Based Training (CBT) is a wonderful technological development. It allows you to benefit fro

BAE Systems to modify and install KC-130J electronic countermeasures

The U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Warfare Enter Aircraft Division’s (NAWCAD) Aircraft Prototyping Systems Division has awarded BAE Systems a prime position on a $26.7 million task order to install, integrate, and test the Department of the Navy (DoN) Large Aircraft Infra-red Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system on KC-130J aerial transport and refuelling aircraft. The DoN LAIRCM advanced missile warning system improves aircraft capability and survivability by countering advanced infra-red missile system threats. “We understand how vital the KC-130J is to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps and the enhanced capability the DoN LAIRCM system brings to the fight,” said Pete Trainer, vice president and general

Leidos, Paramount USA, and Vertex Aerospace Bronco II Overwatch Prototype Program

RESTON, a science and technology leader, recently announced a teaming agreement with Paramount Group USA and Vertex Aerospace to pursue a new contract to deliver the Bronco II, a new purpose-built, multi-mission aircraft. The aircraft will support the U.S. Special Operations Command's Armed Overwatch program. One can be forgiven if the aircraft looks vividly familiar as the platform upon which the BRONCO II is based, is none other than the South African designed and built AHRLAC and is already in production using the latest advanced aerospace manufacturing technologies. The fact that the aircraft is 100% digitally designed makes the ability to industrialize the BRONCO II in its totality in t

Let's get Airborne - with Brian E

I’m well aware that making the following statement will give away my age but what the hell it's all for the sake of sanity during this lock-down. Scenes reminiscent of the mid 70’s have been playing out all over South Africa and the world as people gather around a device, like in the old days of Springbok Radio’s “Squad Cars” and many other favorites from yesteryear. The only difference is that today we are gathering around a computer or mobile phone to watch the latest episode of Brian Emmenis’ “Lets get Airborne”. Chris Rothman a former team member at Capital Sounds, the team that makes airshows in South Africa what they are, came up with the idea and approached Brian. Brian, being a bit t

RAF flypasts over empty streets mark 75 years since VE Day

RAF jets roar over Britain to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, as Boris Johnson urged the nation to unite in tribute to the achievement and sacrifice of the wartime generation. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall led a two-minute silence from Scotland on a day of celebration and commemoration which also includes a “national toast”, an address by the Queen, and a nationwide sing-a-long of Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again. Original plans for VE Day 75 had to cancelled due to Covid-19, so national events were adapted. The public which were still in lockdown were encouraged to celebrate Victory in Europe from their gardens, doorsteps and living rooms. The prime minister said: “Seventy-fi

Daher introduces HOMESAFE™ Autoland System for its TBM 940

Daher unveiled technical details for its TBM 940 very fast turboprop aircraft in the Model Year 2020 version, which is equipped with HomeSafe™ – an emergency system that automatically brings the aircraft to a runway touchdown if the pilot becomes incapacitated. The system is activated manually by an easily recognizable orange button atop the cockpit instrument panel. Its software integrates weather and terrain information to select the best airport for landing, taking into account fuel range and runway length. HomeSafe™ is based on Garmin’s Emergency Autoland system – available as a part of the G3000 integrated flight deck – and has been under development for the TBM since 2017 by the Avioni

SAA plans to continue Cargo and Repatriation Flights

In light of the recent developments at South African Airways (SAA) would like to reassure its customers and stakeholders that it will continue to operate repatriation and cargo flights during the month of May and beyond. SAA has no plans to cease its operations on the 8th of May. The airline will honour all existing commitments to provide air transportation services to its customers and any other requests that it receives. There are several requests for repatriation flights to operate to North, West and East Africa, the UK, the Middle East, South and North America, and the Far East during the course of this month that are being considered by the airline. “We are in ongoing discussions with t

SACAA Release statement pertaining to Maintenace Flights during Lock-down

The General Notice serves to address all Maintenance related flights necessary in terms of the Civil Aviation Regulations, 2011 (As amended) and as recommended by aircraft and aircraft engine manufacturers. South African Civil Aviation Authority (“SACAA”) has put in place a contingency requirement to cater for the COVID-19 pandemic circumstances to ensure acceptable level of aircraft continuing airworthiness during the lockdown period. On 15 March 2020, the President of the Republic of South Africa declared a national state of disaster regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. In this regard, the President also put in place several measures with the intention of limiting exposure and the potential sp

Boeing Rolls Out First Loyal Wingman Unmanned Aircraft

A Boeing led Australian industry team has presented the first unmanned Loyal Wingman aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force, a historic milestone for the company and the Commonwealth. The aircraft, which uses artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms, is the first to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years. It is Boeing’s largest investment in an unmanned aircraft outside of the United States. As the first of three prototypes for Australia’s Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Program, the aircraft also serves as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) being developed for the global defence m

Comair Enters Business Rescue

Comair, today announced the group will enter business rescue to safeguard the interests of the company and its stakeholders after the Covid-19 crisis disrupted the implementation of a turnaround plan. Comair CEO, Wrenelle Stander, said the company, which reported a half-year loss of R564 million for H1 F20, faced an unprecedented situation following the Covid-19 lock-down. "While we had started making good progress to fix the financial situation six months ago, the crisis has meant we have not been able to implement it as we intended." "We completely understand and support the government’s reasons for implementing the lock-down., however, as a result, we have not been able to operate any fli

Why is theoretical knowledge so important in Aviation Training?

By Anthony Foxcroft How often have you heard this: “Just learn the questions and answers, so you can pass your exams and get back to the flying”? Too many aviation students, regardless if they are at PPL level, CPL level, or even at ATPL level treat theory as a ‘tick box’ exercise. In the aviation industry, the quality that matters above all else is competence. You will find yourself being called upon at regular intervals to prove that you have attained and maintained your competence. The Civil Aviation Authority exams won’t be the last time you will be questioned on these topics. Each licence renewal, line check and job interview will delve into your technical knowledge. And it’s not just t

Embarrassing moments ‘The Hamburger’

by Felix Gosher It was August/September 2013, I was working for Coastal Aviation in Tanzania, who had a contract in Northern Mozambique at a seaside Village called Mocimboa da Praia, transporting personnel between the Anadarko camp and the natural gas fields off the coast of Palma and the arrival point at Pemba. Every Caravan Pilot in Dar es Salaam got rostered for 6-8 weeks to stay in that village and fly the transfers on C208B 5H-LJX. There were various other Aviation contracts on the go as well, supporting the exploration of natural gas in and around the Rovuma River (the border between Tanzania and Mozambique) which formed an estuary into the sea. There were helicopter pilots from variou