As we reach the end of 2017, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful people that make up the aviation family in South Africa without your unwavering support Flightline Weekly would be nothing more than a dream, You Guys Rock.
Please Fly or Drive safe this festive season we would like to see you all in person next year and not in the newspapers.
As always this time of the year aviation events become few and far between, as far as we are are aware there are only two events planned in the next week or so
The Ground Rush Boogie 2017
Swakopmund on the Namibian coast will be a hive of activity for all skydivers. The Ground Rush Boogie will be held form the 20th December to the 2 January.
St Fancis Airpark Annual Fly-In
All the aviators that are currently in the Eastern Cape, St Fancis Airpark will be hosting their annual Fly-in on the 28th December, for more info please contact Barry Culligan Cell 083 611 3333 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The future of commercially operated drones
It is foreseeable that unmanned aircraft will be used to transport passengers as well over the long-term, according to Rob Eagles, director of air traffic management infrastructure at the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
To him the question is not "if" anymore, but "when".
"Our goal is to facilitate, this new branch of aviation by developing standards to support safe, efficient, orderly, reliable and sustainable high-frequency drone operations into the airspace system," said Eagles.
"There are now new aviation actors who bring with them new thinking, new technology, new investment and a new way of doing things."
In his view, the growth and scope of so-called unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) - in other words drones - operations are exceptional. It can involve from small to large aircraft and from low to high altitudes. The use of new and advanced technology can be implemented for basic as well as complex operations.
According to Céline Hourcade, head of cargo transformation at IATA, drones can certainly be used by the airline industry.
"They are fantastic opportunities to gain efficiencies, reduce costs and increase speed," she explained.
She pointed out that many trials are already being conducted regarding airport operations, surveillance, automated inventory, parcel deliveries and humanitarian support.
"Existing and new aircraft manufacturers are all working on unmanned aircraft projects," said Hourcade.
"IATA, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and regulators are looking at ways to integrate this new branch of aviation safely and efficiently."
In her view, business opportunities for the aviation industry exist in three main areas, namely airport and ground operations, transport of goods and transport of passengers.
There are, for instance, already examples of drones being used for e-commerce purposes by companies like Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart, DHL and UPS.
"Larger drones that are under development could unlock communities without a transport infrastructure and could be, along with medium-sized drones, cost-effective alternatives to traditional aircraft," said Hourcade.
"Drones for tomorrow's air cargo will offer new business opportunities for new and existing air cargo players. This is the not-to-be-missed opportunities for our member airlines to capture new markets, open new routes, reduce costs and increase revenues."
As for the use of drones in airport operations, two examples would be for aircraft inspections and for clear flight and bird control solutions.
According to Eagles, IATA is focusing on safety of drones, traffic management regarding drones and the integration process.
"Safety is IATA's number one priority and it is actively engaged on an education and awareness campaign," he said.
"IATA is actively engaged in the development of remote pilot training, licensing and medical requirements to help ensure safety standards in non-segregated airspace are not compromised."
He emphasised that IATA is taking a holistic view on drones in trying to mitigate risks and assist in the use of unmanned technology to assist flight operations.
"Drones offer new thinking methodology and opportunities to reshape the future for all airspace users - manned or unmanned. We just need to ensure that it is done safely and efficiently," concluded Eagles.
KZN's only private medical choppers launched
Holidaymakers soaking up the sun on KwaZulu-Natal’s shores can feel a little safer with the launch of two private aeromedical helicopters in Durban on Thursday.
The helicopters‚ run in close concert by Black Eagle Aviation and IPSS Medical Rescue‚ are the only private air ambulances in the province.
The choppers have been put into service as tens of thousands of holidaymakers make their way to the province for the festive season.
Speaking at the launch of the KwaDukuza Municipality’s festive season on Thursday‚ IPSS Medical Rescue spokesman Paul Herbst said the two newly-launched air ambulances would go a long way in bolstering their existing emergency fleet.
“This will aid us not only during the festive season‚ but going forward as well. For our patients that are in a critical state and need to be rapidly transported to hospital‚ these aeromedical helicopters will make all the difference.
“We deal with situations of life and death and the sooner we can get the critically wounded to hospital the better‚” he added.
Herbst said that the helicopters‚ the only private medical helicopters in the province‚ would be staffed by paramedics and when necessary‚ a flight doctor.
Black Eagle Aviation pilot Captain Frans Haasbroek said that the choppers would change the emergency service landscape in the province.
“We work on the golden hour‚ that is getting the critically injured or wounded to hospital in the quickest possible time and now we will be able to do that.”
The pilot said that the partnership encompassed several private ambulance services‚ including Meditech‚ Hibiscus Med-Evac‚ ER24‚ Midlands EMS, RescueCare and Meditrax.
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