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News Letter 17 January 2018

Good day All

So 2018 is well and truly on its way and as always time seems to be flying along, the aviation calendar is also filling up fast for this year. Please take a look at our Events Calendar, If your event is not noted please send me an email with all the event details at

On Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 January the Aerobatic programme for the year will get underway with the SAC Gauteng Regionals. The competition will be held at Vereeniging Airfield, all the top Aero pilots will be in action and it promises to be a very enjoyable weekend. Any enquiries please contact Annie Boon

Utopia Drakensberg Soaring Club will be hosting a Free Breakfast Fly-inn on Sunday 21 January at their picturesque club situated on the farm Utopia and as a result the airfield is known, amongst its members, as Utopia Base.

For any enquirers please contact Donovan- 0828952009 or

Frequency in use:123.4Mhz GPS Co-ordsS29:48:31E29:23:18 Altitude:5300’ AMSL Main Runway14/32 secondary 05/23

Boeing’s ‘son of Blackbird’ hypersonic plane is designed to hit 3,800 mph

The battle is well and truly on to replace Lockheed Martin’s legendary SR-71-“Blackbird” hypersonic plane after Boeing this week unveiled a concept design that takes high-speed flight technology to the next level.

Photo © Boeing

Dubbed the “son of Blackbird,” Boeing’s design is a direct competitor to Lockheed’s under-development SR-72 and would travel at five times the speed of sound (Mach 5) — 3,836 mph (6,174 kmh). To put that in perspective, your run-of-the-mill Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger jet has a cruising speed of around 560 mph (903 kmh), while the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle fighter plane can push the dial to around 1,650 mph (2,665 kmh).

So yes, a ride in Boeing’s design would have your eyeballs pressing against the back of your skull and your stomach searching for an orifice through which to escape.

Boeing’s concept, revealed at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech forum in Orlando, Florida, reveals a sleek design that could one day be used for both reconnaissance and combat missions.

Clearly mindful of the huge challenges that come with designing such an aircraft, Boeing chief scientist for hypersonics Kevin Bowcutt said: “It’s a really hard problem to develop an aircraft that takes off and accelerates through Mach 1 all the way to Mach 5 and beyond.”

Bowcutt said Boeing is working on developing the aircraft in two stages, with the first involving test flights of an F16-sized, single-engine precursor aircraft to prove the design’s viability. After that, the team would aim to develop a “twin-engine, full-scale operational vehicle” similar in size to the 107-foot-long SR-71.

Boeing will draw on its experiences developing the experimental and unmanned X-43 and X-51 Waverider hypersonic planes

The X-51 had its first fully successful test flight in May 2013, flying at Mach 5.1 for three and a half minutes before running out of fuel and crashing into the Pacific.

But the X-51 was dropped from a larger aircraft before using a rocket booster to reach Mach 4.8. It then jettisoned the booster and used a scramjet engine to reach Mach 5. “A hypersonic replacement for the SR-71 would need to take off under its own power, accelerate through Mach 1 and up to above Mach 5, and then slow back down and land, a much more difficult challenge”

Bell’s Air Taxi VR Experience a Hit at CES

More than 7,000 attendees of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas stopped by Bell Helicopter’s exhibit to get a sneak peek at “the future of urban air transportation.” Among the guests lined up for the Air Taxi virtual reality ride were Silicon Valley guru Guy Kawasaki and Avengers actor Anthony Mackie, though they presumably skipped the line and the two-hour wait.

As companies race to make “flying cars” and air taxis a reality as early as 2020, Bell has already partnered with Uber Air to “develop technologies that will lead to an aircraft to satisfy short distance urban operations.” Based on the augmented reality simulator at CES, Bell is indeed committed to providing “class-leading comforts” and a “seamless, connected experience.”

The company believes the future of transportation is coming sooner than we think.

“Bell Helicopter is innovating at the limits of vertical flight and challenging the traditional notion of aviation to solve real-world problems,” Bell Helicopter’s President and CEO Mitch Snyder said at CES. “The future of an urban air taxi is closer than many people realize. We believe in the positive impact our design will have on addressing transportation concerns in cities worldwide.”

Even the FAA’s new acting administrator Dan Elwell visited the exhibit to take a simulated voyage with Bell and Uber officials, in addition to discussing the importance of safety and innovation.

Bombardier Receives $282 Million Investment from Canada

Bombardier is poised to receive a boost in funding for its C Series and Global 7000 jet programs.

The Montreal-based jet maker announced this week it will receive roughly $282 million ($372.5 million in Canadian dollars) in interest-free loans over the next four years from the Canadian government.

Bombardier, which saw production delays in its C Series commercial jet program, had previously requested $1 billion from Canada in 2015.

The Global 7000, Bombardier’s large-cabin business jet, made its maiden flight late last year, with first deliveries slated for late next year.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian government and business jet competitor Embraer have questioned whether Canada’s funding for Bombardier violates World Trade Organization rules. On Wednesday, Brazil sought consultations with Canada before the WTO, according to Bloomberg. Embraer says Bombardier has received more than $4 billion in Canadian funding.

Canada maintains its funding does not flout international trade rules.

Have a wonderful weeks flying guys and gals and please be safe

Happy landings



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