News Letter 7 March 2018


Good Day All

This week is definitely dominated by the upcoming Aero Club Air Week wich is to be held at Middelburg Airfield as from Friday.

The Weather is looking favorable for the weekend

Weather courtesy of Deon van der Mescht

Friday 9 March 2018

A surface trough is expected to extend southwards from Botswana to Kimberley. East of the trough some mid-level moisture is expected from which cumulus may develop, with a very small chance of isolated CB over Gauteng (none over FAMB).

Saturday 10 March 2018

A surface trough line maintains approximately the same position as the previous day, with a steep upper trough expected over the Western Cape. This will increase the chances of afternoon thunderstorms over Gauteng, with FAMB mainly affected by Towering Cu, with a very small chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

Sunday 11 March 2018

The surface trough is again expected over the central parts of the country. Although the upper trough weakens, there is a significant amount of tropical moisture east of the trough, which is likely to cause scattered afternoon thunderstorms (4/8 - 5/8 of CB) over Gauteng from early afternoon, with much more isolated (2/8 of CB) over FAMB.

See you there.

If you decide to stick around in Gauteng Springs Airfield will be hosting an Aviation Day on the 10th March, everyone is welcome.

The Chief of The SANDF Thanks everyone for the sucess of Armed forces celebrations.

The Chief of the South African National Defence Force (C SANDF), General Solly Shoke, would like to express a sentiment of gratitude to all the people of Kimberley, the surrounding areas and Bloemfontein respectively for the manner in which the SANDF was received and engaged during the hosting of the recently celebrated Armed Forces Day (AFD) 2018. The SANDF highly rates the hospitality and friendliness of the people of the Northern Cape (NC) Province and Bloemfontein.

The SANDF would like to categorically thank the Premier of the NC Province, Hon. Sylvia Lucas, the Mayor of the Sol Plaatjie Municipality, Cllr. David Molusi, their respective teams and the various Departments that were directly or indirectly involved with the planning leading up to, during the hosting and post all activities of the AFD 2018.

The hosting of AFD 2018 in the NC and Bloemfontein has gone a long way in improving the overall understanding of why “the people`s defence force” exists and has hopefully contributed immensely in bringing information on the SANDF. The AFD 2018 has strengthened the two-way mutual work relations between different stakeholders and the SANDF. These work relations will be fostered and preserved for many years to come. It was indeed an honour and a profound privilege for the SANDF to have visited Kimberley, the Diamond Capital of South Africa.

Turbine blade corrosion caused Jet ATR engine fire

Investigations into an engine fire on a Jet Airways ATR 72-500 have been traced back to undetected corrosion of a power turbine blade in the aircraft's right-side Pratt & Whitney PW127M engine.

The aircraft, registered VT-JCL (MSN 791), was operating flight 9W-2839 on 15 June 2016 from Bangalore to Mangalore, when shortly after take-off at 09:59 local time the master caution warning light flashed for about one second when at 4,500 feet.

The cabin crew noticed smoke in the passenger cabin as the aircraft climbed to 6,000 feet, and the flight crew decided to return to Bangalore. Shortly before landing, fire was seen in the right-hand engine. The engine was shutdown and a May-Day call given. The aircraft landed at 10:23 local time. Emergency evacuation was carried out on the runway.

Of the 67 passengers and four crew on board, only three passengers suffered injuries.

In its final investigation report, India's Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has classified the incident as 'serious'.

The AAIB says that failure of a power turbine blade likely resulted in heavy vibration of the engine. This damaged the air and oil seals of the turbine shaft bearings and impeller bearings, allowing engine oil to contaminate the bleed air of the right-hand engine, which led to the smoke in the cabin.

The original power turbine blade failure was likely due to corrosion. This would probably have been spotted if specific inspection protocols - that were not required for the engine in question prior to the incident - had been in in place.

Following the incident, the AAIB has recommended that Jet Airways update its routine inspection regimen for its ATR fleet.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that VT-JCL is currently in service. It is of 2008-vintage and managed by Aergo Capital.

Airlink suspends Pretoria-CT flights to stem losses

In order to stem losses, Airlink will suspend services on the Pretoria - Cape Town route from May 8 2018, the airline announced on Tuesday.

The airline's CEO Rodger Foster said in a statement it was not a decision taken lightly, but after almost three years, the route has not developed as was expected it would.

“Sadly, the route has not become profitable, despite our collaborative best efforts – including significant marketing initiatives by the City of Tshwane, to promote the connection. The combination of operational constraints on the size of aircraft that can be used on the route and the poor state of the economy have not helped,” explained Foster.

“A compounding factor has been government’s understandable and commendable belt-tightening efforts, which include cut-backs in government-related travel.”

The flight between Wonderboom and Cape Town started in August 2015 and was mainly aimed at Tshwane-based government officials, private sector businesses and leisure travellers, according to the airline.

Until recently, Airlink operated up to four daily return flights on the route, using a combination of 83-seat Avro RJ85 and 37-seat Embraer ERJ135LR regional jets.

“We are not closing the door, as we believe the Pretoria-Cape Town connection is important and could potentially be viable in the future. With this in mind, we will continually re-assess the market and the economy so that we can resume the service when the conditions are conducive,” said Foster.

Customers holding confirmed tickets for travel after the May 8 2018 will be re-booked on alternative SAA flights between OR Tambo International and Cape Town, or offered a full refund.

Competition Commission

Airlink and Safair announced in February that they are disappointed that the Competition Commission did not approved the proposed Airlink acquisition of Safair.

The two independent SA aviation groups approached the Commission in November last year for approval to unite under the common umbrella of the Airlink group of companies.

The proposal submitted to the Commission was that the Airlink and low-cost FlySafair airlines as well as Safair’s other businesses would continue to operate separately under their unique brands. No job losses were foreseen because of the proposed consolidation.

The airlines indicated on Friday that they do not agree with the decision and will approach the Competition Tribunal to consider its application.

Airlink CEO Rodger Foster previously explained that the acquisition would bring opportunities to reduce combined costs and position the businesses for growth. At the same time connectivity would be increased. In his view the deal would make air travel accessible and affordable across Southern Africa.

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