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News Letter 28 March 2018

Good day all

It feels like Christmas has just passed and we are already heading into the Easter weekend, please guys all the people traveling for the weekend, wether flying or driving, please be careful out there and keep safe.

For those that will be inland this weekend Witbank Aeronautical Association will be hosting a fly-in breakfast on the 31 Marc

Please notify Robert Clark via SMS / WhatsApp (082 463 1372) or email ( how many people will be attending the fly-in.

Rob Jonkers has once again organised a day of flying fun on the 31 March. The Rand Airport Adventure Fun Rally promises to be a great outing for everyone. Please contact Rob on or 082 804 7032

For the Paramotor pilots

The Icarus X Series is a condensed weekend-shaped endurance flying race. The toughest thing to do with a over a weekend, this is the perfect gateway drug for anyone who wants to get into cross country paramotoring.

It's also the best training you can do for our longer race gauntlet, the Icarus Trophy. A sort of Quickarus if you will.

This installment will be held from 30 March to Sunday 1 April at Skywalk Hartebeespoort Dam. Contact Ronnie Beukes

EPS Diesel Test Facility Nears Completion

Engineered Propulsion Systems (EPS) is getting close to completing a testing facility at its headquarters in New Richmond, Wisconsin, that will aid in the process of achieving certification for its Graflight V-8 diesel engine. The facility will be used for engine testing, inspection, assembly and STC work.

Once the new facility is completed, which is expected at some point next month, the company will be able to work on three engines at a time. There will also be a space outside the building where propeller tests, engine durability tests and other climate/environmental tests will be conducted.

Last fall the company flew the engine for more than 70 hours in a revived Air Force altitude chamber where it was subjected to simulated altitudes up to 30,000 feet. The tests were intended to affirm the mechanical design configuration through the use of EPS’ proprietary Electronic Engine Control Unit (EECU).

“The engine responded in normal parameters at all altitudes up to 30,000 feet,” said Michael Fuchs, EPS’ CEO.

The Graflight V-8 engine is designed around a range of 320 to 420 horsepower for single- and twin-piston airplanes. EPS claims the engine will produce 30 percent less CO2 than comparable avgas engines and 17 percent less compared with diesel engines of similar power output.

Historic non-stop flight between Australia and UK takes off

Passengers have taken off for the first direct flight between Australia and London, passing a major milestone by reducing to 17 hours a trip that once took 12 1/2 days.

The 9,000-mile flight from Perth, one of the world’s most isolated cities, marks the first direct passenger service between the continents.

Qantas Airways' inaugural service between the Australian city of Perth and Heathrow took off on Saturday evening and will touch down in London at 5.05am on Sunday before departing for the return trip at 1.15pm that afternoon.

Passengers will be on board the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft for 17 hours as they make the 9,009-mile journey. This is 24% further than the UK's existing longest route of 7,275 miles, operated by Garuda Indonesia between Heathrow and Jakarta.

The new link with Perth will be around three hours quicker than routes which involve stopping in the Middle East to change planes or refuel. It will also enable faster journeys to Sydney and Melbourne than flying via Dubai. The new link is part of Qantas' ambitious plans, unveiled over the past two years, to add ultra long-haul flights to its global schedules.

This will eventually include non-stop flights from Australia's eastern seaboard to Europe in an effort dubbed "Project Sunrise". Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce last year said such flights were "the last frontier of global aviation ... the antidote to the tyranny of distance and a revolution for air travel in Australia". Travel firm Flight Centre has recorded "high demand" for the new Qantas flights.

Piper Aircraft, Inc. announced today a 23% increase in aircraft deliveries for 2017

The substantial growth was driven by a 50% YOY increase of Piper single engine primary trainer aircraft deliveries as well as a 70% increase in deliveries of multiengine trainers. Additionally, sales of Piper’s flagship product, the M600, expanded by 59% which helped drive Piper total billings up by nearly $41M vs 2016. International deliveries of Piper products showed moderate growth of 5%, resulting in 25% of Piper products being shipped to countries outside of North America.

In addition to Piper’s sales success, the company celebrated 80 years of manufacturing excellence during 2017 as well as the completion of 6 new amended type certificates. The continued rise in demand for Piper trainers has resulted in order backlog into 2019 as well as a 25% increase in workforce.

“Piper’s ability to level-load aircraft production has allowed us to meet solid financial growth and performance goals while expanding our worldwide sales visibility and efforts, especially in the pilot training realm,” said Piper President and CEO Simon Caldecott. “As we look towards 2018, we are excited about the growth in demand for aircraft trainers and the resulting contracts that we have been awarded, which has helped create a backlog of orders. Additionally working with our full-service Dealers, we look to continue to grow M-class demand and sales,” he added.

Piper Aircraft Inc., headquartered in Vero Beach, Fla., offers aviators throughout the world efficient and reliable single- and twin-engine aircraft.

The single-engine M-Class series – the M600, M500, M350 and Matrix – offers businesses and individuals elegant performance and value. The Twin Class Seneca V and Seminole balance proven performance, efficiency, and simplicity in twin-engine aircraft. The Trainer Class Warrior, Archer TX, Archer DX, Arrow, Seminole and Seneca V aircraft form the most complete technically-advanced line of pilot training aircraft in the world. All Piper airplanes feature advanced Garmin avionics in the cockpit. Piper is a member of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

Its head of aviation, Justin Penny, said: "Flight Centre definitely feels that long-term the new route is viable and we will see additional services being launched from Europe to Australia in the coming years."

Lisa Norman, the flight's captain, said "we have been working towards (this) for the past three years and it’s very exciting”.

“When I joined Qantas not in my wildest imagination would I have thought this possible,” she told the West Australian.

Capt. Norman says she will be “absolutely exhilarated” when the plane touches down in London.

“It’s like when a painter puts the final brush stroke on the work.”

F-35 Teams Up With Drone Wingmen

An F-35A fighter plane cuts across the sky, dead-set on destroying an enemy bunker protected by a network of radar and antiaircraft missile batteries. A flock of wingmen tag along to help the pilot defeat these defenses. But none of those companion planes have a person inside. They are semiautonomous drones the pilot must trust with his life.

This scenario can be seen in a recently released “Call to Action” video made by the Air Force Research Lab. Nominally a look at what the U.S. Air Force will be like in 2030, the clip is also a plea by Secretary of the U.S. Air Force Heather Wilson, who last year launched an initiative to upgrade the Air Force's science and technology strategy.

The idea of a piloted plane acting as mothership to a flock of unmanned aerial vehicles is not new. In 2010, we ran a cover story about the unmanned aircraft supporters inside the Pentagon. The hypothetical combat scenario in that article is reminiscent of the scene played out in the Air Force video, in which drones take on dangerous mission in the suppression of enemy air defenses, or (SEAD). Here's how a robot-enhanced mission could unfold.

The lead UAV puts itself in harm's way as it flies into radar range of antiaircraft missile batteries. An icon on the F-35 pilot's virtual head-up display, projected onto the faceplate of his helmet, alerts him that the lead drone has automatically identified the emissions of an enemy radar site. This is the first time in the mission that the SEAD airplane has communicated with any human.

Miles from the danger, the F-35A pilot coolly assesses the situation, confirms the target is legitimate, and authorizes the lead UAV to open fire. The drone's AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missile follows the radar waves back to their source, obliterating the dish and its crew. There is now a gap in the enemy radar screen, and the pilot directs the UAV to return to base.

Meanwhile, another UAV is flying east of the target, navigating via a mix of GPS and accelerometer data. This aircraft is busy scrambling other enemy radar installations by flooding the skies with emissions that share the radar's frequency. The jamming pods under the UAV's wings also disrupt radio transmissions from the air-defense network, covering up the sudden loss of contact with the radar sites protecting the bunker. Otherwise, an enemy commander could discover the location of the actual raid. After a preset amount of time spreading confusion, the UAV returns to base.

The F-35A pilot is closing in on the target, fast. He needs to aim the F-35's electro-optical targeting system to release a bomb that will hit the structure at a precise angle calculated to collapse it without destroying nearby civilian buildings. He triggers the laser designator and authorizes the nearby unmanned airplane to drop a pair of bombs, which use fins to steer toward the laser-targeted sweet spot.

The pilot watches the twin, concurrent explosions, makes a quick battle-damage assessment and, satisfied, banks the airplane and heads back to base. His robotic wingman follows his lead, flying evenly at his side.


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