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News Letter 28 June 2017

Good day all

To say I’m excited about going to Race for Rhinos would be the understatement of the year.

Botswana Tourism Organisation in collaboration with Botswana Civil Aviation Authority and the Matsieng Flying Club will be hosting the 4th Annual RACE FOR RHINOS in Sua Pan.

Botswana is leading the world in Sustainable Tourism and Conservation, and is a fitting destination to host this prestigious event. The combination of aviation dreams and conservation touches everyone, this event brings local and international participants and spectators together in support of this important message.

Across Africa, rhinos are fighting for survival. Botswana is the only country in the world where rhino populations are increasing, thanks to the dedication of the Botswana government’s ongoing program to relocate both Black and White Rhino from neighbouring countries. The Tlhokomela Endangered Wildlife Trust continues to raise funds to support the efforts of the government to ensure these precious animals are protected and kept safe from poaching. With your support, we can help rhinos to beat extinction.

For all the unfortunate people that can’t make the pilgrimage to Sua Pan Flightline Weekly will be covering the event and will report in Edition 26 Vol 6 which will be published on Tuesday 3 July 2018.

JHB ATC will be hosting a Fly-in Breakfast at Brakpan Airfield everyone is welcome, this poses a perfect opportunity to meet the people behind the voices we hear every day on the other side of the radio.

For our costal pilots Wings Park East London will be hosting an Open Day and Fly-In on Saturday 30 June. Border Aviation Club operates a licensed flight training facility (ATO) at Wings Park that covers ab initio training, flight renewals and aircraft type conversions that cover a range of aircraft from microlights to fixed wing aircraft.

US Army requests Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft proposals

The US Army released a draft request for proposal for its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, a rotorcraft to replace a retired scout helicopter, according to new acquisition documents.

The Army plans to select two companies to build prototypes by the third quarter of 2020 and wants to see prototypes flying by 2023. By fiscal year 2024, the service wants to transition to a program of record.

The Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) will be comparable in size to Future Vertical Lift Capability Set 1, a light-attack and scouting aircraft with a minimum internal payload of six passengers. The Army envisions FARA would be a manned rotorcraft that uses software automation to reduce pilot workloads and that has the ability to sustain a high operational tempo with extended maintenance free periods.

The aircraft would have autonomous capabilities, be able to team with unmanned systems and play the centre piece role of an integrated air defence system breeching team. The air platform would be sized to hide in Radar clutter and within the urban canyons of mega cities.

“Army Aviation must operate in highly contested/complex airspace and degraded environments against peer/near peer adversaries capable of an advanced integrated air defence system,” the Army wrote in its draft RFP. “This platform is the ‘knife fighter’ of future Army Aviation capabilities, a small form factor platform with maximized performance.”

Currently, only a few clean-sheet rotorcrafts have the flight hours and performance to fulfill the Army’s Capability Set 1 vision, including the Sikorsky S-97 Raider, Airbus Helicopters Eurocopter X³ and Leonardo AW609.

Sikorsky S-97 Raider

Airbus Helicopters Eurocopter X³

Leonardo AW609

The S-97 is designed specifically to meet the Army's Capability Set 1 vision. It is a demonstrator platform designed to show the benefits of the advancing blade concept, a pair of rigid, contra-rotating co-axial rotors that allows the rotorcraft to fly at speeds above 200kt.

Airbus's compound helicopter, the Eurocopter X³, and Leonardo's tiltrotor, the AW609, are designed for the civilian markets, but could be re-purposed for a military scout role as was the Army's recently retired scout helicopter the Bell OH-58 Kiowa, which was based on the Bell 206A JetRanger.

The FARA represents a belated replacement plan for the Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The original OH-58A was fielded in 1968 as an interim replacement for the cancelled Hughes OH-6 Cayuse, but the army later cancelled the high-speed Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne as costs rose steeply. Three decades later, the army also cancelled the Sikorsky Boeing RAH-66 Comanche, denying other bid to replace the long-serving OH-58D.

An attempt to modify the Bell 407 into an armed reconnaissance helicopter failed in 2008 when the Army cancelled the contract. Subsequent plans to launch the Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) acquisition programme also were scrapped by the Army. Finally, the OH-58D was retired without a direct replacement. The Army planned to fill the requirement for a scout aircraft by teaming the Boeing AH-64 Apache with the Textron AAI RQ-7 Shadow unmanned air system.

SAA will protect its pilots and cabin crew by renting them out

National carrier, South African Airways will reportedly rent out its pilots and cabin crew to foreign airlines.

SAA CEO, Vuyani Jarana is reportedly evaluating measures and considering the possibility of leasing out the company’s pilots and cabin crew to airlines that are struggling with a shortage of flight staff, reports Business Tech.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali reportedly told AFP News that Jarana’s main objective is to safeguard SAA employees and also to bring SAA back to a positive financial performance.

Meanwhile, trade union The Solidarity is working hard at saving the embattled carrier.

Solidarity has not shelved its plans to file an application to have SAA placed under business rescue, Solidarity deputy chief operating officer Werner Human said yesterday.

The union initially wanted the matter to be heard in the High Court in May, but changed its plans when the troubled airline received a R5 billion bailout from the government in order to cover its immediate costs.

Commenting on possible job cuts at the national carrier, Human yesterday said the priority should be to set the company on a sound financial footing. “It is unsettling to talk about job losses in a country that is battling high levels of unemployment. We would like to see a sustainable SAA,” he said.

But he said the union wanted to proceed with plans to put the airline under business rescue.

“The application is ready. We are finalising a few things. It is definitely not off the table. We will make an announcement very soon,” said Human.

Commenting on SAA’s financial woes, he said the airline should seek a strategic partner. “Only that will solve SAA’s problems. Any plan that does not involve a strategic partner is unlikely to work.”

Human was commenting on statements made by SAA chief executive Vuyani Jarana on Johannesburg radio station Talk Radio 702.

During the interview, Jarana said lay-offs as part of a restructuring process were inevitable.

“We are looking at everything. It is under consideration. As we look at procurement benefits, restructuring the staff and the head count is inevitable,” he said.


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