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News Letter 4 October 2018

Good day all

Seems winter is trying one more time to ruin our flying plans for the weekend, fortunately the weather “Gurus” are predicting that all will be back to normal tomorrow.

Everyone in the Northern part of the country looking for something exiting to do this weekend make your way to Secunda for the First Speed Rally. SAPFA have put together a new format for flying Rally/Races this is a trial run for the RTAR and sounds very exciting. The newly formed Aerospace Africa TV will be covering the event which takes place on Saturday morning at Secunda Airfield this weekend was specifically chosen to coincide with the UMUZI Week of Festivals in Secunda.

The South African gilder National Championships are currently underway at Potchefstroom Airfield , today all the pilots will be on Task 5, unfortunately Task 4 was cancelled yesterday but there has been more than enough flying to have a definitive result

Mosel Bay will be hosting a Oktoberfest Fly-in this weekend For more information contact Tina 082 572 2076


Many things on the world’s longest flight have changed since it was last operated by Singapore Airlines in 2013 but there are some that remain the same. The flight numbers remain SQ21 and SQ22 for the ultra long-haul Singapore-New York flights that will re-launch on October are the same as flights that started more than a decade ago in 2004.

Changi and Newark’s airports remain the endpoints of the new service and it is still flown by Airbus aircraft. And the distance of 15,700 or 16,600 kilometers (depending on direction and routing) between the two points is still harrowingly vast. It means a journey of a little over 18 hours an average – and not 19 as currently often touted in promotional material and media. But almost everything else has changed in the five-year period during which Singapore and New York were only linked by, at best, one-stop flights.

In 2013, the economics stopped working as rising fuel costs hit the fuel-guzzling four-engine A340-500s plying the route particularly hard. It’s a very different case for the new twin-engine Airbus A350-900ULR, ordered by Singapore Airlines for the route.


These will re-start US non-stop services beyond the Singapore-San Francisco route already flown by regular A350-900s. First the re-launch of New York, followed by Los Angeles.

The A340-500 burned eight tons per hour the A350-900ULR only consumes a mere 5.8 tons per hour. The actual route — both then and now —is determined every day by the airline’s operations centre in Singapore and based on current and forecast weather data.


Fourteen years ago, at the introduction of ultra-long-haul routes, the five SIA A340-500s boasted an exclusive, enhanced “Executive Economy” cabin, similar to today’s Premium Economy offered on all of SIA’s long-haul flights.

The A340-500 cabin originally offered two classes for a total of 181 passengers, while the aircraft had a capacity for up to 313 travellers. A maximum of 64 passengers could travel in Business Class, where the seats in a 1-2-1 configuration could be made into flat beds, slightly angled at the time.

In Executive Economy, up to 113 passengers could be seated with a generous pitch of 93cms. In the very back of the cabin was a stand-up bar for Economy customers offering snacks and water. Later, as the operation became less and less viable, SIA converted the aircraft into a 100-seat all-Business configuration. Even that didn’t turn things around during further fuel price hikes.

Today’s A350-900ULR again offers two classes, the number of Business seats (67) has only slightly changed, while standards in Premium Economy have risen so much that just 94 seats are installed in a 2-4-2 configuration offering 38’’ (96.5 cm) of pitch.

With flight durations of over 18 hours, in-flight entertainment (IFE) becomes particularly important. And here SIA has made another quantum leap. In 2004 the A340-500 had around 400 different audio and video programmes available. Today, the A350s offer 1,000 hours of content, which are topped up by another 200 extra hours for the ultra-long flights.

Airbus Helicopters hands initial H135 to China

Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first of an eventual 100 H135 light-twins destined for Chinese customers under a June 2016 framework agreement. An initial five aircraft will be produced at the manufacturer's plant in Donauwörth, Germany, before final assembly of the Chinese airframes shifts to a new facility in Qingdao, Shandong province, which will come on stream next year.

Construction of the new final assembly line is under way and should be completed by year-end, says Airbus Helicopters. The first H135 is in an emergency medical services configuration and will be operated by the Health Commission of Qingdao.

During the delivery ceremony, United General Aviation Industrial Development (UGA), Airbus Helicopters' distributor in China, signed a contract with Eastern General Aviation for two H135s. UGA has also previously secured a framework agreement with Qingdao Huatong Financial Leasing for six H135s.

"This delivery represents the first of many milestones supporting our commitment to serve the Chinese market with H135s made in Qingdao," says Bruno Even, chief executive of Airbus Helicopters.

Prepare now for stricter drone regulations

Drone legislation will become significantly more stringent over the next decade, and hobbyists, as well as businesses that depend on drones for their operations, may need to start planning now for how to manage their resultant increased risks.

This is according to Johannes du Plessis, legal advisor at RBS (Risk Benefit Solutions), a financial services provider, who says that with commercial drone use increasing exponentially, the risk of drones damaging property, injuring persons, trespassing, or infringing on the privacy, dignity and safety of individuals, has risen substantially.

“The Standard and Recommended Development Plan of the International Civil Aviation Organisation suggests that countries should (as a first and second phase), accommodate, integrate and regulate drones into on-segregated airspace by the end of 2018,” he says.

He adds that in accordance with such recommendations, recent laws were enacted which, for example, obliges commercial operators of drones to be licenced and undergo medical examinations.

“The laws already enacted also regulate both commercial and recreational drone operators on how and where to fly drones. For example, when a drone is being used for private use, the drone may only be flown in Restricted Visual Line of Sight which means within 500m of the pilot, and never to exceed the height of the highest obstacle within 300m of the pilot, during which the pilot can maintain direct unaided visual contact with the device to manage its flight and collision avoidance.

Additionally, the drone operator must observe all statutory requirements relating to liability, privacy and any other laws enforceable by any other authorities.

Du Plessis notes that further controls will be put in place by way of the third and fourth phases of the aforementioned development plan. “The third phase of the development plan entails integrating drones into air traffic. This phase is supposed to be finalised in 2023. The fourth and last phase will entail that drones be fully integrated within civil air navigation systems using 4D trajectory-based operations, which is planned to be finalised by 2028.”


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