News Letter 10 January 2019


Good day all

As things are slowly getting back to normal ( whatever that is) the aviation world still seems to be very much on leave, the first aviation events will be taking place next weekend.

SAPFA will be hosting a Nav Rally Training Camp at Grand Central, Harvard Café Function Room on Saturday 19 January.

Contact Mary de Klerk for more detail this is the ideal opportunity for pilots new to the sport to pick up valuable pointers from our current National Champion.

maryd@expandingbranding.co.za 0r 084 880 9000

Spots Aerobatics Club will be hosting their first competition for 2019, the Gauteng Regionals at Vereeniging airfield Many of the top Aerobatics pilots from all over South Africa will be taking part, so if you are starved for some flying action, as I am, Vereeniging is the place to be on 19 and 20 January.

A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) (A0129/19 NOTAMR A0128/19) has been issued warning pilots to take care when uplifting fuel, the fuel supply at various airfields may be contaminated with normal Petrol (MOGAS) or another unknown substance. Please be vigilant and check all fuel that is uplifted, apparently the colour and smell is slightly off as well as having a more oily texture. Please be careful and report all suspect supplies to SACAA and if possible keep a sample to assist in the investigation.

Heathrow airport: Drone sighting halts departures

Departures at Heathrow were temporarily stopped on the 8 January after a drone was reported to have been sighted. Flights from the west London airport resumed about an hour after police said a drone had been seen.

A Heathrow spokeswoman had said it was a "precautionary measure" to "prevent any threat to operational safety". It comes after last month's disruption at Gatwick Airport which saw thousands of people stranded and over 1000 flights cancelled when drones were sighted.

The spokeswoman said Heathrow was working with Air Traffic Control and the Metropolitan Police following the incident. “We continue to monitor this situation and apologise to any passengers that were affected by this disruption," she said.

The Metropolitan Police said they received reports of a drone sighting near Heathrow at about 17:05 GMT.

Before the confirmation that flights had resumed, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he was in contact with the airport about the drone sighting, and had spoken to the home secretary and defence secretary.

Mr Martin Roberts said he was driving on the M25 past Heathrow airport at about 17:45 GMT when he saw what he believes was a drone. "I could see, I'd say around 300 feet up, very bright, stationary flashing red and green lights, over the Harmondsworth area," he said. "I could tell it was a drone - these things have got quite distinctive lights - not a helicopter. "The lights were very close together. It was a very clear night and the object was stationary, it was turning very, very slightly. I could see it very clearly, I'd say for about four to five minutes."

Passengers stuck at Heathrow expressed their frustration at having to wait to depart while the airport responded to the sighting.

More than 140,000 passengers at Gatwick were affected during 36 hours of chaos between 19 and 21 December. About 1,000 flights were cancelled there over three days due to the drone sightings. Gatwick said last week that it had spent £5m to prevent future attacks. Heathrow also confirmed it would be buying systems to guard against drones.

And it was announced this week that police would be given new powers to tackle the illegal use of drones. John Grant, industry advisor to air travel data specialists OAG, said it was "almost inevitable" after what happened at Gatwick that there would be "a heightened state of awareness and these types of incidents could possibly reoccur".

Boeing Unveils new Transonic Truss-Braced Wing

Designed to be more aerodynamic and fuel efficient, Boeing is studying the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing concept through a collaboration with NASA as part of the Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research program.

Boeing revealed the newest Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW), which researchers say will fly higher and faster than the previous TTBW concepts. The new configuration is designed to offer unprecedented aerodynamic efficiency while flying at Mach 0.80.

From end-to-end, the folding wings measure 170 feet. The high wingspan is made possible by the presence of a truss, which supports the extended length of the ultra-thin wing.

Originally, the TTBW was designed to fly at speeds of Mach 0.70 – 0.75. To increase the aircraft’s cruise speed, the new concept now has an optimized truss and a modified wing sweep. By adjusting the wing sweep angle, the truss can carry lift more efficiently. The end result was a more integrated design that significantly improved performance.

The new changes follow extensive wind tunnel testing at NASA Ames Research Centre. For nearly a decade, Boeing and NASA have been studying the concept as part of the Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research (SUGAR) program. The research focuses on innovative concepts that reduce noise and emissions while enhancing performance.

Bell Unveils eVTOL Design

Bell Helicopter revealed a full-scale concept eVTOL on Monday, during the press day at the Consumer Electronics Show 2019 in Las Vegas. The air taxi, named Bell Nexus, is powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system and driven by Bell’s powered-lift concept, incorporating six tilting ducted fans designed for safety and efficiency. Bell is working with Uber to create VTOLs that will operate on an aerial rideshare network in the first U.S. Uber Air cities of Dallas-Fort Worth/Frisco, Texas, and Los Angeles. Uber’s goal for these cities is make air taxis commercially available on Uber Air in 2023.

Bell is not working alone on the vehicle. Team Nexus comprises Safran, which will provide the hybrid propulsion and drive systems, EPS will provide the energy storage systems, Thales will contribute the Flight Control Computer hardware and software, Moog will develop the flight control actuation systems and Garmin will integrate the avionics and the vehicle management computer.


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