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News Letter 16 May 2019

On Sat 18th May SAPFA, be holding the first in a series of Air Navigation Rally’s which are a real easy fun discipline to fly. The past few months have found us all steeped in Rallies and Air racing…. now it’s time to have some FUN – REAL FUN…… The Sheila Taylor Fun Rally will be the first and will be held at Krugersdorp’s Jack Taylor Airfield.

There is nothing complicated about this discipline. In short here is what it entails:

1. You will be given a map with a pre-printed corridor on it.

2. You take off at a predetermined time.

3. You fly to a predetermined Start Point at a predetermined time (approx. 5 mins from your take off time). The Start Point will be an easily identifiable point on the ground like a big crossroad or T junction. You will find it easily.

4. You will then fly a simple route within a corridor of approx. 500m turning around each corner carefully to stay within the corridor.

5. If you fly outside of the corridor, you will get penalties per each second that you fly outside of the corridor.

6. You will be given a predetermined time to cross the finish line (which is also an easily identifiable point on the ground) so you need to plan your way around the course so as not to arrive too early or too late. It’s all about time management in the air.

7. You will fly with a GPS logger and on your return, we will download the logger to show your track and how well you managed to stay within the corridor.

8. The entire course is no longer than 30 mins from start to finish.


1. Arrive and breakfast from 07H30

2. Briefing and Map Planning from 08H00

3. First aircraft off from 10H00

4. Prize giving from 12H00




Koki Pen

Digital Time Clock


Map Scale 1 : 200 000

Minute Marker (we will show you what to do with this)

Organisers – Frank and Cally Eckard

Contact Tel: 083 269 1516

Contact Tel: 079 695 3668

So please book online at so that we can adequately cater for the numbers.

Come along and enjoy a fun filled morning of “aviation with a purpose”

See you there!!!

The Sport Aerobatic Club will be hosting the Free State Regional Aerobatic Championships at Tempe Airport on 19-20 May. All the big names in South African Aerobatics will be there so if you in Bloem and feel like an entertaining day out New Tempe is the place to be.

What can Artificial Intelligence do for the Aviation industry?

The use of AI ( Artificial Intelligence) technology in commercial aviation has brought some significant changes in the way’s flights are being operated today. World’s leading airliner service providers are now using AI tools and technologies to deliver a more personalized traveling experience to their customers. From building AI-powered airport kiosks to using it for automating airline operations and security checking, AI will play even more critical roles in the aviation industry.

Engineers have found AI can help the aviation industry with machine vision, machine learning, robotics, and natural language processing.

Artificial intelligence has been found to be highly potent and various researches have shown how the use of artificial intelligence can bring significant changes in aviation. Few airlines now use artificial intelligence for predictive analytics, pattern recognition, auto scheduling, targeted advertising, and customer feedback analysis showing promising results for better flight experience.

A recent report shows that aviation professionals are thinking to use artificial intelligence to monitor pilot voices for a hassle-free flying experience of the passengers. This technology is to bring huge changes in the world of aviation.

There’s no need to explain how modern inventions are contributing towards the betterment of mankind and AI can help in air transportation in numerous ways. Check-in before boarding is a vital task for an airline and they can simply take the help of artificial intelligence to do it easily, the same technology can be also used for identifying the passengers as well.

American airline company Delta Airlines took the initiative in 2017. Their online check-in via Delta mobile app and ticketing kiosks have shown promising results and nowadays you can see many airlines taking similar features to the whole new level.

The Transportation Security Administration of the United States has introduced new AI technology to identify potential threats at the John F. Kennedy, Los Angeles International Airport and Phoenix airports. Likewise, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is planning to launch America’s first biometric terminal. Once installed, “the AI technology will make the process of passenger identification fast and easy for officials. Security scanners, biometric identification”, and machine learning are some of the AI technologies that will make a number of jobs easy for us. In this way, AI helps us predict disruption in airline services.

Baggage screening is another tedious but important task that needs to be done at the airport. However, AI has simplified the process of baggage screening. The American airlines once conducted a competition on app development on artificial intelligence and Team Avatar became the winner of the competition for making an app that would allow the users to determine the size of their baggage at the airport.

Osaka Airport in Japan is planning to install the Syntech ONE 200, which is an AI technology developed to screen baggage for multiple passenger lanes. Such tools will not only automate the process of baggage screening but also help authorities detect illegal items effectively. Syntech ONE 200is compatible with the X-ray security system and it increases the probability of identification of potential threats.

AI can be used to assist customers in the airport and it can help a company reduce its operational costs and labor costs at the same time. Airlines companies are now using AI technologies to help their customers to resolve issues quickly by getting accurate information on future flights trips on their internet-enabled devices. More than 52% of airlines companies across the world have planned to install AI-based tools to improve their customer service functions in the next five years.

Artificial Intelligence can answer various common questions of the customers, assisting them for check-in requests, the status of the flight and more. Nowadays artificial intelligence is also used in air cargo for different purposes such as revenue management, safety, and maintenance and it has shown impressive results till date.

Leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus is taking measures to improve the reliability of aircraft maintenance. They are using Skywise, a cloud-based data storing system. It helps the fleet to collect and record a huge amount of real-time data.

The use of AI in the predictive maintenance analytics will pave the way for a systematic approach on how and when the aircraft maintenance should be done. Nowadays you can see how top-rated airlines use artificial intelligence to make the process of maintenance easy and improve the user experience at the same time.

Despite being considered as a future of the aviation industry, AI has some pitfalls. For instance, it takes time for implementation and it cannot be used as an ideal tool for customer service. The recent incident of Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 was an eye-opener for us and it clearly represents the drawback of AI technology in the aviation sector. The Boeing 737 crashed a few minutes after it took off from the capital of Ethiopia. The failure of the MCAC system was the key reasons behind the fatal accident.

Also, AI is quite expensive; for example, if an airline company is planning to deploy a chatbot, it will have to invest more than $15,000. Thus, it would be a hard thing for small companies to invest for the same and this could create a barrier between small and big airlines in the future. As the market is becoming highly competitive, big airlines will conquer the market and the small airlines might face an existential threat due to this reason.

The use of artificial intelligence in aviation has made many tasks easy for airlines and airport authorities across the world. From identifying passengers to screening the bags and providing fast and efficient customer care solutions.

Unlike the software industry, the risks of real life harms are exponentially higher in the aviation industry. While other industries have started using this technology long back, the adoption of AI in aviation has been one of caution, and rightly so. As the aviation industry embraces the benefits of artificial intelligence and machine learning, it must also invest in putting in place checks and balances to identify, reduce and eliminate harmful consequences of AI, whether intended or otherwise. As Silicon Valley reels in ethical dilemmas, the aviation industry will do well to learn from Silicon Valley while making a transition to a smart future. The aviation industry known for its rigorous safety measures and processes may, in fact, have a thing or two to teach Silicon Valley when it comes to designing, adopting and deploying AI systems into live systems that have high-risk profiles.

NASA funds aviation research on a new fuel concept

Researchers at the University of Illinois are leading a newly funded project from NASA to develop a novel approach for all-electric aircraft. Although improvements in vehicle configurations and engine systems have increased flight efficiency over the past few decades, the continued dependency on hydrocarbon fuels makes aircraft operation costs volatile. It also means that commercial aviation will continue to contribute a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions across the national and international transportation industry. And the forecast for air travel in the United States is expected to increase 90 percent within the next 20 years, leading to even greater emissions.

In an effort to address these issues, this research proposes a fundamental shift away from jet fuel towards more sustainable energy sources for aviation, and the introduction of new electrically-driven propulsion systems for commercial aircraft systems. It's called CHEETA—the Centre for Cryogenic High-Efficiency Electrical Technologies for Aircraft. NASA will provide $6 million over the course of three years.

"Essentially, the program focuses on the development of a fully electric aircraft platform that uses cryogenic liquid hydrogen as an energy storage method," said Phillip Ansell, assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Urbana-Champaign and principal investigator for the project.

"The hydrogen chemical energy is converted to electrical energy through a series of fuel cells, which drive the ultra-efficient electric propulsion system. The low temperature requirements of the hydrogen system also provide opportunities to use superconducting, or lossless, energy transmission and high-power motor systems.

"It's similar to how MRIs work, magnetic resonance imaging," Ansell added. "However, these necessary electrical drivetrain systems do not yet exist, and the methods for integrating electrically driven propulsion technologies into an aircraft platform have not yet been effectively established. This program seeks to address this gap and make foundational contributions in technologies that will enable fully electric aircraft of the future."

"Advances in recent years on non-cryogenic machines and drives have brought electric propulsion of commercial regional jets closer to reality, but practical cryogenic systems remain the 'holy grail' for large aircraft because of their unmatched power density and efficiency," Haran said. "The partnerships that have been established for this project position us well to address the significant technical hurdles that exist along this path."

Mango Airlines test fly Split Scimitar winglets on its Boeing 737-800.

Mango Airlines has begun the roll-out to install the Split Scimitar® Winglet technology on its Boeing Next Generation 737-800 fleet of 14-aircraft. Last week Mango’s test flight took to the skies to size-up the newly installed Winglets.

The first installation of the Winglets began in April and takes approximately two to three weeks to install per aircraft. Roll-out on the remaining 13 aircraft will take place individually in order for daily operations not to be disturbed.

“It is an exciting time for us, as the Winglets should mean significant fuel savings across our fleet – an approximate reduction of up to 2.5%. The enhanced performance to our fleet should mean improvements to our operating economics so that we can keep our airfares competitive,” says Marelize Labuschagne, acting CEO at Mango. The Split Scimitar Winglet System will reduce Mango’s annual fuel requirements by more than 155,000 liters per aircraft, and their carbon dioxide emissions by over 390 tons per aircraft per year.

“Mango is an airline that cares about its carbon footprint, and the Winglet technology also talks to our environmental stewardship as they should reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 390 tonnes per aircraft per year,” explains Labuschagne.

In the nearly 13-years Mango has been operating in the low-cost airline space, its team is continuously looking for ways to maximise savings in order to remain competitive. “It is an increasingly challenging environment and thanks to our partnership with aviation giant Boeing, we should soon see the projected savings on our bottom line; all while doing our bit to reduce the fleet’s footprint,” concludes Labuschagne.

Since launching the Boeing Next-Generation 737 Split Scimitar Winglet program Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) has taken orders and options for more than 2,000 systems, and nearly 1,200 aircraft are now operating with the technology. APB estimates that its products have reduced aircraft fuel consumption worldwide by over 9.1 billion gallons to-date thereby saving over 96 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.


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