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News Letter 5 July 2019

Good day all

So AERO SA is well underway and is delivering everything it promised and more, the online registration for visitors is seamless and on arrival it takes no more than a few seconds to get your visitors badge. The displays are very well laid out and easily accessible. It is great to see the big boys like Boeing, Garmin and Bose displaying in their own right. The list of guest speakers is impressive, and all the talks are very interesting no matter what sector of the aviation family you belong to.

On Saturday Aero SA will be hosting ,what they hope to be, the biggest fly-in in recent SA Aviation history. If you have access to an aircraft, please support them and join the fly-in for a fun day. All aircraft that fly to Wonderboom on Saturday for the fly-in will be exempt from approach, landing and parking fees.

Nico Bezuidenhout returns to Mango top job

South Africa‘s Mango Airlines has rehired Nico Bezuidenhout as chief executive to speed up its recovery plan, turning to an executive who led the business for nearly a decade and recently steered Africa‘s Fastjet back from financial crisis. One can only but wonder if this is part of a larger plan to eventually get Bezuidenhout in the hot seat at SAA.

South African Airways has not made a profit since 2011 and said last month it needed R4 billion from the government to survive the current financial year. Last month, SAA appointed Zukisa Ramasia as its interim CEO after Vuyani Jarana unexpectedly resigned, saying his turnaround plan was being undermined by a lack of state funding and too much bureaucracy.

Bezuidenhout will return to Mango in October, to a CEO position that was never filled after he left it. Bezuidenhout previously held the post for nearly a decade until 2016, when he joined Fastjet.

New C2Land automatic aircraft landing system passes its first test

German researchers have demonstrated an automatic landing system for aircraft that they say works without the need for ground-based support systems. If they’re right, it could change life in the air – or, more accurately, coming down from the air.

Automatic landings are standard procedure at major airports, which have an Instrument Landing System (ILS) to ensure safe navigation. Smaller airports usually aren’t so well equipped, however, which can be a problem in adverse conditions. "Automatic landing is essential, especially in the context of the future role of aviation," says Martin Kügler, the Chair of Flight System Dynamics at Technische Universität München (TUM). As part of a project called C2Land, researchers from TUM and Technische Universität Braunschweig (TUB) developed an autopilot system that effectively navigates using GPS. To do that, they say, they first had to overcome the problem that GPS signals are susceptible to measurement inaccuracies; as such, a GPS receiver in an aircraft can't always reliably detect atmospheric disturbances, for example.

That means, they add, that until now pilots using GPS have had to take over control at an altitude of no less than 60 metres and land the aircraft manually. To address this, a TUB team designed an optical reference system – a camera in the normal visible range and an infrared camera that can also provide data under conditions with poor visibility – and developed custom-tailored image processing software that lets the system determine where the aircraft is relative to the runway based on the camera data it receives. The TUM team then developed the entire automatic control system for its own research aircraft, a modified Diamond DA42, which is equipped with a fly-by-wire system enabling control by means of an advanced autopilot.

To make automatic landings possible, other functions were integrated into the software, such as comparison of data from the cameras with GPS signals, calculation of a virtual glide path for the landing approach as well as flight control for various phases of the approach. And it appears to work. Writing in the journal ION, the researchers report that the aircraft successfully made a completely automatic landing during a test flight back in May. "The cameras already recognise the runway at a great distance from the airport,” says pilot Thomas Wimmer. “The system then guides the aircraft through the landing approach on a completely automatic basis and lands it precisely on the runway's centreline.".

Bombardier Unveils New Learjet 75 Liberty

Bombardier announced the Learjet 75 Liberty as its newest offering in the storied business jet brand. It’s “a rescoped aircraft that’s going to be cost-competitive from an operating cost perspective but also purchase cost perspective with Part 23 light jets,” Bombardier Business Aircraft spokesman Mark Masluch said. To accomplish this, the Liberty will have fewer seats and options than the original Learjet, shaving about $3 million off the price tag while keeping the performance, the Canadian airframer said.

Bombardier hopes the lower price tag will drive a new segment of buyers to the Wichita-assembled aircraft, which has seen steadily declining deliveries over the past five years to just a dozen last year, according to data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. At $9.9 million, the Liberty sheds two seats in the forward cabin, for a total of six seats, replaced by two fold-down ottomans and fold-out tables, creating what it calls the “executive suite” for the two remaining seats in the forward section of the cabin, which is separated from the cockpit by a sliding pocket door. In the aft cabin, the four remaining seats are placed in a club configuration.

“You’re getting a light jet that not only flies faster, flies farther but [also] has the largest seated room in the cabin [in the light-jet category],” Masluch added.

The jet retains its 51,000-foot ceiling and its two Honeywell TFE731-40BR engines, each with 3,850 pounds of thrust. High-speed cruise remains Mach 0.79 but range improves by 40 nm to 2,080 nm with NBAA IFR reserves. Also standard on the Liberty is the Bombardier Vision flight deck with the recently announced upgrade to the jet's Garmin G5000 avionics, as well as Gogo ATG 4G wireless connectivity. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2020.

What was standard on the Learjet 75 will be optional on the Liberty, such as the APU and external lights, Masluch explained. “It’s a little bit more flexible approach to the program that allows us to get in the price range to more directly compete with light jets in the Part 23 realm,” he said, noting that the Liberty will retain the Learjet 75’s Part 25 certification.

Liberty essentially replaces what the market has known as the Learjet 75. Customers who would want a Learjet 75 would simply order the options that come with the Liberty, as well as an eight-seat cabin. “Having a product that’s competitive and aligned with market demand is going to really help stabilize the long-term manufacturing part of the Wichita site,” Masluch added. “This really kind of provides a lot of leg room in terms of our production capacities for Learjet aircraft with a product that’s rightly scoped for the market and competes more directly with light jets that are Part 23 certified.”


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