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News Letter 22 August 2019

Good Day all

The South African Airshow Machine makes it’s way to Bethlehem this weekend, the SAAF have undertaken to be there in full force with many of their aircraft taking part in this, the only airshow to be held in the Free State this year.

For all the drone pilots out there DroneCon is well underway at Vodaworld in Midrand. Drone Con proudly hosts the largest annual drone conference in Africa, With over 40 speakers and an exciting offering of exhibitors. Presenting the perfect platform to learn from and network with drone professionals, as well as offering live drone demonstrations and regulatory workshops, DroneCon is the place to be for all drone enthusiasts and professionals.

The Unlimited World Aerobatic Championships kicked off yesterday in in Châteauroux-Centre airport in France, unfortunately none of our South African pilots will be taking part, but we will be watching the action and will bring you a full report in the next few weeks.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority will be hosting an Aviation Youth Show, to highlight career opportunities in the aviation sector. The event will be held at Mdantsane Indoor Spot Centre in East London.

Airforce Base Swartkop will be a buzz of activity with the 2019 Chopper Gathering happening on Saturday, all the Chopper Boys will be welcome to join.

U.S. Air Force Selects Saab and Boeing T-X Trainer

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing USD 9.2 billion for the development of a new advanced pilot training system that will help train fighter and bomber pilots for generations to come. Boeing is the designated prime contractor for the Advanced Pilot Training Program. Saab is a risk-sharing partner with Boeing in the development of the T-X aircraft. At this stage, Saab has not received an order from Boeing.

“This selection allows our two companies to deliver on a commitment we jointly made nearly five years ago,” says Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO of Saab. “It is a major accomplishment for our partnership with Boeing and our joint team, and I look forward to delivering the first trainer aircraft to the U.S. Air Force.”

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of years of unwavering focus by the Boeing and Saab team,” says Leanne Caret, President and CEO, Boeing Defence, Space & Security. “It is a direct result of our joint investment in developing a system cantered on the unique requirements of the U.S. Air Force. We expect T-X to be a franchise program for much of this century.”

The initial USD 813 million contract to Boeing covers the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the first five aircraft and seven simulators. Saab and Boeing designed, developed, and flight-tested two all-new, purpose-built jets - proving out the system’s design and repeatability in manufacturing and training capability.

Boeing is now clear to begin placing orders with its suppliers, including Saab. More than 90 percent of Boeing’s offering will be made in America, supporting more than 17,000 jobs in 34 states.

Will the Russian- Chinese CR929 achieve its delivery target

Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) are building the CR929, a long-range, 250-320-seat, wide-body plane powered by two engines. The joint venture, headquartered in Shanghai, operates under the name CRAIC.

China and Russia want their CRAIC CR929 aircraft to challenge Airbus and Boeing’s duopoly. The date for the first flight of a long-haul passenger plane jointly developed by China and Russia looks set to slip. State-owned companies in Russia and China have been working together on a wide-body jet program since 2014 and was originally planned to enter the market by 2025.

Last year, Boeing forecasted that the Chinese civil aerospace market, considered the world’ second largest after the United States, will grow over the next couple of decades by around 7690 planes, loosely estimated at around $1.2 trillion of business.

The CR929 is aimed at winning a slice of the growing aviation pie and is particularly focused on the long-range routes currently dominated by Boeing’s 787 and the Airbus A350. The firms jointly unveiled a full-size model of the plane at the November 2018 Zhuhai Airshow in China where COMAC maintained that a first customer delivery should happen by 2025. That date now looks in doubt after UAC said in June this year that while it had received its first preliminary orders, the first finished plane may now not appear until 2027.

CRAIC Program Director Xie Canjun told industry media in February this year that the concept design of the plane should be complete by early 2020. “How wide and how long, the internal layout, the aircraft’s basic functionality, what is the range, and passenger capacity, these have all been done,” he said.

Russia will build the wings, but the plane’s fuselage is to be built in China where final assembly will occur.

Aside from differing estimations on delivery dates, engine selection is offering further hints that communication between Russia and China is not operating smoothly. General Electric and Rolls Royce are the two finalists to initially supply engines but a joint effort to develop a Sino-Russian engine for the Craic CR929 was announced at the Zhuhai show. This news was immediately complicated by the Aero Engine Corp. of China (AECC) that displayed its own engine at the show. AECC executives claimed at the event that it hoped to be chosen as the supplier to ultimately power the plane.

Not to be outdone, Russia’s United Engine Corporation (UEC) has also been included in the list of the CR929′s potential suppliers. UEC is developing a turbofan engine which the manufacturer says would meet the needs of the CR929.

Vans announce a new engine mount for nose gear option (RV-7A AND RV-9A)

Van’s Aircraft has announced availability of a new engine mount and gear option for specific configurations of the RV-7A and RV-9A, incorporating design features used on the company’s more recent RV-10 and RV-14A aircraft models. Builders have the option to choose either the new style system, which is the default choice for new orders, or they may choose to build using the original gear and mount system when ordering their finish kits.

Original owners of not-yet-installed RV-7A or -9A finish kits that were received on or after June 1, 2017 may contact Van’s Aircraft to discuss exchange options, should they wish. Builders of an RV-6A kits may order new finish kit components from the RV-7A and adapt to their airframe, if they wish to do so.

The following aircraft/engine combinations are supported for new builds. Please note that retrofit installations are covered in a different document (see Service Letter 19-04-30) and introduce additional complexity. Note that we can only describe support for Lycoming engines as provided by Van’s. If you have a custom engine other than a Lycoming model Van’s sells, you’ll need to provide additional details to help us process your finish kit order. The new design is available with Dynafocal I (D1) engine mounts only.

What’s Changed?

The RV-10 and RV-14A designs include an engine mount/nose gear assembly consisting of a mount that accepts a pivoting nose gear arm, which articulates at the base of the mount and is attached using elastomer discs and retention hardware. This mount/gear system design has been proven effective on those models and is commonly requested by customers who’d like to use it on earlier model kits. To meet that demand, we have adapted the design to the RV-7A and RV-9A. RV-6A builders wishing to use the new mount/gear design may follow the RV-7A plans since the engine mounts and gear are common parts between the two models, but will likely need to make adjustments and adapt firewall component installation as required.

The new-design gear system represents an evolutionary change, which Van’s Aircraft has been asked by customers to provide. The design is adapted directly from our experience with the RV-10 and RV-14A engine mounts/gear and includes a few characteristic features from those systems, including an elastomer shock-dampening system at the connection of the gear leg to the engine mount and changes to the gear leg attachment mechanism, which allows the gear leg to pivot/shift differently in a severe gear-overstress scenario.

The long-proven original Wittman-style gear used on A-model RVs for many years is somewhat lighter and simpler in design and costs a bit less than the new system.

Regardless of which mount/gear system is installed on the aircraft, Van’s emphasizes to pilots that the nose wheel should always be kept as light as possible using aft-elevator during ground operations, and that the aircraft nose gear is not intended to be used in the same manner as main landing gear. Rather, it is designed to be used when the aircraft is on the ground and the wings have stopped flying. In other words, one should land on the main gear and hold the nose wheel off, and then gently lower the nose wheel when it can no longer be held off the ground. When taxiing, maintain aft elevator to keep the nosewheel light. This is a common best practice in nearly all tricycle light-aircraft designs.

Van’s Aircraft can provide parts to aircraft owners who wish to retrofit the new mount and gear system to an existing airplane. The company has published a document describing the new system and the various potential issues and complexities involved in a retrofit project. That document also includes some details and results related to the change on the factory’s RV-9A demonstrator aircraft, which has been flying with the new system in place since earlier this year. This information can be found in Service Letter 19-04-30 on the Van’s Aircraft web site.


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