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News Letter 3 October 2019

Good day all

We at Flightline Weekly are only aware of one event this weekend and that would be the Western Cape Regional Aerobatics Championship, all the top aerobatics pilots will be fighting out for top honours in their relative category. The competition will take place on Saturday and Sunday at Swellendam Airfield, so if you find yourself in the area make your way there it will be well worth it.

Seven dead in Connecticut vintage B-17 WWII bomber crash

Thirteen people were on board the vintage Boeing B-17 - dubbed the Flying Fortress - when it went down and burst into flames minutes after take-off outside Hartford on Wednesday. The aircraft was civilian-registered and was not being flown by the US military, aviation officials say. Unfortunately, this is one of only ten B-17’s flying in the world.

The B-17 flight departed at 09:45 local time (14:45GMT). Five minutes later it reported having difficulties. The crash occurred near the Bradley International Airport at 09:54. "We observed that the aircraft was not gaining altitude," said Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillon.

Angela Fletcher, who lives about a half-mile from the airport, told the Hartford Courant newspaper: "It sounded like an 18-wheeler coming down the street and then it got louder. "Like so loud, it was vibrating things in the house. I looked out the window, and I saw this giant old plane come over the house that was very close."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the plane crashed at the end of a runway during an attempted emergency landing. The Collings Foundation, a non-profit that owned the plane, said it was scheduled to participate in a "Wings of Freedom Tour" at the airport later this week.

The aircraft's nickname comes from a newspaper reporter who dubbed it a "flying fortress due to all the machine guns that were protruding from the body" as well as its reputation for delivering US airmen home safely after missions flown from England and Italy. It could carry up to thirteen 50-calibre machines guns and 4-8,000lbs of bombs.

When it was first introduced in 1936 it was considered state-of-the-art, but by the end of World War Two it had largely been replaced by the B-29 "Super Fortress”. “They are one of the most popular and one of the most important airplanes that people want to see," says Mr Kinney, adding that aviation fans also come to hear the "lumbering sound" of the plane's four engines. "It's an iconic symbol of World War Two."

Embraer Praetor 500 receives EASA and FAA approval

Embraer announces that the company’s new Praetor 500 midsize business jet was granted its Type Certificate by EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) and by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). The Praetor 500 received regulatory approval from Brazil’s Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC—Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil) in August, less than a year after having been announced in October 2018 at NBAA-BACE.

The Praetor 500 surpassed its certification goals achieving an intercontinental range of 3,340 nautical miles (6,186 km—NBAA IFR Reserves with four passengers), a high-speed cruise of 466 KTAS, a full-fuel payload of 1,600 lb (726 kg), a take-off distance of only 4,222 ft (1,287 m) and an unfactored landing distance of 2,086 ft (636 m). For a 1,000-nautical-mile mission, the take-off distance is a mere 2,842 ft (867 m).

The Praetor 500 outperforms its class, becoming the best midsize jet ever developed and the only jet in its class with Ka-band internet connectivity. With the best cabin altitude, the Praetor 500 is the only midsize jet with full fly-by-wire, which complements the superior cabin experience of the Embraer DNA interior design with turbulence reduction for the smoothest and most efficient flight possible. “The triple-certification by ANAC, EASA and FAA reaffirm the most disruptive and technologically advanced design of the Praetor 500 as the best midsize jet ever made,” said Michael Amalfitano, President & CEO, Embraer Executive Jets. “Praetor 500 owners will now enjoy the ultimate customer experience in the midsize class, with the highest level of performance, technology and comfort.”

The Praetor 500 is now the farthest- and fastest-flying midsize jet, able to make true corner-to corner nonstop flights in North America, from Miami to Seattle, or Los Angeles to New York as well from New York to London, London to Dubai and Jakarta to Tokyo, all non-stop. The Praetor 500 also connects the west coast of North America to Europe and to South America, from Los Angeles to London or to São Paulo, with single-stop performance. In addition to connecting the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre to New York or São Paulo to Paris, with only one stop, the Praetor 500’s superior performance allows access to special operation airports, such as Angra dos Reis and Jacarepaguá, in Brazil.

The Embraer DNA Design interior eloquently explores every dimension of the only midsize to feature a six-foot-tall, flat-floor cabin, stone flooring and a vacuum service lavatory, all in the same certified aircraft. The class-exclusive Turbulence Reduction technology and 5,800-footcabin altitude, complemented by a whisper silent cabin, have set the highest standards in customer experience in the midsize category. The Praetor 500 has the capacity to seat up to nine passengers with the optional two-place divan. Of the six fully reclining seats, four may be berthed into two beds. The largest baggage compartment in the class is complemented by a generous wardrobe and a full vanity in the rear private lavatory.

Advanced technology throughout the cabin is also a trait of the Embraer DNA Design, beginning with the industry-exclusive Upper Tech Panel that displays flight information and offers cabin management features also available on personal devices through Honeywell Ovation Select. High-capacity, ultra-high-speed connectivity for all aboard is available through Viasat’s Ka-band, with speeds of up to 16Mbps and unlimited IPTV streaming, another industry-exclusive in midsize jets.

The Praetor 500 features the newest edition of the acclaimed Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion flight deck. Some of the options available on the Praetor 500 flight deck are the industry-first vertical weather display, air-traffic-control-like situational awareness with ADSB-IN, predictive wind shear radar capability, as well as the Embraer Enhanced Vision System (E2VS) with a Head-up Display (HUD) and an Enhanced Vision System (EVS), an Inertial Reference System (IRS) and a Synthetic Vision Guidance System (SVGS).

The Navy’s First Carrier-Based Drone Tanker

The U.S. Navy’s MQ-25A Stingray drone flew for the first time last month, marking a major step toward integrating it into the carrier air wing of the future. The Stingray isn’t the first drone the Navy has flown, but it will be the first to regularly fly off a carrier flight deck. The aircraft will refuel other planes, extending the range of aircraft like the Super Hornet and Lightning II.

MQ-25A Stingray

The flight test, according to USNI News, took place at MidAmerica regional airport in Mascoutah, Illinois. The flight, which lasted for two hours, was under the control of Boeing test pilots. “The aircraft completed an autonomous taxi and take-off and then flew a predetermined route,” Boeing said in a statement on its web site. “The test validated the aircraft’s basic flight functions and operations with the ground control station.”

The MQ-25A is the result of years of Navy deliberation about how to best proceed into the world of unmanned carrier warfare. The service flew the Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned aerial vehicle in 2013, performing take-offs and landings from the USS George H.W. Bush. Observers had high hopes for the X-47B, which was very much what a UAV designed for stealthy penetration of air defence networks and dropping precision-guided bombs would look like. But the Navy had other plans, and after a few months of test flights, the service put the X-47B on the back burner.


The X-47B proved that carrier-based UAVs were possible, opening up a world of possibilities, and the Navy had to figure out how to proceed next. Many wanted the Navy to develop an operational version of the X-47B, an unmanned strike aircraft with the range to strike long-range anti-carrier systems such as the Chinese DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile.

A major criticism of today’s carrier aircraft is that they're outranged by the DF-21D, forcing a carrier to position itself (and all 6,000 people on board) within striking distance of the anti-carrier missile in order to launch and recover aircraft. A strike UAV would go a long way toward “out-sticking” the DF-21D and other weapons like it. A Nimitz-class carrier has room for six or more X-47Bs.

A second, decidedly less sexy proposal was an unmanned, flying gas station. An aerial refuelling tanker would extend the reach of the 24 Super Hornets and 20 Lightning II's that will make up the offensive punch of a U.S. Navy carrier in the early 2020's.

Instead of having just six long range strike aircraft, the same number of tankers could vastly increase the range of many more strike fighters. A dedicated refuelling tanker would also take the pressure off Super Hornet fighters that refuel other carrier aircraft using the buddy system, freeing up more aircraft in wartime for direct combat.

The Navy wants a drone that can do “a little” ISR, and the MQ-25A can reportedly be easily adapted to such a role. An ISR package installed on the Stingray could include things like an electro-optical surveillance turret with digital zoom, night vision, and real-time video feed, a radar and electronic emissions detector, a synthetic aperture radar for scanning objects obscured by clouds, smoke, and fog, and an active, electronically scanned array radar for detecting ships and aircraft.

The MQ-25A that flew last month was an early prototype, followed in the future by four Engineering Development Model (EDM) aircraft. The Navy will take possession of the EDM aircraft around 2021 to test key concepts, particularly carrier take-off and landing and mid-air refuelling. If all goes well, the Navy plans to send the Stingray to the fleet in 2024.


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