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News Letter 31 October 2019

Good day all

With rugby fever gripping most of the nation we are expecting a very quiet Saturday with most aviators joining the rest of the country in front of a TV somewhere there however some events taking place Stellenbosch will be hosting A Rally Training course with an eye on the World Rally Championship that will be taking place next year also at Stellenbosch for those taking part it will be a good test of your skills seeing that there will be international participation.

This is the first of two events leading up to the World rally Flying Championships that will include International team participation who are coming out for training and familiarisation of the Western Cape area, there will be teams from Austria, Switzerland, Poland, France.

Volksrust Airfield Club is hosting a breakfast run on the 2nd of November 2019. Breakfast will be served for all pilots and their passengers from 7h00 to 10h30. Other activities at the airfield include a Beer garden, festivities and stalls. The day will be concluded with a braai and a hanger dance. They have also promised to have a TV available for those that want to watch the Rugby.

First Airbus A350 Spotted in South African Airways Livery

A quick thinking planespotter has snapped the first image of South African Airways’ very first A350 in Singapore. Emerging from the paint shop in full SAA livery, the new aircraft looks set to join the fleet in a matter of days. Rumours are circulating that it may be used to ferry the, hopefully victorious Springbok Team home from the World Cup in Japan. Once it is home it is expected to be deployed on the Johannesburg to New York route, replacing one of the aging A340’s.

Given SAA’s current financial state, the A350 might seem like a bit of a strange investment for SAA. However, at this stage, the airline is only leasing these aircraft, in a bid to reduce their use of the highly uneconomical A340.

This particular A350, MSN 226, was originally manufactured for LATAM. However, the airline never took up the lease, so instead, it headed out to China to be put into service for Hainan Airlines as B-304Z. However, after less than 10 months of service, Hainan cut short the lease, and the A350 was back on the market.

The aircraft was officially withdrawn from use on the 15th October, and shortly after that was sent to Singapore for painting in SAA livery. Presumably, the cabin has been reconfigured also, but that won’t be confirmed until the airline takes delivery.

SAA’s acting CEO Zukisa Ramasia said “These aircraft present an immediate opportunity to offer an improved product between Johannesburg and New York which will be accompanied by unmatched and consistent customer experience for both Business and Economy Class customers.”

There is some conflicting information about exactly how many A350’s SAA has signed up to lease. Earlier it was confirmed that two A350’s originally destined for Air Mauritius would be reconfigured for SAA as part of its fleet renewal. The tail fins on these aircraft were already in Air Mauritius livery and will be repainted for SAA.

However, as we’ve seen, the first A350 is coming from Hainan Airlines, not Air Mauritius. In fact, it seems that the airline is planning to fly at least three of these shiny new birds in total.

Gulfstream unveil their new G700

It’s no secret that two of aviation’s biggest names have been battling it out for primacy in the skies. Last December, the Bombardier Global 7500 dethroned the Gulfstream G650 to become the biggest business jet in the world. The 7500 enjoyed a healthy reign—breaking records and impressing pilots and jet setters alike. It even topped our Best Aircraft of the Year list. Gulfstream had no plans to bow to defeat, however. Last week, the Georgia-based plane manufacturer debuted a brand-new business jet that is set to the become the world’s largest.

The G700 was unveiled at the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) annual corporate aircraft show in Las Vegas. Gulfstream Aerospace President Mark Burns said the flagship G700, priced at $75 million, would be the “tallest, widest cabin in the industry”

Powered by Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines, the gargantuan jet will match the industry-leading maximum speed of Mach 0.925, set by its predecessor the G650, and can fly 7,500 nautical miles at Mach 0.85 and while that’s slightly less than Bombardier’s 7,700 nautical miles, 200 miles is not a huge difference when it comes to flying time and reach.

The G700 will seat up to 19 passengers and features five living areas, a six-seat dining area or conference room, a 10-foot galley and a master bedroom suite with shower. The advanced circadian lighting system fitted throughout recreates sunrise and sunset, with the aim of reducing jet lag. Meanwhile, the jet will be pressurized to ensure the lowest cabin altitude in the industry, less than 4,000 feet at most cruising altitudes. The cabin is also whisper-quiet, featuring the largest oval windows in aviation. Even better, it circulates 100 percent fresh air.

“The Gulfstream G700 takes the very best elements from our most innovative products and unites them with cutting-edge advances to create an all-new, advanced-technology aircraft that redefines safety, comfort and range at speed,” said Gulfstream president Mark Burns.

In terms of size, the G700 stretches roughly 109 feet and is a foot shorter than Bombardier’s Global 7500. However, the jet will have a cabin two feet longer than its competitor and it will be slightly higher (1,905 m) and wider (2,489 m).

Gulfstream says deliveries will begin in 2022. The company has already received an order of 10 jets from Qatar Airways to be used within the Qatar Executive charter service. While the first North American customer, Flexjet, has ordered an unspecified number.

Piper Announces New M600 SLS.

Piper Aircraft announced yesterday, the next generation M Series aircraft – the M600 SLS, standard equipped with the new HALO™ Safety System – enhancing Safety, Luxury, and Support for one of the world’s leading personal use, Basic Med compliant aircraft. It will now also be the first general aviation aircraft in the world to be certified with Autoland capability.

The HALO™ Safety System is a compilation of innovative technologies unique to the M600 SLS and the Garmin G3000 avionics suite. The system includes Auto-throttle, Emergency Descent Mode, Enhanced Stability and Protection, Surface Watch, Safe Taxi, Flight Stream connectivity and more. However, of greatest significance is the addition of Garmin Autoland – digital technology that safely lands the aircraft at the nearest suitable airport in the event that the pilot is incapacitated.

The Halo system, once engaged either automatically or by a passenger, gains immediate situational awareness and assumes control of all systems necessary to bring you and your passengers safely to the best suited runway. During all phases of flight, it communicates with passengers and appropriate air traffic control facilities regarding the new flight plan route and estimated time until landing. Halo continually monitors all aircraft system parameters and real-time external inputs as if the pilot were at the controls. It considers runway size and orientation, wind, time, fuel range, glide path and considers weather conditions and terrain en route to the nearest suitable runway. Once Halo has landed the aircraft, the braking system will activate and will bring the aircraft to a full and complete stop. Finally, the engine will shut down and instructions will be provided on how to exit the aircraft.

The M600 SLS raises the bar in Luxury with the addition of the EXP interior package as standard equipment. The interior package was designed with a focus on the personal travel experience and enables the customer to select from sophisticated interior colour palettes with custom materials, stitching patterns and contrasting threads. Veneer and trim finishes further enhance the sense of unmatched refinement. Additionally, thoughtfully designed interior options, like two toned leather seats and Alcantara fabric have been added to elevate the passenger experience.

Ownership of a M600 SLS is backed by an exclusive service program for the first five years of ownership. The Ultimate Care Program includes all scheduled maintenance, as well as hourly and calendar-based inspections.

“The M600 SLS and its HALO™ Safety System with Autoland is the result of an unwavering commitment to safety as well as the desire to evolve our products based on market input, said President and CEO, Simon Caldecott. “The HALO System greatly enhances situational awareness and operational safety through the use of advanced technology and is one the most significant advancements in General Aviation history. The team at Piper Aircraft is proud that we will be first to market with Garmin Autoland, which will ultimately help pave the way for others.”

Certification of the M600 SLS is imminent with deliveries beginning this quarter through the global Piper Dealer network at a price point of $2.994M.

Pentagon and Lockheed Martin finalise $34bn F-35 fighter jet deal

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have finalised a $34bn agreement for the next three lots of F-35 fighter jets, setting the price of an F-35A jet below $80m. Under the deal, the US Department of Defence (DoD) will purchase 478 F-35s from Lockheed Martin to support the country’s military services, partner nations and foreign military sales customers.

The deal covers lots 12, 13 and 14. Lockheed Martin will deliver 149 F-35s in Lot 12, 160 aircraft in Lot 13 and 169 for Lot 14. On average, the price per aircraft will fall by around 12.7% across all variants from Lot 11 to Lot 14 and is now below $80m in both Lot 13 and Lot 14. Of the 478 F-35s, 291 will be used for the US military, 127 for F-35 international partners and 60 for F-35 foreign military sales customers.

Lockheed Martin F-35 Program vice-president and general manager Greg Ulmer said: “With smart acquisition strategies, strong government-industry partnership and a relentless focus on quality and cost reduction, the F-35 Enterprise has successfully reduced procurement costs of the 5th Generation F-35 to equal or less than 4th Generation legacy aircraft. “With the F-35A unit cost now below $80m in Lot 13, we were able to exceed our long-standing cost reduction commitment one year earlier than planned.”

The F-35 is designed to defeat the most advanced threat systems both in the air and on the ground, as well as those anticipated to emerge in the years to come. The aircraft delivers additional 5th Generation features, including multi-spectral sensors, interoperability and modernised avionics.

Lockheed Martin said the F-35 fleet has surpassed over 220,000 cumulative flight hours and eight nations have F-35s operating from a base on their home soil with seven services declaring initial operating capability. The F-35 Program supports over 220,000 direct and indirect jobs in the US alone with more than 1,400 suppliers in 46 states and Puerto Rico.


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