Global Aviator 6-11-2020 News

EDITOR : mike@globalaviator.co.za www.magzter.com | www.globalaviator.co.za Vol 3 | NOVEMBER ISSUE 1 | 2020

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Global News MILITARY TRAVEL AVIATION

Spidertracks announce Maverick Helicopters as “Insights” launch customer

Spidertracks, the world’s most trusted provider of aircraft tracking and emergency management solutions, has announced their partnership with Maverick Helicopters as the official launch customer for the latest evolution of their Virtual FDR capabilities — Insights. Earlier this year at Heli- Expo 2020, Spidertracks announced their most advanced hardware, Spider X — a simple and affordable plug-and-play solution, enabling aircraft owners and operators to see where, and more importantly, how their aircraft are flying. Spider

X collects critical data off an aircraft — data such as roll, pitch, yaw, speed and altitude, and delivers this wirelessly to the Spidertracks platform. The company is leveraging more than 14 years of expertise to offer aircraft owners and operators an easy entry into FDM. Making flight data available and knowing what is happening during a flight, allows Spidertracks customers to use this actionable information to avoid or reduce emergency events. Insights from Spidertracks will provide both operational and safety efficiencies, by utilising data to deliver flight safety events based on the

Russian built Mi-28NE proving to be imminently suitable as the helicopter of choice for many countries

Africa is a continent that has a great variation in temperatures and terrain – from tremendous heat to hot tropical climates, mountainous regions and desert areas, however the Russian built Mi-28NE is proving to be imminently suitable as the helicopter of choice for many countries. Russian Helicopter’s day/night attack helicopter is designed to search and destroy enemy armoured and unarmoured vehicles, manpower and low-speed air targets as well as provide cover and fire support for the troops at any time of day. The Mi-28NE was built to endure extremely hot temperatures and remain operable in any geographical and climatic conditions, day

and night, and in adverse weather conditions, all the while having extraordinary combat survivability systems for helicopter and crew. These include a self-defence system against heat seeker missiles, heavily-armoured cockpit, vital systems and components. The fuel tanks have special protection, and at the same time provide for a long flight with significant weapons load, while the latest filters provide anti-dust protection. Airborne equipment and armament Officially in service with the Russian Minister of Defence, the “Night Hunter” has been equipped with an integrated avionics suite providing round-the-clock employment of the helicopter and weapons needed to

search and destroy enemy armoured and un-armoured vehicles, manpower and low-speed air targets as well as provide cover and fire support for the troops at any time of day or night. Armaments carried by this export version of the Mi-28 includes up to 16 Ataka-type guided anti-tank missiles, up to 4 Igla air-to-air guided missiles, up to 80 S-8 80mm unguided rockets and an integral flexible mount with 30mm 2A42 gun (with 250 rounds) mounted under the nose; 23mm gun pods; 80mm and 122mm unguided rockets. In combat situations this makes it ideal for deployment against tanks, self propelled artillery, and military anti-air defence units; armoured infantry

Cont. on page 6

Cont. on page 2

Maverick Helicopters crossing the Colorado - Pic courtesy Maverick Helicopters

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2 | RUSSIAN NEWS

Mi-28 cont. from page 1

is continuously engaged in ongoing work to advance and improve the flight capabilities of the “Night Hunter”. A special Mi-28NE model was developed for pilot training, boasting a dual control system for use training Mi- 28NE pilots while retaining the helicopter’s full attack capabilities. Its basic range relying on internal fuel tanks is 450 kilometers but fitted with external fuel tanks this may be extended to 1 100 kilometers. It also features a low altitude collision avoidance system, state-of-the-art avionics and a sophisticated weapon control system. The aircraft is powered by two VK-2500 turboshafts developing 2 400-shp each. The armoured cockpit protects the crew from small arms fire and absorbs the impact energy during emergency landings providing thus outstanding survivability. In addition to the crew of two (pilot and weapon system operator), Mi- 28NE can transport 2-3 men in a rear compartment. The service ceiling is 5 700 meters and only 3 600 meters out of ground effect. “Modernisation involved engine power and blades,

Over the years Russian Helicopters has sold its products to more than 100 countries around the world and occupies leading positions in the fast-growing markets of India and China and is rapidly expanding its presence in South and Central America, the Middle East and Africa. Research and development In the helicopter segment, Rosoboronexport’s partners are represented by more than 70 countries in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, Africa, CIS and Europe, where Russian rotorcraft are in service with army, counter-terrorism and special forces units, law enforcement agencies and emergency services. According to Mikheev, over 1 000 Russian helicopters of different versions have been delivered abroad under Rosoboronexport contracts for almost 20 years. Rosoboronexport and Russian industrial enterprises are implementing helicopter repair, modernisation and after- sales service projects, including on the premises of the established helicopter service centres. Production Facilities The key production facilities of the Russian Helicopters include Kazan Helicopters, Rostvertol, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company and Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise. Stupino Engineering Productive Enterprise and Reductor-

vehicles, APCs, and vehicles; and individual weapons (launchers), field and nuclear artillery batteries. Major Evgeny Seelev, Russian Aerospace Forces flight commander, in an interview with The Red Star in August 2018 described the night vision of the helicopter as very effective, “You can see a car at a distance of 15 km. Thermal imagers, special glasses - all of this is used to detect targets in the dark and gives good results. The characteristics of the Mi-28’s weapons also allow a lot, this helicopter sees and shoots further. The ergonomics of the cockpit are better thought out, that is, the crew is comfortable here, and this is also important”. Flight capabilities Mi-28NE “Night Hunter” helicopters boast advanced flight capabilities, and can execute aerobatic manoeuvres. The renowned Berkuty (Golden Eagles) flight display team have operated the Mi-28N “Night Hunter” since 2012. Russian Helicopters has not resisted on its laurels – it

Russian combat training helicopter MI-28UB "Night Hunter" at MAKS-2019 - By Karasev Viktor.

is designed in such a way that fuel can neither explode nor burn. The Mi-28N helicopter is one of the first Russian helicopters to be fitted with modern means of communication and digital avionics. Rosoboronexport Mi-28NE is promoted on the global market by Rosoboronexport, the state intermediary for military and dual-use exports and imports, that marks its 20th anniversary on 4 November after being established in 2000 by Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Despite the current global difficulties, we assess the rate of contracting and replenishing the order book for Russian rotary-wing aircraft projected for the coming years as good. The global market isn’t saturated yet; quite the opposite, this niche is expanding, mainly due to the versatility of helicopters, which can be used by law enforcement and civil structures everywhere, primarily in emergencies,” - said Alexander Mikheev,

which improved aircraft performance in highland regions and in hot climates, increased the cruising speed of the machine and its capabilities in terms of advanced aerobatics. A larger tailplane improved the controllability of the helicopter. New armaments installed on the machine will increase its firepower, and the fact that the aircraft can be used in more fields mean greater demand on the market,” said Anatoly Serdyukov, Industrial Director, Aviation Cluster of Rostec State Corporation. In addition, the Mi-28NE helicopter can interact with drones and operate them remotely, as it has special means of communication. The hellicopter is also resistance to battle damage due to the use of the most modern materials and design solutions. The blades of the Mi-28Nmain rotor are made of composite materials, which means that a flight can still be completed safely if they are hit by shells of 20 to 30 mm. The fuel system

Director General of Rosoboronexport.

Left: Attack helicopter Mi-28N “Night hunter” - Pic: J_K

• Shielding of vital units by units of secondary importance • Filling of airframe spaces by foammaterial • Armouring of vital units • Fire protection of fire hazardous compartments • Explosion protection of fuel tanks • Protection of fuel tanks from fuel leakage (self-sealing) Crew survivability • Armouring of cockpit • Shock absorbing crew seats with parachute escape system • Shock absorbing landing gear • Emergency jettisoning system for portside and starboard cockpit doors and wing panels • Inflatable rubber bags for avoidance of collision with landing gear at emergency abandoning.

• Capability to operate independently in isolation from the main base airfield; On-board equipment supports: • Light and navigation in favourable and adverse weather conditions at low and extremely low altitudes with overflight and automated obstacle warning systems; • Firepower use day and night in favourable and adverse weather conditions, when the targets are identifiable visually and by using technical means; • Effective communications equipment. Rotorcraft combat survivability • Spacing of engines • Insulation of engines by airframe elements • Composite materials for main rotor and tail rotor blades • Redundancy of fuel, hydraulic and pneumatic mains

Main advantages • Precision engagement capability against small ground and low-speed air targets; • Operability in any geographical and climatic conditions, day and night, and in adverse weather conditions; • Operability in high-altitude and hot conditions; • Capability of basing on ground sites located at altitudes of up to 4 000 m; • Round-the-clock operational capability through the use of a day/night optical sighting system and an on-board radar; • Protection against heat and radar seeker missiles; • Heavy armour protection; • High target approach accuracy through installation of an inertial-satellite navigation system; • High safety and single-engine flight and landing capability;

RUSSIAN NEWS | 3

PM produce rotorcraft components. Promoting

pressure from the part of competitors. We introduce successfully those financial arrangements, which make our cooperation with partners independent from unfavorable external conditions,” added Alexander Mikheev. “It brings positive results. Despite sanctions, we have completed supplies of all the components of the S-400 air defense missile systems to Turkey ahead of time, created and launched the first world’s joint venture on production of the Kalashnikov assault rifles of the “200” series in India,” he said. •

outstanding weaponry Rosoboronexport promotes a number of outstanding types of weapons and military equipment, including the Sukhoi Su-57E multi-purpose fifth generation fighter and the Mil Mi-28NE and Mi-171SH, which have just been modernised. For the supply of equipment for personnel of land forces, special operations and anti- terrorist units, the company has received an opportunity to supply the whole line of the newest “200” series Kalashnikov assault rifles, including those using NATO standard cartridges. Rosoboronexport also became a participant of the first ever Russia-Africa Summit, where it had productive meetings with high-level delegations from the continent. The arms trader has presented unique products of Russian enterprises at specialised international security fora in Moscow and Ufa. Foreign delegations were shown new sophisticated equipment to counter unmanned aerial vehicles, face recognition assets and other special solutions to fight terrorism and organised crime. “In 2019 Rosoboronexport continued to strengthen its image of a reliable partner, a dynamic and flexible company, ready to run business effectively even in conditions of immense

Above: Mil Mi-28 shoots flares during demonstration flights at the Kubinka airbase - Pic: Andrey Kryuchenko

20 YEARS OF ROSOBORONEXPORT

November 4th marks 20 years since the establishing of Rosoboronexport, which today is the only state intermediary in Russia for the exports and imports of the entire range of products, technologies and services of military and dual use. In accordance with the single-window principle, Rosoboronexport is empowered to export and import not only military equipment for armed services, but also dual-use and civilian products. In the background of the coronavirus pandemic, ROE not only fully fulfills all its obligations to customers, but also continues to regularly introduce to the global market new models of weapons, military equipment and civilian products, as well as expands the practice of industrial partnership. Thus, such advanced weapons as the 59N6-TE radar capable of detecting hypersonic targets, the Boomerang wheeled combat platform, the latest means and equipment to combat

epidemiological threats have been launched to the market. In recent years, in particular, the promotion of the T-90MS main battle tank with incomparable firepower, the Sprut-SDM1 light amphibious tank with unique combat capabilities, the Tornado-S long-range multiple launch rocket system, the Mi- 38T medium-class multipurpose helicopter, Project 12701 Alexandrit-E mine countermeasures ship, Project 21980E Grachonok special purpose boat, coastal missile systems has been started. Against the background of the growing threat from small- sized unmanned aerial vehicles, Rosoboronexport has offered its partners a line of special electronic warfare equipment designed to combat them. A promising new field of activity for Rosoboronexport is the promotion of high-tech civilian and dual-use products on the global market, including security equipment (a new segment for Rosoboronexport)

in the interests of the Ministries of Internal Affairs, National Guard, gendarmerie, border, customs and migration services, special purpose forces, civil defense and rescue, other law enforcement agencies, which traditionally previously did not use to be the partners of Rosoboronexport. In the segments of non-lethal weapons, civilian and service small arms, a number of export contracts have already been signed. Foreign partners are showing high interest in the Russian proposals for the creation of mobile anti-infectious medical centers, systems for monitoring and responding to emergencies, as well as in the comprehensive automated system Safe City. In October 2020, at the XXIV International Exhibition of Means of State Security Provision Interpolitex-2020 held in Moscow, Rosoboronexport presented for the first time mobile inspection systems for transport and cargo, the DVL- 10-M3 Volkodav high-precision rifle. •

Left:  Chin-mounted 30mm

autocannon with select fire, and has a dual-feed, which allows for a cyclic rate of fire Pic: Laskin Nikita

Right:  The standard installation of a radar station with the

placement of an antenna in a spherical supertubular fairing By Laskin Nikita

Left:  Rocket launcher for five 122 mm calibre unguided rocket rockets and six infrared homing surface-to-air missiles Pic: Laskin Nikita

4 | MANUFACTURING NEWS

U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin further efforts to transform Airlifters into potent strike weapon platforms

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company will build six additional production CH-53K King Stallion helicopters under a new contract for the U.S. Navy. The aircraft will further support the U.S. Marine Corps in its mission to conduct expeditionary heavy-lift assault transport of armoured vehicles, equipment and personnel to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations. The U.S. Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimen- tation (SDPE) Office awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) a $25 million contract to support the next phase of the service’s Palletised Munitions Experimentation Campaign. The fourth phase includes a system-level demonstration in 2021 and

continues to assess the potential to deliver large volumes of air-launched weapons via airlifters. "Despite the Palletised Munitions programme being relatively new, it’s moving very quickly,” said Scott Callaway, Lockheed Martin Advanced Strike Systems director. “The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) contracting and Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation

(SDPE) offices, and Lockheed Martin teams established this new contract in a record time of 30 days, supporting faster prototyping and a shorter timeline to bring this advanced capability to the warfighter in the field."

executive office, air ASW, assault and special mission programs. "The capability and affordability of the CH- 53K is important to ensure that we provide a valuable addition to the United States Marine Corps and our friends and allies." King Stallion production going ahead The CH-53K programme has five aircraft on the line at Sikorsky facilities in Connecticut and over two dozen in various stages of production. The programme will deliver the first low rate initial production aircraft in September 2021. Sikorsky and its suppliers have made significant investments in facilities, machinery, tooling, and workforce training to ramp up production required for the CH-53K programme. For example, for the first time, newly installed 10-ton cranes lifted a 12 000 lb. gearbox into a CH-53K production aircraft. "The production of this CH-53K helicopter represents a new era in capabilities, technologies, safety and mission flexibility for the U.S. Marine Corps. Sikorsky is committed to supporting the Marine Corps to maximise the benefits of this all new helicopter," said Bill Falk, Sikorsky CH-53K programme director. "Pilots are already training on state-of-the art flight Initial studies show that airlifters have the potential to deploy large quantities of Joint Air-to- Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM- ER) missiles, providing a significant increase in long- range standoff scale and

training devices to prepare in a safe, cost-effective manner for operational deployment," Falk said. CH-53K proving capabilities The CH-53K is also nearing the conclusion of the developmental flight test events in preparation for Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E), having flown more than 2 000 flight hours validating the aircraft's performance on a ship and in both hot and cold environments. This year, the aircraft completed: • Air-to-air refueling with an external load • Initial sea trials • Flight tests in extremely hot and dusty conditions at U.S. Army Yuma proving ground in Yuma, Arizona Other accomplish- ments include: •  Maximumweight single- point cargo hook sling l oad of 36 000 pounds (16 329 kilograms) • Forward flight speed of over 150 knots • 60-degree angle-of-bank turns • Altitude of 18 500 feet mean sea level (MSL) • 12-degree slope landings and take-offs • External load auto-jettison • Gunfire testing. • complementing traditional strike and bomber aircrafts. This innovative approach enables warfighters to launch offensive operations from a greater number of airfields and engage a larger number of near-peer adversarial targets.

U.S. Navy awards Sikorsky contract to build six more CH-53K heavy lift helicopters

The six helicopters are part of 200 aircraft

deliveries of the six aircraft in January 2024. "This contract award is a testament to the government's confidence in the CH-53K platform. This award shows that we are working hard to make the aircraft more affordable," said Major General Greg Masiello, programme

Programme of Record for the U.S. Marine Corps, and their addition makes a total of 24 CH-53K production aircraft now under contract. Under the terms of this most recent contract – known as Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 4 – Sikorsky will begin

NEWS | 5

The overall goal of the experimentation is to develop a modular system to deliver air-launched weapons, leveraging standard airdrop procedures and operations. The system will have the ability to be rolled on and off multiple types of aircraft, including the C-17 and C-130. Phase I successfully accomplished five high- altitude airdrops from an MC-130J (manufactured by Lockheed Martin) and a C-17 earlier this year using simulated weapons. During this effort, the U.S. Air Force tested the suitability of launching JASSM-ERs from an airlifter. JASSM is a long-range, conventional, air-to-ground, precision standoff missile for the U.S. and allied forces designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed and relocatable targets. •

the first time; it will serve in the African continent. It also makes us proud that this new order came from a country to which we have been exporting before. Our vehicles, which our user has included in his inventory…became a reference for this new order; they preferred Otokar to meet their 4×4 and 8×8 tactical wheeled armoured vehicle needs.” The Arma 8×8 is available in various configurations such as armoured personnel carrier, infantry fighting vehicle, fire support vehicle, mortar carrier,

short and medium range air defence, mobile gun carrier, command and control vehicle with optional amphibious capability. Gross vehicle weight is up to 27 000 kg. Up to 14 people, including driver and commander, can be carried. Engine options range in power from 450 to 700 hp. The 4×4 Cobra vehicle features a common platform that can be adapted for a variety of roles, and the vehicle can be used as a weapons carrier, reconnaissance vehicle,

armoured personnel carrier, ambulance, NBC reconnaissance vehicle etc. The Cobra can transport between four and nine people, including the driver, depending on configuration. The monocoque V-shaped steel hull provides protection against small arms fire (including 5.56 and 7.62 mm rounds), mines, IEDs and shrapnel. The Cobra is powered by a V8 turbo diesel engine, driving all four wheels, which feature independent suspension and a central tyre inflation system. Top

speed of the 6 200 kg Cobra is around 115 km/h. Various turrets and weapons systems are available, including the Rafael overhead weapon station (OWS) with Rafael Spike anti-tank missiles, 40 mm grenade launcher and Nexter 20 mm M621 cannon. The Cobra has been accumulating a steady stream of orders from Africa. Customers on the continent include Burkina Faso, Ghana, Algeria, Mauritania, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tunisia. Chad may also be operating the type.•

African country orders Arma, Cobra vehicles from Turkey’s Otokar

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An undisclosed African country has ordered $110 million worth of Arma 8×8 and Cobra II 4×4 vehicles from Turkey’s Otokar, which will begin deliveries next year. The company said late last month that the contract marks the first order for Arma vehicles from Africa – it has previously sold a large number of Cobra vehicles on the continent. The contract includes spares and training. Deliveries will begin next year and conclude by the end of 2022. Otokar General Manager Serdar Görgüç, said, “With this order, our Arma 8×8 vehicle will be an African passenger for

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6 | AIRLINE NEWS

of excellence from the FAA, making them a top safety tour operator and one of the world’s most recognised. Their services span from Las Vegas to Hawaii, dipping in and out of the Grand Canyon, over the city that never sleeps. And over the crystal clear blue waters surrounding the stunning landscapes of the Maui and Kauai islands. The team takes more than 250 000 guests on VIP tours every year and clocks in around 500 000 total flight hours with the Airbus H130’s in their fleet - the most by any air tour operator on the planet. “We’re looking forward to more data and information from our aircraft and seeing the benefit for our business and its operations. Also highlighting areas where there may be inefficiencies,” notes John Mandernach, Regional Partner of Maverick Helicopters, “The potential is endless.” Spidertracks are carving out a unique opportunity for digital transformation within a traditionally analogue industry, and looking to redefine the way data is accessed and received from an aircraft, delivering more usable insights, and helping solve problems the industry faces. Their mission is simple - help make the aviation community a safer place to live and operate in. •

Spider tracks cont. from page 1. aircraft’s attitude, vertical speed, altitude, heading, and exceedances. Dave Blackwell, CEO of Spidertracks, said of this new partnership: “This is an exciting time for the industry. Maverick Helicopters’ position on safety aligns with our mission of saving lives, and we’re thrilled to have them on the journey with us.” “The same barriers exist today in flight data monitoring that existed in tracking when we started. Our latest evolution, Insights, aims to bridge the gap and break down those barriers by utilising data captured on Spider X to calculate safety events that indicate high-risk manoeuvers, and deliver it in a simple and easy format.” notes Backwell. Founded in 1995, Maverick Helicopters is one of the largest aviation-based tourism companies in the world. They have over 20 years of experience in the industry, 400+ dedicated teammembers, with safety and a VIP level of service as their top priorities - led from the top. Maverick Helicopters’ founder, a former pilot himself, Greg Rochna, knows the importance of aviation safety —which has been recognised on a global scale. They have received numerous Diamond awards

flypop announces onvestment from the UK Government’s Future Fund

On 2 November, 2020 flypop announced a significant investment from the UK Government’s Future Fund. flypop, the UK’s only international long- haul low-cost airline, plans to launch in 2021 with scheduled flights to India. It will cater not only to the UK’s Indian/South Asian diaspora (and their visiting friends and relatives) but will also serve those keen to explore the Indian sub- continent and region with very low-priced flights. “The funding from the UK Government’s Future Fund will play a key role in putting flypop in a position to start flights, initially between the UK and India, something which will contribute significantly to the economic growth and closer cultural links between these two Commonwealth partners and eventually with all of South Asia,” said Nino Singh Judge, Founder and CEO of flypop.

flypop, now completing its final funding round, will begin negotiating low cost airport deals in both the UK and India. In addition, it will continue discussions with aircraft manufacturers to secure the best deals which will enable the company to offer the lowest possible fares to the public. Positive economic impact The UK economy is expected to benefit significantly from closer travel links with India when flypop starts flying. flypop will offer employment opportunities to flight and cabin crew (amongst others) at a time when the airline industry has been suffering the biggest challenge in its history and thousands have lost their jobs. Promising to deliver a “truly special UK-India relationship”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during his recent election campaign, “When I was with Prime Minister Modi, I stressed that the UK and India are

two modern democracies who should work closely together to promote trade and prosperity, improve global security and tackle the challenges our countries face”. On the campaign trail, whilst on a visit to London’s Neasden temple, Prime Minister Johnson also mentioned his personal relationship with ‘Narendra bhai’ (a reference to Prime Minister Modi), and hailed the contribution of our 1.5 million-strong Indian community, without which the UK would be lesser in so many ways. The UK Government’s Future Fund The Government’s Future Fund will support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. Initially, £250 million was made available by the government for investment through the scheme, to be matched by private investors, with the Treasury making clear the amount could be increased if needed. Due to the popularity of the Fund, more funding is being made available. Developed by the government and delivered by the British Business Bank, the Government’s Future Fund launched for applications in May and will initially be open until the end of November. •

Above: Dave Blackwell, CEO of Spidertracks, with the Spider X at HAI Heli Expo 2020.

VAPOUR TRAILS CREATED BY AIRLINES

Contrails short for "condensation trails" or vapour trails are line-shaped clouds produced by aircraft engine exhaust or changes in air pressure, typically at aircraft cruising altitudes several miles above the Earth's surface. Contrails are composed primarily of water, in the form of ice crystals. The combination of water vapour in aircraft engine exhaust and the low ambient temperatures that exist at high altitudes allows the formation of the trails. Impurities in the engine exhaust from the fuel, including sulfur compounds (0.05% by

weight in jet fuel) provide some of the particles that can serve as sites for water droplet growth in the exhaust and, if water droplets form, they might freeze to form ice particles that compose a contrail. Their formation can also be triggered by changes in air pressure in wingtip vortices or in the air over the entire wing surface. Contrails, and other clouds directly resulting from human activity, are collectively named homogenitus. Depending on the temperature and humidity at the altitude the contrails form, they may be visible

for only a few seconds or minutes, or may persist for hours and spread to be several miles wide, eventually resembling natural cirrus or altocumulus clouds. Persistent contrails are of particular interest to scientists because they increase the cloudiness of the atmosphere. The resulting cloud forms are formally described as homomutatus, and may resemble cirrus, cirrocumulus, or cirrostratus, and are sometimes called cirrus aviaticus. Persistent spreading contrails are suspected to have an effect on global climate. •

AIRLINE NEWS | 7

Comair closer to take off as it reaches two major milestones in the business rescue process

that it was encouraging that these further major milestones have been reached. “We knew that the business rescue process wasn’t going to be easy, however, when the lock- down grounded us and we weren’t able to earn any revenue it was the only way to save the company and most of the jobs. It is very reassuring that we took the right decision at the time. It

we’ve had from everyone to reach this important point. We’re all looking forward to welcoming the flying public back on board again and for Comair to help rebuild the aviation sector and play our part in South Africa’s economic revival.” It is anticipated the business rescue process will be concluded by 31 March 2021, after which Comair will continue to operate as a sustainable business. •

is certainly encouraging that such material progress has been made toward returning to service. Glenn Orsmond, representing the Comair Rescue Consortium, said he was confident that Comair flights would be back in the air in December. He said precise timings and details would be announced in due course. “We’re immensely grateful for all the support

Comair’s business rescue process navigated past two important milestones as the investors secured the required credit approval from various lenders of debt funding, as well as approval from various regulators necessary for their investment in Comair to proceed. Among the suspensive conditions in the Comair business rescue plan were the requirements to reach a collective agreement with trade unions representing 50% + 1 employees, and for the investors to secure credit approval from various commercial lenders for new debt funding and the deferral of repayments on existing debt. The first of these was met late last month. The second was achieved earlier this week when various lenders confirmed they would provide the requisite new debt and that capital and interest repayments in respect of existing debt would be deferred for certain agreed periods. Comair also welcomed the Competition Commission’s approval of SA Bidco’s proposed merger with Comair resulting in its acquisition of the business, with certain conditions. These include that, after the current retrenchment process is concluded, Comair may not initiate further retrenchments as a result of the merger for three years from the flying start date, unless retrenchments are lawfully effected for operational requirements unrelated to the merger. Employees who are forcibly retrenched within the current process will have a recall period of three years should jobs become available and these employees be suitably qualified for the roles. Richard Ferguson, one of the business rescue practitioners said that the focus is now on ensuring the remaining conditions are met so the investment can proceed and become unconditional before the end

of November 2020.

Comair CEO, Wrenelle Stander welcomed the recent, significant developments and said the business rescue process had been difficult for everyone at Comair, however,

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8 | AIRLINE NEWS

Thai Airways Holy flights, dough fritters and home-made bags

Dunn steps down from chief financial role at Gatwick

Gatwick chief financial officer, Nick Dunn, has stepped down from the role in order to take up a new career opportunity with CityFibre. He will assume the chief financial officer role with the alternative digital infrastructure provider. Dunn joined Gatwick in 2010, building up a strong finance team and playing a significant role in the development and growth of the airport over the past ten years. Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, said: “I would personally like to thank Nick for all of his efforts at Gatwick. “I am proud to have worked closely with him over the past ten years, especially during the significant changes of recent times, which have

been unprecedented in Gatwick’s history.” He added: “Nick is a strategic thinker and has contributed hugely as part of my team.” “I wish him the very best of luck and every success with the next stage of his career.” Gatwick deputy chief financial officer, Lorenzo Rebel, will take up the role on an interim basis while Gatwick begins the search for a permanent replacement. •

flight will not land at any destinations, but will fly over Buddhist temples in 31 provinces before returning to Bangkok. Passengers will be given a prayer book and special meal, with tickets ranging in price from 5 ,999 Thai baht (£149) to 9 999 baht for the three-hour trip. Last month, Singapore Airlines offered diners the opportunity to have lunch on a stationary Airbus A380 parked at the city's main airport. Despite a price tag of up to US$496 (£380), the first two dates sold out within half-an-hour. Thai Airways has been particularly innovative during the Covid-19 drop in passenger numbers in order to boost its revenues. Another way it is looking to raise extra cash is by making handbags

out of spare life vests and slide rafts. Thai Airways' "Re- Life Collection" of limited-edition totes and handbags are so popular they are currently sold out. Thai Airways had already been struggling before the crisis and built up 245bn Thai baht (£8.3bn) worth of debts and liabilities. Thailand's national carrier has also started selling dough fritters at a number of outlets around the city of Bangkok. The snack is sold in a set of three pieces with a dipping sauce and an egg custard for 50 Thai baht (£1.25). The dough fritters bring in about 10m baht in monthly sales and Thai Airways now has plans to franchise the business. •

Later this month it will launch special flights that will fly over 99 holy sites in Thailand, building on the "flights to nowhere" craze. Thai Airways has already found new sources of income including an airline-themed cafe, dough fritters and handbags made from life vests. But the airline has huge debts which have been mounting during the pandemic. Many airlines have launched flights to nowhere that take-off and land at the same airport. Australia's Qantas offered "sightseeing" flights over Antarctica while an airline in Taiwan hosted a flight to no-where on its Hello Kitty-themed plane. Thai Airways' new domestic railway companies to increase sustainability and climate protection. In July, Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn (DB) expanded their cooperation - called Lufthansa Express Rail - significantly. Since then, Lufthansa Express Rail connects 16 German cities and Basel with Frankfurt Airport by up to 123 trains per day. All these trains carry a Lufthansa flight number. •

Austrian Airlines expands ÖBB rail partnership

Austrian Airlines and the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) are expanding their AIRail train-to-plane offer with an additional route. From 13 December, four trains with an Austrian flight number will run daily between Graz Central Station

and Vienna Airport. Due to the positive

customer reception, Austrian Airlines was able to shift its flights between these two routes completely from plane to train previously. Other Lufthansa Group airlines are also working closely with their respective

AIRLINE NEWS | 9

United Airlines has launched a redesigned version of its mobile application, with new enhancements intended to make travel easier for people with visual disabilities. Throughout its application, the carrier has increased colour contrast, added more space between graphics and reordered how information is displayed. Designers have also sought to better integrate with the screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack that are built into most hand-held devices and read aloud on-screen messages and notifications. By restructuring the application, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the application. “These new accessibility enhancements are part of our continuing commitment to level the playing field, unlock all the customer benefits of our application and give people with disabilities more independence while travelling.” American hopes visually impaired customers will notice that these changes make way the information is organized on the it easier to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more. • United redesigns mobile application for customers with visual disabilities

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10 | HELICOPTER NEWS

me

Virgin Galactic flight test programme update: Spaceflight from New Mexico progress By Mike Moses President of Space Missions and Safety at Virgin Galactic

It’s a hive of activity here at Spaceport America as preparations to deliver Virgin Galactic’s first spaceflight from NewMexico later this Fall continue to progress well. This beautiful corner of southern NewMexico will be the beating heart of our spaceflight operations and the launchpad where we will help open commercial human spaceflight to the world. There is rich spaceflight history here in New Mexico, including the first photo of earth from space, taken by a rocket

in 1946. Our next spaceflight is set to deliver that first taste of human spaceflight for the state and, having completed two spaceflights, we as a team know how special these historic moments can be. If all goes to plan, not only will this flight be the first human spaceflight to depart fromNew Mexico, it will also mark Virgin Galactic Pilot CJ Sturckow’s sixth time in space, and will see him become the first person to have flown to space from three different U.S. States, an extraordinary professional achievement. I too have had a long relationship with space. At NASA

I worked numerous Space Shuttle missions and oversaw the launch of 12 flights, and I have managed another two during my time at Virgin Galactic. This mission will mark number 15! One thing is for certain, the feeling you get from witnessing your team run a safe and successful mission, followed by greeting the astronauts on their return to earth, never ceases to thrill me. CJ, like the rest of the team, is focused on completing a safe flight that meets all test objectives and moves us another step closer to welcoming our Future Astronauts on

board. CJ will be alongside our Chief Pilot, Dave Mackay, in the cockpit, as we verify a number of key points to take us to the next stage of our flight test programme. While we are planning for CJ and Dave to reach space, if test conditions on the day suggest a shorter burn, that’s fine and we’ll return to fly again soon. The spaceflight system is designed for rapid commercial turnaround, so it is much better to stay on the side of caution and return to base to understand the data and prepare for another test flight. One thing to note about this flight is that once we are in space,

AIRLINE NEWS | 11

Virgin Galactic's Carrier Aircraft, VMS Eve and VSS Unity prepare for flight Pic Virgin Galactic (2018)

we will be flying slightly differently than how we plan to fly with our Future Astronauts. This is because we’ll have three NASA payloads in the cabin, flown through NASA’s Flight Opportunities Programme. Unlike our Future Astronauts, these payloads aren’t on board for the view, so instead of stopping the vehicle pitch in the inverted position for the best views of Earth, we’ll pitch the vehicle 270 degrees following boost to get to the entry attitude as soon as possible. This manoeuvre will maximize time for the payloads to remain in data-collection mode. Carrying these payloads not only makes this test flight a revenue- generating one, but also demonstrates our commitment to facilitating regular, accessible space-based scientific research.

The payloads will be placed in the spaceship cabin, where we have other test objectives planned. While we have flown passenger seats on previous flights, this will be the first time in flight where we actively recline the seats once in space, which will create extra roomwhen Future Astronauts are floating in zero gravity. For this first test of the seat recline in a space environment, we will have instrumented test mannequins strapped in. While on the subject of customer experience, it’s also worth noting that we’ll be testing the full suite of internal cabin cameras and our future capability to stream live footage from the spaceship down to the ground. Since our last flight to space, we’ve refined and upgraded a few

other elements on the spaceship. We’ve extensively tested these changes on the ground and in our previous two flights from Spaceport America, and we are now ready to test them on a rocket-powered flight. We’ve made upgrades to the horizontal stabilisers (known as H-Stabs), which are the flight control surfaces on the outboard of the feather booms. We’ve also made improvements to the flight control system that commands these Hstabs to move in response to pilot inputs. We’ve already flown these improvements on our last two glide flights, and they performed well. Together these mods will enhance the performance of the spaceship and support long-term commercial service. We anticipate that this

upcoming flight will provide some of the data for us to close out our final two verification reports required by the FAA to remove the remaining proviso in our current commercial spaceflight license. Upon successful completion of this flight, and data review, we will proceed to the next phase of the cabin to test and refine the equipment, procedures, training and overall experience. It’s a great time to be part testing, where we will fly four mission specialists in of Virgin Galactic, as we work together to bring the wonder of human spaceflight to the state of New Mexico for the first time this Fall – and, even more exciting – many more times in the years ahead. •

12 | HELICOPTER NEWS

Hill Helicopters reveals innovative new engine design for the HX50

Hill Helicopters has unveiled its Hill GT50 light turbine engine, designed specifically for the new Hill HX50 luxury personal helicopter. An elegant and intellectual combination of time-tested, proven engine technologies and today’s turbine engine advancements, the GT50 is a compact, light, reliable, and innovative solution that defines the future of the light turbine helicopter. “The GT50 was designed and developed by a team of industry veterans, using methods, tools, and techniques pioneered over decades,” says Hill Helicopters President and CEO Jason Hill. “It is an intelligent ensemble of proven ideas and architecture, embodied into a

new engine that fully exploits modern advancements, manufacturing methods, and supply chain opportunities to fulfill a specific market need.” Designing its own advanced engine allowed Hill Helicopters to move outside the constraints of existing engines designed in the 1950s and optimally meet the unique refinement demanded by the HX50 helicopter. The Hill GT50 employs state-of-art component and gas-path design delivering unmatched efficiencies for an entry-level turbine. The outstanding performance and operating range for the compressor and turbines is coupled with an efficient and robust three-can combustor system, offering a low- risk development route, flame-out redundancy, and fuel flexibility.

affordable engines is what limits light helicopter design today,” Hill adds. “When considering the overall mix of requirements necessary to power a truly ground- breaking aircraft, we saw the opportunity to design a simple turbine engine with unmatched efficiency, power, and cost. In simple terms, by developing the advanced GT50 engine, Hill has completely unlocked the potential of the helicopter in terms of both performance and cost, providing the enchanting opportunity to relaunch general aviation.” •

The historically expensive and heavy compressor turbine gearbox of current helicopter engines has been eliminated and replaced by a direct-drive starter-generator to dramatically reduce the cost and mechanical complexity of the engine. Extensive use of redundant electrical engine ancillaries further simplifies the engine package and a modular design makes for easy maintenance of the unit's core components. The engine is also fully electronically controlled and features the Hill FADEC System, providing trouble-free, rapid startup and shutdown, tight

RPMmanagement, and optimal engine monitoring and control. Additionally, the Hill team took advantage of today’s economies of scale in manufacturing turbine components. On-demand advanced manufacturing processes and improved supply chains for the specialized materials used in turbine engines allowed for significant cost and time savings in developing, manufacturing, and delivering an affordable new engine. “The availability of reliable, powerful, and

H160 Blue Edge blades

Stealth helicopters are helicopters that incorporate stealth technology to decrease an enemy’s detection ability. There are a diverse range of technologies used to achieve this decreased detectability; these have largely involved the reduction of several different signatures typically generated by a rotorcraft, including those of noise, radar, and infrared. In many ways, helicopters are less suitable for stealth technology than fixed-wing aircraft are; one such area is their rotor blades, which not only generate copious noise levels but can also give off a strong radar signature. However, blade designs have been developed that can significantly reduce noise, which has traditionally been a major issue for any operation involving the clandestine use of helicopters. Numerous helicopters have incorporated profiled fuselages to reduce their radar cross-section (RCS), constructing elements of the rotorcraft from of certain materials is another means of minimising radar visibility. It is known that some nations have used such rotorcraft operationally, albeit in a limited scope, since the 1970s; a modified Hughes 500P was used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the VietnamWar. Various helicopters have been furnished with infrared exhaust suppressors to reduce their vulnerability to infrared homing weapons. Attack helicopters, such as the HAL Light Combat Helicopter and Eurocopter Tiger, have incorporated numerous presence reduction technologies into their design to increase their survivability. The raid on the compound of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 utilised what appeared to be two Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks, heavily modified for quieter operations and employing stealth technology to be less visible to radar. • STEALTH HELICOPTER TECHNOLOGY

The H160, newest in the fleet, has innovatively shaped Blue Edge blades which are meant to reduce Blad Vortex Interaction (BVI) noise generation.

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