Midweek Updates 17 April 2024

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This week in Midweek Updates
SAAF memorial off-limits.
GAMA welcomes four new memberships.
Textron Aviation's Cessna Caravan family soars past 25 million flight hours.
Piper Aircraft partners with DeltaHawk Engines to explore diesel power for PA-44 Seminole.
Daher's latest TBM 960 version makes its U.S. air show debut at the 2024 SUN 'n FUN Aerospace Expo.
AutoFlight delivers first electric air taxi to customer in Japan.
B-29 Reunion Added to Warbird Highlights at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2024.
10 Tecnam P-Mentors have arrived at the Mermoz Academyi Tours, France.
Charter operators commit to buying Electron Air Taxi.
This week in history - Attacked by German planes, bomber pilot Alan McLeod is strafed from below…….
Worldwide Incidents and Accidents.
Bonus video - Saxonwold War Museum

Kim Helfrich www.pilotspost.com

"Acts of vandalism and desecration" mean the SA Air Force (SAAF) memorial on Bays Hill immediately north of what is now the Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing (AF MDW) is off-limits and will not be used for an annual memorial service.

SAAF Association (SAAFA) National President Mike Louw writes in the association's latest newsletter the "sacredness" of the SAAF Memorial, rarely the target of those intent on vandalism, ended in November when it was "vandalised and parts of it desecrated".

The memorial is co-owned by Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo's service and the SAAFA with both meeting post the November "attack" (as it was put to defenceWeb by a SAAF pensioner).

It was mutually agreed that the memorial and its surrounds will remain out of bounds for all until such time as the terrain can be properly secured. In the interim, the SAAF will continue to co-ordinate and oversee the repair and complete renovation of the memorial," Louw informed SAAFA members.

Indications are the May memorial service will take place in one of the hangars of what is the oldest SAAF base, with Hangar 5 the probable venue.

When the vandalism became public, defenceWeb approached the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Directorate Corporate Communication (DCC) for input as to who is responsible for guarding and sentry duty at the memorial, outside the MADW perimeter wall. To date there has been no response.

As to who is tasked with security, a retired SAAF general told defenceWeb it was previously the responsibility of Air Force Base (AFB) Swartkop's, now AF MDW's, SAAF security squadron. He could shed no light on what the current status is.

The memorial was unveiled on 1 September 1963 by the then State President Charles "Blackie" Swart following an architectural design competition which drew 38 entries. The shape of the memorial in three wings crossing over one another is intended to symbolise flight. The wings cover separate rooms housing a chapel, a caretaker's office and a machine room. The hall between the wings is home to a cenotaph as the memorial centrepiece with rolls of honour.

When democracy came to South Africa, those whose responsibility the memorial is, took note and a commemorative stone with an eternal flame was put into place on the main walkway to the memorial. It lists the Azanian Peoples' Liberation Army (APLA), Bophuthatswana Air Force, Ciskei Defence Force Air Wing, uMkhonto We Sizwe, the SAAF, Transkei Defence Force Air Wing and the Venda Defence Force Air Wing.


Today, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced the additions of Electric Power Systems, Pivotal, Venus Aerospace and VoltAero as Associate Members EPIC.

Electric Power Systems is headquartered in North Logan, Utah, and was founded in 2016. They are a leading provider of high-power, scalable powertrains certified for electrified aviation. Electric Power Systems is focused on delivering smarter, lighter and more efficient batteries.

Pivotal designs, develops and manufactures feature-rich light eVTOL aircraft with powerful capabilities and intuitive controls. Efficient, compact and simple to pilot, Pivotal's distinctive tilt-aircraft architecture and scalable platform deliver an unmatched flying experience.

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Pivotal is renowned for the BlackFly, the first light eVTOL to be commercially available and delivered to a buyer in the United States.

Venus Aerospace is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and was founded in 2020. They are focused on engineering the future of hypersonic flight. Venus Aerospace's mission is to connect the world and make it safer.

VoltAero is developing the Cassio family of general aviation airplanes powered by electric-hybrid propulsion for safe, quiet, efficient and eco-friendly flight. Seating from five to 12 persons, Cassio aircraft will be produced in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region of southwest France, with VoltAero leading a world-class team of worldwide partners and suppliers.

Kitplanes for Africa


Lakeland, Fla. - Textron Aviation today announced the legendary Cessna Caravan turboprop family has surpassed 25 million flight hours, reinforcing the Caravan as the most produced single-engine utility turboprop of all time. The Cessna Caravan and Cessna Grand Caravan EX are designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company.

"The Cessna Caravan's versatility and reliability have solidified its position as the leading aircraft in the utility turboprop category, with the program surpassing a remarkable achievement of 25 million flight hours," said Lannie O'Bannion, senior vice president, Global Sales and Flight Operations "This accomplishment is a testament to the steadfast confidence our customers have in the Caravan to fulfil their missions, deliver solutions and improve lives around the world."

Conceived as a rugged utility aircraft with low operating costs, the Cessna Caravan was designed for use in remote areas with extreme weather changes, mountainous terrain and rough landing conditions. The aircraft's versatility became renowned in all corners of the world, and the Caravan continues to see wide use in global markets by a variety of customers, including government agencies, law enforcement and militaries, air ambulance operators, freight haulers, corporations and humanitarian organizations.

Textron Aviation is committed to the continued investment in and development of the Cessna Caravan turboprop family. The company remains dedicated to enhancing the Caravan's capabilities, ensuring it continues to meet the evolving needs of pilots, passengers and aviation enthusiasts across the globe. The aircraft's cockpit features Garmin's G1000 NXi next-generation integrated flight deck to offer customers access to the latest technology and connectivity.

The Cessna Caravan is certified in 100 countries, has more than 25 million flight hours amassed and over 3,000 aircraft have been delivered since the aircraft was introduced. Caravan aircraft fulfill roles for multiple missions, ranging from flight training to recreation, commuter airlines to VIP transport, cargo carriers and humanitarian missions. The Cessna Grand Caravan EX was engineered for challenging missions, high payloads and short, rough runways. Customers can choose between four models of the Cessna Caravan aircraft to best fit their mission: the Caravan 208, the Grand Caravan EX 208B, the Caravan Amphibian and the Grand Caravan EX Amphibian. The aircraft family is powered by the PT6A family of engines.


Piper Aircraft, Inc. and DeltaHawk Engines today announced the entrance into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This relationship marks the beginning of a collaborative effort aimed at exploring the feasibility of integrating DeltaHawk's diesel engine into Piper's renowned PA-44 Seminole aircraft.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with Piper Aircraft on this exciting project," said Christopher Ruud, CEO of DeltaHawk. "Our advanced Diesel engine technology has been developed to meet the evolving needs of the aviation industry, and we see tremendous potential in integrating it into Piper's PA-44 Seminole. This partnership underscores our commitment to driving innovation and sustainability in aviation."

The MOU outlines the development of a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the installation of DeltaHawk's Diesel engine into both new and retrofit Seminole aircraft. This partnership signifies a commitment to exploring alternative propulsion solutions that offer enhanced efficiency, performance, and sustainability in general aviation.

"We are excited for this collaboration to install the DHK engine into the Seminole for many reasons, especially knowing the reliability of DeltaHawk's engines," said Marc Ouellet, VP of Engineering and Manufacturing at Piper Aircraft. "We are constantly seeking opportunities to innovate and advance our aircraft offerings. Working with DeltaHawk on this project aligns with our mission to explore cutting-edge technologies that can deliver significant benefits to our customers and the industry as a whole."

About DeltaHawk Engines
Based in Racine, Wisconsin, DeltaHawk Engines is a privately held manufacturer of advanced-design FAA-certified jet-fueled piston engines for general aviation aircraft and hybrid power systems. DeltaHawk holds numerous patents for its clean-sheet engine designs, and its team of engineers, designers, manufacturing specialists, and certification experts is building an entirely new generation of revolutionary piston engines.


Daher's Aircraft Division is marking the company's presence at the 50th SUN 'n FUN Aerospace Expo with its Model Year 2024 version of the TBM 960 fast and efficient turboprop-powered aircraft, which incorporates new updates for enhanced pilot awareness and lower workload - while also sporting an updated paint scheme.

Distinctively configured with the latest interpretation of Daher's Sirocco livery (with silver, matt blue and black highlights), the TBM 960's digital e-COPILOT® functionality has been further evolved to include features that range from facilitated pre-flight preparation to enhanced peace-of-mind protection with the HomeSafe™ emergency autoland system.

"The digitally controlled TBM 960 is the fastest-selling version of all the members in our TBM aircraft family, and it continues as a market reference in terms of safety and efficiency," explained Nicolas Chabbert, the Senior Vice President of Daher's Aircraft Division, during a press conference on the SUN 'n FUN air show's opening day. "This is underscored by our backlog that exceeds two years of production, with some 120 TBM 960s delivered to date."

Among the enhancements in the TBM 960's Model Year 2024 version are a pilot inactivity detection function for the HomeSafe™ emergency autoland system, which automatically activates after 30 minutes if there is no pilot interaction with the aircraft's systems. As a highly appreciated "peace of mind" feature on the TBM 960, HomeSafe™ brings the airplane to a runway touchdown if the pilot becomes incapacitated.

Another new functionality for the TBM 960 is the graphical weight and balance presentation on the cockpit's multifunction display. Additionally, the aircraft's taxi phase is improved with 3D SafeTaxi - which provides a three-dimensional depiction of the airport environment to assist the pilot in ground maneuvers and airport identification, along with a runway occupancy awareness function.

Alert messages aimed at increasing the pilot's awareness include the "Yaw Damper" engagement and "Check Gear" notification, as well as "Propeller Abort" if the propeller is not in the correct configuration. Also, stabilized approach monitoring is strengthened by visual effects on the primary flight display.

On the TBM 960's exterior is a highly visible new feature: the LED nose gear landing light. This high-intensity LED light, with a maximum of 136,295 candela (candlepower), is 2.5 times brighter than previous-generation taxi lights and is particularly useful when taxiing on a dark airfield.

The Model Year 2024 TBM 960 is featured on Daher's SUN 'n FUN along with the company's Kodiak 100 "go-anywhere" multi-role turboprop-powered airplane.


AutoFlight has officially delivered its first Prosperity eVTOL aircraft to a customer, an Advanced Air Mobility operator in Japan. The Japanese company is planning demonstration eVTOL flights at the 2025 Osaka World Expo.Delivery marks the world's inaugural delivery of a civilian ton-class eVTOL (electric-vertical-take-off-and-landing) aircraft.

The five-seater Prosperity aircraft was handed over to the customer, a pioneering Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) operator in Japan. The operator, to be identified in due course, is currently developing plans for demonstration eVTOL flights at the 2025 Osaka World Expo, as well as a wider AAM rollout in Japan.

In another recent milestone for the eVTOL innovator, AutoFlight's CarryAll aircraft, the cargo variant of Prosperity, obtained Type Certification (TC) from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) on March 22, 2024. This marks the world's first eVTOL aircraft above one ton to have been awarded type certification.

Tian Yu, founder and co-chairman of AutoFlight, said: "The official delivery of the first Prosperity to a customer signifies a new chapter for AutoFlight as we begin to ship our innovative electric aircraft to global markets. Additionally, on the cargo side the receipt of orders for over 200 CarryAll planes already demonstrates a very strong market demand for our products."

The recent CarryAll orders include 30 units for ZTO Express, a NYSE and HKEX dual-listed company and one of the world's largest logistics companies.

In February, AutoFlight presented the world's first inter-city electric air taxi demonstration flight between the southern Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai. AutoFlight's Prosperity aircraft completed the significant milestone by autonomously flying the 50km (31 miles) route from Shenzhen to Zhuhai. The flight across the Pearl River Delta took just 20 minutes, a journey that would require three hours by car. This achievement marks the world's first public flight of an eVTOL aircraft on a cross-sea and inter-city route.

The route between Shenzhen and Zhuhai is part of the future air traffic scenario planned by the regional government as it develops its 'low-altitude economy' strategy that will see the opening of thousands of vertiports and hundreds of eVTOL air routes across the Greater Bay Area in southern China. The demonstration flight took place in one of the world's most densely populated areas, home to circa 86 million people, and in an airspace that borders multiple international airports, including Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau. The flight showcased AutoFlight's cutting-edge aviation technology in a highly complex environment, and its dedication to safety and regulatory compliance in pushing the boundaries of urban air mobility.


The world's only two flying examples of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress will make a rare joint appearance this summer during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2024, supporting the "Turning the Tide" salute to 1944 that will also commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. The 71st edition of EAA's fly-in convention is July 22-28 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

It is believed to be only the fourth time two B-29s have made a joint public appearance in 50 years, with the first taking place in Oshkosh in 2017. It is the first time these aircraft have appeared together since 2018.

As AirVenture is the world's largest annual gathering of warbirds, bringing these two iconic aircraft together is another of those 'Only at Oshkosh' moments," said Rick Larsen, EAA's vice president of communities and member programs, who coordinates AirVenture features and attractions. "These airplanes are big favorites wherever they appear, but together they will make the 'Turning the Tide' commemoration even more unforgettable."

As currently scheduled, each airplane will spend time featured on EAA's Boeing Plaza. FIFI will be on display on July 22-24, while Doc will take center stage for display on July 25-28. The airplanes are also scheduled to make a formation flight at the beginning of the July 24 night air show. When not on display at Boeing Plaza, flight experiences on Doc July 22-25 will be based at Appleton International Airport, approximately 20 miles north.

FIFI is owned and operated by the Commemorative Air Force's B-29/B-24 Squadron of Dallas, Texas. It was acquired by the CAF in the early 1970s when a group of CAF members found it at the U.S. Navy Proving Ground at China Lake, California, where it was being used as a missile target. The airplane was rescued and restored, then flew for more than 30 years until 2006, when the chief pilot made the decision to ground it pending a complete powerplant re-fit. After an extensive four-year restoration that included installing four new custom-built hybrid engines, FIFI returned to the sky in 2010 and has since traveled coast to coast. More information is available on the CAF's AirPower History Tour website.

Doc was built in 1944 and for many years was part of a squadron known as the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in upstate New York at Griffiss Air Force Base (hence, the name Doc). The airplane was retired in 1956 as the jet bomber age began and sat as a target for Navy training missions in China Lake, California, until 1998. A restoration group took possession of the airplane from the U.S. government and hauled it to Wichita, Kansas, in pieces in 2000. After 16 years and more than 450,000 volunteer hours, Doc made its first flight after restoration in July 2016, 60 years after it had been retired.


The recent acquisition of 10 Tecnam P-Mentors completes Mermoz's fleet expansion programme. The aircraft will be used for both PPL (Private Pilot Licence) and MPL (Multi Pilot Licence) courses. One of the reasons for this choice, apart from the excellent fuel consumption, is the lowest CO2 emissions, making the P-Mentor the aircraft of choice for students and flight schools.

Students at the Mermoz base in Tours are now happy to begin and complete their IFR training on a modern platform with digital screens and all the features of the large aircraft they will be working on. The academy, which has been operating in France since 2018, currently has 220 students and a fleet of ten (10) P-Mentor, five (5) P2006T twin-engine and four (4) P2010 single-engine four-seaters.

Tecnam Green Fleet. Based on recent data and industry benchmarks, flight training schools operating Tecnam's single and twin-engine fleets can save as much as 10 tons of CO2 emissions for every single student graduating with a Commercial Pilot License - a 60% reduction compared to legacy fleets using Avgas 100LL fuel. (Based on 155 flight training hours, including 30 hours on the twin.)

The P-Mentor is a two-seat single engine piston aircraft fully IFR - is compliant with the latest CS-23 EASA & FAA requirements, allowing PBN/RNAV/AFCS capabilities. The modern flight school have today one platform to train students from their first flight up to CPL- IR, including Variable Pitch Propeller, Simulated Retractable Landing Gear and UPRT.

The P-Mentor is designed to offer the best human machine interface resulting in the most effective VFR/IFR training while the generous fuel tank allows Flight Schools to fly all day long without refueling, no interruption is equal to improve operational value. Lowest cost of maintenance, lowest fuel consumption, and the greatest value for money, make this aircraft a unique profit opportunity for any Flight School.


A pair of air taxi operators have agreed to add Electron Aerospace's planned four-passenger electric aircraft to their fleets. Germany's Air2E and U.S.-based Hopscotch Air this week signed memorandums of understanding covering an unspecified number of the Electron 5 model and a payment schedule, taking the Dutch start-up's tally of prospective orders to almost €200 million ($214 million).

Based in the New York area, Hopscotch Air was founded in 2009 and operates a fleet of light aircraft, including the Cirrus SR20 piston single. It offers on-demand charter flights and a membership program, with some flights provided by partner operators across the northeast U.S. and Mid-Atlantic region.

Air2E started operating charter services in 2017, operating aircraft such as the Diamond DA42 and the Pilatus PC12. The Berlin-based operator currently offers flights between European cities with routes of up to 1,000 kilometres.

"Securing orders from two pioneers in the regional air mobility sector like Air2E and Hopscotch Air affirms the market fit of our Electron 5 aircraft," said Electron Aerospace co-founder and chief commercial officer Marc-Henry de Jong. "It's a testament to the trust and commitment our partners place in our vision for a sustainable aviation future."

Air2E CEO Norbert Werle said its choice of an all-electric aircraft was largely based on the anticipated environmental benefits, allowing it to deliver "zero direct carbon dioxide emissions in line with our dedication to fully sustainable business travel."

Andrew Schmertz, Hopscotch Air's CEO indicated its choice was based primarily on economic factors. "The reduced operating costs of the Electron 5 will allow us to significantly broaden our customer base, providing more affordable and accessible air travel alternatives."

Rotterdam-based Electron Aerospace unveiled a new design for its aircraft last month. It is aiming to complete EASA type certification in time to start European deliveries in 2028, and will certify the aircraft with the FAA for U.S. customers like Hopscotch.

As battery technology continues to improve incrementally, the company believes the Electron 5 model will have an operational range of 500 kilometres (310 miles), including anticipated safety reserves for energy equal to an additional 250 km. According to co-founder and CEO Josef Mouris, for the regional air mobility market, the company initially intends to address city-pair sectors of around 370 km and at a speed of 350 km/h.

27 March 1918

Alan Arnett McLeod, VC born on 20 April 1899 was a Canadian soldier, aviator, and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. McLeod served as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps and later the Royal Air Force during the First World War.

On 27 March 1918 over Albert, France, McLeod, with his observer Lieutenant Arthur Hammond, in an Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 destroyed an enemy triplane and were immediately attacked by eight more, three of which they brought down. During the fight, both McLeod and Hammond were wounded by machine gun bullets, the petrol tank was punctured and the aircraft set on fire. McLeod instantly pushed her over into a very steep side-slip, but the flames were scorching him, and so he jumped out of his cockpit on to the left wing and crouched low, with the joystick pulled hard over in his right hand. Then he smashed a hole through the fabric in the fuselage so that he could reach the rudder-wire with his left hand, and so he guided her towards the lines. In this way he kept the flames away from his wounded observer and prevented the aircraft from burning up. When the machine finally crashed in No Man's Land, the young pilot, not minding his own injuries, dragged his comrade from the burning wreckage and under heavy fire carried him to comparative safety, before collapsing from exhaustion and loss of blood.

McLeod was recommended for a Distinguished Service Order but received the Victoria Cross. He returned to Canada to recuperate but died from the Spanish Influenza epidemic shortly thereafter. He was only 5 months away from celebrating his 20th birthday.

RSA, Tedderfield Air Park (FATA), Gauteng: A Van's RV-4 conducted a steep take off and departed controlled flight after an attempted turn to the runway at Tedderfield Air Park (FATA), Gauteng. The pilot sustained a broken leg as well as cuts and bruises. The passenger suffered cuts and bruises. The aircraft was severely damaged.

USA, East of Claxton, TN: A Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga II HP suffered an inflight breakup and crashed into wooded area near Gadsontown Lane, east of Claxton, Tennessee, 17m after departure from McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS/KTYS). ADS-B data show an erratic flightpath in the final seconds and a -11000-fpm rate. The pilot perished and the aircraft was destroyed.

USA, off Ranchos Palos Verdes, CA: A Piper PA-32R-301T Turbo Saratoga SP experienced an engine failure and ditched into ocean near the Trump National Golf Course, Ranchos Palos Verdes, California. The pilot and his dog were able to swim to shore and the aircraft received substantial damage after it sank.

USA, Maricopa County NW of Ak-Chin Regional Airport (A39), Maricopa, AZ: A "paramotor", a Type Aircraft designation known as, Powered Parachute, sustained unreported damage subsequent to impact with terrain during an apparent landing attempt northwest of Ak-Chin Regional Airport (A39), Maricopa, Arizona. The sole pilot onboard the aircraft was fatally injured.

Hungary, between Martonvásár and Ráckeresstúr, Fejér: An Extra EA-300L, HA-PET, was destroyed when it impacted open field terrain between Martonvásár and Ráckeresstúr, Fejér, Hungary. Both occupants were killed.

Germany, Friesenhagen: A gyrocopter crashed on 13.04.24 at around 13:00 local time. The 57-year-old pilot from the Rheinisch-Bergisch district had taken off from an airfield in the Sauerland region and actually wanted to land there again after his sightseeing flight. However, due to an as yet unknown technical defect, the aircraft became uncontrollable during the flight and lacked the necessary lift, causing it to crash in a meadow near Friesenhagen. Fortunately, the pilot was not injured. However, the helicopter was considerably damaged. The amount of damage is unknown. The Federal Aviation Office is now investigating the cause of the crash.

Saxonwold War Museum

Aviation Economy
Midweek Update

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