Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This week in Midweek Updates

Improved security coming for SAAF Memorial.
Milkor announces new partnership for maritime version of the Milkor 380 UAV.
M700 Fury achieves FAA FIKI certification.
Amazon drones can now fly farther and deliver to more customers following FAA approval.
Canada's SkyHawks, USAF A-10 demo team confirmed for Oshkosh.
Pilatus and Synhelion launch partnership for fuels produced from solar energy.
German Ministry of Interior orders up to 44 H225 helicopters for its Federal Police.
Safran to power new German Federal Police helicopters.
Airbus partners with Avincis on advanced air mobility.
This week in history - Sir Geoffery de Havilland dies aged 82.
Worldwide Incidents and Accidents.
Bonus video - Dead Stick Landing Scheibe Tandem Falke SF28A

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Kitplanes for Africa

Kim Helfrich

The SA Air Force (SAAF) is “investigating security options” for the Bays Hill memorial it has joint ownership of with the SAAF Association (SAAFA).

The memorial was vandalised last November, provoking stern comment from SAAFA National President Mike Louw who called it “desecration”. The unfortunate event cast a shadow over the premises being able to host the annual SAAF Memorial Service.

As it turned out there was no need to make use of the Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing (AF MDW - formerly Air Force Base Swartkop) number five hangar for last month's memorial service, with generator power used at the memorial.

In response to a defenceWeb inquiry, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Directorate Corporate Communication (DCC) said sensors, alarms as well as permanent guards and sentries are among options under investigation to secure the memorial.

“In the interim,” the response reads in part, “the protection squadron will conduct the site in their nightly and early morning rounds”. This presumably refers to 104 Squadron.

“In the medium term, the Acting Officer Commanding AF MDW will erect double fencing around the inner perimeter of the Memorial Site and place K-9 units between the two fences at night,” the response continues, adding costs and lead time investigations are underway and “will be confirmed once a contractor has been selected”.

SAAFA representatives met with senior SAAF officers to discuss prevention of similar unwanted events in future.

Speaking to a defenceWeb correspondent at the memorial service, Louw noted the Bays Hill memorial was “sacred ground” to the air force and the air force association.

The main distribution box was destroyed and all circuit breakers stolen, leaving the memorial powerless. Cabling, wiring and light fittings were also stolen.

The desecration was confined to the Wall of Remembrance on the historically important Bays Hill site where some niches were seemingly wilfully damaged.

“Fortunately, none containing service members' ashes were damaged,” Louw said.


Milkor has established a strategic partnership with Germany's Aerodata AG to develop a new specialised platform for maritime surveillance, the AeroForce 380, based on the Milkor 380 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

At the Paris Air Show 2023, Aerodata and Milkor solidified its commitment to cooperation with a Memorandum of Understanding. Now, the AeroForce 380 will officially be launched during the ILA Berlin Air Show 2024, which runs from 5 to 9 June.

This Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV, tailored specifically for maritime surveillance and coast guard missions, is capable of reaching a service ceiling of 30 000 feet, with enhancements to the design made to effectively operate in the low altitude segment (below 10 000 feet) ideally suited for maritime surveillance operations. Additionally, the UAV boasts an endurance of up to 35 hours, ensuring extended mission coverage and increased operational efficiency, Milkor said. Payload is up to 250 kg, with sensors including AIS, side-looking airborne radar, and electro-optical/infrared gimbals.

“With a maximum take-off weight of 1 300 kg and the capability to carry mission-specific payloads, the AeroForce 380 has the potential to revolutionise surveillance aircraft fleets worldwide,” Aerodata said. “It's worth noting that Aerodata's contribution includes state-of-the-art mission system technology, complemented by maritime surveillance sensors from its subsidiary, Optimare Systems GmbH. This integrated approach guarantees optimal performance and support, ensuring the AeroForce 380 remains at the forefront of maritime surveillance technology.”

Harry Cassidy, Milkor's head of Business Development in Europe, highlighted the importance of this partnership. “The Milkor 380 has garnered substantial interest from multiple entities looking to enhance their aerial surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. With the addition of Aerodata's experience in maritime surveillance sensors, the development of the AeroForce 380 will set a new standard in global maritime by combining state of the art unmanned technologies with proven maritime surveillance sensors. The collaboration is one of the key explorations Milkor is undertaking to meet the growing demand for sophisticated UAV solutions and underscores Milkor's role as a premier partner in the international defence sector.”

“The Milkor 380 has reached a stage where it is ready to be deployed for operations and we look forward to working with these entities to enhance their aerial surveillance capabilities. We are receiving positive feedback from many more interested parties and had to look at our production capabilities to meet their requirements. We expect that the Milkor 380 would be used for a variety of operations that will demonstrate its versatility,” said Ghaazim Rylands, CEO of Milkor Integrated Systems in Cape Town.

Milkor expects to deliver several units of the Milkor 380 within the next 12 months to undisclosed clients with manufacturing well underway of six units to be completed by end of 2024.

“This rapid production and deployment schedule underscores Milkor's dedication to meeting market needs with cutting-edge UAV technology,” the company said, adding that “the Milkor 380 is considered one of the most versatile unmanned platforms suitable for intelligence gathering, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) operations.”


Piper Aircraft, Inc. today announced that it has received Flight into Known Icing (FIKI) certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its new flagship aircraft, the M700 FURY.

“The M700 FURY-boasting a max cruise speed of 301 ktas and a max range of 1,852 nm-includes some of the most advanced safety features in the industry,” stated John Calcagno, President & CEO of Piper Aircraft. “The certification of FIKI is a crucial part of the overall value proposition of the M700 FURY, as well as a key safety feature for the operator.”

The FIKI system comes standard on all M700 FURY aircraft, and is an electromechanical expulsion de-icing system located on the tail as well as the leading edge of the wing.

International certifications for the M700 and FIKI are progressing as planned and on track for deliveries to those regions beginning in Q3, 2024.

The Piper M700 FURY certified in March of 2024 and comes standard with the HALO Safety System, featuring Garmin Emergency Autoland. This revolutionary system includes digital technology that safely lands the aircraft at the nearest suitable airport in the event that the pilot is incapacitated. Additionally, the M700 FURY G3000® avionics suite includes; Autothrottle, Emergency Descent Mode, Electronic Stability Protection (ESP™), SurfaceWatch™, SafeTaxi®, and Garmin PlaneSync™, all of which are designed to enhance safe operation of the aircraft. Beyond the flight deck, the six-seat M700 FURY is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-52 700 SHP engine. The aircraft has a maximum cruise speed of 301ktas/557 km/hr, a max range of 1852 nm/3,430 km, and a standard useful load of 2,320 lbs/1,052 kg.


The approval will allow Prime Air to further expand drone deliveries and lays the foundation to safely scale operations to more locations in the U.S.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all commercial drone operators are able to maintain a line of sight to their drones until it approves a technology that can safely enable drones to fly beyond visual line of sight. Beyond Visual Line of Sight, known as BVLOS, is a term used in aviation to describe flying a drone where the remote pilot can't see it directly with their own eyes. Instead, a remote pilot would rely on instruments or technology to monitor and control the drone at all times.

When it comes to commercial drones, regulators around the world have been working on creating new rules and authorizing technologies that will allow more complex drone operations, like package delivery, to safely scale and operate beyond the line of sight of a remote pilot.

We're excited to share that the FAA has given Prime Air additional permissions that allow us to operate our drones beyond visual line of sight, enabling us to now serve more customers via drone and effectively expand and scale our drone delivery operations. To obtain this permission, we developed a BVLOS strategy, including an onboard detect-and-avoid technology. We've spent years developing, testing, and refining our onboard detect-and-avoid system to ensure our drones can detect and avoid obstacles in the air.

We submitted crucial engineering information to the FAA, including our onboard detect-and-avoid capabilities. This included how our system was designed, how it is operated, how it is maintained, and ultimately how we validated that the system performs to specified requirements. We then conducted flight demonstrations in the presence of FAA inspectors to show our system works in real-world scenarios-we flew in the presence of real planes, helicopters, and a hot air balloon to demonstrate how the drone safely navigated away from each of them. We also provided extensive analysis and test data for our technology that further validated the safety of our system. After reviewing this information and observing the technology in action at our test site, the FAA provided Amazon Prime Air with BVLOS approval.

This new authorization and new permissions allow us expand our delivery area in College Station, Texas. It means more Amazon customers than ever before will be eligible to choose from thousands of items for drone delivery, including household essentials and beauty and drugstore products. Later this year, drone deliveries will begin integrating into Amazon's delivery network, meaning drones will deploy from facilities next to our Same-Day Delivery sites, which will provide Amazon customers with faster delivery of an even greater selection of items.


Two big additions to the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2024 lineup were confirmed in the past week, as the Canadian Armed Forces SkyHawks skydiving team and the U.S. Air Force A-10 Demo Team committed to performances during The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration.

The SkyHawks will attend as part of the 100th anniversary commemoration for the Royal Canadian Air Force. The SkyHawks are Canada's only military parachute demonstration team, comprised of 13 jumpers from the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the Royal Canadian Air Force. This includes both Regular Force and Reserve members with diverse professional backgrounds. They will perform during the afternoon air shows at Oshkosh.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force's A-10 Demo Team - marking its final season of air show performances - will be at Oshkosh on July 22-25. The Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, affectionately known as the Warthog, has long been a favourite on the air show circuit. The demo team is based at Davis-Monthan AFB and commanded by Maj. Lindsay “MAD” Johnson, who flies the aircraft at air shows throughout the country.


Pilatus and Synhelion are about to launch a strategic cooperation aimed at accelerating the scaling of solar fuels for the aviation industry. Pilatus intends to use Synhelion's solar fuels for its own operations and also offer them to its own customers in the medium-term. With that in mind, Pilatus has become a shareholder in Synhelion, underpinning its commitment to proactive de-fossilization of air traffic.

Synhelion was established in 2016 as a spin-off of ETH Zurich. The company aims to replace fossil fuels with renewable solar fuels, thereby helping to decarbonize the travel industry.

Pilatus aircraft are already certified to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which is currently produced mainly from biomass or waste products. Recent calculations indicate, however, that this type of fuel will never be available in sufficient quantities, now or in the future.

Synhelion is currently building the world's first industrial solar fuel production plant in Germany - construction of a first commercial plant is planned in Spain from 2025. During this process, fuels are produced from solar energy. Pilatus hopes to use Synhelion's solar fuel for its own fleet of aircraft before offering the same fuel to its customers as a proactive means of de-fossilizing their air travel.

The partnership also sees Pilatus become a shareholder in Synhelion, thereby reinforcing a long-term commitment to the sustainable transformation of air travel.

Hansueli Loosli, Chairman of the Pilatus Board of Directors, emphasizes: “Pilatus has been committed to sustainability and energy efficiency for many years - in our production processes and new buildings, for example. We are firmly convinced that sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will be a lasting feature of aviation operations in the future, and this is our way of making a further essential contribution.”

Markus Bucher, Pilatus CEO, adds: “We are convinced of the value of solar fuel technology - these fuels are the best way to de-fossilize air travel as quickly as possible. We're delighted to play a pioneering role together with Synhelion, and make an important contribution to sustainability in the aviation industry.”

Philipp Furler, Co-CEO and co-founder of Synhelion, comments: “We're extremely proud to have Pilatus as a partner and shareholder. Over the next few years, we will focus fully on scaling our fuels worldwide. Together, we aim to roll out sustainable solar fuels to the entire Pilatus customer fleet within the next ten years.”


The German Ministry of the Interior has ordered up to 44 H225 helicopters for its Federal Police. This record order for the H225 includes 38 firm orders with options for a further six helicopters. Its payload, range and advanced systems make it a versatile aircraft capable of conducting a large array of law enforcement and homeland security missions ranging from special forces transport to firefighting and disaster relief. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2029.

“I would like to thank Germany for its continued and renewed trust in our helicopters and in particular in our H225 family. We're proud that our H225 will contribute to the security of Germany and help its citizens in need,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “The Bundespolizei can look forward to a modern helicopter thanks to the continuous improvements we've made to our H225 in recent years. It will remain one of the most advanced helicopters available on the market for the decades to come.”

The H225 will replace the H155 and AS332 helicopters that have been in service with the German Federal Police for more than 20 years. The order of the H225 will ensure a seamless transition for pilots and maintenance personnel. The contract also includes training means and spare part packages.

The new and powerful mission and communication system guarantees improved situational awareness and smooth data transmission between police forces. It also has an improved main gearbox and an extended health and usage monitoring system, which increases safety and helps to save costs. With a maximum take-off weight of 11,160 kg, the H225 offers an increased range of more than 832 kilometres (1,107 km with external fuel tanks) and an unmatched external payload of 4,750 kg, essential for missions like disaster relief and firefighting. Airbus Helicopters' ambition is that the helicopter will be able to fly with 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel by 2030 which was already demonstrated at ILA Berlin 2022.

The German Bundespolizei operates 94 Airbus helicopters, ranging from the single-engine H120 used for pilot training, to more than 40 twin-engine H135 family helicopters for several missions including emergency medical services on behalf of the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz und Katastrophenhilfe), and the Super Puma family, of which the H225 is the latest variant. The partnership began in 1962, when the Bundespolizei (at that time Bundesgrenzschutz) started operation of its Alouette II, manufactured by Airbus predecessor company Aérospatiale.

Offering the industry's best range, speed, payload and reliability in the 11-tonne twin-engine category, the H225 is the latest member of Airbus Helicopters' Super Puma family that has accumulated more than 6 million flight hours in all-weather conditions around the world. Equipped with state-of-the-art electronic instruments and renowned autopilot precision, the H225 offers outstanding endurance and fast cruise speed, and can be fitted with various equipment to suit a variety of roles.


Safran Helicopter Engines will power the German Federal Police's (Bundespolizei) new fleet of Airbus H225 helicopters, the selection of which was announced at the ILA Berlin show. The 38 helicopters will be powered by our Makila 2A engines.

The German Federal Police, which already operates a fleet of Makila-powered AS332 and H215 helicopters, is thus renewing its confidence in this performance proven engine. With this contract, its helicopter fleet will continue to be powered entirely by Safran.

The Makila 2A, powering all variants of the H225, is a 2,100 shp engine which will contribute to expanding the Bundespolizei's operational capabilities. Makila 2A engine family has earned a reputation for reliability and robustness among operators operating in challenging conditions, notably in demanding police and defense environments. It has accumulated over 12 million flight hours.

“We are proud that the German Federal Police have chosen the Airbus H225 as their new transport helicopter. In choosing this helicopter with its world-renowned performance, they are also placing their trust in the Makila 2A engine, which is particularly well suited to operators carrying out demanding missions in challenging environments. The Bundespolizei will also benefit from highest-standard support via our Safran Helicopter Engines Germany facility in Hamburg”, said Cédric Goubet, Safran Helicopter Engines CEO.

Safran Helicopter Engines Germany in Hamburg monitors and supports 300 helicopter operators in Germany, Northern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, for a total fleet of 2,000 engines. In Germany, Safran powers the majority of police and armed forces helicopters.


Airbus and Avincis, a well-established European helicopter operator, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to partner on the development of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM). The companies will collaborate to explore opportunities for operating electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft throughout Europe.

Through the agreement, Airbus and Avincis will focus on defining the concept of operations for eVTOLs in Europe and beyond. Both parties will jointly work to define mission profiles for eVTOL operations in Europe and other target regions. This agreement is another step towards the creation of an AAM ecosystem and is an expansion of Airbus' long-standing relationship with Avincis.

John Boag, CEO, Avincis, said: “Our partnership with Airbus is an important milestone for Avincis, as we look to the future of emergency air services and the platforms that will support our missions for generations to come. eVTOLs will play an important role in our long-term fleet strategy as these technologies continue to evolve to give us further reach and capability in the field.

“Airbus is at the cutting-edge of this evolution, and we are excited to be working with their team in understanding how we can harness the latest technology to bring more sustainable solutions to emergency services globally.”

“We're pleased to partner with Avincis. Their established operational network, which is essential to enabling key missions such as emergency medical services, search and rescue, and fire-fighting, will be a valuable tool to collectively explore the mission potential of CityAirbus NextGen,” said Balkiz Sarihan, Head of Urban Air Mobility at Airbus. “Through this collaboration we will explore how eVTOLs can contribute to missions that save lives and protect communities, a shared goal among our two companies.”

The Avincis global fleet currently includes around 60 Airbus aircraft, which are critical to delivering safe, reliable and consistent operations from its bases across Europe, Africa and South America. Avincis and Airbus have enjoyed a longstanding and successful cooperation, developing a solid and trusting relationship that will form the foundation of this new eVTOL collaboration.

Airbus remains committed to expanding its network of partnerships around the world in order to build an ecosystem that promotes a viable AAM market. The fully electric CityAirbus NextGen prototype was presented to the public in March 2024, following the vehicle's final assembly and power-on in December 2023. The vehicle is now undergoing testing at the company's AAM test centre in Donauwörth, Germany prior to its initial flight later this year.

Avincis is one of the world's leading Aerial Emergency Services operators, providing critical aviation services to the civil sector to save lives, safeguard communities and protect the environment. With a fleet of more than 220 aircraft, Avincis counts on a team of more than 2,400 courageous and talented professionals, including highly experienced pilots, crews and technicians. Avincis has bases in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Finland, as well as operations in Mozambique and Chile.

26 MAY 1965

Sir Geoffery de Havilland dies aged 82.

Born on 27 July 1882 Captain Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, OM, CBE, AFC, RDI, FRAeS was an English aviation pioneer and aerospace engineer. The aircraft company he founded produced the Mosquito, which has been considered the most versatile warplane ever built, and his Comet was the first jet airliner to go into production.

Upon graduating from engineering training, de Havilland pursued a career in automotive engineering, building cars and motorcycles. He took an apprenticeship with engine manufacturers Willans & Robinson of Rugby, after which he worked as a draughtsman for The Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company Limited. He then spent two years working in the design office of Motor Omnibus Construction Company Limited in Walthamstow. While there he designed his first aero engine and had the first prototype made by Iris Motor Company of Willesden.

Built with money borrowed from his maternal grandfather, de Havilland's first aircraft took two years to build. Unfortunately, he crashed it during its first very short flight at Seven Barrows near Litchfield, Hampshire in December 1909. His next aircraft was a biplane in which he made his first flight from a meadow near Newbury in September 1910. A memorial plaque presently marks the event. Subsequent designs were even more successful: in 1912 he established a new British altitude record of 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in an aircraft of his design, the B.E.2. Geoffrey was the designer and his brother Hereward was the test pilot.

De Havilland retired from active involvement in his company in 1955, though remaining as president. He continued flying up to the age of 70 making his final flight in a DH85 Leopard Moth, G-ACMA.

He died aged 82, of a cerebral haemorrhage, on 21 May 1965 at Watford Peace Memorial Hospital, Hertfordshire.

South Africa, South of Stellenbosch Airfield (FASH), Western Cape: A Jabiru J160 lost power after take-off from runway 19 at Stellenbosch Airfield (FASH), Western Cape, and crashed at a strawberry plantation. Both occupants suffered minor whiplash injuries and the ultralight was written off.

Japan, 1.4 nm southeast of Kagoshima Airport (KOJ/RJFK): A Cessna 172P of New Japan Aviation was on a training flight around Kagoshima Airport with 2 onboard when it crash-landed on a forest in a mountain located 1.4 nautical mile southeast of Kagoshima Airport. The flight took off from Kagoshima at 09:55 LT for a two-hour flight, however, it was lost on the radar at 11:06 LT. During an approach for turn back to the base, the airplane diverted from the course and crashed. The Skyhawk was hung on the trees, its right side up, and crew phoned the company and local fire station on the crash at 11:10 LT. Two crew received no injuries and were rescued by the local firemen at 14:30 LT, but one of them were sent to the hospital due to dehydration. The weather may be a factor. JTSB launched an aircraft accident investigation.

Argentina, Paraná Aeroclub Airfield, Entre Ríos: During an airshow, the president of Aeroclub de Paraná, Cristian Grecca crashed with an Extra 330 during its aerobatic routine at Paraná Aeroclub Airfield, Entre Ríos. He perished and the plane caught fire and was subsequently destroyed.

Canada, Coal Harbour Sea Plane Base (CXH/CYHC), Vancouver, BC: A float-equipped DHC-2 Beaver Mk I collided with a pleasure boat on take-off on a sightseeing tour at Coal Harbor Sea Plane Base (CXH/CYHC), Vancouver, British Columbia. The six occupants of the aircraft were not injured and two of the four boat occupants suffered serious injuries. The floatplane sank.

USA, Pinal County, Picacho Peak, AZ: The aircraft, an Experimental Dean C Frost built Rans S-12XL Airaile, Registration (unconfirmed) N518D, sustained substantial damage subsequent to impact with the mountainous terrain of Picacho Peak in Pinal County, Arizona. The sole pilot onboard the Amateur Built, 2-seat, pusher-configuration airplane was fatally injured.

USA, near Jones Island, WA: A Beechcraft T-34A (A45) Mentor impacted the waters 80 feet offshore of Jones Island, Washington. The pilot, former Apollo 8 astronaut William "Bill" Anders (90), perished and the aircraft was destroyed. An online video shows the aircraft in an inverted dive/loop before it impacted the water at high speed. It appears that the manoeuvre is consistent with a Split S, in which the pilot half-rolls their aircraft inverted and executes a descending half-loop, resulting in level flight in the opposite direction at a lower altitude.

Dead Stick Landing Scheibe Tandem Falke SF28A

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