Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This week in Midweek Updates

Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) countdown: 100 days to go.
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2024 commemorates RCAF 100th Anniversary with unique air show lineups.
Pipistrel Velis electro serial number 100 enters service.
Airbus H160 enters into service in the U.S. with PHI Aviation.
Boeing delivers first CH-47F Block II Chinook Aircraft to U.S. Army.
Textron Aviation to showcase next generation of military aircrew multi-engine training aircraft at the Farnborough International Airshow 2024 .
Cavalcade of planes delights crowd, so does Enstrom.
Pilatus and Synhelion launch partnership for fuels produced from solar energy.
This week in history - The first solar-powered aircraft flight across the English Channel.
Worldwide Incidents and Accidents
Bonus video - Springs Airfield Breakfast Fly in Apr 2024.


A significant milestone has been reached in the lead-up to the 12th biennial Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) trade exhibition and airshow. As of 9 June 2024, we are officially 100 days away from Africa's premier exhibition of aerospace potential, which attracts no less than 40,000 visitors per day.

To celebrate this milestone, AAD, in collaboration with its strategic partners-the South Africa's Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Association (AMD), the Armaments Corporation of South Africa SOC Limited (Armscor), and the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA), along with the South African Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DOD)-unveiled the 100-day countdown to AAD 2024.

The event took place in the morning of 10 June at the Royal Elephant Hotel and Conference Centre, where the exciting features and activities planned for AAD 2024 were outlined.

Ms Nakedi Phasha, the Exhibition Director for AAD, stated, “This year's theme, 'Exploring New Paths, Sharing Solutions, Showcasing Innovation and Capabilities,' encapsulates our commitment to fostering innovation, enhancing global partnerships, and showcasing the impressive capabilities within the aerospace and defence sectors. As the only event of its kind on the continent and one of the top six in the world, AAD is truly in a class of its own.”

The event was officially opened by the Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane, Cllr. Cilliers Brink, who emphasized the city's readiness and highlighted the benefits AAD will bring not only to Tshwane but to the entire country.

In her Keynote Address, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Honourable Thandi Modise emphasized that AAD is not merely a gathering of industry professionals and enthusiasts but a vital economic engine that drives growth, innovation, and development in South Africa. She expressed her appreciation to the sponsors, exhibitors, and visitors for making AAD the success it is today.

Following the 100 Days Countdown celebration, a media briefing was held with members of the media from various outlets, hosted by AAD Strategic Partners.

The 12th edition of Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) will take place 18 to 22 September 2024 at Air Force Base Waterkloof in Centurion, Gauteng. AAD is the only and largest aerospace and defence Exhibition and Air Show on the African continent. The event holds a flagship status in South Africa's, and indeed the Continent's, defence industry's calendar.

The trade show has continued to grow with each edition and will once again bring together some of the world's major industry players to showcase the latest technological innovations in aviation, aerospace and defence industries as well as stage a platform to engage in dialogue and discourse on international defence, aerospace and other related best practices.


The Royal Canadian Air Force will play a prominent role in the air shows during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2024 as the event celebrates the RCAF's 100th anniversary. The aircraft headlining the commemoration include the Snowbirds, the Avro Lancaster Mk.X., and the CF-18 Demo.

“As more Canadian performers confirmed they are coming to Oshkosh, it gave us the opportunity to piece together some rare pairings for the air shows,” said Rick Larsen, EAA vice president of communities and member programming. “We are always looking for new ways to create 'Only in Oshkosh' moments to excite our attendees.”

Canadian teams will bookend the afternoon air shows on July 26-28. The Canadian Armed Forces Parachute Demonstration Team, commonly referred to as the SkyHawks, are scheduled to open the shows during the national anthem. The team will be jumping from a DHC-6 Twin Otter. The Snowbirds will close the shows on all three days.

The CF-18 Demo is scheduled to fly during the afternoon air shows on July 26-28. On July 27, the CF-18 will fly as part of a victory flight featuring several iconic aircraft with ties to Canada. The final air show of the week on July 28 will see the CF-18 paired with the Lancaster to create a rare sight for attendees.

The Lancaster will also join both airworthy B-29s, FIFI and Doc, to open the night air show on July 27.


Pipistrel, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, today announced the completed production of its 100th Velis Electro, the world's first type-certified electric aircraft, marking a significant milestone.

Velis Electro serial number (S/N) 100 has been delivered to valued customer Green Aerolease, a French sustainable aircraft rental business with ambitions to accelerate the environmental transition of the aviation industry across Europe through its turnkey rental service.

“The Velis Electro leads the journey towards more sustainable flight solutions, and the entry into service of S/N 100 is a notable achievement,” said Gabriel Massey, President and Managing Director of Pipistrel. “Powered by over 15 years of expertise in electric flight, this aircraft brings a more environmentally-friendly option to flight schools with unbeatable cost-efficiency.”

VELOS Green Aerolease has also taken delivery of its first Pipistrel Explorer, a versatile two-seat combustion engine aircraft capable of both day and night visual flight rules (VFR) operations. The additional purchase, also available for rental through Green Aerolease, demonstrates the company's confidence in the manufacturer's capabilities to deliver superior aircraft across the light sport category, specifically designed for the flight training market.

“The unrivalled efficiency and connectivity that aviation offers can be realized more quietly and sustainably thanks to aircraft such as the Velis Electro,” said Charles Cabillic, Founder of Green Aerolease. “We're proud to support Pipistrel as it enables the transition to the future of flight.”

Velis Electro S/N 100 will be operated in Germany by Green Aviation Hub, a recently appointed German dealer for Pipistrel's authorized distributor Finesse Max. The Velis Electro was certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2020 followed by numerous other regulatory agencies. The aircraft is currently in service in over 30 countries worldwide.


Airbus has delivered the first H160 in the U.S. to PHI, marking the beginning of H160 operations in the country. This is the first of the initial four H160 helicopters that PHI will operate for offshore transportation in the Gulf of Mexico.

Prior to beginning commercial operations, the helicopter will be used in a route-proving programme designed to demonstrate the H160's capabilities in the demanding offshore environment. This will help facilitate a smooth entry into service, ensuring the operator and final customer are familiar with the aircraft's advanced technology and safety features.

“This is an exciting milestone for our teams and partners,” said Scott McCarty, CEO of PHI Group. “The H160 represents a new era for PHI, enhancing our commitment to safety, quality and efficiency for our operations in the Gulf of Mexico. We are proud to officially welcome this next-generation aircraft into our fleet as we kick off route-proving. Congratulations to everyone who helped make this achievement possible!”

“With its state-of-the-art technology, the H160 has set a new standard in the helicopter industry and we are pleased U.S. customers will now benefit from the aircraft's superior performance,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “The H160's lower fuel consumption, its ability to use up to 50% blended SAF, comfortable cabin, and excellent cockpit visibility make it ideally suited for offshore operations, and we are confident that it will excel in PHI's energy missions.”

The H160 has proven to be a popular choice for customers in North America and the first Canadian delivery of the helicopter type was made recently to Chartright Air Group. The H160 has entered into service in Brazil, Japan, Saudi Arabia, France, and many other European countries.


In support of ongoing U.S. Army modernization efforts, Boeing [NYSE: BA] delivered the first CH-47F Block II Chinook. The aircraft is one of up to 465 in the Army's fleet that will be modernized to the new Block II configuration.

“The CH-47F Block II provides capability improvements allowing the U.S. Army to lift more, fly farther and maintain their aircraft better than ever before,” said Heather McBryan, vice president and program manager, Cargo Programs. “This modernization program enables the battle-tested Chinook to play a key role in multi-domain operations going forward.”

With an improved drivetrain, a reinforced airframe and enhanced fuel system, the CH-47F Block II provides for an additional 4,000 pounds of max gross weight and extends the mission radius for nearly all payloads. In addition to the capability improvements, the aircraft's design enables future technology upgrades.

“As the Army's Heavy Lift platform of tomorrow, the CH-47F Block II provides increased capability while continuing support of the Army's requirement to remain strategically responsive across the full spectrum of operations,” said Viva Kelly, U.S. Army Cargo Helicopters acting project manager.

Additionally, the company's Block II program improves aircraft sustainment. The improved reliability of the new rotor system minimizes unscheduled maintenance, and the simplified fuel system drives sustainment efficiency reducing maintenance burden and cost.


Textron Aviation will return to the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) as the industry leader with more than 1,700 Cessna and Beechcraft turbine aircraft based in Europe and more than 250,000 aircraft delivered worldwide.   

Building upon the versatile and reliable Beechcraft King Air 260, Textron Aviation is today announcing that its new military multi-engine training aircraft will be on display at the FIA for the first time, marking its debut in Europe.

This state-of-the-art aircrew training aircraft was recently chosen to modernize aircrew training for the United States Navy's Multi-Engine Training System (METS) and the Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) program in Canada. Specific capabilities include factory options for TACAN (Air to Air), angle of attack (AOA), V/UHF radio, digital audio system, engine trend monitoring, condition-based maintenance plus, observer/jump seat, passenger mission seats and full-face oxygen masks.

The company will feature the missionized King Air 260 aircraft at the static display (Stand No: A031) July 22-26 at Farnborough Airport.


Dozens of vintage, historic, and military aircraft took to the skies above Bolingbrook, IL earlier this month for the Cavalcade of Planes Air Show. Enstrom is proud to have taken part, with hundreds of people lining up to explore the Enstrom 480B at Clow International Airport.

Enstrom Chief Commercial Officer Dennis Martin flew the helicopter in to talk to guests about the 480B's many exciting features. Unfortunately, the first day of formation flying got rained out, but then beautiful weather returned in time for a high-flying day two.

“I think everybody who was going to come for day one ultimately came for day two,” said Martin. “That airport was packed full of aviation enthusiasts and families excited for a spectacular air show.”

Shortly after Martin departed the air show, organizers asked him to perform one last fly-by. So, Martin circled around and flew sideways down the runway, demonstrating one of the unique capabilities of rotorcraft.

He said, “I'm always thrilled for people to come out, see the quality products we make, and learn a bit more about helicopter aviation.”

Next year's Cavalcade will take place on June 7-8.

From Rudy Enstrom's early designs in 1943 to initial testing in a Michigan Quarry in 1957 to aircraft operating on six continents, Enstrom Helicopter Corporation has maintained a reputation for safety, value and performance. Based in Menominee, Michigan and proudly made in the United States, Enstrom has a rich history for design innovation. The goal is to provide helicopters to the customer's exact specification and deliver support and maintenance worldwide.

Kitplanes for Africa


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 defossilization 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 defossilizing 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.

PILATUS 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 defossilize 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.”

7 JULY 1981

First solar-powered aircraft flight across the English Channel. MacCready Solar Challenger flew 163 miles from Pontoise - Cormeilles Aerodrome, north of Paris, France to Manston Royal Air Force Base in Manston, United Kingdom, staying aloft 5 hours and 23 min.

The Solar Challenger with pilot Stephen Ptacek was a solar-powered electric aircraft designed by Paul MacCready's AeroVironment. The aircraft was designed as an improvement on the Gossamer Penguin, which in turn was a solar-powered variant of the human-powered Gossamer Albatross. It was powered entirely by the 16,128 photovoltaic cells on its wing and stabilizer, yielding a maximum solar power of 3,800 watts. It was the first such craft capable of long-distance flight. In 1981, it successfully completed a 163-mile (262 km) demonstration flight from France to England.

The two motors, each 3 inches wide and 17 inches long and incorporating samarium-cobalt permanent magnets, operated in tandem on a common shaft to drive a single, controllable-pitch propeller. The design incorporated advanced synthetic materials with very high strength to weight ratios, including Kevlar, Nomex, Delrin, Teflon, and Mylar, all supplied by the aircraft's sponsor, Dupont.

Russia, Khiloksky district of Transbaikal Territory: An An-2 (RA-40983) of the Wings of Taiga airline took off from the village of Sosnovo-Ozerskoye (Buryatia) to monitor the fire situation. On board were two pilots, an observer pilot and three forest rangers. At about 13:30, the emergency radio beacon on this aircraft activated. The An-2 made an emergency landing in the Khiloksky district of the Trans-Baikal Territory and the crew members were not injured. Oil system failure was reported as a reason for the forced landing. The aircraft overturned and was seriously damaged.

Russia, Azovsky Riaon, Rostov Oblast: On 5 July 2024, a Russian Air Force Mi-28 attack helicopter made an emergency landing in Azovsky Riaon, Rostov Oblast. According to Russian military blogger telegram channels, the incident occurred during a Ukrainian UAV attack. Some channels claim that the aircraft had reportedly sustained minor damage as a result of colliding with a UAV. Both crew members of the aircraft survived the crash without injury.

USA, Davidson County Executive Airport (KEXX), Lexington, NC: An experimental Stoddard-Hamilton Glasair III, kit built by Ralph Potter, didn't took of from Davidson County Executive Airport (KEXX), Lexington, North Carolina, but jumped the wheel chocks in the hanger, crossed over two access roads and came to rest on its top. The 84-year-old pilot was taken to the hospital for treatment and the aircraft received substantial damage.

Springs Airfield Breakfast Fly in Apr 2024

Aviation Economy
Midweek Update

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