Midweek Updates 10 April 2024

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein

This week in Midweek Updates
Legendary Designer Burt Rutan Returning to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2024.
General aviation hub planned for AAD 2024.
Textron Aviation celebrates 60 years of the legendary Beechcraft King Air series at Sun 'N Fun.
CubCrafters delivers Its 1000th new production aircraft.
Textron Aviation announces recipients of the 2024 Top Hawk Program.
AutoFlight delivers first electric air taxi to customer in Japan.
ICON Aircraft initiates restructuring process and files for Chapter 11 Protection.
Lockheed Martin conducts historic LRASM flight test.
This week in history - The Royal Air Force places the new 4,000-lb into service in a raid on Emden, Germany.
Worldwide Incidents and Accidents.
Bonus video - Dead Stick Landing Scheibe Tandem Falke SF28A


Burt Rutan, whose innovative designs have captured the world of flight ranging from homebuilt aircraft to space vehicles, will return to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2024 with appearances and forums coinciding with the 50th anniversary of his VariEze canard aircraft design. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2024 is July 22-28 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

"Burt is best known to the public for his historic designs of SpaceShipOne, Voyager, and GlobalFlyer, but for EAA members and aviation aficionados, his unique concepts began more than a half-century ago with fiberglass canard aircraft that revolutionized the amateur-built airplane community," said Rick Larsen, EAA's vice president of communities and member programs, who coordinates AirVenture features and attractions. "Every time Burt joins us at Oshkosh, his presentations draw big audiences that are eager to hear his unique perspectives on flight."

Rutan, an EAA Lifetime member for more than 50 years, made his first big splash at Oshkosh in 1972 with the VariViggen, which brought canard design to the homebuilt community. That led to a series of other Rutan recreational aircraft designs with innovative moldless fiberglass construction, which included the VariEze and Long-EZ that are still being built today.

The public recognition of Rutan came in the 1980s with his design of Voyager, which in December 1986 became the first aircraft to fly around the world non-stop on a single tank of fuel. The record was surpassed with a similar solo flight by Rutan's GlobalFlyer in 2005, with Rutan's unsurpassed legacy crowned with the successful flights of SpaceShipOne in 2004, completing the first successful civilian space flight program that earned the $10 million X Prize.

Along the way, Rutan's imaginative designs also included the one-of-a-kind Proteus, an "affordable U-2 aircraft," and the asymmetrical twin-engine Boomerang, among others, coming from Rutan's Scaled Composites in Mojave, California, often regarded as the most aggressive aerospace research company in the world. Through the years, that company developed and tested a variety of groundbreaking projects, from military aircraft to executive jets, showcasing some of the most innovative and energy-efficient designs ever flown. Rutan has received the Presidential Citizen's Medal, the Charles A. Lindbergh Award, two Collier Trophies, the EAA Freedom of Flight Award - the organization's highest honor - and has been included in TIME Magazine's "100 most influential people in the world" listing.

Rutan's exact schedule at AirVenture will be announced as it is finalized. EAA is also working with the Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience group, which has preserved many examples of Rutan's aircraft designs, regarding aircraft to be displayed at Oshkosh.

Kim Helfrich www.defenceweb.co.za

For want of a better word, the "civilian" component of the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) control and organising body in the form of the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA), is upbeat as regards a new addition to this year's exhibition, which is now less than six months away.

A CAASA presentation makes mention of a proposed general aviation (GA) hub, along with three other so-called "innovation hubs" which could debut at Air Force Base (AFB) Waterkloof come 18 September. They will be for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), energy and space with, at present, no further detail given.

The GA hub is planned to be sited immediately south of the freight office at the base and north of hangar 3, one of the preferred indoor exhibition areas. A schematic shows a distinct separate exhibition area with 12 stands in two variations - an exhibition marquee and a walk on one - as well as parking for 14 aircraft of varying size.

AAD has since 2000 been hosted on a rotating basis by (in no particular order) the SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD), Armscor, the Department of Defence (DoD), normally in the form of the SA Air Force (SAAF), and CAASA.

AAD 2024 is the twelfth of its kind and will run from 18 to 22 September at the Centurion air force base, housing 21, 28, 41and 44 squadrons as well as, among others, the Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (JARIC) and 1 Air Servicing Unit (ASU).

CAASA has it AAD is a platform for seven objectives. They are: reinforcing and strengthening relationships; promoting and driving exports; creating an educational platform; promoting South Africa as a destination of choice for business and tourism; job creation; facilitating international partnerships; and promoting and reinforcing "South Africa's position as a key driver of innovation and marketing".


Textron Aviation will highlight an impressive lineup of Cessna and Beechcraft aircraft at this year's SUN 'n FUN AeroSpace Expo, scheduled April 9-14, at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Florida.†As attendees celebrate the 50th anniversary of the show, Textron Aviation is also celebrating the 60th anniversary of the iconic Beechcraft King Air series.

Since its introduction in 1964, the legendary Beechcraft King Air turboprop has become synonymous with unwavering reliability, exceptional performance and unparalleled versatility, earning the trust and preference of operators worldwide. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, it inspires aviation enthusiasts and pilots to maximize the potential of their missions while fuelling their passion for flight.

With a rich heritage deeply rooted in innovation, dependability and customer satisfaction, the King Air continues to shape the future of aviation. The aircraft excels in a multitude of scenarios, whether it's taking off from rugged dirt runways, accessing remote and challenging locations across the globe, supporting philanthropic missions or embarking on extraordinary journeys. The King Air's versatility has consistently enabled operators to soar to new heights of exploration, efficiency and reliability.

More than 7,700 King Air turboprops have been delivered to customers around the world since its introduction, making it the best-selling business turboprop family in the world. The worldwide fleet has surpassed 64 million flight hours, serving roles in all branches of the U.S. military and flying both commercial and special mission roles around the world.

Textron Aviation remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing the King Air series, continuously incorporating cutting-edge technologies and enhancements to meet the evolving needs of its customers. As the aviation industry continues to evolve, the King Air will remain at the forefront, setting new benchmarks and redefining excellence in the world of aviation.


CubCrafters, a leading manufacturer of FAA-certified, ASTM-certified, and experimental category utility and recreational aircraft, achieved a major milestone in its company history by delivering its 1000th new aircraft on December 19, 2023, to Tim Sheehy, CEO of Bridger Aerospace, in Bozeman, Montana.

The milestone aircraft, a CubCrafters CC19-215 XCub, was delivered in Bridger Aerospace firefighting livery, the paint scheme itself a tribute to the company's fleet of Canadair CL-415 "Super Scooper" water-bomber aircraft.

Mr. Sheehy comments that "Bridger Aerospace and CubCrafters have a relationship going back to 2016 when we worked together on a project for the US Military. We frequently base near their factory in Yakima, Washington during fire season, and I have always admired the passion the entire CubCrafters team has for aviation. I'm honored to welcome the 1000th aircraft to our fleet." He continues, "The utility of this type of aircraft, especially for remote areas with limited aviation infrastructure like Montana is fantastic, and this is CubCrafters' top-of-the-line flagship model. We will definitely put it to good use in support of our mission of protecting the American West from the threat of wildfires."

Sheehy founded Bridger Aerospace in 2014 and has since done everything from sweeping floors to leading the company as CEO. From 2008 until 2014, Mr. Sheehy served as a Navy SEAL officer and team leader. An active pilot with Bridger's Air Attack and Super Scooper fleets, Mr. Sheehy is also a rancher and father to four young pilots in training.

"We are particularly excited that CubCrafters 1000th new production aircraft is going to someone who has served the citizens of this nation the way Mr. Sheehy has," notes CubCrafters President and CEO, Patrick Horgan. "As an American company, we really appreciate both our customers who are veterans and those who are business leaders, Mr. Sheehy is both. The fact that he will soon be flying this new XCub is something we're all very gratified by. It confirms CubCrafters' position as General Aviation's best-in-class backcountry aircraft manufacturer, meeting the expectations of customers like Tim for both performance and safety."

The CC19-215 XCub is CubCrafters' flagship aircraft. With the largest engine, a 215 HP Lycoming IO-390 with dual electronic ignition, and the best avionics, a modern lightweight Garmin glass panel with autopilot, the XCub boasts the most useful load, best range, and highest speed of the entire CubCrafters fleet. A fully FAA-certified aircraft, it is sold for personal recreational use, commercial utility purposes, flight training, and Government use.

"Jim Richmond, our founder, would have been extremely proud of this moment," added Brad Damm, Vice President of CubCrafters. "Although we lost Jim in 2021, this was exactly his vision, a strong American company continuing to design and manufacture fun and safe backcountry aircraft with amazing performance."

In addition to 1000 new CubCrafters production aircraft manufactured, the Company has delivered hundreds of backcountry aircraft kits and innumerable major rebuilds and upgrades to the classic Piper Super Cub during its 43-year history.


Textron Aviation is thrilled to announce the recipients of the highly anticipated 2024 Top Hawk program. This program, aimed at promoting general aviation and inspiring young individuals to pursue a career in aviation, places the renowned Cessna Skyhawk training aircraft with top pilot training programs across the country.

Each organization will receive a factory-new, custom-branded Cessna Skyhawk equipped with the all-new interiors announced in 2023 for the duration of the program. These aircraft will be utilized for student pilot training and for pilot recruitment purposes at air shows, aviation contests and industry events.

"We are excited to continue supporting general aviation and the future of pilot training through the renowned Cessna Skyhawk," said Chris Crow, vice president, Piston Sales. "The Top Hawk program provides these organizations with access to the most advanced flight training platform available, empowering students and inspiring the next generation of aviators."

Textron Aviation works with universities, training organizations and flight schools throughout the world, and the Top Hawk program plays a vital role in the initiative to support the advancement of general aviation and modernization of aircraft training fleets.

Since launching the program in 2015, Textron Aviation has placed over 45 Cessna Skyhawks with participating Top Hawk organizations around the world, supporting student training to help fill the pipeline of skilled aviators and inspire the journey of flight.


AutoFlight has achieved a significant milestone by officially delivering its first Prosperity aircraft to a customer in Japan, marking the world's inaugural delivery of a civilian ton-class eVTOL 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.

Referring to CarryAll receiving Type Certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, Mr Tian said: "Successfully completing this certification was a lengthy and extremely rigorous process and I would like to thank the review team and all my colleagues for their painstaking efforts. This achievement establishes a robust foundation for AutoFlight's forthcoming large-scale commercial operations."

Securing TC airworthiness certification is vital for ensuring the safety and market entry of the aircraft for commercial operations. The CarryAll, with a maximum take-off weight of 2 tons, operates autonomously and on electric power. Its compliance verification encompassed various aspects, including performance control, stability, lift/thrust system, structural strength/composite blades, battery system, avionics system, electrical system, and flight performance. The thorough review process involved manufacturing compliance inspections and the witnessing of 46 major compliance verification tests at the equipment level, system level and structural component level. Additionally, the CarryAll airworthiness certification prototype completed eight major compliance tests, including plateau performance, data link and ground station functions, involving 156 flights and exceeding a total flight distance of 10,000 kms.

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.


ICON Aircraft, manufacturer of the revolutionary ICON A5 amphibious sport plane, today announced that it has commenced a strategic restructuring process by filing for Chapter 11 protection. The Company further disclosed that it intends to pursue a sale of its business under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code, while continuing to support its customers and operations during the Chapter 11 process.

The ICON Aircraft management team remains committed to the Company's mission of revolutionizing personal aviation and continuing to support owners and employees during this transition.

The company intends to keep operations running as smoothly as possible throughout the restructuring process to minimize disruption. In a statement, Jerry Meyer, CEO of ICON Aircraft, emphasized the company's dedication to its stakeholders: "We plan to continue to produce and sell aircraft and provide first-rate service, training, and support to our customers. We believe this process will enable the business to address its current challenges and emerge with new ownership - stronger than ever - and continue building amazing planes with a focus on innovation, safety, and incredible flying experiences."

Throughout the restructuring process, ICON Aircraft will maintain open lines of communication with its customers, suppliers, employees, and other stakeholders to ensure transparency and provide updates on critical developments. Meyer continued by saying, "The purpose of the Chapter 11 filing is to resolve the Company's financial challenges and position the A5 for success for years to come. We understand that this situation creates a hardship for everyone involved. However, without taking these steps, there is not a viable path forward for the business to do what we do best - build incredible airplanes and support our aircraft owners."

The Company expects to continue operations during the Chapter 11 process and seeks to complete an expedited sale process with Bankruptcy Court approval. ICON Aircraft has arranged for debtor in possession financing to fund post-petition operations and costs in the ordinary course. To minimize the adverse effects on its business and the value of its estate, the company has filed customary motions with the Bankruptcy Court to get court approval to sustain its operations in the ordinary course, including honouring commitments to customers and vendors and fulfilling obligations to all employees.


The U.S. Navy in partnership with Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] successfully conducted a historic Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) flight test with four missiles simultaneously in flight.

During the 12th Integrated Test Event (ITE-12), the U.S. Navy was able to demonstrate the weapon's inherent high-end lethality from mission planning through kill chain integration and its effects on the target. All mission objectives were met, reinforcing high confidence in the weapon's capabilities and superior firepower.

"We have continued to invest in the design and development of LRASM's anti-surface warfare capabilities to ensure that warfighters have the 21st century security solutions they need to complete their missions and come home safely," said Lisbeth Vogelpohl, LRASM program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "This event was a testament to our commitment to deliver reliable products that work each and every time, ensuring those who serve stay ahead of ready."

ITE-12 was the next 'big-step' in LRASM's evolution. The successful test was a graduation exercise for the missiles' latest configuration and lays the foundation for increased capabilities to come.

As a member of the AGM-158 family of cruise missiles, LRASM delivers long-range, highly survivable and lethal capability against highly defended surface combatants that no other weapon in the inventory can provide.

31 MARCH 1942

The Royal Air Force places the new 4,000-lb (1,814-kg) high-capacity "Cookie" bomb - Its largest bomb to date and its first "blockbuster" bomb - Into service in a raid on Emden, Germany. The RAF will drop 68,000 "Cookie" bombs during World War II.

The bombs then called Blockbusters were the RAF's HC (high capacity) bombs. These bombs had especially thin casings that allowed them to contain approximately three-quarters of their weight in explosive, with a 4000 lb bomb (nominal weight) containing about 3,000 lb (1,400 kg) of explosive.

The larger 8,000 lb (3.6 t) bomb was constructed from two 4,000 lb (1.8 t) sections, of a larger 38 in (0.97 m) diameter, that fitted together with bolts. A 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) version was created by adding a third 4000 lb section and should not be confused with the 12,000lb Tallboy ground-penetrating "earthquake" bomb.

The 4000-lb high-capacity design was little more than a cylinder full of explosives: it was not aerodynamic and did not have fins. By comparison the similar American "4,000 pound LC Bomb AN-M56" bomb was aerodynamically designed as other US bombs were, with a sheet metal tailfin assembly and shaped nose and aft sections. When fitted with a conical "nose piece" and a drum tail, the 1,800 kg (2 short tons) British "Blockbuster" bomb fell straight down.

DRC, Mahagi: A Cessna 206 Stationair crashed during an attempted landing at an airstrip near Mahagi, D.R. Congo. Preliminary information suggests that the aircraft faced the animal's clearance on the runway on landing on the 1000-metre airstrip. The pilot is said to have attempted to go around to avoid the collision unfortunately he couldn't be out of obstacles.

Canada, Regina Beach Airport (CKL9), Regina Beach SK: A Cessna 172N Skyhawk, overshot the runway at Regina Beach Airport (CKL9), Regina Beach, Saskatchewan, and overturned in an adjacent field when attempting to land there after the pilot reported engine trouble. No injuries were reported to the three occupants and the aircraft received substantial damage.

UK, Stoney Lane Farm, Worcestershire: The engine of a Beechcraft D35 the engine quit at 5.000 ft MSL and the a/c made an emergency landing at Stoney Lane Farm. No injury or damage. Subsequent tests revealed water contamination in one of the fuel tanks. The water was drained and the a/c flown out the same day.

Guatemala, La Aurora International Airport (GUA/MGGT), Guatemala City: A Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee experienced an engine failure after take-off and crashed through the roof of a hangar at La Aurora International Airport (GUA/MGGT), Guatemala City.

USA, U.S. Hwy 1, northbound Chatham County, NC: An Experimentally built Donald R Burt Lancair 360, Registration N360XS, sustained substantial damage subsequent to impact with a motor vehicle during a gear up forced landing to major roadway terrain in Chatham County, North Carolina. The sole pilot onboard the Amateur Built single-engine airplane was not injured. There were no reported injuries to occupants of the involved motor vehicles.

Dead Stick Landing Scheibe Tandem Falke SF28A

Midweek Update

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