24 October 2014
The WA Chapter of the Australian Aerobatics Club is hosting the WA State Aerobatics Competition at Murrayfield (near Mandurah) on 18 and 19 October 2014.
UPDATE: Aircraft will begin arriving from 7:30am Saturday, with pilot briefing at 8:30am and aerobatics start at 9:30am. Flying will continue throughout the day, with a break at midday.
Adam Gibbs, President of the WA Chapter Australian Aerobatics Club advised AviationWA that there will be five categories, based on difficulty (Graduate, Sportsman, Intermediate, Advanced, and Unlimited), plus a Cessna 152 trophy for the highest placed Cessna 152 pilot in the Graduate category.
For every category, the pilots must fly a Known aerobatics sequence in a ‘box’ of airspace measuring 1000 metres x 1000 metres x 1000 metres. Participating pilots are provided with the sequence at the start of the calender year, so the pilots have plenty of time to practice for it – hence the term ‘Known’.
Each manoeuvre is given a score out of 10 by judges on the ground, and this is multiplied by a difficulty factor (“K”). Zero scores may be awarded for completely messing up the manoeuvre, flying too low, flying it in the wrong direction, etc. The total score for all the manoeuvres is tallied up along with any penalties and a score for positioning, and the pilot given an overall % score for the sequence.
In the Graduate category, pilots fly this Known twice, and then pilots are ranked on overall score to determine the winner. The current sequence is here: http://www.aerobaticsaustralia.com.au/sequences/2014/graduate2014.pdf (loop, half cuban, roll-off-the-top, 1-turn spin, stall turn, slow roll, 180 degree steep turn, 270 degree steep turn)
In every category above Graduate, the pilots must also fly a ‘Free’ sequence (a sequence they’ve designed themselves, that meets certain criteria and overall difficulty/K factor) and an ‘Unknown’ sequence (a sequence that is given to pilots the day before, that they cannot practice).
The scores from the Known, Free and Unknown are combined to give an overall percentage, and the contestants are then ranked.
At the end of the competition, there is usually a 4-minute freestyle flight, either a demonstration or an actual competition. This is for the pilots with the highest skill level and is more air-display type flying with tumbles, smoke and noise. The pilots are judged on extra things like creativity, positioning, energy, variety, etc.
The competition is open to any pilot with a General Flying Progress Test (GFPT) and Aerobatics endorsement. For insurance purposes, participating pilots must be at least a State member of the Australian Aerobatics Club, which is only $35 and can be sorted out that morning. If the pilot does not have a low level waiver, they can fly the sequence down to their normal 3000 feet AGL (Above Ground Level) or they can fly down to 1500 feet AGL with a safety pilot aboard who has the appropriate waiver.
There should be plenty of Cessna 152s and a Super Decathlon available, so pilots shouldn’t have any problems getting an aircraft to participate in. There will be a briefing at the start of each day to go over the rules, conditions, procedures, etc.
Adam Gibbs will also be available for coaching from the air or ground, if people want to get into it before the competition.
Aircraft expected to attend (UPDATED – subject to change) include:
- VH-AAZ American Champion 8KCAB Super Decathlon
- VH-NQX American Champion 8KCAB Super Decathlon
- VH-BQO Christen Eagle II
- VH-IXN Extra EA-330LX
- VH-NBX Extra EA-300L
- VH-WFX Extra EA-300L
- VH-WMX MXS Technologies MXS
- VH-JKR Stephens Akro Laser 230 “The Joker”
- VH-VSW Vans RV-8A
- …and some Royal Aero Club of WA Cessna 152 Aerobats.
On the last Sunday in September each year, the Sport Aircraft Builders Club of WA Inc (SABC) hosts its Annual Fly-In at the SABC’s airfield at Serpentine Airfield, about an hour’s drive south of Perth, WA.
The fly-in includes aircraft ranging from a World War One Sopwith Pup, to modern, state-of-the-art sportsplanes like the Evo Rocket, ultralights, vintage biplanes and warbirds.
Qantas Group will use Jetstar’s Airbus A320 aircraft to operate Fly-In, Fly-Out (FIFO) charter flights to Solomon and Cloudbreak iron ore mines, following a request from Fortescue Metals Group (FMG).
The Jetstar A320s have 180 seats, allowing FMG to move entire operations crews together, reducing the number of flights required and the number of air traffic departure slots at the capacity-constrained Perth Airport. Currently, the flights to Solomon and Cloudbreak use 100-seat Fokker 100s of Network Aviation and 125-seat Boeing 717s of QantasLink (both also part of the Qantas Group). Qantas’ own 737-800s have a capacity of 168 seats, and these are used together with Network’s Fokker 100s on services to Christmas Creek, another FMG mine.
Jetstar’s A320s will operate on the Solomon and Cloudbreak services from December 2014, during Tuesdays to Thursdays. As Jetstar’s aircraft utilisation increases on weekends due to leisure passengers, the FMG flights will also improve aircraft utilisation during the week, when they are less busy.
Qantas will consider offering Jetstar A320s for other FIFO work.
Skywest (now Virgin Australia Regional Airlines) previously used its first A320 (VH-FNP) on the Cloudbreak route, when it operated the FMG contract.
14 October 2014 – Copyright © David Eyre
Garuda Indonesia has ordered 46 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and converted an existing order for four Boeing 737-800s to 737 MAX 8s. The order is worth US$4.9 billion at current list prices, though the airline would have received significant discounts for a large order. Delivery dates have not been released.
The 737 MAX incorporates the new CFM International LEAP-1B engines, split winglets and other aerodynamic and technological improvements, making it 14 percent more fuel-efficient than current versions of the 737NG (737-600/700/800/900) and 20 percent better than earlier 737NGs.
Garuda currently already operates 79 Boeing 737 aircraft (1 737-300, 3 737-500s, 75 737-800s), and still has some 737-800s on order.
Garuda currently uses the Boeing 737-800 on services between Jakarta and Perth, and until recently also used them on services to Bali (replaced on that route by Airbus A330s).
Garuda and its competitor, Lion Air, will be the largest airlines in the South East Asia region by the end of 2014. Garuda expects to have 194 aircraft in service by the end of 2015. Garuda will reduce capacity in 2014 by selling older aircraft and deferring some new aircraft deliveries because of excess capacity, but will then increase its fleet to about 250 by the end of 2025.
Boeing’s 737 MAX family has a total of 2,295 orders from 47 customers, with the prototype 737 MAX aircraft due to make its first flight in 2016.
2 October 2014
The first Airbus A350-900 for Qatar Airways, A7-ALA (MSN 006) was rolled out of the Airbus factory in Toulouse today, fully painted and with the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines fitted. Delivery is expected by the end of the year.
Qatar Airways has ordered 43 of the 315-seater A350-900, with deliveries starting late in 2014 and 37 of the 369-seater A350-1000, with deliveries starting in 2017. The airline expects to have nine A350-900s in service by the end of 2015, followed by one delivery each month in 2016 and two per month in 2017.
The A350 will be used on Doha – Perth services from early 2015.
The A350-900 achieved European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Type Certification on 30 September 2014. FAA certification is expected to follow soon after. To celebrate, Airbus flew all five A350 development aircraft in formation:
At the end of September, the A350 XWB had 750 orders from 39 customers.
29 September 2014
Etihad Airways unveiled its new livery on its first Airbus A380 and its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner this week.
Etihad’s media release states that “The new ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ livery uses a color palette which reflects the varying hues of the landscape of the UAE, from the darker sands of the Liwa desert to the lighter colours seen in the Northern Emirates. The result of extensive research, the design will also be a key feature of the new cabin interiors being introduced on Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787 aircraft.”
Every new aircraft will be delivered in the new livery, and the whole fleet will have been repainted in the new livery by late 2017.
Etihad has stated that the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will be used on Abu Dhabi – Perth services during 2016/17, replacing the current Airbus A330-200. The first Australian destination will be Brisbane, from the first half of 2015.
Etihad has 104 aircraft in service, with another 204 aircraft on order. These include 41 Boeing 787-9s and 30 Boeing 787-10s.
7 September 2014 (UPDATED 29 September 2014)
Scoot Airlines is to replace the current Boeing 777-200ER aircraft used on Singapore – Perth services from 1 January 2015 (originally scheduled from 29 March 2015) (subject to change) with a five times weekly Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service.
Scoot commenced its Singapore – Perth services in December 2013, using a fleet of six Boeing 777-200ER from parent company Singapore Airlines (SIA).
20 Boeing 787-9s were originally ordered by SIA, but SIA later decided to transfer the 787s to Scoot, which has now split the order into 10 Boeing 787-8s and ten of the larger Boeing 787-9s.
Scoot will take delivery of Boeing 787-9s from November 2014.
The first of the smaller 787-8 Dreamliners will be delivered in mid-2015. The current Boeing 777-200ER fleet with then be retired and Scoot will become an all-787 operator.
In an article in The Australian, Steve Creedy reports on Virgin Australia’s frustration with delays to Perth Airport’s construction of the new Virgin Australia pier at Terminal 1.
The new pier was originally scheduled to be completed in June 2014, but repeated delays mean it will be around June 2015 before it opens.
Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti hopes that there will be no further delays, although he is not confident.
Borghetti acknowledged that airport projects are complex, but “it’s not the first airport project that’s ever been put together and there far more complex ones than this one.’’
He says the delays are costing Virgin “tens of millions of dollars”. Perth Airport is to be the first in Australia to introduce Virgin’s new check-in technology, but the construction problems have delayed the national rollout of this technology as the plans cannot be changed. Perth currently has inferior Virgin Australia lounges and facilities compared to the Eastern States, and Virgin is operating from three separate terminals (T1, T2 and T3) on opposite sides of Perth Airport, causing passenger confusion.
Perth Airport regrets the construction delays and confirmed that Virgin will move into the new Pier in June 2015, one year later than planned.
21 September 2014 – copyright David Eyre
The Boeing 787-8 version of the Dreamliner visited Perth for the first time on Sunday 21 September 2014, with the arrival of Thai Airways flight TG483 from Bangkok.
The first service was operated by HS-TQB, which departed Bangkok as flight TG483 at 12:24am Bangkok time (1:24am Perth time), and after a flight time of 5 hours 58 minutes, landed on runway 03 at 7:22am. It departed Perth back to Bangkok at 9:22am as TG484, taking off runway 03, and landed at Bangkok 6 hours 36 minutes later.
Thai’s Boeing 787 is only being used temporarily on Perth services for the five times per week TG483/484 service, until 25 October 2014 (arriving 26 October 2014). The 787s are needed for their Bangkok-Fukuoka (Japan) service. The TG483/484 service will revert back to Airbus A330-300s from 26 October 2014 (arriving Perth 27 October 2014). Thai’s website currently shows that the 787 will return to Bangkok-Perth services from 29 March 2015. This is subject to change.
HS-TQB is the second of six Boeing 787-8s on order, and is so new that it was only delivered from Seattle to Bangkok on 16-17 September 2014.
HS-TQB’s arrival in Perth was only its third revenue flight and its first international flight – the previous two flights were made the day before – two short 1-hour domestic services within Thailand. This was also the first visit to Perth by the smaller Boeing 787-8 model.
Air New Zealand’s larger 787-9 made the first Boeing 787 visit to Perth on 12 September 2014.
The ‘Royal Silk’ business class cabin contains 24 seats in four rows of lie-flat seats in a 2-2-2 abreast layout. The Economy section has 240 seats in 3-3-3 abreast layout.
Thai Airways ordered six Boeing 787-8s and two 787-9s, all leased for 12 years from ILFC. Four 787-8s are to be delivered from July to December 2014 and two more by June 2015. In 2017, two of the larger Boeing 787-9s will be delivered.
Their first 787-8, HS-TQA, was delivered on 17-18 July 2014, and entered service on 25 July 2014, operating daily one-hour domestic flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand until 10 September 2014, to train up the cabin crews. It then operated daily international services between Bangkok and Tokyo from 11 September 2014.