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Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) Sky Muster II satellite has been successfully launched into space.
Sky Muster II joins Sky Muster I in providing high-speed internet to the Australian continent as well as Norfolk, Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos islands. The satellites were also earmarked for delivering on-board wi-fi for Qantas.
The launch of Sky Muster II some 36,000km into space was conducted by Arianespace at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, South America.
nbn co, the government body charged with rolling out the national broadband network, said Sky Muster II, built by Palo Alto, California-based SSL (Space Systems Loral), would undergo some technical testing before it was full operational.
“Today’s successful launch of Sky Muster II completes the final chapter in delivering our satellite service which is already revolutionising the face of regional and rural Australia,” nbn co chief executive Bill Morrow said in a statement.
“Our satellites will ensure that no Australian gets left behind by providing access to fast broadband for those who need it the most.”
NBN Co published a video of the launch of the 6.405kg Sky Muster II on its YouTube channel:
Sky Muster II was one of two satellites launched into space on Wednesday alongside the Indian Space Research Organisation’s GSAT-18 satellite.
It was Arianespace’s 74th successful mission in a row.
“We are especially honoured to have been chosen by the Australian operator nbn to launch both its satellites,” Arianespace chairman and chief executive Stephane Israel said in a statement.
“Thanks to everybody at Arianespace for this eighth successful launch of 2016.”
Qantas announced in February plans to equip its domestic fleet of Boeing 737-800s and Airbus A330s with internet wi-fi, with connectivity to be provided by ViaSat’s global satellite network and the National Broadband Network’s Sky Muster satellites.
The airline was scheduled to conduct a trial on board a 737 prior the end of 2016, ahead of a rollout of the technology across the 100-odd aircraft in 2017. The oneworld alliance member planned to offer the service free for all passengers.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has said previously the satellites, which use the high capacity Ka-band, would deliver internet speeds 10 times faster than conventional on-board wi-fi.
And in August, Joyce said the airline was also considering offering wi-fi on regional and international aircraft.
“We’re in the final stages of scoping wi-fi for our QantasLink fleet of 717s, F100s and turboprops, as well as our international fleet,” Joyce said.
Meanwhile, Virgin Australia in July said it would offer internet connectivity on its 737, 777-300ER and A330 fleet from mid-2017. However, the carrier was yet to announce details about the technology it would use, the pricing model and any potential partners for the service.
And separately on Thursday, Air New Zealand announced its international and domestic jet fleet would be progressively equipped with wi-fi from 2017 utilising the Inmarsat new global GX satellite constellation.
“Proving flights will begin in the second half of 2017 and world-class internet services progressively available on Tasman, Pacific Island and long haul jet fleets from the end of next year,” Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said in a statement on Thursday.
“Given Air New Zealand operates some of the longest flights in the world, and in oceanic areas where there has historically been poor quality satellite service, we have patiently worked with partners until comfortable that a service which meets the high expectations of our customers is available.
“Proving flights on a partner company test aircraft have now given us the confidence to introduce what we believe will be the world’s most reliable inflight connectivity. Customers will be able to use their social media channels, stay on top of emails and browse the internet.”
“Our new system will also allow us to enhance real time features within our state of the art Inflight Entertainment System as well as providing our flight crew with an enhanced ability to manage customer requests related to their ground travel.
Luxon said trans-Tasman services would be the first to receive wi-fi, followed by the rest of the international jet fleet. Domestic jet services would offer wi-fi from 2018. The airline planned to have wi-fi as a gate-to-gate” offering on its flight. Pricing details were not disclosed.
Aviation Week journalist Adrian Schofield said Air New Zealand’s proving flights in the second half of 2017 would be on a new Airbus A321neo and refitted Boeing 777-300ER.
Business jet manufacturer Dassault Aviation has delivered its first Falcon 8X to launch customer Amjet Executive.
The handover ceremony took place at the manufacturer’s Bordeaux-Merignac facility on Wednesday (local time).
The Falcon 8X is an update of Dassault’s existing Falcon 7X and designed to enable non-stop flights such as Sydney-Mumbai, Hong Kong-London or Beijing-Los Angeles.
The aircraft received certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency and US Federal Aviation Administration in June.
Dassault said the aircraft was delivered on schedule to Amjet, a current Falcon operator based in Athens, Greece.
“To see our new flagship Falcon handed over right on time in perfect operating order gives us immense pride,” Dassault Aviation chairman and chief executive Eric Trappier said in a statement.
“We are very pleased to deliver the first example of this great new aircraft to Amjet, a long time Falcon operator.”
With a cabin length of 13 metres, the Falcon 8X was capable of flying eight passengers and three crew 6,450nm at a speed of 0.8 Mach. Further, the cabin could be configured up to 30 different ways, including the potential to install a shower in the lavatory.
Amjet president Abakar Manany, who piloted the delivery fight, said the Falcon 8X would allow the company to offer more options for customers.
“I am extremely pleased to welcome the new Falcon 8X into our fleet,” Manany said.
“As a pilot, I can personally vouch for the remarkable handling and piloting qualities of the big new trijet. Its superb performance and cabin comfort will allow us to fill an ever wider range of needs and missions for our exceptionally demanding clientele.”
Dassault said there were currently 11 aircraft in final assembly, with a further 16 at the paintshop or having their interiors fitted. The company said it had orders from customers based in about a dozen countries in Europe ,the Americas, Middle East and Asia.
Here are a selection of photos from Dassault on the day the aircraft, SX-CGR, was delivered.
Meanwhile, Australian Aviation and Dassault Falcon are running a photo competition to mark the 100th anniversary of aerospace group Dassault Aviation.
Dassault has a long history in Australia. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) operated Dassault Mirage III fighters and Dassault Falcon 900 and Mystere 20 VIP aircraft for many years.
To celebrate the shared history between Australia and Dassault, we invite you to send in your photos showing Dassault aircraft in Australia.
The aircraft can be military or civil, and this competition is open to everyone.
The winner and runner-up in the competition will have their photos published in Australian Aviation. And Dassault Falcon will provide each winner with a large model of its newest long-range, large cabin business jet – the Falcon 8X.
More details can be found here.
Senator Nick Xenophon says he plans to seek to have the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s (CASA) new rules on the operation of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) struck out when parliament resumes next week.
Under new rules that came into effect on September 29, people or organisations flying commercial RPAs, or drones, weighing less than two kilograms do not have to apply to CASA for a certificate and licence.
CASA said the regulations “cut the cost and red tape” of operating these types of aircraft while ensuring the public remained safe.
“This means very small commercial drone operators can avoid the requirement to pay about $1,400 in regulatory fees, as well as the need to develop manuals and other documentation,” CASA said on September 29.
“Public safety is being protected by a requirement to follow strict operating conditions at all times.”
However, pilots and air traffic control groups have criticised the new drone regulations, arguing they posed a risk to public safety.
Sen Xenophon said he shared their concerns and would move an “urgent disallowance motion” in the Senate next week to strike out what he described as “dangerous” new drone rules.
“CASA has set a bad and dangerous precedent with these new rules,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
“They say it’s low risk based on computer modelling, which ignores the real-life experience of pilots and air traffic controllers.
“The consequences of a drone being sucked into a jet engine or hitting a helicopter rotor, causing serious damage and threatening flight safety, must not be ignored.”
Sen Xenophon said he wanted a similar approach to the US, which required all drones to be registered, operators trained and certified, adopted in Australia.
The CASA rules were first proposed in 2014, when the regulator issued a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) for amendments to CASR Part 101.
Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) president David Booth said there was a growing problem of rogue drones violating controlled airspace at primary airports.
“These new rules remove layers of safety and pose serious risk to air safety in Australia,” Captain Booth said.
Further, he said there were three incidents involving rogue drones in the landing path at Sydney Airport in the past four weeks, while there had been 150 incident reports from pilots and air traffic controllers in the past 12 months.
The AFAP represents about 4,000 commercial pilots in Australia.
Under the new rules, operators have to fill out an online notification form detailing the specifications of the aircraft for CASA’s records.
Operators were also required to fly the aircraft under a number of specific conditions, including that they only be used during daylight hours and in line of sight, be more than 30 metres away from people and more than 5.5 kilometres away from a controlled airport. Their use over populous areas such as beaches, parks and sporting ovals, as well as near emergency operations such as bushfires, accidents or search and rescue areas, was also prohibited.
Australian Association for Unmanned Systems president and RMIT University honorary associate professor Reece Clothier said CASA used a risk-based approach to develop the regulations.
“There’s very little evidence to suggest that the level of risk will increase from commercial drone operations as a result of changes to the regulation,” Dr Clothier told ABC Television’s Lateline on September 30.
“And we’ve had an impeccable safety record for the commercial industry over the last 14-15 years.
“What we are seeing is an increase in the number of people who are undertaking training, ahead of the changes of the regulation; and industry associations providing professional training programs. And all these facts suggest that we won’t see the skies filling full of untrained and unsafe commercial operators.”
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has deferred the introduction of new fatigue risk management regulations for a further 12 months.
The regulator said in a statement on Friday that operators would now have until May 1 2018 to transition to the proposed new provisions in Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 48.1, which covered fatigue risk management. It is the second time CASA has pushed back the implementation of CAO 48.1.
CASA said the extension was in response to feedback from the aviation community, including from a series of workshops conducted across Australia between May and July 2016.
Further, CASA it would conduct an “independent and comprehensive review of fatigue limits” during the extended transition period.
“This feedback indicated there was a need for CASA to provide more support through education and information on the new fatigue rules,” CASA said.
“Air operators also wanted more time to consider their options under CAO 48.1, with a number asking for extra time to develop and implement fatigue risk management systems.
“CASA is committed to modernising and improving the safety regulation of fatigue and is encouraging a continued focus on fatigue management by air operators.”
The Australian Aviation Associations’ Forum (TAAAF), which comprises peak representative bodies in the local industry, had previously called on CASA to abolish CAO 48.1, arguing that “industry rejects the limited science it is based on, the ignoring of decades of safe operations, the massive costs it will impose and the complexity that will inevitably lead to non-compliance”.
But the Australian Airline Pilots Association (AusALPA) said its members were “very concerned” about the delay and described fatigue as a “clear safety issue” given how often it had been cited as a contributing factor in recent aviation accidents and incidents.
The association, which represents about 6,000 professional pilots in Australia, called on CASA to implement the new regulations in May 2017 as planned.
“AusALPA is deeply concerned that the further delay only serves the commercial interests of industry bodies, such as the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, instead of an improved, more scientific approach to pilot fatigue risk management,” AusALPA president and Qantas Boeing 737 pilot Nathan Safe said in a statement.
Captain David Booth, vice-president of AusALPA and a Virgin 737 pilot said: “These delays have rewarded those operators who have chosen not to work towards science-based solutions. Even those who have commenced the transition may cease work awaiting the outcome of the review.”
CASA said operators that have transitioned to the fatigue rules in CAO 48.1 would be able to continue to operate under the new provisions.
Daniel Figueiredo, produtor musical da novela “Os Dez Mandamentos”, foi indicado ao 2º Prêmio Profissão Entretenimento 2016…
… A premiação será na terça que vem, 11, no Espaço Cultural Escola SESC, em São Paulo.
Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos Nery
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