Over the past ten years or so South Africa, which mirrors other countries in the world, has seen a steady decline in the number of ‘certified piston engine’ aircraft sold as ‘new’ to the market.
The reasons for this decline are numerous, but fundamentally the sheer cost of owning a new ‘certified’ piston engine aircraft, coupled with the significant new acquisition cost has prevented the expansion of this particular aviation sector.
Unless a potential aircraft owner is exceptionally wealthy or has a specific requirement to operate a piston engine aircraft, it would appear that ownership is now financially well beyond most pilots.
Compiled by Athol Franz – African Pilot – March 2017
However, the sheer cost factor has not stopped private flying, because many pilots now own and operate Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) due to the sheer economy where Mogas (car fuel) can be used and the exceptionally high cost of maintenance has been dramatically reduced by using ‘Approved Persons’ to conduct annual inspections.
Where do these costs come from? It appears that in the past 10 to 15 years many of the world’s regulatory authorities have become increasingly dictatorial about so called ‘aviation safety’ to the point where regulations are becoming almost impossible to follow.
Where is all this likely to end? In South Africa indications are that many flight schools that utilise ‘certified aircraft’ for training are doing very well, but many of the ‘students’ are not South African citizens. Whilst this is good for aviation training in our country, it appears that there has been a distinct downturn in local student pilots and those that are pursuing their licences are mostly looking at professional careers as airline pilots.
African Pilot’s 2017 piston engine aircraft feature
As in the past, we sent an informative questionnaire to all known manufacturers of piston engine types. However, certain Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) did not respond by the deadline, therefore the details of the particular aircraft type have been sourced from the OEMs website.
Airvan Range of Aircraft
The Airvan8 built by GippsAero and owned by the giant Mahindra group of companies continues to dominate in the world of tourist transfers in southern Africa. Sales of Airvan in southern Africa exceed 40 units and Maun, Botswana can now justifiably be called the Airvan capital of the world with 32 Airvans based at that airport alone.
The Airvan has built a solid reputation over the years as a rugged economical eight place aircraft well capable of handling the challenges of dirt landing strips and young pilots. The Airvan8 TC is also available with the 320 HP turbo charged engine which caters for the hot and high airports as well as providing an extra 10 knots cruise speed which is welcome on longer legs.
The new Airvan10, which will become the Airvan flagship model will use the tried and tested Rolls Royce 250B17F2 turbine and will utilize a stretched cabin with 10 seats. Certification is well under way and is expected to be completed later this year.
The Textron Group is a $13.9 billion multi-industry company with approximately 34,000 employees. The company has a global network of aircraft, defence and intelligence, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services.
Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Beechcraft, Bell Helicopter, Cessna, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, Textron Financial, Textron Systems and TRU Simulation and Training.
Textron Aviation is the general aviation business unit formed following the acquisition of Beechcraft Corporation which included the Beechcraft and Hawker aircraft businesses. The new business unit includes Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker branded aircraft under common management.
Bonanza G36 (US$ 815,000)
The Bonanza G36 carries six people in comfort, with a cabin featuring flexible, ergonomic seating and contemporary, upscale materials in an integrated, soft-edged interior. For comfort, an air conditioning system with fully automatic climate control allows true ‘set-and-forget’ operation, even during take-off. In the cockpit, pilots will appreciate improved seating, a redesigned power quadrant and new control yokes.
Meanwhile, Garmin® G1000 NXi avionics address safety and maximise pilot awareness, delivering more information in a way that is intuitive and easy to understand. Primary flight information, engine performance, graphical navigation, available traffic, terrain, XM satellite weather and synthetic vision even an integrated Garmin autopilot, barometric VNAV and WAAS with LPV approach. Silver accent finishes throughout large doors for effortless boarding and cargo loading.
Redesigned power quadrant with integrated climate controls and hideaway cup holders Garmin® 1000 NXi integrated avionics suite and all-weather capability.
Baron G58 (US$ 1,400,500)
The wide cabin doors of the Baron G58 invite up to six people to enjoy the best ride found in any light-twin aircraft. The spacious club cabin features ergonomic seating and contemporary, upscale materials in an integrated, soft-edged interior.
For comfort, an air conditioning system with fully automatic climate control allows true set-and-forget’’ operation, even during take-off.
In the cockpit, pilots will appreciate improved seating, a redesigned power quadrant and new control yokes. Meanwhile, Garmin® G1000 NXi avionics address safety and maximize pilot awareness delivering more information intuitively. Primary flight information, engine performance, graphical navigation, available traffic, terrain, XM satellite weather and synthetic vision even an integrated Garmin autopilot, barometric VNAV and WAAS with LPV approach capability.
The Primary Flight Display (PFD) replaces many traditional cockpit instruments ensuring that all flight critical information is displayed at the pilot’s fingertips. The Class-B Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) will alert pilots of potentially hazardous obstacles and conflicts in terrain.
A digital Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) and an Air Data Computer (ADC) provide attitude and air data information to the system. AHRS replaces pneumatic gyros by using comparative inputs from GPS, a magnetometer and the air data computer to achieve increased levels of reliability and precision.
In South Africa Textron Aviation is represented by Absolute Aviation Group, with its headquarters at Lanseria International Airport representing the two major aircraft brands of Beechcraft and Cessna.
Cessna Piston Engine Aircraft
Skyhawk SP 172S (US$ 369,000)
The Cessna Skyhawk® is the ultimate training aircraft and the most popular single-engine aircraft ever built. With the Garmin® G1000™ and optional GFC 700 autopilot, it delivers an intuitive cockpit experience matched with a highly durable air-frame with forgiving flying characteristics.
This superior platform is ideally suited to learn the skills needed to become a true pilot in command. Pilots and passengers of the Skyhawk will enjoy high-quality leather, contoured seats, customised LED lighting, advanced soundproofing, as well as top-rate multilevel ventilation and air controls.
Cessna’s engineering team designed the Skyhawk’s cockpit with the latest in avionics technology and the most advanced application of ergonomic sciences available.
The flight deck is powered by the Garmin G1000® TXi avionics suite, including optional integrated Garmin Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT™) and an automatic flight control system. Two 10.4-inch, high-resolution liquid crystal displays show flight instrumentation, traffic data, digital altitude, moving maps, navigation, communication, and other real-time flight-critical data.
The Skyhawk’s flight deck can include the optional Garmin Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT™), which offers sophisticated graphics modelling of terrain, traffic and obstacles in the flight path. The system looks at the entire flight path via satellite and renders a three-dimensional virtual ‘reality’ landscape, which is displayed on one or both primary flight displays.
This technology prepares you for what lies ahead in plenty of time to plan for any traffic around the aircraft, even in solid IFR (instrument flight rules) or night-time VFR (visual flight rules) conditions.
Skylane 182 (US$ 480,000)
The Cessna Skylane matches powerful capability with a proven airframe that is easy to fly. The sophisticated Garmin G1000 GXi integrated flight deck combined with a 230 HP high-performance engine provides dependable performance.
Enjoy room for four with the ergonomically designed twotone seating and travel over 900 nautical miles nonstop. With the ability to take-off and land on short runways, with an impressive payload capability, the Skylane is a true high performance workhorse.
The Skylane cockpit features the all-glass Garmin G1000 GXi flight deck customised for Cessna, reducing pilot workload and boosting ease of operation. Two large-format, high resolution, colour liquid crystal displays make fast assimilation of critical flight data eff ortless.
The jet-level GFC 700 autopilot significantly reduces pilot workload and enhances the safety of every flight. Additional features include a go around button, flight-level change and precise guidance with optional satellite-driven graphical weather radar.
Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) enhances visual orientation with three-dimensional renderings of terrain on both flight displays. Pilots feel confident in darkness, haze, rain, fog, or any other IFR conditions that might obstruct a clear view through the windshield.
This advanced graphics modelling technology recreates the surrounding landscape accurately in dimensional, graphical renderings on your primary flight display.
Pilots have a clear picture of ground and water, airports, obstacles and air traffic; all shown relative to the aircraft. The ‘Go Around’ switch or go-around button disengages the autopilot, selects flight director go-around mode, and activates a missed approach. It’s conveniently positioned above the throttle on the instrument panel.
Additional features are included in this robust system and together they offer Skylane pilots more precision than any other aircraft in the category.
Turbo Stationair T-206 (US$ 665,000)
Choose from five different seating options designed for any mission. From the relaxing club seating to the one seat trainer configuration with a clear view of the instrument panel, each cabin configuration allows for maximum flexibility with seat tracks that run the length of the cabin.
Enhanced situational awareness for pilots means enhanced safety for all. The leading technology of the Garmin G1000 TXi all-glass avionics suite integrates the functionality and reliability needed to fly with confidence. The Turbo Stationair’s flight deck is a proven system that reduces workload with added features and capabilities such as graphical weather radar, electronic charts, Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT™), engine sensor data, autopilot functionality and more.
The G1000 flight deck is standard on Cessna’s Caravan and Citation Mustang models as well, therefore pilot’s transition between aircraft will be smoother when upgrading. Satellite drive Synthetic Vision Technology enhances visual orientation
in darkness, fog, haze, rain or any solid IFR conditions that keep pilots from seeing clearly.
Graphics modelling technology recreates a 3D virtual rendering of the surrounding landscape on both of the PFDs. The resulting picture depicts a dimensional graphic of ground and water, airports, obstacles and air traffic all shown relative to the aircraft.
TTX T240 (US$ 715,000)
At 235 knots, the Cessna TTx® is the fastest fixed-gear piston aircraft in its class. Its efficient laminar-flow wing design, the race-bred engine and the low-drag profile all add up to unprecedented speed. The TTx has a lighter and stronger all composite body and wing that provide a signature stable ride and remains the only aircraft in its class to hold a rugged Utility Category certification due to its air frame strength.
The TTx is certified for Flight Into Known Icing (FIKI) extending the mission capability of the TTx. Fully lined cabin walls and handcrafted workmanship make each TTx cabin a work of art. The Blaze series features a crème headliner upper area, creating a warm classic visual experience, accented in classic black contrast details on the lower sidewalls and flooring.
Black leather wraps the side stick controls and armrests. While the Lunar series features an ivory headliner upper area, creating a bright sporty environment, accented in classic black contrast details on the lower sidewalls and flooring. Black leather wraps the side stick controls and armrests.
The new Intrinzic™ flight deck powered by Garmin G2000 avionics is intuitive and designed to complement the pilot’s knowledge and skill. The avionics suite of the TTx integrates Cessna’s DirectControl technology, which gives pilots complete, precise command over maneuvering and handling the aircraft. The TTx is so responsive, in fact, you might think you’re flying a jet.
The GTC 570 touch-screen controller interface enables pilots to access more menus with fewer keystrokes or page sequences. Intuitive icons simplify complex functions. Menu structures are shallow and streamlined for rapid utilisation. Data entry is centralised to one location, minimising hand/eye movements. Managing navigation and communication radios is as simple as speed dialling on a smartphone.
The touch screen also pilots with control of the remote audio/ intercom system, transponder codes and idents, electronic checklist entries, as well as flight plan entry and editing. Despite its wide range of complex capabilities, the touch screen is designed to never overwhelm. The TTx’s Electronic Stability and Protection System (ESP) enhances safety like never before.
This electronic monitoring and exceedancecorrecting technology is integrated into the Intrinzic™ flight deck and assists in maintaining the aircraft in a safe, flight-stable condition. The ESP helps in certain situations to prevent the onset of loss-of-control conditions like stalls, spins, or steep spirals.
This technology is invaluable if the worst happens when the pilot becomes compromised or incapacitated during flight. In South Africa Textron Aviation is represented by Absolute Aviation Group, with its headquarters at Lanseria International Airport representing the two major aircraft brands of Beechcraft and Cessna.
Contact: Tel: +27 (0)11 548 3000
Guy Worthington Cell: +27-(0)60-976-9745
E-mail: [email protected]