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Sep 14, 2012

Hybrid aircraft to debut at AAD

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Aviation|DURBAN|SECURITY|ADEPT Airmotive|Africa|Components|Defence|Engines|Instrumentation|MT Propeller|PROJECT|Security|System|Systems|Vliegmasjien|Africa|France|Germany|Security|Engine Manufacturer|Equipment|Manufacturing|Mining|Propeller Manufacturer|Security|Service|Systems|Bush|Francois Jordaan|Jolien Labuschagne|Power|Security|Wolfgang Vormbaum
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Bush and amphibian nontype certified aircraft (NTCA) hybrid, the C-Wolf aerial utility vehicle (AUV) will make its debut at Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2012.
Nicknamed Boeremeisie, the C-Wolf AUV is the result of an idea conceptualised by aviation enthusiast Wolfgang Vormbaum 30 years ago.
NTCA development company Vliegmasjien, which was founded to develop and commercialise the hybrid aircraft, initiated the prototype manu- facturing process in 2011.
“The development of the Boeremeisie began in January last year and accelerated a few months later in September, after we had been confirmed as exhibitors at AAD 2012,” says Vliegmasjien director Jolien Labuschagne.
“The aircraft has 8.50-6 inch bush tyres and an all-composite suspension suited to bush landing strips. The plane’s fuselage is constructed from Aramid, a tough, impact-resistant synthetic fibre, which Vliegmasjien believes is the most suitable material to protect the occupants for this type of aircraft.
“The main wings and horizontal stabiliser are manufactured from carbon fibre, while the fuselage is also wrapped in glass to stiffen and waterproof it,” she explains.
Durban-based engine manufacturer Adept Airmotive designed and manufactured the aircraft’s engine.
“We are excited to be Adept Airmotive’s first aircraft manufacturer client. The plane is designed to accommodate several engines, but Adept Airmotive’s engine is the most suitable for this aircraft, owing to its ability to run on ‘Mogas’, its low noise generation and high power density. We had the propeller developed according to the engine’s performance and the engine geared down to suit the slow rotation propeller.
“The fully reversible, constant speed five-blade propeller, which is imported from propeller manufacturer MT Propeller in Germany, complies with the most stringent European noise-control standards,” says Labuschagne.
She adds that the engine is environment-friendly, as it limits carbon dioxide emissions and will even be fitted with a catalytic converter.
The aircraft’s cabin is 1.6 m high and big enough for two pilots and four passengers to fit in comfortably. It has a wingspan of 13 m and an overall length of 8.75 m. The aircraft is expected to have an empty weight of 900 kg.
“The C-Wolf civilian plane is built for loitering and can comfortably stay in the air for 16 hours at a time. It can be used for various operations, including security and surveillance, or for leisure-travel purposes. We have had interest from mining security companies that want to use the plane as part of their surveillance systems,” notes Labuschagne.
Builder and maintenance service provider of NTCA, Sports Plane Builders, is responsible for the bulk of the manufacturing of the plane’s composite components.
“The wheel and brake system is imported from France and the suspension from a specialist manufacturer in Germany. Aeronautical engineer Francois Jordaan conducted the structural design of the plane and will remain involved until the test phase has been completed,” states Labuschagne.
The C-Wolf AUV is due for its first test flight in 2013 and has already been registered with the Civil Aviation Authority under the registration number ZU-WLF.
Meanwhile, the NTCA will also be available in two other models – the M-Wolf AUV, or Induna, which is the military variation and the U-Wolf, or Tokoloshe, which is the unmanned version.
A 1:5 scale model of the Induna will be on display at AAD 2012, while the Tokoloshe is a work in progress and will not feature at this year’s expo.
All three variations of the aircraft are bush planes with pontoons, which allow them to have amphibian capabilities.
The M-Wolf AUV is fitted with a thermal imaging and integrated surveillance system that makes it well suited for anti- piracy operations and could even make it a contender for the SA Air Force’s maritime surveillance aircraft Project Saucepan needs.
The Induna is a more sophisticated version of its civilian counterpart, owing to its more advanced fighter style ‘heads-up display’ instrumentation and its ability to ‘piggy back’ support equipment on the pontoons.
“Both the C-Wolf and the M-Wolf are equipped with a ballistic triple parachute aircraft recovery system that is fired off in case of an emergency, instead of ejection seats. All three variants will be fitted with hydraulic dual-calliper antilock brake systems,” Labuschagne explains.
She says certain armaments, such as a Gatling gun can easily be serviced when mounted into the pontoons as opposed to being wing or fuselage mounted.

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
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