Fairchild Dornier 328-310 328JET.. Kumba Iron Ore aircraft..

The Fairchild Dornier 328-310 328JET belongs to Kumba Iron Ore in Kathu, which is a branch of the very widespread tree of the Anglo American Group.

This aircraft is one of the most fascinating planes I’ve flown in. The Dornier 328 Jet was designed and placed into initial production by the German aerospace firm Dornier Luftfahrt GmbH, but in 1996 that firm was acquired by the United States aerospace company Fairchild Aircraft.

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The 328JET was therefore the last commercial aircraft to be produced by the former Dornier business before it became insolvent in 2002.

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Following Dornier’s insolvency, AvCraft Aviation of Virginia acquired the rights to the 328 program in March 2003, including the 32-seat 328JET and 328 turboprop, 18 328JETs in various stages of assembly, and the development work on the 428JET. After the successful sale of these airplanes, AvCraft negotiated arrangements with suppliers to resume production.

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The first newly built 328JET was delivered in 2004. AvCraft also took on the production of these aircraft, due to low profit expectations for its other projects, until it filed for bankruptcy itself in 2005.

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The resulting firm was acquired by private equity investors and reformed as M7 Aerospace.

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This is a plane with two pilots and one aircrew, 32 to 34 passengers. Two Pratt and Whitney turbofan engines that give the plane a 3 700 km range at a max cruising speed of 405 knots or 750 km/h.

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Often the two pilots are woman, I wonder if the sun shields have mirrors on them to adjust their make up…

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I must say I do prefer it when they are in the drivers seat… the flight just seems so much smoother…!!

Sishen–Saldanha railway line, a record breaker.

A train of true significance.

When we recently visited my Son in Kathu I had the pleasure of observing a train being loaded with iron ore. 342 trucks each with 100 tons of ore, 34200 tons on its way to Saldanha Port, 861 km (538 miles) away.

Here are some interesting facts about the train…

Trains employing Radio Distributed Power (RDP) technology. These 41,400 tonnes total mass, 3780 metres (2.36 miles) long trains, that use 8 locomotives and 342 wagons, are the longest production trains in the world.

The longest and heaviest train that carried ore from Sishen mine to Saldanha Bay, was a 7,5km (4.69 mile) train of 660 wagons which carried 68 640 tonnes of ore.

Here are some interesting facts about the Port…

Significant capital has been spent to increase iron ore exports from the deep-water port to meet the growing demand. The infrastructure’s set to further expand as the port is gearing up to increase capacity on the rail line in the future. Current infrastructure at the port comprises two rotary tipplers, four stacker/ re-claimers, two ship-loaders and 25 conveying systems, providing the terminal with a capacity to load 10 000 tonnes per hour into a vessel.

  • Operating 24/7, the ore quay at Saldanha has two berths where two vessels of 310 000 DWT can simultaneously berth at the iron ore jetty.
  • From arrival to departure – including piloting, berthing, loading, draft survey and de-berthing; an ore vessel carrying 170 000 tonnes will be in Saldanha Bay for just 24 hours. A vessel carrying 210 000 tonnes will spend 32 hours in the port, while a vessel carrying 240 000 tonnes of ore will be there for 48 hours.
  • Saldanha Bay Port is bigger than Durban, Cape Town’s Table Bay, Richards Bay and Port Elizabeth’s harbours combined.
  • Saldanha Port Operations submits an annual Environmental Report in line with the Global Reporting Initiative. It respects that it’s located in an ecologically sensitive area, and takes all measures possible to manage the area responsibly.
  • In 2011, 37 100 000 tons of iron ore was exported by Kumba from Saldanha Bay to customers in countries and regions around the world. (approx. 1000 train loads of ore)And the few photos that I managed to capture… it is difficult to photograph a train of this length… but suffice it to say, it is long…

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and this is what they are loading… although it would be crushed to a smaller size than this piece of approx. 2.5 tons…

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