Category Archives: General News and Airshow Reviews

Puma Donates Aircraft Fuel to Botswana Police Service Airwing

Puma Energy Botswana has donated Aviation (Jet A1) fuel worth P70 000 to Botswana Police Service in Gaborone.

Speaking at the Handing Over Ceremony, the General Manager of Puma Energy Botswana, Mr Mahube Mpugwa said that in answering the government’s appeal to contribute towards the fight against Covid-19, his company found it imperative to donate 10 000 litres of Aviation fuel to the Botswana Police Service. He said the fuel will be used for the police helicopters that are currently involved in operations around the country to fight the spread of Covid-19.

Mr Mpugwa said the donation was also to encourage, support and appreciate the efforts the BPS are putting in their operations to ensure public safety during this hard times.

When receiving the fuel on behalf of the BPS, the Director Air Support Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Arthur Johnson acknowledged the noble gesture by Puma Energy and said it came at the right time when the Government has called on companies, businesses and individuals to assist in any way possible to prevent the spread of the virus.

Mr Johnson said the fuel will be put to good use as the police helicopters are engaged in aerial surveillance to enforce the State of Public Emergency Regulations, border patrols where the police are doing everything to prevent, and possibly apprehend persons who cross the border at ungazetted points of entry thereby compromising the health of the citizens.

Mr Johnson further urged Batswana to cooperate with Health and law enforcement authorities by staying home and comply with prevention guidelines to prevent the virus from spreading.

PC-24 Rough Field Certification Campaign Brought to a Successful Conclusion

Pilatus obtained certification for take-offs and landings on grass, wet earth and snow, making the PC-24 the world’s most flexible business jet ever.

Pilatus has now obtained full rough field certification for the PC-24 Super Versatile Jet. Certification for operations on dry sand and gravel was delivered in 2018.

A comprehensive post-certification test campaign was conducted throughout 2019 to certify the Super Versatile Jet for operation on unpaved runways and in differing conditions. With immediate effect, all PC-24s may now also be operated on wet and snow-covered unpaved runways.

Twice as many airports – just with the PC-24

The PC-24 was developed for use on rough field from the outset. Its outstanding performance on short and unpaved runways opens up an amazing degree of flexibility and new possibilities. Compared to other business jets currently on the market, the PC-24 provides access to almost twice as many airports worldwide. More airports mean more options – taking operators to their destinations faster, with valuable time-savings.

Pilatus Chairman Oscar J. Schwenk adds: ‟I’m delighted to note the successful completion of these comprehensive tests. Our PC-24 has proven that it is capable of flying the full range of missions for which it was developed.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia and operators in North America or Africa already use rough field runways on a regular basis, proving just how unique the PC-24 is – that sort of capability is only available with the Pilatus Super Versatile Jet!”

Tests across the world

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) requires tests for the certification of take-off and landing capability to be carried out on different runways. After careful evaluation of local conditions, tests were made at locations across America and Europe.

The excellent runway in Goodwood, England was selected for the tests on dry grass. Further tests on grass runways were carried out at Kunovice in the Czech Republic, at Poitiers in France and at Duxford, England.

At Woodbridge, England, complex conditions were reproduced in part in order to meet all test specifications for take-offs and landings on wet dirt surfaces. The PC-24 was also flown in North America: tests on snow-covered gravel runways were performed at Kuujjuaq in Canada.

Russian Airforce Antonov A124 lands at JFK International Airport.

A Russian military plane carrying medical supplies arrived in the United States Wednesday last week, the Russian mission to the UN said, as the Kremlin flexes its soft power during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Antonov-124, landed at JFK Airport in New York — the epicenter of America’s coronavirus outbreak — pictures and video posted on the mission’s Twitter page showed.

Russia’s defense ministry had earlier announced that the plane “with medical masks and medical equipment on board,” left for the US overnight, without providing further details.

Video released by the ministry showed the cargo plane loaded with boxes preparing to take off from a military airbase near Moscow early Wednesday morning.

“We have to work together to defeat #COVID19. This is why the U.S. agreed to purchase urgently needed personal protective equipment from #Russia,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Wednesday evening.

The supplies, also including ventilators, were given to the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in New York, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

Russia’s defense ministry refused to provide AFP with any further information on the delivery, which came after Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with US counterpart Donald Trump on Monday.

Russia has previously sent medical supplies and experts to coronavirus-hit Italy as part of a humanitarian effort that analysts said carried geopolitical overtones.

Moscow said the aid for Italy included about 100 virus specialists with experience dealing with Ebola and swine fever, but Italian media have reported that much of the aid was not useful in the fight against the virus.

In March, Russia said it had sent nearly 1,000 coronavirus testing kits to ex-Soviet states and countries including Iran and North Korea.

Antonov A124

The US now has more than 215,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, by far the highest of any country, according to a Johns Hopkins tally, and more than 5,100 deaths.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that Putin expected the US to return the gesture if Russia faces a similar crisis and US producers have increased their capacity to produce medical supplies.

“Today, when the situation touches absolutely everyone and is of a global nature, there is no alternative to acting together in the spirit of partnership and mutual assistance,” he said.

Trump said earlier this week that “Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice.”

Health officials in Russia have registered a sharp increase in the number of infections, with 2,337 cases and 17 deaths confirmed, according to the latest figures last week Wednesday.

Denel Joins Local Drive To Develop Ventilators

Denel is mobilising its resources and expertise towards a priority project for the local design and development of medical ventilators in support of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Danie du Toit, Group Chief Executive of Denel says engineers from Denel Dynamics and Denel Aeronautics are already working round the clock on Project Sabela – ‘we are heeding the call’ – in partnership with other state-owned entities, research bodies and medical technology companies.

“We are still in the early stages of the project, but we are optimistic that this local initiative will help to alleviate the dire need for medical ventilators that are required in great numbers at both public and private hospitals,” says Du Toit.

The defence and technology company is also considering other initiatives in which it can repurpose its current operations and technology to assist the national efforts. This include the production of sanitisers and the conversion of Casspir mine-protected vehicles into ambulances.

“We are proud to respond immediately and positively to a request from the Department of Public Enterprises to drive the ventilator project. As a state-owned company we are committed to utilising our skills, technology and experience in support of the national objectives to combat the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic at our doorstep”.

A task team has been formed consisting of experts from Denel, Armscor, Eskom, the CSIR and other entities to investigate designs and produce a prototype of a local medical ventilator.

Denel Dynamics is a global leader in the design and manufacturing of sophisticated missile and precision-guided weapon systems and also pioneered research and design for the production of unmanned aerial vehicle systems. Denel Aeronautics is the original equipment manufacturer of the Rooivalk combat support helicopter and design authority of the Oryx medium transport helicopter.

Rooivalk Attack Helicopter
Oryx Helicopter

Du Toit says Denel employs some of South Africa’s top engineers, researchers and scientists who have worked on sophisticated technology projects in the past. This accumulated knowledge and expertise will now be mobilised to work closely with medical scientists to produce life-saving ventilators.

Globally the defence industry has been a catalyst for the development of products that have brought immense benefits to the broader society. Innovations that have been derived from Denel’s defence research are vastly used in areas such as border security, agriculture, mining, construction and civilian aerospace within the country.

“Through Project Sabela we are now focusing all our efforts on the current medical and humanitarian crisis facing South Africa and the world,” says Du Toit. “We are confident that we will soon make huge strides in the development of locally-designed ventilators at a time when global shortages are experienced.”

Denel PMP, Africa’s leading manufacturer of small- and medium-calibre ammunition is looking at options to produce sanitisers for industrial and medical uses once the product certification issues have been clarified. Many of the chemicals used in the manufacturing of explosives can also be utilised to make sanitisers.

The Casspir, is a highly mobile and versatile vehicle used extensively in conflict zones in demining and protection operations. Denel Land Systems are looking at options to convert Casspirs into field ambulances, says Du Toit

15 Squadron Extract Patient Off The Queen Mary Two!

Jonathan Kellerman, NSRI Durban station commander, said:
At 17h10, Thursday, 02 April, NSRI Port Elizabeth, NSRI East London and NSRI Durban were placed on alert following reports from MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) of a 58 year old British man requiring medical evacuation off the Queen Mary 2 following a medical emergency (not Covid19 related) with the patient suffering a medical condition.

A WC Government Health EMS duty doctor had spoken to the ships medical team and it was deemed necessary for a patient evacuation to a hospital as soon as possible.

At that stage the ship was approximately 20 nautical miles off-shore of Morgans Bay, on the Transkei coastline, and after investigating options MRCC re-routed the ship to head in a direction towards Durban and an SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, NSRI Durban rescue swimmers and a Netcare 911 ambulance services rescue paramedical team were activated to prepare for the rescue operation 216 nautical miles South West of Durban.

NSRI bases along the East Coast, NSRI Durban, NSRI Shelly Beach, NSRI Port Edward and NSRI East London were placed on high alert to be on stand-by during the helicopter patient evacuation operation.

At 19h00 the SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, carrying 4 SAAF crew, 2 NSRI rescue swimmers and 3 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics departed Durban.

On arrival at the ship, at 21h36, in challenging conditions with 25 knot North Easterly winds gusting to 34 knots and 2 meter swells, an NSRI rescue swimmer and 2 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics were hoisted onto the Queen Mary 2 and they received the patient from the ships medical crew and the patient was secured into a Stokes basket stretcher and hoisted into the helicopter, and he was airlifted, in a stable condition and in the care of the Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, to a hospital in Durban, arriving at the hospital at 23h38, for further medical care.

NSRI Emergency Operations Centre, NSRI Durban Station 5 duty controllers, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, WC Government Health EMS, Transnet Port Health Authorities and TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority) assisted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in the coordination, communication and logistics during the operation.

The operation completed at 00h04.

-ENDS-

TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE

Released by:

Airforce Base Waterkloof Reaches Out To South African Homeless Citizens!

Following the National Lockdown, as announced by the President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, the Acting General Officer Commanding Air Force Base Waterkloof, Brigadier General Jacobus Christoffel Johannes Butler tasked the Base Corporate Communication Section and Chaplain Services to identify and coordinate social outreach to homeless and needy people within the Base’s area of responsibility.

Consequently, on 01 April 2020, the Air Force Base Waterkloof in partnership with Hennops Revival (Reverend Charlie Wernich), Haven of Hope (Mr Tebogo Mpufane) and Pierre van Ryneveld Spar (Mr Joe Pereira and Frikkie Coetzee) served 50 meals to homeless people at the Centurion taxi rank and surrounding areas.

The aim of this initiative was also to educate or inform vulnerable communities, especially those around the taxi rank about the Coronavirus and on how they (community) could help to flatten the curve. Community members were encouraged, notwithstanding their social conditions, to practice good hygiene, to wash their hands regularly and the importance of social distancing. Furthermore, members were informed that the virus knows no social standings, or the colour of your skin, your gender, or your age and that it can affect/infect anyone.

The Chief of the SA Air Force, Lieutenant General Zimpande Msimang commends Air Force Base Waterkloof on a great initiative.

Information by Major Terence Vukela and Photographs by Corporal Ayanda Sedibe, SA Air Force.



YOUR PARTNER IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Draken International Goes Supersonic Against The U.S Air Force

Draken International, the global leader in advanced adversary air services, has successfully commenced supersonic radar equipped F1M missions in support of USAF combat readiness training at Nellis AFB. The fully modernized Mirage F1Ms, predominately flown by the Spanish Air Force in the past, now challenge US and coalition 4th & 5th Generation fighters over the skies of the Nevada Test and Training Range in the development of warfighter’s tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Mirage F1M

Draken remains the only commercial air service provider to have purchased, imported, certified, and executed sustained flight operations with threat-representative fighter aircraft. These critical capabilities inherent to the Draken F1 fleet, are essential for supporting the Nellis ADAIR II contract, which provides adversary training for the prestigious USAF Weapons School, Red Flag exercises, operational test support, Formal Training Unit support, and Combat Air Forces abroad.

Mirage F1M

Over the past two years, the collaborative efforts between Draken International and Paramount Aerospace Systems has resulted in the reassembly, restoration, and certification of the fleet of Mirage F1s. This extensive project was accomplished at Draken’s maintenance facility in Lakeland, FL. Draken has also begun the acceptance of the fleet of Denel Cheetah’s from the South African Air Force; a 4th Generation supersonic radar-equipped fighter that joins Draken’s operational fleet.

Ex South African Airforce 2 Squadron Cheetah C

Sean Gustafson, VP of Business Development at Draken stated, “Draken is fully committed to enhancing adversary support for the USAF. These fleets of supersonic assets highlight the dedication to fulfilling combat readiness training objectives at Nellis and Air Force bases across the U.S. Our ever-growing fleet of advanced fighters enrich our capabilities and challenge Airmen, Sailors, and Marines alike.”

Mirage F1B

Draken International is the world’s largest operator of ex-military aircraft. The company is based out of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, FL. The organization sets a new standard in airborne adversary support, flight training, threat simulation, electronic warfare support, aerial refueling, research, testing, as well as other missions uniquely suited to their fleet of aircraft. With over 100 tactical fighter aircraft incorporating modern 4th generation capabilities, the company is ideally positioned to answer the growing global demand for commercial air services. Draken employs world class, military training fighter pilots including USAF Weapons School Instructors, Fighter Weapons School Graduates, TOP GUN Instructors, Air Liaison Officers, and FAC-A Instructors, For additional information, visit http://www.drakenintl.com.

Airbus to produce 3D-printed hospital visors in fight against Covid-19

Getafe, 1 April 2020 – The majority of Airbus sites in Spain have joined forces to produce 3D printed visor frames, providing healthcare personnel with individual protection equipment in the fight against Covid-19.

More than twenty 3D printers are working day and night. Hundreds of visors have already been produced and dispatched to hospitals close to the Airbus facilities in Spain. Airbus leverages a patented design to manufacture the visor frames, using PLA plastics.

“One of the reasons I love my job is the capability we have for advanced design and quick manufacture. Overnight, we have gone from making aerospace concepts to medical equipment. This genuinely makes a difference in the fight against the pandemic and I couldn’t be prouder of our teams working day and night on this Airbus project,” said Alvaro Jara, Head of Airbus Protospace, in Getafe, Madrid.

Despite the pause of the majority of production at Airbus’ sites in Spain following the Royal Decree of 29 March, Airbus employees are allowed on site to continue with this essential activity.

In addition, Airbus in Germany also joined the project. The Airbus Protospace Germany and the Airbus Composite Technology Centre (CTC) in Stade, together with the 3D-printing network named “Mobility goes Additive,” are now supporting this project in Spain, also coordinating the collection and transport of visors to the Madrid region.

SAA Board And Management Congratulate Crew For Wuhan Repatriation

 The board and management of South African Airways (SAA) wishes to thank and congratulate the SAA crew who flew the chartered aircraft which repatriated citizens from Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated.

The crew and 112 South Africans were cleared to return to their families on Sunday after testing negative for the coronavirus in a second round of tests since their arrival from Wuhan, China.

Acting chairperson of the SAA board, Thandeka Mgoduso said that by agreeing to be in an SAA charter flight evacuating the nationals from Wuhan, the crew exemplified the spirit of Ubuntu and Thuma Mina, whose ethos is that the greatest responsibility for us all is humility, discipline, empathy, generosity and volunteerism.

“We thank The Almighty, the SAA crew, members of the South African National Defence Force and the medical team from the Department of Health, that none of the repatriated South Africans have tested positive for COVID-19 after they were quarantined for 14 days. We further thank the staff at The Ranch for courageously and caringly looking after the whole group that returned from Wuhan.

“Even though they may have had concerns and anxieties about the possibility of contracting the virus, it is clear that the call to national duty superseded all these anxieties. They adhered to the strict medical advice and protocols and took all the precautionary measures before, during and after the repatriation.

“Emerging from the quarantine period with no CODIV 19 infection, our crew can now play a vital role in conscientizing and advising their communities in South Africa, about the importance of observing the strict medical advice and the wisdom of adhering to the publicised protocols. They are now not only SAA ambassadors but also change agents for curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

“At SAA, we are grateful for and proud of their kindness, empathy and spirit of volunteerism and a strong sense of national responsibility. Their resilience and ability to rise to the challenge and withstand the rigours of the mission and the further quarantining after arriving in the country; are highly commendable. 

“Their willingness to give their time and talent is greatly appreciated. This behaviour and commitment to doing what is right, has set a good example for everyone in the country, as we all struggle with the early stages of the pandemic.

“Their compassion and willingness to heed the call for national duty must be an inspiration for us all. It must encourage all of us to want to be part of the solution in combating the scourge of the coronavirus. We congratulate and applaud them,” said Mgoduso.

WesBank Botswana International Airshow back in 2021

The organising committee is pleased to announce that the 2021 WesBank Botswana International Airshow will be held on Saturday 29th May, 2021.


This airshow is the 10th planned edition of one of the favourite weekends on the Southern African aviation calendar. Starting with a simple ‘fly day’ in 2012, it has grown into a major Botswana outdoor event, drawing crowds of 15,000 and regularly attracting more than 100
aircraft from neighbouring countries.

From the very start, the airshow has been used as a fund raiser for local charities, with last year’s show raising more than P150,000. The main recipients of these funds have included the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation, the Lady Khama
Charitable Trust, and the Motswedi Rehabilitation Centre for Handicapped Persons.

In addition, various other charities have benefitted through running car parking facilities and shuttle services. The impact on the local community has also been significant, with new guest houses and camp sites springing up, local entrepreneurs being involved in selling various goods on the day, and a massive after-party with local musicians and DJ’s.

We hope that these organisations will again be part of our 2021 airshow.
While our thoughts are with the people of the region as we battle Covid-19, we hope this announcement gives our community and aviation fans something to look forward to.

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