Tag Archives: Avgeek

Pegasus Universal Aerospace Signs MoU With Callen-Lenz Group

Pegasus Universal Aerospace signs MoU with Callen-Lenz Group as partner for flight control systems development.

Veteran aviator Captain Andrew Dietrich appointed as Chief Pilot

South Africa’s Pegasus Universal Aerospace, pioneer of the Vertical Business Jet (VBJ®) Pegasus One, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UK-based, technical aviation consultancy, Callen-Lenz Group. The agreement brings the two companies together to exclusively collaborate on the design and development of the flight control systems for the Pegasus One aircraft.

The flight control systems are integral to supporting the aircraft operations in all phases of flight, including transition from vertical take-off and hover, to forward horizontal flight. The merging of these functions, into one unique system, will be a key technology, enabling Pegasus One to deliver its powerful performance capabilities. Pegasus selected Callen-Lenz as its development partner owing to the team’s reputation for creating innovative solutions, required core competencies and experience, in realising complex technologies in the aerospace sector.

Dr Reza Mia, Pegasus founder and Chairman said, “We believe that Callen-Lenz is the ideal partner for Pegasus. Their inventive approach to aerospace challenges, their expertise, and their willingness to embark on this exciting journey with us to deliver a unique proposition determined our selection process. We are excited to be working on this game changing project with them.”  

“We have been invited to work with a number of new aircraft programmes, but were extremely impressed by the ambition, vision and quality of the Pegasus VBJ project. As the race hots up to deliver new aircraft technologies, we are pleased to join forces with one of the most exciting airframes in development,” said Jonathan Webber, CEO, Callen-Lenz.

The Pegasus team has already made great strides over the past year in developing multiple scale models, completing comprehensive studies into the drivetrain and thrust fan systems to support a true hybrid-electric propulsion power source. Pegasus is in ongoing discussions with two leading powerplant OEM’s to ensure the best performance capability is achieved.

The signing of the MOU with Callen-Lenz Group ushers in the next significant phase in the programme. Under the terms of the MOU the Callen-Lenz team will work closely with the Pegasus executive team, engineers and newly appointed chief pilot Captain Andrew Dietrich, whose appointment was also confirmed in August. Captain Dietrich joins the expanding Pegasus team with some 16,000 hours flying time spanning a 26-year career operating ultra-long-range commercial airliners and corporate jets. Familiar with numerous flight-decks, working with a variety of avionics systems and aircraft simulators, Captain Dietrich brings valuable knowledge to Pegasus. Reporting directly to the executive team, his hands-on experience will deliver vital input to the aircraft operational capability, performance and safety requirements.

As an integral part of the Pegasus technical team he will work alongside Callen-Lenz and Pegasus Chief Engineer Matthew Buttle and be responsible for overseeing compliance, safety procedures and the co-ordination of test pilots during the official test flight phase.

“We want to build an aircraft that pilots know is responsive, safe, reliable, efficient and above all fun and straight forward to fly. Captain Dietrich will help us achieve these goals and more. We are excited to add his extensive skills and enthusiasm to our team,” commented Dr Reza Mia.  

“I’m aware there are many eVTOL projects in development, but I wanted to work with the dynamic Pegasus team. The concept is brilliant, the team is solid, and I believe it will make a dramatic difference to the way executives and high-net-worth individuals think about flight in the future. There is also huge potential in the oil and gas platform, (OGP) sector. Being involved with the Pegasus project allows me to use all my accumulated experience on one of the most exciting new and innovative aircraft programmes on the market, it’s a superb opportunity,” added Captain Dietrich.

Construction of a full-scale VTOL demonstrator to show in Europe in 2020 has already begun and a series of investor evenings in South Africa starts this month.

The MoU with the Callen-Lenz Group and the appointment of Captain Dietrich will ensure Pegasus development continues on the right trajectory.

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SAAF Museum Airshow Media Briefing 2019

The morning of Tuesday 3rd September 2019,corrospondents from different media houses were invited for a media briefing presented by the South African Airforce Museum Officer Commanding Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Bruinjies and Major Ntokozo Ntshangase at Swartkop Air Base West Auditorium.

Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Bruinjies

The Theme for this years show as mentioned in the briefing is “Our Collective Heritage” this meaning all types of Airwings during the Liberation movement, Homelands Venda, Ciskei ,Bophuthatswana and past SAAF Aircraft celebrating their former centenary over the years.

Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Bruinjies addressing the media

Colonel Bruinjies mentioned that full SAAF Museum Aircraft inventory including Harvard’s, Cessna C185, Puma, Alouette II & III, Bosbok, Kudu and much more would take to the skies on Saturday, including a number civilian types and as well as a number of current SAAF Aircraft.

SAAF Museum Alouette II & III validated on 2019-09-03

Gates will open at 7am on Saturday morning for the public and paring will be made available around the Bases surroundings. There are 90 vendors that will be at the show, which will range from food stalls to memorabilia etc.

SAAF Museum Alouette III

Tickets available at Computicket , Click here

R80 Adults

R30 Children between the ages 12-16

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Brakpan Aero Club Celebrates Women in Aviation

Saturday the 17th August 2019,Brakpan Aero Club celebrated women in Aviation at the East Rand Airfield this past weekend. Women as pilots, groundcrew, cabin crew and Air traffic controllers congregated at the airfields club house for cake and tea. Some of the lucky ladies were awarded with a bouquet of flowers for their contribution in the South African Aviation Community.

Newly paved runway at Brakpan Airfield as seen from a Alouette III

Santjie White provided a short talk on Search and Rescue in South Africa as she explained more in detail as the Chief of Aeronautical Search and Rescue coordination centre.

Santjie White

Santjie started at the Aeronautical Search and Rescue coordination centre in April 2008 and received The Director civil aviation special industry award for exceptional individual contribution to the Aviation industry. Santjie White is responsible to Establish a Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC) to co-ordinate all participating search and rescue unit’s facilities within her area of responsibility. Ensuring effective and efficient co ordination of SAR processes and operations.

SkyRaider work in progress in full swing

Amelia Mary Earhart one of many women in aviation ,who was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots.

Brakpan Aero Club House

The rest of the day, saw some of Brakpan’s local aircraft take to the skies, an Alouette III owned and flown by Rob Osner ,A Mushask MF17 flown by Hilton Wolff, Boeing Stearman flown by Ivan van der Schaar and a visiting Yak 52 flown by Wim Kotze were some of the favourites seen during the afternoon period.

Alouette III
Savannah
Cessna 152
Sling 4
Piper J3 Cub

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A Moment Time Stood Still-Air Force Base Swartkop

Wherever one wonders around aviation museums around the world, you wonder and think how aviation has come this far as we speak in 2019,expecially in South Africa .The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Imperial war museum at Duxford and many more.Airforce Base Swartkop in Pretoria is also part of the elite museums to visit as an aviation enthusiast touring South Africa.

The Past..

The SAAF claims Swartkop is the second oldest air station in the world and the oldest operational air station in the world.Over the years many distinguished Squadrons have been based at Swartkop. This includes 26 Squadron which was formed there on 24 August 1942.

* Photos by Adrian Munro, Stefan Bouwer, Team Aviation Central and SAAF Museum archives

Photo of Swartkop taken 1935

The Chief of the South African Air Force opened the relocated at AFB Swartkop in 1993. The Air Force Base reverted to Air Force Station status in 1999. This decision was made by the South African Air Force to vacate the base and leave behind the Museum located there and to keep the Airfield as an extension of Airforce Base Waterkloof. The SAAF Museum Historic Flight had also moved to Hanger 14 at the end of the Southern part of the base to this present day.

As of December 2013 the South African Air Force still hasn’t vacated all operational units on the base. The South African Airforce Museum currently occupies the northern side of the base while active SAAF units occupy the southern side of the base.

One of the oldest ATC Towers In South Africa

Air Force Base Swartkops over watches the residents of Valhalla, Centurion in Pretoria and most air force officers that outlasted their selection phase of pupes course and other forms of duties in the South African Airforce were boundless.

Still to this very day Harvard’s and other museum assets fly at the base
Former 44 Squadron C47 Dakota part of the Museum Historic Flight

The famous SAAF memorial is located on Bays Hill in Swartkop outside overlooks the entire Airbase. Its familiar in pictures of SAAF fighters passing behind it as they brought the sound of freedom amongst visitors of many airshows held over the years. The memorial was unveiled 1 September 1963 by the then State President of South Africa Charles Robberts Swart. The unveiling ceremony was attended by 5000 people.

SAAF Memorial Bays Hill

The history of the SAAF dates back after a visit to observe the 1912 military manoeuvres in Europe, Brig. Gen. C.F Beyers (who was then Commandant-General of the Defence Force) gave an extremely positive report on the future use of aircraft for military purposes to General Jan Smuts initiated an arrangement with private fliers in the Cape and established a flying school at Alexandersfontein near Kimberley, known as the Paterson Aviation Syndicate School, to train pilots for the proposed South African Aviation Corporation.. The first South African military pilot qualified on 2 June 1914.

de Havilland DH.9
New and old trainers T6 Harvard & Pilatus PC7MKII

On the 1 February 1920 Colonel Pierre van Ryneveld was appointed as the Director Air Service with the task of forming an air force, the date is used to mark the founding of the South African Air Force. In December 1920 the South African National insignia was added to aircraft for the first time.

SAAF Insignia 1921–1927
SAAF Insignia 2004-Present

4 Squadron was reformed in January 1951 at AFB Waterkloof as the Active Citizen Force element of 1 Squadron with Harvards and Spitfires until once again disbanded in October 1958. On 1 November 1961, it was reformed at Swartkop, flying Harvards and in August 1972 the first Impala Jets were received.

Swartkop in the late 1940s
Swartkop in the late 1940s Photo credit http://www.spitfire-restoration.co.za

The squadron moved from Swartkop to Waterkloof and then to Lanseria Airport where it received Impala Mk IIs. It saw numerous deployments to South West Africa and Mpacha and Rundu airfields in southern Angola. Its home base remained at Lanseria until it was disbanded in September 1991.

The Museums Spitfire in her former glory days

Airshows at AFB Swartkop over the years..

For years many of Aviation Centrals followers have been to some of the many historical airshows at Airforce Base Swartkop in Pretoria. The shows have had a big impact in promoting aviation in South Africa and more military aviation.

Yester year youngsters watching former fast movers shadowing “Bays Hill” in the foreground in the form of Mirage IIIs,Mirage F1s and Cheetahs and today the Gripen as the countries 4.5 generation fighter aircraft. The echo of the sound of freedom is what draws the “vlamgat” lovers to these shows!

Swartkop has had a number of airshows over the years which were mainly known as flying days from when the museum had a big fleet of ex air force aircraft that were part of the shows program.This also saw many fighter aircraft from the then current and past SAAF from various fast mover squadrons,including Impalas, Mirages, Cheetahs and up till now to the current SAAF fighters Gripen and Hawk. Warbirds that have attended included PBY Catilina, DC3, DC4, DC6, JU52, Spitfires, Mustangs, Sea Fury’s, Yaks and the list goes on.

Ex Eastern block jet trainers such as the L39 and L29, Vampires, Hawker Hunters and a T2 Buckeye have touched down on Swartkops sloped runway on many occasions. Many airliners have taken part in shows and have landed at the base included MD80s, Airbus A319s, Boeing 707s, 727s and 737 series.

Photos below by Adrian Munro, Stefan Bouwer, Team Aviation Central and SAAF Museum archives.

Since 2012, the Chief of the South African Air Force, Lt Gen FZ Msimang, has initiated a programme to preserve and promote our Air Force history, which includes former TBVC states and the Armed Wings of Former Liberation Movements in relation to the corresponding political, social and economic dispensation of the country under the theme “embracing our collective heritage”. One of the fundamental elements in nation-building and cultivating a cohesive society is the reconfiguration of the heritage landscape to ensure that it reflects the diversity and the incredible efforts of the unity of our society.

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SAAF Museum Training Day 2019-08-03

This past weekend the SAAF Museum once again held their monthly flying day. Being busy with other aviation events this past couple of months, we really enjoyed being back for a great museum event. This flying day was very busy in particular with three Allouette helicopters, five Harvards, a bosbok, Cessna 185, Patchen Explorer and Puma all flying. The Friends Of The SAAF Museum sold very tasty boerewors rolls and the Windsock café also had a wide selection of toasted sandwiches and drinks to satisfy all tastes on the day.

The visitors had plenty of flying to enjoy, starting out with the Aerospatiale SA 330 Puma starting up right in front of the crowd line. The Puma pilots ensured that everyone nearby left with a funky hairstyle. As the Puma taxied past, it was able to blow over my tripod  with my secondary camera doing video recording. Luckily the only thing that was damaged was my ego with my fellow photographer friends getting a good laugh out of the tumbling Canon.

With this being the final flying day before the big airshow in September, some of the Harvard pilots lead by Glen Warden flew a nice formation flight at the end of the day. The three Harvards participating in the flyby were Siyandiza, 7231 and 7480. The trio flew a tight formation coming from the rear over the main tower, making a wingover to the left, passing over Bay’s Hill and then passed in front of the crowd again.

This year’s airshow was delayed due to the elections taking place in May. The official date has now been set as 7 September 2019. The show organisers are hard at work with the planning and the theme for this year’s show is “Collective Heritage”. The Gautrain will once again be aiding with transport and Computicket will be the ticket sellers. The prices are as follow: R80 for over the age of 16, R30 for 12-16 and under 12 is free. NB: Ticket sales are not open at the time of writing. Keep an eye on the event Facebook page for more info regarding the show.

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We Fly the C130B -Botswana Defence Force

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is an American four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed. Now known as Lockheed Martin, which is capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft.

The Botswana Defence Force received their first of three C130 B models in the late 90s as their medium transport resource.The last C130 which was . The latest addition to the transport fleet was an ex-AMARC C-130 Hercules to complement the two existing aircraft. The C130s belong to the Z10 Transport Squadron, made up of the Lockheed C-130, Casa 212 and CN235 – Maparangwane Air Base (Thebephatshwa/Molepolole in Botswana.

The C-130B model was developed to complement the A-models that had previously been delivered, and incorporated new features, particularly increased fuel capacity in the form of auxiliary tanks built into the center wing section and an AC electrical system. Four-bladed Hamilton Standard propellers replaced the Aero products three-blade propellers that distinguished the earlier A-models. The C-130B had ailerons with boost increased from 2,050 psi (14.1 MPa) to 3,000 psi (21 Mpa), as well as uprated engines and four-blade propellers that were standard until the J-model’s introduction.

An electronic reconnaissance variant of the C-130B was designated C-130B-II. A total of 13 aircraft were converted. The C-130B-II was distinguished by its false external wing fuel tanks, which were disguised signals intelligence (SIGINT) receiver antennas. These pods were slightly larger than the standard wing tanks found on other C-130Bs. Most aircraft featured a swept blade antenna on the upper fuselage, as well as extra wire antennas between the vertical fin and upper fuselage not found on other C-130s. Radio call numbers on the tail of these aircraft were regularly changed so as to confuse observers and disguise their true mission.

At Aviation Central we’ve had the privilege of also flying with the South African Airforce C130BZs from 28 Squadron based at Airforce Base Waterkloof in Pretoria on a number of occasions. A big thank you to the Botswana Defence Force for allowing us to join you during the 2019 Makgadikgadi Skydiving Epic in the beginning of July.

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Krugersdorp Flying Club-Spot Landing and Airfield Festival 2019

By Dian Townsend

The Krugersdorp Flying Club (KFC) hosted their annual Spot Landing and Airfield Festival. It was an overall great day with the weather playing along very nicely. Many pilots competed in the spot landing competition and there were many classic cars forming the static display.


Flying started at about 10h00 with a couple of Cessna’s, which were then followed by some Beechcraft and other interesting aircraft. Part of the static aircraft was an Antonov AN-2 ‘Daizy’ and four Robinson helicopters. Many of the pilots that competed in the spot landing competition also parked their aircraft on the static display area.

The motor show was also a big success with no less than 20 cars on display.
There was plenty to do for the whole family. Vendors sold toys for the kids, Karel Zaayman from the Aviation Shop also was present with many of aviation finest collection up for purchase as well as lunch and many other interesting crafts and memorabilia. An Alouette III helicopter gave flips to visitors, showing them the beautiful scenery around the airfield.


All things considered, it was a brilliant day. There was a very good turnout of aircraft and cars, offering something for the aviation fan as well as the petrolhead. There was something to do for everybody and it was near impossible to be bored while looking at all the aviation spectacles. Well done to Henco Van Niekerk on winning the spot landing competition. We look forward to next year’s edition!

Spot Landing Participants

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The EAA Convention 2019- Adventure Rally

The EAA convention this year was held again at Vryheid, which is situated close to the escarpment in very scenic
mountainous areas and in the heart of the Anglo Boer & Zulu war zones. With the success of last year’s Adventure
Rally, which had a mainly battlefield theme, it was decided to hold another one, this one being a mix of a scenic route
and some battlefield areas.


At registration time, there were 27 crews who had entered, this being a record for this type of event, but with weather
still closed in on Saturday morning, some crews could not get to Vryheid in time to take part, and at last count 20
crews were able to take part, which is still one of the most attended Adventure Rallies, giving credit to EAA’ers
enjoying this type of event.


For this year, the route started just northeast of the field at a big railroad U junction, and however one would fly, there
would be a railway line that would be seen flying east or north, thus to converge on to the start would be an easy
matter….., but guess what, some competitors could not find the start.
From the railroad U junction, the route went behind Lancaster Hill to a nondescript dam, and from there on west to
north-west in the valley until a very prominent farm house complex was seen.


Greg Clegg and Keaton Perkins
in their Jodel ZU-UEK attained 2 nd place

From there south west to a more
nondescript farmhouse nearby a quarry, turning more south east on a curved leg to be positioned to descend after
crossing the mountain range known as Skurweberg into the Aasvoelskrans gorge where three distinctive waterfalls
could be seen, making this the most worthwhile scenic part of the route. At the bottom of the gorge another farmhouse was a waypoint and then to the battlefield memorial of Blood River Poort, and from there to three dams
that made up the last three turn points the last being the Klipfontein dam just south east of the airfield.


As part of this rally, it was decided that to add some spice as well, to track everybody with loggers to check how
accurately they fly to keep within a 1 km corridor, which should have been easy given that one is allowed to fly with
GPS.


Carl Visagie with Navigator Niel Terreblanche in their Ikarus ZU-EUV came in first place

The map and task booklet were provided 20 minutes prior the take-off for everybody to either plan their route
with traditional map plotting tools or to program their GPS’s – if they were more at home following the magenta line.
Each route’s leg had turning point photographs to be recognised (either being correct or incorrect), then a few
questions had to be answered on ground features or sites that were historic or scenic, mostly cryptic in nature.

The booklet contained a section of wiki notes that would enable the crews to answer all the questions – with a
warning – “Don’t read at your peril….”, and guess what…., most forgot to find the answers in the most obvious place….
Some crews of course were googling for answers on their cell phones – because they can – somewhat inefficient given
everything was right in front of them, and of course sometimes getting the wrong information from what was written
up in the notes.


Third place going to soloist and local Morne Strauss in the RV4 ZU-FVL.


The briefing was eventually held at 10 am after the misty weather had delayed the start, and then papers were
handed out with the first take-off around 11 am, with good flying conditions with hardly any wind. Most crews were
able to find their way around, and appeared hardly anybody used a GPS, possibly with insufficient time to program
them, there were a few crews that wandered off course somewhat, and one got totally lost and decided to return to the airfield aborting the flight.

And then there was the only helicopter taking part in the rally, that being the Gazelle of Eugene Couzyn flying with Marie Reddy who took to heart the briefing that said enjoy the scenery of the 3 waterfall
gorge, and hovered to take some pictures (see the header photo in this article)

Gazelle of Eugene Couzyn flying with Marie Reddy,first time a chopper taking part in a rally.

With everybody successfully home, it was time for marking the exam papers which was left to Mark Clulow to do, with
Rob downloading loggers and printing results. Then at the Convention prize giving and spit braai, Rob gave a
presentation of everybody’s logged tracks which had many in stitches for those who lost their way a bit, thereafter the
prize winners were called up to received their prizes.

Carl Visagie with Navigator Niel Terreblanche in their Ikarus ZU-EUV came in first place, Greg Clegg and Keaton Perkins
in their Jodel ZU-UEK attained 2 nd place, with third place going to soloist and local Morne Strauss in the RV4 ZU-FVL. In
the spot landing that everybody carried out after the rally, the winner was also Carl Visagie. For the most accurate
flown route went to Mark Clulow and Sean Cronin.



Thus came to the end of a hopefully enjoyable day for everybody who took part, and given the interest in the event,
should bode well for future rallies of this type and also gain an expression of interest in the more formal and timed
rallies.

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