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2 Squadron Gains Two New Gripen Pilots

Air force Base Makhado situated in the shadows of the Soutpansberg mountain range,is home to fighter town South Africa.Where the South African Airforces elite fighter squadrons are based,85 Combat Flying School flying the lead in fighter trainer the Hawk MK120.2 Squadron which is the sharp end of the SAAF,flying the smart fighter,The JAS39 Gripen!

Early May 2020 saw two new Gripen pilots going solo,Major Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona and Captain Klyde “Ronin” Ross Naidoo. Their story below will show the hard work one has to take to get to Gripen and living the fast jet life dream.

Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona

Major Jabulani Mabona was born in a township called Mamelodi West, Pretoria East. He attended Primary school at Ndima PrimarySchool (year) and matriculated at Vukani Mawethu Secondary School in 2004.
Major Mabona became interested in being a pilot when he was 9 years old. “There was no other career that I considered pursuing apart from becoming a pilot, specifically a fighter pilot.” He started applying when he was doing grade 11 and only got an acceptance letter to do the selection process in 2006.

The selection process included psychometric tests, psychomotor tests, flight medicals followed by interviews. His military career began when he was accepted to commence his Basic Military training in January 2007 and right after a successful completion commenced with Officers Forming Course in July the same year.

In 2008 he enrolled at the SA Military Academy in Saldanha, he spent a year studying Technology and Defence Mangement, which included modules in Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, English, Management, Aerodynamics and Economics. In 2009 January he had to go through Land and Sea Survival Training followed by Ground School Training for flying. In 2010 he started with his basic Ab initio Training in Cessna 172, followed by Astra stationed at AFB Langebaanweg. He was then selected to complete his pilot training in the United States of America where he flew the Texan T6 and qualified as a military pilot giving him the opportunity to be selected to fly Jets.

Jabulani was trained by former United States Air force F16 Viper Demonstration pilot Captain John “Rain” Waters.

Babcock Flight School Cessna C172
Babcock Flight School Cessna C172
Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII
Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII
US Airforce T6 Texan II
US Airforce T6 Texan II
Former United States Airforce F16 Viper display Demo Pilot Captain
John “Rain” Waters who was Major Mabona’s Instructor!
United States Airforce F16 Viper

In 2012 he went back to Military Academy to complete his degree in Defence and Technology Management which he successfully completed in 2015. In 2016 he was transferred to 85 Combat Flying School where he began to train as a fighter pilot in Hawk MK120 and a year later successfully completed the course. He served as a Flight Commander and was selected to do Flight Leaders Course which he completed in December 2019. He was then transferred to 2 Squadron in January 2020 where he began Operational Conversion Course in the SAAB JAS 39 where he currently serves as a Survival officer”.

Jabulani Flying the Hawk MK120 during a capability demo at the 2017 Rand Easter Show,Nasrec Johannesburg.
“Seraph” & “Cyrax” airborne out of AFB Swartkop during the 2018 SAAF Museum Airshow!
Lieutenant Colonel Craig “Shark” Leeson & Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona during the 2018 SAAF Museum Airshow.

The challenges he encountered were being far from his family and being able to successfully complete each and every phase towards achieving his goal.He has served in the South African Air Force for 13 years has never looked back. While he was stationed at 85 Combat Flying School had the opportunity to serve as a Survival Officer and a Flight Commander.
He says; “my solo flight in a Gripen was such an astounding feeling, a feeling out of this world, especially the supersonic part of the flight.”

SAAB JAS39C Gripen
Gripen Solo Flight
Jabulani after his Gripen solo with Lieutenant Colonel Jaco “Weasel” Labuschagne

Major Mabona is 32 years old and married to Nomsa and together they have a beautiful daughter Njabulo. He says flying high speed jets is such an honor and comes with lots of responsibilities because you fly with live weapons onboard and also fly in close proximity with other jets. He says his family always supported him and they are the ones that are always boosting his confidence level when it comes to his career.
To further on his career, the next step will be Instructor’s Course so that he can also give back to the young men and women which are aspiring to become fighter pilots.

Fighter Formation over AFB Swartkop during the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow.

Lastly he says “all the instructors that were part of my development for me to become a fighter pilot are my mentors. Before every flight, preparation is key, you go through your procedures, you play the scenarios in your head and most importantly you prepare for all the possible emergencies that you might experience.

Klyde “Ronin” Ross Naidoo

Captain Klyde Ross Naidoo approaches with a plan of crafting an aviation legacy that the South African Air Force (SAAF) and this country can be proud of. When asked to introduce himself Captain Naidoo call sign Ronin said “Born: 17/06/1992 at Westville hospital, residing in Reservoir Hills initially, turn 5 and started school at Resmount Primary School.

We moved to Pinetown and I moved to Atholl Heights Primary School for grade 1 and 2, my dad then moved to Johannesburg for work and we followed, staying in Centurion and completing primary school in Laerskool Uitsig, moved to Hoerskool Uitsig followed by Pro Arte Alphen Park and finally completing my high school career at Reservoir Hills Secondary School in 2009.

In my childhood we spent a lot of time moving to new places and schools due to my dad’s, Kuban Naidoo, work in telecommunications. My mum, Ron Naidoo, is now a retired hairdresser and in my unbiased opinion is the best hairdresser in the world. I have two older sisters, Kelly and Robyn, who are great support, throughout my childhood and adult life, although the role of my super fan falls to my mum.

Growing up I spent a lot of time playing sports for schools, such as swimming, played competitively in rugby, cricket and softball. Presently I spend a lot of time at the gym and try to keep fit by running. The scariest thing I’ve done was the big swing at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, I consider bungee jumping from Bloukrans Bridge in Tsitsikama rainforest to have been easier. The most exciting thing I’ve done professionally thus far is when I took up a Gripen solo and broke the sound barrier sending down a bone rattling sonic boom over my awaiting wife.”

From an avid nomadic, together with his family, his military career is a gift that he does not take for granted. “At the end of my schooling career I sought out bursaries in order to study further in the fields of engineering or medicine as well as applying for pilot training in the SAAF. In 2010 upon receiving the call for pilots’ selections in the SAAF I had declined the bursaries I was offered for the other fields of studies, not realising that it was just a selection week and not actually accepted.

The SAAF selection is a four tier selection process, each eliminating potential candidates as you progress through. The first part is the paper selection, wherein you either download the form from the internet, or cut it out the newspaper it appears in early every year. Submitting the required information in the leaflet with all matric/ grade 11 results all the applications go to SAAF HQ and are scrutinized to select the best candidates for the job, once that process is completed, the successful candidates are contacted by to make arrangements to attend a week long selection camp.
At the second-tier process, all members are split into groups and go through a process of psychometric and psychomotor testing.
In the third process, a full flight medical examination is required.
The final step is a panel interview in front of high-ranking specialists at the SAAF HQ.

Although a long process, it is to allow only the best candidates to make it through to the training, from initial paper selection of thousands to only about 20 people being selected and finally only 9 qualifying from pilots’ wings course.” He said.

In January 2011, his humble beginnings in the ranks and military industry proved, thus far to be a firm foundation for the amazing military aviation. “I was called up for Basic Military Training at the SAAF Gym in Hoedspruit. It was a gruelling 6 months – taking a civilian and making a soldier. In June 2011, I started officers forming course at the SAAF College in Pretoria, this involved 6 months of cramming policy and standards expected from an Officer and a gentleman.

SAAF Gymnasium

In 2012, I enrolled at the Military Academy in Saldanha. I spent a year studying Technology and Defence Management, which include modules in Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, English, Management, Aerodynamics and Economics, achieving a certificate of higher education.
Before advancing to Langebaanweg for further training, two weeks of gruelling basic survival training was required, this included sea survival, coastal survival and land survival. The most daunting part of the experience involved the escape and evasion component of land survival training.

In 2013, I started ground school at Langebaanweg and later that year began flying the SAAF PC7 MK2, well known for being the aircraft flown by the Aerobatic Display Team of the SAAF, The Silver Falcons. The course consisted of ground school theoretical training in the following fields:

Pilatus PC7MKII

Aerodynamics (including high speed, rotary wing and multi engine aerodynamics)

Aviation law

Medicine

Aircraft technical

General aspects related to flying and aviation.

The flying training consisted of basic general flying, basic instrument flying, advanced general flying, advanced instrument flying, navigation, close formation and a “Wings Phase” which incorporated aspects from all the preceding ones.

Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII

Once all phases were over and all test results were tallied up another selection board is held to stream pilots into one of the three lines in the air force: Maritime and Transport, Helicopter systems or Combat Systems. The directors of the three lines would there decide on the path that each pilot would then follow, taking into consideration the members preference, but ultimately selecting you on your course performance, attitude and perceived potential. I graduated as a pilot in the Air Force in December 2014 and was streamed to the fighter line.” He opined.

While expanding on his career path, formal education was still his goal. He relates that he has a massive respect for education as the SAAF does, and through education and the SAAF he has had fun serving with the most brilliant of minds and continually travels the world. “In 2015, and early 2016, I continued studies toward my degree at the military academy and flying at Langebaanweg whilst waiting to be transferred to 85 Combat Flying School at Air Force Base Makhado.

I, together with 3 other members, moved to Makhado in April 2016 to begin training to become fighter pilots. Which upon arrival was met by another week of survival training exercise in Port Saint Johns, after which we have yearly survival training due to the nature of our job.

Our fighter training was done on the BAE Systems Hawk LIFT Mk120 and the courses consisted of Hawk Conversion Course, a condensed version of what I had done on the PC7 MK2, followed by Operational Training Course. With the ability to fly the aircrafts, we were taught how to use it as a weapon by delivering various ammunitions and being trained in various aspects of Air and Surface warfare, so we could be utilised in operational roles in the SAAF. After a year of consolidation flying, two candidates were selected to complete Flight Leaders Course, Major Jabulani Jerry Mabona and myself. FLC was completed in November 2019.

85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120 “Gannet”
Armed Forces Day Capability Demonstration De Brug Weapons Range Bloemfontein February 2018
Fighter Formation over AFB Swartkop during the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow.
SAAF Museum Airshow 2019

As Flight Leaders we were then eligible to be transferred to 2 Squadron and begin Operational Conversion Course on the SAAB JAS39C/D Gripen. I completed my first solo flight in the Gripen on May 5th, 2020, a first for an Indian South African Fighter Pilot.

SAAB JAS39D Gripen

In 2010, I met my wife, Marcia Naidoo, but had only really started speaking too her in 2012, being in the western cape and her in KZN it wasn’t often I got a chance to see her, unless it was a trip home to see the family. We started dating in 2013 and even though had such distance between us the relationship grew to me finally proposing in 2017 and tying the knot in September 2018. Throughout my flying career she’s been a keystone to my support, from not being able to fly a thing to taking to the skies in a modern fighter jet, with all the good and the bad she would be there, either the most excited or ready to throw down with anyone that may have gotten me upset. Although I’m the soldier she’s the tougher of the two of us.

As a youngster I’d always been fascinated by flying, from as early as my second birthday it was evident that I wanted to be a pilot, my parents had gotten me an aircraft cake and dressed me up in a white suit. Being from Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) I didn’t know it was a possibility for me to be an air force fighter pilot, as there’s not much publicity for the defence force in the KZN community. It was by chance that I happened across a leaflet in the newspaper and my mum had made further inquiries. It was only then that I had decided that I was going to be a fighter pilot in the SAAF. Hard work and perseverance will always pay off.”

He was sure adamant to wear the SAAF uniform and inspire confidence, thus he hastens to say that he keeps himself busy with researching on everything that has to do with the latest aviation technology while mastering the art of being a proud fighter pilot. “There’s still a long road ahead of me to complete Operational Conversion Course on the Gripen and becoming the best Fighter pilot at the SAAF. At some stage in the distant future I will go down to Langebaanweg once again and do pilot Instructors’ Course and give training to the future pilots of the SAAF. Thereafter returning to 85 Combat Flying School for pilot attack instructors’ course on the hawk and move over to give instruction to aspiring fighter pilots in training on the Gripen as well.

Hawk MK120 MK82 Bombing run,Roodewal bombing range Limpopo

What I’d like to say to aspiring SAAF pilots is that nothing comes easy, but nothing is impossible, follow the procedures laid out and don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s often said on courses that individuals don’t pass the course, those who work together, find motivation in themselves and their peers to complete the course together. Work hard in school in physics and maths, be a good person and never stop trying.

Through this journey I’ve seen it doesn’t matter where you come from, what your skin colour is or what school you went to, what matter is the work you put in. I have come from many places but now I am Captain Klyde Ross Naidoo, a fighter pilot in the SAAF.” He concluded

Ice cold bath after Klydes Gripen Solo

Well done to Ronin and Cyrax,we wish you many more happy and safe flying hours,from all of us at Aviation Central.

Completion of Gripen solo and traditional ice cold bath at 2 Squadron

Two Turkish Airforce Airbus A400Ms Land at Cape Town International Airport

UPDATE: The Turkish Airforce made four appearances delivering medical supplies to Cape Town International in a matter of days!

A pair of Turkish Airforce Airbus A400M landed this afternoon at Cape Town International Airport South Africa.This isn’t the first time a Airbus A400M has landed in the Mother city, previous years have seen both Royal Airforce A400Ms as well as the German Airforce.

Airbus A400M Atlas

The A400Ms of the Turkish Air Force (Türk Hava Kuvvetleri) arrived at Cape Town International Airport this afternoon 30 April 2020 bringing in donated medical supplies for the war against Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.

Final Approach into Cape Town International Airport

“This is a gesture of the Turkish government to South Africa. The consignment has been prepared upon the instruction of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” Turkish Ambassador Elif Comoglu Ulgen had said.

She said the consignment comprises medical equipment and personal protection gear including surgical masks, medical-grade N95 masks, and protective suits ect.

Airbus Military A400M Atlas

The Airbus A400M Atlas is a European four-engine military turboprop cargo aircraft . It was designed by Airbus Military (now Airbus Defence and Space ) as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities to replace older transport aircraft, such as the Transall C-160 and the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

Alaska’s North Slope Borough Now Flies a PC-24 Air Ambulance

Operated by the North Slope Borough Search and Rescue Department (SAR) in the northernmost region of the United States, the PC-24 provides basic medical care for 9,800 residents across a territory of 95,000 square miles (246,000 square kilometres). Outfitted with tandem LifePort™ AeroSled™ stretchers and five passenger seats, it is the fourth PC-24 to be delivered in a medevac configuration.

The town of Barrow, Alaska, also known as Utqiagvik, is located at 71 degrees north latitude. The average temperature in mid-January is –14 degrees Fahrenheit (–26 degrees Celsius) and the sun does not rise completely above the horizon until early February. This region, with its exceptionally harsh conditions, will be the new home for the Super Versatile Jet.

Multi-mission capability

The SAR Department is responsible for delivering basic medical care to all North Slope Borough residents. The team performs medevac operations, search and rescue and other emergency missions.

In addition to the PC-24, which replaces an older light jet, SAR currently operates two helicopters and a fixed wing turboprop aircraft. All are capable of day, night, visual or instrument meteorological flight conditions in a medevac context. Many flights are operated from snow and ice packed runways with paved, dirt, and gravel surfaces – conditions for which the PC-24 was specifically designed.

Unique characteristics

April Brooks, Director of North Slope Borough Search and Rescue, explained the reasons which motivated the choice of the PC-24: “The PC-24 is a gamechanger when it comes to fast, efficient transport of critical patients across vast distances in our extremely harsh environment. Its unique cargo door, large cabin and ability to safely operate from short, unpaved runways make it ideally suited to our needs.”

At the handover ceremony held at Pilatus’ US subsidiary, Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd in Broomfield, Colorado, North Slope Borough Mayor Harry K. Brower Jr. said: “We are delighted we can now offer residents a new level of capability to enhance their safety and well-being. In this region, fast, efficient, high quality medical care is absolutely essential, and the PC-24 will enable us to fulfil every aspect of that commitment.”

Thomas Bosshard, CEO of the Pilatus subsidiary, presented the keys to Mayor Brower and commented: “We are proud of the role our PC-24 will play in supporting the residents of North Slope Borough and the SAR team in the execution of their missions. We are very pleased to see such high demand for the PC-24 as a medevac platform, in addition to its popularity as a business jet. This is exactly the type of versatility we envisioned when we began designing the PC-24 – and now it is a reality.”

Gauteng Regional Aerobatic Competition 2020-01-18

Saturday January 18th saw one of the first flying events in South Africa for 2020 as the Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa held their first Aerobatic competition at Vereeniging Airfield in the south of Johannesburg.

RV

Arriving in the morning we got to see some of the participants arriving from various airfields around the Gauteng region, with some aircraft not being able to get through to the competition due to the weekends predicted rain forecast.

Competition aerobatics is an air sport in which judges rate the skill of pilots performing aerobatic flying. The flying takes place in a invisible box in the sky, where as said above, judges rate the skill on a point system!

Slick 360

Some of the participants included father and son team Barrie Eeles and Tristan Eeles who flew his Extra 200,locally based Giles 202 flown by Pierre du Plooy was a rare sight as its the only type of its make in South Africa. Gregory Clegg flew a Pitts S2E while Glen Warden joined in his Slick 360, both aircraft are hangered at Kitty Hawk Aerodrome in Pretoria East.

Extra 200
Giles 202
Gregory Clegg Pitts S2E
Glen Warden Slick 360

By 1pm the weather gods finally through buckets of rain down and the flying was suspended for the day, as some aircraft could be badly beaten while flying hi-G Aerobatics during the afternoon showers.

Nashua Exra 300L Pilot Andrew Blackwood-Murray

Results for the days flying!

Yak 55
Yak 52

Some rare treats seeing flying on the day

a rare sight Jeff Earle’s Harvard “7637” gets airborne
Former Bloemfontein based Chipmunk now based at Vereeniging

We look forward to another Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa event soon!

United Airlines-Touches down in Cape Town for the first time!

The 16th of December for us as South Africans is the Day of Reconciliation. The day where differences are set aside and we all look towards building a better future together.

Today being the 16th of December 2019, a special event that is proof of this building together and looking to the future, took place at Cape Town International Airport. United Airlines landed for the first time in Cape Town, South Africa. This was indeed a special event as it indicates the tourism market is alive and in fact growing. The welcoming of the United B787-9 was attended by the officiating dignitaries that included United Airlines, ACSA and Wesgro executives, the US Ambassador to South Africa, the Mayor of Cape Town, Mr Dan Plato and the Western Cape MEC for Finance & Economic Opportunity, the Mr David Maynier.

With the new planned expansions that is to kick off soon, United Airlines is one of a few airlines that is looking at Cape Town International as a destination and the potential it has to offer to leisure travellers. Although Johannesburg is the economical hub for South Africa, Cape Town is by far the most popular by tourists. United Airlines use to fly to Africa, Houston to Lagos, but this service was terminated a few years back. The only other options that were left to United Airlines customers wanting to travel from the USA to Cape Town, were to have one stop flights with either South African Airways or Ethiopian Airlines (both being United Airlines partners) or fly with another airline, Delta being the only other USA airline offering direct flights to South Africa. In mid-April this year, United Airlines announced it will offer a season direct service between New York and Cape Town 3 times a week starting on the 15th of December 2019 and ending on 25 March 2020. This will result in a better customer as many direct flights have proven in the past.

These flights will be operated by using the Boeing B787-9 with 252 seats, 48 for business class and 204 economy class. The flights will operate to the following schedule:

UA1122 New York to Cape Town departing 8:30PM arriving 6:00PM (+1 day) [Wed, Fri, Sun]
UA1123 Cape Town to New York departing 8:50PM arriving 5:45AM (+1 day) [Mon, Thu, Sat]

The flight will be covering a total distance of 12 580km making it one of United Airline’s longest flights.

Cape Town International Facts:

IATA: CPT
ICAO: FACT
WMO: 68816

Elevation AMSL: 151 ft / 46 meters

Opened: 1954

Runway 01/19:

Dimensions: 10502 x 200 feet / 3201 x 61 meters
Surface: Hard
Runway 01 Coordinates: S33°59.26′ / E18°36.53′
Runway 19 Coordinates: S33°57.59′ / E18°36.00′
Runway 01 Elevation: 144 ft / 44 meters
Runway 19 Elevation: 147 ft / 45 meters
Runway 01 Heading: 009°
Runway 19 Heading: 189°

Runway 16/34:

Dimensions: 5581 x 151 feet / 1701 x 46 meters
Runway 16 Coordinates: S33°57.68′ / E18°35.85′
Runway 34 Coordinates: S33°58.34′ / E18°36.63′
Runway 16 Elevation: 143 ft / 44 meters
Runway 34 Elevation: 151 ft / 46 meters
Runway 16 Heading: 159°
Runway 34 Heading: 339°

General B787-9 specifications:

Cruise Speed: 560 mph (901 kph)
Propulsion: Two General Electric GEnx engines (GEnx being General Electric Next-generation)
Wingspan: 197 feet, 4 inches (60,14 m)
First Flight: 15 December 2009

N24973 specifications:

B787-9

Serial Number (MSN): 40941 LN: 661
Age: 1 year (February 2018)
First Flight: 6 February 2018

Welcome United Airlines! May we see many more flights gracing our skies!

Eswatini Ligwalagwala Airshow 2019

With the shadows of the different plateaus the Matsapha International airport situated near the town of Mbabane. The Kingdom of Eswatini hosted a successful airshow ,as hundreds flocked to the airport to see South African displays teams both civilian and the South African Airforce as well as the Airforce of Zimbabwe in action.

For both the South African Airforce and the Airforce of Zimbabwe, this was a big deployment for both countries. This was one of the first shows that the South African Airforce have attended a cross border show since 2006,where the SAAF attended a airshow in Maputo Mozambique.

Matsapha Airport Apron and Tower

The Chief of the South African Airforce Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande “Zakes” Msimang and his wife , HRH Prince Sicalo Dlamini who also flew the Alouette in the parade and many other VIPS attended the show.

The Chief of the South African Airforce Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande “Zakes” Msimang and some of the youth that visited the airport the day before the show!

Hot and humid, but perfectly clear skies, the show began with the ever popular Goodyear Eagles Aerobatic Team led by ex South African Airways Captain Dennis Spence flying with his team of Pitts S2Bs.Soon after the Prince of Eswatini flew one of the Eswatini Airwing Alouette III Helicopters as a cavalcade of emergency vehicles to promenade , the show as it was opened. Dennis Spence also raced a car with one of the Pitts Specials where the aircraft won the race!

Goodyear Eagles Pitts Specials
Eswatini Air Wing Alouette III

Capital Sounds super team, Brian Emmenis and Elvis Manene once again pulled off excellent commentary on both aircraft and pilots in command during all show slots. Other team member’s who helped make sure sound was the number one priority to get out to the public was Eric Nkomo,Wesley van Zyl and Daniel Mashego,Ricky Fouche, Keith Fryer was air boss for the show, with Keith Andrew as Ramp director with the help of Matsapha airport officials.

Brian Emmenis and team working hard
Capital Sounds
Capital Sounds in tradition dresses causes a stir at border post, huge applause goes out for local team as Eswatini border officials felt as they were being honoured!

The South African Airforce displayed the new team 83 of the Silver Falcons who flew all the way from their home at Central Flying School Airforce Base Langebaanweg with the outgoing lead Major Omphile Matolane,Sivu Tangana,Bheki Shabungu and newbie in the team Major Lehlonoholo Malokane.

SAAF Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team 83
Silver Falcons Omphile Matloane
Pilatus PC7MKII

Other South African Airforce assets included a 44 Squadron Casa 212 from AFB Waterkloof and a 19 Squadron Oryx Helicopter. The Oryx provided a fast roping demonstration as well as a short capability demo of the helicopter itself. The crew for the Oryx were Major Altaaf Sheik and Co-pilot Lieutenant Colonel Stefan King, the Flight engineer Flight Sargent Justice Mthombeni .The Golden Eagles Parachute display team also were present with Adventure Skydive member’s making up the large paradrop.

44 Squadron CASA 212
SAAF Oryx
SAAF & Adventure Skydive Members
Exciting the CASA 212

The Airforce of Zimbabwe brought two K8 jet trainers one for static and one for a flying display. Their ground crews were brought in by a Casa 212,which was also utilised for the parachute jump.

Airforce of Zimbabwe K8 Jet Trainer
K8 display pilots
Airforce of Zimbabwe Casa 212

Team Extreme led by Nigel Hopkins, Jason Beamish, Mark Sampson and Mark Hensmen flew their high energy tight aerobatic routine with a knife edge pass making an easy photo to get with the modern cell phone.

Team Extreme
Jason Beamish in his Extra 330

Menno Parsons brought his P51D Mustang Sally, a first for Eswatini to have this beautiful warbird have her gun barrels whistling during her display. Menno’s team also brought a Pilatus PC12 for static display.

P51D “Mustang Sally”
P51D “Mustang Sally”

Radial engines also echoed through the hills near Matsapha Airport with Ivan van der Schaar in his Randolph Sponsored Boeing Stearmen. Little Annie the Anotnov An2 flown by Mark and Jon-Marc Hill flew a solo routine with a surprise marshmallow drop as the crowds roared with tears and joy as marshmallows fell from the sky. Little Annie also raced one of the airports Tractor vehicles where things got tight in the race which led the worlds biggest bi-plane to win!

Boeing Stearman
Antonov 2 “Little Annie”

To the Eswatini people, I’m sure you enjoyed your airshow as we did. A huge congratulations must go out to the organisers , HRH Prince Sicalo Dlamini Capital Sounds,Calinyasti Kunene,Eswatini Defence Force, Eswatini CAA and to all pilots and ground crews for a safe show. Until next year, we cant wait!

SAAF Museum Airshow Saturday 7 September 2019 Programme

Please take note that aircraft can withdraw from the program at any point due to serviceability & operational requirements and weather!

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Aero South Africa 2019

The General Aviation Global show of the world which has been taking place in Lake Constance in Germany for the last 40 years and now the show has made its way to South Africa. This is due to the close partnership between Messe Friedrichshafen and Messe Frankfurt.

The much anticipated Aero South Africa finally arrived on South African shores at the Wonderboom National Airport in the city of Tshwane. This was the first of its kind in South Africa to introduce this type of expo to the General Aviation Industry. The purpose of the event was to see an interactive trade show with demonstration flights of the different aircraft, aviation exhibitors, flight schools and other products in the industry that were showcased, a fly-inn was also part of the proceedings during the entire duration of the event.

4000 square meters of space was provided for exhibition space, consisting of indoor, outdoor, park and sell plus and aircraft display area. This included general aviation most of all types seen in South Africa, a couple of warbird aircraft that also flew in for the event, such as the P51D Mustang, De Havilland Tiger Moth and also part of the De Havilland family the Wonderboom based De Havilland T55 Vampire, a number of helicopters were on static display and in the park and sell area.

Swiss Vampire T55 & Wonderboom National Airport Terminal

The Saturday saw the entire apron full of aircraft both that flew in and that of who were present from day 1.Lieutenant Colonel Keith Andrews from the South African Airforce was Ramp Controller and made sure he could accommodate any type of aircraft for parking purposes for all three days of the event.

Bell 407-Dian Townsend

The Park and Sell area was pointed out as a new attraction to any aviation event in South Africa sponsored by the well know Auto Trader which made a perfect opportunity to sell previously owned aircraft. A total of 80+ exhibitor’s were present. The new Cirrus vision jet of CDC aviation was a favourite for us to see south Africa’s first of its type face to face for the first time. Absolute’s Aviation Citation XLS+ was also one of the bizjets on static display shadowed by a Cessna Grand Caravan EX.

Cessna 210-Dian Townsend
Cessna Citation XLS+
Absolute Aviation showing the youth a Cessna Grand Caravan

Team Extreme’s Jason Beamish and Nigel Hopkins in their Extra 330 Aerobatic Aircraft closed day 1 of Aero South Africa with a short aerobatic display, while day 2 and 3 were closed off with Jason in his Extra 330 and Mark Sampson in his Sbach 341.They also met up with Menno Parsons on the final day of Aero in his P51D ‘Mustang Sally’ with some formation flying before the day concluded.

Team Extreme Extra 330s
P51D ‘Mustang Sally’

Century Avionics was many of the many exhibitors of the event, their products were put to show were the static display of both Team Extremes MX2 owned and flown by Mark Hensman’s and Mark Sampson’s Sbach 341 with GPSs and other avionics the aircraft are fitted with.

MX2

Villa San Giovanni’s Restaurant made sure pure business visitors and the general public didn’t go hungry with excellent Italian cuisine during the three days of the show, as well as accommodation on the airports premises.

Little Annie the well known Airshow Antonov 2 owned by the Hill Family, was on static display and visitors were able to look and interact with. They also had a raffle for a new set of Bose Headsets with R20 000 which is available with Wings n Things from Lanseria International Airpor.Wings ‘n Things is a pilot supplies store established in 1990. We are authorised dealers of the world’s leading aviation brands such as Jeppesen, David Clark and Bose, as well as a reseller of many other aviation products.

‘Little Annie’ AN2

A huge well done to all the organisers of the event both local and overseas officials. Lets hope this becomes and annual event with the next Aero South Africa even bigger.


Saturday was the busiest day of the AERO SA trade show weekend. The morning started out quiet but picked up speed after 10h00. The fly-in was a great success. Anything and everything that flies was seen at Wonderboom. Vans RVs, Cessna, Bat hawks and many Robinson Helicopters. Absolute Aviation Group with Jason Beamish took photos with fans and they printed them on customized frames. The day played out beautifully and there was entertainment for the whole family. Definitely one for the 2020 calendar!-Dian Townsend SAAFMPC Member

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Mercedes Day-Brakpan Airfield

A different type of fraternity, The Mercedes Benz club of South Africa, get together every year with the last event taking place at Brakpan Airfield. The same venue under the Brakpan Aero Club Members including organiser Hilton Wolff and many other role players put together a day which many visitors of the day wont forget for years to come.

Hilton Wolff, Marcus Goldring and other Mercedes Benz members.


The history of Mercedes-Benz in South Africa by far outstretches the history of the marque’s club here. Although the enthusiasm, interest and involvement of “fans” of the marque throughout its history, this cannot be denied and underplayed, it was not until the late 1970’s that this was harnessed and organised into the beginnings of the Mercedes-Benz Club.

Lucky Mercedes Benz club member with one of the prizes that were won on the day.

The purpose of the day, was to give members of the club, a taste of flight in small aircraft, and not just any aircraft but some unique and modern flying machines. With vintage era up to the modern Mercedes vehicles parked in the vicinity of the club house, both aircraft and car enthusiasts were in their element.

‘Little Annie’ AN2 Taking another load of happy passengers for a flight.
ZS-DFK

Grant Timms flew in a Rand Airport based Harvard ‘7526’ which belongs to John Wright, the aircraft was a major draw card as its not to often to see a Harvard at Brakpan Airfield. It made a excellent photo opportunity as some Mercedes Benz photo bombed the aircraft.

Grant Timms and his Happy Pax
Harvard ‘7526’

Very well known helicopter pilots at Brakpan airfield Rob Osner and Charles Fuller flew both an Alouette II and III. Nothing like flying in ex air force helicopters and flying over the once rich mining areas of the east rand of Johannesburg.

Alouette III Pilot Rob Osner and his ground crew Willie Schutte
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Alouette II and III
Charles Fuller’s Alouette II

Other aircraft that gave flips, namely the Cessna Grand Caravan flown by Frederick Kotzee, Dornier Do 27 flown by Rodney Benn,An2 ‘Little Annie’ flown by Jon-Marc Hill. A Piaggio Albatross,Cessna 210 and many more!

ZS-DFK
Cessna Grand Caravan
Dornier DO-27
AN2 ‘Little Annie’
Piaggio Albatross
ZS-MFI
Cessna 210

At non airshow type events its always crucial to have safety as your main priority, Both Colonel Keith Fryer and Colonel Keith Andrews from the South African Airforce kept all flights as well as the ramp safe and running smoothly during the course of the day.

Colonel Keith Fryer helping disembark passengers from Charles Fuller’s Alouette II.
Colonel Keith Andrews keeping an eye as Ramp Controller.
AN2 & Caravan Formation

The Brakpan Aero Club welcomed guests with muffins and coffee and provided boerewors rolls and Hamburgers for the rest. Local flight schools and Mercedes Benz dealership also provided excellent offerings of their latest deals on both pilots licences and car purchase deals.

Piper Colt getting airborne
Little Annie AN2 with some company.

Well done Hilton Wolff and the Mercedes Benz Club Members as well as all the pilots and ground crew who made the event possible and safe. We look forward to the 2020 edition of the event.

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Stellenbosch warms old and young hearts alike-Stellenbosch Airshow 2019

Stellenbosch is situated in the Western Cape, South Africa. The area is known for its scenery, wine, university and the kindness of the community. Stellenbosch Flying Club is located just off the R44 leading out of Stellenbosch and has a relaxed atmosphere where flying, local craft beer and good food makes for lazy Saturday afternoons. On the 23rd of March 2019 this changed to a hive of activity and the day where it all came together, months of meticulous planning with hard work and preparations came together. The scene was set, the queue at the gates forming just after sunrise and the weather being almost perfect.

Capital Sounds Brian Emennis and Silver Falcons lead Major Omphile Matloane

The packed program list and the variety of participating aircraft is proof of a wonderful show that warmed the hearts of many. The biggest flag in Africa was parachuted in from a C206, the emergency cavalcade was on display and the props of the aircraft of the first display were turning… out came the Silver Falcons to open the show. With the mountains and greenery from the surroundings being the scenery, the Silver Falcons took to the sky and gave a shortened but wonderful display. Really being the cockpit ambassadors for the South African Air Force.

SAAF Silver Falcons

Special mention is to be made of Mr Air Show, Brian Emmenis. As many will know, he is the voice of air shows in South Africa and abroad. While the first few displays where happening, interviews were performed with James Vos: MEC Tourism and Economic Affairs, Major Omphile Mutloane, Phillip du Preez: Head of ExecuJet Cape Town, Franz Smit: Pilot insure and Graham Smith who received a lifetime membership from Stellenbosh Flying Club.

The program consisted of The Silver Falcons, Team Extreme, a Mango B737, Ex-SAAF Bosbok, Working on Fire display consisting of two Hueys, a Cessna and AT-802, L39, NAC Bell 407, Shock Cub, Raptors RVs, Tigermoth, J51C Glider, Boeing Stearman, Howard Vintage, Radio Control Models, Husky, Harvard T6, a display by TSU/AGA involving vehicles, dogs and a EC145, M16 Gyro, NAC Mirage PA 46-350.

Team Extreme
Mango 737-800
Mango 737-800 & Ex SAAF Bosbok

The list of pilots being as impressive as the list of aircraft consisting of Scully Levin, Pierre Gouws, Trevor Warner, Nigel Hopkins, Glen Warden, Trevor Milton, Ivan V/D Schaar, Jurie Steyn, Trevor Milton and many others. These pilot put up energised displays that had the crowds entertained, camera shutters clicking all day long (making downloading, editing and posting a challenge) and made this show a memorable one.

NAC Bell 407
NAC Bell 407

throughout the day there were constant movements by staff between the crowds to collect litter which easily makes this the cleanest show I have witnessed. After a long hot day, the warmest in weeks, with loads of liquids consumed and the crowds leaving, there was not a single piece of paper or empty bottle lying around.

With the crowds heading home and some staying for a last drink or chat with old friends, the departing aircraft made for a mini show as many did the traditional fly by as a thank you. The Silver Falcons being no exception. They took off, the formation was formed and the six ship came past 3 times, almost as if they didn’t want to head home as yet. As the sun set on the mountains, the light being amazing, the dust from the show settled these were observed by a few and was truly magical.

A time to reflect on the day. To cement the memories made. To salute an organising team and everyone involved, from pilots to ground crew and cleaning staff. A massive thank you to all. Not even load shedding could dampen spirits or impact the show!

Raptors RVs

The Stellenbosch Air Show hosted by the Stellenbosch Flying Club is to be an annual event and surely one to diarise! I for one will be there.

See you next year!

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