Tag Archives: Botswana Tourism

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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Makgadikgadi Epic 2019-Skydiving Boogie

The Magadikgadi Epic once again took place with some of Africa’s finest scenery along the salt pans of Sowa,which lies in the Central District of Botswana. The event consisted of a number of skydivers from across the world sharing their knowledge with one another and using jumping platforms from both the Botswana Defence force and a lonely South African based Atlas Angel.

Sua Pan
Kampsite
Casa 235 & C130B
Atlas Angel flown by Dennis Howe
Skydivers from around the world
Flying in the Botswana Defense Force C130

Flying in the Botswana Defense Force C130B#ILoveBotswana

Posted by Aviation Central on Wednesday, 17 July 2019

The Sua Pan or Sowa Pan is a large natural topographic depression within the Makgadikgadi region of Botswana. It is located near the village of Sowa, whose name means salt in the language of the San. The Sua salt pan is one of three large pans within the Makgadikgadi, the other two being Nxai Pan and Nwetwe Pan.

Sowa Town

A lot of our questions we get is what is skydiving, another word for skydiving known as Parachuting is a method of transiting from a high point to Earth with the aid of gravity, involving the control of speed during the descent with the use of a parachute or parachutes. If you enjoy skydiving the Sua pan is the best place to view from the sky.

We had a early start, leaving Pretoria in the premature hours of Thursday 11 July 2019. Arriving back at the pans after visiting last year, we were greeted by members of the Botswana Parachute Association and old friends from Botswana. The evening we were briefed for the upcoming days activities. Before going to bed, one could admire the beautiful galaxy the pans bring out with the absence of city lights and other concerning noises one would hear while trying to get some sleep.

Entrance onto the pans
Our accommodation

Our accommodation was made up tents with comfortable beds, added with warm blankets and pillows for the chilly nights. With the wildlife in Botswana we were spoiled to see many types around the area, including Wildebeest, Zebra, Kudu and many more!

Blue Wildebeest
Zebra

The following morning saw the first jump with a quick briefing at manifest (meeting area) before making our way with the shuttles to Sowa airport, just a few kilometers away from the pans. The first two days the jump ship was the Botswana Defence Force Casa 235, while the next two days saw the welcome return of the Lockheed Martin C130B. The Atlas Angel flown by Dennis Howe took tandems (first time skydivers) during the course of the epic.

Evening Briefings
Turnoff to Sua Airport
BDF Casa 235
Casa 235 cargo hold
Wingsuit
C130B Sunset Flypast
C130 cargo Hold
Atlas Angel
Ready for the jump in the Atlas Angel

The Saturday was open to the people of Botswana to come enjoy a day out on the pans, in addition as listen to some local musicians while skydiving doings took place. This saw mass jumps from the C130B, as said this could accommodate more skydivers in the large cargo hold the aircraft has. One of the jumps saw the aircraft climb to 19 000ft with oxygen fitted to the aircraft for the skydivers use. Helicopter flips were also available with one of the Delta Rescue Bell Jetrangers.

Oxygen at 19 000ft
Wingsuiters ready for the jump from the C130
Bell Jetranger giving flips over the pans.
Makgadikgadi Epic 2019

Makgadikgadi Epic 2019 Highlights#ILoveBotswana

Posted by Aviation Central on Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Botswana current president Mokgweetsi Masisi also visited the event on Saturday afternoon. Great to see world leaders visiting top notch events that bring exposure from around the world. The only waterskiing we saw on the pans this year was a hilux bakkie(pick up van), just this time on sand and stone.

Cyril Nfila and a happy new skydiver
The only waterskiing we saw on the pans this year was a hilux bakkie(pick up van) and a Taxi, just this time on sand and stone.

A big thank you to the Botswana Parachute Association, Colonel Majama, Botswana Tourism and many others who got us to the event. A big Congratulations to another successful boogie and a safe event.Individually next year is again on our lists to attend without a doubt.

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Closing in fast-The Makgadikgadi Epic

The Makgadikgadi Epic is closing in fast which is set to be another successful skydiving boogie, with skydivers from around the world, are coming see Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, and precisely, in the Nata Bird Sanctuary.

Makgadikgadi is synonymous with awesome birding experiences and open natural landscapes that will be a marvel from any view, be it from the ground or above.

The event will take place at Sowa pan, which is the same venue as Race For Rhinos which we have visited in past years. We will see the first jump from 12 – 15 July 2019.

Aircraft that will be jump ships from the start of the event will be Atlas Angels as well as a Botswana Defence Force C130 and Casa 235 which will take bigger loads of skydivers.

The main objective of the event is to give travellers to Botswana, Is a lifetime unique experience to capture the majestic wildlife and a an uncultivated area.

With the Parachute Assosioan of Botswna,Gabarone Skydiving Club,Botswana Defence Force and Botswana Tourism on board and many others, You don’t want to miss out on this event. Stay up to date with our Facebook page and website for more information closer to the event.

2019 Schedule

Thursday, 11 July 2019

18:00

Arrival – Licensed Skydivers

Friday, 12 July 2019

08:30

Briefing – Licensed Skydivers

18:00

Arrival – Members of the Public, Tandem Passengers

Saturday, 13 July 2019

06:00

Start – Tandem Skydives

Monday, 15 July 2019

18:00

Last Operational Day


Facebook pages

Makgadikgadi Epic, 2019 Event page – https://www.facebook.com/events/2316344431977757/

Makgadikgadi Epic, page –
https://www.facebook.com/Makgadikgadi-Epic-1925115194401236/

Parachute Association of Botswana, page – https://www.facebook.com/Parachute-Association-of-Botswana-391366344374851/

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Botswana Airshow Rocks-Wesbank Botswana Airshow 2019

The African themed Oshkosh type fly-inn and airshow at Matsieng Airfield situated a few kilometeres outisde of the nations capital Gabarone. What makes a show so special here is getting the opportunity to camp bush style at an airfield and for some next to you aircraft.
Wesbank, once again a major sponsor for this years show at Matsieng with the help of the De Wet family, the show would not be possible.

We were flown from Wonderboom National Airport with ‘Little Annie’ the famous Antonov two owned by the Hill Family under the leadership of ‘Just Love Mission.As we cleared customs at Pilanesberg International Airport we made way to Matsieng Airfield, where we joined up in formation by a second An2 in old South African Airways Colours flown by Jon-Marc Hill and a Yak 18T, which made fantastic photo opportunities for the media onboard.

Antonov 2 ‘Daizy’

Friday Afternoon we got to see some validations before a late afternoon thunder storm made its way through the area, some of us scattred for the Town Lodge in Gabarone where we were fortunate enough to be
accommodated for the rest of the weekend thanks to the oragnisers. Saturday morning we made our way to the airfield for early arrivals as a perfect blue sky day was installed for the only airshow in Botswana this year.

The show started with a formation of microlights,a display that is not seen to often at shows in Southern Africa, showing off a dead stick landing was part of the show. ‘Little Annie’ An2 flown by Mark Hill and Col Keith Fryer
dropped skydivers including Ralph Ridge was the massive and biggest Botswana Flag. Jon- Marc Hill and His dad Mark flew a solo AN2 display and just to love ‘Little Annie’ even more she dropped marshmallows for the crowd. The vintage formation took to the skies, with this show being the first-time at a Southern African Airshow two Antonov 2s flew in formation with Randolph sponsored Boeing Stearman flown by Comair 737 Captain Ivan van der Schaar and Middleburg based YAK18T flown by Riaan Prinsloo. The crowd also got both a solo display by the Boeing Stearman and Yak18T. Capital Sounds Brian Emmenis and his hard working team rigged the longest sound system for the first time at the show, always a treat to hear the voice of Brian at Airshows as he brings the vibe to each show he attends.

Microlight Formation
Ralph Ridge-Big Botswana Flag
Skydivers Elmarie Grobler & Ian Jacobs
‘Little Annie’ AN2 solo display
WesBank Botswana International Air Show 2019
‘Little Annie’ An2 Marshmallow drop
WesBank Botswana International Air Show 2019
Youngsters with their Marshmallows
Vintage Formation-Boeing Stearman,Yak18T & Two AN2s
Boeing Stearman
Yak 18T

Conrad Botha started the days aerobatic sequences in his RV7, followed by the Raptor RVs led by Nigel Hopkins who also led Team Extreme flying his Extra 330, joining him was Jason Beamish in his new Extra 330, Mark ‘Buggs’ Hensman in his MX2 and Mark ‘Sammy ‘Sampson in his Sbach in new colours. The Goodyear Eagles flew the high energy aerobatic display led by Glen Warden, he also flew the only jet display for the day in the Rand Airport based L29 ZU-AUX.The ex Soviet jet trainer brought much joy to the jet fans at the show. The Puma Flying Lions Harvard’s flew their sequence with their second final show of the day ending with a great wall of fire. Gary Whitecross flew his Pilatus B4 Glider, one of the best glider display one can see at an airshow in Africa.

Conrad Botha RV7
Raptors RVs and MX2
Team Extreme
WesBank Botswana International Air Show 2019
Goodyear Eagles Pitts S2B
Goodyear Eagles Pitts S2Bs
WesBank Botswana International Air Show 2019
L29 ZU-AUX flown by Glen Warden
L29 ZU-AUX flown by Glen Warden

Andrew Blackwood-Murray flew his Nashua Extra 300 solo display, A gyrocopter display was also flown and a entertaining show to watch as the magni gyrocopter flown by Andre van Zyl was put through its paces. Menno Parsons brought both hisP51 Mustang, Pilatus PC12 and Tiger Huey.All aircraft are such a treat to see fly, the Huey also dropped a car in show center, “remember don’t park your car where it shouldn’t be at an airshow”.the air boss will move it!

Nashua Extra 300
Magni Gyro
P51D Mustang
Pilatus PC12
Tiger Huey
WesBank Botswana International Air Show 2019
Huey Car drop
WesBank Botswana International Air Show 2019
WesBank Botswana International Air Show 2019

Helicopter displays included Alister Brown flying the Netstar Bell 407, a Bell 505 made its Southern African Airshow Debut. Juba Jourbert flew a fantastic display in the Aerospatiale Gazelle 341. Two Krugersdorp based North American Navions flew close formation in a flat show with smoke added to their display. Danie Terblanche flew the crazy pilot display in the Aviant Husky which had some of the crowd worried with the state of his crazy flying, Which is all part of the act. Dennis Spence led the decathlon display with basic aerobatic sequences. True North Aviation Turbo Thrush
demonstrated fire fighting capabilities as well as crop spraying capabilities. We wont forget some of the great RC flying that was also shown in-between displays.

Bell 407
Bell 505
Aerospatiale Gazelle
North American Navions
Aviant Husky
WesBank Botswana International Air Show 2019
Decathlon Formation
Turbo Thrush
RC Extra

With another safe show hosted at the Matsieng flying club under the AirBoss of Chris Briers and safety direct Colonel Francois ‘Hose’ Hanekom. All 43 acts gave the crowds a day to be remebered.We would like to thanks all the oragisers Wesbank,De Wet Drilling,Matsieng Flying Club, Mark Mansfield our media liaison officer and the Town Lodge.
Till next year Matsieng, Well done to all.

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Rasesa ready for takeoff- WesBank Botswana International Airshow

The WesBank Botswana International Airshow is almost ready for takeoff to give the people of Botswana and other international visitors a day of spectacular aerobatic sequences from both old and new aircraft.


Matsieng Airfield (ICAO: FBMA) is a new Airfield which has been around since 2011. The airfield is located near Rasesa, 44 kilometres north of Gaborone Botswana.

The highlight for some is definitely the fly-in experience where pilots fly-in for the weekend and camp under the wing of their aircraft or even camp in the set up tent area where ablution blocks are available as well as log fires, that are made available for braai packs and other needed necessities during the weekend.

Aircraft that will be making a welcome back appearance will be the only airworthy P51 Mustang in Southern Africa, owned and flown by Master Power Technologies Menno Parsons. He will also have his Bell 407.Other helicopters that will be displayed will be the NAC Bell 430 flown by Alister Brown. Team Extreme will be making their full team debut made up of Nigel Hopkins in his Extra 330,Jason Beamish in his brand new Extra 330,Mark Hensman in his MX2 and finally Mark Sampson in his Sbach. Other favourites will be the L29 and L39 Jet trainers, AN2 ‘Little Annie’ Harvard’s ,Pitts Special teams and many other aircraft. Program to be posted soon!

P51D Mustang
Bell 407
Bell 430
Team Extreme
Jason Beamish”s new Extra 330

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Entrance gates: Gate 1 (on site map)https://www.botswana-airshow.com/index.php/info/maps

Gates open: Saturday from 9:00 to 16:00
Air Show ends: 17:00

Entrance fees: P120 per adult; P60 per child (6-17 years); Under 6 years – free if accompanied by paying adults.

Tickets available at the following PUMA outlets

·         PILANE

·         PHAKALANE

·         BBS

·         RAILPARK

·         TLOKWENG

·         FAIRGROUNDS

·         PULA SPAR

·         GRAND PALM

·         KGALE VIEW

·         TLOKWENG EXPLOSION

·         FRANCISTOWN

·         MAHALAPYE

·         PALAPYE

·         MOLEPOLOLE

·         KANYE

·         Also available from PHARMA LULU @ Westgate Mall

IMPORTANT NOTICE

  • No food or beverages will be allowed through the gates.
  • Empty cooler bags will be allowed through the gates.
  • No picnic or recreation of any sort will be allowed in the parking area.
  • No buses exceeding 8 people seated.
  • No admission will be granted without a valid entry ticket or permit.
  • The public shall enter and use the parking area as well as the premises at their own risk and the organisers and the owners of the premises cannot accept liability for any loss or injury to any person or property.
  • Any form of misbehaviour or criminal activity will be handed over to the members of the Botswana Police Service.
  • The public may not enter any fenced off zone allocated to aeroplanes and other vehicles. Trespassers will be escorted off the premises immediately without refund of any kind.
  • Members of the public are strictly not allowed to access the Hospitality tent area.

Us at Aviation Central cant wait to share a fantastic day with the people of Botswana in the next couple of weeks, we sure are super excited. Keep an eye on our social media pages and website for more updates to follow!

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Race for Rhinos 2018

Race for Rhinos 2018

The 2018 edition of Race for Rhinos finally arrived for all the eager competitors taking to the skies of Sua Pan in Botswana from the 28th June -1 July.The Sua Pan or Sowa Pan is a large natural topographic depression within the Makgadikgadi region of Botswana. It is located near the village of Sowa, whose name means salt in the language of the San.The Race for Rhinos in now in its forth year running and this year was the biggest amount of aircraft taking part in the race, a new world record.


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The vision for the race came from veteran pilot Chris Briers who has planned all four races to date, with the help of the Botswana government ,Botswana Tourism and the Botswana environmental Department.This is all to help stop the poaching of Africa’s most majestic animal the Rhinoceros . These animals are being poached on a daily rate and need to be protected before they’re are extinct.

Air racing is a highly specialised type of motorsport that involves aircraft or other types of aircraft that compete over a fixed course, with the winner either returning the shortest time, the one to complete it with the most points, or to come closest to a previously estimated time.

After arriving from Wonderboom National Airport in Pretoria on the Thursday before day1 of the Race. We were greeted by all of the known faces in the Southern African Region of the aviation community,while many aircraft were still arriving over head the pans above us. We had a fun-filled flight from Pretoria to Pilanesberg to clear customs and from their on to Sua Pan on ‘Little Annie’ An2 piloted by Jon-Marc and Mark Hill.We were allocated to our accommodation in comfortable  tents that were placed up before arrival. Each day our tents were cleaned, beds made and all our valuables all in one place!


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The oldest aircraft in the race was the Navion, 1046, race 38
A few of the rarest aircraft; Race 14 a Rockwell’s Collins 112, first time in the Race for Rhinos, possibly early 70s model, a Rockwell Collins 114 Race 105 first time racing in the Race for Rhinos, and very rare to have both a 114 and a 112. Another rare aircraft was Race 40, the Dornier DO 27, also a first time at Race for Rhinos, the Harvard also rare as well as Little Annie
Biggest air race to date was in Bloemfontein in central South Africa with 111 entries, The 2018 Race for Rhinos is 117 entries.


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The huge marquee that was put up just in front of Race Headquarters where Brian Emmenis and his team were Broadcasting from and was our daily alarm clock playing music from 6am in the morning to get the competitors up and amped for the day ahead.At the Marquee we were served three meals a day,obviously that being breakfast,lunch and supper.The bar area was also placed there where we could enjoy many of the sunsets on shores of the pan and the evenings entertainments from various musicians. Most of the competitors were busy with their plotting’s and race briefings before everyone made route for the tents quite early before the start of day one of Thursday evening.

 

Day 1- Friday 2018-06-29

With our daily alarm clock getting us up nice and early thanks to Capital Sounds, we headed off to freshen up in the portable showers, straight after that to the filling breakfasts and Cappuccinos on tap to get all competitor’s ready for day 1 of the race. Pilots and Navigators then made their way to their aircraft while the Bathawk and Bantam took off for the Telstar mission to communicate with Race authorities if their had to be a emergency from one of the competing aircraft along the route. Chris Briers took media up in the Agusta A119 to get some aerial shots of different competitors. The chopper was donated 20 hours of flying during the race days.

The Kingdom of Sua Pan had its own non-radio station from Capital Sounds, filling us in with any information for the days proceedings with most of the base having sound equipment reaching far and wide into the distance. To make sure no one couldn’t miss out what was taking place. The team comprised of Brian Emmenis, Leon Du Plessis, Rodger Coetzee, Ricky Fouche, Eric Nkomo.

At 10am saw the first takeoff from race 74, a Aerostar/Piper 600A ZS-PCV flown by JZ Moolman and his navigator Jannie Moolman of the 114 competitors with ex President of Botswana Ian Khama waving the Botswana National flag of the start of go time!

Just after mid day the first of the aircraft made their way back to base,once landed and checked back in at Race HQ,Then treated to lunch and competitors getting ready for day 2.We were then treated to some fantastic flying displays from a T6 Harvard flown by Dion Raath, Extra 330 flown by Nigel Hopkins who also led Team Extreme with Jason beamish in the Rv7,Mark Hensman in the RV8 and Mark Sampson in the Sbach XA41.Neville Ferreira flew a great show in his Kitty Hawk based Slick 540,The Raptors RVs were the up next in their tight formation flying and then joined up with other Rv owners in a mass RV formation that has not been seen before in Southern Africa,with a total of 12 RVs in one formation. What a sight it was!

 

Raptors Rvs


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Team Extreme

Dinner was served and a short race briefing was presented and some of the daily loggers were shown. Day 2 was slowly upon us.

Top 40-Day 1

 

Day 2- Saturday 2018-06-30

The day once again with our daily alarm clock, shower Breakfast and go time. Day 2 saw all the slowest aircraft getting off the ground first and the route being more difficult then the day before. The flag was waved and the first aircraft was off the ground, that being Race 108 a Piper PA-22 ZS-CET flown by Pilot Richard Fair and Navigator Timothy Fair. At lunch time all the aircraft arrived back and a sight it was to behold seeing many aircraft arriving back at the same time. Not long after that the Puma Flying Lions Harvard’s arrived from Rand Airport. The first four aircraft arrived back and the long wait for who was the winner of this years Race for Rhinos. The late evening airshow took place as like the day before plus the Puma Flying Lions doing their display plus water skiing on the water in front of the marquee was unbelievable, something we don’t see everyday.

The evening saw a dress up of the early fifties of pilots and crew, where some of the beautiful ladies dressed up like cabin crew and some of the men taking the part of early fighter pilots.The Minister of Environment, Conservation, Natural Resources and Tourism Affairs Mr. T.S Khama greeted the competitors of the final results and presented why everyone has to work together to protect Botswana’s wildlife and still keep the country as a tourist attraction for many. He also addressed many with a joke or two, not many ministers one can interact with without having body guards swarming the place!

Mr. H.T Khama

Stephan Fourie nd Derek Bird in Race 99 finished in 3rd place.

 

 

Richard and Timothy Fair took 2nd place in race 108.

 

Overall winners in race 25,Michiel and Greylingh Jansen.

Race 25 at turn point two

Race 25
CENTURY AVIONICS TROPHY Best handicap Performance on day 1
THE RACE FOR RHINOS TROPHY To the aircraft and crew placed first overall
ZU-NKC
KLN / Aveko sr VL-3, 100HP, 3-bl CS, N
Handicap speed: 134.79
Michiel Jansen and Greyling Jansen


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Chris Briers was up next to thank all that took place and made the forth Race for Rhinos take place without any incidents involved, he thanked the Government of Botswana for all their hard work and finance’s put into the race, without them tis race would not be taking place. We would like to thank Chris Briers and the Botswana Government for hosting the media and to Mark Mansfield for organising everything for Aviation Central from all the updates and making sure we were taken good of. We were then treated to again some of the various musicians and Diner .The next day we set sail back to South Africa in ‘Little Annie’ flown by Father and son Jon-marc and Mark Hill. We thank them for getting us to and from Sua pan safe and sound.

We look forward to the 2019 Race as every year gets bigger and better!

Overall Results-Top 43

 

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