Monthly Archives: April 2020

Safair – An airline during COVID-19 and South African lockdown

Safair – An airline during COVID-19 and South African lockdown

Source: FlySafair website

By now we are all aware of the devastating impact COVID-19 has on all our lives but ever wondered how this will impact an airline? Also, now that South Africa is on the brink of level 4 (instead of level 5) restrictions, how will the airlines start operations again?

Aviation Central approached one of the great success stories within the South African aviation, Safair or FlySafair for most, and asked them a few questions. A big thank you to Elmar Conradie, CEO at Safair Operations (Pty) Ltd and Kirby Gordon Executive Manager & CMO at Safair Operations (Pty) Ltd for taking the time and making effort to answer our questions.

Elmar Conradie – Source: FlySafair website Kirby Gordon – Source: FlySafair website

COVID-19 is having a huge impact on many industries, aviation being one of them. We know the entire FlySafair fleet is in hibernation but Safair is in fact still operating, few knowing of this, and earing money and helping others by flying cargo. Can you please tell us a bit more about this?

“Yes, our ACMI division (Aircraft. Crew. Maintenance. Insurance) is still in operation. We have five aircraft currently operating in different parts of Africa doing the Humanitarian Aid and Relief work that we usually do. That part of the business continues.”

Many do not know that Safair has L100-30’s. How many are there currently within the fleet, where do they mostly operate and what does the future hold for these ladies?

“Yes we have 5 in the fleet currently. Four are in operation with one in maintenance. These aircraft operate in various parts of Africa on long-term contracts for our humanitarian aid and relief clients. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the work these clients do, I can’t be more specific about their whereabouts upon the request of our clients. As it stands we see this work continuing for now – this business which is essential in its nature, has not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Source: FlySafair website

When South Africa beats COVID-19, and we will, what would be the process for getting operational again? What steps will need to be taken to wake up the fleet from a practical and technical perspective? How long will this take and when do you foresee the first flight departing?

“Our aircraft have been placed into a 30-day storage program as per manufacturer instruction, and are parked at their various home bases at OR Tambo International, Cape Town International and King Shaka International. At the end of their 30 days they’ll have the necessary procedures run on them to either further their storage, or prep them for a more active state of rest during which they would need engines runs performed etc. The process doesn’t take too long, we imagine that we would be able to “wake” everything we’ll need for the first day of flying in about 1 working day.”

Will the general public see a full schedule on start up again?

“No, we will start off with a reduced schedule and increase as demand grows which we hope will be quickly.”

Follow up to last, if a reduced schedule is to be implemented how long will it take before the full schedule is implemented?

“We wish we knew to be honest. It’s all dependent on the market demand factors.”

What measures have been put into place to ensure the fleet and staff stay current in terms of laws and regulations? Any relaxations from SACAA side?

“No relaxations, no. We’ve had to ensure that we continue with the essentials during this period in that regard including an SACAA audit, which went smoothly.”

We see in the UK and other countries that cabin crew are joining with medical forces as they have basic first aid training. If there is a need for additional hands within the medical field, is this something Safair may also consider?

“Yes. We’ve reached out to see what benefit our crew can offer and while their first aid training is useful, they still fall into a “non-medical” volunteer category. Several of them have signed up with the various volunteer networks and will be called on if help is needed in their local areas.”

What steps were taken to ensure the fleet is safe in terms of sanitizing them before lock down? To prevent any bacteria etc from harbouring inside the aircraft?

“The manufacturer recommendations for the 30-day program include a number of sanitation and cleaning measures, but in addition we’ve secured some excellent anti-bacterial and anti-viral cleaning agents that are aviation approved. So cabins and decks were thoroughly cleaned and then treated with these compounds using an electrostatic spraying application.”

We do not hope we have another COVID-19 but in preparing for the future, with the measures implemented with COVID-19 which one of these will you consider making a permanent procedure going forward?

“We’ve developed a great new offer, which was in the pipeline anyway, but now has a new lease on life, in the form of a “block the middle seat” option. It was to be sold as a business class style upgrade which customers could purchase to ensure space and privacy during their journey, but we’ve developed the tech and are going to launch it at a reduced rate as a social distancing option for now.”

Seeing we are on the future: what are the FlySafair plans for the current fleet?

“We want to fly it! Before this we had a full domestic schedule which we were very excited to execute and we want to work back up to that.”

Will we maybe see a full service like business class on FlySafair?

“No, not a full service business class with different seating – but perhaps an augmentation on the “build-it-yourself” solution as described above.”

And any international plans?

“Not at this stage, no.”

Everyone has their favourite favourite and FlySafair is this favourite for many including us at Aviation Central. One thing is for sure… we all want to see airlines flying again and it is great knowing that airlines like Safair is indeed keeping an eye on the future and still want to bring the best to their clients, while looking at their employees as far as possible.

We cannot wait to see you again as you are vital to that dream weekend away, our holidays taking us to that wedding/event and more importantly to seeing our families and loved ones.

Blue skies to all Safair and other aviation industry related employees!


The first fully modernized Tu-160M missile carrier bomber performs its maiden flight

The first fully modernized Tu-160M missile carrier bomber performs its maiden flight

On February 2, 2020 Tupolev PJSC, as part of the United Aircraft Corporation, announces the maiden flight of the first fully modernized Tu-160M strategic missile carrier bomber.

On February 2, 2020 the maiden flight of the first prototype of fully modernized Tu-160M missile carrier bomber, which is based on the combatant Tu-160, took place at the airfield of KAZ named after S.P. Gorbunov – Tupolev PJSC affiliate. The aircraft was piloted by the crew under command of Anri Naskidyants, a test pilot of Zhukovskiy Flight Test and Development Center. The flight altitude was 1500 meters and flight duration was 34 minutes.

During the flight, necessary tests of upgraded systems and equipment installed as part of full modernization of the aircraft were conducted. According to the crew report, the flight was running in the normal mode; systems and equipment have operated without concerns.

Within the framework of full modernization, Tu-160M was equipped with new flight control and navigation equipment, airborne communications system, control system, radar, electronic countermeasures system. The performed upgrading resulted in the considerable enhancement of the total effectiveness of the aircraft system while in the intended use.

The first Тu-160M prototype was built as part of the extensive upgrading program of combatant aircraft systems of strategic and long-range aviation, which is currently carried out by Tupolev PJSC.

A pair of TU160s made a friendly visit to South Africa in October last year.

TU-160 AFB Waterkloof,Pretoria
October 2019

First female pilot of Niger trains at LRAFB, USA

Capt. Ouma Laouali, the first female pilot in the Nigerien air force, and U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Amy Miyajima, C-130 Hercules student pilot, listen to their instructor during a lesson at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Dec. 4, 2019. Laouali accomplished the goals she set to achieve — becoming the Nigerien air force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Squadron Operational Detachment commander — while facing many challenges during her 2,600 flying hours as a combat tested pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)


Capt. Ouma Laouali, the first female pilot in the Nigerien air force, recently accomplished the next step in her pilot career April 22, 2020, by completing her training to become a C-130 Hercules pilot in the C-130 Formal Training Unit’s six-month international pilot training program here at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

The 314th Airlift Wing, in close partnership with the 189th Airlift Wing, trains more than 1,200 students a year. Approximately 150 of those students come from countries around the globe to become combat-minded C-130 Hercules crew members. Laouali is one of these international students and is a pioneer in the history of her country’s air force.

According to Laouali, her interest in aviation began as a child while chasing planes overhead, imagining what it would be like to be in the sky.  During her 10-year career, she has flown aircraft such as the Cessna 208 Caravan and the Diamond DA42.

“What’s interesting about flying is to be up in the sky like a bird, and getting to see the incredible view that is not given to anyone else besides a pilot,” Laouali said. “There is nothing but open sky in front of you and you see how big the world really is.”

Becoming a pilot proved to be no easy task for Laouali – the pressure of setting a good example for the women who might follow her provided a constant reminder for her to try her hardest at every challenge along the way.

“Becoming a pilot made me feel very proud,” Laouali said. “At the same time, it put a weight on my shoulders because I knew I had to perform at my best for the women who will follow me. I wanted to set a good example so they would have the chance to prove themselves too. I feared that if I failed, everyone would remember that a woman failed and people might hesitate to give another Nigerien female pilot a chance.”

Laouali accomplished the goals she set to achieve: becoming the Nigerien air force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Squadron Operational Detachment commander — while facing many challenges during her 2,600 flying hours as a combat tested pilot— proving to everyone that women are capable of doing the same thing anyone else can, she said.

“She is a pioneer in every domain,” said Forces Armées Nigeriennes Col. Amadou Moctar, Nigerien Air Base 201 commander. “She has been flying with the other crew members and they don’t look at the fact that she is a woman — she is a pilot — performing just as a good as the others.”

Her participation in the course marked the first time Laouali trained with the U.S. military – learning to be a combat-capable pilot of a C-130 Hercules.

“This is the first time I’ve trained on a U.S. base,” Laouali said. “It has given me the opportunity to see how the U.S. Air Force operates. The most important part was that there were other female pilots here. I felt like I could talk to these women and we could share and learn from our experiences.”

The opportunity for the C-130 FTU to train Laouali – along with all other international students –strengthens our strategic and international relationships with countries across the globe.

“We can show our commitment to our partnerships by training together,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Stephen Hodge, 314th AW commander. “The interoperability and the opportunities to train together now will pay off in great dividends if we go into a potentially hostile or contested environment together in the future.”

Upon completion of her training here, Laouali brings with her the knowledge of how to employ the C-130 Hercules as a tactical weapon with honed abilities as a Herk pilot — moving troops and supplies throughout the Nigerien air force’s large area of operations, as well as assisting with regional peacekeeping operations.

“I look forward to possibly becoming an instructor and I am ready to grow as a C-130 pilot,” Laouali said. “I have already seen what the plane can do, l know the plane’s full capabilities and I have the experience to use those capabilities if they are needed in the future.”

Laouali hopes that this accomplishment inspires other females to set their own goals and achieve them. She has always aspired to be the reason another young girl from Niger makes their own dreams come true — just as she did.

SAAF C130 with a Kill

History of the SAAF C-130 with a “kill”: 408

This C-130B was first delivered to the USAF as 58-0731 in 1959, being converted to WC-130B for the weather service in 1970. Reverted to USAF operation as a C-130B in 1982 and donated to South Africa in 1996, where she still flies with 28 Squadron as 408.

USAF incident in 1966:
On 12 January 1966, in Vietnam, 58-0731 (now 408) was with the USAF 463rd Troop Carrier Wing at Mactan. It flew into Ca Mau airfield taking fuel to the Special Forces team stationed there. Just after landing and opening the aft doors the base came under sustained Viet Cong (VC) attack and the Green Berets on the ground radioed to tell them to take off ASAP. But “Wendy” Moser said “Let’s drop the bladders on the roll and keep going. We dont want to take a hit with all the fuel on board.” They taxied and pushed the fuel bladders out of the back of the airplane. As soon as the last bladder was off, Moser taxied the airplane to the end of the runway and wheeled around into takeoff position.

As as they prepared the takeoff roll, someone noticed a figure on the runway just past the area where they had off-loaded the fuel. The crew noticed that the figure had a gun, and it was pointed at them. They saw him open up, shooting into their direction, although none of the rounds appeared to strike the airplane. Then the figure did a strange thing, he jumped onto a bicycle and began pedaling down the runway as hard and fast as he could.

All four men in the cockpit agreed that they must get the VC. Moser released the brakes and the C-130 hurtled down the runway. When the airplane reached flying speed, Moser held it down and aimed at the fast-pedaling VC. Then the crew heard a “BRRRRRRRR” as a prop caught the VC and splattered him all over the side of the airplane. Moser let the airplane become airborne and came back around over the runway to see what they had done. They flew low down the runway and could see the remains of the chopped-up VC and his bicycle.

After landing at Tan Son Nhut, everyone stood around the front of the airplane and apologised to the crew chief for the damage done and for the mandatory engine change.

After that they put a sticker of a person on a bicycle under the pilot’s window as a kill marking.

From the book “Trash Haulers” by Sam McGowan.

58-0731 (408) in NOAA service:
“Despite the damage and death caused by Hurricane Camille in 1969, there was one positive side-effect: she was a wake-up call to Congress. As a result, $8-million was appropriated to obtain more aircraft for the weather recon fleet, and upgrade all of them with state-of-the-art equipment. The Air Force dubbed the effort Project “Seek Cloud”.

Under Project Seek Cloud, twelve 1958-series C-130Bs were obtained from PACAF. They were old, and some were not in great shape, but a tired C-130 is still the equal of almost any other airplane. All twelve were modified for weather reconnaissance at WRAMA in 1970-71 with the installation of the Seek Cloud equipment suite. None of them were configured for atmospheric sampling.

Only eleven of these B-models kept their blue suits, however. 58-0731 was given a temporary duty assignment to the civilian sector, with NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division. It was first re-numbered N6541C, then N8037, and was nicknamed NOAA’s Ark. It served NOAA proudly for eleven years as a hurricane research aircraft. Re-converted to transport in 1981, she then served with the Texas, Ohio, and Kentucky Air National Guards before retiring in 1992. She was later donated to South Africa…”

Source: “Whiskey-Charlie!” by Tom Robison

Cessna SkyCourier takes next step toward first flight with ground engine tests

Aviation Inc. announced it has successfully completed initial ground engine tests on the prototype Cessna SkyCourier twin utility turboprop featuring Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines. These ground engine tests verified the functionality of the fuel system and engines, as well as the interface with the avionics and electrical systems.

The successful engine run tests are a pivotal step toward proving the maturity of the aircraft and its systems as we prepare for the first flight,” said Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Programs and Engineering. “We continue to meet each important milestone in our development schedule, and we look forward to having an outstanding aircraft for our customers.”

The Cessna SkyCourier program continues to advance with assembly of the prototype and additional five flight and ground test articles. The tail was installed to the fuselage in early February 2020. Power to the aircraft’s electrical system was turned on in January, and the wings were successfully mated to the fuselage in December 2019.

Relentless capability

The Cessna SkyCourier will be offered in various configurations including a 6,000-pound payload capable freighter, a 19-seat passenger version or a mixed passenger/freight combination, all based on the common platform.

The Cessna SkyCourier is designed for high utilization and will deliver a combination of robust performance and lower operating costs. Cessna SkyCourier will feature the popular Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite and offer highlights such as a maximum cruise speed of up to 200 ktas and a maximum range of 900 nm. Both freighter and passenger variants of the Cessna SkyCourier will offer single-point pressure refuelling to enable faster turnarounds.

Piper Aircraft Steps Up to Help Stop Spread of COVID-19

  Piper Aircraft, Inc. announced today that it will be making protective gear to help support the growing needs of the Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital. Additionally Piper Aircraft will be donating over 1300 3M, N95 approved masks to the hospital.

The Manufacturing Engineering team at Piper Aircraft has been following the growing demand and resulting shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) and has been looking for ways to support the need. Earlier this week, the team designed a prototype face shield with off-the shelf materials such as: plastic, industrial tape, foam and elastic. With approval of the prototype, the team set out to source the necessary materials from wholesale suppliers and create a manufacturing line within the Piper factory.

With a designated production area in place, the team will begin making face shields this week for use by medical personnel.  Given the current supply of materials and labor, Piper has the ability to produce thousands of face shields daily to help support the current demand.

“This is a critical time for our community, our country and the world. It is a time for action, cooperation and collaboration.  As a team, we can make a difference for people in need and directly support those fighting the battle on the front lines of this unprecedented crisis. This is just one small way that we are trying to help,” said James Funk, Piper’s Chief Operations Officer. “We want healthcare providers, especially, and patients to be safe, therefore it’s vital that we all pull together to help our community, weather this crisis and come out the other side stronger than ever.”

About Piper Aircraft

Piper Aircraft Inc., headquartered in Vero Beach, Fla., offers aviators throughout the world efficient and reliable single- and twin-engine aircraft and is on track to be the first general aviation aircraft manufacturer in the world to certify Garmin Autoland The single-engine M-Class series – the M600SLS, M500, and M350 – offers businesses and individual’s elegant performance, value and a superior ownership experience. The Personal Class Seneca V, Archer LX and Archer DLX balance proven performance, efficiency, and simplicity in a piston powered aircraft. The Trainer Class Pilot 100/100i, Archer TX, Archer DX, Arrow, Seminole and Seneca V aircraft form the most complete technically-advanced line of pilot training aircraft in the world. Piper is a member of the General AviationManufacturers Association. To learn more about Piper Aircraft, visit the company’s website at

Fight Against Insurgency : Nigerian Airforce Completes In-Country PDM, Avionics Upgrade Of Alpha Jet Aircraft T As Cas Commissions 2.8KM Road Network In Kainji

In furtherance of its sustained efforts to boost Air Power employment capability against insurgency and other security challenges in the Country, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has reactivated and commissioned another Alpha Jet aircraft after Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM). The commissioning of the additional Alpha Jet, NAF 455, took place today, 21 March 2020, at the 407 Air Combat Training Group (407 ACTG), Kainji. The event also featured the inspection of the upgraded avionics equipment on the aircraft as well as a thrilling test flight with aerobatics display. In addition, a 2.8km road network traversing almost 80 percent of NAF Base Kainji and a Technicians’ Crew Room were commissioned.

Alpha Jet

Speaking during the ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the PDM, stated that the reactivation would go a long way in boosting the morale of troops on the frontlines and better equip the NAF in its drive to sustain the offensive initiative against the terrorists and insurgents. According to him, the in-house PDM, apart from being cost-effective when compared to the overseas option, also affords NAF technicians the opportunity to build better technical capacity. “It is worth mentioning that our NAF technicians were the major manpower for this PDM. The avionics upgrade, which is the first of its kind on the Alpha Jet, has also significantly improved the aircraft navigation and communications systems thus increasing safety, reliability and overall efficiency”, he added. The CAS noted that the challenge posed by lack of avionics spares, which accounted for over 60 per cent of the Alpha Jet critical spares, had also been addressed with the upgrade. The upgraded instruments and accessories, he said, were readily available in the market, thus ensuring availability of maintenance support spares which would translate to improved aircraft availability. The CAS added that under his watch the NAF, for the first time in its history, had successfully conducted in-country PDM on two C-130H aircraft (NAFs 917 and 913) in Lagos, while Life Extension Programme (LEP) was also successfully conducted on three L-39ZA aircraft in Kano. He further highlighted that an Mi-35P was also undergoing in-Country reactivation in Portharcourt, which would further boost aircraft availability for enhanced mission accomplishment.


Air Marshal Abubakar disclosed that the completion and subsequent commissioning of 2.8 km road infrastructure, which he highlighted was executed through direct labour by the NAF Directorate of Services, was one among many other welfare projects earmarked for Kainji. He stated that during his last tour round the Base, he observed the deplorable state of the road network and believed the Unit deserved better considering its importance to the NAF’s Air Power projection capability. He added that the completed road network as well as other ongoing projects would enable personnel of the Unit discharge their respective duties conveniently, thus translating to enhanced operational performance. The CAS further noted that the Base was also being positioned to efficiently support the A-29 Super Turcano aircraft when it arrives. “I can assure you that this robust infrastructural development would continue to take place in NAF Base Kainji”, he said.

A-29 Super Turcano

Air Marshal Abubakar expressed his profound appreciation to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his gracious support to the NAF. He equally thanked the National Assembly, especially the Senate and House Committees on Defence and Air Force, for their continued support to the Service. While thanking the host community for the peaceful co-existence as well as their support to the NAF, the CAS promised that the Service would not rest on its oars until 407 ACTG, which is tasked with the important responsibility of training fighter pilots for the NAF, becomes a model Base.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command (AOC ATC), Air Vice Marshal Musa Muktar, who was represented by the Chief of Staff ATC, Air Commodore Abraham Adole, remarked that the commissioning of the reactivated aircraft and the welfare projects were inspiring demonstrations of a leadership whose top priority is to enhance NAF operations and promote morale of personnel through the provision of adequate platforms and enabling environment for effective service delivery. He noted that this would undoubtedly boost the NAF’s efforts in stemming the scourge of criminality bedeviling the Nation. While thanking the CAS for his commitment to the provision of infrastructure that would enhance personnel comfort and professional performance across the spectrum of NAF operations, the AOC pledged the commitment of the ATC as well as 407 ACTG to continue to do more to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians.

After the unveiling of NAF 455 and inspection of the upgraded avionics in the cockpit, a Functional Check Flight (FCF) was conducted to further certify the aircraft fit for combat operations. The FCF, which also featured an exhilarating aerial display, was skillfully executed by the Commander 407 ACTG, Squadron Leader Kingsley Igwegbe, and Flying Officer Kafayat Sanni, the NAF’s first female fighter pilot, whose arrival from the flight was heralded by a traditional water salute. Present at the colourful event was the Emir of Borgu Kingdom, His Royal Highness, Barrister Muhammad Haliru Dantoro Kitoro IV, who commissioned the 2.8 Km Road Project and Technicians’ Crew Room. Other dignitaries included Branch Chiefs and Directors from Headquarters NAF as well as Commanders of Military Units and Heads of Para-Military Agencies in Kainji.

Boeing Announces Key Organization, Leadership Changes

CHICAGO, April 21, 2020 announced key organization and leadership changes aimed at driving greater cross-company integration and continuous improvement; aligning enterprise services to current business conditions while increasing value; streamlining senior leadership roles and responsibilities; and preparing now for the post-pandemic industry footprint. The changes are effective May 1.

A newly formed group — Enterprise Operations, Finance & Strategy — will consolidate several important areas, bringing together teams responsible for manufacturing, supply chain and operations, finance, enterprise performance, strategy, enterprise services and administration. Led by Greg Smith, executive vice president, Enterprise Operations, and chief financial officer, this new global organization will embed operational excellence and consistent lean principles across Boeing and its supply chain, and restore production and supply chain health as Boeing and the broader aerospace industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Corporate Audit will join Smith’s new group and continue to report directly to the Boeing Board of Directors Audit Committee as it does today, providing independent, objective assurance and advisory services to improve company operations.

Jenette Ramos, senior vice president of Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Operations, will bring 34 years of Boeing experience, leadership and operational skills to a special assignment in support of Smith and Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun.

The company also is combining its legal and core compliance programs, including global trade controls, ethics and business conduct, into a single organization led by Brett Gerry, chief legal officer and executive vice president of Global Compliance. This approach will enhance Boeing’s already strong compliance and internal governance program through focused accountability for, and a more integrated approach to, Boeing compliance responsibilities. It also will help the company proactively address new legal and compliance obligations arising from an increasingly complex global regulatory environment. 

To accelerate this important work and to build on the existing strength of its compliance and ethics program, Boeing soon will name a chief compliance officer who will be responsible for leading the company’s compliance, ethics and trade control activities. This person will report to Gerry, with a direct reporting line to Calhoun and the board’s Audit Committee on compliance and ethics issues.

Finally, Boeing Government Operations, led by Executive Vice President Tim Keating, will assume responsibility for the company’s Global Spectrum Management activities, which ensure the safe, efficient and compliant use of radio frequency spectrum in Boeing products and operations.

“I am confident these changes will drive greater alignment among our functions; better equip our commercial, defense and space, and services businesses to deliver on customer commitments in a changing marketplace; and support our continuous efforts to develop talent through challenging leadership assignments,” said Calhoun. “Special thanks to Greg, Brett, Tim and Jenette for taking on new leadership responsibilities.”

Coinciding with these organization changes, Diana Sands, senior vice president of the Office of Internal Governance and Administration, has decided to retire from Boeing later this year after nearly 20 years with the company and following a thorough transition of responsibilities.

“Over the past two decades, Diana has played a key role in developing an industry-leading ethics and compliance program, served in several critical finance roles and been a strong advocate for advancing diversity and inclusion across the company,” said Calhoun. “The Boeing Board of Directors and I are deeply grateful for Diana’s leadership, integrity and dedicated service.”

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As a top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing employs more than 160,000 people worldwide and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.

“ZUTEE” Now Flying in the USA

A once familiar Aero L39 Albatross ZU-TEE that was often seen at airshows around South Africa now resides in the United States.The former Czechoslovakia jet trainer saw a number of colour schemes when the aircraft was based in South Africa and owned by John Wright at first then onto Charles Urban before heading down to Port Elizbeth and flying with Sea View Aerobatics.

Langebaanweg Airshow 2017
Ermelo Airshow April 2018

ZU-TEE is an ex Ukrainian aircraft. The aircraft was restored to flying condition in late 2004 with the help of Vladimir Stoikine and team, after last having flown in 1996.

When most Eastern Block Airforces retired the L39, the airframe became available for purchase for civilians and a number of L39s became airworthy around the world including a number of L39s being imported into South Africa for private use.

The aircraft was first painted in the White and red scheme, with Aviation Dimension logos. Aviation Dimension which was branded on the jet at the time. After this agreement expired, the aircraft was then painted in the all black scheme, and then fitted with Castrol sponsorship in 2006, as part of the L-39 / Jet dragster show down Unfortunately Johann Jacob’s was tragically killed when his jet car over turned in the Northern Cape during a land speed record attempt It then went onto a all black colour scheme without any sponsors for awhile, looking very similar to the Cape Town Based Thunder City aircrafts inventory colour scheme.

First colour scheme on the South African Airshow Circuit with White and red scheme, with Aviation Dimension logos
Castrol sponsorship in 2006, as part of the L-39 / Jet dragster show down
During AAD2006 Ysterplaat Airforce Base, Cape Town

In 2008 the aircraft was painted into the wildcat scheme in a blue and white livery and in 2010,as it was seen at AAD with Avpix branding, under which Frans Dely (RIP) used as a campership for a number of Air To Air photography shoots.

During its time on the airshow circuit Pierre Gouws was the display pilot for ZU-TEE, he still currently displays with Richard Lovetts Middelburg based L39 ZU-IBN, which is an identical aircraft with the same colour scheme as ZUTEE to date. Charles Urban also displayed the aircraft before he sold the aircraft to Seaview Aerobatics in Port Elizabeth.

L39s ZU-TEE&ZU-IBN Ermelo Airshow 2018

Glen Warden displayed the aircraft before it left for the United States of America.

SAAF Museum Airshow 2012
Newcastle Airshow 2014 KZN
SAAF Museum Airshow 2018

ZUTEE is currently in Orange County New York, where it has recently been based and has believed to have been sold to another American owner. You can see clearly ZU-TEE is still on the jet but its new North American Registration is N699BA.

ZU-TEE is still on the jet but its new North American Registration is N699BA.

The Aero L-39 Albatross is a high-performance jet trainer developed in Czechoslovakia by Aero Vodochody. It was designed during the 1960s as a replacement for the Aero L-29 Delfín as a principal training aircraft. It was the first trainer aircraft to be equipped with a turbofan powerplant.The L39 Is still in service with a number of air forces including Uganda and Cuba and many more!

Sukhoi SSJ100 Production Facility Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary

On 1 February, SCAC Branch in Komsomolsk-on-Amur (KnAF) turned 15. During the official ceremony held to celebrate the anniversary, a jubilee SSJ100 was handed over to the Flight Test Centre. This aircraft starts the third hundred of jets produced by the company.

“We have put state-of-the-art technologies in Superjet 100, not only concerning aerodynamics, airframe design and systems structure, but also with regard to production. At present, SSJ100 aircraft are operated by airlines and various agencies within the Russian Federation and internationally. As of yet, Superjet 100 is the only brand-new Russian passenger jet produced domestically and certified in our country and abroad,” explained Ravil Khakimov, SCAC’s Director General.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade awarded two engineers and one technician of KnAF with Certificates of Appreciation.

As stated by Sergey Denisenko, Minister of Industry of the Khabarovsk Krai, “Komsomolsk-on-Amur Branch is Russia’s unique production facility. The principles of quick improvements are implied here. KnAF is one of the largest and the most advanced machine-building enterprises in the Khabarovsk Krai.”

“Nowadays one third of all globally-produced 100-seaters are manufactured in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. For our employees, we’ve made habitual a lot of best practices in the sphere of production – Kaizen culture, Kanban and QPDCA methodology, and the Gemba principle. We value commitment of each employee to his work,” said KnAF Director Andrey Soynov.

To date, the total flight time of SSJ100 fleet is more than 700 thousand hours. Superjets in operation have performed about 450 thousand take-offs and landings.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial