Monthly Archives: May 2022

A wet and cold PTAR 2022

A wet and cold PTAR 2022 at New Tempe Bloemfontein – By Rob Jonkers

This year’s Presidents Trophy Air Race was held at New Tempe Bloemfontein, and traditionally held on the last weekend of May, but with the advent of the Botswana Air Show also taking place on the same weekend it was decided to move it a week earlier, which if we all had the perfect hindsight, with that event not happening, we could have held it on its traditional date, and subsequently avoiding this last few days of most unseasonal weather that befell the race weekend.

This year for sure has had many of the planned aviation events disrupted by wet, cold, windy weather systems, the most bandied about term of “cut-off low” being used to describe the weather situation. This weekend no less had a very large cold front coupled with an intense low-pressure system over the centre of the country affect the plans to race.

I arrived on Wednesday in excellent weather conditions and started setting up for the race, mostly the race control room and preparing for test flights, some of the early competitors also started to arrive at the field. Thursday saw all the aircraft arrive, some of the Cape based teams first had to wait for the front to pass before setting off, arriving just before dark. Most of the day was taken up by flight tests and registration and watching what the weather would be doing for the next day as the front was approaching.

During the first extensive Thursday afternoon briefing which also included the SA weather services team being on hand to give us the best outlook it appeared that there may be an early morning flyable gap, thus the day was planned with an early 7h30 start. As Friday dawned, it looked promising, cloud base was at a reasonable 1000 ft, and we proceeding briefing and sent the turnpoint marshals to their locations, this being particularly important to get weather condition updates from them at the furthest corners of the route.

As the morning progressed with a planned 10 am first take-off, the news from the turnpoints were not good, and then light rain started, it was then decided to scrub Day 1 with a debrief at 11 am to plan for the next day. The prediction for Saturday would be that the weather would improve from midday onwards. Everybody dispersed for some rest for the rest of the day.

Saturday dawned with flyable conditions, and in fact the window opened up from 11 onwards, thus at briefing the first take-off was planned for 11. The turnpoint marshals were sent out, who from the previous day’s rain had challenges of negotiating almost impassable roads to get to their intersections, fortunately they all sent in confirmation of being in position prior the first take-off.

This year’s field attracted 37 entries, which is very low by PTAR standards, which would normally have 60+ competitors, this year for sure the cost impact would have been affecting most would be competitors, given the fuel price virtually double that of last year at the same time. Three competitors had to withdraw mostly due to not being able to get to the event on time, thus we had 34 starters.

With the airfield being water logged, we decided not to move the aircraft from where they were parked, and carried out scrutineering in-situ and changed the papers time with a few additional minutes for the crews to collect their maps and route envelopes, which worked out well. The ground marshals were also very efficient in getting the start order taxying out at their allocated time. With the race under way, and having a cross over route, we could all watch how the order of the aircraft would be coming back over the field which was at around one third race distance.

Although the traditional race finish would be at 1PM, and given the weather window having a later than normal start, the finish was planned at 13h45, and as the time got closer to finish, the weather was threatening to deteriorate, with sudden cold and dark clouds forming just east of the field, which fortunately stayed away. The line finishers were close between Race 2 Bosbok, Race 14 Piper Commanche, Race 45 Harvard. With spacing between aircraft at the start being required to keep a safe distance, the finish order became Race 45 Harvard ZS-WSE, Race 9 RV-7 ZU-VZJ, Race 14 Piper Commanche ZS-NXG, who were the handicap winners.

Prize-giving was held at the Windmill Casino, which had laid out an excellent banquet hall for all the teams, club members and officials to enjoy. The evening started with a short debrief of the race, some of the best and “interesting” tracks being shown. Race 19 had a “long” day having lost their way at turnpoint 1 continuing northwest for 20 nm, before realising their error, they had the presence of mind to return to that first turnpoint, and continue from there to fly a good race further, only picking up one penalty, but of course adding almost 40 minutes to their time.

After the main meal, David le Roux the Race Master started the proceedings for the rest of the evening, first up Franz Smit who introduced and thanked all the sponsors supporting the race, Pilot Insure, Holborn Assets, Aircraft Finance Corporation, DJA Aviation, Century Avionics, and all the local Bloemfontein sponsors, Leon Bouttell was up next as the SAPFA Chairman, and at this point announced that Rob Jonkers would be standing down as Race Director, the baton being handed over to Iaan Myburgh.

Rob took to the stage thanking all for their support since 2018 when the Race was handed to him, at the same time an evolution of the format having been developed to today’s standard of a 10 turnpoint race limited to 300 nm, with an accuracy component added as well. There is still much discussion about this race format and its merits compared to the traditional 4 corner race, and this will be for the next Race team to work together with the racers for their input. Just as Formula 1 evolves with technology improvements, so must the PTAR evolve to take into consideration changes in technologies utilised, such as GPS based heading reference devices, different engine types that have variable power settings, these all affect the handicap speeds and course accuracy.

Rob went on to thank all those involved in the race organisation, particularly the Bloemfontein Flying Club under the key organiser Andre Grobler and experienced PTAR event coordinator, who had provided the ground marshals, turn-point marshals, and all the catering at the airfield. Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer with the ATNS team of Ricardo Afonso, SA Weather Services, ARCC, Bloemfontein Emergency Services team of Braam van Zyl, the CAA Special Air Events team, the local Municipality & SAPS.

After this the long awaited Prize Giving was held, with 24 trophy categories being handed out, up until the top 3 places, with third place going to Race 9 RV-7 ZU-VZJ with crew of Johan van Zyl & Eric Addison, second place going to Race 45 Harvard ZS-WSE with a crew of John Sayers & Dion Raath, and the PTAR trophy going to Race 14 Piper Commanche ZS-NXG crewed by Stefan Lombard and Martiens Marais.

After this the PTAR flag was handed over from BFC Chair Deon Loots to Jock Nel the Chairman of the Middelburg Aero Club as the 2023 PTAR event location. Thanks go to everybody who makes this event a success, especially the volunteers who take time out to assist, also the media who are key to promoting the PTAR.

 

Click on the photos below (By Rob Jonkers)

SAAF Museum Flying Day May 2022

And so we were already into the May edition of the South African Airforce Museum Flying day at Airforce Base Swartkop in the city of Tshwane.

The flying days at the SAAF Museum are to keep some of the flying exhibits airworthy, keeping pilots currents, generating funds to keep the museum ongoing and encourage the public to visit the museum and grasp the 102 years of SAAF airpower.

This months flying day was definitely a busy one with a number of public visitors and a number of aircraft flying. The base Officer Commanding Lieutenant Colonel Trish Schoeman, Major Ntshangase and all the faces behind them can be very proud of the Base and the behind the scene people including the friends of the Museum.

Flying day safety director Lieutenant Colonel Keith “Fulcrum” Fryer. Colonel Fryer also provided some good commentary during the morning on each of the aircraft both flying and static.

Lieutenant Colonel Keith “Fulcrum” Fryer

The flying started at 9am with the rotary exhibits, that being the Alouette II and Alouette III flown by various helicopter museum pilots that being Lieutenant Colonel Billy Port, Lieutenant Colonel Dave Keijer and General Piet Burger.

General Piet Burger in the Alouette II
Alouette III ‘624’

The sounds of Lycoming engines that were a familiar hum over the field, by two Cessna C185s, two Bosboks and the single Kudu.

Cessna C185 ‘748’
Cessna C185 ‘718’
Bosbok ‘959’
Bosbok ‘920’
Kudu ‘969’
Lt Colonel (ret) Abri Stoman

Three of the handful of Harvard’s flew including the most well known Harvard that was in SAAF service, that being 7111 known as “Nelson”.

Harvard 7111 known as “Nelson

It was great to see the de Haviland Vampire T55 that soaked up the basking sun and the museum ground crew did a engine run providing the photographers with a wet start flame as she whistled to life.

de Haviland Vampire T55

A word of thanks goes to the ground crew that keep the exhibits in airworthy condition. We are sure we will have a number of SAAF Museum aircraft that will take part in the AAD airshow in September this year!

AAD 2022 Media Launch

We are exactly 137 days to go until AAD 2022 officially opens its doors to the world and it is indeed an exciting occasion to be launching AAD 2022 during Africa month as Africa’s largest aerospace and defence exhibition and only one of its kind, which boasts a combined exhibition of air, sea and land technologies, a static aircraft display and an air show.

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AAD 2022 OVERVIEW

The 2018 edition ended on a positive note, and the organisers have been preparing for the 11th edition which was deferred in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

With that said, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the plans and theme for AAD 2022.

Static display AAD 2018

The upcoming AAD will be hosted from the 21 – 25 September 2022 at the AFB Waterkloof in Tshwane. The format will again comprise of three trade days and two air show days which will consist of elements:

  • Indoor and outdoor exhibitions
  • A hospitality chalet line
  • Static aircraft park
  • Capability demonstrations and displays
  • Parallel events with conferences, seminars and B2B meetings.

AAD will once again give exhibitors and trade visitors a unique opportunity to interact directly with various stakeholders over the trade days and allow for the public to witness the spectacular display of the Aviation Sector and Airforce.

The planning for AAD 2022 is well underway, with over 50% of the exhibition space booked. We are happy to announce the following National Pavilions confirmed namely, USA, Turkey, Italy, UK, Belgium, China, India and Pakistan —- and we look forward to announcing more country pavilions.

AAD 2022 THEME

The disruption and resounding impact that covid caused the world was on  a large magnitude we never imagined-……….

This  was the driving force for the organising team to relook at the strategy for AAD future exhibitions……..

AAD is coming from an era of unlocking the aerospace and defence potential and we are now moving into a new era

Theme for AAD 2022

Exploring New Paths, Sharing Solutions and Showcasing Innovation and Capabilities.

And as part of our diversification strategy, AAD will expand the Exhibitor, Trade Visitor, Delegation and Stakeholder profiles which focuses on entering new markets and exploring new paths.

We invite new players in the Oil & Gas, Mining and Energy sectors to participate at AAD 2022. 

Returning to AAD 2022, is the African Unity Pavilion and we are engaging with our partners in the African Union to make this a reality, with more countries and an improved partnership. The African Unity Pavilion is crucial as we work towards implementing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which was launched in January last year.

AAD will create significant opportunities for manufacturers to interact and share solutions with potential clients, generate business 2 business linkages and form strategic partnerships between countries, institutions, and stakeholders. As part of the exhibition, we will be hosting three conferences over the three trade days in parallel to the exhibition. 

And topics will include: 

  • Cyber security
  • UAVS
  • Medical

Lastly we will,

Showcase Innovation and Capabilities…The global aerospace and defence industry has developed cutting edge technology over the years and is Apex to the ecosystem. AAD will afford exhibitors locally and internationally the platform to showcase their innovative capabilities.

And as part of this, AAD will be launching Innovation Hubs.

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YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

AAD 2022 will present a world class Youth Development Programme which supports the strategic intent of AAD in creating awareness about careers in the aerospace and defence sectors to the youth of South Africa. The YDP Chairperson will give an update this morning on the plans for AAD 2022.

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COVID – 19 

As more and more people are getting vaccinated globally, with South Africa having passed the 30-million-mark, we welcome the announcement by the President of South Africa to lift the national state of disaster on Covid-19 in April. 

— All health and safety standards will remain top priority for the organisers to ensure that we deliver a safe and business conducive environment for exhibitors and stakeholders.

CONCLUSION

We are confident that the 11th edition will  allow  participants to maximize their potential and bring even more trade visitors and delegations which are a crucial factor in the exhibition’s success. 

We anticipate that AAD will contribute over R1 billion to the South African economy and create over 2, 000 new jobs. The 2022 event is expected to kick start the industry’s recovery programme and the recovery will translate into jobs,  more opportunities for  SMMEs  and contribution to the GDP.

Exhibition bookings are open and we invite you,… exhibitors, sponsors and stakeholders to secure your place at Africa’s largest gathering of decision makers, innovators, government, manufacturers and buyers on the African continent. 

On behalf of the AAD organisers, we look forward to welcoming you to the beautiful City of Tshwane on the 21st of September to the 11th edition of AAD 2022.

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