Monthly Archives: March 2023

TAAG ANGOLA Airlines join WTM AFRICA 2023 addressing intra-regional cooperation as major topic for the Aviation Eco-System ahead

TAAG ANGOLA AIRLINES is invited to discuss critical issues affecting the aviation and tourism
industries in Africa during two not-to-be-missed content sessions at WTM Africa, which is taking
place at the CTICC in Cape Town from 02 to 05 April.

In conversation with Aaron Munetsi, CEO Airlines Association of Southern Africa, Abdérahmane
Berthé, Secretary-General African Airlines Association and Olivier Ponti, Vice President ForwardKeys,
the discuss will focus on critical initiatives to liberalise civil aviation and boost intra-regional travel.
This content session, which aims to highlight the importance of regional cooperation in tourism
across Africa, will take place on Monday, April 3 from 16h00 – 16h45 on the Global Stage at the
On Tuesday, April 4, from13h30 to 14h15, TAAG ANGOLA AIRLINES will also have a seat and
participate in a panel on WTM Africa’s Global Stage to debate the opportunities for aviation into
Africa and what to expect in the future. Joining the panel will be David King, Project Manager at
WESGRO: Cape Town Air Access and Rodger Foster, CEO & Managing Director, SA Airlink.

“The importance of boosting intra-regional cooperation in Africa and improving intra-African
connectivity cannot be overemphasised. As such, TAAG is committed to playing a significant role in
achieving these objectives. With direct connections to nine cities in Africa, two in the Americas, and
two in Europe, TAAG is the interlink enabler for North-South and South-South connectivity. We
strongly believe that Luanda can be a central hub in Austral/Africa, offering strong opportunities for
East-West (e.g., Asia-Africa-Americas) and North-South (Europe-Africa) connectivity,” says Eduardo
Fairen, CEO TAAG.

Angola’s long transatlantic coastline and TAAG´s relevant connections highlight the country´s hyper-
competitive geographic advantage. With the continent’s attractive potential for business
development, TAAG is well-positioned to be the airline of choice for bridging connections to and
from Africa.

WTM Africa is expected to be a crucial platform for leaders in the travel and tourism industry to
share insights, best practices, and form partnerships to boost Africa’s tourism sector. TAAG
representative at the event will be Rui Carreira, as a Board Member while this a significant
opportunity for attendees to hear from a leading aviation expert on the importance of intra-regional
cooperation in Africa.

RwandAir continues fleet expansion with new wide-body jet

RwandAir has expanded its fleet with the delivery of its third long-haul aircraft.

The Airbus A330-200, registered 9XR-WX, is based at the carrier’s Kigali hub, and offers customers a leading experience in the skies.The aircraft will allow the Rwandan carrier to further expand its long-haul operation, with additional flights operating between Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Customers will be able to choose from 30 seats in Business Class and 222 seats in Economy Class, giving a greater choice of flexibility. Yvonne Makolo, RwandAir CEO, said: “We are excited to be expanding our fleet further with the addition of our third long-haul aircraft.

“Its addition will allow us to continue our route expansion and offer customers even more connections.”RwandAir will operate the new wide-body aircraft to its key destinations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, including London, Brussels, Lagos and Dubai.

The addition of the new Airbus will bring the African airline’s fleet to 13, consisting of three long-haul, one freighter and nine short-haul aircraft. Last November, the Rwandan airline received its first dedicated freighter aircraft, as the carrier highlighted the ever-increasing importance of cargo in Rwanda and the aviation industry as a whole.


From its hub at the heart of Africa at Kigali International Airport, RwandAir is renowned for its excellent on-time performance, customer service, and safety.

RwandAir currently operates to a variety of destinations across East, Central, West and Southern Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

Elbit Systems Awarded Four Contracts to Supply Solutions to the Romanian Armed Forces

Elbit Systems Ltd. was awarded four contracts to supply the Romanian Ministry of National Defense with aircraft upgrades as well as electronic warfare suites, electro-optical infrared (EOIR) payloads and Brightnite™ systems for the IAR 300 helicopters.

As part of one of the contracts, the Company will integrate Elbit Systems SPECTRO XR™ payload onto IAR 330 helicopters to enhance the Romanian Navy’s operational capabilities. This contract, which follows a successful upgrade of the Romanian Navy’s IAR helicopters, will be performed over the coming year.

In a second contract, Elbit Systems will supply a comprehensive electronic warfare (EW) suite including Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), Laser Warning System (LWS), Infrared Missile Warning System (IR MWS) and Counter Measure Dispensing System (CMDS). The suites will be supplied to a domestic supplier for the installation and integration onboard six PUMA helicopters with an option for an additional six in the future. The contract is a follow on order to additional EW suites that are already installed other Romanian Armed Forces’ platforms. It will be carried out over a period of three years.

The Company will also provide, as part of a third contract, Elbit Systems HDTS type head systems, SPECTRO XR electro-optical systems and an aircraft mission package that includes smart displays, digital maps and reconnaissance systems. Elbit Systems will also supply Brightnite™ systems to IAR Brasov for the Romanian Air Force’s Puma 330 SAR helicopters. This contract will be carried out over two years.

The SPECTRO XR multi-spectral electro-optical payload is a leap forward in complex intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities. Suitable for today’s operational complexity, the lightweight payload system is designed for day-and-night extended-range surveillance under various weather conditions. It also provides continuous target scanning capabilities for enhanced situational awareness.

The BrightNite system is designed to overcome visibility limitations and enable to safely and effectively fly mission helicopters in pitch dark nights and in DVE conditions including poor weather conditions, brownouts, whiteouts and sandstorms. It transmits high-resolution video to the Helmet-Mounted Display (HMD), enabling pilots to fly in a head-up, eyes-out position. The system can present information to multiple pilots simultaneously on an intuitive multi-functional display.

Under a fourth contract, Elbit Systems will supply advanced avionic suites, live training embedded virtual avionics system, advanced monitors, overhead display, navigation system and weapons activation systems to Avioane Craiova that is upgrading the Romanian Air Force’s (RoAF) IAR99 advanced fighter trainer aircraft.

The IAR99 SOIM is an advanced trainer and the upgrade will support the an effective transition of RoAF pilots to fighter aircraft, including the Romanian Air Force’s F-16s. The contract will be carried out over a period of four years. This upgrade program follows a previous contract for the Romanian Air Force’s trainer aircraft in collaboration with Avioane Craiova and was awarded approximately 25 years after Elbit Systems first contract to upgraded the IAR99 aircraft.

Norwegian Air Ambulance expands its H145 fleet

The Norwegian Air Ambulance is ordering two five-bladed H145s to be used for life-saving missions in Norway.

“I would like to thank the Norwegian Air Ambulance for its continued trust in our helicopters to support their essential, life-saving missions,” said Thomas Hein, Head of Europe Region at Airbus Helicopters. “We’re proud that they are further expanding their fleet of five-bladed H145s.”

“The five-bladed H145 has proven to be the perfect helicopter for our HEMS operations,” said Leif Olstad, CEO of the Norwegian Air Ambulance. “With the new helicopters we will continue to serve the people of Norway with state of the art equipment to ensure the best service possible.”

Today, Norwegian Air Ambulance operates all 13 HEMS bases in Norway using a 100% Helionix-equipped fleet of H135s and H145s. The organisation’s mother company, the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation, was the first operator in the world to take delivery of a
five-bladed H145 in 2020.

The new version of Airbus’ best-selling H145 light twin-engine helicopter adds a new, innovative five-bladed rotor to the multi-mission aircraft, increasing the useful load of the helicopter by 150kg (330 lbs.). The simplicity of the new bearingless main rotor design also
eases maintenance operations, further improving the benchmark serviceability and reliability of the H145, while improving ride comfort for both passengers and crew.

In total, there are more than 1,600 H145 family helicopters in service, logging a total of more than seven million flight hours. Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145 is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and the Helionix digital avionics suite. It includes a high performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145 the quietest helicopter in its class, while its CO2 emissions are the lowest amongst its competitors.

Airbus Helicopters is the leading provider of helicopters to the air medical transport industry, providing some 54% of the 2,700 EMS helicopters flying in the world today.

Lockheed Martin And Royal Bahraini Air Force Celebrate Bahrain’s First F-16 Block 70

Bahraini, American and Lockheed Martin officials today celebrated the first F-16 Block 70 for the Royal Bahraini Air Force today at Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] in Greenville, South Carolina.

The Kingdom of Bahrain has a unique history with the F-16: It was the first F-16 operator in the Gulf Cooperation Council beginning in the early 1990s, and now is receiving the first F-16 Block 70.

“Today’s ceremony GREENVILLE, S.C., March 10, 2023 represents the next generation of the powerful and proven legacy of the F-16, and demonstrates Lockheed Martin’s commitment to advancing this program and getting this much-needed aircraft and its advanced 21st Century Security capabilities to the warfighter,” said OJ Sanchez, vice president, Integrated Fighter Group, which includes the F-16 program. “With the Block 70 iteration, we are transforming 4th generation for the next generation for the Royal Bahraini Air Force and other partners and allies around the world.”

The first Royal Bahraini Air Force F-16 Block 70 was celebrated at Lockheed Martin in Greenville, South Carolina on March 10. Lockheed Martin photo

This F-16 Block 70 jet is the first of 16 jets for Bahrain, and took its first flight on Jan. 24, 2023. From here, it will begin additional flight tests at Edwards Air Force Base before arriving in Bahrain in 2024.

Six countries have selected Block 70/72 aircraft. In addition to the current official backlog of 127 jets to-date to be built in Greenville, Jordan has signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for 12 jets and Lockheed Martin has received a contract to begin its long-lead activities. Bulgaria has also signed an LOA for an additional eight jets for its fleet. Once these are finalized, the backlog will increase to 147.

“The F-16 celebrated today was built by our talented, committed workforce in Greenville,” said Danya Trent, vice president, F-16 Programs and Greenville site leader. “We are proud to call Greenville the global home of the F-16 and look forward to continuing to produce jets serving missions around the world.”

The Spanish Air Force Buys Another 16 PC-21s & Associated Simulators

The Spanish Air Force, Ejército del Aire, decided to purchase 24 PC-21s in early 2020. The final PC-21 of this order was delivered to Spain in mid-2022. The Spanish Air Force has now decided to buy another 16 PC-21s. The contract signed with the Dirección General de Armamento y Material (DGAM) makes Spain the largest PC-21 operator in Europe.

Spain is convinced by the PC-21: since summer 2022, its future military pilots have trained with the world’s most advanced training system by Pilatus. After a very professional negotiation phase, the Spanish Air Force has now ordered another 16 PC-21s to reinforce pilot training with additional Pilatus trainer aircraft. The training bandwidth of the PC-21 will also be enlarged: in future, the PC-21 will also be used for elementary training in addition to basic training.

Lieutenant Colonel Ildefonso Martínez-Pardo González, Academia General del Aire (AGA) Air Operations Group Commander, commented as follows: “Now in use with the Spanish Air and Space Force for over 18 months, the PC-21 integrated training system far exceeds our expectations. Its reliable and efficient powerplant, aerodynamics, safety systems and avionics make the PC-21 a highly versatile trainer, capable of performing any phase of flight training from the most elementary to the most advanced. Our relationship with Pilatus has been outstanding throughout, and a key factor for successful implementation. The excellent collaboration, professionalism and teamwork of everyone involved over the past three years have enabled us to roll out this PC-21 training course in record time without interruption to training.”

PC-21 & Simulators

14 PC-21s will be delivered to the Academia General del Aire (AGA) in San Javier. An additional two PC-21s will also be delivered to the Centro Logístico de Armamento y Experimentación (CLAEX). These two PC-21s will be used for experimental, flight test training and research and development activities. The aircraft will be based in Torrejón near Madrid. The package also includes a PC-21 simulator, two cockpit procedure trainers, additional mission planning and debriefing systems as well as pilot training software.

Markus Bucher, CEO of Pilatus, said on the occasion of the contract signing ceremony: “What could be better than a customer who buys again from to Pilatus! Spain is an extremely renowned, professional air force. As such, Spain’s decision is a testimony to the capabilities of our training system. It is the most advanced, most efficient training system available on the market!”

André Zimmermann, VP Government Aviation at Pilatus, added: “Over the last few years, we have built an excellent relationship with the Spanish customer and are now very pleased to help them enhancing their training skills with this follow-on order of PC-21 aircraft and associated Ground Based Training Systems. This proves once again that Pilatus is producing and delivering first class products to satisfy the high requirements of our customers.”

PC-21 – the most efficient training system

With ever growing pressure on air force funding, the completely newly developed PC-21 offers a highly efficient, intelligent platform for training jet pilots. To meet all expectations, the PC-21 has extremely high equipment and performance features. They enable the single-engine turboprop to perform a range of missions previously reserved exclusively for jets. The PC-21 is far more cost-effective and fuel-efficient to operate than a jet trainer. Experience with existing PC-21 customers shows that with the Pilatus Training System, the cost of training a future military pilot can be reduced by over 50 percent.

Reno Air Races to come to an end

It is with heavy hearts that we write this to let you know that, after nearly 60 years of air racing in northern Nevada, 2023 will be the last National Championship Air Races at the Reno-Stead Airport. While we knew this day might come, we had hoped it wouldn’t come so soon. Citing the region’s significant growth amongst other concerns, the Reno Tahoe Airport Authority has made the decision to sunset the event. For so many around the world, Reno has become synonymous with air racing and it is hard to imagine the National Championship Air Races gracing any other skies than those in the Sierra Nevada.

However, we are confident the event will continue. In fact, we are currently exploring several other possible locations to host the event in the future but it starts with making this year’s event the biggest and most successful it can be. In essence, the future of the National Championship Air Races starts now. And, we need your help.

As we take off for one last time in Reno, we are inviting the community and race fans from all over the world to join to send off the National Championship Air Races in style. Consider it a celebration of six decades of thrills, history, pageantry, camaraderie and family. Reno has been the event’s home for the last 59 years, and we could not leave without recognizing the community that has embraced our event and helped make it one of our region’s signature events. We look forward to seeing the many faces the Air Races have brought joy to over the years, as well as new ones who will get the chance to see the only racing event of its kind for the first time this year.

While we discuss the future of the Air Races, we are grateful for our time at the Reno-Stead Airport and our partnership with the Reno Tahoe Airport Authority. Our event has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for the local economy, while instilling a love for flying in the community and becoming a valued partner to many charities and non-profits. We have always been so thrilled to show off the beautiful Reno Tahoe area to the tens of thousands that flew in just for our event and we’re looking forward to doing that again this year. The support from both our community and visitors has been overwhelming, and the impact they helped us make in Reno is immeasurable.

The last National Championship Air Races will take place from September 13-17. The 2023 event is set to return with more than 150 planes and pilots as well as several ‘hands-on’ displays and experiences including the GRADD-NVBAA STEM Education Discovery Zone, heritage displays, military demonstrations and static displays and more. The event will also mark the third year of competition for the STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) Drag which has become a phenomenon in the skies. While this is our last year at this location, the Reno Air Racing Association is committed to preserving and growing this great event and developing the next generation of Air Race fans. We look forward to seeing you in September. You can save your spot now by purchasing tickets at

With much appreciation and love,

The Reno Air Racing Association Board of Directors

RENO, NV 89506

Africa Sees General Aviation Success with Versatile Bell 429

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced the delivery of a Bell 429 and a signed purchase agreement for another Bell 429, both to customers in Africa.

The Bell 429 is a popular choice for the African market and continues to demonstrate important qualities such as safety, reliability, and performance. The aircraft also offers a smooth, peaceful ride as well as a spacious and customizable cabin depending on mission type.

“We are proud to support our customers in Africa with the Bell 429. With two now operating in South Africa and a third one soon to be operating in West Africa, the aircraft continues to excel across the many market segments for which it was designed. Featuring state-of-the-art technology to provide enhanced safety, comfort, performance and most importantly reliability, we are confident that these aircraft will help support on whatever their missions entail,” said Sameer Rehman, managing director, Africa and the Middle East, Bell.

Caverton Helicopters Limited in Cameroon signed a purchase agreement for the first oil and gas configured Bell 429 in West Africa. Caverton Helicopters is a subsidiary of the Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc (COSG), which is a fully integrated offshore support company providing aviation and marine logistics services to businesses operating in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and across West Africa.

“Having operated a variety of Bell products across our operations over the years, we are excited to continue with this brand, which is synonymous with safety and excellent performance,” said Captain Bello Ibrahim, managing director, Caverton Helicopters. “Introducing the Bell 429 into our fleet is an exciting milestone for us and will enable us to provide the best support for our oil and gas clients across the continent.”

The newly delivered 429 will be used for corporate transportation. Thanks to its large cabin, impressive speed, and modern technology, proving critical to its operators, there are a variety of configurations available, enabling the platform to perform numerous missions ranging from energy to law enforcement and public safety.

With more than 602,000 global flight hours, there are now 430 Bell 429 in operation, more than 20 of which are in the Middle East and Africa.

Aero Club Air Week Middelburg 2023

by Dian Townsend

The Aero Club Of South Africa once again hosted their Air Week at Middelburg Airfield from the 3rd to the 5th of March 2023. Although not quite the same size (or if we are really honest, quite far from the same size actually), Air Week presents an Oshkosh in South Africa feel.

The event delivered a great variety of action over the weekend. The fly-in, starting on the Friday already, carried on right through the rest of the weekend. Some aerobatics displays from the likes of the Flying Lions Aerobatic Team and Goodyear Eagles were flown to perfection as per usual, a glider launch demo made for some really interesting viewing, and a final hot air balloon flight after dinner on the Saturday night showcased the lesser seen part of flight.

For attendees who opted to spend the weekend, camping options were available with breakfast in the mornings and a delicious braai each night. Night festivities on the Saturday included a quiz hosted by David from PilotInsure, that tested the very limits of years of accumulated aviation knowledge.

All in all the event was very well attended, with pilots coming and going throughout the whole weekend, and in a post COVID-19 world, events like these are a great example of how beautifully our aviation community has once again risen from the ashes and is now again flourishing.

With the benchmark now well and truly set, we look forward to seeing what the rest of the year’s aviation events have in store!

Please browse through our gallery!

SAAF Museum Flying Day March 2023

The South African Airforce Museum hosted their monthly flying day at the now known Airforce Mobile Deployment Wing (Air Force Base Swartkop) in Pretoria this past Saturday.

The Museum allows the public to attend these flying days to learn more about the SAAF from both past and current through the static and flying exhibits.

The flying day started with the rotary wing inventory Alouette II’s taking to the skies followed by the Aerospatiale Puma not long after.

The Museum bosbok was one of the first fixed wing aircraft to get airborne for the day, followed by the Cessna C185 and Harvards 7111 “Nelson” and Harvard 7480.

These aircraft are flown to keep pilots current ,get new younger pilots rated and keep the rich aviation heritage flowing through the South African Air Force.

The friends of the museum who look after a lot of the static exhibits at the base, including raising funds to restore the Museum Spitfire!

They had refreshments and memorabilia on sale for the day.
This flying day was also the build up for the SAAF Museum Airshow that will take place Saturday 6th May 2023. Tickets are on sale at Computicket!

Please browse through our gallery!

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