Author Archives: Flippie Van Emmenis

The Virtual Silver Falcons

The Virtual Silver Falcons were founded in early 2020, initially using the MB-339 which was developed for the Frecce Tricolori Virtuali that was available as a free mod.  Later moving on to using the PC-MKII which was purpose made for exclusive use by the team and was spearheaded by Frank Moody from AIR.capetown.

The Virtual Silver Falcons Team are in contact with current and ex-members of the real world team in order to ensure that our displays are accurate and complimentary in displaying them in the virtual world. The team uses Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) as the platform for all display’s.

It is also worth mentioning that we will be the first official South African Virtual Display team to perform for an international Virtual airshow.

The team will be performing their debut airshow at Virtual International Air Festivals (https://virtualairfestivals.com/) on the 11th and 12th of December 2021 alongside the Virtual Blue Angels, The Virtual Red Arrows and the Virtual Swiss PC-7 team just to name a few. It is set to be the largest Virtual Airshow held to date with over 50 teams from around the world performing.

You can stream the show from the comfort of your home! (https://www.twitch.tv/virtualairfestivals)  

RYAN “TACTICAL PANDA” NELSON

Falcon 1 – Team Leader

Ryan is the Flight Leader for the Virtual Silver Falcons. In the real world he holds a PPL, currently a CPL student and is a commercial drone operator and video editor. He has 18 years of experience with RC Aircraft as well.

JONATHEN “CHAOS” STOLS

Falcon 2 – Media Officer

Jonathen is our number two, as well as our Media Manager. In the real world, he holds a Commercial Pilots License, is a former Game Ranger and currently co-owns a Flight Academy.

FRANK “PROPHET” MOODY

Falcon 3 – Team Owner

Frank is the Project Manager for AIR.CapeTown, developing the Silver Falcons PC-7MKII Module. In the real world he is a Partner and photographer for TheAIR.Tech, an aerial reconnaissance company.

CLINTON “SPEAR” TROSKIE

Falcon 4

Clint is our Number 4, in the real world he holds a PPL and is the Aircraft Engineer for Royal Horse Aviation, developing a Carbon Fibre Spitfire Replica.

THOMAS “SCORPION” LOFFELMANN

Falcon 5

Thomas is our number 5 and soloist. He holds an ATPL and has real world experience in the PC-7.  

RUGENE “FROSTY” FROST

Falcon 6

Rugene holds a PPL and has accumulated time on various different aircraft types. His love for flying started before he can remember and his first solo flight happened when he was just 17 years old in 2005. He Currently works for ExecuJet MRO Services as the Snr QA Auditor. His hobbies include flying model aircraft, drones and Photography.

We’ll sell Mango for you, offers Commerce24 founder to Mango BRP

Cape Town: Business trading platform Commerce24.co.za says that it is willing to assist business rescue practitioner Sipho Sono of Opis Advisory to market and dispose of state-owned airline Mango. The site provides business owners and bulk trading partners with a verified staging window to put anything of commercial value up for sale. Commerce24 estimates that Mango may be worth around R 300 million in total at the top end. The company has written to the business rescue practitioner, offering its assistance.

“While the aviation market is not particularly stable presently,” says Commerce24 chief executive Denny Mo, “it is expected to recover over time. But Mango’s value lies in the route rights it holds.” The airline is believed to hold rights to Mauritius amongst other African regional network points and is presently the only South African airline that can fly between Johannesburg and wildly popular beach holiday destination Zanzibar.

There are likely no other assets of value beyond its potential future revenue and goodwill. “We have not seen its balance sheet but based on public reportage a ‘clean’ Mango that emerges from business rescue, with creditors settled, can be a solid business proposition for investors. The airline’s fleet is leased.

Mo believes that a buyer for Mango should not be a challenge, and that a strategic equity partner or an outright buyer can be found. “At an estimated value of R 300m, an investment of R 150m or more plus a measure of working capital would be required to buy the majority of the business.”  Mo suggests that while the industry is crowded and the airline’s reputation is muddied after a disastrous 18-months of stop-starting, it’s got a solid brand and plenty of potential. “Mango was launched in 2006 and it grew on a sustained basis over time. I believe that a restart with the right investor is possible, and may be profitable,” says Mo. “And we will broker the right buyer to the willing seller.”

Commerce24.co.za is a site that enables business trading and leverages its vast business network to facilitate transactions. On sale items include big ticket items such as guest houses, hotels and other hospitality assets along with bulk stock items and “practically anything of value, which can be traded,” says Mo. “The Mango transaction is likely to be our largest yet. But with some offers already circling the R 50m mark, the business is no stranger to high value, long term investment opportunities.”

Commerce24 is an open source and free to use platform that harnesses the power of sharing like social media has done. With a free to use and free to share function, we can reach further and deeper into potential buyers nationwide. It lets the community find you the best buyer and the highest offer. 

Independent Aviation

Independent Aviation

IndependentAviation would like to introduce itself as a completely new concept in aviation training.

Independent Aviation is an innovative, new student-instructor-flight school relationship concept.

We’re for the training Industry:

At www.independentaviation.co.za we know that the relationship between the instructor and student is the most vital aspect of a successful flight training journey. Every person learns differently, which is why it is very important for the student to find an instructor to whom he or she can relate.

We’re for the students:

www.independentaviation.co.za presents a directory of independent flight instruction professionals that you, the student, can browse. This directory of independent flight instructors, enables you make direct contact with professionals of your choice, which helps you decide for yourself whether this person is competent and able to guide the journey upon which you are about to embark.

We’re for the Instructors:

As a flight instructor registering on www.independentaviation.co.za you the have the freedom to choose whom you would like to teach. You decide which flight school you would like to use. You make the arrangements with the flight school, and you are in control of how much you get paid for your services. The idea is to put the instructor back in control of the flight training experience.

We’re for Flight Schools:

The school benefits by receiving students for whom they did not have to do any advertising. The instructor will bring in his/her own students to the flight school and train them under its ATO while maintaining industry best practice and SACAA legal requirements. Ultimately the flight school will still be responsible for ensuring the optimum standard of training that is being done under their ATO.

In this model everyone wins. The student gets to choose a professional instructor with whom they can establish a personal relationship and who can teach them according to the way that they need to learn. Instructors decide how much they would like to earn and determine their own rates. The flight school receives students and income for which it did not have to do any advertising or marketing.

Independent Aviation knows that this will have a tremendously beneficial impact on the South African and worldwide aviation training industry, positively impacting training standards, resulting in a better pilot in the cockpit.

The Website is live and if you’re an instructor you can already start signing up. We are keeping the service free to instructors until 31 March 2022 so hurry and sign up.

You can contact the Independent Aviation Team at:

Name: Carl Kieck

Email: carl@independentaviation.co.za

Website: www.independentaviation.co.za

Lookout for Social Media Channels coming soon!

New careers take flight with CRET

There is exciting fresh talent taking to the skies as five newly qualified drone pilots celebrate at a graduation ceremony hosted by The Academy of Aviation and Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust (CRET). All five students are beneficiaries of education funding from CRET.

Velile Mngoma, Amanjee Moosa, Azwindini Mugari, Braiden Kitching and Jayden Brink are part of a fully sponsored drone pilot training programme as part of development careers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These specially trained pilots are part of a growing demand worldwide. PwC estimates that commercial applications of drone technology and flight have a market value of $127 billion globally. Considering the first drone pilot license on the continent was only issued five years ago, it is remarkable that new graduates are being produced in a career path that didn’t exist until recently.

The graduates come from vastly different backgrounds, but all are looking forward to building stable careers in the aviation industry. As Amanjee Moosa reflects, “Being able to have a chance to fly fills me with motivation.”

During the small graduation ceremony, the five graduates demonstrated their pilot skills and received their official certificates of qualification. This will open doors for them to work as a precision agriculture surveyor, search and rescue drone operator, drone flight instructor or drone mechanic. These career paths are available in a wide variety of sectors from construction and conservation to mining and public safety.

Chantelle Oosthuizen, Executive Director of CRET, is proud of what the future holds for these graduates.

“As with all of our CRET graduates, it is an exciting moment to see them spread their wings and fly off into the world – this is quite literal for our aviation students. CRET isn’t just for university education. The program exists to support and develop well-grounded graduates who grow to be leaders, who are of service to their community, and who have the skills to build a prosperous future. This can be done through a variety of education pathways, be it university, technical or vocational training. What we can see from this success is that young people need more options and help to get the necessary skills for new careers in a digital era.” she said.

Just 6% of the South African population have university degrees. A further 6% have diplomas and 3.4% hold technical and vocational education and training (TVET) certificates. Because South African society typically associates success with university education, vocational or technical training doesn’t get the necessary attention or respect it deserves for yielding valuable and often sought-after skills.

CRET is committed to promoting alternative skills development routes in addition to university study. The organisation promotes technical and vocational education as well as entrepreneurship as career choices. The organisation’s partnership with The Academy of Aviation is only a year old but has also produced 10 graduates with Civil Aviation Authority licenses who have completed internships with the ExecuJet Aviation Group and Lanseria Airport. To date, CRET has assisted 213 skills development training beneficiaries through various programmes.

Remote Pilot Licence Graduates with their certifications – From Left to Right Velile Mngoma, Braiden Kitching, Amanjee Moosa, Azwindini Mugari and Jayden Brink
Remote Pilot Licence Graduate Azwindini Mugari showcasing his skills
CRET Remote Pilot Licence Graduates with representatives from The Academy of Aviation and CRET Executive Director, Chantelle Oosthuizen

Remote Pilot Lincence Graduates Showcasing their skills

The SAPFA Secunda Speed Rally

The SAPFA Secunda Speed Rally – 28 August 2021 by Rob Jonkers

This year we have returned again to the birth place of the Speed Rally, being the 4th time this event has been held here, with 2018 the start of Season 1, and from 2020 having re-aligned the Speed Rallies to calendar year seasons, with this event being the 3rd event in Season 3, with the final event for Season 3 being at Springs on 27 Nov 2021.

With lockdown still at level 3, we limited the entries to 25 teams, and 22 had entered by the time the event entries closed on Friday 27th August. Our host club with Chairman Ashvir Kallis and Vice Chairman Lourence Mathee went all out to support the event, making the club facilities available and a braai for the Friday evening. The Aviation Junction flight school made their school facilities available for the scoring and officials team.

The weather outlook was looking challenging as the weekend was approaching, many warnings of severe cold and high winds predicted from a substantial cold front, and at dawn on Friday much low cloud and rain squalls made their appearance across Gauteng, which cleared later but with increasing gusty wind conditions. Having left Kitty Hawk at 10 am, caught a 30 kt tailwind to Secunda and had to deal with a 15 kt crosswind on landing. Around half the field chose rather to arrive early on Saturday, with some test flights also delayed to Saturday morning. The test flights were ably handled by Mauritz du Plessis and Iaan Myburg, with Iaan also taking up the role of scorer for this event having developed new scoring software.

At 18h30, Jonty Esser as the MC and Race Master introduced Rob Jonkers who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turnpoints, distance, departure and arrivals protocol, and also how the scoring system would world work and the expected weather conditions. This year’s route would include a cross-over, which would bring more spectator interaction as the aircraft came over the field at the half way mark.

Jonty Esser then took to the stage in his signature competing crew introductory theme song videos and race number handouts, and also including introductions to the team sponsors, which has picked up this year after a disastrous 2020, and great to see the sponsors returning to support their teams. A scrumptious braai was laid on by the club to end the evening with around the fire stories on a high note.

For Saturday the briefing started at 8h00, which was a shortened version just to cover the basics of the route, radio procedures and weather, which at least had improved wind conditions from the Friday, starting out at 10 kts with a maximum of 15 kts predicted in a westerly direction, which would at least be favourable for runway 29. Some line squalls were also in the area, with the cloud base at least more than 1000 ft, with good visibility.

With the briefing over, teams prepared their aircraft, while the organisers got the papers ready. Each team would then receive an envelope with a map, turnpoint photos, a minute marker and a GPS logger to record their track. Aircraft were then also scrutineered with all portable electronic devices sealed up in bags. For this event Mark & Shane from Century Avionics were on hand to also block off / seal Aircraft GPS and autopilot systems, and also checking the fuel tanks were full.

The Pilot Insure Scrutineer Team were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices, with the papers team under guidance of Lizelle handing out papers at the allotted time, Chief Marshall Adrian Cronje and Starters Mauritz & Chareen set up at the starting line adjacent the threshold of Runway 29, who would release each aircraft at their allotted time slot. Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers at 20 minutes prior take-off time, taxi to the starting line within 10 minutes of brake release. 1st take-off was at 10h20 for the slowest aircraft which was a Magni Gyrocopter (the first time a gyro has taken part) and last take-off at 11h10, with planned arrival at 12h00.

With all the competitors off towards the south west, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turnpoints. In general the competitors found the course easy enough. At just before 12h00, the first aircraft over the line was a little early, and then followed by at least three quarters of the field within 1 minute, with tail enders after that.

After all teams having returned, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, completing the individual scores by 14h00, with prize giving planned for at 15:00. In the meantime, most of the competitors being concerned over deteriorating weather decided to return to their home bases, thus a call was made at 14h30 to rather hold a virtual prize giving, which Race Master Jonty carried out at 5 PM on the WhatsApp platform. MC Jonty Esser thanked everybody in the Speed Rally series for their contributions.

The winners in the handicap category were Deidre Batchelor & Dave Naude in their Jabiru ZU-EBU, in second place Mike Blackburn & Steve Briggs in a Sling ZU-IBM and in third place the Evans Racing team Jonty & Jonathan Esser in their C150 ZU-BLL. The first thirteen placings were the only crews who managed a clean penalty free round.

The winners in the accuracy category were the Gem air sponsored team of Phil Wakeley & Mary de Klerk in their C210 ZS-CNY, in second place Fanie Scholtz & Herman Haasbroek in their Sling ZU-FZF, and in third place Leon Bouttell & Martin Meyer in their Evektor Harmony ZU-FWS..

Overall Standings are in first place father and son Apie & Frederik Kotzee, in second place another father and son Johan Whiteman & Quintin Kruger in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV, and in third place another father & son team of Hendrik & Jandre Loots flying their Sling ZU-IHK. This is the first time the first 3 overall placed teams are all father and sons.

Many thanks to the Secunda Aero Club for hosting this fantastic event, the SAPFA team of Adrian Cronje as the Chief Marshall, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Iaan & Tarryn Myburg doing the scoring, Mauritz du Plessis doing test flights and starting, Marc & Shane from Century Avionics for Scrutineering, Chareen Shillaw as the Event Secretary, Lizelle Kruger, Clarissa Dacostaesilva, Ariana Rompel, Leonie du Plessis for handing out competition papers to the crews, the Pilot Insure team under David le Roux for Scrutineering, Jonty & Lizelle & Sandi for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event, and Anneke Pretorius for looking after officials lunches. Santjie & Jean Marie White were also on hand to ensure all aircraft are accounted for during and post the event.

ZS-CNY – third in the accuracy results

 

One of the tracks having gone a little pear shaped.

2021 Middelburg Speed Rally

The Aircraft Unlimited Middelburg Speed Navigation Rally – 27 April 2021 by Rob Jonkers

The South African Power Flying Association held a very successful Speed Rally at the Aero Club Centenary Airweek at Middelburg, and is our 2nd event in the third season. It was decided to hold this Speed Rally on Freedom day as the date of choice in keeping with the Centenary celebrations of the Aero Club that featured most of the Recreational Aviation Sections over the four days. Monday turned out to be a relatively quiet day, where we could have rather rescheduled the rally, but was too late to make any changes.

There were 20 racers that entered, some stalwarts could not join due to other long weekend commitments, giving us as organisers a cue that we need to be very choosy to pick dates that are not in conflict with other activities. The weather outlook look to be virtually pristine, with little wind, thus could not have wished for better.

With some arrivals on Monday, we had Mauritz carry out a number of test flights to establish a handicap speed, as there were a number of new entrants, who in fact had joined to be able to practice for the up and coming PTAR. The afternoon initial briefing started at 18h30, with Rob Jonkers who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turnpoints, distance, departure and arrivals protocol, and a weather outlook. After this Jonty did his signature event promotion of handing out race numbers, where after the club caterer provided a nice dinner spread, before retiring for the evening.

Tuesday morning dawned with beautiful weather, the hot air balloons were up and about traversing the field taking advantage of the wind currents. The briefing was held at 08h00 am and was concluded at around 08h30, where everybody dispersed first for a group photo and then to park their aircraft and prepare for the scrutineers. The route for the day was intended to be a scenic one in a similar area as the previous Witbank event north of Loskop dam, although part of the route went closer to the eastern hills before returning to cross the 20/20 gravel runway.

With all the competitors off towards the northwest, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turnpoints, especially TP10 which was the last turn point before the home run – which by the way was the same last turn point used in the 2019 event. The finish was relatively close, only one competitor having got lost somewhat, one having great difficulty in keeping track, and three aircraft following each other having all mad the same mistake…. Will teach them not to follow the aircraft in front.

After all teams having returned and safe on the ground, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results. This time there were no major scoring issues, and the results were available for the prize giving at 2PM. The prizes are organised into 3 categories, Overall, Handicap, Accuracy, where teams that have featured in the top three in one category, don’t feature in the other categories, ensuring that all have a fair chance at winning a trophy. These scores are also added to the leader board in this manner. The following table shows the top placings.

The following are the individual handicap and accuracy results.

Many thanks to the Middelburg Aero Club for hosting this fantastic event, supporting with logistics and great meals available throughout the day, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk and Louna de Vos doing the scoring, Chester Chandler on handicapping, Marc Robinson with his team from Century Avionics for Avionic Scrutineering, Chareen Shillaw for Aircraft Scrutineering, Liz, Clarissa, Leonie, Louna for handing out competition papers to the crews, Mauritz for Test Flights and starting, Bernhard & Adrian as ground marshalls and starting, we for sure had a stronger crew as compared to Witbank earlier this year. Thanks also extended to Santjie White of the ARCC who always watches over us.

Also thanks to our sponsors, Aircraft Unlimited being our signature Speed Rally Brand Sponsor, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring the race numbers, and our team sponsors, Prompt Roofing, Fast Flame Laser cutting, Century Avionics, Beegle Micro trackers, JB Switchgear.

Our next Speed Rally event will be in Secunda on the 28th of August 2021

Click on a photo below to enlarge

Preparations for SAPFA Nationals Rally

As the final to be held on the 15th, 16th and 17th of April 2021 at Stellenbosch Flying Club are being put in place, it is time to reflect back on the Stellenbosch (practice) Rally that was held on Saturday 27 March 2012.

After some rain through the night, the skies in the Cape were perfect for flying. The day started nice and cool with little to no wind but this being the Cape… wind will always arrive when you need to make that perfect spot landing. Everyone was ready for the SAPFA Rally being held at the Stellenbosch Flying Club. Easily the flying club with the best views (and breakfast as well).

Pilots and navigators met up from early to top up the bodies with some coffee and a warm breakfast have a chat with fellow aviators and friends before the briefing that was to start at 9 am. Once the briefing started, the competitive side of pilots and navigators alike kicked in. Game on…

There was ample opportunity for those who had questions to ask them follow by the prepping for kicking off. Many had made notes during the briefing, clipboards came out, energy snacks and bag prepared, and even press tick to secure the smaller piece of paper that may be needed during the flight. Then the big moment… the locators were allocated and papers handed out. People couldn’t wait to get into the air and experience the beauty of the Cape. The route was to be a challenging one but also promised some good scenery.

With papers in hand, tanks topped up (humans and aircraft) and the day getting better and better the rally was about to start.

As the first batch of pilots took to the skies and getting to their targets, the normal Stellenbosch traffic and visitors were moving around. Some breakfast runs from Morningstar were made as well. As the day progressed and aircraft heading back, the wind started making an appearance. Getting stronger and stronger and I am pretty sure many pilots were hard at focus to stay as close as possible on target with the spot landing being the last major challenge.

The Cape wind just added another level of complexity to the already challenging route, next up… the landings. There was the odd bounce here and there but all in all good and some very great landings were made as pilots kept their cool and tackled the crosswind.

The second batch of pilots took to the air and by now they were fully aware of the wind. As the pilots went to hand in their locators and awaiting their results, the normal club visitors enjoyed the scenery with a cold beer and some lunch, children having fun, dads (even some moms) excited to show their young ones the aircraft… a very relaxed atmosphere while upstairs nervous pilot and navigators awaited their results. With the last pilots and navigators back at Stellenbosch Flying Club and their papers handed in, it was time to relax and enjoy a cold one.

Time for the announcing of the winners and where each team was ranked. Everyone was in agreement that the route was challenging (the route did have a name but there are children here, so we will just go with the route that shall not be named) but everyone was in the same boat. With the competition over, the social started and friends were friends again.

We all now look forward to the SAPFA National Rally Flying Championships held here in the Cape at Stellenbosch Flying Club.

I can only speak for myself but this was a most enjoyable day out. Even though the sanitizing and masks were in place with temperature checks, it was good to be out again. To experience the beauty of our country and back to the thing we love most… flying!

TR Eagle Air (Pty) Ltd and COVID-19

TR Eagle Air (PTY) Ltd has been in operation as an approved Training Organization (ATO) for a period of more than 19 years. Before incorporation as a company with limited liability, Eagle Aviation was conducted as a sole proprietorship for the preceding years until 2015 when Eagle Aviation was incorporated as a company under the name T R Eagle Air (PTY) Ltd with company registration 2015/040049/07. As such Eagle Aviation, now known as T R Eagle Air (PTY) LTD has been registered as an Aircraft Training Organization (ATO) with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). Eagle Air is authorised to conduct flight training on Fixed Wing as well as Helicopter, PPL to ATPL.

Eagle Air has since become operational and moreover after incorporation as a private company with limited liability, complied with all its Statutory Taxation obligations and has a valid Tax Clearance Certificate of Good Standing.

Eagle Air is situated at Wonderboom National Airport, Pretoria South Africa. Wonderboom have a fully functional Air Traffic Control Tower, with a ground and tower frequency so students are exposed to radio work from the start and this creates confident and polished pilots. Their pledge to all their clients is to provide safe, efficient and cost-effective flight training. Situated at Wonderboom students have 2 General Flying Areas, both minutes after take-off which leads to a cost saving for students.

Eagle Air has obtained their pledge even during a world-wide pandemic. They did not allow the pandemic to stop them from growing into one of the best flying schooPs in South Africa. Eagle Air was the first ATO to draft and submit a Covid-19 Protocol to the SACAA.

Eagle Air did not come to a halt when the rest of the world did. In the months of lockdown, they developed an online system where students could authorise their briefings and flights, update personal information and keep track of all related training. The Flight Training might have been placed on hold, but their instructors found a way to still assist students as far as possible. Briefings were conducted online through multiple online platforms, small videos were sent to students with little motivation and training notes. Eagle Air kept an open communication channel with all students to keep them in the loop on all new developments. Eagle Air was also one of the first ATO’s to implement Computer Based Training (CBT) doing away with the traditional hard-copy aviation study material.

Even it’s Maintenance department did not just sit back when flight training was not possible. Their Fleet was still regularly maintained to ensure that all aircraft was airworthy for operation once training could commence. Such maintenance was authorised by the SACAA as essential maintenance.

And most importantly, the pandemic did not deter any prospective student to make enquiries on joining Eagle Air Family. Around 20 new students was enrolled during level 5 lock down and have started their new adventure. Since being allowed to operate under level 3, a further 80 students have enrolled and have commenced training.

The number of their students have increased astronomically this year, and have even double in figures in comparison with last yeaös rate. Eagle Air took this opportunity to not only employ qualified Senior Instructors from the Airline Industry to accommodate the influx of students, but also admin staff members to assist where necessary.

Due to this booming growth in the Eagle Air Family, Eagle expanded their facilities by the addition of a new Hangar with more comfortable office space and ample study areas for students. A crew room has also been provided for the instructors.

The expansion also included additional aircraft which increase the Eagle Fleet from 18 Training aircraft to 24 Training Aircraft. The overall expansion would mean that all current and prospective students will be accommodated fully with their training needs.

Eagle Air has, and still, adheres toa Il Covid-19 Rules and Regulations. Sanitising stations were erected, and every main building has a section where hands can be sanitised. Eagle has appointed its own Covid-19 compliant officer who ensures that all regulations are strictly complied with. Sanitisation certificates is also available for all offices, hangars, Simulator and for each individual aircraft.

Everybody at Eagle predicts even bigger things to come, and as one big family standing together, nothing can withhold the Eagle from spreading his wings even wider and flying even higher.

To support the above contention, Eagle is in the final stages of acquiring an AOC for Charters and intends to expand their helicopter training before the end of the year.

Click on photo to enlarge

Bell, Rotorcraft, Transforming the Logistics Operations of the African Mining Industry

cid:image018.png@01D3FE93.F88798C0

Transforming the Logistics Operations of the African Mining Industry

For centuries, the African continent has been the leading source of natural resources and is home to 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves, shaping the various economies of the region. A number of international companies now work in the mining industry, constantly looking for new ways to streamline the process of transporting mined minerals to their desired locations. Historically the process of transportation has always faced issues and delays with many mines in inaccessible locations.

In the past, the industry has been behind in adopting new and innovative logistics techniques to help facilitate its growth. Only recently has technology played a critical role, leading to improved efficiency of processes, and reduction of costs, as stated by the Journal of Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration in their recent paper on the topic.

However, an increased use of rotorcraft and even unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) offer the industry solutions to some longstanding logistical challenges. These aircraft can be used to carry heavy loads and assist in the transportation of vital equipment to and from remote and difficult-to-access locations. These important developments are being supported by local authorities with, for instance, the South African Civil Aviation Authority recently approving the use of a remotely piloted aerial system for the mining sector to help revolutionize the industry.

Meanwhile, the capabilities of rotorcraft in assisting with complex and heavy logistical challenges have been exemplified in the work of Rocky Mountain Rotors, an American helicopter chartering company founded by Mark Taylor. It has been using a Bell 505 helicopter to assist in transportation operations and rescue missions in the Rocky Mountains. With a payload of up to 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms) at and an altitude range of 22,500 feet density altitude (6,096 meters) thanks to its Arrius 2R engine, the Bell 505 has proven a worthy companion against heavier and more expensive competition.

Mark and his team have tested the durability of the 505 on numerous occasions. His first job was to transport almost eight tons of equipment across six miles (nine kilometers) of dense forest at 7,700 feet (2,347 meters). On another occasion, Mark used a 505 to transport over 750 pounds (340 kilograms) of load up the mountains. The Bell 505 flew in at 9,200 feet (2,904 meters) and performed a delicate set down of the cargo on the frozen Delta Lake at 9016 feet (2,748 meters).

The Bell 505’s extreme towing capabilities, as well as its power to weight numbers mean that it can operate at a lower cost the other, larger aircrafts. This in turn provides a new alternative to the mining industry in Africa, which historically is heavily reliant on trucks to access the harshest of terrains.

Bell is actively collecting information for the future of mobility and aircrafts like the Bell 505 are perfectly suited to accommodate everything from VIP transportation to external cargo lift missions. This is because it is reliable, cost-effective, and safe to perform a wide variety of missions in efficient travel times.

Another transformative technology that could reshape the mining industry in Africa is the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in operations. UAVs have been used traditionally in geological mapping missions, but never to carry significant pay loads.

In an effort to save time and costs, UAVs such as Bell’s Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) might just be the answer. The vehicle is capable of autonomous flight and taking off and landing vertically. It has demonstrated the ability to carry a payload of 110 Ibs (50 kilograms), offering a solution for mining companies who are looking to transport goods away from mining sites.

Bell understands the need to modernize the mining industry and is developing tools to solve this. With the 505, it can offer customers an opportunity to hoist larger cargo to and from different locations, while with the APT, swifter and less costly aircraft for smaller payload. Both aircrafts open a new world of possibilities for logistical transportation. By efficiently moving goods from one location to another, they provide safe, cost and time efficient solutions for mining companies looking at alternative means of transportation.

Sameer Rehman, Managing Director of Africa and the Middle East, Bell, commented: “With the Bell 505, we have an aircraft that has shown time and again that it can be trusted to operate in high-risk locations and with heavy payloads, providing a capable machine for logistics operators. With APT, Bell is set to re-define on-demand logistics support across a number of industries, Thanks to its autonomous flight capability and intuitive interface, the simplicity of the UAV’s operation means that it can go further, faster and carry payloads at increased ranges all while saving time, cost and energy.”

To find out more about the 505’s cargo hook capabilities, the APT’s capacity and the rest of Bell’s existing product line up, please visit https://www.bellflight.com/

The Aircraft Unlimted Witbank Speed Navigation Rally

The Aircraft Unlimted Witbank Speed Navigation Rally – 13 February 2021 by Rob Jonkers

This first of the 3rd Season Aircraft Unlimited Speed Rallies for 2021 has been held at Witbank, organised by SAPFA and hosted by the Witbank Aeronautical Association. This event was held virtually a year ago at the same venue, and the world of course has changed substantially since then, although it seems yesterday that we were last here.

It has for sure been an event fraught with challenges, from the start of having to postpone it from the original planned date of 6 February as the last throes of cyclone Eloise was still drenching the Highveld, to having to line up a new ground support team (as many of the stalwarts were not available this weekend), to having to ride through a number of mistakes on the day. Nevertheless, the end result was at least a safe and successful rally.

There were 30 entries, quite a full field given the current situation, with a number of local aircraft taking part. Three flight schools entered, Legend Sky from Rhino Park, Mach 1 from Springs and a large contingent with 5 entries from Bird Aviation based at Vereeniging. The weather outlook was predicted to be poor, and on Friday the wind was pumping at between 15 – 20kts from the north-east with 6/8 cloud, with the forecast for Saturday giving low cloud with afternoon rain – seemed the next tropical depression was on its way from the east coast.

The Friday afternoon initial briefing started at 18h00, with Rob Jonkers who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turnpoints, distance, departure and arrivals protocol, and a weather outlook. After this Jonty did his signature event promotion of handing out race numbers, where after the club provided a nice dinner spread, before retiring for the evening.

Saturday morning dawned with more promising weather, the predicted low cloud did not materialise, and by 9 am the cloud base had risen to above 6500 ft, with a still strong easterly wind. The briefing was held at 08h00 am and was concluded at around 08h30, where everybody dispersed first for a group photo and then to park their aircraft and prepare for the scrutineers. The route for the day was intended to be a scenic one, mostly north of the Loskop dam in the Groblersdal area which has many rivers and hills.

Each team were supposed to get their envelops with their loggers 20 minutes prior take-off, somehow the papers hand-out team received an incorrect time list which showed an hour ahead of when the papers were supposed to be given. Although the first 5 aircraft were given their papers early, once the mistake was realised, a reset had to be brought into effect. 1st take-off was at 09h53 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 10h40, with planned arrival at 11h30.

With all the competitors off towards the northwest, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turnpoints, especially TP6 which required good navigating skills to find the canal and road crossing, from the results this turn point seems to have been difficult to home onto. With the windy conditions the aircraft coming over the line were more spread out than before, most competitors were over the line within 10 minutes, with one straggler that decided a visit to Nylstroom was in order….

After all teams having returned and safe on the ground, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, with the tracks for a number being quite accurate, although some had wobbles, three had got significantly lost.

Getting the results out on time proved to be a challenge, with changes in the scoring system there were some gremlins that had to be fixed, and that required extra time, also with impending bad weather moving in, many competitors started to depart. Aiming for a 2 pm prize-giving was just not working out, and with too few left at the field, it was decided to postpone the prize-giving to later the day, however a small prize giving was held for the most creative route – which turned out to be the Cessna 310 that found its way to Nylstroom, the trophy for the host club, and the most enthusiastic crew which went to ZS-PJK.

Given the additional time for scoring, and having to check of anomalies of the results, particularly the track error accuracy, it was decided to review go-pro footage to assess any auto-pilot usage, which given the size of the files, could only be checked the next day. Once the review was done and no anomalies found, could the results be published, although some mistakes crept in when the prize giving information was compiled. Nevertheless the scores on the leader board results are correct (given on the website), and the trophies granted remain with the recipients as given.

For the Navigation Accuracy category, third place went to Jonty & Jonathan Esser in their C150 ZU-BLL, in 2nd place Phil Wakeley and Mary de Klerk in their C210 ZS-CNY and in 1st place Hendrik & Jandre Loots in the Sling ZU-IHK. For the Handicap/Speed category, third place went to Roger Bozzoli & Nadine Brooker in their Piper Arrow ZS-KFM, in 2nd place John Sayers and Jack Coetzer in their Mighty Mouse Harvard ZS-WSE and in 1st place Mad Dogs Von Hamman and Ron Stirk in their C150 ZS-NBT. Overall Winners in third place went to Leon Bouttell and Martin Meyer in their Harmony ZUFWS, in 2nd place Mike Blackburn and Steve Briggs in their Sling ZU-IBM, and in 1st place Ryan and Chris Shillaw in their Cirrus ZS-ACA.

Many thanks to the Witbank Aeronautical Association for hosting this fantastic event, supporting with logistics and great meals available throughout the day, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk and Louna de Vos doing the scoring, Chester Chandler on handicapping, Marc Robinson with his team from Century Avionics for Scrutineering, Chareen Shillaw for taking on the role of starter, Clarissa for handing out competition papers to the crews. Although there were some hiccups, eventually the participants got airborne. Thanks also extended to Santjie White of the ARCC who always watches over us..

Also thanks to our sponsors, Aircraft Unlimited being our signature Speed Rally Brand Sponsor, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring the race numbers, and our team sponsors, Prompt Roofing, Fast Flame Laser cutting, Century Avionics, Beegle Micro trackers, JB Switchgear.

Our next Speed Rally event will be in Middelburg on the 27th of April 2021

Nice perfect Track

Oops – Went to Nylstroom

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial