Author Archives: Flippie Van Emmenis

Next Lowveld Airshow only in 2021

MEDIA RELEASE

19 February 2020

Lowveld Air Show postponed to 2021

Dear Media Partner

On Wednesday, 12 February 2020, the Lowveld Air Show committee reached a decision to postpone the 2020 Lowveld Air Show during a special meeting that was held.

Since the 2017 air show, the committee has considered the option of only hosting an air show once every two years. We played with the idea, but continued hosting it each year due to public demand. “The 2019 air show was one of our biggest and most successful air shows ever hosted. The new approach of a shorter air show and other factors that contributed to it being such a great success, made this an incredibly hard decision to make,” Johan Heine, Chairperson of the Lowveld Air Show committee stated. “We understand most of our valued partners, each year, look forward to form part of this very popular Lowveld family event.

However, the economic downturn, financial pressure, and the significant escalation of air show costs, the wise decision was put into effect now, to only host an air show every two years, starting 2021,” Johan continued.

By hosting it bi-annually, it will allow all our partners the opportunity for long term budget planning and possibly bigger and more sponsorships which will enable us to always present an air show on the highest standards everyone has become accustomed to. Johan said they invite all interested corporates and business owners who would like to get involved in the second biggest event hosted in the Lowveld, to contact them, as planning is already underway for next year.

“We would like to make use of this opportunity to thank all our loyal supporters which include sponsors, participants, exhibitors, and most importantly the public who come to enjoy this massive family event every year. We truly value you.”

It will always stay our main priority to bring the world of aviation to the Lowveld community in conjunction with our main aviation partner, Kishugu. Their main purpose is to expose the public and our youth to the many careers in the aviation industry.

We are certainly committed and excited to get planning underway for a bigger and better Lowveld Air Show 2021.

See you next year!

For more information contact: Naranda Leeuwner

Marketing and Media Liaison 072 447 5968

END/

Photos from the 2019 Airshow

 

SR-71 Blackbird once over South African Skies!

August 1977 – East and West Work together to stop South Africa’s Nuclear testing

In the mid-afternoon on Saturday, Aug. 6, the acting chief of the Soviet embassy, Vladillen M. Vasev, called at the White House with an urgent personal message from Leonid I. Brezhnev to Jimmy Carter. South Africa, according to Soviet intelligence, was secretly preparing to detonate an atomic explosion in its Kalahari Desert. Brezhnev asked for Carter’s help to stop it.

U.S. reconnaissance satellite with high-resolution cameras also was urgently programmed for low-orbit passes over the area in question. US intelligence confirmed the existence of the nuclear test site with an overflight of a Lockheed SR-71 spy plane.

The Flight operated from Diego Garcia Air base and is about 5000km from South Africa, supported by an Air to Air Refuelling tanker, this flight would have been done with no difficulty.

About Vastrap Testing / Bombing Range

Vastrap on Google Maps 27°50’05.0″S 21°37’50.0″E ( https://goo.gl/maps/WhW5xQioCP7vtLBo8 )
Vastrap (Stand firm) is a small military airfield situated in the Kalahari Desert north east of Upington inside a 700 square kilometre weapons test range of the same name[1] belonging to the South African National Defence Force. It was constructed to allow the SAAF to practice tactical bombing operations, and for aircraft to service the SADF’s defunct underground nuclear weapon test site

Atomic testing

The area was selected for nuclear weapons testing due to its remoteness, low population density, stable geological formations and lack of underground rivers.

Two underground shafts 385 metres and 216 metres in depth and 1 metre in diameter were drilled from 1975-1977.Neither was ever used to perform a detonation, although instrumented tests were performed. The shafts were sealed with sand and concrete under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency in July 1993.

Detection

The site was first detected by the Soviet spy satellite, Cosmos 922 when it photographed the area from 21–25 July 1977, and reported to the Americans on 6 August, who in turn confirmed its existence with an overflight of the Lockheed SR-71 spy plane. The US then applied pressure on the South Africans for it to be closed, France also insisted on closure, threatening cancellation of the Koeberg nuclear power station contract.

David Albright reported that South African officials believed that an attempt to re-use the site in the late 1980s was detected by Western or Soviet intelligence agencies, and that this discovery influenced the Tripartite Accord. In an effort to mask activities, a shed was built over one of the shafts, and the water that was pumped out in preparation for a test was hauled away.

About Diego Garcia Air base

Diego Garcia is an island of the British Indian Ocean Territory, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. It is a militarised atoll just south of the equator in the central Indian Ocean, and the largest of 60 small islands comprising the Chagos Archipelago. It was first discovered by Europeans and named by the Portuguese, settled by the French in the 1790s and transferred to British rule after the Napoleonic Wars. It was one of the “Dependencies” of the British Colony of Mauritius until the Chagos Islands were detached for inclusion in the newly created British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in 1965.

In 1966, the population of the island was 924. These people were employed as contract farm workers on coconut plantations owned by the Chagos-Agalega company. Although it was common for local plantation managers to allow pensioners and the disabled to remain in the islands and continue to receive housing and rations in exchange for light work, children after the age of 12 were required to work. In 1964, only 3 of a population of 963 were unemployed. In April 1967, the BIOT Administration bought out Chagos-Agalega for £600,000, thus becoming the sole property owner in the BIOT. The Crown immediately leased back the properties to Chagos-Agalega but the company terminated the lease at the end of 1967.

Between 1968 and 1973, the now unemployed farm workers were forcibly removed from Diego Garcia by the UK Government so a joint US/UK military base could be established on the island. Many were deported to Mauritius and the Seychelles, following which the United States built a large naval and military base, which has been in continuous operation since then. As of August 2018, Diego Garcia is the only inhabited island of the BIOT; the population is composed of military personnel and supporting contractors. It is one of two critical US bomber bases in the Asia Pacific region, along with Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Pacific Ocean.

The atoll is located 3,535 km (2,197 mi) east of Tanzania’s coast, 1,796 km (1,116 mi) south-southwest of the southern tip of India (at Kanyakumari), and 4,723 km (2,935 mi) west-northwest of the west coast of Australia (at Cape Range National Park, Western Australia). Diego Garcia lies at the southernmost tip of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a vast underwater mountain range with peaks consisting of coral reefs, atolls, and islands comprising Lakshadweep, the Maldives, and the Chagos Archipelago. Local time is UTC+6 year-round (DST is not observed).

On 23 June 2017, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in favour of referring the territorial dispute between Mauritius and the UK to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in order to clarify the legal status of the Chagos Islands archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The motion was approved by a majority vote with 94 voting for and 15 against.

In February 2019, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that the United Kingdom must transfer the islands to Mauritius as they were not legally separated from the latter in 1965. The ruling is not legally binding.

In May 2019, the United Nations General Assembly affirmed the decision of the International Court of Justice and demanded that the United Kingdom withdraw its colonial administration from the Islands and cooperate with Mauritius to facilitate the resettlement of Mauritian nationals in the archipelago.

In a written statement the U.S. government said that neither the Americans or the British have any plans to discontinue use of the military base on Diego Garcia. The statement said in a footnote: “In 2016, there were discussions between the United Kingdom and the United States concerning the continuing importance of the joint base. Neither party gave notice to terminate and the agreement remains in force until 2036”.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vastrap

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1977/08/28/how-west-soviets-acted-to-defuse-s-african-a-test/eada5bcc-7727-4c32-b8e2-f21d55a9d4c3/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Africa_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diego_Garcia

The Pilot Insure Witbank Speed Navigation Rally

The Pilot Insure Witbank Speed Navigation Rally – 2 February 2020 by Rob Jonkers (photos by Willie Bodenstein, Rob Jonkers)

This first of the Pilot Insure Speed Rallies for 2020 has been held at Witbank, the 2nd for Season 2, successfully organized by SAPFA and hosted by the Witbank Aeronautical Association. Planning for this event began in November 2019 with a reconnaissance to Witbank to review the logistics for the weekend. The Witbank team went out of their way to make this a memorable event for the weekend, their members having got involved in many of the aspects of achieving a great competition.

With the first event of the season behind us held at Springs, the SAPFA team and competitors held a further debrief to review options on further improvements, most notably to look at the scoring of navigation accuracy which is now normalised to ensure slow or fast aircraft types have equal chance in scoring for navigation accuracy, also scores are counted for both Navigation & Handicap where before if you won in the handicap class in the first 3 places, the scores were excluded in the accuracy class.

Entries for Witbank were 34, with 4 GPS class competitors and 8 more in the Grand Prix part of the event. There were also two schools taking part, the Mach 1 school from Springs and first time entry from Rhino Park LST – Light Sport Aviation Training. The Grand Prix event is the 2nd event in this Season 2, and is proving very popular from the result of the 1st try out held in Springs.

The route for this weekend was planned at 146nm, had 10 turning points, and for added spectator value now included a crossover, this is where the course was anti-clockwise, to cross over the airfield, and then clockwise to return from the east. The cross-over was planned to have the first of the slower aircraft already passing over while a number of the faster aircraft were still waiting to take-off.

The route in the first portion was mostly to the north and west, at the starting point of some of the valleys and rivers meandering into the Loskop Dam, the second portion towards the scenic north-east towards the eastern shores of the Loskop dam, and then back around Middelburg and some not so scenic coal fields and flatter landscapes.

The weather on Friday started out real well, the forecast not predicting any rain, but there were plenty of thermals about. Flight testing was carried out all day with Mark Clulow and Sean Cronin, although with some strong thermals in the afternoon had to wait for this to die down before continuing.

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The team of Johan Sayers & Jack Coetzer preparing to mount their Harvard ZU-WSE

The Friday afternoon initial briefing started at 18h30, David le Roux being the new 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 worked in terms of penalties as well as the expected weather conditions, which was predicted to be clear with a light and variable wind from the east swinging north east.

All the competitors were then treated to a briefing on Steroids with Race Master David le Roux introducing all the teams to come up to the stage with a fanfare of theme songs and handing out race stickers. thereafter everybody was treated to a lamb on the spit meal provided by the host club before retiring for the evening.

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The team of Pierre vd Merwe and Neville Ferreira plotting on their wing of the Sling ZU-FWY

Saturday morning dawned with perfect flying conditions, a clear day with virtually no wind, but as the morning wore on the wind started to pick up, and from the South East which favouring Rwy 22, except the planned runway to be used was 04, as the cross-over was at the threshold of 04.

The briefing started at 07h00 am and was concluded at around 8, where everybody dispersed first for a group photo and then to park their aircraft and prepare for the scrutineers and refuelers. The wind was remaining stuck in the south easterly direction and had increased in strength, with Rob fretting over whether to delay the start to a little later to allow the wind to swing more to the predicted north easterly direction, a quick phone call to Deon vd Mescht our weather guru, confirmed the wind would swing but ever so slowly. By 9h30 the wind started to die down a little, and it was decided to continue.

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Witbank Chairman Fife Delport with first time Navigator Marga Lombaard in their Sling ZU-STT

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Navigator James Braid in an unusual plotting position flying a Sling – ZU-JAR

Scrutineers Chareen, Lizelle, Karen, Ardyn and Alex were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices, and also handing out papers at the allotted time, and also checking the fuel tanks were full. For this event we used a Grand Prix style flag to release the aircraft line up, with Christian du Plessis doing the honours, under starters orders given by the starter Mark Clulow.

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Husband and wife team of Eric & Antoinette Addison in the RV7 ZU-LAX

Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers at their 20 minutes prior take-off time, and then taxi to the starting line within 10 minutes of take-off time. 1st take-off was at 09h56 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 10h40, with planned arrival at 11h30.

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First Timers Kobus and Jacques Botha in their Piper 140 ZS – FHH

With all the competitors off towards the norhwest, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turnpoints, especially TP 1 and 6 which required a descent into the Loskop valley, and then some hard to spot turnpoints 7,8 and 9 in amongst the mielie and coal fields. The wind had also picked up in the interim starting to favour those already heading in the westerly direction. Just before 11h30 the first aircraft over the line was a Sling ZU-IHK. The landing sequence was fairly easy to do with everybody joining right hand downwind onto Rwy 22 with good spacing.

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The line-up of aircraft at the starting line

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, only two got a bit lost.

Starter Christian du Plessis waving off the Sling ZU-STT

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In sequence take-off with 15 sec intervals of some close handicapped aircraft

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, and with potential late afternoon weather on the reef put some time pressure to complete the results, and eventually at 4 PM the results could be announced. The tracks for the routes flown was also shown, pretty much everybody except 2 competitors did not get lost, although the eastern turnpoints were missed by a few.

Race Master David le Roux and our main sponsor Franz Smit from Pilot Insure handed out the trophies, first up being the winners of the most accurately flown with father and son team Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK, in 2nd place another Sling ZU-JAR with David Ross & James Braid, and in 3rd place son and father team Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV.

For the handicap results, a double win for Hendrik & Jandre Loots, in 2nd place Piet Meyer and Adrienne Visser in their Jabiru ZU-DUU and in 3rd place Michael Blackburn & Steve Briggs in their Sling ZU-IBM. For the GPS event the winner being local Witbank crew of Chris and Adriaan de Beer in their C182RG ZS-KUN. The club trophy was handed over by Jonty to chairman Fife Delport, with the winning school being the Mach 1 Training School who are becoming consistently better at improving their results at each event.

This weekend’s overall results has ZU-IHK in the lead followed by ZU-DUU and ZS-FVV. The overall season points standing has ZU-IHK in the lead followed by ZU-FVV and ZU-JAR.

Many thanks to the Witbank Aeronautical Association for hosting this fantastic event, supporting with ground marshals, logistics and great evening meals, the Pilot Insure team of Franz Smit David le Roux the Race Master at the registration desk together with the Warrick Wealth team, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk and Louna de Vos and Mark Clulow doing the scoring, Marc Robinson with his team from Century Avionics for Scrutineering, Chareen Shillaw, Lizelle Kruger handing out competition papers to the crews as well as Scrutineering with their team, Jonty & Lizelle for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event. Thanks also extended to Santjie White of the ARCC who always watches over us..

Also thanks to our sponsors, Pilot Insure being our signature Speed Rally Brand Sponsor, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring the race numbers, team sponsors Excel E&I – Leon Bouttell and Martin Meyer, The Airplane Factory – David Ross and James Braid, Pilots Post – Phil Wakeley and Mary De Klerk, Fast Flame Laser Cutting – Hendrik & Jandre Loots, Beegle Micro Trackers – Quintin Kruger and Johan Whiteman, Prompt Roofing – Leon Joubert and Franz Smit.

Our next Speed Rally event will be in Bethlehem on the 22nd of March 2020.

1st placed Race 15’s accurate track

Nice perfect Track

Oops – Found Middelburg instead

SAPFA Rally Training Camp

SAPFA Rally Training Camp – Aerosud Premises 18 January 2020 –
by Rob Jonkers – Photos by Flippie van Emmenis

SAPFA held a very successful training event on Rally Navigation on Saturday 18th January as the first SAPFA event of the year. Building on the successful event held last year at the same time, we decided to hold another one, particularly that this year is the year where SAPFA hosts the World Rally Flying Championships in November in Stellenbosch. There were 30 participants for the day, including many of the current SAPFA Protea team members who were assisting the trainees and our media friends. The Aerosud canteen was again the venue of choice lending itself well to this size of training camp.

It is great to see the sport being supported so enthusiastically, and the willingness to learn these basic skills of map reading and planning. The Chairman of SAPFA opened the camp with a brief outline of the plans of SAPFA in terms of events for the year, that the Aero Club also holds its Centenary year resulting in a packed calendar for the year, and from that look at developing and exposing particularly the youth to recreational aviation.

The Participants – 30 in total

With that Mary de Klerk took charge and laid out the objectives of the day, by initially going through the theory of plotting, and then to practice on an actual plot. With this year of 2020 having a full event calendar, and the Nationals coming up in April in Stellenbosch, this training event would serve as an excellent platform to entice new members to the sport and to start training for the Internationals and obtain Protea Colours.

Mary first started off with having everybody introduce themselves, and what they each had as objectives for training, some were there as newbies interested in taking part in the sport, some having taken part previously indicated they needed some formal and expert training, and some others indicated they just wanted to delve more in depth than what a ppl course would give on the art of paper based navigation.

From there Mary outlined the theory on plotting procedures and described the tools of the trade. Then it was off to plotting an example course which had to be done from basic plotting principles of co-ordinates, bearings (which could be in either true or magnetic) and distances (either in nm of km). Each turning point then had to be found and identified and linked into legs, some of which could be arcs or follow map features.

The goal in getting to National level standard is to be able to plot in the aircraft with a papers time of around 30-40 minutes prior take-off, which means speed is of the essence in doing the plot, so that the navigator can assist with finding and identifying the ground photos.

The morning’s training ended off at around 10h30 am, and after a short break, everybody got organized on plotting the example route provided which was the 2019 Rand Airport Challenge, got the laminated transparent tool, which they had to cut out, and proceeded to plot each of the turn points making up the route up until Turn Point 4, and after lunch at around 12, continued to finish the plot to the Finish Point.

After the plot was done, Mary opened up Google Earth, and “flew” the route along the plot lines to show where the photos were, and what they would look like against the photo sheets that are provided. This then effectively ended the day’s training at around 2 PM.

Everybody left with some knowledge gained on plotting and techniques of planning & flying a rally, and it is hoped that many will come to the Rand Challenge on the 25th January and Nationals in April.

The Rally Plotting Class of 2019 – with Teacher Mary de Klerk

Look into Armed Forces Day 2020

As Armed Forces Day 2020 approaches us, we can look forward to another action packed week of events being hosted in Polokwane in the Limpopo Province as this will be the first Armed Forces day to be hosted in the province.

AFD2019 Parade
AFD 2019 Cape Town

The South African National Defence force will once again wow the crowds with both a capability demonstration at Roodewal Bombing range, fan park activities and much more!

The main event of the Armed Forces Day celebrations will be held at Thabo Mbeki Street in Polokwane, All Arms-of-Service of the SANDF will take salute from the Commander-in-Chief of
the Armed Forces. As part of the day`s programme, there will be a national and SANDF flags fly-past, various landward, air and sea elements on display during the parade.

Armed Forces Day is hosted by the SANDF annually on a rotation basis-at one of the nine provinces in the Republic of South Africa on the 21 February to honour South African soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice and died in the line of duty, serving their country and as well as the current men and women in uniform who continue to put their lives in danger-in pursuit of stability that would ensure that our country and the entire African continent is at peace with herself. 

AFD2019
AFD Demo 2019 Cape Town

More information will be available after the Media Briefing on 29 January.  as Aviation Central will attend the AFD2020

SAA SELLS NINE AIRCRAFT TO ACCOMMODATE NEW FLEET

By Niel Swart

South African Airways (SAA) has put some of its aircraft up for sale to accommodate the new Airbus A350-900s the airline recently added to its fleet.
Please see our previous article on the A350 here: http://www.aviationcentral.co.za/saa-a350/


A350-900 (ZS-SDC) Landing at Cape Town International for the first time on 22 December 2019

In a tender on the airline’s website, SAA said it was selling nine wide-body aircraft – – five Airbus A340-300s and four Airbus A340-600s – – and 15 spare engines and four Auxiliary Power Units, a device used to provide energy.

“After we received the four new Airbus A350-900, it has become necessary for us to sell our older models to accommodate the new models with superior features such as the quieter cabin, relaxing in-flight environment and more extra-legroom seats in economy class and lie-flat beds in business Class,” said Zuks Ramasia, SAA’s Acting CEO.

“The decision to sell the aircraft has nothing to do with the business rescue process. For some time we had planned to replace our four-engine aircraft with the two engine ones,” said Ramasia.

“When we received five A330-300s in late 2017- early 2018 we had already planned to retire five A340s at that time, but due to the operational fleet undergoing maintenance, the retirement of the aircraft was postponed. Now is the time to sell the aircraft,” she said.

Ramasia said with the new A350s which will start operating on its international route network next week, replacing the A340s has become possible, hence the national carrier advertised the sale of the nine aircraft on 10 January. The closing date for the tender is 30 January at 11.00am SA time.

The aircraft on sale used to operate on regional and international routes, which will now be flown by the A330s and A350-900s.

The aircraft that is up for sale are:


A340-600 (ZS-SNF) landing at OR Tambo International on 13 January 2018

Registration: ZS-SNC
Serial number: 426
Type: 340-642
First flight date: 30/01/2003
Test registration: F-WWCH
Plane age: 17 years
Seat configuration: J/C=42 Y/C=275 Total=317
Engines: 4 x RR Trent 556-61


Registration: ZS-SND
Serial number: 531
Type: 340-642
First flight date: 13/10/2003
Test registration: F-WWCX
Plane age: 16.3 years
Seat configuration: J/C=42 Y/C=275 Total=317
Engines: 4 x RR Trent 556-61


Registration: ZS-SNF
Serial number: 547
Type: 340-642
First flight date: 03/12/2003
Test registration: F-WWCI
Plane age: 16.1 years
Seat configuration: J/C=42 Y/C=275 Total=317
Engines: 4 x RR Trent 556-61


Registration: ZS-SNG
Serial number: 557
Type: 340-642
First flight date: 16/12/2003
Plane age: 16.1 years
Seat configuration: J/C=42 Y/C=275 Total=317
Engines: 4 x RR Trent 556-61


A340-300 (ZS-SXD) landing at OR Tambo International on 15 October 2017

Registration: ZS-SXD
Serial number: 643
Type: 340-313E
First flight date: 25/11/2004
Test registration: F-WWJZ
Plane age: 15.1 years
Seat configuration: J/C=38 Y/C=215 Total=253
Engines: 4 x CFMI CFM56-5C4/P


Registration: ZS-SXE
Serial number: 646
Type: 340-313E
First flight date: 08/12/2004
Test registration: F-WWJB
Plane age: 15.1 years
Seat configuration: J/C=38 Y/C=215 Total=253
Engines: 4 x CFMI CFM56-5C4/P


Registration: ZS-SXF
Serial number: 651
Type: 340-313E
First flight date: 09/02/2005
Test registration: F-WWJC
Plane age: 14.9 years
Seat configuration: J/C=38 Y/C=215 Total=253
Engines: 4 x CFMI CFM56-5C4/P


Registration: ZS-SXG
Serial number: 378
Type: 340-313X
First flight date: 15/12/2000
Test registration: F-WWJI
Plane age: 19.1 years
Seat configuration: J/C=36 Y/C=215 Total=251
Engines: 4 x CFMI CFM56-5C4


Registration: ZS-SXH
Serial number: 197
Type: 340-313X
First flight date: 22/10/1997
Test registration: F-WWJL
Engines: 4 x CFMI CFM56-5C4


Spare engines and APU’s:

3x CFM56-5C4/P
12x Trent 556
4x GTCP331-350

SAA NAMED AS ONE OF THE TOP ON-TIME-PERFORMING AIRLINES

JOHANNESBURG, 7 January 2020 – South African Airways has been named as one of the top performing airlines globally for on-time performance (OTP) by travel data and analytics company, Cirium.

SAA was ranked fourth in the category for Middle East and Africa mainline carriers, ahead of some of its major competitors, making SAA the leading African carrier on OTP.

“According to the International Airlines Transport Association’s benchmark of OTP, an airline is on-time when it arrives within 15 minutes of the scheduled time of arrival or departs within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure time.  We are excited that most of the time we adhere to these deadlines,” said Zuks Ramasia, SAA Acting CEO.

SAA’s overall on-time performance across its route network is 85.69%.

“We are encouraged by this latest announcement about our performance.  It is an endorsement and occasion to celebrate great achievement, especially when judged against our own peers, globally. Customers always have a choice and those who elect to fly with us recognise that we are a dependable airline. The results speak volumes about consistency and reliability of our operations – a key feature underlying our customer value proposition.  This is an important attribute of our business,” said Ramasia.

SAA A350 Landing at Cape Town International Airport

SAA A350 Landing at Cape Town International Airport

As a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance, SAA serves 57 destinations within South Africa and across the continent in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low-cost carrier, Mango.   SAA also flies to eight intercontinental destinations from its Johannesburg hub.

“We place a high premium on punctuality as measured through OTP. It is one of our most important customer impact performance indicators.  The more punctual we are, the happier the customers we keep. Any flight delays could lead to costs for the airline and inconvenience to the customer.  Delays could snowball into more delays, requiring more re-planning to recover the schedule for the rest of the day and bring inefficiencies,” concluded Ramasia.

Cirium works with over 90 per cent of the world’s top 50 airlines. The company, which has published its annual On-time Performance (OTP) Review for the past 11 years, provides a definitive list of the world’s best performing airlines and airports for on-time flight operations.

Jeremy Bowen, Cirium CEO, said:  “Achieving world-class customer satisfaction and industry-leading product differentiation is about more than just competitively priced tickets and flight availability. When choosing whom to fly with, savvy travellers also now consider airline punctuality and operational reliability.

“We believe Cirium’s On-Time Performance Review 2019 will inspire airlines and airports to continue innovating to improve their performance. By embracing digital transformation and leveraging data to its full potential, Cirium can help the aviation industry harness its power to improve on-time performance and enhance the passenger experience,” Bowen said.  

ISSUED BY SAA 

About South African Airways:

South African Airways (SAA) is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 57 destinations, in partnership with SA Express, Airlink, and its low-cost carrier, Mango, within South Africa and across the continent, and eight intercontinental routes from its Johannesburg hub. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance. SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low-cost carrier; and Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA. SAA is the winner of the Best Airline Staff Service award in the Africa category; this shows that our customer-facing employees are our true brand ambassadors who made a difference to millions of travelling customers.

2018 vs 2019 Airshow Seasons with a Look into 2020

The 2019 Airshow season has come to end and has been quiet year, yet it was busier than 2018.

In 2019 we lost Rand Airshow and has still not been added to the 2020 Airshow calendar. The Longest Current Running Airshow is Newcastle and it will celebrate its 10th Airshow in 2020. Newcastle took 2nd Place at African Pilot Airshow of the year award. Johan, lead organizer of the Newcastle Airshow said that they are aiming at the number one spot for the 2020 season.

Something new was the Sports Aerobatic Club Airshow at Klerksdorp this year. We truly enjoyed that airshow. This was an Airshow arranged by the Airshow and Aerobatic pilots themselves. The 2020 SAC Airshow will be in Bloemfontein.

Stellenbosch hosted a top-class Airshow this year and for that reason they took the African Pilot Airshow of the Year Award. Stellenbosch team will be back with a two-day Airshow in 2020. Mozambique and Swaziland (Eswatini) also hosted very successful airshows in 2019 and both will be back 2020.

The SAAF Museum – Swartkop Airshow was delayed this year due to the Presidential Ingurgitation. When South African Airforce finally decided on a new date for the 2019 Airshow, the SAAF Museum team had about one calendar month to arrange an Airshow with the size of what is expected by the public was a huge task! The team delivered an almost perfect show. Well-done.
The SAAF Museum – Swartkop Airshow 2020 will form part of the SAAF 100 celebrations and 2021 Swartkop Air Force Base will be celebrating 100 Years. The SAAF one hundred celebrations will be themed Embracing our Collective Heritage and 100 years of Air Power, through 25 years of Democracy

The Main SAAF100 – Public Calibrations Airshow will run in conjunction with Africa Aerospace and Defense 2020 that is to be hosted at Waterkloof Air Force Base in September 2020.

The Aeroclub of South Africa will also be celebrating 100 Years in 2020 with their main event is to run with the Aero Club Airweek and Airshow 1st Week in May 2020. South Africa will also be hosting the World Air Rally championships in Stellenbosch during 2020.

The 2020 Edition of the President trophy Air Race will be hosted at Ermelo in May and as part of SAAF and Aero Club centenary celebrations we will see a Silver Queen Air Rally to be hosted at Swartkop AFB.

Click here to view our online 2020 Calendar

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DJ Aviation & Team Aviation Central

We would like to thank DJA Aviation for Teaming up with Team Aviation Central and this making it possible for us to attend more Airshows in the Year 2020

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Airshows 2018 vs 2019

2019 Had 12 Airshows compared to 7 in 2018. 2019 Airshows had 355 total flying aircraft vs the 213 in 2018. Yes, 2019 had more Airshows so let’s have a look at the average number of aircraft per Airshow 2019 had 31 and 2018 had 30 average aircraft (Number of aircraft divided by number of Airshows)

The Top performer in airshow attendance was Team Xtreme Airshows, with attending 10 Airshows and total of 36 Aircraft vs 2018 Top Performers. Flying Lions, Attended 7 and 20 Aircraft appearances!

The Airshow with the most Aircraft for 2019 and 2018 was Swartkop with 53 for 2019 vs 54 2018.

3 Airshows up its number of Aircraft from 2018 to 2019 with Botswana Wesbank international Airshow showing the biggest growth.

Number of Aircraft per Airshow where the Airshow was hosted in both 2018 and 2019

Airshow

2018 2019 Growth
Matsieng 24 37 13
Newcastle 26 32 6
Bethlehem 18 24 6
Swartkop 54 53 -1
Lowveld 42 33 -9

2 Squadron Gripen

SAAF Gripen remained the same with 6 Gripen’s flying in 2018 and 2019. C130BZ, another favorite among the public saw no displays during 2019.

Helicopters and Airliners was also in the decline for 2019. The Airlink Embraer E190 was a welcome newcomer to Airshows and flew at Lowveld, Newcastle and Ladysmith. The 2018 Season Lowveld Airshow was the only Airshow lucky enough get the Embraer E190.

Menno Parsons and his P51D Mustang also made a welcome return to the Airshows with 0 Airshows in 2018 and 7 in 2019. The Reason for 0 in 2018 is the Mustang engine was sent for a scheduled overhaul.

The Best Airshow of the year awards 2018 vs 2019

Position 2018 2019
1st Lowveld Airshow Stellenbosch Airshow
2nd Rand Airshow Newcastle Airshow
3rd Ermelo Air Show Middelburg Airshow

Brian Emmenis and his Capital Sounds team was the broadcaster at all airshows in 2018 and 2019. At Some Airshows he had specialist co-commentators that was provided by the Airshow organizers.
The Sound was as always clear throughout the Flight lines. Brian and his Crew kept the crowds on their feet and well informed on all Pilots, Aircraft, Team, Airshows, Sponsors, Key Aviation Media, all the Safety and behind the seen personnel. We are looking forward to a festive and busy year 2020 in the compony of the wonderful team.

** Notes**

  • AAD2018 is not counted as it’s not an Airshow but a Trade show.
  • If an Aircraft or Team flew more than one displays a day it is still counted as one, counted per airshow and not displays
  • Some Pilots and Teams displayed at other events that classified as an Airshow, these are also excluded

Below are the 2018 and 2019 Airshow Attendance lists

2018 Airshows

2019 Airshows

2020 Interim Airshow Calendar

Date

Event
JAN
18th – 19th SAC Gauteng Regionals – Vereeniging
FEB
MAR
7th – 8th North West Regionals – Klerksdorp
21 & 22 FASHKOSH 2020 Stellenbosch 2-day air show
APR
4th Wings and Wheels Festival, Uitenhage
25th Garden Route Air Show – GEORGE AIRPORT
MAY
1,2,3 Middelburg – Aeroclub Aero week
9th Swartkop Airshow
16th Lowveld Air show
23rd – 25th PTAR – Ermelo
23rd – 24th SAC KZN Regionals – Ladysmith
30th Wesbank Botswana Air show
JUN
5th & 6th Newcastle Air show
13th Maputo Air, Sea and Land Air show
16th – 20th SAC National Championships – Tempe
20th SAC Aerobatic Air Show
JUL
22nd – 1st SAC Advanced World Championships
AUG
22nd Bethlehem Air Show
SEP
19th – 20th AAD Waterkloof – SAAF100
OCT
3rd – 4th SAC Western Cape Regionals
24th – 25th SAC Judges Trophy
NOV
9th – 21st SAPFA World Rally Championships
DEC
5th – 6th SAC Ace of Base

Spitfire Restoration Project – RTR

Spitfire Restoration Project

Available to all, Not for Everybody

Spitfire #5518 arrived in South Africa in 1947 and served in both the Cape at Langebaan at the flight training school, and at Air Force Base Waterkloof before being decommissioned. She then served as a gate guard at Waterkloof for a number of years. In the mid 1980’s, the South African Air Force Museum motivated the restoration of this iconic Spitfire to flying condition, to serve as the star attraction at Air Force Air Shows and to promote the Air Force as well as aviation among the youth. Spitfire #5518 took to the skies in 1994 as #5553 “The Spirit of Reutech”. Unfortunately, she crashed at an air show at Swartkop in 2000 and was consigned to a container.


Performance Centre, SAAF Museum and Friends of the SAAF are collaborating in a project to advance the Restoration of Spitfire DBH #5518.

Performance Centre has acquired 10 licenses to convert standard 5.0L Mustangs into RTR Spec 5 wide bodies. These will be limited edition, 1 of a kind, hand painted, Airplane replica, V8 supercharged vehicles. The dash plaque made out of an actual piece of the crashed Spitfire plane. These vehicles are registered on the RTR Registry in the United States of America.

This project aims to raise R750 000.00 to rebuild the last remaining South African Air Force Spitfire #5518, in South Africa in conjunction with the roll-out of the limited vehicles. These vehicles will be serialised and built to resemble one of the aircraft flown by one of the South African Aces from the various Wars.

HOW TO OWN ONE OF THESE UNIQUE MUSTANG

  • Visit the website at www.warriorsofthesky.co.za
  • Read through and select a warrior
  • Choose one of their planes
  • Contact Performance Centre (012 003 7000) to transform a 5.0L Ford Mustang into a one of a kind, hand painted and registered RTR Spec 5 wide body replica.

This campaign is done in conjunction with the SA Air Force, Friends of the SAAF Museum and Spitfire Restoration Project. This will have a major spin-off for all involved. All the vehicles are exclusively built by Performance Centre in Centurion.

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* DBH RTR Spitfire Mustang is the 1st Mustang RTR Spec 5 wide body in the World. This Mustang is linked to Ace Capt. Bob Rogers and a replica of the DBH Spitfire Mustang’s original look.”


The Project 


Everyone that is part of the Project


The Warrior behind the 1st Mustang


Standard Mustang
The Design 


The Body Work


Body Work Part II
Masking for Painting


Masking for Painting II


Rear Fender

Rear Spoiler – Painted to look like an Elevator


Painting the doors


The – Hood (Bonnet)


The Nose


The End Result 

You can pick one of these Warriors and Aircraft pairing for your Custom build spec 5 Mustang

 


Click to Enlarge photos below!

Air BP signs technical services agreement with Angola

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25 November 2019

Air BP signs technical services agreement

with Sonangol marking new market entry in Angola

  • Air BP enters Angola with the signing of a technical services agreement with Sonangol.
  • The agreement will assist Sonangol to assure its operations in Luanda and wider Angola to international standards

Air BP, the international aviation fuel products and services supplier, has signed a technical services agreement with Sonangol, the state-owned oil company in Angola. This marks Air BP’s entry into the country and expands its footprint in Africa, one of the fastest-growing aviation regions over the next 20 years according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

As part of the technical services agreement, Air BP will support Sonangol in assuring its operations to international standards, providing advice on product quality, operations, HSSE and engineering. Training programs will be delivered in Portuguese to build knowledge and competence locally, as well as bringing Air BP’s internationally-renowned expertise to Sonangol’s airport operations and related engineering projects.

Justin Walker, technical services director, Air BP, said: “We are excited to partner with Sonangol to help them achieve their growth aspirations in Angola safely, effectively and reliably. The strong relationship BP Angola has developed with Sonangol and the Angolan government over the past decades, coupled with Air BP’s 90 plus years of aircraft refuelling experience, is a winning combination.”

Stephen Willis, BP regional president, Angola added: “I’m delighted we have reached this agreement with Sonangol; our Air BP business is looking forward to contributing and supporting Sonangol and Angola in this important activity. This is another step in the growth of BP’s strategic relationships with Sonangol and Angola, and we look forward to building on this for the future in support of the government’s desire to strengthen and diversify the economy.”

Air BP first started operations in Africa 75 years ago in Mozambique and Zanzibar and now provides fuel at around 40 locations across the continent. Technical services agreements are provided to customers in 15 African countries including South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Egypt and Morocco.

Air BP’s technical services offer comprises a complete aviation fuel consultancy service tailored to customers’ individual requirements. It includes a range of innovative technical services for airports including the design, build and operation of fuelling facilities to help customers comply with international standards, protect their operations and manage risk.

Caption: Right to Left, Justin Walker, Technical Services Director Air BP and Inacio Costa, Aviation Manager, Sonangol in London, UK.

About Air BP

As the aviation division of BP, Air BP is one of the world’s leading suppliers of aviation fuel products and services. It has been investing in the aviation industry for more than 90 years to keep people flying safely around the world. It supplies around 6.6 billion gallons of aviation fuel a year; fuelling over 6,000 flights a day at over 800 locations in more than 55 countries – that’s more than four planes a minute.

Its customers include commercial airlines, the military, business and private aircraft owners, airports and airfield operators. Air BP has a wide range of services to support its fuel offer including the design, build and operation of fuelling facilities, technical consultancy and training, low carbon solutions, the Sterling Card for efficient general aviation refuelling and innovative digital platforms to increase efficiency and reduce risk.

For more information, go to www.airbp.com

Further enquiries:

Air BP – Emerald Media, +44 1420 560094, liz.danner@emeraldmedia.co.uk

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