Author Archives: Jarryd Sinovich

David Simelane Promoted To Chief Pilot Of SANParks Air Services

South African National Parks (SANParks) is proud to announce that Ndabenhle David Simelane has become the first black Chief Pilot for SANParks Air Services. SANParks Chief Operating Officer Lize McCourt, said, “Simelane’s most recent promotion sees him moving from the rank of pilot to SANParks Chief Pilot and Person Responsible for Operations as per the South African Civil Aviation Authority’s regulations”.

“It comes as no surprise that Simelane aka “The Black-Black Hawk”, is progressing through the ranks as he is a skilled professional pilot with solid management and leadership skills with approachability and strength of character to boot”.

On arrival at the SANParks Airwing in Skukuza almost a year ago, Simelane wasted no time forging a solid relationship with the Civil Aviation Authority – an endeavour that serves SANParks well in terms of aviation compliance.

Air Services is part of the newly formed Area Integrity Management unit (AIM), which comprises Air-Services, Firearm Management, Special Operations, Environmental Crime Investigations, and Environmental Compliance. The main objective of creating the AIM unit was to establish and better coordinate safety and security within SANParks. The objective is well underway, with AIM providing core functions such as logistical ranger support, amongst other crucial services within SANParks. McCourt has noted that the unit played an integral role in establishing the Command Centre within Table Mountain National Parks. We believe that the team will continue to excel with Simelane at the helm of Air Services.

McCourt concluded, “There is no doubt in my mind that Simelane will take SANParks Air Services to the next level and it is my sincere pleasure to see transformation in the airwing. Fly Black Hawk, fly!”

Airborne patient evacuation at sea with 15 Squadron SAAF

Jonathan Kellerman, NSRI Durban station commander, said:

At 11h32, Sunday, 11 July, 2 NSRI Durban rescue swimmers, 2 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics and a SA Air Force (SAAF) ,15 Squadron, flight crew, departed Durban Air Force Base aboard a SAAF Oryx helicopter to rendezvous with an oil tanker motor vessel approaching Durban from deep-sea to patient evacuate a 27 year old Filipino crewman suffering a medical complaint.

The crews had been placed on alert by MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) on Saturday after a WC Government Health EMS duty doctor evaluated the patients condition in communications with the ships medical crew and it was deemed necessary for the patient to be evacuated to hospital as soon as possible.

Telkom Maritime Radio Services assisted with the VHF marine radio communications.

On arrival at the motor vessel, 50 nautical miles off-shore of Durban, in calm sea conditions, an NSRI rescue swimmer and the 2 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics were hoisted onto the helicopters deck.

The patient, in a stable conditions, was secured into a vacuum mattress and specialised stretcher and hoisted into the helicopter with one of the rescue paramedics.

The NSRI rescue swimmer and the remaining rescue paramedic were hoisted into the helicopter.

The patient, in the care of the Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, was airlifted directly to a Durban hospital landing zone and then transported to a Durban hospital by Netcare 911 ambulance where he is receiving emergency medical care in hospital and he is expected to make a full recovery.

The patient evacuation operation completed at 13h04.

NSRI Emergency Operations Centre, NSRI Durban duty controllers, Netcare 911 duty controllers, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, WC Government Health EMS, SA Air Force Command, Transnet National Ports Authority and Transnet National Ports Health Authority assisted Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in operational logistics and coordination of the airborne patient evacuation operation.

Bell Delivers First Bell 505 to Ethiopia

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, has announced the delivery of a Bell 505
helicopter to W.A. Oil Factory and Distribution PLC in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, its first corporate customer
in the country. With this latest acquisition, there are almost 30 Bell 505s in operation across six
countries in Africa and the Middle East.


“The Bell 505 is an exceptional aircraft for corporate transportation, exceeding customers’ expectations
with a large, customizable cabin and fully integrated high-tech features,” said Lynette Loosen, regional
sales manager, Africa and the Middle East, Bell.


W.A. Oil Factory and Distribution PLC was established in 2016 by CEO Worku Aytenew. The company’s
portfolio of businesses includes mining, real estate and transportation, as well as the W.A. Oil Factory
project. This oilseed crushing and crude oil refining factory, located at Debremarkos in Amhara Regional
State, East Gojjam Zone, imports and distributes ETB 5 billion (USD 200 million) worth of palm oil.
“We are proud to accept the delivery of the first Bell 505 in Ethiopia,” said Aytenew. “Given the rugged
terrain and limited road infrastructure in parts of the country, the Bell 505 will save us hours and
sometimes days of travel time.”


The Bell 505 was delivered to Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, which has an elevation of 7,625
feet above MSL. “We’ve been operating the aircraft at 8,100 feet with no problem at all,” said Capt.
Gilbert Gitonga, pilot, W.A. Oil. “The 505 has plenty of power and is operating extremely well.”
The aircraft was delivered to one of Bell’s independent representatives for Africa, Africair’s Bell
Customer Service Facility (CSF) in Nairobi, Kenya, where it was re-assembled and hangered until its ferry
flight to Addis Ababa.


“With this latest delivery, the Bell fleet in Africa continues to grow, building on its reputation for safety,
reliability and cost-effectiveness,” said Jim Evans, CEO, Africair. “In particular, over recent years the Bell
505 has grown in popularity, with operators on the continent appreciating the flexibility and versatility
of this light helicopter. We are looking forward to building this new relationship with W.A. Oil.”
With a speed of 125 knots (232 kilometers per hour) and a useful load of 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms),
the Bell 505 is designed to be safe and easy to fly while providing unmatched value to the operator.

SAAF Change of Command Parade

A cold frosty morning on the 4th June 2021 we made on way to Airforce Base Swartkop in Valhalla. This is has been our home grounds for years for Airshows, flying training days and parade as such this being the new chief acceptance parade from Lieutenant General Fabian Zakes Msimang to pass on his task as the new chief of the South African Airforce, Lieutenant General Wiseman Simo Mbambo.

Thanks to the South African Media Liaison officers. We were kindly given gift bags and made surely welcome to base and had a fantastic position for photo opportunities for both members of the parade and aircraft flying overhead.

SA Defence News provided live streaming via YouTube for Aviation Enthusiasts and other guests which weren’t able to attend the parade due to covid 19 restrictions. AFB Swartkop made sure all protocols were made for screening and sanitizing all invited guests and media.

A general salute was first up of the sequence of events of cannon gun fire while a pair of Oryx Helicopters carried both the South African National flag and South African Airforce (SAAF) flag. Once again great flying by the crew from various helicopter Squadrons in such windy conditions.

During this time Chaplin Melanie Smit provided the parade with a Religious observance and a code of conduct also mentioned.

Lt General (Retired) Fabian Zakes Msimang continued with his speech as he passes on his command to Lieutenant General W. S Mbambo as said :

I leave an Air Force that centers its behaviour around the needs of the next generation. An Air Force that lived by the slogan “We serve with Discipline, Dignity, Professionalism and Patriotism”.

The mass Flypasts began with a helicopter formation of five Oryx Helicopters from various Squadron from around South Africa and one BK117 from 15 Squadron “Charlie” flight.

The pointer formation was next led by 1 Pilatus PC12 and four Cessna 208A Caravans from 41 Squadron bSed at Airforce Base Waterkloof.

Nine Pilatus PC7s MKIIs led by Major Sivu Tangana, current leader of the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team of the South African Airforce, flew directly over the parade podium showing the abito-nitio trainer for student pilots to qualify to get their wings in the SAAF.

28 Squadron with two C130BZ Hercules in linerstern formation flew over with not far behind them the Combat Formation with two JAS39 Gripens from 2 Squadron and three Hawks from 85 Combat Flying School, both Squadrons based at Airforce Base Makhado in the Limpopo Province.

After the parade we we treated to a wonderful spread of refreshments at the Centre of Aviation Awareness Hanger at AFB Swartkop, where Lieutenant General Mbambo, addressed media and invited guests.

The SAAFs Combat Readiness

THIS IS OUR CORE BUSINESS AS THE AIR FORCE – TO BE ALWAYS COMBAT READY WHENEVER WE ARE REQUIRED TO DELIVER ON OUR MANDATE. WE MUST DO EVERYTHING TO REMAIN AT OUR SHARPEST READINESS LEVEL. NO DOUBT – THERE ARE MANY STORMS AROUND US BUT AS EAGLES WE CANNOT AFFORD TO COW DOWN TO THEM. WE SHALL CONTINUE TO FORGE AHEAD IN LINE WITH OUR INTRINSIC EAGLE CHARACTERISTICS AND OUR MOTTO ASPERA PER SPERA AD ASTRA – FROM THE ADVERSITY TO THE STARS

We’d like to welcome the new Chief of the South African Airforce to his position and look forward to working with him in the future. Till then this “an Airforce that inspires Confidence”

Thanks to the contributors to this article Jarryd Sinovich, Vincent Nagel, Dian Townsend & Gerrit Mynhardt

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Bell Announces Delivery of 300 th Bell 505 Jet Ranger X

 Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, announced today
the 300th Bell 505 Jet Ranger X delivery to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). The first Bell 505 was
delivered in 2017, and today there are 300 aircraft in operation across six continents, with customers
logging more than 70,000 global fleet hours.


“The Bell 505 is one of Bell’s fastest growing commercial programs to date, surpassing several significant
milestones since its inception,” said Michael Thacker, Executive Vice President, Innovation and
Commercial Business. “As we continue to see interest for the aircraft in Public Safety, Utility and
Corporate transport, Bell has invested in new products and technologies to expand the Bell 505’s
capabilities.”


The latest Bell 505 platform advancements include the Garmin G1000H NXi avionics suite, Flight Stream,
Autopilot, Lightweight EMS interior, Bell Public Safety configuration, Pulselite, FliteStep, LHS Baggage
Door and Moveable Ballast.


“We are proud to take delivery of the 300 th Bell 505 and expand our fleet capabilities.” said Lt. Col. Brian
Lundy, commanding officer of the JDF Air Wing. “JDF and Bell have a strong history together and today’s
delivery marks another milestone in our relationship.” The Force’s sixth Bell 505 will support Public Safety
missions to serve the citizens of Jamaica and be operated by its Caribbean Military Aviation School
(CMAS) to train the international rotorcraft pilots of tomorrow.


With a speed of 125 knots (232 km/h) and useful load of 1,500 pounds (680 kg), the Bell 505 is Bell’s
newest five-seat aircraft designed for safety, efficiency and reliability using advanced avionics technology.
Its similarities with the Bell 429 platform allow for a smooth pilot transition as JDF begins training
operations. With a Garmin G1000, the platform shares similar avionics with JDF’s Fixed Wing Trainer
aircraft and reduces pilot workload, enhancing the students’ learning experience.

Rolls-Royce officially opens world’s largest and smartest indoor aerospace testbed

Testbed 80 to test the most efficient aero engines of today and the even more sustainable propulsion systems of the future

Rolls-Royce has officially opened Testbed 80, the world’s largest and smartest indoor aerospace testbed, in a ceremony with the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for the Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy, in Derby, UK.

The completion of the project is a major milestone after almost three years of construction and a £90m investment. With an internal area of 7,500m2, making it larger than a Premiership football pitch, Testbed 80 was designed with distinctive technologies and systems which are more capable and complex than any of our other testbeds. The testbed conducted its first run on a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine at the test facility in Derby, UK earlier this year.

Warren East, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce, said: “Testbed 80 is the largest facility of its type in the world. However, it is not only big, it is also smart and features the most advanced testing technology we have ever used. As the new global hub of our testing capability, it will support the next stage of our UltraFan programme as we begin ground testing the first demonstrator in 2022. This incredible piece of infrastructure is a very visible sign of our commitment to this site and secures the future of Derby as the home of large engine development, continuing a history that began in the late 1960s with the RB211.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “This testbed here in Derby shows that the UK remains a global leader in aeroengine technology. I’m proud that we’re supporting Rolls-Royce’s development of the highly-efficient UltraFan engine, as well as investment in green and cutting-edge aerospace technology here in the UK that will create high-skilled, well-paid jobs for decades to come.

“As the civil aviation market recovers, the innovation of great British companies such as Rolls-Royce and the entire aerospace sector are central to our plans to build back better from the pandemic and end our contribution to climate change by 2050.”

Testbed 80 will support all three pillars of our sustainability strategy. Firstly, continuing to improve the efficiency of the gas turbine. The facility has been designed to test a range of today’s engines, including the Trent XWB and the Trent 1000, but will also have the capability to test the UltraFan® demonstrator, the blueprint for our next generation of engines. UltraFan will be 25% more efficient than the first Trent engine, and we will begin ground testing the demonstrator at the testbed in 2022.

Secondly, we are committed to promoting the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs), which can already be used as “drop-in” fuels in our existing engines. Testbed 80 has been designed to support this commitment – it is equipped with a 140,000-litre fuel tank (you could fill your car up almost 3,000 times with this amount of fuel) for different fuel types, including SAFs. Next year, we also plan to run our first UltraFan demonstrator test using 100% SAF.

Finally, in line with our ambition to pioneer novel, more sustainable technologies, the testbed is designed to have the capability to test the hybrid or all-electric flight systems of the future.

Part of the new technology development for Testbed 80 has been supported by the ATI’s PACE project, specifically for the UltraFan.

Rolls-Royce is pleased to have partnered with MDS Aero Support Corporation of Ottawa, Canada, for the design and construction of this facility.

Outgoing SANDF General Solly Shoke Parade

The 28th May 2021,saw the outgoing chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) General Solly Zacharia Shoke during a retreat parade at Thaba Tshwane, known to many as the military town of Pretoria.

Just to mention just some of his curriculum vitae In 1998, Shoke commanded the South African Development Community forces during Operation Boleas in Lesotho. He was the Director Personnel Acquisition from January 1999 to October 2000, when he was promoted to the rank of major general as the Chief Director Human Resources Support. He was promoted to Chief of the Army in 2004, and became Chief of the South African National Defence Force in May 2011.Solly Shoke was the longest serving Chief of the SANDF to date.

President Cyril Ramaphosa attened the parade during the hand over the command of the SANDF to Lieutenant-General Rhudzani Maphwanya as new chief of the South African National Defence Force.

A flag fly-past started proceedings by two Oryx Helicopters carrying both the South African National Flag and SANDF flag, a single 44 Squadron Casa 212 dropped skydivers from 44 Parachute Regiment. Different marching columns made their way onto the sports.

First of the Mass Fly pasts included a helicopter fly-past consisting of a Agusta A109LUH from 19 Squadron, four Oryx Helicopters and a 15 Squadron ‘Charlie’ Flight BK117.

Next was the Pelican Formation made up of a 35 Squadron C47TP Dakota and a 44 Squadron Casa 212.Followed then by the pointer formation of four Cessna 208As Caravans from 41 Squadron. It was then the return of 28 Squadron with two C130BZs.Major Sivu Tangana led a 9-ship formation of Pilatus PC7MKIIs from the Central Flying School, AFB Langebaanweg.

The final formation was the combat formation led by Colonel “Boerboel” Mashaba with two Gripens from 2 Squadron and three Hawks from 85 Combat Flying School. It was then time for Major Mohau “Dobaman” Vundla’s first Gripen solo display in Gauteng skies as he comes in as 2 Squadrons new Gripen display pilot!

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Springs De Havilland Fly – Inn 22 May 2021

After gracing the skies for 75 years, it was time to celebrate the life of the de Haviland Chipmunk.

The Chipmunk was the first post war aviation project conducted by de Havilland Canada. It performed its maiden flight on 22 May 1946 and was introduced to operational service that same year. During the late 1940s and 1950s, the Chipmunk was procured in large numbers by military air services such as the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), Royal Air Force (RAF), and several other nations’ air forces, where it was often utilised as their standard primary trainer aircraft.

On Saturday 22nd May, the Classics Wings Collection based at Springs airfield in the east of Johannesburg put together a fantastic gathering of de Havilland aircraft based around South Africa., thus including Queenstown based de Havilland Dragon Rapide flown up by Captain Flippie Vermeulen. Not excluding 9 Chipmunks and a number of tiger moths adding to the De Haviland theme of former World War II trainers.

As per Covid regulations, visiting aviation enthusiasts and photographsmers were treated to flypasts from three Chipmunks and a Dragon Rapide. Laster in the day, possibly the biggest formation South Africa has seen of nine Chipmunks to date. One can think back of mass Harvard formations and lately the various kit built RV light sport aircraft in mass formations, and just recently at the Middleburg Air Week a few weeks back!

The Puma Energy Flying Lions led by Scully Levin flew in from Ermelo as they did a evening display the day before at the Presidents Trouphy Air Race (PTAR).Visitors to the field were treated to full aerobatic routine, even though being close to Oliver Tambo’s International Airport airspace!

A word of thanks to the organisers of the event ,a truly fitting tribute to the de Havilland Chipmunk. This weekend coming join us at the Harvard Day at Brakpan Airfield as well as another fly-inn at Springs Airfield. Where the Goodyear Eagles Pitts Specials are due to perform.

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Major-General Wiseman Simo Mbambo is appointed as Chief of the South African Air Force

From the President’s media release: Major-General Mbambo began his military career in Umkhonto we Sizwe, where, among other things, he served as a training instructor in the Kibaxe Camp in Angola and was Commander in Charge of the former MK Military Aviation Group that underwent training in the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991.

He has served in several positions in the South African Air Force, including General Officer Commanding Air Force Base Waterkloof and Chief of Staff Air Operations Major-General Mbambo is currently Deputy Chief of Staff of the SANDF.”

New York Air National Guard Capt. Patrick Gillen leads South African Maj Gen Wiseman Simo Mbambo on a tour of a US Airforce C-5M Super Galaxy cargo bay undergoing refurbishment at the base during 2015

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also announced that from 1 June 2021, Lieutenant-General Rudzani Maphwanya will take over as chief of the South African National Defense force SANDF from General Solly Shoke, who has been chief of the SANDF since 2011.

SAAF Helicopters from various squadrons ,Lynx,Oryx,Rooivalk and A109s

Air BP scores a hattrick of sustainable aviation fuel projects at three new locations in the UK

  • Air bp has recently completed projects resulting in SAF supply to three UK locations: London Biggin Hill, Hawarden and Centreline FBO Bristol. 
  • Air bp has now supplied SAF to over 20 locations globally.
  • These latest additions to Air bp’s growing list of SAF available locations demonstrates the importance of collaboration to help drive demand and meet industry lower carbon goals.

Air bp, the international aviation fuel products and service supplier, has recently supplied sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to three airports in the UK: dedicated business aviation airport, London Biggin Hill (BQH), Airbus owned Hawarden (CEG) airport in Flintshire, North Wales, which will be used for fuelling of the Beluga aircraft, and Centreline FBO, in Bristol (BRS). All three locations expect to have SAF available on an ongoing basis. These latest supply agreements demonstrate the importance of collaboration between fuel supplier, airport and customer in driving demand for SAF and ultimately help to meet the industry’s lower carbon goals. 

The SAF supplied by Air bp is made from waste based sustainable feedstocks such as used cooking oil which is blended with traditional jet fuel. The SAF blend supplied is around 35% SAF and the SAF component provides a lifecycle carbon reduction of around 80% compared to traditional jet fuel it replaces.

Andreea Moyes, sustainability director, Air bp, said: “We are excited to see these ongoing commitments to SAF supply. Stakeholders’ willingness to invest in SAF and collaborate with us will help drive demand and deliver carbon reductions compared to the traditional jet fuel it replaces. We are committed to working with stakeholders to explore the viable sale and purchase of SAF, which we believe is one of the aviation industry’s key routes to reducing carbon emissions.”

Stephen Elsworthy, manager of fuel services at London Biggin Hill Airport, says: “By offering Air bp’s sustainable aviation fuel to all our customers and resident businesses, we are helping them to meet their sustainability goals too, and vitally, contributing to our industry’s aim for a net zero carbon future”.

Gus Paterson, chief operating officer of Centreline’s parent company Pula Aviation Services Limited, says “In response to growing demand, we’re delighted to be able to offer SAF to our customers and to support global efforts to decarbonise aviation. Air bp is fully committed to supporting its FBOs in understanding SAF and the impact and opportunities it can have for their business and ultimately identifying opportunities for SAF supply.”

Air bp was involved in fuelling the first SAF flight by an airline in February 2008 and since then has been enabling ground-breaking test flights and investing in sustainable alternative fuels.

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