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A wet and cold PTAR 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Click on the photos below (By Rob Jonkers)

SAAF Museum Flying Day May 2022

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

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

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

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

Lieutenant Colonel Keith “Fulcrum” Fryer

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

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

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

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

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

Harvard 7111 known as “Nelson

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

de Haviland Vampire T55

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

AAD 2022 Media Launch

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

……………

AAD 2022 OVERVIEW

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

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

Static display AAD 2018

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

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

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

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

AAD 2022 THEME

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

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

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

Theme for AAD 2022

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

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

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

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

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

And topics will include: 

  • Cyber security
  • UAVS
  • Medical

Lastly we will,

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

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

—————-

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

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

————–

COVID – 19 

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

Aero Club Air Week- Middelburg 2022

The Aero Club Airweek held from Friday 22 nd to Sunday 24 th April is an event showcasing all of
General & Recreational Aviation as an annual event, which in recent years has been hosted by the
Middelburg Aero Club where there are excellent facilities and open airspace. In 2021 it was the
Centenary Year + 1 (as 2020 was cancelled – literally….), where 2021 with Airweek being one of the
first events post Covid, it became a big attraction for attendance with around 150 aircraft of various
types participating.

This year and also in conjunction with the EAA Convention, it was more subdued
in terms of attendance given variability of weather outlook (although weather was excellent through
the whole weekend) as well as economics coming in to play with fuel now hitting R30/l.


In any event, those that attended saw activities as a real gem, from no less than 10 aviation related
exhibitors, Flying Lions & Goodyear Eagles displays, Dawn Balloon flights to a EAA Navex hosted by
SAPFA. There were around 100 aircraft in attendance from Friday through to Sunday, with many
campers on the well prepared lawn adjacent the club.


As is the tradition at Airweek, the Saturday night dinner was also the awards evening, with Aero Club
handing out some fun awards, these being:


 Most Enthusiastic Team Award – The Bateleurs who had prime spot at the event
 Bob the Builder Award (Best Homebuilt) – Richard & Irene Lovett – RV14 – ZU-ITF
 Fairy Award (Best Light Sport Aircraft) – Lance Holland – Cheetah – ZU-DKI
 The old and Beautiful Award (Best Vintage Aircraft) – Patrick Watson – Cessna 140 – ZU-ECP
 The Powdered Pampered Bum Award (Best Warbird) – Steve George – Navion – ZS-WUK
 Piping Hot Award (Hottest Air Balloon) – Mario Febbrario – ZS-HOK

Many thanks go to our sponsors Vektor Aviation & Sport Plane Builders, support we had from our
exhibitors, the photographers & journalists, the Middelburg Aero Club, without all these entities we
would not have been able to hold the event.


The Aero Club is looking at reinforcing this event as the GA & RA annual showcase, and will be
working again with Middelburg to host again in 2023 where we will be looking at expanding the
activities on a wider front.

Thanks to Pieter Cronje for the beautiful pictures!

SAAF & SAPS Airwing in KZN Flood Relief Efforts

15 Squadron “Charlie Flight” based at Airforce Station Port Elizabeth are assisting in the flood relief efforts in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The PE based helicopters as well as an A109 and Oryx made their way to Durban Virginia Airport during the week as KwaZulu-Natal province has seen some serious rain resulting in flooding.

The Durban Airforce Station of 15 Squadron, which is located in the Southern side of Durban at the old Durban airport, was heavily impacted by the floods, leaving them displaced and unable to effectively assist in the relief operations. Thus “Charlie Flight” from Port Elizabeth was tasked with assisting in the relief operations.

The two Bk117’s and Oryx helicopters, are joined by an Agusta A109LUH from 19 Squadron AFB Hoedspruit. They are assisting two SAPS Eurocopter AS350 now the Airbus H125 Écureuil (Squirrel) helicopters, SAPS Pilatus Porter aircraft, SAPS Search and Rescue ground units and eThekwini Metro Search and Rescue ground units, in various relief operations around the flood damaged areas.

Search and Rescue ground units had K-9 units as well that flew in some of the rotary assets.
The ground units all deployed from Virginia as well after a briefing with the aircrews.

Using Durban’s Virginia airport, which is ideally situated for the efforts, as the base of operations, they have already been flying on many missions and will continue to do so over the coming days. This is also the reason Virginia Airport must stay and not be demolished for a housing development when it is the main hub in the middle of search and rescue operational area. The airport was opened in 1959 and was home to the annual Durban Airshow .

South African Airforce SAAF has always come to the rescue in times of natural disasters and provide a welcome sight to the people needing help.

Oryx Helicopter “1212”

SANDF at the Rand Easter Show 2022

After a two year absence it was the return of the Rand Easter show at Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec.

One of the big attractions of course would be the South African National Defence Force which has been taking part in the demonstrations or static exhibit since 2011.

This year unfortunately there was no capability demonstration as previously reported on. We found our self’s in the static exhibits and just thanking that we can attend these outdoor shows once again.

We found ourselfs at 16 Squadrons exhibit with a Rooivalk Attack helicopter and found our good friend and former Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team leader Lt Col Omphile “Biggy” Matloane. Biggy as he is known is now part of the big guns at 16 Squadron flying the Denel Rooivalk.

Was good to see a 15 Squadron Agusta A109 also in the static park. We hope next year we will see the return of a capability demo as it was a crowd favorite. Until next year!

Sixteen candles for SA’s only Mushshak

The PAC MFI-17 Mushshak is a license-built fixed-gear basic trainer aircraft used by the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Air Force. An improved version of the Saab Safari, the MFI-17 is manufactured in Kamra, Pakistan by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.

Hilton Wolff the owner of the only Mushshak in South Africa,came into SA as a demonstration model for the South African Airforce (SAAF) who then were in the market for a basic trainer.

In 2016 aviation enthusiasts got to see the Super Mushshak being put through its paces at Africa Aerospace and Defence at AFB Waterkloof in Pretoria from the Pakistan Airforce.This Maybe another time for the SAAF to purchase this type of trainer. But it didn’t fold out.

Initially twelve were ordered but then things went wrong and the order was eventually cancelled and the demonstration aircraft , that was delivered, stayed in South Africa for good.

The aircraft was then sold to a couple of owners where she landed up in Cape Town at a flight school and eventually in the hands of Hilton where the aircraft was based still at Wonderboom Airport and now as we speak Brakpan in the East Rand of Johannesburg.

One of Hilton’s biggest concerns about owning this former military trainer was parts availability, a concern that was quickly resolved when he contacted the factory in Pakistan and they assured him that anything he needed they were willing to supply.

The aircraft is built under licence from SAAB who originally released the military version as the SAAB MFI-17 Supporter. Hilton also made contact with SAAB and they too assured him parts would not be a challenge.

On Thursday 7th March 2022 we were invited to join the celebration of both Hiltons and the Mushshak birthday at Brakpan Airfield. We were treated to a couple of flypasts of the aircraft flown by veteran airshow display pilot Scully Levin.

The 6th of April is esteemed Hilton Wolff ‘s Birthday and the 7th of April is the Mushshak’s Birthday.
This making the Mushshak 16 years old.

SAAF BK117s on their way to Durban

In the last couple of days Durban Kwa Zulu Natal has been hit with enormous amounts of rain bringing damage throughout the province. Unfortunately there has been a number of lives lost as well as still people missing.

15 Squadron “Charlie Flight” based at Airforce Station Port Elizabeth are on route to Durban to be tasked to help in any way the unit can in a flood relief manner. At this point of time two Bk117s are on route with a third to join later.

BK117 during sunset at East London Airport yesterday evening.

SAAF Chopper crews

Crew so far from 15 Sqn C Flight is Maj Corrie Oberholzer, Maj Jarred Oliver, Sgt Carel van Dalen and Sgt Nengo Mahlakwana

A109 with Major Simphiwe Moloi and WO2 Jason Buglass

Oryx with Lt Col Charles Tarentaal cmdr, Capt Robo Muthwa and WO2 Allister Prince.

Additional crew to arrive: Maj Aobakwe Gaelejwe, Flight Sergeant Coert Steynberg, Sergeant Lungelo Mcanyana

Ground crew on deployment is Flight Sergeant Larry Williams, Flight Sergeant Brian Reynolds, Sergeant Thanduxolo Madyo, Corporal Sara Ramlingam

SAAF Museum Flying Day April 2022

The first Saturday of the month means its the annual SAAF Museum Flying day,a day where some of the SAAF Museum inventory get to fly, pilots get current and a day for visitors to explore the museum from 102 years of South African Airforce history.

Air Force Base Swartkop is South Africa’s oldest air force base and houses the South African Air Force Museum as well as 17 Squadron as well as non aviation squadrons.

We go back and remember all who served the South African Airforce and who is no longer with us but some that were the driving force to the Museum as the likes of Rama “Dynamite” Iyer ,Des “Bishop” Barker ,Glen “Gringo” Warden” and Kim Pratley.

Saturday saw a bigger crowd then previous flying days, as Covid-19 restrictions start to become a lot calmer and starting to get aviation back to normality after the successful first airshow after the pandemic in the Western Cape at the Stellenbosch flying club the previous weekend.

The day started out with the rotary museum assets that being the Alouette II flown by Colonel Dave Keijer and an Alouette III flown by Colonel Billy Port.

Was good to see some of the former school master of the sky the North American Harvard flown by Martin Louw and Darryl Wright.

The Museums Kudu, both Cessna C185s made up of the rest of the tail draggers that flew during the course of Saturday.

One has to be thankful to the ground crew that keep these time pieces serviceable. Was good to see Colonel Keith Fryer as he was safety director for April’s flying day.

We looking forward to the SAAF Museum airshow and AAD later this year!

Please browse through our gallery below!

SANDF to take Part in Rand Easter Show 2022

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be participating in the 2022 edition of the
Rand Show in NASREC. The SANDF will once more utilise the Rand Show as an opportunity to
showcase and engage with the citizens of the country on a variety of careers and expertise within the
SANDF as well as to focus on the departments achievements, career outreach programme, training
opportunities, social responsibility and peace support operations in Africa.


The Rand Show will take place at NASREC Show Grounds in Gauteng and will be open to the public
over the period 13 – 18 April 2022. This years edition, the SANDF will not showcase an Arena programme and the Capability Demonstration.

The overall aim of the SANDFs participation is to educate and raise public awareness about the
SANDF as well as to bring the people`s defence force to the people. The SANDF’s participation will
include static exhibitions manned by communicators from the four (4) Arms-of-Service and the various
Divisions.

At this stage its not quite clear yet what aircraft from the SAAF South African Airforce will be taking part in this years Rand Easter Show, in previous years, various helicopters have taken part including Oryx,A109 and Rooivalk. Fixed wing assets including the Silver Falcons, Casa 212 and Gripen and Hawk.

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