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2021 Middelburg Speed Rally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following are the individual handicap and accuracy results.

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

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

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

Click on a photo below to enlarge

Hercules C130 aka “Flossie”

Hercules C130 Flossie aka “Flossie

C130 Flossie

A while back, whilst we were running a series on SAAF aircraft, the question arose as to how the Hercules C130 got the nickname ‘Flossie’. Well, here we have it courtesy of Jan Marais from Who’s Who in the SAAF.

Here is the story of where the name “FLOSSIE” came from.

Not many years after the arrival of the C130B’s onto the SAAF register, South Africa became embroiled in a Border War along the South West African/Angolan border. There has been much good and bad written about that conflict and I am not going to add further to that issue, other than to point out that the C130’s were used on a daily basis to convey troops and material to and from the border, and in later years SAFAIR, operating L100’s, were contracted to assist in the air transport effort. To the casual observer the C130 and L100 look so much alike that one could be forgiven for thinking they were the same. Having said the above I can now get on with story.

At 28 Squadron, the operators of the SAAF C130’s, was a Flight Engineer named Phil or “Flippie”. He was a most dedicated man who ate, slept and dreamed C130. In his private life he was a most disciplined man (real old school, soldier), who never did a half job of anything. You all know the type, “if its worth doing, do it properly or don’t do it at all”

Phil was married to a lady with the real old English name of Florence. In her family she was called Flo, and among her siblings she was called Flossie. (by now you can see where this is going)

Presidential Inauguration 2019

Photo: Johan Stephens

Being the consummate professional Phil would ALWAYS walk out, long before the rest of the crew, to the aircraft he was scheduled to fly in and do a proper pre-flight inspection. A few of his fellow flight engineers would pull his leg and tell him the aircraft was only due for a major technical inspection at a future date. His standard reply was “Chaps, if you treat and look after your aircraft like you look after your wife, she will never let you down” This comment always gave all of his Squadron mates a smile. Over the months, whenever his crew were due to walk out to the aircraft they would ask “where is Flippie, is he at Flossie? or Come guys we shouldn’t keep Flossie waiting” or comments along those lines.

In time the reference to Flossie was made more often at the movement control section at Air Force Base Waterkloof and more and more people became attuned to this reference and this then morphed into all troop transport, becoming known as “FLOSSIE”

You may ask how I know this bit of history. The simple answer is that Phil was my Father and “FLOSSIE: was my Mother.

Flying the BDF C130

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

Dreams Come True for the 2019 Newcastle Airshow

Dreams Come True for the 2019 Newcastle Airshow

It was a moment of pure elation as the ‘I Can Dream’ 2019 Newcastle airshow was announced as South Africa’s second-best African Pilot Airshow of the Year at the recent annual Aero `Club of South Africa’s 2019 awards evening.

“The organisers of the Newcastle Airshow are very proud of the event and each and every committee member, traffic, fire, SAPS, ER24 and all other roll players – this award are for the people of Northern KZN , we can all dream”, said Johan Pieters and Christo van der Vyver.

This prestigious award is presented to airshow organisers and is based on 15 criteria as mentioned below:

  • Initial planning including Air Show South Africa (ASSA), Recreation Aviation Administration of South Africa (RAASA), Aero Club and media communication
  • Professional ATC participation: arrival, airshow and departure clearances
  • Suitable aircraft and vehicle parking arrangements
  • Pilot, airshow and safety briefing including disaster management planning
  • Display pilot and participants hospitality arrangements
  • Public address systems and appropriate public broadcast entertainment
  • Host organisation’s social interaction with display teams, media and important invited guests
  • Social responsibility towards the local / regional population
  • Youth development programmes including aviation education
  • Sales satisfaction for local and distant vendor participants
  • Crowd control access, security planning and policing
  • Food and beverage arrangements, including an appropriate variety of vendors
  • Litter management and cleanliness of the airfield during and immediately after the event
  • Overall airshow safety for spectators, including any transgressions by individual pilots
  • Organiser’s airshow report that is submitted to the aviation authorities

Looking ahead for the 2020 show, Pieters commented that planning for next year has already begun, and it will be the 10th consecutive airshow hosted at Newcastle airfield.

Newcastle Airshow 10 Years 2020

Pieters also announced that the South African Air Force (SAAF) will once again be part of the airshow and will (SAAF) will be celebrating its 100th anniversary.

“The theme for 2020 will be ‘I Can Dream – I Say No to Drugs’, it is important for us to bring in a social factor to our airshow. We want people to know that to be part of aviation you need to have sober habits and that drugs are out!”, said Pieters. “We understand that the drugs are very bad in schools and this is our way to get involved”, commented Pieters.

SAAF Newcastle 2020

The week before the 2020 airshow that will be held on 6 June 2020, will see a lot of activity taking place prior to the show. An aviation conference for the top science and mathematics Grade 10 learners will be held on the Wednesday before the airshow for Northern KZN learners is been planned, as well as a National Aviation conference for all aviation enthusiast on the Thursday. The Friday before the show will be reserved for an educational day for Grade 10, 11 and 12 learners.

Learners Expo 2020

Flying Lions Charity Day – 17 Nov ’19

This was the 18th anniversary of the annual Flying Lions Charity Day, which happens mid-November. The Puma Flying Lions Aerobatic Team treated orphans to flights in Harvards, lunch at the Harvard Café, awesome goodie bags and a whole lot more to lift their spirits during the festive season. This year, over 60 children from Nkosi’s Haven, iKhaya da Luz Children’s Home and Children of the Dawn experienced a once in a lifetime flight.  Puma Energy was the major sponsor of the day, with other brands contributing gifts, such as Mango Airlines who provided caps and pens. The day ended on a cheery note as Father Christmas made an appearance at the Christmas party that was held after all the flights. Santa handed over all the gifts to the children. The Children were also treated to an all-time favourite Hamburgers and chips with soda drinks.
Aircraft at Rand Airport

Aircraft used
Cessna 140,  Cessna 210, Beechcraft Baron,  2 x Pitts Special from the Cows Aerobatic Team, 3 x Harvards from the Flying Lions

To witness events like this is extremely heart-warming and we at Aviation Central witness few of these events yearly!
Well-done to Puma Energy, Flying Lions, Cows Aerobatic Team, Andrew Blackwood-Murray who also joined the team and provided flips in a Cessna.

Pilots for the day :

Arnie Meneghelli

Andrew Blackwood-Murray

Rodney Chinn

Sean Thackwray

Hayden Tunmer

Sally Bates Levin

Mark Fleck

Dylan van der Merwe

Ground Crew for the day :

Chloe Spolander

Aubyn-Shaye Paul

Brad Wood

Keagan Foley

Margo Venter

Rozz

William

Retania Mahabeer

Lee Naidoo

Click to enlarge photos below

SAAF Museum Airshow Date set for 9th May 2020

Swartkop Airshow 2020
SAAF Museum Airshow Date set for 9th May 2020

Note, This is not the official poster for the 2020 SAAF museum Airshow

Join the Facebook event page for the SAAF Museum Airshow 2020

And so a century is made with the South African Airforce (SAAF) turning 100 years old. “Through hardships to the stars” of gracing the skies over South Africa, the latin motto explains the Per Aspera Ad Astra phrase.

The South African Air Force was established on 1 February 1920. The Air Force has seen service in World War II and the Korean War as well as the Bush War.

The date is set for the annual SAAF Museum Airshow with a Theme not 100% confirmed yet, but sources has it as “Embracing our Collective Heritage” and “100 years of Air Power, through 25 years of Democracy” on the 9th May 2020 at Airforce Base Swartkop in the City of Tshwane.

The Centenary of this magnificent milestone will start from the 31st January 2020, as Airforce Day will be the first of the glimpses of the 100 years of Air Power celebrations with an invited guests and media parade which will also be held at AFB Swartkop.

Note to the public that the SAAF Museum Airshow 2020 will only see local aircraft and another show will be held later in the year at another base which should see potential international participation.

Pay attention to our social media platforms for more information on the show closer to the time!

Photos below is from the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow

Join the Facebook event page for the SAAF Museum Airshow 2020