Category Archives: Pilots and Aircraft

AW109 Trekker-Rugged and Reliable

The AW109 Trekker is the new multi-role helicopter developed to provide the perfect solution for the most challenging missions in a variety of roles. Productiveness is guaranteed by outstanding performance, payload and a wide cabin space that enables quick role changes. The helicopter is ideally suited to a wide range of missions that require best-in-class lifting capability, alongside superior range and performance.

executive and private transport

MISSION READY

The AW109 Trekker combines excellent performance, the latest technology and high safety standards to provide customers an ideal combination of comfort and capabilities. The finest materials and the highest levels of craftsmanship give the helicopter a unique style and ensure passengers a pleasant journey.

OUTSTANDING TECHNOLOGY AND SAFETY

The AW109 Trekker has a crash-resistant design for optimised safety and is equipped with modular state-of-the-art Genesys Aerosystems glass cockpit to allow a tailored fit to different customers’ needs: single or dual pilot, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) or Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). The ergonomic cockpit design significantly reduces pilot workload.

EXCEPTIONAL CABIN FLEXIBILITY

The bright cabin boasts effective soundproofing and provides passengers with a quiet, safe and comfortable flight. Wide sliding doors on both sides guarantee easy access, whilst the extended baggage compartment has a high capacity for personal luggage.

medical and rescue services

MISSION READY

The AW109 Trekker is ideally suited to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Search and Rescue (SAR) missions and para-public applications. Excellent Category A Class 1 performance capabilities ensure the AW109 Trekker can safely take-off and land from even very small areas. Best-in-class payload and performance facilitate fast and safe response to incidents whilst a spacious cabin provides an effective environment for efficient patient care.
(Photo: courtesy of Irene McCullagh)

OUTSTANDING TECHNOLOGY AND SAFETY

The helicopter is equipped with a modular state-of-the-art Genesys Aerosystems glass cockpit to minimise pilot workload and ensure excellent situational awareness. High power margins and full crashworthiness provide maximum safety in all flight conditions.

EXCEPTIONAL CABIN FLEXIBILITY

The AW109 Trekker features a spacious and quickly reconfigurable cabin to accommodate 1 stretcher and 3/4 medical attendants or 2 stretchers and 2 medical attendants, with entire access to the patient. Large sliding doors ensure easy entry/egress, while the wide interior also accommodates a full suite of advanced life-support equipment.

utility

MISSION READY

The AW109 Trekker is the ideal solution for utility and aerial applications. Outstanding controllability, manoeuvrability and power margin ensure high level of safety in aerial work whilst the best-in-class sling load capacity even in ‘hot and high’ conditions maximises mission effectiveness.

OUTSTANDING TECHNOLOGY AND SAFETY

The helicopter is equipped with modular state-of-the-art Genesys Aerosystems glass cockpit to minimise pilot workload and ensure excellent situational awareness. High power margin and full crashworthiness provide maximum safety in all flight conditions.

EXCEPTIONAL CABIN FLEXIBILITY

The spacious and flexible cabin layout is rapidly reconfigurable to meet all mission requirements and can accommodate up to 7 passengers. The large cabin allows rapid reconfiguration and can be fitted with specific role equipment such as rescue hoist and cargo hook to better fulfil the mission.

WEIGHTS (MGW)

Internal loads
3,175 kg 7,000 lb

WEIGHTS (MGW)

External loads
3,350 kg 7,385 lb

POWERPLANT

2 x Pratt & Whitney
Canada PW207C

OVERALL LENGTH*

12.96 m 42 ft 06 in
*Rotor turning

OVERALL HEIGHT

3.60 m 11 ft 09 in

ROTOR DIAMETER

10.83 m 35 ft 06 in

CAPACITY

Crew 1-2
Passenger 7-6

MAX CRUISE SPEED
(SL, ISA, MGW, MCP)

281 km/h 152 kt

HIGE (ISA, MGW)

4,609 m 15,120 ft

HOGE (ISA, MGW)

2,926 m 9,600 ft

MAX RANGE
(5,000 FT, ISA, MGW)*

833 km 450 nm
*with 634 kg usable fuel, no reserve

MAX ENDURANCE
(5,000 FT, ISA, MGW)*

4 h 20 min
*with 634 kg usable fuel, no reserve

The Spanish Air Force Receives Its First PC-21

The Spanish Ministry of Defence, through the General Directorate of
Armament and Material (DGAM) will deliver to the Spanish Air Force, the
Ejército del Aire, based in San Javier (Murcia), its first PC-21, and will
immediately integrate the world’s most advanced training system by Pilatus
to be part of the 792 Squadron, the Basic Training School in the Spanish Air
Force Academy. Pilatus will deliver a total of 24 PC-21s to Spain by June
2022, raising air force pilot training to state-of-the-art level.


A highly efficient training aircraft to provide advanced training of Spain’s future
military pilots to protect future generations: After a lengthy and exceptionally
professional evaluation, Pilatus prevailed over all the international competition
to win the contract with the PC-21 in 2020. The first PC-21 was handed over in
San Javier on 14 September 2021.


Brigadier General of the Air Force León-Antonio Machés, DGAM (Ministerio de
Defensa de España) Deputy Director General of Programs commented at the
handover: “We are very pleased to be able to integrate such an advanced
training system. Not only will the PC-21 revolutionise our pilot training and
take it to a whole new level, it will also allow us to reduce the cost of our pilot
training.”


André Zimmermann, VP Government Aviation at Pilatus, added: “We’re
delighted that the first PC-21 in the national colours will take to the Spanish
skies as of now. Spain – a renowned and highly professional air force – is
already the third air force in Europe to have opted for the world’s most
advanced training system and we are confident that others will follow Spain’s
example.”

First PC-21 training course from 2022

The air force will launch its first pilot training course in September 2022. The
PC-21 will provide Spain with not only the most technically advanced training
system, but a cost-effective, ecological training platform as well. Experience
with existing PC-21 customers shows that the budget for training a student
military pilot can be reduced by more than 50 percent with the PC-21. These
single-engine turboprops require far less fuel than comparable jet trainers.
Besides the actual aircraft, the PC-21 training system includes state-of-the-art
simulators, computer-based training and virtual reality tools. Pilatus thus
offers the most advanced, most powerful integrated training system currently
available on the market.

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.

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.

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

RAND AIRPORT CHALLENGE 30 JAN 2021

The 17th Rand Airport Challenge was scheduled to take place at Rand Airport on Saturday 30th Jan 2021. However, the weather gods were not playing ball this time, and with “Eloise” blanketing almost the entire country in clouds and rain, we had to revert to PLAN B.

With the 22nd World Rally Flying Championships postponed to November 2021, the pressure is on to train and select the best Air Rally Team to represent South Africa at this prestigious event. With most of the “old guard” still in place and planning to take part, the opportunity, however, exists to bring some new fresh blood into the South African Rally Flying Team. 

The sport of Rally Flying is not an easy sport. It requires an exceptionally strong “2-man” team of both Pilot and Navigator. Unlike most of the other Air Sporting disciplines which are flyable at competition level, as long as one member of the team is well trained, in Rally Flying a strong pilot without a strong navigator and vice versa is as good as having no team at all.

For this reason, Jonty Esser, who himself is a well-seasoned Protea Rally Flying Pilot (as well as a local aerobatic pilot) has been selected to coach the 2021 South African Flying Team to victory, as soon as they have been selected which should be post the National Championships in April 2021. Now for the official team to be selected, this team has to be sufficiently trained in order to fly to the required standard criteria as laid down by the world organisation.

The past decade (plus) of Fun Rally Programs, introduced by Frank Eckard and Mary de Klerk, and the more recent program of Speed Rallies introduced by Jonty Esser and Rob Jonkers, has produced a remarkably high standard of potential Protea Pilots and Navigators that now need to be put through the Rally Flying Grinder Training modules.

There was no better opportunity to start the 2021 training program than the cancelled Rand Airport Challenge on Saturday 30th Jan 2021. No less than 25 exceptionally keen potential Team members arrived for the “On the Ground” training Modules. The Pilots were herded off into a separate venue and were taught some intricacies of rally flying in terms of fine tuning their approaches and timing overturn points etc by Jonty.  The navigators were put through their paces by 30-year rally veteran, Mary, who spent the best part of a 4 hour period unpacking the plotting procedures, tools required and methodologies with the teams. She was adequately assisted by the other Protea Rally veterans, Frank & Cally Eckard, Hans Schwebel, Ron Stirk, Rob Jonkers, Martin Meyer, and Sandi Goddard. It is interesting to note that even though the “old guard” have between them, thousands of  hours of local, national and international experience, they still managed to find time to drive through to Rand in the rain in order to sharpen their own skills and assist with all the newbies. Hats off to you guys!

Also, in attendance was the Aviation Legend Chester Chandler who, in his eighties now, still dedicated his day to visit and monitor the training session with great interest. He also stayed for the SAPFA AGM which was held at 14h00 and chaired by none other than Rob Jonkers with his dedicated SAPFA Committee members. We all welcomed Ian and Taryn Myburgh as new members onto the committee.

Rally Flying is a well renowned international sport recognised by the FAI. To represent one’s country at an international event is a supreme achievement. I applaud everyone who is taking the sport seriously in order to up weight their own personal skills and achieve what many others would only dream to achieve. However, nothing comes easy – it all requires many hours of hard work and input in order to succeed. Training training training ……

Watch this space to monitor all the upcoming training sessions and who the final SOUTH AFRICAN RALLY FLYING TEAM to represent our beloved country and the World Championships this year will consist of.

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Gyrocopter Used In Local Crime Fighting

Private security companies, Wierdabrug police and Sector 3 CPF came together to fight a recent increase in street robberies in the Raslouw and Heuwelsig community.

Their goal was to nake their presence known and show that they are fighting to stop these crimes in the future.

The robberies are targeted at workers who pass through the area in the afternoon. The robbers are usually after the workers’ money, Monitor Net spokesperson Jp le Roux explained.

As well as the workers, joggers have reported being robbed of their valuables and motorists have fallen victim to the smash and grab tactic.

A Gyrocopter flown by Andre Van zyl was used in the operation. Jp le Roux said that more of these operations will be carried out during the holiday season.

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