Tag Archives: Avgeek

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.

Denel Cheetah C ‘376’ flies again since 2001

The Atlas Cheetah is a South African fighter aircraft designed and produced by the aviation company Atlas Aircraft Corporation. It was developed at the behest of, and principally operated by, the South African Air Force. It was known many ex SAAF Mirage IIIs were converted from the help of the country of Israel using other airframes from Kfir and Nesher delta fighters to name a few.

Denel Cheetah C ‘376’

The South African Airforce retired the Denel Cheetah in April 2008 as the new SAAB JAS39 Gripens were slowly entering service and replacing the Cheetah at 2 Squadron ,Airforce Base Makhado in the Limpopo province.

Draken International has acquired 12 Cheetahs to be utilised as aggressor aircraft flying against some of the worlds most deadly fighters jet the US Airforce and other forms of arms.

Pre 2003 SAAF Insignia still on the aircraft

Draken International, LLC is an American provider of tactical fighter aircraft for contract air services including military and defense industry customers. The firm is based at the Lakeland Linder International Airport in Lakeland, Florida and also has an operating base at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

On April 9 2021 Denel Cheetah C ‘376’ took to the skies piloted by Denel test pilot Ivan “Viking” Pentz. This particular cheetah hadn’t flown since October 2001.What a great sight to see the fast mover up in South African skies as she gets ready to depart for the United States soon.

Denel Cheetah C ‘376’
Ivan “Viking” Pentz

Photos by Casper van Zyl

Birth of the Inspiration Pattern ship “Inspiration 1”

This is the story of a model radio-controlled aircraft, which was designed and built from scratch, during the lockdown in South Africa in 2020. It was built by Alec McNamara, from Durban South Africa, who told his story to Aviation Central Durban reporter Trevor Viljoen.

History on the design and build of the INSPIRATION 1
At the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic Lockdown in South Africa on the 26th of March 2020, I was in the process of building and covering a 101” Big Stik. Around the 3rd of April 2020, I ran out of shrink cover and could not get any delivered as the shrink cover I use, is imported.

After two days of watching TV and being totally bored, I decided to clear my build table and take my roll of drawing paper and cut a piece at 2.5 meters. I then put a center line on the page and started drawing. I had the idea that I wanted to build a Patterns Ship. Over the next two and a half weeks I sat drawing, erasing and redrawing until I got a rough plan of what I wanted.
The following two weeks I just sat and fine-tuned the plan, taking into consideration I do not have a drawing program on my computer.

On the 7th of May 2020, I was required to return to work and with great excitement, I took the wood sizes that I had worked out with me and on my way home I stopped by the local wood shop (Timber City Pinetown) to purchase a sheet of the lightest 3.0mm commercial plywood they had and got it cut to size as they offer that service. They obliged with no hesitation and 30 minutes later I walked out with all my wood cut to the required size.

The Inspiration then started to develop.

All the cutting and shaping was done by hand using sanding blocks and a Dremel.
The canopy and cowl are made with moulded fibre glass and painted with 2K paint. The landing gear is made of a fibreglass inner with a double carbon outer layer. The Inspiration took all of Eight (8) months to develop into this flying giant.

After an extensive meeting with Jason Barker “The Durban Drone Guy”, an experienced Pattern and Advanced 3D Pilot, six (6) hours were spent going through the, almost ready, Inspiration. He advised on some changes that I should consider. I heeded his advice and made the changes accordingly.

The Inspiration 1…
On Sunday morning of the 6th of December 2020 at around 08:45 I loaded the Inspiration 1 in the car and my daughter and I headed for MMAC (Maritzburg Model Aircraft Club) where we met Jason. We went through the Inspiration 1 for the final time and did a second range check. I then did the Pre-Flight Inspection and got the Inspiration 1 ready for her maiden flight. We then found on taxiing that the landing gear was a little unstable. We made a bit of a jimmy by putting linked rubber bands on the landing gear to hold them in a suitable stable position for the maiden flight.
Only once Jason was satisfied with the makeshift repair would he take her into the air. Jason did some ground runs and we found that the spring from the rudder to the rear wheel was too soft and steering was a bit erratic. Once he saw that and we still had some form of control Jason lined the Inspiration 1 up for take-off, did some final checks, revved the motor to feel for unwanted vibration and was then ready for take-off.

At approximately 13:15, the INSPIRATION 1 was born as she left the ground on her maiden flight, piloted by Jason Barker. Oh My… What A Spectacular Sight She Was!
I give many, many thanks to Jason (the test pilot) for the time expended and all the advice given with getting this model to where she is today and for taking her through her paces on her maiden flight.

Specifications:
Wingspan – 1930 mm
Fuselage – 2100 mm
Wing Aspect Ratio – 5.68
Dry Weight – 8.1 kg

Motor – CRRC Pro 36cc
Propeller – 19 x 8 Falcon painted wood propeller
Motor cut off – RCEXL opto ignition kill switch
Ignition Battery – X-power 2100mah 2S1P Life battery
Ignition unit – RCEXL Ignition unit (Comes with Motor)

Electronics:
Receiver – AR8010T 8CH Air Telemetry with satellite receiver
Throttle servo – CYS S3006 – 6 kg (Plastic Gear)
Aileron Servo – 2 x CYS S0110 – 11 kg (Metal Geared)
Elevator servo – 2 x CYS S3006 – 6 kg (Plastic Gear)
Rudder servo – CYS S0150 – 15 kg (Metal Geared)
Receiver batteries – 2 x X-power 2100mah 2S1P Life battery

Alec McNamara

Remembering Souths Africa’s only civilian English Electric Canberra T17A

With the birth of Thunder City at Cape Town International airport in South Africa. Thunder City was an aircraft operating and maintenance company, It was well known for owning the largest civilian collection of former military jet aircraft in the world.

Aircraft types included in the Mike Beachy Head inventory, English Electric Lightnings, Buccaneer’s, Hawker Hunters, StrikeMaster and a Puma Helicopter.

Established under the name Thunder City in 1998, the brand has gone on to become one of the most globally recognised as a home-grown South African one. Seen by millions of TV viewers in countries across the planet, the iconic Thunder City jets have inspired many to travel to Cape Town to experience the thrill and adrenaline-rush of flying in a supersonic ex-military jet. We have had a lot of worldwide media exposure, especially in Europe and the USA.

TV networks from all over the world have filmed documentaries on the Thunder City operation. These include household names such as Sky TV, CNN and the Discovery Channel, as well as Turkish, Austrian, Chinese, Dutch, French, Spanish and several German TV channels and also our own Top Billing and MNet’s Carte Blanche.”

English Electric Canberra T17A ZU-AUE Final Flight!

The one particular aircraft that did not fulfill its life span at thunder city was the ill fated flight of The Canberra, built in 1953 and formerly registered WJ607/EB with 360 Squadron Royal Air Force RAF had been de-commissioned and registered G-BVWU on the British Civil Register on 22/12/94. It was brought to South Africa to join the fleet of classic warbirds at Thunder City, based at Cape Town International Airport and registered ZU-AUE on August 25, 1995.

WJ607/EB with 360 Squadron RAF
English Electric Canberra T17A ZU-AUE at Cape Town International Airport

The aircraft crashed on 30th September near Yzerfontain, on the Capes west coast sadly killing both crew. The Canberra took off from Cape Town International on a test flight up the west coast. In the vicinity of Yzerfontein, the aircraft turned inland and suddenly spun in leaving a crater in the ground. Nothing of the aircraft remained. Although the crew were wearing parachutes, there appeared to be no time to eject.

English Electric Canberra T17A WJ607/EB with 360 Squadron RAF

South African Airforce Canberra’s

The SAAF received the first B(I) Mk 12 aircraft in 1963. Six B(I) Mk 12 bombers (451 to 456) and the T Mk 4 trainers (457 to 459) were operated by 12 Squadron.

Zambia Airforce Celebrates 10,000 accident free flying hours!

The Zambia Air Force (ZAF) has accrued 10, 000 accident free flying hours in the 2020 calendar year. And ZAF Commander, Lieutenant General David Muma says the Air Force organized a parade to celebrate this milestone. Lieutenant General David Muma in a statement said the parade was held at the ZAF Lusaka base and was officiated by Defence Minister Davies Chama.

Picture by-ZAF Facebook page

“The increased flying effort is as a result of command’s objective to carry out the Air Force mandate in full; conduct of military operations, aid to civil authorities and training of aircrew, conveyance of WIPs/VIPs with particular emphasis on good management and best aviation safety practices,” Lt Gen David Muma said.

“He mentioned the 10, 000 accident free flying hours milestone has only been achieved owing to the concerted effort made by both the aircrew, ground support crew, and all ZAF personnel in ensuring maximum aviation safety. And Lt Gen David Muma has thanked President Lungu and the government for the support.”

The Zambia Air Force is the air force of Zambia and the air operations element of the Zambian Defence Force. Following the creation of the Republic of Zambia in 1964, the former Northern Rhodesia Air Wing was renamed as the Zambia Air Wing. The Zambia Air Force was then established.

The ZAF currently fly the C27J ‘Spartan’, Xian MA60 and the Yarbin Y-12 this being the air forces transport aircraft. Their helicopter innovatory comprises of Textron Bell 205,Bell 206s,Mil Mi-17s and finally Yarbin Z-9 Helicopters.

C27J Spartan
MA60
Yarbin Y-12Picture by ORTIA Spotter
Yarbin Z-9
Bell 205\212
Mil Mi-17

The fighter assets of the ZAF,with the newest Hongdu L-15 and jet trainer the familiar Hongdu K-8.Basic trainers of the ZAF are the PAC MFI-15 and SF.260TW.

L-15
K-8
PAC MFI-15
SF.260TW.

SANParks Celebrates South Africa’s First Black Game Capture Pilot

South African National Parks (SANParks) today celebrates Captain David Simelane, South Africa’s first black game capture rated pilot. Nicknamed “Blackhawk”, Simelane completed his game capture rating, which is an endorsement on his pilot license, with flying colours on 2 December 2020.

SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said, “we are extremely proud of Simelane and his achievement. He is an inspiration to many young black aspiring pilots and we hope that his passion will inspire more people to choose this industry as their careers.”

Game capture rating is a very complex pilot endorsement rating where a helicopter pilot needs to take into consideration the environment, animals and the crew all while managing the actual helicopter itself.

Simelane has been a helicopter pilot for 16 years and has flown all over the world including Madagascar and South Sudan. “I have a passion for flying and now I get to combine that with my love for wildlife and nature. I wake up in the morning knowing that every flight I do is to make a difference in nature conservation and in people’s lives.”

Simelane, who started working for SANParks earlier this year, is KNP’s first black helicopter pilot working under SANParks Air Services which provide aerial support for many of the departments within SANParks. He said “working as a pilot for SANParks is a calling, it is tough but I am in a blessed position to say that this is not a job for me, it’s a passion. Couple that with the fact that I am doing it in the same park I first fell in love with wildlife 25 years ago, is just a dream come true for me”

Mketeni emphasised that Simelane’s achievement is a reflection of SANParks’ action to improve employees’ expertise to address inequalities and disparities in staff profiles. SANParks is committed towards the development and implementation of access, equity, and equal employment opportunities within the organisation.

“As a world society has started to realise how important both our natural and cultural heritage is and with a passionate and educated person like Simelane at SANParks we can continue to conserve and leave future generations with the natural beauty and heritage of South Africa. Today is a proud day for SANParks and the SANParks Air Services, we salute David Simelane and wish him well as he goes onwards and upwards” concluded Mketeni.

Springs Season Finale Speed Navigation Rally – 28 Nov 2020

By Rob Jonkers

The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) together with our main sponsor Aircraft Unlimited organised the 2020 Season finale Speed Navigation Rally on Saturday 28th November 2020. Although strictly not planned to have been the end of the 2 nd Season, 2020 being a year what it is, with reduced events, we decided to review the events and shorten the 6 per Season to 4, so Season 2 started and ended at Springs, so that Season 3 would start and end in 2021. For the overall season scoring the best
of 3 events would count towards the Season results.

As the event has evolved, changes have been brought into play, all with the participation of the organisers and competitors, and for this season the overall distance was reduced to 138 nm (from 150 nm), a
handicap overspeed penalty was instituted and allowance to fly with a GPS track-made-good magnetic heading reference. For this final Season 2 event, 32 entries were received. Springs 2019 was also the debut of the Grand-Prix circuit, and was also planned this year, a format that has also evolved over the last four GPs.

The route was mostly to the east and south of the airfield, with a bit more of a scenic route than previous events going close to the vaal dam. The weather on Friday started out real well, the forecast giving late
afternoon thundershowers which were lurking towards the west. Test flights commenced with some new entries requiring test flights and some old entries wanting to retest to re-confirm their handicaps. The test
flights were done by Mark Clulow and Sean Cronin, and had to be curtailed after 3PM as the weather deteriorated.

Thereafter at 18h30, Jonty Esser as the MC introduced Rob Jonkers who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turn points, distance, departure and arrivals protocol, and also how the scoring system worked in terms of penalties as well as the expected weather conditions, which looked like overcast to start with lifting after 9 am and 10+ kts of gusty northerly winds.

Jonty Esser then took to the stage in his signature competing crew introductory theme song videos and race number handouts, and also including introductions to the event and team sponsors. For this event,
an event sponsor was secured as Aircraft Unlimited, an AMO based at Rand Airport and Jonty introduced the new owner Andrew Lester and his team. They would also provide AMO support for aircraft during the
event. Thereafter everybody was treated to a buffet meal before retiring for the evening to the music of one of the competitors Leon Joubert and his band re-living the 70s real music era.

Saturday morning dawned with windy and low overcast cloud conditions, with the decision to start the briefing an hour later at 9 am, and the start to be an hour and a half later at 11h30 for an over the field
arrival at 1 PM. Once the shortened briefing was over, everybody prepared their aircraft and got them sorted into the parking bays. Aircraft were then also scrutineered with all portable electronic devices
sealed up in bags. For this event Mark & Shane from Century Avionics were on hand to also block off / seal Aircraft GPS and autopilot systems.

Scrutineers Lizelle, Louna, Bernhardt and Adrian were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices, handing out papers at the allotted time, and also checking the fuel tanks were full. Starters Mark
Clulow and Sean Cronin set up at the starting line adjacent the threshold of Runway 03, who would release each aircraft at their allotted time slot. Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers at 20 minutes prior take-off time, taxi to the starting line within 10 minutes of brake release. 1st take-off was at 11h30 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 12h100, with planned arrival at 1 PM.

With all the competitors off towards the east, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turn points, this time some river crossing also in the mix, and a little more scenic than previous Springs events. In general
the competitors found the course easy enough this time round, with the photographs now in larger format to identify the ground features more prominently, which can be seen in the results where many had a clear
round in their tracks. At just before 1PM, the first aircraft over the line was a little early, and then followed by at least three quarters of the field within 1 minute, with tail enders after that.

After all teams having returned, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, completing the individual scores by 3 PM. A Season ending gala prize-giving evening was arranged, which turned out real
great as most of the teams stayed over or got dressed in their finest black tie. The evening got under way at around 6 with starter platters and then at 7 with Rob Jonkers showing everybody’s tracks – from the
most accurate to the most creative.

Thereafter Jonty had Andrew from Aircraft Unlimited and Rob Jonkers hand out certificates to each of the teams. Prize-giving got underway with three trophies going to best husband and wife team – Eric and Antoinette Addison, best Father and Son team – Apie & Frederik Kotzee and best school entry – Legend Sky from Rhino Park. The most creative track trophy went to the first time Chipmunk team of Grant Timms and Duncan Ritchie.

The GP race winners were Dane Laing in an RV4, Johan van Eeden & Cor Esterhuisen in an RV7 in 2 nd place, Leon Joubert in a Lancair in 3rd place.

Then followed the Springs event results in navigation accuracy, handicap and overall. Then as this was the end of the 2nd season the Season results and winners in each of the categories were also announced.
The final results for all the teams for Springs and the Season will be on the Speed Rally website.

Jonty then thanked all the officials who put in the effort to make the Speed rally what it has become, Adrian Cronje as the Chief Marshall, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk de Vos doing the scoring,
Mark Clulow & Sean Cronin doing test flights and starting, Marc & Shane for Century Avionics for Scrutineering, Lizelle Kruger, Louna de Vos, Bernhard Jansen handing out competition papers to the crews as well as Scrutineering (we missed Chareen Shillaw who could not join this time round) , Jonty & Lizelle & Sandy for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event, and Gala Dinner on Saturday, the ATNS team for managing the ATC for the weekend, and Santjie White for being everybody’s Guardian angel. Thanks also to the East Rand Flying Club for the excellent airfield facilities.

Also to the sponsors Aircraft Unlimited, who was the main sponsor of the event, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring the race numbers, team sponsors JB Electrical – Leon Bouttell and Martin Meyer, Fast Flame
Laser Cutting – Hendrik & Jandre Loots, Beegle Micro Trackers – Quintin Kruger and Johan Whiteman, Prompt Roofing – Leon Joubert and Sandi Goddard.

Our next Speed Rally event will be in Witbank in the 6th of February 2021.

Please view our gallery below

Boeing Responds to FAA Approval to Resume 737 MAX Operations

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today rescinded the order that halted commercial operations of Boeing (NYSE: BA) 737-8s and 737-9s. The move will allow airlines that are under

“We will never forget the lives lost in the two tragic accidents that led to the decision to suspend operations,” said David Calhoun, chief executive officer of The Boeing Company. “These events and the lessons we have learned as a result have reshaped our company and further focused our attention on our core values of safety, quality and integrity.”

Throughout the past 20 months, Boeing has worked closely with airlines, providing them with detailed recommendations regarding long-term storage and ensuring their input was part of the effort to safely return the airplanes to service.

An Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA spells out the requirements that must be met before U.S. carriers can resume service, including installing software enhancements, completing wire separation modifications, conducting pilot training and accomplishing thorough de-preservation activities that will ensure the airplanes are ready for service.

“The FAA’s directive is an important milestone,” said Stan Deal, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We will continue to work with regulators around the world and our customers to return the airplane back into service worldwide.”

In addition to changes made to the airplane and pilot training, Boeing has taken three important steps to strengthen its focus on safety and quality.

  1. Organizational Alignment: More than 50,000 engineers have been brought together in a single organization that includes a new Product & Services Safety unit, unifying safety responsibilities across the company.
  2. Cultural Focus: Engineers have been further empowered to improve safety and quality. The company is identifying, diagnosing and resolving issues with a higher level of transparency and immediacy.
  3. Process Enhancements: By adopting next-generation design processes, the company is enabling greater levels of first-time quality.

Pilatus Appoints TAG Maintenance Services as Authorised Service Centre for PC-24

Pilatus has appointed TAG Maintenance Services to support the Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile Jet for comprehensive base and line maintenance in Geneva, Switzerland. TAG Maintenance Services also offers services for the PC-12 single-engine turboprop.

With the addition of the PC-24, TAG Maintenance Services now provides its highly regarded maintenance services for all Pilatus general aviation aircraft at its Geneva “one-stop shop” facility. TAG Maintenance Services is one of business aviation’s leading MRO providers.

Expand customer relations

Ignaz Gretener, VP General Aviation of Pilatus says: “As the worldwide fleet of PC-24s continues to grow, we are constantly strengthening our support network. Geneva is a top destination for many of our customers, so we are delighted to expand our relationship with TAG Maintenance Services wit h its stellar reputation.”

“Both the PC-12 and PC-24 have proven to be popular personal, corporate and charter aircraft in Europe. We are pleased to build on our long and close relationship with Pilatus to care for these great aircraft ”, adds Franck Madignier, CEO of TAG Maintenance Services.

Number 1 in customer support

In summer this year, in an independent survey conducted by Professional Pilot magazine, operators voted Pilatus number 1 in turboprop customer service for the 19th consecutive year. Pilatus officials attribute this honour to an intense focus on post-sale support through its global service network. Customers are served locally through strong personal relationships with an Authorised Pilatus Service Centre, backed up with factory expertise and technical support.

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