Tag Archives: Aviation Central

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.

Bell Delivers First Bell 505 to Ugandan Aviation Company

Fort Worth, TX (Apr. 6, 2021) Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced the
delivery of a Bell 505 helicopter equipped with the Med-Pac Inc. LLC Emergency Medical Services Lite
Interior to BAR Aviation. This marks the first Bell 505 in Uganda and the first Bell 505 designed to
complete medical evacuation (medevac) missions in Africa.


“We are elated that BAR Aviation has chosen the Bell 505 as its Helicopter Emergency Medical Services
(HEMS) platform and will operate the first medevac Bell 505 in Africa,” said Lynette Loosen, regional
sales manager, Africa. “By leveraging the aircraft’s unique design, competitive cost and flexible kit
installation, the platform enables our customers to provide safe and reliable medical services to its
patients.”


BAR Aviation is a Ugandan aviation company known for being the leading operator in the region. Among
its many services, BAR provides air medical evacuation services to support communities and connect
them to life-saving medical support. The Bell 505 will support the work of the Ministry of Health,
Ministry of Tourism, and the police.


“We are proud to accept the delivery of the first Bell 505 in Uganda,” said Barak Orland, CEO, BAR
Aviation. “We saw the need and importance of having an evacuation helicopter in the country that helps
give the citizens of Uganda the best chances of survival in the critical golden hour. The Bell 505 is an
excellent aircraft for the job with state-of-the-art safety features and avionics that allow the pilots to
reach their destinations quickly and safely.”


The Med-Pac EMS Lite Interior offers a carbon fiber deck, back wall equipment rack, oxygen tank and
medical supply bag. The stretcher system can be installed in less than 15 minutes with the 505’s easily
removeable seats and flat floor. The Bell 505 is the only current production short light single-engine
helicopter that can fit a stretcher system.


“We congratulate BAR Aviation on the acquisition of its new Bell 505, which adds another Textron
product to its growing fleet of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters,” said Jim Evans, CEO, Africair. “As one

of Bell’s independent representatives for much of Africa, Africa has supported helicopter operators
across the continent for over 40 years.  Together with Bell, we will do everything possible to ensure that
the 505 exceeds BAR Aviation’s expectations.”
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.

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.

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.

Rolls-Royce to test 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel in next-generation engine demonstrator

The Rolls-Royce Trent engine, housing ALECSys technology, that will be used for the Sustainable Aviation Fuel tests Ground tests with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to demonstrate Rolls-Royce engines can unlock SAF’s potential to reduce emissions As part of its ongoing decarbonisation strategy, Rolls-Royce is to use 100% sustainable aviation fuel for the first time in engine ground tests on next-generation engine technology.

The tests will aim to confirm that unblended SAF makes a significant contribution to improving the environmental performance of gas turbine engines.

The SAF being used in the tests was produced by low-carbon fuel specialist World Energy in Paramount, California, sourced by Shell Aviation and delivered by SkyNRG. This unblended fuel has the potential to significantly reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by more than 75 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel, with the possibility of further reductions in years to come.

These tests aim to demonstrate that our current engines can operate with 100% SAF as a full “drop-in” option, laying the groundwork for moving such fuels towards certification. At present, SAF is certified for blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel and can be used on all current Rolls-Royce engines.

Starting in the coming weeks in Derby, UK, the ground tests will involve a Trent engine which also incorporates ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) lean-burn technology.

ALECSys is part of the UltraFan® next generation engine demonstrator programme, which offers a 25% fuel saving over the first generation of Trent engines.

Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce Chief Technology Officer, said: “Aviation is a tremendous force for good, keeping the world connected, but we have to do that sustainably. These tests aim to show that we can deliver real emissions reductions. If SAF production can be scaled up – and aviation needs 500 million tonnes a year by 2050 – we can make a huge contribution for our planet.”

Gene Gebolys, Chief Executive Officer and founder, World Energy, said: “World Energy exists to empower leaders to innovate by providing the world’s most advanced low carbon fuels. Rolls-Royce is putting their technological prowess to work to understand how to maximise their potential in engines and we are proud to support them.”

Theye Veen, Managing Director, SkyNRG, added: “This programme is a great example of what can be achieved when companies from across the aviation value chain that share an ambition of reducing emissions work together. As a pioneer in SAF, SkyNRG encourages innovative tests like this run by Rolls-Royce.”

In addition to supplying the SAF with SkyNRG, Shell Aviation is also providing Rolls-Royce with AeroShell lubricants for the ALECSys engine test programme.

Anna Mascolo, President, Shell Aviation, commented: “For over 100 years, Rolls-Royce and Shell have worked together to drive aviation’s progress. This collaboration brings us one step closer to decarbonising Aviation. As well as the SAF, Shell Aviation will provide offsets using nature-based solutions to make the test net zero emissions, reinforcing how multiple measures are essential if aviation is to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions.”

The ALECSys programme is supported by the European Union via Clean Sky and in the UK by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK; the 100% SAF testing programme is additionally supported by ATI, iUK and Gulf Aviation.

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