Tag Archives: Aviation Central

Cuban South African Airforce Graduates

by Lt Gen F.Z. Msimang, Chief of the South African Air Force

Life is indeed cyclical. Many years ago, in the mid-80’s a young soldier by the name Zakes Khulu along with his comrades found themselves in a foreign country pursuing aviation studies. They learned all they could in that country, immersing themselves in its culture, its ways of life. They would eventually return home with their newly acquired skills, eager to start collaborating in establishing a new democracy. Looking back at their journey in many ways mirrors your own. You too were deployed to a foreign country to learn, to grow, to improve and be immersed in a culture engendered with liberation so that when you returned, which you have now done, you will continue the democracy building project. That Zakes Khulu with some of those surviving comrades, stand before you now beaming with pride for your extraordinary achievements, watching you ride the waves of endless possibilities. We are extremely proud of you all.

We are here, today, under strict Covid-19 regulations, which we must observe and respect accordingly, to welcome all of you on parade and your proud families, loved ones and friends to this auspicious and memorable occasion. We are here to honour a group of military aviators who trained in the Republic of Cuba; we welcome them home to their esteemed SAAF flying community. 

Graduates, you have touched my heart. You have carried yourselves with exceptional grace and honour. You kept your promise to me. You have brought home commendable results but know this road still unfolds before your feet. Baba Mandela – the Father of our Nation – once said: “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

This parade marks one of the many summits you will have to reach in your long careers in the SANDF.

But as your achievements belong to you they belong also to your unwavering support structures. It was a community project. This journey would have been impossible without the commitment and dedication of your instructors, your mentors and of cause – the support of your proud parents, family members and loved ones. A special word of thank you to all the SAAF members who helped you work through obstacles, while you tenaciously invited the universe to mold you into fine soldiers. 

Our unbreakable bonds between the Cubas and our government can be traced to its support of African liberation movements, following the overthrow of the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959 by “The Movement,” formed by late longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Cuba supported the anti-apartheid struggle in this country opposing racial segregation when it was not fashionable to do so. It criticised the international community for blatantly ignoring South Africa’s human rights’ violations – the very rights that many are taking for granted in this country today. 

When the democratic South African National Defence Force entered into bilateral agreements with The Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces to create study opportunities for our soldiers,  the South African Air Force (SAAF)  embraced this opportunity with open arms.

We identified disciplined young men and women to undergo training in Cuba, where they would be immersed in a different culture, social structure, and political landscape. In 2014, we sent twenty-seven candidates to undergo various training specialties in aviation engineering, air traffic control and pilot training fields. They stand before us now: a result of a bond based on shared revolutionary principles. 

I kept an eagle eye on your developments in Cuba. I was pleased to learn that you turned every challenge into an opportunity for growth. Your results speak for themselves. You received golden awards for both academia and sports. You even experienced the devastating hurricane Irma and used that difficult time to learn major survival skills. Your stay in Cuba also coincided with the mourning of the passing of one the world’s finest revolutionaries Fidel Castro, his message of resistance to oppression resounding strong. Cuba provided you with immense lessons in patriotism, survival and determination. May these lessons nourish you.

Additional  SAAF students commenced with their aviation training in Cuba in 2018 and 2019. We are expecting more graduates in 2021, 2022 amd 2026. Extending the SAAF training scope to various foreign countries will ultimately bring about a generation of differently trained individuals who if nurtured and allowed to plough back their knowledge, will enhance our outlook as part of the global community.

And as we reach our close, I must stress that the knowledge you have acquired is crucial in meeting our Constitutional mandate and requirements. Our constitution states that “the Defence Force must be structured and managed as a disciplined military force”. As a soldier, for me, the success of the SAAF will be underpinned by an enforcement of discipline and the concentration on functional, developmental and physical training. May we be soldiers who live in integrity: for ours is to serve with discipline, dignity, professionalism and patriotism. You have answered our Nation’sd call – Which is Service, and Country. May you grow to be airmen with integrity,…… for ours is to serve with discipline, dignity, professionalism and patriotism. 

As proud and devoted members of the SANDF, we must have  an eagle’s eye view on any challenge and hover above  it menacingly, in the knowledge that our citizenry expects nothing less  than a deep sense of security from us.

The Chief of the SAAF concluded his speech below:

TO THE MEMBERS ON PARADE, I WISH YOU ALL SUCCESS IN YOUR FUTURE ENDEAVOURS. YOU ARE OUR FUTURE LEADERS.  GO OUT THERE AND SERVE THE NATION.   THE AIR FORCE COMMAND COUNCIL WILL CERTAINLY BE FOLLOWING YOUR CAREERS WITH INTEREST – CONTINUE WITH THE HARD WORK AND DISCIPLINE YOU HAVE DEMONSTRATED THUS FAR.

MAY YOU BE ABUNDANTLY BLESSED. 

I THANK YOU.

Aero L39s of the Cuban Airforce were used as ab-intio trainers for South African Air Force pupil pilots!

Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers set new WORLD RECORD for range & duration of non-stop flight

 pair of Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers have spent more than 25 hours in the air and covered over 20,000km, setting a new world record for non-stop flight range, and duration, for this type of aircraft, it has been revealed.

The Defense Ministry, in Moscow, made the announcement on Saturday with Sergey Kobylash, the commander of Russia’s long-range aviation service, saying that “nobody has flown this type of aircraft longer.” 

The record, which was set on Saturday, saw two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers (NATO reporting name ‘Blackjack’) “staying in the air for more than 25 hours and covering a distance of over 20,000km (12,427 miles),” the commander added. 

The landmark flight took place above the neutral waters of the Arctic and Pacific oceans as well as the Kara, Laptev, East Siberian, Chukchi and Barents seas, and was performed in full compliance with international rules governing use of airspace, he pointed out. 

The Tu-160s refueled three times in the air during their mission, which required six Il-78 tanker planes to be mobilised. At some points along their route, the bombers were escorted by Russian Su-35 fighter jets as well as “aircraft of foreign states,” Kobylash said. 

The previous record was also set by Tu-160s, which spent 24 hours and 24 minutes in the air back in 2010. In the case of passenger aircraft, a Qantas Airlines flight from New York to Sydney last year is considered to be the longest, as it saw a Boeing 787-9 with 49 people on board staying the air for 19 hours and 15 minutes, covering a distance of 16,200km (around 10,066 miles).

TU-160s Visit South Africa last October!

Last year October a pair of TU-160s traveled to South Africa landing at Air force Base Waterkloof, City of Tshwane. This was the first time this type of aircraft had landed on African soil for the first time.

On-route to South Africa_Air to Air Refueling from an IL78 Tanker
Drogue shoot release after landing at Air force Base Waterkloof
Not soemthing you see at Waterkloof everyday, 2 TU-160S,An124 & IL62

First Brazilian Saab Gripen E Arrives in Brazil

The first Brazilian Saab Gripen E single-seat fighter aircraft has arrived in Brazil on Sunday, September 20, Saab announced.

The aircraft arrived through sea after been shipped from Norrköping in Sweden.

The first Brazilian Gripen is a test aircraft (39-6001, tail number FAB4100) and has been flying in Sweden since its maiden flight on August 26, 2019. In September that year, the aircraft arrived to start the flight test programme for flight envelope expansion as well as testing of tactical system and sensors.

Brazil has ordered 28 Gripen E single-seat jets that will be delivered to Brazil starting from 2021 and eight Gripen F twin-seat jets, starting from 2023. Saab is to building first 13 aircraft at its facility in Linköping, Sweden, while the remaining 23 will be built in Brazil.

Earlier this year, Saab  performed the fist metal cut for the first Brazilian Gripen F, marking an important milestone in the program. The first part was manufactured recently at Saab’s facilities in Linköping, Sweden and is for the air duct section, just behind the cockpit of the aircraft.

Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM) in Brazil, Saab’s first aerostructures plant outside of Sweden for the Gripen E/F, has recently announced the start of production in support of the program. This site builds sections of Gripen, which will then be delivered to the final assembly facilities at the Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo, Brazil and to Linköping, Sweden.

The tail cone and front fuselage of the single-seat version of the Gripen fighter (Gripen E) are the first aerostructures to enter into production at SAM. Subsequently, the aerodynamic brakes, rear fuselage, wing box and front fuselage for the two-seater version will also be manufactured at SAM.

‘The pilot who saved Buckingham Palace’ September 15th, 1940

The collision between a Dornier and Hurricane over Buckingham Palace on ‘Battle of Britain Day’ is one of the iconic moments of ‘The Battle’. The falling planes were captured on film from the ground and the exploits of the daring pilot who saved Buckingham Palace from the German bomber were widely reported in national newspapers. A version of the incident is even appeared in the 1969 feature film ‘The Battle of Britain’.

Ray’s Hurricane plummets to earth.

At 11 Group Headquarters in Uxbridge Air Vice Marshal Keith Park had important guests; Winston Churchill and his wife. There was no significance to Churchill’s visit, he was ‘just passing’ and thought he would call in. As Keith Park led his guests down the stairs to the operations room some fifty feet underground he tactfully pointed out to Winston that the ventilation system would not cope with his cigar smoke; he clenched his cigar, unlit, between his teeth as events unfolded. Park had been made privy to intelligence that an all-out attack was soon to come and there had been a lull in activity for over a week. As he ordered his squadrons into the air one after another he is reputed to have said, “This, I think is what we have been waiting for. I think that it is about to happen.”

His Hurricane disappears behind the chimney pots of London. Ray was descending by parachute nearby. “I spun across a house in Chelsea, got my feet down on a gutter, slid down the roof, and fell into the garden on my back. Then two girls came up to me, and I was so glad to see them that I kissed them both.”

The scene was set for an epic battle.One-by-one squadrons were brought to Stand By and then Readiness as the enemy forces were plotted on the ops table. By midday twenty-three fighter squadrons were airborne. The scale of the enemy attack was such that Park knew his pilots could not repulse it; London was in for a ‘pasting’.Piloting one of the Dornier 17s was 27 year old Oberleutnant Robert Zehbe of the bomber unit 1/KG76. Zehbe’s crew were old hands and had successfully completed several raids, including Kenley on August 18th and London on September 7th, but this time things were not going well for them. One engine was giving trouble and they began to lag behind the formation; a vulnerable position as fighter pilots loved to pick off a straggler. Turning for home was a riskier option, for an ailing bomber chugging alone across the skies of Kent was a sitting duck. They were 500 yards behind the formation when the first fighter attack came just south of London.

The Dornier’s remains, outside Victoria Coach Station.

Flight Lieutenant Jefferies led his flight of 310 (Czech) Squadron into the fray and set the Dornier’s port engine on fire; then his less experienced Czech charges had their turn at the bomber. Pilots from 609 and 504 squadrons also seized on the opportunity of an easy kill and poured more gunfire into the hapless Dornier, yet still it limped on. Two of its crew baled out; Ludwig Armbruster at Sydenham and Leo Hammermeister at Dulwich. Crossing the Thames at Battersea six fighters were seen making repeated attacks. Finally Robert Zehbe abandoned the Dornier, leaving his young gunner Gustav Hubel dead or mortally wounded in the stricken aircraft. A badly wounded Zehbe landed at Kennington, where was beaten up by civilians; he died later of injuries.

Sergeant Ray Holmes

One of the attacking pilots was 26 year old Sergeant Ray Holmes. Ray, known as ‘Arty’ after his initial R-T, was flying a Hurricane from 504 Squadron and his actions over London would propel him into limelight then – and 64 years later

The Pilot’s Story from War IllustratedAnd here is the story told by the pilot who brought the ’plane down at Victoria Station. He is a Sergeant Pilot from West Kirby, in Cheshire, and it was his first fight. After he had shot down the enemy machine he had to jump by parachute. He said:“I was in the last section of my Squadron, and my Dornier victim took all that I had to give him. Bits flew off him and I broke away intending to turn and attack again. My wind¬screen was covered with black oil, and when I did attack again I think it must have been a different machine. Anyway, as soon as I fired a big flame shot up, and I must have got his petrol tanks.“I broke away again, and turned to make a head-on attack on another Dornier, firing a burst straight into its cockpit. At first I thought a piece of the Dornier had flown off but then I saw it was a German baling out. I passed so near that I believe I touched the parachute.

RAF intelligence officers removed data plates from the wreckage of the Dornier. Friedrichshafen was likely to be a target for Bomber Command. After the war, the labels were dumped at RAF Kenley, from where this relic of the Victoria Coach Station Dornier was recovered.

“As I made my final attack, my right wing struck something. I went into a terrific spin. There was no response from my controls.“I flung the hood back and struggled to get out. I must have been doing well over 400 m.p.h. when I finally got out of the cockpit. The wind was so strong it was like a piece of an airplane hitting me. People on the ground told me later that my parachute opened at only three hundred feet.“I spun across a house in Chelsea, got my feet down on a gutter, slid down the roof, and fell into the garden on my back. Then two girls came up to me, and I was so glad to see them that I kissed them both.”Ray Holmes landed in Hugh Street and, as soon he had his wits about him, he was born off to a pub in Pimlico Road by the locals for a stiff brandy

Fragments from Ray’s Hurricane. Merlin engine parts and a piece of artificial horizon.

As the Dornier broke up its bombs fell, unarmed, over London. Two 50 kilo bombs fell in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, one on the palace’s lawn. A shackle was found still attached to one of the bombs and was presented to the King. In the days before, several bombs had fallen on the palace and caused damage; now a bomber been brought down within sight of it. Soon journalists had hold of the story and, in its re-telling, the story became embroidered and elaborated upon. Soon the hero fighter pilot had deliberately rammed the German moments before it dropped its deadly cargo on the Royal family – he had saved the King single-handed!

Professional photographer and artist Chris Bennett had long suspected that some evidence of the Hurricane would have survived beneath the road into which it had crashed, but as it is one of the busiest roads in London a recovery seemed almost impossible.

The SAPFA Secunda Speed Rally – 12 September 2020

by Rob Jonkers

This year we have returned again to the birth place of the Speed Rally, being the 3 rd time this event has been held here, and appropriate that our Speed Rally event during these unprecedented times has come
back to its roots, with 8 months having passed from the last one held in Witbank. Although this would have been the season finale, SAPFA had decided to extend this 2nd season up to the end of the year to also
include Springs which will be held on the 28th November, this will then at least have had 2020 with 3 events, then we can start afresh with a new season in 2021.

Once after lockdown level 3 we were granted the means to hold events, planning started for Secunda, with competitors having snapped up the open spots of 23 teams within days, given the popularity of this
event. At least under Level 2 Covid guidelines, overnighting could also be done, with arrivals and test flights on Friday the 11th , as well as the extended briefing on steroids with the race number handouts.

Our host club with Chairman Johan van Niekerk went all out to support the event, making arrangements for food on site, and contacts for accommodation, and the use of club facilities. Arrivals started coming in
from just before midday with flight tests commencing in good conditions under the guidance of Mark Clulow and Sean Cronin, the wind however started to pick up with gusty conditions, which at least settled
down in the late afternoon.

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 would world work and the expected weather conditions.

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, which has
unfortunately reduced over this last period, but was great to see that some sponsors were able to maintain their support for their teams. A scrumptious braai was laid on by the club to end the evening with around
the fire stories on a high note.

For Saturday the briefing started at 08h30, which was a shortened version just to cover the basics of the route, radio procedures and weather, which turned out to be pristine conditions with very little wind.
With the briefing over, teams prepared their aircraft, while the organisers got the papers ready. Each team would then receive an envelope with a map, turn-point photos, a minute marker and a GPS logger to
record their track. 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 Chareen, Lizelle and Sean 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. Chief Marshall Adrian
Cronje and Starter Mark Clulow set up at the starting line adjacent the threshold of Runway 29, 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. 1 st take-off was at 10h10 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 10h40, with planned arrival at 11h30.

With all the competitors off towards the north west, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turn points. 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 11h30, 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 13:30, with prize giving at 14:00. MC Jonty Esser thanked everybody in the Speed Rally series for their contributions, this was followed by Rob Jonkers showing some interesting tracks for the day.

Thereafter trophies were handed out to firstly the host club for hosting the event, their club house now sporting 3 of these trophies, the most interesting track flown which went to Hilton Wolff and Rob Osner
and the best crew spirit going to Lourence Matthee and Christo Erasmus.

The winners in the handicap category were father and son Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK, in second place Eugene van Staden & Manaf Mubarak in their Sling ZU-IBH and in third place Leon Joubert & Sandi Goddard in their Lancair ZU-LNC. The first thirteen placings were the only crews who managed a clean penalty free round.

The winners in the accuracy category were again father and son Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK, in second place also father and son Johan Whiteman & Quintin Kruger in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV, and in third place Phil Wakeley & Mary de Klerk in their C210 ZS-CNY.

Many thanks to the Secunda Aero Club for hosting this fantastic event, the SAPFA team of 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, Chareen Shillaw, Lizelle Kruger handing out competition papers to the crews as well as Scrutineering, Jonty & Lizelle & Sandy for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event, and the ATNS team for managing the ATC for the weekend.

£317m contract awarded to develop next generation radar for the Royal Air Force Typhoon

BAE Systems and Leonardo have been awarded a contract to develop the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA), the European Common Radar System Mark 2(ECRS Mk2) radar, to a standard ready to be integrated on to RAF Typhoons.
It will sustain more than 600 highly skilled jobs across the country, including more than 300 at Leonardo’s site in Edinburgh, over 100 electronic warfare specialists at the company’s site in Luton, and 120 engineers at BAE Systems’ site in Lancashire.

The ECRS2 is a multi-functional array (MFA) that will give UK Typhoons a world-leading Electronic Warfare capability, in addition to traditional radar functions, including wide band Electronic Attack. It will equip RAF pilots with the ability to locate, identify and suppress enemy air defences using high-powered jamming. They can engage targets whilst beyond the reach of threats – even when they’re looking in another direction – and operate inside the range of opposing air defences, remaining fully protected throughout. This game-changing capability will replace the mechanically-scanning radar that RAF Typhoons are currently equipped with and will ensure the UK retains the freedom to deliver air power wherever and whenever it is needed. It also enables the Typhoons to link up with future data-driven weapons to combat rapidly evolving air defences, ensuring that UK Typhoons can continue to dominate the battlespace for years to come. 

A £317m contract to develop the next generation of radar for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoons, will sustain hundreds of jobs and develop technologies for the UK’s Future Combat Air System. BAE Systems and Leonardo have been awarded a contract to develop the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) the European Common Radar System Mark 2(ECRS Mk2), radar to a standard ready to be integrated on to RAF Typhoons. It will sustain more than 600 highly skilled jobs across the country, including more than 300 at Leonardo’s site in Edinburgh, over 100 electronic warfare specialists at the company’s site in Luton, and 120 engineers at BAE Systems’ site in Lancashire. Image: A computer generated image of a Eurofighter Typhoon equipped with Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) the European Common Radar System Mark 2(ECRS Mk2).
Andrea Thompson, Managing Director Europe & International for BAE Systems’ Air sector, said:

“This capability will allow Typhoon to take its place in the future battlespace for decades to come, maturing key technologies for future combat air systems and ensuring interoperability. As well as securing highly skilled jobs, it will sustain the key skills needed to keep the UK at the forefront of the global Combat Air sector. We look forward to continuing to work alongside the Eurofighter nations and our industry partners to ensure Typhoon delivers the needs of today and answers the challenges of tomorrow.”

Mark Hamilton, Senior Vice-President Electronic Warfare, Leonardo, said:

“This contract is great news for the UK, which will get the world’s most capable fighter radar, and great news for British engineering. Inventing, developing and building advanced technology here in the UK allows us to understand and meet the specific requirements of our Armed Forces and to secure export orders all around the world, boosting the whole UK economy.” The new radar will be based on Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology and will provide game-changing capabilities based on a revolutionary MFA. It has significantly more Transmit-Receive Elements than other radars, making Mk2 the most capable fighter AESA radar in the world, maintaining the same power and precision of traditional radars but also enabling the simultaneous operation of its wide-band Electronic Warfare functionality. BAE Systems, the UK’s prime contractor for the Typhoon, will integrate the new sensor which will be developed by Leonardo, the UK’s defence electronics champion.

Both companies are currently working as part of a four-nation development programme alongside Eurofighter consortium partners in Germany, Spain and Italy on a baseline version of the AESA radar. The ECRS Mk2 is a completely new approach designed to meet the operational needs of the RAF and future export customers. The UK’s commitment follows a similar commitment from Germany and Spain to deliver their own national requirements for an AESA radar.

Rolls-Royce announces breakthroughs In artificial intelligence ethics and trustworthiness

Rolls-Royce has announced two breakthroughs in artificial intelligence ethics, which could help gain society’s trust of the technology and accelerate the next generation of industrialisation, known as industry 5.0.

The first breakthrough is an AI ethics framework, which is a method that any organisation can use to ensure the decisions it takes to use AI in critical and non-critical applications are ethical. This is the first time AI ethics for industrial contexts has moved beyond theory and into practical application. 

Secondly, within that framework, is the first step-by-step process for ensuring the outcomes of AI algorithms can be trusted. This five-layer checking system focuses on the outputs of algorithms, not the algorithms themselves, which are constantly changing. The checking system prevents biases from developing in algorithms undetected and with results being constantly monitored, it ensures they are trustworthy. 

The ethics framework and its trust process have been peer reviewed by subject matter experts in several big tech firms, as well as experts in the automotive, pharmaceutical, academic and government sectors. Both will be published in full under Creative Commons licence later this year on the Rolls-Royce.com website.

In a keynote speech at London Tech Week’s AI Summit, Rolls-Royce Chief Executive Officer, Warren East, said: “By publishing our findings we want to move the AI ethics conversation forwards from discussing concepts and guidelines, to accelerating the process of applying it ethically.

“There is no practical reason why trust in AI cannot be created now. And it’s only with the acceptance and permission of our society – based on that trust – that the full benefits of AI can be realised, and it can take its place as a partner in our lives and work. 

“As a business we are open to collaborative innovation and we will continue to talk to key stakeholders, customers, counterparts and technology leaders to share our work in detail to see how we can help each other progress for the greater growth, wealth and health of our world.”

Rolls-Royce is one of the world’s leading industrial technology companies and we have been applying advanced analytics for more than 30 years, and using artificial intelligence to disrupt the market with our real-time engine health monitoring service since 1999. 

These latest breakthroughs have been achieved as a part of our work to apply AI throughout our business, including the use of robotic inspections on critical components. The AI development work is spearheaded by our data innovation business, R2 Data Labs.

Caroline Gorski, Global Director of R2 Data Labs, said: “Rolls-Royce’s AI capabilities are embedded deeply into other companies’ products and services and so aren’t widely known. Rolls-Royce’s AI doesn’t often feature in a consumers’ understanding of how the digital world is changing their lives.

“The current debate about the use of AI is focused on the consumer and the treatment of consumer and personal data. But we believe that what we have created – by dealing with a challenge rooted squarely in the industrial application of AI – will help not only with the application of AI in other industries but far more widely.”

The two breakthroughs were made during work around an internal assurance challenge where robotic inspections were proposed for the inspections of critical components. During the peer review process, it became apparent that both the ethical framework around that decision making, as well as the trustworthiness process, were new and had the potential to be applied across all uses of artificial intelligence.

Caroline Gorski, said: “There is much more still to do. We haven’t solved all of AI’s challenges but we hope that when we make this work freely available, it can help organisations large and small around the world grow using AI for good, ethical outcomes.” 

Pilatus Strengthens Its Board of Directors With Two Top Swiss Entrepreneurs

Extraordinary General Meeting saw shareholders elect two new well-known members to the Board of Directors – Hansueli Loosli and Lukas Gähwiler. Both have an outstanding track record, making them the ideal persons to continue building a sustainable and strategically successful future for the Swiss aircraft manufacturer.

Hansueli Loosli, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Coop and Swisscom, will join the Pilatus Board of Directors as a new member. Loosli has already won the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the past. He is a full-blooded entrepreneur right down to the last fibre and a perfect fit with Pilatus.

Lukas Gähwiler was also elected as a new member of the Board of Directors. He has been in office as Chairman of the Board of Directors at UBS Switzerland AG since 2017. Before that, he spent over six years as a member of the UBS Group Executive Board. He has acquired exceptional expertise in the field of finance in particular. His professional experience makes him an ideal addition. Gähwiler also is a member of the board of the media company Ringier and brings with him an extensive network of contacts with actors in Swiss economy and politics.

Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of the Pilatus Board of Directors, comments on the two new members:

“I’m truly proud to have won two such well qualified members for our Board of Directors. Our Swiss colleagues have all the experience required for the task and will assist us in developing and carrying forward into the future our strategy as an independent Swiss aircraft manufacturer. Together, our goal is to reinforce our commitment to Switzerland as a workplace and strengthen our uncompromising focus on the customer, thereby safeguarding over 2000 jobs at the site in Stans.”

The two outgoing Board members, Gerhard Beindorff and Bernhard Müller, did not stand for re-election for reasons of age. Pilatus thanks both gentlemen for their valuable work on behalf of the company over the past decade and wishes them all the very best for the future.

The new Pilatus Board of Directors will therefore be composed as follows:

Oscar J. Schwenk (Chairman), Gratian Anda (Vice Chairman), Dominik Burkart (member), plus the two newly elected members, Hansueli Loosli and Lukas Gähwiler.

Pilatus plans to add further members to the Board in the coming year.

LSA Gauteng Regionals 2020

As South Africa moves to Level 2 of the nationwide lockdown, people can go out and enjoy their outdoor hobbies again. One of these hobbies is RC Flying. On the 23rd of August, LSA (Large Scale Aerobatics) hosted their Gauteng Regional Competition at the Rand Model Aeronautical Club.

Pilots took off from the various runways at the flying club and then started with their flying routine. 2020 IMAC Known Sequences were flown in all classes with pilots having the opportunity to fly Unknown and Freestyle sequences as well.

Unfortunately with level 2 of the lockdown only allowing for up to 50 people at social gatherings, spectators were not allowed at the event.

Although we know many aviation enthusiast are hungered out for some flying action and are disappointed that most events are still off limits to the public, there is a light at the end of the tunnel…

Airports are starting to open up again with trips to Rand Airport and Grand Central becoming more and more worthwhile. Event planning for 2021 has also commenced. Keep an eye on the Aviation Central Facebook Page to be the first to know about events happening in the near future! 

Future of AHRLAC secured as Business Rescue nears completion

This is in line with the  business rescue plans adopted by affected parties in October 2019, pursuant to which Paramount Aerospace Industries acquired the businesses of ADC and its subsidiaries in terms of the relevant business rescue plans, which included the sale of the businesses and assets of ADC and its subsidiaries, as well as the assumption of certain liabilities of these entities in accordance with the respective business rescue plan.

As the Business Rescue Plans have now been adopted, the newly formed Paramount Aerospace Industries will bring new management with a wealth of aerospace engineering and aviation industry experience to the programme. The state-of-the-art factory at Wonderboom Airport has been operational for several months under Paramount’s stewardship, with manufacturing being ramped up to ensure the timeous delivery of aircraft to customers around the world. Approximately 85% of the original staff of ADC have been retained.

Paramount has provided and facilitated significant capital as part of these business rescue processes in the form of both post commencement funding, working capital, capital investment and the assumption of liabilities and loan repayments, in accordance with the provisions of the respective plans. Further capital will be injected into the business over the coming months to support both marketing initiatives and manufacturing.  

 Alison Crooks, CEO of Paramount Industrial Holdings stated: “This is great news for the future of the aircraft, for Paramount, for the South African Aerospace industry, as well as for the global aircraft market. Paramount’s decision, more than a decade ago, to fund the development of the AHRLAC aircraft was a matter of national pride and came at a time when the local aerospace industry was searching for a project that would invigorate the sector. Our passion for the country and for innovation is reflected in the direct investment of almost R1 Billion into the project. We are grateful that this strategic programme is now secured and that we can focus on a brighter future. We are delighted to have retained most of the employees who worked on the AHRLAC programme for years and to have created employment for many capable people through our efforts.”

The aircraft addresses a key global security requirement by performing missions that previously required several different aircraft. It integrates designs from helicopters, surveillance platforms and reconnaissance aircraft, with the ability to carry multiple systems, such as surveillance radar and electronic systems. 

Crooks added: “We are very excited about our new management team, made up of leading experts in aircraft engineering, industrialisation and production, who are focusing on the manufacturing of the aircraft and its delivery to customers. We have been encouraged by the global interest in the aircraft and we look forward to making further new customer announcements in the near future. We would like to thank all of our employees who have stood by us and have demonstrated that the resilience, innovative spirit and can-do mentality of South Africans is as strong as ever.” 

The aircraft is a smart, innovative ‘command centre in the sky’ that integrates some of the world’s most advanced Multi-Function-Displays, Electro Optical Systems, Electronic Intelligence gathering and compact sensors available in the world today. AHRLAC is purpose-built to be infinitely reconfigurable. This allows the application of the aircraft in multiple roles and missions in response to diverse customer requirements around the world.

The AHRLAC aircraft will be manufactured in South Africa at the state-of-the-art factory on the Paramount Aerospace Campus in Wonderboom, north of Pretoria. This facility is a vertically integrated operation that uses latest-generation machines to fabricate all airframe components and sub-systems directly from a digital model. All fabricated components are brought together with the engine and avioinics on the final assembly line which produces an aircraft ready for flight. 

In keeping with Paramount Group’s well-established portable production model, the aircraft could, depending on customer requirements, also be exported in kit format for final assembly in customer countries.

Paramount restated its committed to continue its investment in South Africa, in order to build a strong, sustainable aircraft and aerospace systems capability in the country, and this transaction supports this objective. 

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