Tag Archives: Aviation industry

The Middelburg Speed Navigation Rally – 26th June 2022

  by Rob Jonkers

This is the 2nd Speed Rally in Season 4 for 2022, which has been fraught with challenges to get going, what with a venue change, skyrocketing fuel price and unseasonal weather. This is the 6th SAPFA event in as many months that has been affected by weather, seems that this year is jinxed in some way, what with following on of the two Covid years as well. So, now it seems a common term that everybody has now heard of “Cut off low” again made its appearance over SA, exactly a month later where the PTAR was also disrupted.

Strange that in mid winter having significant summer type rainfall in June. The initial weather prediction earlier in the week only showed cloudy conditions for Wednesday and Thursday, and as the week started to unfold, did the prediction see poorer conditions for Friday and Saturday, with all indictions that there would still be good enough conditions. Friday saw many arrivals after midday atter the morning low cloud had lifted, and test flights could be carried out of 5 new aircraft entries, four being new types not having flown in Speed Rallies before, an Ercoupe, a Maule, a Pioneer 300 and a Sequoia Falco.

The first Friday afternoon briefing was done at 6 PM, with a weather prognosis not very favourable but still showed promise of a window of clear enough weather in the early afternoon – shown on the spot graph for the local area.

Saturday morning dawned with rain, which although drying up a short while later with the cloud base rising, only two of the remaining competitors flew in, with five others still stuck at their fields. After holding three weather briefings at 9, 10 & 11 am, the event was scrubbed with an agreement to reconvene to Sunday where the weather was predicted to be clear and pristine. With everybody securing an additional night stay over, most of the teams and officials found their way to Ginelli’s for an excellent dinner and company, with a good fly-off finish before retiring for some good sleep…..

Sunday morning proved to start off in pristine cloudless and windless conditions, but icy cold with a high pressure system now dominating over the Highveld. However as the early morning unfolded the wind started picking  up from the south east.

After having 16 entries, the field was reduced to 11, 5 having had to withdraw not being available for the Sunday. After an 8h30 briefing by Iaan Myburgh, we got everybody ready for a 10h30 first take-off, with scrutineering actions and releasing papers 25 minutes prior take-off. Having had to change the take-off runway to 14 due to the 10+ kt wind, groups of 3 aircraft had to backtrack the runway to get into position. This worked out well, everybody got off onto their route, with the exception of Race 6 ZS-FMH who developed a flat tyre.

After all teams having returned and safe on the ground, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, with the tracks for a number being quite accurate, although some had wobbles, two had got significantly lost. The scores were released fairly quickly, and prize giving could be held at 13h15 before everybody would pack up for home.

For the Navigation Accuracy category, third place went to Lex and Christo Erasmus in their first time flight of their Ercoupe ZS-VCE, in 2nd  place Apie Kotzee and Hendrik Loots in their Robinson R66 ZS-HRS, and in 1st  place Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV.

For the Handicap/Speed category, third place went to Lex and Christo Erasmus in their Ercoupe ZS-VCE, in 2nd  place Gareth Pollock & Marcus Nouwens in the Maule ZS-MNW, and in 1st  place Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV.

Overall Winners in third place went to Gareth Pollock & Marcus Nouwens in the Maule ZS-MNW, in 2nd  place Lex and Christo Erasmus in their Ercoupe ZS-VCE, and in 1st  place Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV.

Many thanks to the Middelburg Aero Club for hosting this fantastic event, supporting with logistics and great meals available throughout the day, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Iaan Myburgh doing the scoring, as well as taking up the Deputy Event Director role, Marc Robinson with his team from Century Avionics for technical scrutineering, Chareen Atherton & Anthea Cronin for aircraft scrutineering, and Moira Wakeley for handling the Papers. Race Master David le Roux did some double duty also being the race starter, and arranged for a number of live video pod casts.

Also thanks to our headline sponsors Holborn Assets, Pilot Insure, Flying Eyes and our sponsored teams, Prompt Roofing, Beagle Tracking, Gem Air and Mnandi Signs.

Our next Speed Rally event will be in Groblersdal on the 27th August 2022.

SAAF Mach Plus Reunion 2022

The first time a SAAF pilot hit transonic speed was way back in September 1956 when an unauthorised Sabre flight at the then home of the SAAF’s jet squadrons – AFB Waterkloof – with now retired Colonel John Inglesby at the controls broke the sound barrier.

On Friday 10th June 2022,it was the gathering of many current and ex fighter jocks of the South African Airforce. Many that have broken the sound barrier in various types from the Mirage III up to the the fourth generation Gripen gathered at Airforce Base Swartkop for the SAAF Mach Plus Reunion.

The evening started with a sunset display 85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120 flown by Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter. The sound of freedom was echoed into the display halls around the museum housing some of the former frontline fighter jets the South African Airforce once flew.

Major Venter ended his display with spectacular flare drop before landing. A proud moment for his father former Mirage F1CZ display pilot Johann “Jeronkie” Venter watching his son display a fast jet.

Invited guests continued the festivities into the evening, bringing back memories from over the years of flying. As well as welcoming new members into the Mach Plus Club.

Pictures by Gerrit Mynardt & Jarryd Sinovich

Please brose through our Gallery below!

Parys Airshow 2022

The long awaited Parys Airshow on the banks of the Vaal River was finally here, with legendary airshow veteran Scully Levin as the host of this first airshow back on the highveld after the Covid 19 pandemic!

Airshow tickets were sold out both online a few days before and as well as at the gate at sjoe itself. It was definitely a show that wasn’t going to be missed by aviation enthusiasts from around the country.

Airshow South African Chairperson Rikus Erasmus was Flight Director with Lieutenant Colonel Retired Francois “Hose” Hanekom. Louise Hofmeyr handled the media contingent for the day!

Brian Emmenis and his team from Capital Sounds provided sound and incredible commentary for each of the acts of the day. It was great to hear Mr Airshow himself back at it again!
The team comprised of Peter Bailey Keith Alan Fryer Leon  Du Plessis Ricky Fouché Michiel Rascher Philip Scott, Rodger Coetzee.

The airshow started with a paradrop from a  ex- Rhodesian Airforce AL-60  converted into a turbine with a number of familiar skydivers from the past airshow scene but most of all representing Skydive Parys.

ex- Rhodesian Airforce AL-60 

It was then the first aerobatic act of the day from the Puma Flying Lions Harvards with Scully Levin leading the team, the Hired Gun Pitts Specials also flew their routine with the ever popular Pitts Special.

Puma Flying Lions Harvard
Hired Gun Pitts Specials

The RV Raptors flew their tight routine with leader Pierre Gouws who also flew Richard Lovetts Middelburg based L39 Albatross. The crowd loved the sound of the Jet as during the week saw the premiere of the new Top Gun Maverick at cinemas around South Africa. It was surely the talk of the show.

L39 Albatross.
RV Raptors

The Iveco Extra 330s debuted their first show in their newly sponsored aircraft with Nigel Hopkins and Jason Beamish flying extreme aerobatics. Barrie Eeles also flew a solo display in his “On the move” Extra 330.

Iveco Extra 330s
Jason Beamish & Nigel Hopkins
Barrie Eeles Extra 330

Helicopters lovers saw Menno Parsons in his Bell 407 as well as Juba Joubert in the Aerospatiale Gazelle. Andre Coetzee Flew one of the many Henely Air Bell 222s.Andre van Zyl who provides one of the best Gyro Helicopter displays one can see.

Bell 407
Aerospatiale Gazelle.
Bell 222
Magni Gyrocopter

The Goodyear Eagles flew with a new team comprising of Dennis Spence, Johan von Solms and newest member Trevor Warner in their Pitts S2Bs.

Goodyear Eagles

The classic flying collection based at Springs Airfield brought two different de Havilland aircraft to the show. Three Chipmunks and two Tiger Moths.

De Havilland Chipmunks
De Havilland Tiger Moth

Ivan van Der Schaar flew his beautiful Brakpan based Boeing Stearman and his inspiring aviator son Jeandre as his ground crew for the day!

Boeing Stearman

Oscar Goudriaan (Former Open Class World Gliding Champion)flew a Jonker Sailplanes JS3 Rapture 18m powered glider. What a graceful display. And great to see at an airshow once again.

Jonker Sailplanes JS3 Rapture

The Sandriver Air Tractors flew a crop spraying and water bombing demo. It was great to see and hear a radial air tractor as its not often seen at events. A real treat.

Well done to all role players of the event being a success and we looking forward to more airshows at Parys. Roll on Newcastle Airshow KZN 4th June 2022.

Please Browse through our gallery below!



A wet and cold PTAR 2022

A wet and cold PTAR 2022 at New Tempe Bloemfontein – By Rob Jonkers

This year’s Presidents Trophy Air Race was held at New Tempe Bloemfontein, and traditionally held on the last weekend of May, but with the advent of the Botswana Air Show also taking place on the same weekend it was decided to move it a week earlier, which if we all had the perfect hindsight, with that event not happening, we could have held it on its traditional date, and subsequently avoiding this last few days of most unseasonal weather that befell the race weekend.

This year for sure has had many of the planned aviation events disrupted by wet, cold, windy weather systems, the most bandied about term of “cut-off low” being used to describe the weather situation. This weekend no less had a very large cold front coupled with an intense low-pressure system over the centre of the country affect the plans to race.

I arrived on Wednesday in excellent weather conditions and started setting up for the race, mostly the race control room and preparing for test flights, some of the early competitors also started to arrive at the field. Thursday saw all the aircraft arrive, some of the Cape based teams first had to wait for the front to pass before setting off, arriving just before dark. Most of the day was taken up by flight tests and registration and watching what the weather would be doing for the next day as the front was approaching.

During the first extensive Thursday afternoon briefing which also included the SA weather services team being on hand to give us the best outlook it appeared that there may be an early morning flyable gap, thus the day was planned with an early 7h30 start. As Friday dawned, it looked promising, cloud base was at a reasonable 1000 ft, and we proceeding briefing and sent the turnpoint marshals to their locations, this being particularly important to get weather condition updates from them at the furthest corners of the route.

As the morning progressed with a planned 10 am first take-off, the news from the turnpoints were not good, and then light rain started, it was then decided to scrub Day 1 with a debrief at 11 am to plan for the next day. The prediction for Saturday would be that the weather would improve from midday onwards. Everybody dispersed for some rest for the rest of the day.

Saturday dawned with flyable conditions, and in fact the window opened up from 11 onwards, thus at briefing the first take-off was planned for 11. The turnpoint marshals were sent out, who from the previous day’s rain had challenges of negotiating almost impassable roads to get to their intersections, fortunately they all sent in confirmation of being in position prior the first take-off.

This year’s field attracted 37 entries, which is very low by PTAR standards, which would normally have 60+ competitors, this year for sure the cost impact would have been affecting most would be competitors, given the fuel price virtually double that of last year at the same time. Three competitors had to withdraw mostly due to not being able to get to the event on time, thus we had 34 starters.

With the airfield being water logged, we decided not to move the aircraft from where they were parked, and carried out scrutineering in-situ and changed the papers time with a few additional minutes for the crews to collect their maps and route envelopes, which worked out well. The ground marshals were also very efficient in getting the start order taxying out at their allocated time. With the race under way, and having a cross over route, we could all watch how the order of the aircraft would be coming back over the field which was at around one third race distance.

Although the traditional race finish would be at 1PM, and given the weather window having a later than normal start, the finish was planned at 13h45, and as the time got closer to finish, the weather was threatening to deteriorate, with sudden cold and dark clouds forming just east of the field, which fortunately stayed away. The line finishers were close between Race 2 Bosbok, Race 14 Piper Commanche, Race 45 Harvard. With spacing between aircraft at the start being required to keep a safe distance, the finish order became Race 45 Harvard ZS-WSE, Race 9 RV-7 ZU-VZJ, Race 14 Piper Commanche ZS-NXG, who were the handicap winners.

Prize-giving was held at the Windmill Casino, which had laid out an excellent banquet hall for all the teams, club members and officials to enjoy. The evening started with a short debrief of the race, some of the best and “interesting” tracks being shown. Race 19 had a “long” day having lost their way at turnpoint 1 continuing northwest for 20 nm, before realising their error, they had the presence of mind to return to that first turnpoint, and continue from there to fly a good race further, only picking up one penalty, but of course adding almost 40 minutes to their time.

After the main meal, David le Roux the Race Master started the proceedings for the rest of the evening, first up Franz Smit who introduced and thanked all the sponsors supporting the race, Pilot Insure, Holborn Assets, Aircraft Finance Corporation, DJA Aviation, Century Avionics, and all the local Bloemfontein sponsors, Leon Bouttell was up next as the SAPFA Chairman, and at this point announced that Rob Jonkers would be standing down as Race Director, the baton being handed over to Iaan Myburgh.

Rob took to the stage thanking all for their support since 2018 when the Race was handed to him, at the same time an evolution of the format having been developed to today’s standard of a 10 turnpoint race limited to 300 nm, with an accuracy component added as well. There is still much discussion about this race format and its merits compared to the traditional 4 corner race, and this will be for the next Race team to work together with the racers for their input. Just as Formula 1 evolves with technology improvements, so must the PTAR evolve to take into consideration changes in technologies utilised, such as GPS based heading reference devices, different engine types that have variable power settings, these all affect the handicap speeds and course accuracy.

Rob went on to thank all those involved in the race organisation, particularly the Bloemfontein Flying Club under the key organiser Andre Grobler and experienced PTAR event coordinator, who had provided the ground marshals, turn-point marshals, and all the catering at the airfield. Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer with the ATNS team of Ricardo Afonso, SA Weather Services, ARCC, Bloemfontein Emergency Services team of Braam van Zyl, the CAA Special Air Events team, the local Municipality & SAPS.

After this the long awaited Prize Giving was held, with 24 trophy categories being handed out, up until the top 3 places, with third place going to Race 9 RV-7 ZU-VZJ with crew of Johan van Zyl & Eric Addison, second place going to Race 45 Harvard ZS-WSE with a crew of John Sayers & Dion Raath, and the PTAR trophy going to Race 14 Piper Commanche ZS-NXG crewed by Stefan Lombard and Martiens Marais.

After this the PTAR flag was handed over from BFC Chair Deon Loots to Jock Nel the Chairman of the Middelburg Aero Club as the 2023 PTAR event location. Thanks go to everybody who makes this event a success, especially the volunteers who take time out to assist, also the media who are key to promoting the PTAR.

 

Click on the photos below (By Rob Jonkers)

SANDF at the Rand Easter Show 2022

After a two year absence it was the return of the Rand Easter show at Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec.

One of the big attractions of course would be the South African National Defence Force which has been taking part in the demonstrations or static exhibit since 2011.

This year unfortunately there was no capability demonstration as previously reported on. We found our self’s in the static exhibits and just thanking that we can attend these outdoor shows once again.

We found ourselfs at 16 Squadrons exhibit with a Rooivalk Attack helicopter and found our good friend and former Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team leader Lt Col Omphile “Biggy” Matloane. Biggy as he is known is now part of the big guns at 16 Squadron flying the Denel Rooivalk.

Was good to see a 15 Squadron Agusta A109 also in the static park. We hope next year we will see the return of a capability demo as it was a crowd favorite. Until next year!

SAAF BK117s on their way to Durban

In the last couple of days Durban Kwa Zulu Natal has been hit with enormous amounts of rain bringing damage throughout the province. Unfortunately there has been a number of lives lost as well as still people missing.

15 Squadron “Charlie Flight” based at Airforce Station Port Elizabeth are on route to Durban to be tasked to help in any way the unit can in a flood relief manner. At this point of time two Bk117s are on route with a third to join later.

BK117 during sunset at East London Airport yesterday evening.

SAAF Chopper crews

Crew so far from 15 Sqn C Flight is Maj Corrie Oberholzer, Maj Jarred Oliver, Sgt Carel van Dalen and Sgt Nengo Mahlakwana

A109 with Major Simphiwe Moloi and WO2 Jason Buglass

Oryx with Lt Col Charles Tarentaal cmdr, Capt Robo Muthwa and WO2 Allister Prince.

Additional crew to arrive: Maj Aobakwe Gaelejwe, Flight Sergeant Coert Steynberg, Sergeant Lungelo Mcanyana

Ground crew on deployment is Flight Sergeant Larry Williams, Flight Sergeant Brian Reynolds, Sergeant Thanduxolo Madyo, Corporal Sara Ramlingam

SAAF Museum Flying Day April 2022

The first Saturday of the month means its the annual SAAF Museum Flying day,a day where some of the SAAF Museum inventory get to fly, pilots get current and a day for visitors to explore the museum from 102 years of South African Airforce history.

Air Force Base Swartkop is South Africa’s oldest air force base and houses the South African Air Force Museum as well as 17 Squadron as well as non aviation squadrons.

We go back and remember all who served the South African Airforce and who is no longer with us but some that were the driving force to the Museum as the likes of Rama “Dynamite” Iyer ,Des “Bishop” Barker ,Glen “Gringo” Warden” and Kim Pratley.

Saturday saw a bigger crowd then previous flying days, as Covid-19 restrictions start to become a lot calmer and starting to get aviation back to normality after the successful first airshow after the pandemic in the Western Cape at the Stellenbosch flying club the previous weekend.

The day started out with the rotary museum assets that being the Alouette II flown by Colonel Dave Keijer and an Alouette III flown by Colonel Billy Port.

Was good to see some of the former school master of the sky the North American Harvard flown by Martin Louw and Darryl Wright.

The Museums Kudu, both Cessna C185s made up of the rest of the tail draggers that flew during the course of Saturday.

One has to be thankful to the ground crew that keep these time pieces serviceable. Was good to see Colonel Keith Fryer as he was safety director for April’s flying day.

We looking forward to the SAAF Museum airshow and AAD later this year!

Please browse through our gallery below!

SANDF to take Part in Rand Easter Show 2022

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be participating in the 2022 edition of the
Rand Show in NASREC. The SANDF will once more utilise the Rand Show as an opportunity to
showcase and engage with the citizens of the country on a variety of careers and expertise within the
SANDF as well as to focus on the departments achievements, career outreach programme, training
opportunities, social responsibility and peace support operations in Africa.


The Rand Show will take place at NASREC Show Grounds in Gauteng and will be open to the public
over the period 13 – 18 April 2022. This years edition, the SANDF will not showcase an Arena programme and the Capability Demonstration.

The overall aim of the SANDFs participation is to educate and raise public awareness about the
SANDF as well as to bring the people`s defence force to the people. The SANDF’s participation will
include static exhibitions manned by communicators from the four (4) Arms-of-Service and the various
Divisions.

At this stage its not quite clear yet what aircraft from the SAAF South African Airforce will be taking part in this years Rand Easter Show, in previous years, various helicopters have taken part including Oryx,A109 and Rooivalk. Fixed wing assets including the Silver Falcons, Casa 212 and Gripen and Hawk.

SAAF Prestige Parade 2022- Free the Eagle

The South African Airforce hosted its annual prestige parade at Airforce Base Swartkop last week Friday with both a parade, flypasts and a solo display by Hawk MK120!

Lieutenant General W.S Mbambo as chief of the air force introduced a new motto of the air force “Free the Eagle was the theme of this years Prestige Parade.

The South African Air Force is the air warfare branch of South African National Defence Force, with its headquarters in Pretoria. The South African Air Force was established on 1 February 1920.This making 102 years of the South African Air forces existence.

During the week, residents of Pretoria got to hear and see some of the sights and sounds of some of the current SAAF assets leading up to the parade and the Prestige evening that was held at AFB Waterkloof last Thursday evening.

Friday morning the weather was not looking good for both flying and the parade, by 9.30am the weather had cleared at the decision was made to go ahead with the days proceedings .

A skydive drop opened the parade from a Casa 212-300 from members of 1 Parachute Battalion,5 Aircraft Service Unit and SAMHS. Once the final skydiver had landed two Agusta A109LUHs provided a flag flypast during the time of a gun salute below!

The parade started with marching columns and members of the South African Airforce Band engaged in the parade background.

During Lieutenant Genareal W.S Mbambo Speech, he mentioned

“Our Country and the SAAF Cannot be separated. We have a Siamese twins Independency that wasn’t predicted nor planned elsewhere but came about naturally. Was it South Africa’s Geostatic position in the continent and the rest of the world naturally requires strong and reliable air force legs to connect it. In the absence of such connectivity we remain an outpost to the world risking being bypasses by the world by opportunities by globalization and the fourth industrial revolution.”

● THE EAGLE’S LIFE
THE SAAF LIKE MANY OTHER AIR FORCES AROUND THE WORLD HAS ADOPTED THIS MAGICAL BIRD AS
ITS SYMBOL. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE SAAF PAYS KEEN ATTENTION TO THE FASCINATING LIFE
JOURNEY OF THIS POWERFUL BIRD OF THE SKY.

“The time for being comfortable with the consumer mentality in the SAAF is over. We must forge ahead to introspect ourselves in terms of what we can do ourselves and what we can outsource. We must get involved with partners and government departments that will enable us to express our innovation and help relieve too much dependency on the coffers of National Treasury. This requires a different thinking not only within the SAAF and the Department of Defence but beyond so that the constrains in policies must be removed.”

The Flypasts consisted of a mass Helicopter formation with Agusta A109LUHs,BK117s,Rooivalk Attack Helicopters from various Squadrons around South Africa and SAAF Museum Alouette II and Alouette IIIs helicopters based at AFB Swartkop.

Mass Helicopter Flypast

Next was the Museum Fixed wing formation made up of Two Harvards, a Cessna C185 and Kudu.

Transport formation was next with a 44 Squadron CASA 212-300 and three 41 Squadron Cessna C208As,a five ship Pilatus PC7MKII formation led by Major Lehlohonolo Malokane.

Pointer Formation Casa 212-300 & Cessna C20A Caravans

The final flypast was by three Hawk MK120 Lead in fighter trainers from 85 Combat Flying School from Airforce Base Makahdo in the Limpopo province. A single Hawk then did a solo display flown by Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter.

85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120s
85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120 solo display by Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter in Hawk MK120 267 “Gannet”

We’ll sell Mango for you, offers Commerce24 founder to Mango BRP

Cape Town: Business trading platform Commerce24.co.za says that it is willing to assist business rescue practitioner Sipho Sono of Opis Advisory to market and dispose of state-owned airline Mango. The site provides business owners and bulk trading partners with a verified staging window to put anything of commercial value up for sale. Commerce24 estimates that Mango may be worth around R 300 million in total at the top end. The company has written to the business rescue practitioner, offering its assistance.

“While the aviation market is not particularly stable presently,” says Commerce24 chief executive Denny Mo, “it is expected to recover over time. But Mango’s value lies in the route rights it holds.” The airline is believed to hold rights to Mauritius amongst other African regional network points and is presently the only South African airline that can fly between Johannesburg and wildly popular beach holiday destination Zanzibar.

There are likely no other assets of value beyond its potential future revenue and goodwill. “We have not seen its balance sheet but based on public reportage a ‘clean’ Mango that emerges from business rescue, with creditors settled, can be a solid business proposition for investors. The airline’s fleet is leased.

Mo believes that a buyer for Mango should not be a challenge, and that a strategic equity partner or an outright buyer can be found. “At an estimated value of R 300m, an investment of R 150m or more plus a measure of working capital would be required to buy the majority of the business.”  Mo suggests that while the industry is crowded and the airline’s reputation is muddied after a disastrous 18-months of stop-starting, it’s got a solid brand and plenty of potential. “Mango was launched in 2006 and it grew on a sustained basis over time. I believe that a restart with the right investor is possible, and may be profitable,” says Mo. “And we will broker the right buyer to the willing seller.”

Commerce24.co.za is a site that enables business trading and leverages its vast business network to facilitate transactions. On sale items include big ticket items such as guest houses, hotels and other hospitality assets along with bulk stock items and “practically anything of value, which can be traded,” says Mo. “The Mango transaction is likely to be our largest yet. But with some offers already circling the R 50m mark, the business is no stranger to high value, long term investment opportunities.”

Commerce24 is an open source and free to use platform that harnesses the power of sharing like social media has done. With a free to use and free to share function, we can reach further and deeper into potential buyers nationwide. It lets the community find you the best buyer and the highest offer. 

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