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Bell Announces Delivery of 300 th Bell 505 Jet Ranger X

 Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, announced today
the 300th Bell 505 Jet Ranger X delivery to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). The first Bell 505 was
delivered in 2017, and today there are 300 aircraft in operation across six continents, with customers
logging more than 70,000 global fleet hours.


“The Bell 505 is one of Bell’s fastest growing commercial programs to date, surpassing several significant
milestones since its inception,” said Michael Thacker, Executive Vice President, Innovation and
Commercial Business. “As we continue to see interest for the aircraft in Public Safety, Utility and
Corporate transport, Bell has invested in new products and technologies to expand the Bell 505’s
capabilities.”


The latest Bell 505 platform advancements include the Garmin G1000H NXi avionics suite, Flight Stream,
Autopilot, Lightweight EMS interior, Bell Public Safety configuration, Pulselite, FliteStep, LHS Baggage
Door and Moveable Ballast.


“We are proud to take delivery of the 300 th Bell 505 and expand our fleet capabilities.” said Lt. Col. Brian
Lundy, commanding officer of the JDF Air Wing. “JDF and Bell have a strong history together and today’s
delivery marks another milestone in our relationship.” The Force’s sixth Bell 505 will support Public Safety
missions to serve the citizens of Jamaica and be operated by its Caribbean Military Aviation School
(CMAS) to train the international rotorcraft pilots of tomorrow.


With a speed of 125 knots (232 km/h) and useful load of 1,500 pounds (680 kg), the Bell 505 is Bell’s
newest five-seat aircraft designed for safety, efficiency and reliability using advanced avionics technology.
Its similarities with the Bell 429 platform allow for a smooth pilot transition as JDF begins training
operations. With a Garmin G1000, the platform shares similar avionics with JDF’s Fixed Wing Trainer
aircraft and reduces pilot workload, enhancing the students’ learning experience.

Rolls-Royce officially opens world’s largest and smartest indoor aerospace testbed

Testbed 80 to test the most efficient aero engines of today and the even more sustainable propulsion systems of the future

Rolls-Royce has officially opened Testbed 80, the world’s largest and smartest indoor aerospace testbed, in a ceremony with the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for the Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy, in Derby, UK.

The completion of the project is a major milestone after almost three years of construction and a £90m investment. With an internal area of 7,500m2, making it larger than a Premiership football pitch, Testbed 80 was designed with distinctive technologies and systems which are more capable and complex than any of our other testbeds. The testbed conducted its first run on a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine at the test facility in Derby, UK earlier this year.

Warren East, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce, said: “Testbed 80 is the largest facility of its type in the world. However, it is not only big, it is also smart and features the most advanced testing technology we have ever used. As the new global hub of our testing capability, it will support the next stage of our UltraFan programme as we begin ground testing the first demonstrator in 2022. This incredible piece of infrastructure is a very visible sign of our commitment to this site and secures the future of Derby as the home of large engine development, continuing a history that began in the late 1960s with the RB211.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “This testbed here in Derby shows that the UK remains a global leader in aeroengine technology. I’m proud that we’re supporting Rolls-Royce’s development of the highly-efficient UltraFan engine, as well as investment in green and cutting-edge aerospace technology here in the UK that will create high-skilled, well-paid jobs for decades to come.

“As the civil aviation market recovers, the innovation of great British companies such as Rolls-Royce and the entire aerospace sector are central to our plans to build back better from the pandemic and end our contribution to climate change by 2050.”

Testbed 80 will support all three pillars of our sustainability strategy. Firstly, continuing to improve the efficiency of the gas turbine. The facility has been designed to test a range of today’s engines, including the Trent XWB and the Trent 1000, but will also have the capability to test the UltraFan® demonstrator, the blueprint for our next generation of engines. UltraFan will be 25% more efficient than the first Trent engine, and we will begin ground testing the demonstrator at the testbed in 2022.

Secondly, we are committed to promoting the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs), which can already be used as “drop-in” fuels in our existing engines. Testbed 80 has been designed to support this commitment – it is equipped with a 140,000-litre fuel tank (you could fill your car up almost 3,000 times with this amount of fuel) for different fuel types, including SAFs. Next year, we also plan to run our first UltraFan demonstrator test using 100% SAF.

Finally, in line with our ambition to pioneer novel, more sustainable technologies, the testbed is designed to have the capability to test the hybrid or all-electric flight systems of the future.

Part of the new technology development for Testbed 80 has been supported by the ATI’s PACE project, specifically for the UltraFan.

Rolls-Royce is pleased to have partnered with MDS Aero Support Corporation of Ottawa, Canada, for the design and construction of this facility.

Outgoing SANDF General Solly Shoke Parade

The 28th May 2021,saw the outgoing chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) General Solly Zacharia Shoke during a retreat parade at Thaba Tshwane, known to many as the military town of Pretoria.

Just to mention just some of his curriculum vitae In 1998, Shoke commanded the South African Development Community forces during Operation Boleas in Lesotho. He was the Director Personnel Acquisition from January 1999 to October 2000, when he was promoted to the rank of major general as the Chief Director Human Resources Support. He was promoted to Chief of the Army in 2004, and became Chief of the South African National Defence Force in May 2011.Solly Shoke was the longest serving Chief of the SANDF to date.

President Cyril Ramaphosa attened the parade during the hand over the command of the SANDF to Lieutenant-General Rhudzani Maphwanya as new chief of the South African National Defence Force.

A flag fly-past started proceedings by two Oryx Helicopters carrying both the South African National Flag and SANDF flag, a single 44 Squadron Casa 212 dropped skydivers from 44 Parachute Regiment. Different marching columns made their way onto the sports.

First of the Mass Fly pasts included a helicopter fly-past consisting of a Agusta A109LUH from 19 Squadron, four Oryx Helicopters and a 15 Squadron ‘Charlie’ Flight BK117.

Next was the Pelican Formation made up of a 35 Squadron C47TP Dakota and a 44 Squadron Casa 212.Followed then by the pointer formation of four Cessna 208As Caravans from 41 Squadron. It was then the return of 28 Squadron with two C130BZs.Major Sivu Tangana led a 9-ship formation of Pilatus PC7MKIIs from the Central Flying School, AFB Langebaanweg.

The final formation was the combat formation led by Colonel “Boerboel” Mashaba with two Gripens from 2 Squadron and three Hawks from 85 Combat Flying School. It was then time for Major Mohau “Dobaman” Vundla’s first Gripen solo display in Gauteng skies as he comes in as 2 Squadrons new Gripen display pilot!

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Springs De Havilland Fly – Inn 22 May 2021

After gracing the skies for 75 years, it was time to celebrate the life of the de Haviland Chipmunk.

The Chipmunk was the first post war aviation project conducted by de Havilland Canada. It performed its maiden flight on 22 May 1946 and was introduced to operational service that same year. During the late 1940s and 1950s, the Chipmunk was procured in large numbers by military air services such as the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), Royal Air Force (RAF), and several other nations’ air forces, where it was often utilised as their standard primary trainer aircraft.

On Saturday 22nd May, the Classics Wings Collection based at Springs airfield in the east of Johannesburg put together a fantastic gathering of de Havilland aircraft based around South Africa., thus including Queenstown based de Havilland Dragon Rapide flown up by Captain Flippie Vermeulen. Not excluding 9 Chipmunks and a number of tiger moths adding to the De Haviland theme of former World War II trainers.

As per Covid regulations, visiting aviation enthusiasts and photographsmers were treated to flypasts from three Chipmunks and a Dragon Rapide. Laster in the day, possibly the biggest formation South Africa has seen of nine Chipmunks to date. One can think back of mass Harvard formations and lately the various kit built RV light sport aircraft in mass formations, and just recently at the Middleburg Air Week a few weeks back!

The Puma Energy Flying Lions led by Scully Levin flew in from Ermelo as they did a evening display the day before at the Presidents Trouphy Air Race (PTAR).Visitors to the field were treated to full aerobatic routine, even though being close to Oliver Tambo’s International Airport airspace!

A word of thanks to the organisers of the event ,a truly fitting tribute to the de Havilland Chipmunk. This weekend coming join us at the Harvard Day at Brakpan Airfield as well as another fly-inn at Springs Airfield. Where the Goodyear Eagles Pitts Specials are due to perform.

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Springs Season Finale Speed Navigation Rally – 28 Nov 2020

By Rob Jonkers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expand customer relations

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

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

Number 1 in customer support

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

Denel Cheetah C “375” flies again after 18 years!

October 9th 2020,after sitting on the ground for 18 years, Cheetah C “375” took to the skies again over OR Tambo international Airport in Kempton- Park this past week.

The aircraft was flown by Denel fixed wing test pilot Ivan “Viking” Pentz,who has a number of flying hours on both the Cheetah B,D,D2 and C models.He has also flown the Hawk MK120,Mirage F1,The AHRLAC and many more!

Denel Cheetah B “Bandit”

Extremely high quality restoration to flight work by Denel. After a few test flights, it’ll be boxed up and sent to Draken International in Florida as said by African Defence Review Darren Olivier.

DRAKEN INTERNATIONAL HAS CREATED A NEW STANDARD IN AVIATION SERVICE CAPABILITIES FOR ALL BRANCHES OF THE UNITED STATES MILITARY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND ALLIED MILITARIES GLOBALLY. WITH A FLEET OF 150 TACTICAL FIGHTER AIRCRAFT, DRAKEN OWNS AND OPERATES THE WORLD’S LARGEST COMMERCIAL FLEET OF TACTICAL EX-MILITARY AIRCRAFT.

DRAKEN SUPPORTS MILITARY TRAINING OBJECTIVES AROUND THE GLOBE, PROVIDING TREMENDOUS COST SAVINGS OVER THE USE OF TRADITIONAL MILITARY FIGHTER ASSETS. AS AN ORGANIZATION, WE ARE UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO ANSWER THE GROWING DEMAND FOR CONTRACT AIR SUPPORT.

The Atlas Cheetah was a South African fighter aircraft designed and produced by the aviation company Atlas Aircraft Corporation now known as Denel Aeronautics. It was developed at the behest of, and principally operated by, the South African Air Force until the aircraft were retired from SAAF service to be replaced by the SAAB Gripen in 2008.

Pictures by Casper van Zyl

Chief of The SAAF Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang Retreat Parade

A rather sad day to be at Air force Base Swartkop on the afternoon of the last day of September 2020,cuddled around a number of cumulonimbus clouds kept their distance as a final retreat parade could take place with a magnificent background as the Chief of the South African Air Force retired.  


Lieutenant General Fabian “BlackHawk” Zimpande (Zakes) Msimang,a former operational helicopter pilots on various types of SAAF Helicopters he flew during his time,including MI8,MI25,Alouette III and Oryx Helicopters just to name a few.

On 28 September 2012,Msimang was appointed the new Chief of the South African Airforce as Lieutenant-General Carlo Gagiano retired from the SAAF.


As we all know,Covid-19 has all hit us all hard,this cancelling a number of events such as airshows in the aviation industry and most important celebrating the SAAFs centenary,with the cancellation of Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD2020),we could not have a 100 year celebration airshow taking into consideration of being the world’s second oldest air force after the Royal Airforce (RAF).And yes the Chief and the Deputy Chief Major General Innocent Buthelezi mentioned we are the second oldest air force in the world!

By 5pm a number of SAAF aircraft including helicopters and fixed wing assets took to the skies around the Pretoria area.Before the outgoing Chief opened the flypasts flying the Alouette III part of the South African Air force Museum.

The next elements of the flypast columns included the De Havilland Vampire T55,flown by Rama “Dynamite”Iyer and Vladimir “Spoetnik” Schultz.The Museums Aerospatiale Puma SA330 and Alouette II closely followed behind.

SAAF Museum De Havilland Vampire T55
SAAF Museum De Havilland Vampire T55
SAAF Museum Aerospatiale Puma & Alouette II

The big chopper formation was soon over Snake Valley led by a 16 Squadron Rooivalk Attack Helicopter,flanked by various helicopters from squadrons across South Africa,including two Lynx Mk 64 Helicopters all the way from AFB Ysterplaat in Cape Town,A number of Agusta A109LUHs and Oryx Helicopters also formed part of the formation.
The former school master of the sky the Harvard formation including Two Museum Harvards and two Harvard Club aircraft were next over the podium.

Mass Helicopter Formation
Rooivalk,Lynx MK 64,Oryx & Agusta A109LUH
Mass Helicopter Formation
SAAF Museum & Harvard Club (Harvard Formation)
SAAF Museum & Harvard Club (Harvard Formation)

The Lycoming formation were next with a Cessna C185,a Kudu and a Bosbok making up for the taildragger aircraft in the museum fleet.41 Squadron put on a tight formation with a leading Pilatus PC12,Two KingAirs and five Cessna 208A Caravans.

SAAF Museum Cessna C185,Kudu & Bosbok
41 Squadron Pilatus PC12
41 Squadron Formation
41 Squadron Formation

Pelican Formation was next with a 35 Squadron C47TP Turbo Dakota,while a 44 Squadron Casa 212 kept tightly behind the Daks 6 o’clock position.Open the gates its 28 Squadron with Two C130BZ Hercules Transport aircraft in formation with four Central Flying School Pilatus PC-7 MKII ab initio trainers.

35 Squadron C47TP & 44 Squadron Casa 212
35 Squadron C47TP
C130BZs & Pilatus PC7MKIIs
C130BZs & Pilatus PC7MKIIs

The last flypast was the combat formation consisting of two 2 Squadron JAS39 Gripens and four Hawks from 85 Combat Flying School.The formation was led by Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper.
As the parade continued with a change of command tradition,a flag setting.

Gripen & Hawk Formation
Gripen & Hawk Formation

The South African Air Force band entertained the VIP Guests and members of the SAAF and Media. The surprise flypast of a Gripen from, behind the seated guests pitched up into the dark sky while releasing flares.Surely presented the chief with a final loud and spectacular goodbye.

Gripen Flare drop

Attending the after function,where we were kindly invited by the outgoing chief,it came time to give one final speech with tears in his eyes “he mentioned to be in an Air Force that Inspires Confidence we need to be confident in ourselves.Since I started here,I have always believed that you,each of you,are more capable.I believed and still do that you have the capacity to make this organisation into something bigger than what it was.”

We were treated to a delicious dinner and cold beverages before leaving the base,well done to all involved in making the final event for the chief a success.


We would like to wish the former chief of the South African Air force all the best for his future and a restful retirement,we’d like to take the time to thank you for making the time for us and giving us the opportunities that some didn’t have.
We thank you sir.

Video Below

Click on photo below to enlarge

Newcastle Airshow KZN Back in 2021

The annual Newcastle Airshow is set to take place in Kwa-Zulu Natal on June 5th 2021 next year.As always Newcastle being one of the great county airshows in South Africa buts on a variety of aircraft in their display program including the South African Air force and many civilian types.

The organisers and sponsors of the annual Newcastle Airshow made a decision today to host the 10th Newcastle Airshow on the 5 June 2021.The decision was taken due to COVID- 19 restrictions.See you in 2021 !

“It’s up to all of us to slow the spread of COVID-19. Everyone, including young and healthy people, should avoid large gatherings during this time. Stay up to date with public health guidelines from sacoronavirus.co.za.

The Newcastle Airshow has been running annually since 2011 and seen many crowd favorites including the Puma Flying Lions Harvards, Pitts Specials,L39s ,C130BZ, Gripen , Agusta A109LUH and many more.

We look forward to next years show and seeing the Champ Marketing team putting on a good show!

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! 

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