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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.

Please view our gallery below

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! 

2 Squadron Gains Two New Gripen Pilots

Air force Base Makhado situated in the shadows of the Soutpansberg mountain range,is home to fighter town South Africa.Where the South African Airforces elite fighter squadrons are based,85 Combat Flying School flying the lead in fighter trainer the Hawk MK120.2 Squadron which is the sharp end of the SAAF,flying the smart fighter,The JAS39 Gripen!

Early May 2020 saw two new Gripen pilots going solo,Major Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona and Captain Klyde “Ronin” Ross Naidoo. Their story below will show the hard work one has to take to get to Gripen and living the fast jet life dream.

Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona

Major Jabulani Mabona was born in a township called Mamelodi West, Pretoria East. He attended Primary school at Ndima PrimarySchool (year) and matriculated at Vukani Mawethu Secondary School in 2004.
Major Mabona became interested in being a pilot when he was 9 years old. “There was no other career that I considered pursuing apart from becoming a pilot, specifically a fighter pilot.” He started applying when he was doing grade 11 and only got an acceptance letter to do the selection process in 2006.

The selection process included psychometric tests, psychomotor tests, flight medicals followed by interviews. His military career began when he was accepted to commence his Basic Military training in January 2007 and right after a successful completion commenced with Officers Forming Course in July the same year.

In 2008 he enrolled at the SA Military Academy in Saldanha, he spent a year studying Technology and Defence Mangement, which included modules in Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, English, Management, Aerodynamics and Economics. In 2009 January he had to go through Land and Sea Survival Training followed by Ground School Training for flying. In 2010 he started with his basic Ab initio Training in Cessna 172, followed by Astra stationed at AFB Langebaanweg. He was then selected to complete his pilot training in the United States of America where he flew the Texan T6 and qualified as a military pilot giving him the opportunity to be selected to fly Jets.

Jabulani was trained by former United States Air force F16 Viper Demonstration pilot Captain John “Rain” Waters.

Babcock Flight School Cessna C172
Babcock Flight School Cessna C172
Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII
Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII
US Airforce T6 Texan II
US Airforce T6 Texan II
Former United States Airforce F16 Viper display Demo Pilot Captain
John “Rain” Waters who was Major Mabona’s Instructor!
United States Airforce F16 Viper

In 2012 he went back to Military Academy to complete his degree in Defence and Technology Management which he successfully completed in 2015. In 2016 he was transferred to 85 Combat Flying School where he began to train as a fighter pilot in Hawk MK120 and a year later successfully completed the course. He served as a Flight Commander and was selected to do Flight Leaders Course which he completed in December 2019. He was then transferred to 2 Squadron in January 2020 where he began Operational Conversion Course in the SAAB JAS 39 where he currently serves as a Survival officer”.

Jabulani Flying the Hawk MK120 during a capability demo at the 2017 Rand Easter Show,Nasrec Johannesburg.
“Seraph” & “Cyrax” airborne out of AFB Swartkop during the 2018 SAAF Museum Airshow!
Lieutenant Colonel Craig “Shark” Leeson & Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona during the 2018 SAAF Museum Airshow.

The challenges he encountered were being far from his family and being able to successfully complete each and every phase towards achieving his goal.He has served in the South African Air Force for 13 years has never looked back. While he was stationed at 85 Combat Flying School had the opportunity to serve as a Survival Officer and a Flight Commander.
He says; “my solo flight in a Gripen was such an astounding feeling, a feeling out of this world, especially the supersonic part of the flight.”

SAAB JAS39C Gripen
Gripen Solo Flight
Jabulani after his Gripen solo with Lieutenant Colonel Jaco “Weasel” Labuschagne

Major Mabona is 32 years old and married to Nomsa and together they have a beautiful daughter Njabulo. He says flying high speed jets is such an honor and comes with lots of responsibilities because you fly with live weapons onboard and also fly in close proximity with other jets. He says his family always supported him and they are the ones that are always boosting his confidence level when it comes to his career.
To further on his career, the next step will be Instructor’s Course so that he can also give back to the young men and women which are aspiring to become fighter pilots.

Fighter Formation over AFB Swartkop during the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow.

Lastly he says “all the instructors that were part of my development for me to become a fighter pilot are my mentors. Before every flight, preparation is key, you go through your procedures, you play the scenarios in your head and most importantly you prepare for all the possible emergencies that you might experience.

Klyde “Ronin” Ross Naidoo

Captain Klyde Ross Naidoo approaches with a plan of crafting an aviation legacy that the South African Air Force (SAAF) and this country can be proud of. When asked to introduce himself Captain Naidoo call sign Ronin said “Born: 17/06/1992 at Westville hospital, residing in Reservoir Hills initially, turn 5 and started school at Resmount Primary School.

We moved to Pinetown and I moved to Atholl Heights Primary School for grade 1 and 2, my dad then moved to Johannesburg for work and we followed, staying in Centurion and completing primary school in Laerskool Uitsig, moved to Hoerskool Uitsig followed by Pro Arte Alphen Park and finally completing my high school career at Reservoir Hills Secondary School in 2009.

In my childhood we spent a lot of time moving to new places and schools due to my dad’s, Kuban Naidoo, work in telecommunications. My mum, Ron Naidoo, is now a retired hairdresser and in my unbiased opinion is the best hairdresser in the world. I have two older sisters, Kelly and Robyn, who are great support, throughout my childhood and adult life, although the role of my super fan falls to my mum.

Growing up I spent a lot of time playing sports for schools, such as swimming, played competitively in rugby, cricket and softball. Presently I spend a lot of time at the gym and try to keep fit by running. The scariest thing I’ve done was the big swing at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, I consider bungee jumping from Bloukrans Bridge in Tsitsikama rainforest to have been easier. The most exciting thing I’ve done professionally thus far is when I took up a Gripen solo and broke the sound barrier sending down a bone rattling sonic boom over my awaiting wife.”

From an avid nomadic, together with his family, his military career is a gift that he does not take for granted. “At the end of my schooling career I sought out bursaries in order to study further in the fields of engineering or medicine as well as applying for pilot training in the SAAF. In 2010 upon receiving the call for pilots’ selections in the SAAF I had declined the bursaries I was offered for the other fields of studies, not realising that it was just a selection week and not actually accepted.

The SAAF selection is a four tier selection process, each eliminating potential candidates as you progress through. The first part is the paper selection, wherein you either download the form from the internet, or cut it out the newspaper it appears in early every year. Submitting the required information in the leaflet with all matric/ grade 11 results all the applications go to SAAF HQ and are scrutinized to select the best candidates for the job, once that process is completed, the successful candidates are contacted by to make arrangements to attend a week long selection camp.
At the second-tier process, all members are split into groups and go through a process of psychometric and psychomotor testing.
In the third process, a full flight medical examination is required.
The final step is a panel interview in front of high-ranking specialists at the SAAF HQ.

Although a long process, it is to allow only the best candidates to make it through to the training, from initial paper selection of thousands to only about 20 people being selected and finally only 9 qualifying from pilots’ wings course.” He said.

In January 2011, his humble beginnings in the ranks and military industry proved, thus far to be a firm foundation for the amazing military aviation. “I was called up for Basic Military Training at the SAAF Gym in Hoedspruit. It was a gruelling 6 months – taking a civilian and making a soldier. In June 2011, I started officers forming course at the SAAF College in Pretoria, this involved 6 months of cramming policy and standards expected from an Officer and a gentleman.

SAAF Gymnasium

In 2012, I enrolled at the Military Academy in Saldanha. I spent a year studying Technology and Defence Management, which include modules in Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, English, Management, Aerodynamics and Economics, achieving a certificate of higher education.
Before advancing to Langebaanweg for further training, two weeks of gruelling basic survival training was required, this included sea survival, coastal survival and land survival. The most daunting part of the experience involved the escape and evasion component of land survival training.

In 2013, I started ground school at Langebaanweg and later that year began flying the SAAF PC7 MK2, well known for being the aircraft flown by the Aerobatic Display Team of the SAAF, The Silver Falcons. The course consisted of ground school theoretical training in the following fields:

Pilatus PC7MKII

Aerodynamics (including high speed, rotary wing and multi engine aerodynamics)

Aviation law

Medicine

Aircraft technical

General aspects related to flying and aviation.

The flying training consisted of basic general flying, basic instrument flying, advanced general flying, advanced instrument flying, navigation, close formation and a “Wings Phase” which incorporated aspects from all the preceding ones.

Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII

Once all phases were over and all test results were tallied up another selection board is held to stream pilots into one of the three lines in the air force: Maritime and Transport, Helicopter systems or Combat Systems. The directors of the three lines would there decide on the path that each pilot would then follow, taking into consideration the members preference, but ultimately selecting you on your course performance, attitude and perceived potential. I graduated as a pilot in the Air Force in December 2014 and was streamed to the fighter line.” He opined.

While expanding on his career path, formal education was still his goal. He relates that he has a massive respect for education as the SAAF does, and through education and the SAAF he has had fun serving with the most brilliant of minds and continually travels the world. “In 2015, and early 2016, I continued studies toward my degree at the military academy and flying at Langebaanweg whilst waiting to be transferred to 85 Combat Flying School at Air Force Base Makhado.

I, together with 3 other members, moved to Makhado in April 2016 to begin training to become fighter pilots. Which upon arrival was met by another week of survival training exercise in Port Saint Johns, after which we have yearly survival training due to the nature of our job.

Our fighter training was done on the BAE Systems Hawk LIFT Mk120 and the courses consisted of Hawk Conversion Course, a condensed version of what I had done on the PC7 MK2, followed by Operational Training Course. With the ability to fly the aircrafts, we were taught how to use it as a weapon by delivering various ammunitions and being trained in various aspects of Air and Surface warfare, so we could be utilised in operational roles in the SAAF. After a year of consolidation flying, two candidates were selected to complete Flight Leaders Course, Major Jabulani Jerry Mabona and myself. FLC was completed in November 2019.

85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120 “Gannet”
Armed Forces Day Capability Demonstration De Brug Weapons Range Bloemfontein February 2018
Fighter Formation over AFB Swartkop during the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow.
SAAF Museum Airshow 2019

As Flight Leaders we were then eligible to be transferred to 2 Squadron and begin Operational Conversion Course on the SAAB JAS39C/D Gripen. I completed my first solo flight in the Gripen on May 5th, 2020, a first for an Indian South African Fighter Pilot.

SAAB JAS39D Gripen

In 2010, I met my wife, Marcia Naidoo, but had only really started speaking too her in 2012, being in the western cape and her in KZN it wasn’t often I got a chance to see her, unless it was a trip home to see the family. We started dating in 2013 and even though had such distance between us the relationship grew to me finally proposing in 2017 and tying the knot in September 2018. Throughout my flying career she’s been a keystone to my support, from not being able to fly a thing to taking to the skies in a modern fighter jet, with all the good and the bad she would be there, either the most excited or ready to throw down with anyone that may have gotten me upset. Although I’m the soldier she’s the tougher of the two of us.

As a youngster I’d always been fascinated by flying, from as early as my second birthday it was evident that I wanted to be a pilot, my parents had gotten me an aircraft cake and dressed me up in a white suit. Being from Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) I didn’t know it was a possibility for me to be an air force fighter pilot, as there’s not much publicity for the defence force in the KZN community. It was by chance that I happened across a leaflet in the newspaper and my mum had made further inquiries. It was only then that I had decided that I was going to be a fighter pilot in the SAAF. Hard work and perseverance will always pay off.”

He was sure adamant to wear the SAAF uniform and inspire confidence, thus he hastens to say that he keeps himself busy with researching on everything that has to do with the latest aviation technology while mastering the art of being a proud fighter pilot. “There’s still a long road ahead of me to complete Operational Conversion Course on the Gripen and becoming the best Fighter pilot at the SAAF. At some stage in the distant future I will go down to Langebaanweg once again and do pilot Instructors’ Course and give training to the future pilots of the SAAF. Thereafter returning to 85 Combat Flying School for pilot attack instructors’ course on the hawk and move over to give instruction to aspiring fighter pilots in training on the Gripen as well.

Hawk MK120 MK82 Bombing run,Roodewal bombing range Limpopo

What I’d like to say to aspiring SAAF pilots is that nothing comes easy, but nothing is impossible, follow the procedures laid out and don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s often said on courses that individuals don’t pass the course, those who work together, find motivation in themselves and their peers to complete the course together. Work hard in school in physics and maths, be a good person and never stop trying.

Through this journey I’ve seen it doesn’t matter where you come from, what your skin colour is or what school you went to, what matter is the work you put in. I have come from many places but now I am Captain Klyde Ross Naidoo, a fighter pilot in the SAAF.” He concluded

Ice cold bath after Klydes Gripen Solo

Well done to Ronin and Cyrax,we wish you many more happy and safe flying hours,from all of us at Aviation Central.

Completion of Gripen solo and traditional ice cold bath at 2 Squadron

Two Turkish Airforce Airbus A400Ms Land at Cape Town International Airport

UPDATE: The Turkish Airforce made four appearances delivering medical supplies to Cape Town International in a matter of days!

A pair of Turkish Airforce Airbus A400M landed this afternoon at Cape Town International Airport South Africa.This isn’t the first time a Airbus A400M has landed in the Mother city, previous years have seen both Royal Airforce A400Ms as well as the German Airforce.

Airbus A400M Atlas

The A400Ms of the Turkish Air Force (Türk Hava Kuvvetleri) arrived at Cape Town International Airport this afternoon 30 April 2020 bringing in donated medical supplies for the war against Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.

Final Approach into Cape Town International Airport

“This is a gesture of the Turkish government to South Africa. The consignment has been prepared upon the instruction of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” Turkish Ambassador Elif Comoglu Ulgen had said.

She said the consignment comprises medical equipment and personal protection gear including surgical masks, medical-grade N95 masks, and protective suits ect.

Airbus Military A400M Atlas

The Airbus A400M Atlas is a European four-engine military turboprop cargo aircraft . It was designed by Airbus Military (now Airbus Defence and Space ) as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities to replace older transport aircraft, such as the Transall C-160 and the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

Alaska’s North Slope Borough Now Flies a PC-24 Air Ambulance

Operated by the North Slope Borough Search and Rescue Department (SAR) in the northernmost region of the United States, the PC-24 provides basic medical care for 9,800 residents across a territory of 95,000 square miles (246,000 square kilometres). Outfitted with tandem LifePort™ AeroSled™ stretchers and five passenger seats, it is the fourth PC-24 to be delivered in a medevac configuration.

The town of Barrow, Alaska, also known as Utqiagvik, is located at 71 degrees north latitude. The average temperature in mid-January is –14 degrees Fahrenheit (–26 degrees Celsius) and the sun does not rise completely above the horizon until early February. This region, with its exceptionally harsh conditions, will be the new home for the Super Versatile Jet.

Multi-mission capability

The SAR Department is responsible for delivering basic medical care to all North Slope Borough residents. The team performs medevac operations, search and rescue and other emergency missions.

In addition to the PC-24, which replaces an older light jet, SAR currently operates two helicopters and a fixed wing turboprop aircraft. All are capable of day, night, visual or instrument meteorological flight conditions in a medevac context. Many flights are operated from snow and ice packed runways with paved, dirt, and gravel surfaces – conditions for which the PC-24 was specifically designed.

Unique characteristics

April Brooks, Director of North Slope Borough Search and Rescue, explained the reasons which motivated the choice of the PC-24: “The PC-24 is a gamechanger when it comes to fast, efficient transport of critical patients across vast distances in our extremely harsh environment. Its unique cargo door, large cabin and ability to safely operate from short, unpaved runways make it ideally suited to our needs.”

At the handover ceremony held at Pilatus’ US subsidiary, Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd in Broomfield, Colorado, North Slope Borough Mayor Harry K. Brower Jr. said: “We are delighted we can now offer residents a new level of capability to enhance their safety and well-being. In this region, fast, efficient, high quality medical care is absolutely essential, and the PC-24 will enable us to fulfil every aspect of that commitment.”

Thomas Bosshard, CEO of the Pilatus subsidiary, presented the keys to Mayor Brower and commented: “We are proud of the role our PC-24 will play in supporting the residents of North Slope Borough and the SAR team in the execution of their missions. We are very pleased to see such high demand for the PC-24 as a medevac platform, in addition to its popularity as a business jet. This is exactly the type of versatility we envisioned when we began designing the PC-24 – and now it is a reality.”

Gauteng Regional Aerobatic Competition 2020-01-18

Saturday January 18th saw one of the first flying events in South Africa for 2020 as the Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa held their first Aerobatic competition at Vereeniging Airfield in the south of Johannesburg.

RV

Arriving in the morning we got to see some of the participants arriving from various airfields around the Gauteng region, with some aircraft not being able to get through to the competition due to the weekends predicted rain forecast.

Competition aerobatics is an air sport in which judges rate the skill of pilots performing aerobatic flying. The flying takes place in a invisible box in the sky, where as said above, judges rate the skill on a point system!

Slick 360

Some of the participants included father and son team Barrie Eeles and Tristan Eeles who flew his Extra 200,locally based Giles 202 flown by Pierre du Plooy was a rare sight as its the only type of its make in South Africa. Gregory Clegg flew a Pitts S2E while Glen Warden joined in his Slick 360, both aircraft are hangered at Kitty Hawk Aerodrome in Pretoria East.

Extra 200
Giles 202
Gregory Clegg Pitts S2E
Glen Warden Slick 360

By 1pm the weather gods finally through buckets of rain down and the flying was suspended for the day, as some aircraft could be badly beaten while flying hi-G Aerobatics during the afternoon showers.

Nashua Exra 300L Pilot Andrew Blackwood-Murray

Results for the days flying!

Yak 55
Yak 52

Some rare treats seeing flying on the day

a rare sight Jeff Earle’s Harvard “7637” gets airborne
Former Bloemfontein based Chipmunk now based at Vereeniging

We look forward to another Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa event soon!

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