Tag Archives: SANDF

Major-General Wiseman Simo Mbambo is appointed as Chief of the South African Air Force

From the President’s media release: Major-General Mbambo began his military career in Umkhonto we Sizwe, where, among other things, he served as a training instructor in the Kibaxe Camp in Angola and was Commander in Charge of the former MK Military Aviation Group that underwent training in the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991.

He has served in several positions in the South African Air Force, including General Officer Commanding Air Force Base Waterkloof and Chief of Staff Air Operations Major-General Mbambo is currently Deputy Chief of Staff of the SANDF.”

New York Air National Guard Capt. Patrick Gillen leads South African Maj Gen Wiseman Simo Mbambo on a tour of a US Airforce C-5M Super Galaxy cargo bay undergoing refurbishment at the base during 2015

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also announced that from 1 June 2021, Lieutenant-General Rudzani Maphwanya will take over as chief of the South African National Defense force SANDF from General Solly Shoke, who has been chief of the SANDF since 2011.

SAAF Helicopters from various squadrons ,Lynx,Oryx,Rooivalk and A109s

SAAF 75 best Airshow in Southern Africa to date?

Pictures by Stefaan Bouwer

The flightline at Airforce Base Waterkloof in Pretoria during the early week of October 1995 saw a number of visiting military air arms from across the world, attended what was South Africa’s biggest military Airshow to date!

SAAF 75 Display Program

This was also the the 75th Birthday celebrations of the South African Air Force. A number of aircraft were painted up in special paint schemes for the celebration, including the SAAF Museums Mirage IIICZ “Black Widow”.

SAAF Museum Mirage IIICZ “Black Widow”

From the biggest Antonov A124 which brought a number of Russian Fighter jets in the back of the hold, including a Mig 29 and SU35. Both flying and on static display!

Russian Airforce Su35
Russian Airforce Mig29

The Americans brought out all their bells and whistles including an F16, F15, KC135R Stratotanker, C130s, Lockheed C-141 Starlifter and many more!

USAF F16

Australia brought out a P-3 Orion and the Canadian Airforce attended with a Boeing 707.The Royal Airforce were here with the famous Red Arrows, C130, and a E-3 Sentry.

Red Arrows

The South African Air Force put on a excellent variety of both new and old, including the Mirage F1AZ flown by Chris “Piranha” Pretorius, which he got struck by lightning during one of his solo displays during the show. It was one of the last shows the Impala MK1s being the Silver Falcons before being replaced by the then new Pilatus PC7 MkII “Astra”.

1 Squadron Mirage F1AZ
2 Squadron Cheetah Cs

One has to ask will we ever see a show as big as this one day again?

Red Arrows
Russian Airforce SU30

Retirement Of SAAF Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang

On Wednesday 30 September,members of the South African Air force and members of the media got to witness a series of beautiful flypasts from a number of aircraft of squadrons based across South Africa.A fitting tribute and thank you to the former Chief of the South African Air force!

Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande (Zakes) Msimang integrated into the South African National Defence Force in 1994 after the first Democratic Elections as a qualified helicopter pilot.He received his flying training at Frunze 1 Central Officers Training Center – Kirghistan, in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics between 1986 to 1991.

He graduated from the institution with a diploma in Command and Tactics of Military Aviation.During Msimang’s Career he has flown the Mi8, Mi25 ,Alouette III and Oryx Helicopters.He also completed a factory conversion onto the Agusta A109E Helicopter at Agusta/Westland now known at Leonardo in Italy.

Mil Mi8
MIL MI25
Alouette III
Agusta A109LUH

He was a member of the Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK),the military wing of the African National Congress.He engaged in combat in Angola in 1986.In 1994,he completed the Air force Junior Staff Course in Zimbabwe before returning to the South African National Defence Force.Post 1994,he served as an operational pilot in both maritime and inland operations.

In 2000,Msimang was appointed the assistant project officer on the acquisition programme of the Agusta A109LUH in Italy.He went onto successfully complete the Senior Staff Course at the Italian Air force War School.On his return in 2003 from Italy,he was appointed the Officer Commanding of 87 Helicopter Flying School at Air force Base Bloemspruit. The Following year he successfully completed the Joint Senior Command and Staff Programme at the South African National War College.

First South African Air force Agusta A109 In Italy
Oryx Helicopter

In 2005,he was appointed officer commander of Air force Base Bloemspruit and promoted to the rank of Colonel.In 2006,he completed the Executive National Security Programme at the South African National Defence College.In 2007,Msimang,after a two and half year tour as OC at Air force Base Bloemspruit,he was appointed Director Helicopter Systems and Promoted to the rank of Brigadier General at Air Command.

Eldorado Park Aviation Expo 2017 with Gripen display Pilot Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper

In November 2010,he was appointed Chief Director Air Policy and Plans and then promoted to the rank of Major General,responsible for Air force Strategy,policies,capabilities and resource allocation.On 28 September 2012 he was accepted command as the Chief of the South African Air force from Lieutenant-General Carlo Gagiano.

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

The first 15 does it again!

At 14h43, Friday, 14 August, the SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron, NSRI Durban rescue swimmers and Netcare 911 rescue paramedics were activated to prepare to patient evacuate a 36 year old Indian crewman, suffering a serious injury, off a 330 meter crude oil tanker near to Port Elizabeth. A SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, accompanied by two NSRI Durban rescue swimmers and 2 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, departed Durban Air Force Base and arrangements were made for refuelling to take place at East London and at Port Elizabeth.

After refuelling was completed in East London, on arrival at the ship, off-shore of Algoa Bay, 2 NSRI rescue swimmers and a Netcare 911 rescue paramedic were hoisted onto the vessel accompanied by a rescue stretcher. The patient, in a serious condition, suffering a compound fracture to a leg, reportedly sustained in a fall, was taken into their care from the ships medical crew.

The patient was airlifted to a Port Elizabeth hospital in a stable but serious condition where he is recovering post operation. The SAAF Oryx helicopter refuelled at Port Elizabeth 15 Squadron, Charlie Flight and on the return route to Durban refueling took place at East London. The operation completed at 02h39 on Saturday morning.

The crew involved in the rescue was Lieutenant Colonel Zungu (Commander), Major Sandi (Co-pilot) and Flight Sergeant Vumazonke(Flight Engineer).

15 Squadron is one of the coastal helicopter squadrons based at Air Force Base Durban. It is currently a transport/utility helicopter squadron, utilizing the Oryx and A109LUH Helicopters.Their sister based Squadron “Charlie” Flight at Air force Station Port Elizabeth flying the BK117.

Africa Aerospace and Defence postponed till 2022

Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD), Africa’s premier aerospace and defence exhibition and airshow, scheduled to take place 16-20 September 2020, has been deferred to 21 -25 September 2022 as a result of the current global COVID-19 pandemic. This decision follows a series of events which included the close monitoring of the pandemic’s global roll-out as well
as its prevalence in South Africa.

The organisers announced the deferment to September
2022 following consultations with the Department of Defence (DOD) and other key stakeholders associated with the biennial flagship event.
The Show organisers advised that several factors were taken into consideration in arriving at
the decision, which include – amongst others:


● The absolute need to ensure the battle against the Covid-19 virus is won and to further
safeguard human lives,
● The severity that the pandemic has imposed on the global aviation and defence
exhibition sector
● A decision by the DOD to put a hold on all foreign activities and events (inbound and
outbound missions)
● South African borders remaining closed with no travelling anticipated to take place by
September 2020.

The announcement also comes at the time when South Africa is currently under level 3 lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which restrictions include the prohibition of any public gatherings, a trend also seen around the world during lockdown phases.
“We are aware that the deferment of AAD 2020 comes as an additional setback to the international defence and aerospace industries, and in particular the South African industry, given that AAD Expo is identified and diarised as a platform to showcase the latest advances and technological innovations that the world’s best in aviation and defence has to offering. .

However, everyone’s health, safety and security come first; we can and will only proceed with giving you the best of AAD when it is absolutely safe to do so. We can assure you though that we are already working and planning on delivering an enhanced AAD 2022”, said Exhibition
Director, Leona Redelinghuys.

The organisers will engage directly with all exhibitors whose participation had been confirmed
for AAD2020 on various options available to them, as a result of the deferment.

Another Rescue for 15 Squadron and the Mountain Club of SA


The Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) section rescue team was called out on this past Saturday morning to a woman who had sustained a broken leg in the southern Drakensberg. She was stretchered out to a private ambulance by the Underberg MCSA rescue team.

Pictures courtesy of MCSA

Then near mid night on Sunday the South African National Defence Force requested help with a soldier who had sustained serious injuries in a fall in Leslie’s Pass in the Injasuthi area. At first light on Monday an Oryx helicopter from 15 Squadron , AFB Durban was dispatched, which then picked up 3 Mountain Club members at Pietermaritzburg. A rescue then took place high in Leslie’s Pass, before bringing the patient to a hospital in Pietermaritzburg.

Pictures courtesy of MCSA

Thanks to Gavin Raubenheimer for the story!
KZN Search & Rescue Convener

Pictures courtesy of MCSA

15 Squadron is one of the helicopter squadrons based at the still Air force Base Durban. It is currently a transport/utility helicopter Squadron flying the Oryx medium transport helicopter as well as the Agusta A109LUH . 15 Squadron “Charlie” flight is based at Air force Station Port Elizabeth flying the BK117 helicopter.

SAAF Silver Falcons will be Back Soon!

It is not the end of the Silver Falcons. The Silver Falcons based at Air Force Base Langebaanweg is currently not participating at any Airshows due to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, which include Airshows.

The main purpose of the Silver Falcons aerobatic team is to enhance the image of the South African Air Force (SAAF), encourage recruitment and instill National Pride.
In accordance with the amended Regulations on Disaster Management the SAAF have cancelled all events until further notice.

At present the SAAF members are under continuous staff and instructors training.
The Silver Falcons will resume training as per the training schedule of Central Flying School at Air Force Base Langebaanweg.

We at Aviation Central are looking forward to seeing the pride of the nation back in the skies and thrilling the crowds at a Airshow soon!

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

Another Successful rescue for 15 Squadron

Jonathan Kellerman, NSRI Durban station commander, said:

At 11h57, Wednesday, 06th May, NSRI Durban duty crew and Netcare 911 ambulance services were placed on alert for a pending mission to patient evacuate an ill sailor suffering a medical condition (not Covid-19 related) off a bulk carrier motor vessel approaching Durban.8

At 12h45 an SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, a ShipsMed doctor, Netcare 911 rescue paramedics and NSRI Durban rescue swimmers were activated and preparations, including Port Health Authority authorisations, were set in motion.

The SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, carrying 2 SAAF pilots, a SAAF flight engineer, 2 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, a ShipsMed doctor and 2 NSRI rescue swimmers rendezvoused with the ship 7 nautical miles off-shore of Park Rynie, KZN South Coast.

A rescue swimmer, the doctor and a rescue paramedic were winch hoisted from the helicopter onto the ship and the doctor and the rescue paramedic took over medical care of the patient, a 43 year old Filipino sailor, from the ships medical crew.

A second rescue paramedic was winch hoisted onto the ship with a Stokes basket stretcher and the patient, in a serious but stable condition, was secured into the stretcher and winch hoisted with one of the rescue paramedics into the helicopter.

The remaining rescue crew were winch hoisted into the helicopter and in the care of the doctor and the 2 rescue paramedics, who continued with medical treatment to the patient in the helicopter, the patient was airlifted directly to a Durban hospital and he has been taken into the care of hospital staff.

All Covid-19 precautions and protocols were observed during the operation.

NSRI Emergency Operations Centre, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, WC Government Health EMS, Netcare 911 ambulance services, ShipsMed, Transnet National Ports Authority and Port Health Authorities assisted Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in communications, coordination and logistics during the operation.

The operation completed at 17h20.

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