Tag Archives: South African National Parks


Aviation Central recently received an invitation to attend a handover ceremony of four Bat Hawk aircraft to the South African National Parks. (SANParks)

Anglo American Platinum donated four Bat Hawk surveillance aircraft to South African National Parks (SANParks) to aid in their surveillance, conservation, and anti-poaching efforts. The sponsorship agreement of the aircraft is valued at over R3.8 million.

The donation is in line with the healthy environment pillar of the organization’s sustainable mine plan, which is aimed at maintaining a healthy environment by creating waterless, carbon-neutral operations as well as delivering positive biodiversity outcomes.

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy officially receives the Bat Hawk Light aircraft from Anglo American Platinum on behalf of SANParks. With her are Executive head: Projects at Anglo American Platinum – Mr Prakashim Moodliar and SANParks Chief Pilot, David Simelane

The Kruger National Park (KNP), which spans over 2 million hectares of land and is divided into 22 sections, continues to face several operational challenges linked to animal poaching, the poisoning of animals as well as snaring. The four Bat Hawk aircraft, which are proudly assembled in South Africa, are an affordable and safe alternative to helicopters and will go a long way in assisting with the Kruger’s conservation and anti-poaching efforts. Other benefits of the aircraft include its great visibility during adverse weather conditions and its light undercarriage which can easily maneuver through porous terrain.

Minister Creecy tests out one of the Bat Hawk Light Aircraft

Speaking at the handover event of the aircraft, Anglo American Platinum’s executive head of projects Prakashim Moodliar said, “Our donation of the Bat Hawk aircraft presents an important step for biodiversity and conservation at the Kruger National Park. As an organization that is committed to re-imagining mining to improve people’s lives, Anglo American Platinum has always been clear that we cannot do this work alone, and that building a safer, cleaner, and more sustainable future has to be founded on the collaboration and knowledge sharing that comes from partnering with likeminded organizations.”

 Mr David Simelane, Mr Cornel Du Plessis, Mr Stephen Bullock, Dr Danny Govender, Minister Barbara Creecy, Mr Prakashim Moodliar, Mr Property Mokoena, Ms Hapiloe Sello, Mr Hermanus Prinsloo and Ms Yolan Friedman.

Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment said: “Anglo Platinum joins several international and local companies and individuals who work with SANParks to protect our natural world and our threatened species. These Ultra-Light aircraft will assist us in carrying out aerial patrols as well as monitoring and effectively managing the environment. As custodians of our fauna and flora, SANParks has limited resources at its disposal. It is therefore important to form partnerships to look after our country’s rich and varied biodiversity”.


Questions and Answers by Aviation Central to SANParks

Q: Who donated the Aircraft?
Anglo American Platinum

Q: What is the value of the 4 aircraft?
A: R3 million, eight hundred thousand ZAR

Q: Will additional rangers receive pilot training or will additionally be employed?
A: There will be training for current Section Rangers

Q: Where will the Bat Hawks be stationed (Park and Camps)

A: Skukuza , Malelane, Letaba and Shingwedzi

Q: How will the Bat Hawks be used?
A: Law enforcement, conservation, and monitoring

Q: We know a Bat-hawk has low operating costs compared to other aircraft, But what is the estimated operating cost per hour?
A: Thousand Rands compared to ten thousand for the helicopter

Q: What is SANParks total Air fleet consist of?

A: Two fixed-wing four-seater Cessna, three Airbus Squirrels, and four Bat Hawk_

Q:. Does SANParks receive support from the South African Air Force or SAPS airwing?

A: We do receive support upon request, and it depends on availability and budget.

Q: The donated fuel from TotalEnergies just a few weeks ago, van the fuel also be used for the Bat Hawks?

A: The Anglo Platinum donation comes with maintenance and fuel support to the tune of Five Million Rands

Q: Why bat hawk vs other aircraft (besides running costs)

A: They are durable and technically suited for the KNP terrain.

Q: What type of missions will they be used to carry out (is it just surveillance, animal counting, etc) A: All conservation-related work

Q: What tasks do the Airwing / Fixed and Rotor wing used for besides poaching?

A: Census support, monitoring of rivers, and general maintenance of the ecosystem.

Q: Project Skywards, a Fundraising project, needs R19m and the SANParks website only indicates that R79 200 has been donated, is this status correct?

A: It will be updated after the Anglo Platinum donation and the Total Energies.

Registration Information on the four donated Aircraft






The Bat Hawk is proudly designed and built in Mbombela (Nelspruit), South Africa

The performance of the Bat Hawk in its multiple options has been widely acclaimed as nothing short of sensational. 

In the hands of a learner, it remains perfectly balanced for fingertip control and hands-off flight but pushed to the maximum by an experienced pilot the maneuverability is breath-taking.

There is a big demand for this aircraft in surveillance and conservation industries and with the Bat Hawk’s propeller up and out of the way it reduces the risk of damage by grass, sticks, stones, and sand. Making it a true “Bush Plane”.

The Bat Hawk’s cockpit is very similar to that of a helicopter with excellent forward visibility as well as to both sides.

The Bat Hawk is a proudly South African “Light Sport Aircraft” designed and built for tough African conditions.

The aircraft is supplied as a complete ready to fly and complies with the ASTM2245-12c Build Standard rules and regulations as well as South African Civil Aviation Type Approval.

It features a strut-braced high wing, two seats in a side-by-side configuration open cockpit, fixed tricycle landing gear, and a single Rotax engine in tractor configuration.

As a conventional 3-axis light sport aircraft, the Bat Hawk does not rely on pilot weight shift to affect control. Twin seats are positioned side-by-side for full dual control and both crew members are well protected from the weather by an aerodynamic fiberglass pod and large wrap-around windshield.

The Bat Hawk has been designed and developed in South Africa primarily for surveillance and conservation.

Dimensions of the Bat Hawk

Overall length – nose to rudder TE 18.19 feet (5.544m)
Length – propeller plane to rudder TE 17.40 feet (5.304m)
Undercarriage wheel track 5.42 feet (1.652m)
Main wheel size 8.00 x 6.ins
Nose wheel size 4.00 x 4.ins
Typical empty weight–standard equipment 573.2 lbs (260 kg)
Maximum fuel 123.0 lbs (56 kg)
Maximum weight all-up weight 1204.2 lbs (540 kg)
Minimum solo crew weight 163 lbs (74 kg)
Average dual crew weight 396.8 lbs (180 kg)
Take-off weight with full fuel/average crew 1100.0lb (499 kg)
Cruise Speed: 70 knots
Stall Speed: 36 knots
Vne: 92 knots
Length: 6,00m
Wingspan: 9,50m

South African National Parks and/or wildlife conversation need all the help they can get, if you think you can assist please use the contact information below…

Nthabiseng Moeletsi
General Manager: Fundraising
Contact number: +27 12 426 5034

Lebogang Phetlha
Email: Lebogang.phetlha@sanparks.org

To see other fundraising projects by South African National Parks go to https://www.sanparks.org/fundraising/

Photos by Swanie Swanepoel and Anglo American Platinum

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See a short handover video
Video by Anglo American Platinum

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