Editors Wrap-up, 2019 in Review

Good day all As we reach the end of 2019, a year full of positives and unfortunately many negatives as well. This will definitely go down in history as a year many in the Airline Industry would rather forget. The year started off with the news that Cemair were once again grounded by the SA CAA, a battle ensued that lasted for almost the entire year, finally Cemair took to the skies gain only to announce that they will be moving the bulk of their operation to Canada in 2020. Comair had just received the first of their Boeing 737 Max aircraft a few days before they were grounded worldwide, the grounding came after a second fatal accident involving the type. The future of the Max is still uncle

SAC Chairman's Chirp - A Very Productive 2019

Thrown into the deep end is an understatement! The Monday after a very successful 2019 Nationals, Nigel Hopkins, John Gaillard and I attended a CAA Audit of our ARO (Aviation Recreation Organisation – Aerobatics). With the dissolution of RAASA, the CAA picked up the responsibility for the ARO’s. They have for obvious reasons taken this responsibility seriously and we ended the audit with a total of 15 findings that needed attention before we could renew our certificate. Without going into too much detail (Mike Stark will complain!), the committee, with the assistance of a few energised CAA personnel, managed to resolve the issues that led to the findings. The changes basically forced better

SAPFA Chairman's Year End Message

This past year SAPFA has been pretty busy having organised or hosted 17 events (PTAR , 2 Adventure Rallies – co-hosted with the EAA at Vryheid and Brits Sun n Fun, 1 Rally Nationals held at Stellenbosch in April with a further November training event where 10 International teams arrived to do training Navigation practice, 2 Fun rallies, 3 ANR’s with 1 of them ANR Nationals, 6 Speed rallies, 1 Navigation Training Event), which turns out to be more than two events per month. Five National teams represented South Africa at the World Air Navigation Race Championships held in Santa Cruz Beach, Portugal. The Speed Rally events have become hugely popular since the first two initial events held in

Boeing’s Starliner Capsule Lands Safely after Failed Mission

Boeing safely landed its crew capsule in the New Mexico desert Sunday after an aborted flight to the international space station that threatened to derail the company’s effort to launch astronauts on behalf of Nasa next year. The Starliner un-manned spacecraft descended into the US army’s White Sands Missile Range in the predawn darkness, ending a two-day demonstration that should have lasted more than a week. All three main parachutes popped open and airbags also inflated around the spacecraft to ease the impact. “Congratulations, Starliner,” said an operator at Mission Control, calling it a successful touchdown. A test dummy named Rosie the Rocketeer, after Rosie the Riveter of World War I

The Second SA Civil Aviation Authority Industry Awards

The Civil Aviation authority of South Africa hosted the second instalment of the Civil Aviation Industry Awards at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) International Convention Centre in Pretoria on Friday the 13th December. The glitzy event was slightly delayed due to massive volumes of traffic on the all the motorways around Gauteng, unfortunately the date coincided with the beginning of the festive season holidays together with normal long weekend traffic. The delay gave all the guests that were there time to catch up while being entertained by a solo saxophonist. Once everyone had arrived and made their way to the function hall the event got underway with a performan

American “Top Gun” has a Distinct South African Influence

The United States Navy Fighter Weapons School, better known as Top Gun, has become a success story and was revered as the programme that turned the air battle in the Vietnam War. In the early 1960’s the American were losing an unsustainable large number of their “dogfights” to the Soviet built MiG 21’s despite their use of the multi-million dollar Phantom F4, which on paper was the more technically advanced of the two aircraft. MiG 21 Phantom F4 In 1968, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Thomas Hinman Moorer ordered Captain Frank Ault to research the failings of the U.S. air-to-air missiles used in combat in the skies over North Vietna

Holiday Aviation Reading List

Many of us are heading away for some well-deserved downtime this December, reading is often an option for many but the question is what to read? I spent some time looking around at what is available and I hope it helps to make your holiday even more relaxing. Early Jet Bombers, 1944–1954 (Images of War) Leo Marriott In a companion volume to his Early Jet Fighters: British and American 1944-1954, Leo Marriott describes, using over 200 archive photographs, the first decade in the development of the jet bomber. This was a time of intense technical innovation which transformed the design and capabilities of the bomber and gave birth to a range of classic military aircraft in the USA, Great Brita

Laser Hazards to Aviation

I am well aware that I am preaching to the converted here but this article is meant to be informative so pilots can know of the dangers posed by irresponsible laser use. It is widely agreed that there are two potential hazards to pilots from laser light visual interference and eye effects or injuries. The primary hazard is visible-light lasers aimed at aircraft that results in “visual interference” with pilot performance, during critical phases of flight such as take-off, landing, emergency manoeuvres, and low-altitude flight (helicopters). Fortunately, it is unlikely that exposure to the light alone could cause an accident. In over the 55,000 reported laser illuminations worldwide from 200

News Letter 12 December 2019

Good day all So, yet another year is gone by in a blink of an eye to all those that are traveling to holiday destinations, whether by air or by land, please be safe out there. In 2019 we had more than our fair share of tragedies in our small community, let’s not add to that please. Flying wise this is going to be a very quiet weekend with no events planned that we are aware of other than the annual SACAA awards dinner of Friday night. Chilean Air Force finds debris believed to be from C-130 aircraft The Chilean Air Force said Wednesday it had located debris believed to be from a military cargo plane that crashed this week with 38 people aboard over a remote stretch of frigid sea between Sout

The Birth and Development of Slick Aerobatic Aircraft

The Slick Aircraft Company was set-up in 2005 to promote and market the Slick 360 aircraft as well as to continue with research and development on the later released Slick 540. Historically the Slick 360 evolved out of need for a highly competitive composite Advanced Aerobatic aircraft utilising a cost effective 4-cylinder Lycoming IO-360 engine. The initial driving force behind the project was the late Glen Dell, who for many years competed at the highest national and international levels and was crowned Advanced World Aerobatic Champion in 2004. In 2003, the competition aircraft Glen owned was built from traditional aluminium and the plane was considered heavy when compared to the newer co

The SAAF's mighty 17 Squadron rescues stranded flood victims

On Monday, 09 December 2019 at approximately 12:30, the National Joint Operational Centre (NATJOC) activated two South African Air Force helicopters from 17 Squadron based at AFB Swartkop to assist people stranded in Centurion and Mamelodi following flash floods as a result of the continuing torrential downpours experienced in the Gauteng Province. A SAAF Atlas Oryx helicopter and an Agusta A-109 Light Utility Helicopter were able to airlift 79 stranded people at the Centurion Lake Hotel to safety. Three of the unfortune people who were airlifted from the hotel sustained injuries and were later taken to Unitas Medical Centre for medical treatment. Atlas Oryx Agusta A-109 The two helicopters

Book Review "Camel Pilot Supreme" Author: Annette Carson

Camel Pilot Supreme Author: Annette Carson Publisher: Pen and Sword While attending the World Aerobatic Championships in France earlier this year, I came across a newly released book that has, as it turns out, an important South African aviation connection. Written by acclaimed aviation author Annette Carson, Camel Pilot Supreme tells the story of a South African born pilot who achieved fame during the Great War. Captain DV Armstrong, who hailed from Durban, left South Africa in 1915 to join the RFC and went on to become a legend for his feats in the little Sopwith Camel fighter plane. His superb piloting skills and mastery of the aircraft saw him earn key successes against the enemy in the

Scud Running - NO, Just NO

With the rainy weather and low cloud we have been experiencing recently, many pilots may start suffering from withdrawal symptoms. We all know that staying on the ground is probably the best option. But, what if the weather clears and you find yourself in the air and then mother nature decides to close up the skies again. Getting under a cloud layer and proceeding visually to a destination has been a temptation for pilots since the beginning. Airmail pilots, cruising at maybe 80 mph, had plenty of time to see and avoid obstacles down really low, but they still crashed aircraft. There were a lot fewer obstacles back then, and what we’re likely to be flying these days is a lot faster and with

News Letter 5 December 2019

Good day all Last week we were all battling with the sweltering heat and now we are experiencing the great relief of wonderful rain countrywide, unfortunately it doesn’t do much for aviation. It seems like we in for a very quiet weekend with only one major event planned that we are aware of, The ICAD SACAA Airshow in Polokwane. The airshow is being held to commemorate International Civil Aviation Day, with the Theme of “75 Years of connecting people” The preliminary line-up includes: Little Annie airborne with skydivers (Big SA Flag) SAAF Gripen Gyro display Team Extreme Good Year Eagles SA Police Chopper SAAF Hawk Golden Eagles Skydivers Nigel Hopkins Aerobatics Puma Energy Flying Lions Aer

The Embraer E195-E2 “Profit Hunter” visits South Africa

Embraer the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial aircraft up to 150 seats stopped off at Fireblade Aviation at OR Tambo international Airport during their global demonstration tour of the E195-E2 on Thursday 28 November. The tour follows what Embraer called a successful debut of the airplane at June’s Paris Air Show, where the company displayed its largest jet in its “TechLion” livery. Embraer had  flown the airplane to several destinations in Africa with South Africa being the second last stop on the continent, the Africa leg of the tour kicked off at the  Dubai Airshow. The E195-E2 is the largest aircraft in the E-Jet E2 family and has been designed to maximize returns and efficiency

SAC Ace of Base 2019 – Levelling the Playing Field

The annual Sport Aerobatic Club of SA Ace of Base competition is a competition like no other, all of the competitors stands a chance of walking away with the coveted title of “ACE OF BASE”. In any other competition the winner of the unlimited class in declared the winner of the competition, at Ace of Base however the pilot with the highest aggregate score form any of the classes is declared the overall winner. This really tends to encourage the competitors to up their game to a much higher level. Barrie and Tristan Eeles Baragwanath Airfield was the host for this year’s edition of Ace of Base and on a sweltering hot December weekend the cream of the crop of South African aerobatics pilots m

Elders Flight 2019 – Sharing Aviation with the Aged

Rand Airport became a “Field of Dreams” on Saturday 30 November when Felix Gosher and his team of dedicated helping hands enriched the lives of one hundred and twenty elderly members of our community. Early in 2018 Ana Luis contacted Felix and pitched the idea of having an Elders flight, in much the same format as the very popular Children’s Flight, Felix immediately agreed and later that year the first Elders Flight took place at Rand Airport this led to the second edition. The dedicated team started preparing the venue on Friday evening and some came very close to working throughout the night to make sure everything was ready for the very important visitors the following day. The morning k

Spitfire 5518 Restoration Project join forces with Performance Centre

For all those Aviation Enthusiasts that frequented airshows in the 1990’s will fondly remember seeing the SAAF Museum’s Spitfire Mk-IX gracing the sky, she sadly crashed at an air show at Zwartkop in 2000 and was consigned to a container until recently. A group of volunteers from the Friends of the SAAF Museum, Pretoria Branch have taken on the massive task of returning this beauty to where she belongs. SAAF Museum’s Spitfire Mk-IX The Spitfire in question, 5518, arrived in South Africa in 1947 and was based in the Cape and later moved to Waterkloof Air Force Base before she was decommissioned 1954. She was then mounted as a gate guard at Waterkloof for twenty three years where the weather t