Lock-down Flying – Virtual but Lekker

So here we are a few days into the nationwide lock-down and the boredom is starting to gain pace. The aviation withdraw has now set in and the poor people closest to you have to endure your constant unhappiness with the situation. I was getting close to being locked out for the rest of the lock-down, that’s until I decided to download Flight Sim X Steam Edition. Caravan approaching Durban The Steam Edition of Flight Sim X is easily accessible from the Steam website and at only R269 it was definitely a very good buy. I contacted a few friends and we quickly set up an online gaming hub through JoinFS, this process was also pretty simple. Before we could wash our hands again we were flying form

I’ll take the 18! The story of the Beech 18 and freight flying

With the country being in a state of lock-down, and affecting us all, I was scrolling through my Kindle looking for good books to read and this book popped up: I’ll take the 18, the story of the Beech 18 and freight flying I thought let me look at it and I found yet another great book. The book is written by Scott Gloodt, based on his experiences flying the aircraft when he had just qualified as a young commercial pilot and was looking for any flying hours, to build experience and move up in the world of commercial aviation In amongst his stories and experiences, the book deals with the history of the Beech 18, from its development in 1937, when it was developed as a VIP transporter, and dur

Tedderfield Weekend Warriors join the Aerobatic fraternity

Four intrepid aviators left Tedderfield in three RV’s bound for Kitty Hawk on Thursday 12 March. We were an anxious bunch, some displaying a lot more nerves than others. The mission to attend an aerobatics camp for two solid flying days at FAKT. The excitement was high, the anxiety perhaps higher, the expectation of instructors strutting around in flying overalls, wearing bone domes and barking orders was all too real. The WhatsApp group came alive with communication about places to stay, offers of transport to and from our chosen digs, and then the week prior, offers of hanger space. Now I think about 15 aircraft arrived and to my knowledge all but one unfortunate lonely Yak, slept inside n

The US Navy order another eighteen P-8A Poseidon Aircraft

The U.S. Navy awarded Boeing a $1.5 billion production contract for the next 18 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The contract includes eight aircraft for the U.S. Navy, six aircraft for the Republic of Korea Navy and four aircraft for the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The Republic of Korea Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force acquired the aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive the same P-8A Poseidon variant designed and produced for the U.S. Navy. The Royal New Zealand Air Force is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2022 and the Republic of Korea Navy is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2023. The P-8 is a proven long-range multi-mission maritime patrol aircraf

China’s domestic aviation industry showing upward trend

These are dark days for the aviation industry, albeit every industry, but if there is a ray of light it might be this: the country where COVID-19 started is showing signs of recovery. China’s domestic passengers are starting to once again take to the skies. IATA chief economist Brian Pearce sees that a “turning point” could be in sight for airlines in the world’s second biggest economy. From 23 January, when the city of Wuhan was locked down by authorities, China’s aviation industry has been dealing with the biggest collapse in its history. The civil aviation market dropped by around 80% between 23 January and the middle of March, according to IATA figures. Nearly 500,000 domestic and intern

HeliCrewManager the Future of Helicopter Operation Control

Craig Webster a former computer programmer turned helicopter pilot identified a host of problems in the conventional management of helicopter crew, especially in tracking and predicting currency of pilots that are required to perform multiple tasks in one company. Craig put his abilities as a programmer to work in an attempt to create a solution to this global challenge in the helicopter industry, as a result HeliCrewManager (HCM) was developed. HCM is a versatile web-application designed to take the pain out of rostering pilots by instantly referencing flight time limitations, adherence to checks and currencies. The manager of a helicopter operation can instantly check which types and ratin

ICAO, IMO, and UNWTO help the aviation and tourism sector withstand COVID-19 impacts

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and the World Health Organisation (WHO) joined the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) today for a virtual teleconference on COVID-19. When outlining the status of the air industry, and summarising the actions taken to-date by ICAO, Dr. Liu underscored that “without reliable, affordable air services, and harmonised aviation and tourism policies, the benefits of aviation and tourism simply cannot be realised. I wish to be very clear how much ICAO recognises the importance of these dynamics to global sustainability objectives.” The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), International M

Cathay Pacific to drastically reduce capacity

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon will reduce capacity by 96% across our passenger network in April and May in light of the severe drop in demand due to the ongoing corona-virus pandemic and multiple government travel restrictions that form part of the global health response plan. As previously announced, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon intend to operate a bare skeleton passenger flight schedule in April and May, though their freighter capacity remains intact. Cathay’s ability to maintain even this skeleton schedule will depend on whether more travel restrictions are imposed by governments around the world which will further dampen passenger demand. Cathay Pacific will operate three flights

Textron Aviation Defense announces U.S. Air Force contract for Bechcraft AT-6 Wolverine aircraft

Textron Aviation Defense company, today announced the finalization of a $70.2 million Other Transaction Authority (OTA) with the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Enter to equip the U.S. Air Force with two Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine aircraft, pilot training, engineering services and up to four years of contractor support for maintenance and spares. The work in support of this OTA, which includes activities in support of military type certification, will take place in Wichita, Kansas. “Textron Aviation Defence is proud to equip the U.S. Air Force with the multi-role Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine,” said Brett Pierson, vice president of Defence Strategy and Sales. “The AT-6 is a vital element of

Czech Republic Adopts SALIS Capability to Airlift Urgent Medical Equipment

According to NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), the Czech Republic will use Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) to transfer urgent medical equipment from China and help tackling the coronavirus crisis in the country. In total, three SALIS missions will take place in the next days, under Czech Republic request. The AN-124-100 aircraft of Antonov Airlines, airlift subdivision of ANTONOV COMPANY, will arrive to Shenzhen Airport, in southeaster China. It will carry 70 tons of urgent protective medical equipment, including surgery veils, respirators and protective googles among other kits to the Czech Republic. This is a challenging mission, commented an NSPA Officer. “Our c

SAA Suspends International and Regional Flights until 31 May 2020

South African Airways (SAA) will immediately suspend all regional and international operations until the end of May in response to a government travel ban aimed at stopping the transmission of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) The decision means SAA will only render services domestically between Johannesburg and Cape Town. The suspension of flights follows the gazetting of Regulations and the issuing of a Notice to Air Men (NOTAM), an official government notice prohibiting the embarkation and disembarkation of crew and passengers from SAA’s three international destinations. The regulation is effective from Friday March 21. The regulations, gazetted by Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, means no fl

SAC Kitty Hawk RV Aerobatics Training Camp

Kitty Hawk Aerodrome just outside Pretoria is the ideal location to host an aerobatic training camp, it has its own registered aerobatic box and easy access to general flying areas in the vicinity. Gary Glasson, Sport Aerobatic Club Chairman, and his dedicated team have taken it upon themselves to grow the sport of aerobatics to a level never seen before in South Africa and where better to start than at grass roots level. The training camps they have already held have started showing results with the Sportsman Class growing from competition to competition. The Camp was held from Thursday 12 March to Saturday 14 March, and from the outset the “students” were divided into two sections. The fir

100 years of Trans-African flight Commemorated

It has been 100 years since Lieutenant-Colonel Pierre van Ryneveld and Captain Quentin Brand departed completed their record setting first Trans-Africa flight from London to Cape Town. The Times of London launched a competition to see who could successfully complete the trip from London to Cape Town, with a £5 000 prize for the first reach Cape Town, this would have been approximately £225 000 or R4.7 million today. Lieutenant-Colonel Pierre van Ryneveld Captain Quentin Brand It is believed that then South African Prime Minister Jan Smuts wanted a South African to be the first to complete the challenge, so he authorised the purchase of a Vickers Vimy at a cost of £4 500. On 4 February 1

Bona Bona Game Lodge Officially Open their New Runway

For the pilot looking for a weekend fly-away there could be no better place than Bona Bona Game lodge and Safari Spa deeply nestled in the picturesque North West Province Bushveld. Bona Bona recently opened their new upgraded runway, a whopping 1300 meters long and 11.2 meters wide(17/35), so no matter what you fly getting in and out should be a very pleasant experience. Bona Bona was a hive of activity on Friday 7 March when aviators from all over the country made their way to this bushveld paradise for the official opening of the new runway, what better way is there to celebrate the opening of a runway than staging a “mini airshow”? Many of the prominent airshow teams were invited to atten

South African Airways COVID-19 Precautions and Flight Alteration Policy

South African Airways (SAA) assures customers that its operational health and safety procedures adhere to the World Health Organisation’s protocols to protect its customers and crew from contracting the COVID-19 (coronavirus) while flying with SAA. SAA follows procedures, advice and guidelines from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organisation, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Civil Aviation Authorities as well as the airports and customs authorities’ directives to ensure the safety of its customers. “The safety, health and wellbeing of our customers and crew is a number one priority. To ensure their wellbeing, we adhere to the following procedures:

Statement released by the SACAA regarding COVID-19 and their Operations

In view of the COVID-19 Corona virus outbreak in the country, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) would like to provide the following update in relation to the SACAA operations during this time. Background On 10 January 2020, Chinese health officials reported 41 cases of pneumonia due to the novel Corona virus (2019-nCOV), including seven patients with severe illness and one death. Preliminary analysis of the viral genome from China and other countries suggests that initial transmission from an animal reservoir (Fish market in Wuhan, China) to humans could have occurred as early as October 2019. Information about the Virus. According to the information from the World Health Or

The Extra 330 LX - A True two-seat Aerobatic Competitor

The Extra 330 LX is the two seat variant of the extremely successful Extra 330SC, which has been winning international aerobatics competitions since it’s release, these include seven World Unlimited Championships since 2009. Kayle Wooll and Jason Beamish invited me along to photograph their two beautiful LX’s over the Hartbeespoort Dam recently an opportunity that I definitely couldn’t refuse. Jason received the first 330 LX in the country about two years ago, Kayle took ownership of his late last year and successfully completed his first aerobatic competition last weekend earning a second place in the Advanced category. I was blown away at how comfortable these monsters were at low speeds,

SAC North-West Regional Aerobatics Championships

All the aerobatics pilots from around South Africa look forward to the competitions held at Klerksdorp, I’m sure in part because of the way Cliff Lotter always seems to get things right, from organising accommodation to the amazing trophies he always manages to turn out. The 2020 North-West regional champs was no exception, due to the large field and only running the competition on Saturday it was a pretty early start, the briefing started at 8:30. Many of the competitors had spent the Friday night at Bona Bona Game Lodge as they celebrated the opening of their runway with a mini “airshow”. The competition was kicked off by Tristan Eeles, Tristan flew his dad’s Extra 330 SC for the first tim

SAA Begins Retrenchment Negotiations

The joint BRPs announced that South African Airways SOC Limited has issued a notice advising its employees of the intention to begin imminent consultations in terms of section 189 of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995. The notices of consultation were issued to all the recognised unions in SAA for employees and management. These include SAAPA – South African Airways Pilots Association, NTM – National Transport Movement, NTM Management Forum, SACCA – South African Cabin Crew Association, SATAWU- South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, Solidarity, AUSA – Aviation Union of South Africa and NUMSA – National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa. The BRPs have been engaging with the un