Warmbaths Taildraggers Fly-in 2020

Nylstroom Taildraggers has achieved almost legendary status amongst the general aviation community in South Africa, after ten successful years of hosting the event the good people at Nylstroom had to sadly discontinue the event as the local “Aviation Estate” residents had started using the runway as a thoroughfare creating a very dangerous situation. A decision was made to rather move the event to Warmbaths Airfield before an incident could occur that could have far-reaching implications that could put all events of this nature at risk. Warmbaths Flying Club was only too happy to take on the challenge of organising and hosting the biggest GA fly-in in the country. Taildraggers was originally

Flying Frontiers from Bush Flying to Warbirds

Have you ever dreamt about experiencing real bush flying in an aircraft kitted out with massive tundra tyres and an undercarriage designed to take on the worst terrain and smile, or maybe you an aspirant fighter pilot that never had the opportunity to experience a true thoroughbred Warbird. either way, Flying Frontiers can make your dream a reality. Craig Lang, CFI and owner of Flying Frontiers, grew up in the African Bushveld and has amassed almost 20 years of guiding and flying experience in Africa. Based at the picturesque Eva’s Field airstrip in Hilton, KZN, any bush pilots dream field, having access to numerous airstrips in the region, as well as many remote and normally inaccessible f

We All Need To Be Weather Geeks

Disruption is a hot topic these days, but the 16th century had plenty of it, too. In the span of a generation, the printing press (and the Protestant Reformation) fundamentally changed the way many Christians practiced their religion. Instead of listening to a priest interpret the Bible, the average churchgoer could read it in his native language and make up his own mind. This movement wasn’t universal, and it wasn’t without controversy, but for many, power had clearly shifted from the pulpit to the pews by 1585. Aviation is experiencing a similar shift, although it probably won’t change the world in such a momentous way. Thanks to the ubiquity of internet access, the power of software, and

The First Powered Flight in South Africa

It is common knowledge that the field of aviation was pioneered in the US when Orville Wright achieved the first powered flight on 17 December 1903. What is less well known is that the first powered flight in South Africa was achieved just six years later and is regarded as the first heavier-than-air flight undertaken on the African continent. The Wright Brothers The roots of South Africa’s aviation heritage can be traced back to France, not only was the first aircraft flown in the country a product of French design and engineering, but the first man to undertake that flight was also a French national. In the wake of the Wright brothers’ nature-defying achievement, several aircraft manufactu

Boeing Launches New 737-800 BCF Conversion Lines to Meet Strong Demand

Boeing announced a firm order from an unidentified customer for two 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF), as well as agreements to open additional conversion lines in Guangzhou, China, and Singapore to meet strong market demand. This brings the total commitments and orders for B737-800 freighters 134. Based on the popular Next-Generation 737, the 737-800BCF offers operators newer technology, lower fuel consumption and higher reliability than other standard-body freighters. Primarily used to carry express cargo on domestic or short-haul routes, the aircraft is capable of carrying up to 23.9 tonnes and flying up to 2,000 nautical miles. “The freighter conversion program is an excellent wa

Kulula.com founder Is Planning A New South African Airline

As the world airlines are in absolute turmoil with mass lay-offs and more and more airlines declaring bankruptcy almost daily, South Africa, unfortunately, were not spared in any way. Mr Gidon Novick the Founder of Kulula.com has proposed starting a new airline. We all know the drama that has unfolded at South African Airways, the Covid-19 pandemic was but the final nail in the proverbial coffin, and their demise will most likely drag Mango off the playing field as well. Comair is currently in business rescue, SA Air Express has all but been relegated to annuals of history, although the staff are hatching a hopeful plan to revive the airline. FlySafair and SA Airlink seem to have got everyth

The SAPFA Secunda Speed Rally

The 2020 Speed Rally season, like many other sporting events, was completely upended by the Covid-19 pandemic. The season got off to a promising start in with the first race being held in Springs and the second at Witbank just before the world was flung into “Caronamania”. As a result of having to cancel two of the planned events, SAPFA decided to extend the 2020 season to the end of the year which will include the Springs Speed Rally as a season “Finale”. Secunda Airfield hosted the latest instalment of this exciting new aviation sport, which is referred to as the fastest-growing sport aviation code in South Africa. The Speed Rally was born at Secunda in late 2018 and since then have grown

Loyal Wingman Completes First Engine Run

Boeing Australia powered up the commercial turbofan engine on the first Loyal Wingman aircraft in September, as part of ground testing and preparations for the first flight. This milestone comes on the heels of Boeing completing the first unmanned Loyal Wingman aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force earlier this year, a major step forward for the unmanned vehicle serving as the foundation for the global Boeing Air-power Teaming System, an artificial intelligence-powered teaming aircraft developed for the global defence market. “This engine run gets us closer toward flying the first aircraft later this year and was successful thanks to the collaboration and dedication of our team,” said

Algerian Air Force- The most Powerful in Africa

Algerian military aviation was created to support the fight of the People National Army against the French occupying forces. It came as part of the decisions of the Soummam congress held on 20 August 1956, which recommended a long-term plan to form a modern army. A structure was created to train future pilots. Many pilots were sent to friendly countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and the USSR, to train as aircraft pilots and aeronautics technicians. During this initial period, the French colonial army started the lines of Challe and Morrice used to isolate the ALN fighters inside the country and to stop supplies coming from Tunisia and Morocco. The idea was born to train transport and helic

Pilot Fatigue - A Serious Threat

For years, pilot fatigue has been a real issue. Airline pilots, as well as cargo, corporate and charter pilots, can all face fatigue while on the job. While pilot fatigue can be common and overlooked, it poses a very troubling threat to aviation safety and should be taken seriously. There is a long history of debates between regulatory agencies, airline pilots and unions, and aircraft operators over pilot fatigue issues. Today, the issue is still being argued as the industry tries to find a common solution to decrease the risks associated with fatigue. The Problem with Pilot Fatigue Pilot fatigue has been a real problem since the beginning of air travel. Charles Lindbergh fought to stay awak

Supersonic passenger flight set to return with a Boom

In the last 20 odd years, no passenger has had the experience of booking a ticket on a supersonic flight. The aptly named Boom Supersonic, the Denver-based start-up, is planning on changing that in the very near future. In less than a month, Boom will unveil what it hopes will be the aircraft to announce the new generation of supersonic flight. On 7 October, Boom Supersonic is planning to show off the XB-1, its single-seat test craft, with flights planned for next year. It’s early days, but what happens in Colorado in the next 18 months could have lasting consequences on how we fly. Boom expects test flights of the XB-1 to begin sometime in 2021, with the goal of putting the full-size Overtu

Russia’s upgraded Tu-95MSM bomber has made its maiden flight.

Russia’s Tu-95MSM heavily upgraded strategic missile-carrying bomber has made its maiden flight according to a video released by United Aircraft Corporation. The Tupolev Tu-95 is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform. The TU-95 was first flown in 1952 and entered service with the then Soviet Union in 1956. An adaptation of the bomber for maritime patrol was designated Tu-142, while a passenger airliner derivative was designated the Tu-114. The aircraft originally had four Kuznetsov NK-12 engines with contra-rotating propellers, It is the only propeller-powered strategic bomber still in operational use today. The Tu-95 is one of the loudest military ai

Republic of Korea Air Force from the L-4 Grasshopper to the KF-X

Shortly after the end of World War II, the South Korean Air Construction Association was founded on August 10, 1946, to publicize the importance of airpower. Despite the then-scanty status of Korean armed forces, the first air unit was formed on May 5, 1948, under the direction of Dong Wi-bu, the forerunner to the modern South Korean Ministry of National Defence. On September 13, 1949, the United States contributed 10 L-4 Grasshopper observation aircraft to the South Korean air unit. An Army Air Academy was founded in January 1949, and the ROKAF was officially founded in October 1949. The 1950's were a critical time for the ROKAF as it expanded tremendously during the Korean War. At the outb

Thunderstorms - Sharing Airspace with Monsters

By Greg Illes They are beautiful, dangerous, and full of mystery. As a femme fatale in an action movie, thunderstorms are lovely to look at, unpredictable and menacing all at the same time. As we enter the storm season in the interior of South Africa a refresher on these beautiful beasts seem appropriate. So much has been written about these phenomena, it is difficult to discuss them without repeating age-old conventional wisdom's: keep 20 miles away from thunderstorm cells and stay on the upwind side. These guidelines are useful, but some additional information can help you creatively circumnavigate cells and still fly safely. Thunderstorm “cells” are cumulonimbus clouds in various stages o

Satellites, aircraft and helicopters at the forefront of fire safety

In full summer, the fire season is at its peak. The flames are also raging this year, in Italy and throughout the world, creating a real emergency adding to the global pandemic of Covid-19 which has gripped the world since the end of last year. Fires, natural or arson, in Italy alone tripled in 2019, as reported by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) and the estimates for 2020 show a similar view. In emergencies, as is happening with Covid-19, organisations such as Leonardo prove to be an increasingly important solution in support of institutions which are committed to ensuring the protection of the environment, communities, and resources that may be affected by disaster reli

Otto Aviation Officially Unveils Celera 500L Passenger Aircraft

Otto Aviation has revealed the most awaited prototype of an efficient, long-range, fuel-powered passenger aircraft called 'Celera 500L'. The full-scale prototype has completed 31 successful test flights that validate its operating performance goals, an official statement from the company said. The Celera 500L is a six-seat private aircraft that promises to fly at jet speeds, with eight times lower fuel consumption, and a range that's twice that of a comparably sized “Biz Jet”. The aircraft utilizes extensive laminar flow over the fuselage, wings, and tail surfaces to reduce drag and achieve superior aerodynamics, speed, and fuel efficiency, the company stated. The manufacturing detail delive

Kelly Johnson: A True Military Aviation Hero

by Alex Hollings Kelly Johnson wasn’t the first man to build an aircraft. Nor was he the first to push the limits of what an aircraft could do. But few men have played a more vital role than Johnson in shaping mankind’s ascent into the skies. According to the latest expert estimates, human beings like you and me, have been walking on earth for over 200,000 years. That figure gets even tougher to wrap your head around when you consider that a mere 200 years ago, mankind had yet to develop matches or typewriters. A century ago, we didn’t have antibiotics or movies with sound. These, along with countless other advancements, played a roll in a technological revolution that continues to this day,

Skydrive’s First Piloted Flying Car Takes to the Skies

Japanese company SkyDrive has successfully launched its first manned prototype with plans to make the flying car a reality as soon as 2023. SkyDrive is backed by Toyota and recently received $37 million in funding and on 25 August conducted a successful public test flight of its new SD-03. In a video that was released Friday, the flying car can be seen flying effortlessly around Toyota Test Field in the city of Toyota with a pilot at the helm for added safety. The single-seat aircraft, which has been many years in the making, lifted to six feet above the ground and circled the test area for roughly four minutes. The watershed joyride proved that the aircraft could work as intended in the fie

The Battle of Taranto – a Defining Moment in Naval Aviation

On the night of November 11-12, 1940, the Royal Navy launched twenty-one obsolescent Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious against the Italian fleet anchored at Taranto. It was history’s first naval engagement that relied upon carrier aircraft to attack heavily defended warships and was a defining moment of the Royal Navy’s Fleet air arm. Plans for attacking the Italian fleet in Taranto, which was well-positioned to move out and engage British lines across the Mediterranean, had been mulled by the Royal Navy for years before the outbreak of WWII. The most promising plan, codenamed Operation Judgement, called for an attack by torpedo bombers launch

Robinson deliver R66 Turbine SN-1000

On July 29th, Robinson delivered R66 Turbine serial number 1000 to Robinson dealer Les Gillespie of Gardner Aviation. FAA-certified in October 2010, the first production R66 was delivered the following month. Since then, the R66 has proven itself on a daily basis. Powered by the Rolls Royce RR300 turbine engine, the R66 recently surpassed 1.2 million flight hours without a single reported in-flight engine failure. This accomplishment demonstrates a level of reliability that exceeds EASA’s stringent requirements for single-engine helicopters. The R66 has also risen to the challenges of flying to the North Pole and circumnavigating the globe multiple times. “Delivering serial number 1000 demon