top of page

News Letter 31 January 2018

Good day all

I once again greet you with a very heavy heart after the loss of yet another respected member of the South African Aviation community. John Waterson, the owner of Savannah Africa the builders of the versatile Savannah range of aircraft. John accompanied by Gerald Murahwi, an employee of Savannah Africa were fatally injured when they crashed while on a test flight of a new Savannah Aircraft. Our sincere condolences go to the the family and friends of both the victims in this tragedy.

A short note from Santjie White to all involved in the search and Rescue operation.

“Dear team. After 2 incredibly emotional days filled with lots of frustration the wreckage and sad fatalities of John and Gerald has been confirmed. The amount of human compassion from each and every individual that contributed to a successful find can never be expressed in words. To those who lost a loved one, family member, aviation family member and friend our sincerest condolences. You will remain in our prayers and thoughts. May I express my sincerest thank you to all involved.”

On friday 2 February The South African Airforce will be celebrating their 98th birthday the SAAF was established on 1 February 1921, a Prestige day Parade will be held on Friday at AFB Zwartkop.

The SAAF Museum will be hosting a Flying Training day on Saturday 3 February, take the whole family it is always a very fun day out.

Red Bull Air Race 2018 Opens in Abu Dhabi

Fourteen teams begin a season of eight races around the world.

The Red Bull Air Race World Championship takes off in Abu Dhabi this weekend to officially begin the 2018 season.

The 2018 season of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship is taking off this week in Abu Dhabi, with top aerobatic racers battling it out around the inflatable pylon courses made famous by the racing series.

Fourteen pilots are competing in the Masters Class this year. Among the previous contestants are Americans Kirby Chambliss and Michael Goulian, Canadian Pete McCloud, Australian Matt Hall, Czech Martin Sonka, and last year’s champion, Yoshi Muroya from Japan, who barely beat Sonka in 2017’s exciting season finale.

“I’ve never looked forward to a kick-off with so much anticipation,” said Red Bull Air Race general manager Erich Wolf. “The 2017 season had us on the edge of our seats, and because it was so close, every team sees a chance for glory and is going for it.” Several teams have modified the race airplanes to maximize their chances of winning. Click here to learn more about how the teams optimize the speed around the course.

The 14th contestant is Ben Murphy from Great Britain, who is joining the group after moving up from the Challenger class where he raced for two years.

As with previous years, the Red Bull Air Races will travel from country to country. After the first race in Abu Dhabi, February 2 to 3, the group will head to Cannes, France, April 21 to 22; a yet to be determined location in Europe May 26 to 27; Budapest, Hungary, June 23 to 24; a location in Asia August 4 to 5; Kazan, Russia August 25 to 26; and Indianapolis October 6 to 7. The final race is scheduled to take place in November at a location in Asia that has not yet been finalized.

More than 80 Red Bull Air Races have been conducted since the first event took place in 2003.

Schweizer S-300 Production to Resume after Sale by Sikorsky

Schweizer RSG, a new company in Fort Worth, Texas, has big plans for the little helicopter.

A Texas company has big plans for the Schweizer 300 helicopter after purchasing the product line from Sikorsky.

Schweizer RSG, a newly formed company affiliated with Rotorcraft Services Group in Fort Worth, Texas, plans to restart production of the Schweizer 300 by the end of the year after purchasing the product line from Sikorsky.

Sikorsky’s exit from the light helicopter market brings some clarity after years of ambiguity surrounding the S-300’s fate following Sikorsky’s purchase of Schweizer in 2004. The model will be produced under license by AVIC in China to support that country’s growing demand for trainers. The sale also gives hope for improved parts availability to the owners of the estimated 2,900 Schweizer S-300 series helicopters flying around the world.

Sikorsky, now a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, will focus on its two main product lines in the civilian market — the S-76 and S-92.

The transaction closed on January 24, and was announced the following day to Sikorsky’s employees, customers, and suppliers. The manufacturer said the sale will have “no impact” on its commercial workforce or the facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, where the S-300 production line was based.

Sikorsky purchased the type, originally known as the Hughes 300, through its acquisition of Schweizer Aircraft Corp., and soon rebranded it the Sikorsky S-300. The light trainer’s future appeared bright for a while, but Sikorsky closed the original Schweizer factory in Elmira, New York, in 2010, throwing the fate of the model into question.

The president of Schweizer RSG is David Horton, who served as the president and general manager of Schweizer Aircraft from 2008 to 2010. The company plans to provide a further update on the S-300’s future at the upcoming Heli-Expo show in Las Vegas February 27-March 1.

IATA welcomes Single African Air Transport Market initiative by AU

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative by the African Union (AU).

The initiative is set to open up Africa's skies and improve intra-African air connectivity, which in turn will stimulate demand, improve African airline industry competitiveness and allow for an increase in air travel accessibility, thereby generating higher volumes of trade, expanded tourism and growing commerce between African nations and the rest of the world.

Greater connectivity leads to greater prosperity: IATA welcomes Single African Air Transport Market initiative by AU

“The SAATM has the potential for remarkable transformation that will build prosperity while connecting the African continent. Every open air service arrangement has boosted traffic, lifted economies and created jobs, and we expect no less in Africa on the back of the SAATM agreement. An IATA survey suggested that if just 12 key African countries opened their markets and increased connectivity, an extra 155,000 jobs and $1.3bn in annual GDP would be created in those countries,” said Rapahel Kuuchi, IATA’s vice president for Africa.

“We commend the 23 states that have signed up to SAATM.

It is an important step forward, but the benefits of a connected continent will only be realised through effective implementation of SAATM – firstly by the countries already committed and also by the remaining 32 AU member nations still to come on board,” added Kuuchi.

One of the main obstacles to the implementation of previous open skies pledges – 1988 Yamoussoukro Declaration and 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision – has been the absence of an underpinning regulatory text. IATA welcomes the AU’s adoption of the regulatory text of the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) – also the framework for SAATM – which covers competition and consumer protection and dispute settlements, as these safeguard the efficient operation of the market.

“Today’s decision is momentous. SAATM is a decisive step towards greater intra-African connectivity and delivers the framework on which to achieve it. Now it’s time to get down to the work of implementation. Greater connectivity will lead to greater prosperity. Governments must act on their commitments, and allow their economies to fly high on the wings of aviation,” concluded Kuuchi.


bottom of page