top of page

News Letter 28 Feb 2018

Good day all

We are truly living in very turbulent times here in The Great South Africa with a new president and completely shuffled cabinet, all we can do is hope this is a departure on a new and better route.

Back to more fun and relevant issues, this weekend our top Aerobatics pilots will be going head to head in Swellendam. The aerobatics competition will be accompanied by a fly-in so anyone in the Western Cape make your way to Swellendam Airfield for a fun entertaining day.

SAPFA will be hosting a Fun Rally at Virginia Airport to the North of Durban, if the weather plays along some pilots and navigators will be making their way from as far as Gauteng. This really promises to be a great event.

The SAAF Museum will be keeping the skies over Pretoria busy on Saturday with their second Flying Training Day, Take the family along watching these vintage aircraft take to air is always a good outing, food and drinks will be on sale.

Safair and SA Airlink merge rejected

The Competition Commission has prohibited the proposed acquisition of Safair by SA Airlink because, in its view, this would likely result in "a substantial prevention of competition", it said on Friday. Safair and Airlink approached the commission in November last year for approval to unite under the common umbrella of the Airlink group of companies.

The commission is of the view that the merger is likely to result in the removal of an effective competitor to SA Airlink on the routes it currently operates on. It said Safair offers competitive prices and has been growing in the market both in terms of its existing routes as well as new routes it recently entered.

In the view of the commission, Safair is also a potential competitor of SA Airlink in those routes which it has not yet entered and is likely to pose a competitive constraint on SA Airlink, bearing in mind its currently competitive pricing on competing and non-competing routes.

The commission found there are significant price differences between Safair and SA Airlink and that if the merger were to be approved, there is a likelihood of significant price increases.

The commission further found that the merger is "likely to result in coordinated effects" through the exchange of competitively sensitive information between South African Airways (SAA) and Safair - and SA Airlink - since SAA has a shareholding in SA Airlink.

SA Airlink currently operates under agreements with SAA. The commission is of the view that should the merger be approved, SA Airlink would have the ability to adapt the business strategy of Safair in such a way that Safair is incorporated into the agreements between SAA and SA Airlink.

The commission further found that even if Safair were not to be incorporated into these agreements, post-merger SAA's indirect economic interest in Safair would dampen competition between Safair and SAA - and presumably by extension to SA Express as well.

In this regard, the commission found that the merger would likely result in the enhancement and facilitation of "coordinated conduct". It found that no remedies could sufficiently address the competition concerns identified.

Earlier on Friday Airlink and Safair said they were disappointed that the commission had not approved the proposed Airlink acquisition of Safair.

Safair and Airlink approached the commission in November last year for approval to unite under the common umbrella of the Airlink group of companies.

The proposal submitted to the commission was that the Airlink and low-cost FlySafair airlines as well as Safair’s other businesses would continue to operate separately under their unique brands. No job losses were foreseen because of the proposed consolidation.

The airlines indicated on Friday that they did not agree with the decision and would approach the Competition Tribunal to consider its application.

Airlink CEO Rodger Foster previously explained that the acquisition would bring opportunities to reduce combined costs and position the businesses for growth. At the same time, connectivity would be increased. In his view the deal would make air travel accessible and affordable across southern Africa.

In the view of Airlink and Safair, the commission's concerns mostly relate to airline operational technical matters. The airlines indicated that they will not elaborate more at this stage in order not to prejudice their case before the tribunal.

Flight schools need to adapt to culture of younger generations

Flight schools need to adapt to the culture of younger generations to fill the ever-increasing demand for pilots, speakers at a recently flight school conference said.

At the Flight School Association of North America (FSANA) Operator’s Conference, speakers noted two conflicting statistics facing the industry: The number of pilots needed by the aviation industry in the next few years is incredibly high, yet the number of students that actually complete flight training is incredibly low.

“Over the next two decades, 87 new pilots will need to be trained and ready to fly a commercial airliner every day in order to meet our insatiable demand to travel by air,” said Jon Ostrower in CNN Money.

At the same time, a survey by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association found that 80% of students who begin flight training never complete it.

“Young people will overcome a lot of obstacles to complete their flight training,” said Mark Leeper of Flight Schedule Pro. “They find ways to finance their education, they don’t have a problem with the rigorous course materials and regulatory requirements and check rides, they often willingly overcome many challenges because aviation is something that people get very passionate about.”

It’s no surprise that their biggest concern is often money. They knew the cost of the program before they started, but what they are uneasy about is whether they will complete the program on time with the amount of money they have budgeted.

The amount of time and training required for a flight student to master a skill can vary based on his ability to perform certain tasks to the satisfaction of an instructor or examiner. At $200-270 an hour, (which pays for the plane, instructor and fuel) a delay can really add up. Adding to the uncertainty and complexity is the fact that most flight students have multiple instructors who may interpret the course materials differently.

“Young people have also grown up with everything online,” he continued. “They do their banking, schoolwork, shopping, entertainment, and even their workouts online. My son prides himself on earning most of a bachelor’s degree without ever buying a paper book. So when a flight school doesn’t give them transparency into their training program, they get really frustrated.”

Many business owners fail to grasp how large this cultural shift is, and what it means to them. Consider that colleges are having trouble getting students to football games if the bandwidth in the stadium isn’t good enough. Students would rather stay home where they can use their phones and tablets while they watch the game.

You can work with or fight against this cultural change, Leeper said. Flight schools should want their customers and students to be connected and to have complete and transparent information about what they’ve completed, what to study next, and how far they’ve come.

Flight schools can leverage this cultural shift by using standard course materials delivered online, with online scheduling and visual progress indicators. Schools can use programs like Flight Schedule Pro that manage these tasks online so that students, instructors, flight school managers and other stakeholders like parents (who may be paying the bills) and advisors can access records securely while maintaining student privacy.

Other speakers included Bruce McCall of Triad Aviation Academy, Chris Erlanson of Nashville Flight Training, and Lisa Campbell of Air-Mods Flight Training Center. All three developed programs for young people (ages 12 and up) following FSANA’s AeroCamp model, designed to provide much-needed visibility to young people, who have few opportunities to engage with aviation.

“I proposed the idea after being inspired by a presentation Bruce gave at a FSANA conference. All of our instructors were against it at first, so I almost discarded the idea,” ” said Erlanson.

But after a few phone calls and some strong support from the airport community, he decided to give it a shot, and held a successful AeroCamp, which had great results and garnered national publicity when a local news story was seen and retweeted by celebrity Kelly Clarkson.

Every one of those skeptical flight instructors were excited to host the next AeroCamp, he said.

“Building a long-term pipeline for prospects is a brilliant marketing strategy,” said aviation marketing consultant Paula Williams of ABCI. “And it’s great for the industry because it’s really inspiring to get kids involved in such an exciting program.”

“It is an exciting time to be in the aviation and aerospace industry,” concluded Robert Rockmaker, FSANA CEO and president. “There are many energetic young people looking to find a pathway toward their dreams and goals. FSANA is helping to make their futures bright as we create programs for our flight school members and our nation’s youth.”

The History of the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)

The emergency locator transmitter or ELT is a standard part of today’s emergency equipment for all types of aircraft, watercraft and even personal use. Today, the ELT is a device that has been successfully used to locate and rescue survivors of plane crashes, forced landings, boating and automobile accidents and even personal ELT devices for hikers, hunters and travelers who became lost or trapped in the countryside.

Thanks to advances in technology, the ELT can now be carried easily in a shirt pocket. But decades ago the idea of having ELT devices on anything other than military or commercial aircraft was not considered practical. However, a single incident changed all that forever and set into motion the development of ELT devices for all aircraft.

The story of how ELT devices were mandated by the Federal Government to be installed on all civilian aircraft began with an article that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in late 1967. The article was an account of the recovery of the bodies of 16 year old Carla Corbus and her mother who survived for 54 days in the Trinity Alps in California after their plane went down. Injured from the crash, Carla and her mother overhead the search planes flying near their location and the up to 59 scheduled airliner fly overhead on a daily basis. Despite all of these attempts, Carla and her mother starved to death before they could be rescued. Carla had recorded an account during this harrowing time in the margins of an airman’s guide.

This article was read by then Colorado Senator Peter Dominick who was so moved that he immediately sponsored legislation demanding that emergency beacons be installed on all aircraft. Despite some inadvertent setbacks, the ELT bill was signed into law by President Nixon on December 29th, 1970. The law was designed to require all aircraft to carry an ELT device by the end of 1973. However, one more tragedy highlighted the need for such devices.

On October 16th, 1972, House majority leader Hale Boggs of Louisiana and Congressman Nick Begich of Alaska along with his aide and the pilot went missing between Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska in a Cessna 310. Despite one of the largest searches in the history of the US, they were never found. This tragedy struck home with the Congress and help cement the importance of have ELT devices in civilian aircraft.

Today, ELT technology and reliability have advanced considerably, especially in terms of miniaturizing which allows anyone to carry an ELT device with them. Considering the millions of GPS devices that are used on a daily basis by people around the world, the advancement of ELT devices has coincided to help those who have experienced an unexpected emergency from getting lost or injured and away from immediate assistance.

Such advances may not have been so rapidly made had it not been for the many tragedies that proceeded their mandatory use. But today, thousands of people have been saved thanks to this remarkable advance in technology that has made the ELT a common, reliable device used around the world.


bottom of page