top of page

News Letter 6 September 2018

Good day all

Unfortunately the Swaziland Airshow has been called off; hopefully it will still take place sometime in the near future. For all aviators that will be in Gauteng this weekend and feel like having a bit of flying fun Grand Central is the place to be.

The Grand Central Fun Rally will be taking place on Saturday 8 September. Breakfast will be available at the Harvard Café form 7:30 and the briefing will get underway at 8:30 in the Harvard Cafe Conference Room. The first Aircraft is expected to take-off at 10:00 the day will be closed off with prize giving at 14:00. The weather looks as if it might play along for the Rally.

Please enter online HERE

Next weekend all action will be at Kitty Hawk for the annual RV Fly-In please diaries the date and we hope to see you all there.


Spike Aerospace is working to make its Mach 1.6 business jet compliant with Stage 5 engine noise and emissions requirements.

Photo: Spike Aerospace

Spike Aerospace, which is developing the 18-passenger S-512 supersonic business jet (SSBJ), said it shares “critically important” concerns raised in recent reports regarding the potential impact of supersonic flight on the environment. In fact, the company is aiming for its low-boom Mach 1.6 aircraft to meet stringent Stage 5 engine noise and emissions regulations.

“It is completely unacceptable to advance technology or transportation at the detriment of the environment or the community,” said Spike Aerospace CEO Vik Kachoria. “That is simply irresponsible.”

Thus, the company said it promises to minimize emissions and maximize the fuel efficiency and economy of its S-512 design, as well as reduce noise around airport zones. “We welcome discussions with environmental groups to understand concerns and considerations important to them,” Kachoria added. “We will be working with those groups, engine manufacturers, airports, and the regulatory bodies to assess potential impact—both positive and negative.”

He concluded, “Our hope is that before environmental groups lobby the Senate to ban supersonic flight, they seek to understand more about what Spike Aerospace and our competitors are doing to minimize the impact. Before banning supersonic flight, let's talk first.”

The Boston-based company intends to have the S-512 flying by early 2021, with customer deliveries starting in 2023.


African air Charter Company Major Blue Air is adding Mahindra Aerospace Airvan 10 turboprop singles to its fleet.

Photo: Mahindra Aerospace

Maun, Botswana-based air charter company Major Blue Air has accepted its first 10-seat Mahindra Aerospace Airvan 10. The turboprop single received type certification from both the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and U.S. FAA last year.

The charter operator already has five eight-seat Airvan 8 piston singles in its fleet; other models on property include the Cessna 172 and 206, Hawker 800XP, and Beechcraft King Air B200 and Baron 58. Major Blue Air’s base hangar is situated at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone.

“Over last few years, we have enhanced our focus and attention to the important [air charter] market. With increasing traffic, this market needed a bigger and turbine aircraft. And the larger Airvan 10 complements the Airvan 8,” said Mahindra Aerospace executive director and CEO Arvind Mehra. According to Mahindra, 35 Airvan 8s have sold in Botswana alone.

The Airvan is the most suitable aircraft for Botswana’s tourism industry, a Mahindra spokesperson told AIN. Larger tourist groups don’t want to hire two aircraft, so the Airvan 10 that seats eight passengers, along with two crew, was needed, she noted, adding, “Besides, the large windows offer an almost 360-degree view of the game country.”

While the airplane is assembled in Australia, the aerostructures business of the Airvan is based in India, where the company has a 270,000-sq-ft/25,000-sq-m facility near Bengaluru. Mahindra is now seeking approval for the Airvan 10 from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation to allow sales and deliveries in its home country.


The process to merge South African Express (SA Express) with South African Airways (SAA) is underway, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday, during his presentation to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, the Minister said the first step had already been taken.“The first step of consolidating SA Express with SAA has just been concluded, which was to place both airlines within one Shareholder Ministry. SAA has been transferred back to the department,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this month transferred the administration of the South African Airways Act and accompanying functions from the Minister of Finance back to the Minister of Public Enterprises. The transfer was signed by the President on 25 July 2018 and gazetted on 1 August 2018. In December 2014, government announced the move of SAA from the Department of Public Enterprises to National Treasury.

In his update, Gordhan said the boards and executive leadership of both airlines have been tasked with identifying quick wins to stabilise the two State-owned airlines. These quick wins include technical, fuel and route rationalisation. He said the SA Express board is expected to submit a bankable business model for commercial recovery and long-term sustainability.

In May, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced the suspension of SA Express’s air operator’s certificate and the certificates of airworthiness (CoA) of nine of the 21 aircraft being operated by the airline.

The CAA reinstated its Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) certification on 22 June 2018. Subsequently in July, SA Express announced that it was readying itself for take-off. On Wednesday, Gordhan said SA Express – with its new interim Chief Executive Officer Siza Mzimela – would commence operations next week.

“The entity has received an airline operating certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority and will resume a flight schedule shortly,” said the Minister.He said the airline plans to build continuously on its flight schedule.

At a media briefing in May, Gordhan said government wanted to merge national carrier SAA with SA Express and Mango, as the three airlines fly to the same destinations. The Minister told Parliament on Wednesday that SA Express continues to face liquidity and solvency challenges. While government has provided the airline with a government guarantee of R1.74 billion, the department says immediate recapitalisation is required.

In addition, the airline is in the process of finalising its annual financial statements for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial year due to going concern challenges.

Gordhan said the lack of revenue generation due to the grounding of the airline has exacerbated the challenges of the airline. This is against the backdrop of allegations of high levels of corruption, among other things.

The Minister also gave the committee an update of other State-owned companies (SOCs) falling within the ambit of the Department of Public Enterprises.