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News Letter 13 June 2019

Good day all

Yet another weekend yet another airshow only this one will be very different. On 15 June the Maputo Airshow will take place this weekend in the Maputo Bay looking out on the newly constructed Katembe bridge and Inhaca Island, this is truly a unique setting for an airshow. The Airshow is being held for the Aero club of Mozambique (ACM) 90th Anniversary.

The 2019 Zimbabwe Air Rally is currently underway, this edition will mark 45 years of the Zim Air Rally. The Rally is Zimababwe's only Air Rally, it is a navigational exercise using maps, stopwatch and navigator rather than the GPS. The route is to the North of the Country and is a magnificent way to see Zimbabwe.

If Warbirds are your thing then AFB Swartkops is the place to be this weekend, The Annual Warbirds over Swartkop will be taking place. Some of these RC scale aircraft are built to precisely resemble their full scale siblings.

Gen Des Barker Awarded Honorary RAeS Fellowship

Retired SA Air Force (SAAF) MajGen Des Barker has become only the second South African to be awarded Honorary Fellowship of the prestigious Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).

The Society is an international, multi-disciplinary professional institution dedicated to the global aerospace community with more than twenty-two thousand members. In the 101 years the Honorary Fellowship title has been awarded since the first in 1917, only 191 Honorary Fellowships have been awarded.

Barker’s citation reads: “Major General Barker, experimental test pilot, is admitted to Honorary Fellowship in recognition of the major role he played in establishing and developing a formal flight test capability in the South African Air Force (SAAF) and defence industry. In a flying career spanning more than four decades, Major General Barker also played key roles in a wide range of SAAF flight test programmes.

“He served as Chief Test Pilot (1990-1995) and then Officer Commanding (1996-2000) of the SAAF Test Flight and Development Centre.

“In addition, through his publications and presentations he made a significant contribution to display flying safety internationally.

“Major General Barker qualified as a pilot in 1969, a maintenance test pilot in 1974 and an experimental test pilot in 1984. He is a qualified flying instructor and a display pilot with 7,200 flying hours on 58 different types of aircraft.

“He was appointed Air Attaché to the United Kingdom in 2000 and Base Commander AFB Makhado in 2004. He retired in 2008 as Chief of Air Staff Operations and became the Manager Aeronautics Research at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) from which he retired in 2017”.

“He remains self-employed as a civilian experimental test pilot and serves as Vice President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (South Africa) and on the boards of the Aeronautical Society of South Africa and of Airshow South Africa.

“In addition to his publication on display flying safety ‘Zero Error Margin’ he has written a handbook for general aviation pilots ‘Guidelines for the Flight Testing of Experimental and Homebuilt Aircraft’.

“He has received numerous honours and awards from the South African Air Force, the European Airshow Council 2011 Paul Bowen Award, the Jock Maitland Sword of Honour 2018 and The Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Guillaumaud Trophy 2012.”

Asked to comment on the award, Barker said: “It’s with humility and pride the RAeS Honorary Fellowship award is accepted and even more humbling as a test pilot to share the honour with the world’s most illustrious scientists, engineers and aviators including Orville Wright, Winston Churchill, Thomas Sopwith, Frank Whittle, Sydney Camm, Barnes Wallis, Dr Theodore von Kármán, Capt. Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown, Alex Henshaw, Chuck Yeager and Joseph Kittinger”.

The only other South African to have earned this accolade is Professor Beric Skews of the University of the Witwatersrand. He was named a RAeS honorary fellow in 2008. Skews is the director of the Johannesburg-based university’s flow research unit. He is internationally regarded as an expert in the field of compressible gas dynamics and has authored more than 200 publications.

With thanks and appreciation to the SAAF Association and “Crow” Stannard.

Courtesy of

South African Teens Built a Sling 4 to Fly from Cape Town to Cairo

An aviation initiative that aims to inspire young people to pursue their dreams with the mindset that “anything is possible” was on full display this past Saturday at Tedderfield Airpark.

Twenty inexperienced teenagers from diverse backgrounds across South Africa, built a Sling-4 aircraft within three weeks last year June. After vigorous flight inspections, they began their maiden voyage to fly the aircraft from Cape Town to Cairo and back on Saturday, June 13th, 2019.

The Journey will take six-weeks to accomplish, going from one of the most southern tip of South Africa to one of the most northern tips of the continent Cairo, Egypt.

Donations are needed and will help with the cost of fuel, landing fees, excursions for the teens as they cross and land into different African countries. If you feel motivated to do so, please donate to this worthy cause at . If you are unable to donate money, please share it with your followers and tag people you know who may want to help.

Cessna Denali propels to next stage of development

Textron Aviation announced today it is nearing completion of the Cessna Denali prototype as well as the first two flight and three ground test articles, the latest milestone in the development of the company’s new clean-sheet, high-performance single-engine turboprop.

“The result of the work we are doing now in design, production and testing is going to provide a mature configuration that will help us move through certification and flight testing, ultimately bringing a proven aircraft to the market,” said Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Engineering. “The Denali is being designed and built to outperform the competition in capability, pilot interface, cabin experience and total ownership costs.”

The prototype and the first two production conforming aircraft will be used in the flight test program set to begin later this year, where the three ground test articles will be used for the company’s airframe static and fatigue tests, and for cabin interior development and testing.

In preparation for first flight, the company also recently completed component integration for the Denali iron bird, a full systems simulator test rig laid out in the configuration and size of the Denali. Leveraging unique Textron Aviation engineering and manufacturing techniques, the test rig incorporates the design of the aircraft’s avionics, electrical and engine control systems, then positions them in a framework that makes the systems easy to access during testing. The iron bird will play an important role in testing the Denali’s Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC), which controls both engine power and propeller pitch with a single lever.

Additionally, GE Aviation announced it has successfully achieved full power and max RPM with the new 1300 shp Catalyst engine and the state-of-the-art 105-inch, McCauley composite propeller at its facility in Prague – where it has completed more than 1,000 hours of testing on three test articles. The engine and propeller demonstrated the full range of pitch using a FADEC with integrated propeller control. Initial altitude chamber testing was completed this month validating the engine performance.

“This new turboprop engine design will give the Denali a number of key advantages over other aircraft in this class and we are pleased to say that test engine performance is meeting or exceeding performance expectations” Hearne said. “New technology allows for a much longer time between overhaul, quieter operation and because of the first-ever digital engine and propeller control, it will reduce pilot workload and have greater fuel efficiency than similar aircraft in its class.”


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