SA Flyer Magazine July 2024

Page 1





Guy: Doctor Killers

Jim – Planes don’t bounce

Okavango –Pioneering days!

Lamola – can SAA grow without money?

Jim: Why taxying accidents are always your fault The HUGE Mi-26 Heli.

Glenn Orsmond: Hero – or Bozo?


SOME TIME AGO I was asked by a senior SACAA official why I had called it the ‘Commission Against Aviation’.

I tried in vain to explain that one of the roles of the SACAA was to develop aviation, which means grow the industry. Yet arbitrary enforcement, coupled with ad-hoc rule making has killed many good businesses and caused many wealth creating aviation entrepreneurs to just give up on the industry and leave.

I call this the ‘buggeration’ factor. It is measurable by how many business owners simply take their hats and coats and ‘bugger off’ out of the industry. No matter how hard I tried to explain, the official just didn’t seem to understand how or why endless red tape and bureaucracy and officialdom could kill a business. In the end we had to agree to disagree.

Even though some of the ‘chatterati’ have condemned the book without having read anything other than a small extract – I found many of the insights fascinating. Specifically, the role of the CAA in Comair’s demise.

From Orsmond’s account, the CAA must shoulder a large part of the blame for the loss of the 1,200 jobs and air connectivity that was Comair. In a horrifying rerun of the CAA’s attempts to bring down CemAir three years earlier, the CAA grounded Comair for supposed Level 1 findings which the regulator was apparently unable to justify.

This industry needs grown-ups

The difference between the CAA’s attack on CemAir and Comair was that CemAir had an alternative revenue source in its charter business, whereas Comair was already on its knees after the Covid lockdown and slower than expected restart, combined with the disastrous purchase of eight Boeing 737 Maxes.

This understanding gap goes to the very heart of the aviation industry’s inherent conflicts with the regulators. The CAA is either being ‘weaponised’ by destructive political forces – or else it is stupidly incapable of appreciating how vulnerable airlines,

Glenn Orsmond has written a book called appropriately ‘Crash and Burn’, sub titled – A CEO’s crazy adventures in the SA Airline Industry. (See my review in this issue).

Like a hyaena pulling down a wounded antelope, Comair stood no chance of survival after the CAA destroyed the vestiges of its reputation by grounding it. Although Orsmond does not directly say so, it would seem that Comair was killed to remove competition from the struggling SAA.

The most charitable spin I can put on the CAA killing the industry it is supposed to develop is that it seems focused on just one thing; its ICAO score, at the expense of all else. Thus, we see airlines lost for the sake of an ICAO box-ticking exercise. This industry needs grown-ups to run it.


Guy Leitch


Howard Long 076 499 6358


Howard Long


Angelique Joubert


Guy Leitch


Guy Leitch


Patrick Tillman


Jim Davis

Peter Garrison

Hugh Pryor


John Bassi

Morne Booij-Liewes

Laura McDermid

Darren Olivier

Jeffrey Kempston


Darren Edward O'Neil

Joe Pieterse


Emily Kinnear


We love it when a fresh new photographer with his own style emergers. This striking image of a SAAF C-47 Dakota at the SAAF Museum Ysterplaat was taken by the 17-year old Dhiav Naidoo. (Also known as Sky Guy Aviation). He explains – ‘I always try to go with a more creative shot. This Dakota is currently under restoration at AFB Ysterplaat by the Friends of The SAAF Museum (of which I am a part of).

Dhiav used his Canon 600D with the lens at 115mm. Exposure details were: 1/40th sec at f9 with an ISO of 400 with no flash or exposure compensation.


Doctor Killers

The V-tail Bonanza is an excellent aircraft that developed a completely unjustified reputation as a ‘Doctor Killer’. The only aircraft that came near to earning the same reputation was the Piper Malibu/Mirage series.

AS THE FORMER OWNER of a vintage G35 model V-tail Bonanza, ZS-DOB, I always pay attention when one of them crashes. Thus a recent V-tail accident in the USA caught my attention for two reasons: there was an in-flight breakup, and the pilot was a doctor – a successful and thus presumably rich, plastic surgeon.

AvWeb’s Mark Phelps notes that ‘both factors in this crash invoke traditional assumptions about V-Tails, and even vintage Bonanza lovers like me acknowledge there is at least a grain or two of truth in each.’

the cloud base with both wings folded upwards. This is often the result of the aircraft picking up excessive speed as a result of disorientation in cloud, followed by an abrupt pitch-up after coming out the bottom of the cloud with the speed off the clock and the nose pointing almost straight down.

This all unravelled quickly.

‘Starting with the structural failure: Contrary to the legend, in most Bonanza breakups, the V-tail doesn’t fall off. As with a large percentage of in-flight breakups involving high-performance aircraft, they most often involve wing-spar failure.

That is consistent with this accident, in that witnesses reported seeing the plane falling out

One of the reasons behind this crash may well be the pressure of ‘get-home-itis’, particularly when the pilot is a professional who sells his time and usually has a demanding schedule with compelling commitments.

A classic case of a doctor with pressing appointments was the crash of ZS-XPS, a Cirrus SR22 in 2007. The surgeon pilot had left Bloemfontein before dawn to perform operations in Queenstown. The CAA accident report summarises as follows: “Evidence and witness statements obtained during the investigation indicated that the pilot circled for approximately 1½ hours, 14 kilometres from Queenstown above the mist.

The plastic surgeon and his two children who died in the V-Tail crash.

‘The possibility exists that the pilot might have been worried about being late for the surgery on his patient, and that he became hasty and took the decision to fly through the mist in the hope that it would clear sufficiently for him to see the ground and get his bearings. However, he did not know how high he was above the ground, and effectively flew from VMC into IMC conditions without an instrument rating.’ Yet he did not lack experience – having 2,400 hours total time.

It was not the plane’s fault.

An instrument rating would not have helped in this case as he decided to descend into ground mist at an uncontrolled airfield.

The Tennessee accident aircraft was N47WT, a clearly much loved 1966 V-tail that was radar and tip-tank-equipped. Like many aging piston singles, it has been subject to a spar modification Service Bulletin. Whether this was done we do not at present know. But Bonanzas are strong. A comment on Phelp’s article writes,

“I was flying the Bonanza’s brother, the T34. Night VFR, no instrument rating, old, tired, precessing gyros, an unseen cloud, and the dazzling reflections from the rotating beacon; the classic graveyard spiral naturally ensued. The G meter showed 7.5 when I got home and I vividly remember seeing the reflection of my nav lights in the water as my vision greyed out in the pullout. All the “holes in the Swiss cheese” lined up, save one. Never again!”

Phelps reports that no information has come out yet about the latest V-tail crash

doctor’s pilot’s experience and what aircraft he may have owned previously, if any, nor any word on what transition training he may have received.

There has been no information to date on what avionics and autopilot might have been installed. But it would appear the doctor was at least instrument rated. So how did he lose it so badly?

As Jim Davis always likes to point out, the weather is always the big question. Unfortunately, other than reports of minor convective activity in the area, not much information is available, including the height of the cloud base, which could be an important factor.

Those are the things we don’t know. What we do know (according to data posted on FlightAware and recorded ATC communications) is that the flight departed on May 15 just before 10:00 a.m. local time from Gonzales, Louisiana, bound for Louisville, Kentucky.

The V-tail Bonny became the poster boy of the plane for the pilot whose ‘wallet was larger than his skill’. The pilot’s recently college graduated twin son and daughter also died in the crash. The tragedy is huge, especially for the bereaved wife and mother.

Never exceed speed (Vne) for the V-35 is 192 knots.

FlightAware data stopped at that point. Radar contact was lost some 3,500 feet lower, airspeed and rate of descent not known, but presumably at a significant increase.

This all unravelled quickly. It was roughly seven minutes from the initial climb to the final steep descent and crash. In between were corrections assigned by ATC for heading and altitude. Why the pilot’s flying ability should have deteriorated so quickly remains an open question.

both wings folded up before impact

The pilot was on an instrument flight plan, as the flight maintained a cruise altitude of 7,000 feet until about 12:53 p.m. local time, roughly three hours into the flight. The Bonanza then climbed, apparently cleared to 9,000 feet, but overshooting to close to 10,000 feet.

Before then, at about 12:45, the aircraft began to deviate from its 030M heading as far left as 15 degrees. Air traffic control tapes reveal the enroute controller called out the heading and altitude deviations and instructed the pilot to correct course, and, twice, to descend to 9,000 feet, which the pilot acknowledged both times with “descending to 9,000.”

Less than three minutes later, the Bonanza was at 7,800 feet, descending at 4,000 feet per minute on a heading of 154 degrees and an ADS-B-derived groundspeed of 188 knots.

Speaking to ‘the grain of truth regarding buyers of expensive planes’, it is indeed true that there are aircraft owners who are able to buy planes that can be beyond their capabilities. But Phelp’s notes that it’s too early to conclude that was the case here.

As to their vulnerability to breaking up, the V-Tail Bonanza is a known entity. To address V-tail concerns a small cuff was added to the leading edge fuselage intersection of the butterfly tails and that resolved all weakness concerns. A noteworthy quirk is that as the main tanks are ahead of the CofG, as the flight progresses the CofG may move back, to out of limits. The controls are responsive, and so it’s a plane that has to be flown with care in IMC.

John Eckalbar wrote the book, “Flying the Beech Bonanza.” A clear lesson is that if you are about to get disorientated in cloud, lower the landing gear. A Bonanza in cruise configuration picks up speed quickly when the nose drops. However with the gear down, a V-tail is surprisingly stable and docile, and it is hard to accelerate to dangerous airspeeds. It helps that the Bonny has particularly strong gear.

ZS-DOB - with the gear in transit. Lowering the wheels is a very effective air brake.

For a short while there was the fear that the early Cirrus SR22 pilots, with big bank accounts and low skills, were falling into the same trap. Fortunately Cirrus nipped any possible bad reputation in the bud by developing excellent training courses for new Cirrus buyers. And later versions have that magic blue ‘level mode’ button which puts the blue side up. When the level mode button is activated in flight, the autopilot automatically engages and returns the aircraft to straightand-level so you can sort yourself out. And when you completely run out of skill and ideas, you can always pull the parachute. So modern piston singles have indeed come along way.

when you completely run out of skill

ZS-DOB had a gear-extension speed of around 135 knots. The later model V-35 in the Tennessee crash had a gear-extension limit of 142, which was still significantly lower than the pilot would have seen on his ASI as things started to get out of control. But the risk of extending the gear while going too fast is limited to ripping off the gear doors —expensive, but not lifethreatening and possibly lifesaving.

Because planes have clearly marked gear limitation speeds and extending the gear at excessive airspeeds can cause damage, Phelps makes the interesting point that there is the same mindset involved in pulling a ballistic parachute.

These loss of control accidents highlight the two perennial problem of flying piston aircraft in dicey weather. It’s easy to push on into cloud because you have pressing appointments, and once in cloud it’s easy to get disoriented because of a lack of skills and experience.

It was not the plane’s fault. Simply over ambitious pilots. Know your limits. j


The famous Reno Air Races have a new home: Roswell, New Mexico. Best known as the place for UFOs and aliens, Roswell will host its first National Championship Air Races in September 2025.

THE RENO AIR RACING ASSOCIATION (RARA) has been searching for a new base after the Reno-Stead Airport decided to ‘sunset’ the event, citing significant growth in the area.

In February 2024, RARA short-listed three possible venues: Casper in Wyoming, Pueblo in Colorado and Roswell.

“We’re thrilled to bring our honoured tradition of racing to Roswell and are confident that they have both the enthusiasm and resources to expand the future of our races for many generations to come,” said Fred Telling, CEO

and chairman of the board for the Reno Air Racing Association.

“While Roswell was chosen, we are truly grateful for the overwhelming support, dedication and enthusiasm shown by all the communities who submitted their bids to host our event.

“It was incredibly difficult to select a final location as each venue had their own unique strengths and challenges. At the end of the day, we are thankful and deeply appreciative of the teams in Pueblo and Casper who invested their time and efforts in the process.”

The famous Reno Air Races have beeen moved to remote Roswell.


In the more than two decades since we introduced the GNS 430, we’ve continued to develop even more advanced capabilities to enhance your flying. The GTN™ Xi series, our fourth-generation GPS/ NAV/COMMs, leads the way with Smart Glide™ technology, coupled VNAV and missed approaches1 , intuitive traffic displays1, terrain and more. See the upgrade advantage at





Jean-Claude was in the left seat. He was senior to me, but I was flying. We were near the Equator, where Mermoz and Guillaumet – salut, old comrades! – had once flown. But they, poor fellows, had not been at 35,000 feet!

WE ENTERED THE CLOUDS at what looked like a soft spot in a squall line. Then the turbulence came, and with it lightning that never stopped. The laughing ogres of the night were shaking their lanterns at us, trespassers in their secret caves.

Captain Dubois had gone to his bunk a little while ago. Dubois was one of the vieux tiges, the rootstock onto which all us young vines were grafted. Behind his back everyone called him le père Dubois – Old Dubois. I think he was kind, but it was hard to tell, he didn’t have much to say. He’d been flying since the beginning of time, had flown everything, his red cells were in the shape of aeroplanes. They said he could fly an aeroplane into an underground garage and land it in a parking space.

we were dropping at 10,000 feet a minute

warnings, and then things seemed to settle down a little except for one thing – the altimeter was scrolling down like mad and the VSI said we were dropping at 10,000 feet a minute. Our pitch attitude was almost level, the wings were rocking from side to side. This seemed to go on forever, but it was probably only a minute. We couldn’t understand what was happening and we had no idea what to do.

I didn’t hear the cockpit door open. There was only a voice, sudden, harsh and profound: “What are you doing?”

We were trying to contact Dakar for higher when there was a kind of harsh rattling sound like hail and then hell broke loose. The annunciator panel lit up and the autopilot disconnected. We had no airspeed indication. I thought we had an overspeed, and I pitched up. The plane shot up to 380, and we got a series of stall

I twisted around to see him. Rumpled and shaggy amid the tatters of his interrupted sleep, his tie loose, his disordered hair falling across his forehead and his wrinkled eyes squinting, beneath bristling brows, as though the darkened cockpit were uncomfortably bright, Old Dubois loomed in the door like a prophet of the Bible. I felt a surge of shame, as Adam must have when God demanded his accounting. What were we doing? What had we done?

“Stall! Stall! Stall” an urgent, toneless voice was crying out.

de St

wrote classic novels about aviation - and life.


“What’s happening? I don’t know, I don’t know what’s happening.” Jean-Claude spoke rapidly, his voice tense in his throat. “We lost all control of the aeroplane, we don’t understand anything, we’ve tried everything. We have no valid displays.”

“I don’t have vertical speed,” I said. “I have no more displays. I think we’re at some crazy speed.”

“No,” Jean-Claude said. “No! Above all don’t extend...”

“Get the wings level,” Old Dubois said.

“We’re still going down,” I said. The altimeter tape unreeled steadily. All the while, over and over, the tireless and insistent voice intoned “Stall! Stall!”


We had lost 15,000 feet now, and nothing had changed. We could hear the engines at takeoff thrust over the strangely quiet wind and the cacophony of warnings. Our voices, like the disembodied chatter of ghosts, fluttered through the cockpit.

Jean-Claude’s trembling hands fumbled at his harness. He rolled out of the seat and half fell toward the aft bulkhead as Old Dubois pushed by him.

“My plane,” he said.

His left hand closed on the sidestick as if he intended to squeeze the life out of it. I could hardly believe what I saw then: He pushed the stick fully forward. I felt the aeroplane heave, as though awakening from a restless and tossing sleep.

But we were already going downward!

“Trim!” said Old Dubois, half to himself, half to the aeroplane.

whole system had become rotten

How could this be? We were level, at takeoff power, with the stall warning blaring, and yet falling, falling! How had we sinned, to be wrenched this way from all comprehensible reality and thrust into an impossible inferno?

Why had this aeroplane, our friend, our partner, our confidant, betrayed us?

Old Dubois stood in the door, one arm bracing himself against the rocking of the aeroplane. He stared fixedly at the panel, as though he were staring into the very face of Death himself. Twenty seconds, thirty seconds passed. JeanClaude and I floundered in impotent bafflement, but Old Dubois, silent as a tree, appeared grave and lost in thought. Then suddenly he stepped forward and put his gnarled hand on JeanClaude’s shoulder.

“Let me have it!”

We seemed to rise out of our seats. The aeroplane yawed and rocked with increasing violence, then shuddered like a wounded animal expelling its last breath. I felt a sensation of rolling, and my eyes went instinctively to the standby horizon. The miniature aeroplane – the aeroplane that was our aeroplane, that carried in its tiny white outline our lives, our loves, our hopes, all that it meant to be alive – stood in knife-edge, the horizon far above it.

I became aware of noise of air, a gathering roar that we had forgotten.

The white cutout rolled slowly back to level. Old Dubois’ hand now flexed backward. I felt myself pulled down into my seat as though by the gravity of an immense planet.

What was happening? The stall warning had ceased its chant, but now for what felt an eternity that massive gravity dragged us down. I started at the instrument, fascinated: Our little icon had righted itself, its wings were level, and now the horizon was coming down to meet it.

I scanned the panel. It was still a carnival of warnings, but now the sounds and sensations

AF 447 crashed in the early hours of June 1, 2009 in the South Atlantic.

of the cockpit had become familiar again. I looked at the captain. He sighed, and then with swift fingers reset the autopilot. We were in normal law again, all was well, we were climbing through 7,000 feet. We had emerged from the storms, I could see the stars, the sweet, welcoming stars!

Old Dubois sat quietly a moment, then took a deep breath and rose from the seat. “À vous,” he said. “Yours.” And he returned to his bunk.

Only later, when the big brains of Toulouse had pondered the files from the data recorder, did I learn what had happened. We had flown into a field of supercooled water droplets. The ice protection on all three pitots had been overwhelmed. That was supposed to be impossible, and so when it happened the autopilot had disconnected. And then I had done what no pilot is supposed to do. I pulled up, and we zoomed to 380 and stalled. We started to settle at 10,000 feet a minute, but the aeroplane was level or a little nose-high actually, with just 100 knots of forward speed, so we had an angle of attack of 40 degrees or so. The wings rocked but didn’t roll off. It seems swept-wing planes can do that.

And all the time I kept holding the stick back because we were descending, and I had no idea what instruments to believe and what was

just electronic folly, because I thought the whole system had become rotten and corrupted.

But it turns out the electronic displays were right all along. And Old Dubois figured it out. He had it in his blood, like a cat that knows to spin around feet-down no matter which way you drop him. Nobody at Airbus had tested this, they didn’t think it could happen, it never had happened, and yet Dubois saw it. He put the nose down 40 degrees, so we were pointed the way we were going, like a dive bomber, like no Airbus before or since, and he flew out of it. It was basic, really.

They ferried the plane to Toulouse and after that it never flew. Its wings had a permanent set – more dihedral than before. I never crewed with Old Dubois again; he took retirement a year later. There was a big ceremony, but I was in K-L and missed it.

Funny, though – I suppose funny is the wrong word – a few years later exactly the same thing happened to an Air Asia A320. The pilot, poor devil, did the same thing I did, like me probably without realising what he was doing. And the plane went down to the bottom of the ocean. Because they didn’t have the likes of Dubois with them. No one does, these days ... no one does. j

You are here.

Your drone is way up here.

At altitudes like these, a lot can happen. And whether you’re a professional or recreational drone pilot, there are a number of risks that can lead to the damage of your drone. Which is why you need the right expertise to protect your drone from the risks that are obvious and the ones that aren’t. Santam. Insurance good and proper.

For more information, visit or speak to your intermediary. Santam is an authorised financial services provider (FSP 3416), a licensed non-life insurer and controlling company for its group companies.



In the olden days when everything was black and white, the RAF taught me that a taxying accident is unforgivable. Their exact words.

Squadron Leader Smullian with a Lancaster during WW2.

NOW, FAST FORWARD to the 1960s and the subject comes up again. I am enjoying a chat with Phil Smullian, the boss of Air Cape’s charter ops and a much decorated WW2 RAF pilot. .

I always enjoyed Phil - he was a rotund, smiling guy with a big walrus moustache and a brilliant sense of humour.

The naughty fuel pump

Suddenly there’s a crash and Ray Grinstead bursts into the office – all arms, legs and excuses. Ray was the sort of guy who was always bursting into rooms – not a quiet and peaceful individual.

His excitement was generated by the fact that he had just taxied the company’s Chieftain into a fuel pump. He was explaining that it was not his fault because the windows had misted up.

Ray was not RAF trained and didn’t have the benefit of their views on taxying accidents.

Phil leaned back in his chair and viewed Ray’s performance patiently with his arms folded

comfortably over his ample stomach. A single raised eyebrow made it plain that he doubted Ray’s sanity.

Eventually, when Ray ran out of steam, Phil said softly.

“Ray, it seems we have three protagonists here. An aeroplane, a fuel pump, and yourself. Please go and sit quietly in the crew-room and think about this. Let me know when you have decided which one was at fault.”

Here’s another brief story about the longest taxi in the world and this wonderful little Colt of mine: ZS-CBN.

We were on our way back to George from the Margate Air Show. I was flying my magic Grob G109B in loose formation with Charlie Brown when he had a complete and sudden engine failure

The engine started and ran fine, but Jim wisely chose to taxi it 50 km.

The pilot, Wally Nell, landed Charlie neatly in pretty rough terrain in the bush. No damage.

I circled overhead and was much puzzled by this development. Engines don’t suddenly stop with no warning, but Charlie Brown obviously didn’t know this.

I told Wally to try a restart, which he did, and the naughty little bugger ran as smoothly as a sewing machine. I got Wally to take her up to full throttle and hold her there for five minutes – absolutely no problem.

Now what the hell do I do? I can’t trust the little rat after that display, but at the same time I can’t afford to have it put on a truck to the AMO in PE.

Once there I got the cops on my side and they drove me to the Colt and escorted me back while I taxied the 55 road kilometres to Port Alfred.

The Colt took to this like a kid to cookies – no overheating, no scrubbing of tyres, no cooking of brakes. He would have happily taxied to Johannesburg if I had asked him. Yes, ‘he’ and ‘him’ Colts and Tri-Pacers are definitely male, they are tough like tractors.

A single raised eyebrow made it plain

I told Wally to knock down the fence and get Charlie Brown to the main road, while I flew the 35 odd nautics to Port Alfred.

The engine stoppage was caused by a small rectangle of aluminium plate, actually an airflow straightener just below the mouth of the carb. This broke off and got sucked into the venturi where it blocked the airflow. Of course, when the engine stopped the plate fell to the bottom, and the engine again ran sweetly. Charlie Brown was fixed and flying happily the next day.

Jim taxies his Piper Colt 50 km to Port Alfred.

Flight test forms

In the days before Pontius was a student pilot, we used massive flight-test forms that required us to allocate numbers between 0 and 9 for each part of each exercise. Thus, the first aspect of a medium turn was ‘safety precautions’. We would give you 0 if you didn’t look out for other traffic. Or 9 if your lookout was so exaggerated as to be comical.

The number we allocated would be multiplied by a loading factor and the total would then indicate how much pleasure or pain your performance had caused us.

As each exercise consisted of perhaps half a dozen aspects, with each aspect having its own mark and its own loading, there were eventually a vast quantity of numbers scattered over the form. Afterwards we would go into a quiet corner with a pencil and rubber – we didn’t have calculators in those days – and total all these numbers to find whether you had passed or failed.

I taxied the 55 km to Port Alfred

So, if your lookout was a bit half-hearted and only warranted a 4, this would be multiplied by the loading factor of say 5, to reward you with a total of 20 points for lookout prior to medium turns.

You were eligible for a couple of thousand points if you did everything properly.

The interesting part is that we would take huge pride in writing a secret number on the back of the form, before takeoff. This number, based entirely on your start-up and taxying, would be our guess of your final score.

Amazingly it was invariably correct within a couple of percent.

The route for the longest taxi in the world.

I’m saying the way you handle an aircraft on the ground is a faithful reflection of the way you fly it.

When you are being tested the DE will look for the following. It’s all covered in the flight-test (sorry skills-test) form under : Section 2: Preflight Operations

You get a 1 to 4 evaluation now. 1 means dreadful, but officially called ‘not yet competent’. I hate this PC-ness. We aren’t allowed to say ‘fail’ because it might offend the guy who has been trying to kill you. 2 means substandard. 3 means you meet the standard. While 4 indicates that you are something of a golden boy, or girl.

I don’t think we were in the air more than ten minutes before he did something so heinous that I called off the test and never saw him again.

We aren’t allowed to say ‘fail’

So, using these performance classifications, here’s what you will be trained and tested on, before takeoff.


Let’s look at each aspect in turn:

Pre-flight inspection, cockpit preparation, passenger briefing, etc.

We discussed this before, but basically the preflight must be unhurried, and by the book. It must also cover a methodical, round-thecockpit inspection of everything inside the cabin. Including such things as the floor being free from oil cans that may roll under the rudder pedals.

I actually tested a guy who could see nothing wrong with having a Coke bottle rolling around the floor in a tatty 172 with a dirty windscreen.

Do you remember the Ravin that scraped its tummy along the runway on takeoff at Wonderboom. It seems the pilot didn’t notice that the undercarriage selector was somehow in the UP position. All was fine until he rotated for takeoff. The squat switch on the nosewheel sent a message to all stations saying, “Up with the gear, guys”. Sad, but it tells me the pilot twice failed to check the gear selector. He should have done it during his pre-start round-thecockpit checks, and then again during his post start round-the-cockpit checks.

Now let’s look at passenger briefing. The extent of this depends on who your passenger is. If this is their first flight, you will have to be particular about what they may and may not touch. How to work the intercom. Where the fire-extinguisher is stowed. How to work the door and the emergency exits. And how to adjust their seat and so forth.

I once had serious conflict with a charter pax who grabbed the stick of a Cessna 182, soon after takeoff from George. He put his great hairy mitt on it and yanked – with alarming results. I whacked his arm and spoke harsh words. He thought the wheel was a convenient handle to heave himself forward while adjusting his seat.

Unbelievable. But it was my fault – poor briefing.

Then there was the old, experienced Dak pilot who was known as Father Christmas because of his massive white beard. He was being tested for an IF renewal in Cape Town by a notoriously unpopular DCA inspector, whom I will call Goosy.

As Father Christmas released the brakes to taxi, Goosy said, “Haven’t you forgotten my briefing?”

Father Christmas brought the aircraft to a halt and turned to face Goosey, “Indeed I have. Thank you for reminding me.” He paused. “Here’s your briefing. In this cockpit, you are to keep your hands and feet off everything.”

“What happens in the event of an emergency?” bleated the offended Goosey.

Father Christmas looked him in the eye.

“Particularly if there’s an emergency – do… NOT… touch… anything.”

This briefing is particularly important if there are two licenced pilots in the front, or two crew members. Their duties and responsibilities must be clearly defined. Who is navigating? Who is doing the radio work? Who is working the levers and pedals? And who is going to be doing what in an emergency.

charge for a short while, to replace the power used by the starter.

Settle at the POH idling revs.

Now do another complete round-the-cockpit check, switching on the things you will need –radios and so on – setting frequencies, checking the ATIS, and switching off the things you don’t need, like the electric fuel pump.

Taxying and aerodrome procedures

First you must know where you are going to taxi to. The windsock should have given you an idea, and the ATIS should have made it clear. If it is a complicated airfield you may need a map to find your way.

Engine start and after-start procedures

taxied the burning aircraft to the fuel bowser

Start-up is very easy. Confirm you will be able to taxi forward from where you are. Make sure the brakes are on, and that you are not going to blow dust at anyone. Switch on the beacon to warn bystanders. Now do exactly what the POH says.

Remember to clear the prop – you need to take this seriously and get your pax or instructor to check on their side. Imagine mangling a toddler or a dog.

If you set the throttle too high and the revs scream before you throttle back, expect an oldfashioned look and a low mark. That is about the worst thing you can do to a cold engine – letting it rev before the oil circulates.

I say again – good engine handling is the hallmark of a good pilot.

As soon as it’s running, stick your finger on the oil pressure gauge. And while you are waiting, glance at the ammeter – it should show a high

Let’s assume you know where you are going, have obtained clearance, made sure it is clear in front, and have anticipated what the wind and gradient are going to do to you. I will come back to wind and gradient in a moment.

How do you start taxying? Most pilots have a two point system – 1) release the brake, 2) use enough power to get moving. Sound about right? If you were doing a SAAF flight test, your instructor would tell you to shut down the engine and come back when you had learned to taxi.

Here’s how an Air Force pilot starts taxying, and I can see no reason for civvies to do it any other way:

1. Throttle fully back. This confirms that the carb’s slow idle is set correctly and she doesn’t die through carb icing, which is common on a damp morning, and difficult to detect. Also you don’t want the aircraft leaping forward like a racehorse out of the box.

2. Release the park brake.

3. Take enough power to get moving.

4. Throttle fully back again.

5. Brake to a full stop with the toe brakes.

6. Use enough power to overcome inertia.

7. Throttle back and use power to adjust your speed.

So now you have started taxying and you are going at a walking pace until you are away from other aircraft and people. Keep the nosewheel on the white line.

Taxying in the wind

If your aircraft is light enough to be affected by the wind, then be sensible about which way you hold the control column – particularly if you are in a taildragger.

The rule is: climb into wind, and dive out of wind

was on 27 May 1982. A 24 Squadron SAAF Buccaneer landed safely at Pietersburg after a hydraulic problem. The pilot then decided to taxi – despite the QRH (Quick Reference Handbook) saying “NO TAXYING” after hydraulic problems.

All went well until the hydraulic pressure expired just as the taxiway sloped down to where four Impalas were parked. On impact, the Bucc and one Impala caught fire and the rest were either written off or seriously damaged.

That was a case of post event euphoria. They were so elated to have landed safely they stopped thinking.

Earnest Gann did a similar thing after doing a hectic spiral through the clouds in a four-engine passenger aircraft that had a fire in the hold. He got safely on the ground and then taxied the burning aircraft to park at the fuel bowser.

Situational awareness is critical

This means that if the wind is from the front, keep the stick back (climb) and the ailerons into wind. And if you are going downwind (dive) keep the stick forward and the ailerons the wrong way. So the wind is coming from say your 4 o’clock position, you should hold the stick forward and to the left.

The exception: if you think your slipstream over the elevator is outdoing the tailwind, then the stick will be back, but the ailerons will still be the ‘wrong way’.

Watch those brakes

One of the most common taxying sins is to ride the brakes. You wouldn’t do it in a car, so why do it with an aircraft?

Perhaps the worst taxying accident of all time

Situational awareness is critical. Not only do you have to concentrate on the job in hand, you must also be aware of other aircraft, vehicles and people on the ground, as well as circuit traffic, the wind, the surface, the gradient, your inertia, engine temperatures, brake temperatures, carb-icing and right of way. The position of the sun can be critical for visibility and can even cause an epileptic fit when flickering through the prop.

And when you get to the threshold or holding point, this is where your airmanship really shows. How do you decide where to stop, and which way to face? And are you going to pick up stones in the prop, and will you blow crap at another aircraft? There is a whole bunch of stuff to think about:

Okay, the Gleitch says I must wrap it up now – he only gives me 2,500 words a month and I have to arrange them in such a way that you are either informed or entertained. I’ll try harder next month.




The DC-3 first flew in 1935 and revolutionised air transport. Image Gary Shephard.
Guy Leitch.

an incredible life of 89 years since first flight, the South African Air Force announced the retirement of its Douglas DC-3/C-47 in May 2024.

The “Dak’ is a genuine legend and to commemorate its retirement, we put you in the pilot’s seat to find out what it is like to fly.
Derek Hopkins shares the joys and hazards of flying what many consider to be the first true commercial airliner.

AMAZINGLY AFTER 90 YEARS there are still hundreds of Daks operating around the world, some with more than 100,000 hours on the airframe.

When it was designed in the 1930s, fuel was cheap and it was easier to over-design rather than maximise weight saving. So it was built strong.

But the Dak has another rare feature, which is a key factor behind the design’s longevity. It has no main wing spar, just a complete mid-fuselage section manufactured as one piece, including inner wing and engine nacelles. The outer wing skins are bolted onto the mid-section, using 328 bolts and carefully torqued Nylock nuts on each wing.

Close-up the Dak is suprisingly big and the cockpit is over 7.5m above ground. Image Rob Boyes.

Our subject aircraft is Menno Parsons’ ZS-CRV, a C-47, the military transport version of the DC-3. It is powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-1830 radials, each developing 1,200 hp.


DC stands for Douglas Commercial. The prototype DST (Douglas Sleeper Transport) first flew on December 17, 1935 (the 32nd anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk) with Douglas chief test pilot Carl Cover.

It was one of the first airliners that could profitably carry only passengers without relying on mail subsidies. In 1939, at the peak of its dominance in the airliner market, around ninety percent of airline flights on the planet were by a DC-3 or some variant.

the design proved adaptable

Compared to contemporary airliners, the DC-3 was fast, had good range, was more reliable, and carried passengers in greater comfort. Before WW2 it pioneered many air travel routes. It was able to cross the continental United States from New York to Los Angeles in 18 hours, with only three stops.

Following the war, the airliner market was flooded with surplus transport aircraft, and the DC-3 was no longer competitive because it was smaller and slower than aircraft built during the war. It was made obsolete on main routes by more advanced types such as the Douglas DC-4 and Convair 240, but the design proved adaptable and was still useful on less commercially demanding routes.

Surprisingly, the true DC-3 is a rare aircraft. DC-3 production ended in 1943 with just 607 aircraft. However military versions, including the C-47 Skytrain (the Dakota in British RAF

R-1830 1200 hp radial became the standard engine. Image Rodek Onekiasak.

ZS-CRV's cockpit has been moderately updated. Image Jetman41.

service), and Soviet and Japanese-built versions, brought total production to over 16,000. Many continued to be used in a variety of roles; as of 2023 it is estimated about 150 are still flying.

Early-production civilian aircraft used either the 9-cylinder Wright R-1820 Cyclone 9 or the 14-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp. The R-1820 was chosen for most military versions and was also used by most DC-3s converted from military service.

On the ground

The Dak has great ramp presence. From the ground it is huge for a tailwheel aircraft, and the cockpit is far above ground. An immediately noticeable feature is the escape hatch on the left-hand fuselage, just behind the cockpit. If, during an evacuation, the stillturning left propeller (the tips just miss the hatch) didn’t kill you, the 7-metre drop will.

burping, belching, barking

Five Super DC-3s with Pratt & Whitney R-2000 Twin Wasps were built in the late 1940s, three of which entered airline service.

The Dak’s stance on the ground is 12 degrees nose-up so, after entry via the rear door, the pilot is faced with a climb to the cockpit, more like mountain hiking than piloting. But once you get there, and have got your breath back, the true character of the cockpit becomes evident.

It is a classic ergonomic disaster with key controls seemingly added as an afterthought.

Typical seating has 20 - 30 passenger seats. Image Peter Duckworth.

Notable are the no-less than twelve levers and knobs on the centre pedestal. The power levers are not conventional power, pitch, mixture from left to right. The throttles are the tall levers in the middle, thus giving pitch, power, mixture – like early Barons.

The centrepiece of the panel is the classic ‘whisky compass’ which is suspended on bungy cords above the glareshield. Below that is the exposed pneumatic plumbing for the windscreen wipers.

large rolls of super absorbent paper towels are standard equipment.

it is huge for a tailwheel aircraft

Given its vintage, it is unpressurised, so the cockpit windows slide open. They look as though they come from a Series 1 Land-Rover. In a rainstorm the windows and the escape hatch above the pilots can be guaranteed to leak like broken drainpipes. For experienced pilots,

The pilot seat looks like it’s from a 1930s Massey-Ferguson tractor and, if the internal springs are old, height adjustment can be a depressing affair. Once you are in the left seat, you can see nothing but sky out the windscreen. The field of view to the side is okay, but visibility forward while on the ground, with such a nose-up attitude, is poor and through the opposite right-hand front windscreen bordered on non-existent.

Starting the Pratt & Whitney R-1830s is an art. For the uninitiated, it seems as though you need to be a concert pianist to pull off the complex sequence of, prime, boost, propeller turns, magnetos, mixture and revs.

Civilian DC-3 has passenger sized airstair door. C-47 has double doors.

The best part of a radial is the burping, belching, barking, start as the huge cylinders reluctantly come to life. Once the engines are firing on all cylinders you need to pressurise the hydraulics using the four levers (including the gear and flap operating handles) on the hydraulic panel, which somewhat typically yet unhelpfully, is behind the co-pilot’s seat. Hydraulic pressures are however easy to see, because the gauges are big enough to have been borrowed from a locomotive.

With both engines burning and turning, you need to check temps and pressures are in the green. However this is really the co-pilot’s job as the engine gauges are behind the ship’s binnacle sized power quadrant.

Taxying the big taildragger with its castoring tailwheel is another acquired skill. With the rudder lock removed and no main control lock, holding the yoke and pedals in gusts requires strength. There are not many lady Dak pilots. Steering is best with differential braking using the toe brakes. But the trick is to use not just differential braking abut also differential engine power. With power and a dab of brake, tight

turns around the stationary inner main wheel are easy – but not great for the tyre life if done on a hard surface.

Flying the DC-3

Once lined up for takeoff, the Dak becomes less of a handful. Power is applied by the pilot flying and completed by the co-pilot to give 48 inches boost at 2,700 rpm. Acceleration, even at light loads, is stately rather than brisk. Once you are moving, push the control column hard forward to get the tail up. The flight deck will be level by about 50 KIAS so you can finally see where you’re going.

Depending on weight, rotation is between 80 –90 KIAS. Gear is selected Up by the co-pilot as soon as you are airborne because this is not an aircraft in which to have an engine failure after takeoff with the gear still down. The ladder frame and huge wheels create massive drag.

The climb rate of a fully loaded DC-3 benefits from the curvature of the Earth. But with no

Undercarriage has high drag frame and big wheels.

passengers or cargo, a medium all-up weight of 8,800kg and outside air temperature of 20ºC, you can see a climb rate of about 1,000ft/min at 110kt, using 35 in Hg and 2,350 rpm up to 8,000ft.

The Dak may have seven-metre long ailerons, but lateral control is still sloppy, especially if there is any slack in the control cables. Notably too, the control forces are out of the is ideal standard proportions. The ailerons have higher control forces than the elevator (by about 3:1) and are slow to generate roll.

there is no direct steering

Pulling the power back at 8,000ft, the clean stall is innocuous. At 50-55 KIAS there is a distinct airframe buffet and vibration through the yoke, followed by a positive pitch down without a tendency to drop a wing. The stall in approach configuration, on for example the base to final turn, with Flaps 1, 15 inches of boost, 20 degrees left bank and about 10 degrees pitch attitude, is trickier. The pre-stall buffet is masked by the propeller slipstream and, if the stick is held back, the aircraft drops its left wing to about 70 degrees with 30-40 degrees nose down pitch. Recovery takes more around 1000 ft.

In the climb, the Dak has good response in pitch and yaw, with huge static stability in pitch. This means that high stick forces are needed to change the pitch angle from the trimmed speed. The opposite is then also true - once trimmed, the aircraft feels as if it can be flown hands-free all day. There is little Dutch roll, and just a small amount of adverse yaw with aileron input.

A standard circuit starts with the gear down and Flaps 1 on Downwind. In keeping with its generally idiosyncratic nature, the flap indicator is a screw head in a vertical slot that moves up to indicate flap going down. Flaps 2 can be selected on Base. Turn final with 18 inches boost at 95 KIAS.

Most Daks have toilets. Image Jetman41.

Flaps 3 and 4 are then selected in stages to slow the aircraft to cross the fence at 75 KIAS and let it settle into a two-point landing attitude. Check forward to plant the mains and the tail can be held up surprisingly long. This is not a plane to hold off into a full stall for a 3-pointer.

As the tail drops, the rudder loses effectiveness behind the wing with the engines at idle power so there is no direct steering. Using differential braking is inadvisable due to unpredictable braking action. With the tail down the view forward returns to ‘sky only’ mode but the

The tail must be up to see over the nose. Image Trevor Cohen. Getting all the cylinders going is

tailwheel steering is then effective.

The Dak POH says it has a 20 kt demonstrated crosswind landing limit. Beyond 25 kt it will require exceptional pilot skill.


It is a privilege to fly such a classic aircraft. Like many veteran designs, the DC-3 has moderate performance and many idiosyncrasies and potential pilot traps that would never be tolerated in modern aircraft. j

How ZS-CRV became Delaney

MENNO PARSONS’ Dakota, ZS-CRV, number 13331, was built at the Douglas Aircraft Company’s Oklahoma City Plant and delivered to the USAAF in May 1944. So it is eighty years old.

Under the lend-lease programme she was transferred to the RAF and saw action in the Arnhem landings and Operation Varsity during the final stages of WW2.

After the war she went to Canada, where she served in various units until 1953, after which she became a ground instructional airframe. In May 1959 she was exported to Cuba and registered CU-P-702 with the Moa Bay Mining Company.

In April 1974 the aircraft was sold to United Air Services of South-Africa and received registration ZS-PTG. During a flight between Sishen and Johannesburg, a baby girl was born on board. The baby was called “Delaney” – the name the aircraft sports today.

In 1988 she was sold to Avia Air Charter and by 1992 she was based at the short-lived airfield at Freeway, north of Pretoria where she operated until the closure of Avia in 1995. Avia sold her to DebonAir. Then on June 14, 2002, ‘Delaney’ was purchased by Mr. Rohan Vos of Rovos Rail who registered her as ZS-CRV. When Rovos closed its flying operation in 2014, Menno Parsons acquired her and she now lives at Rand, dwarfing the many other aircraft in his hangar.


The reunion between Captain Terry Chiole and Delaney, the girl who was born on board Dakota ZS-PTG in 1975. Image - John Miller.

Specifications and Performance

DC-3 C-47


Crew: 2

Capacity: 21–32 passengers

Length: 64 ft 5 in (19.7 m)

Wingspan: 95 ft 0 in (29.0 m)

Height: 16 ft 9 in (5.16 m) (level attitude) 23 ft 6 in

Wing area: 987 sq ft (91.7 m2)

Empty weight: 16,865 lb (7,650 kg)

Gross weight: 25,200 lb (11,431 kg) payload w/full fuel, 3,446 lb

Fuel capacity: 822 gal. (3736 L)

Engines 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G Twin Wasp

Power 1,200 hp (890 kW) each

Propellers: 3-blade 11 ft 6 in (3.5 m) CS.


Maximum speed:

223 kn (257 mph, 413 km/h) at 8,500 ft (2,590 m)

Cruise speed: 183 kn (211 mph, 339 km/h)

Long Range Cruise 10,000 ft 94 gph at 50% power, 157kt IAS, 1,740 nm

Stall speed: 68.0 kn (78.2 mph, 125.9 km/h)

Never exceed speed: 223 kn (257 mph, 413 km/h)

Minimum control speed: 77 kn (89 mph, 143 km/h)

Range: 1,370 nmi (1,580 mi, 2,540 km)

Service ceiling: 23,200 ft (7,100 m) , with one engine: 9,000 ft

Rate of climb: 1,140 ft/min (5.8 m/s) ,

Single Engine RoC sea level: 200 fpm

Wing loading: 25.5 lb/sq ft (125 kg/m2)

Power/mass: 0.0952 hp/lb (156.5 W/kg)[55]


Aircraft Registration: ZS-SNN

Date of Incident: 12 September 2014

Time of Incident: 17.10Z

Type of Aircraft: Diamond DA 20-C1 (Aeroplane)

Type of Operation: Training (Part 141)

PIC License Type: Student Pilot

Licence Valid: Yes

Age: 34

PIC Total Hours: 52.1

• This discussion is to promote safety and not to establish liability.

• CAA’s report contains padding and repetition, so in the interest of clarity, I have paraphrased extensively.

Hours on Type: 52.1

Point of departure: Fisantekraal (FAFK)

Intended landing: Fisantekraal

Accident site: Fisantekraal

Met: 20°C: 250/10:CAVOK

POB: 1+0

Injured: 0

Killed: 0


THE STUDENT PILOT was engaged on a navigation exercise when the incident occurred. During the approach for a landing on runway 23 the student pilot flared the aircraft too high and the aircraft landed hard and bounced. The student pilot finally landed the aircraft after a few more bounces. The aircraft sustained damage on the nose wheel and the propeller blades. The student pilot was not injured.

The investigation determined that the student approached too high and too fast, the aircraft landed hard and bounced, causing the student pilot to lose control of the aircraft.

ZS-SNN looking like it's about to get more nosewheel damage at the old Fisantekraal airport.



Absolutely right it’s boring as hell – it keeps happening, and it really shouldn’t because it’s so easy to cure. Strangely, it’s more a procedural problem rather than the handling problem it appears to be. And it’s nothing to do with aircraft type, it happens to Cherokees and Cessnas and Musketeers and Cirri and Diamonds and and and…

When you see an aeroplane behaving like a porpoise – it is doing exactly that – it is NOT bouncing. Aeroplanes don’t bounce. If you pick one up with a crane to the height of a hangar roof, and then drop it – I promise you it won’t bounce – not even a little bit – it will splat.

So when you see one doing increasingly large kangaroo hops it’s about to crash – the nosewheel will collapse and, depending on the surface, the height of the hop, the degree of the pilot’s ham-fistedness, and whether it is a highwing or a low-wing configuration, it will go on its back.

If this happens to you please think before you unfasten your safety harness in a hurry because that will cause you to fall on your head. Pilots have died from broken necks in this way.

Let me tell you what’s going on when someone says the aeroplane bounced. I promise you it did not bounce.

• The wheels smote the runway.

• The pilot got a skrik and yanked her off.

• The pilot got another skrik and shoved her down.

• She hit the runway nosewheel first.

• The pilot got an even worse skrik and hauled her off again

• She sailed into the air.

• The pilot really didn’t enjoy this so he pushed her down again.

• And so on until each brief flight is higher than the last and each descent steeper.

• The nosewheel mount snaps off.

• This decreases the angle of attack so much that she can’t fly again. Perhaps ever

Why would a pilot be so stupid as to do all that pulling up and pushing down business? Surely that’s a handling problem and not a procedural one?

Well it’s poor procedures that put him in this situation in the first place, and poor training that hasn’t taught him how to recover before the first return to earth. So let me tell you how to sort

out the problem – either before it starts, or at any point during this ridiculous bunny hopping business. It’s really easy.

You level the nose and smoothly apply full power and enough right rudder to keep straight.

Notice I didn’t tell you what to do with the stick – that would be very poor instruction – I told you what to do with the aircraft. You must do whatever is necessary with the stick to get the nose level. At the same time smoothly take full power and enough right rudder to keep straight.

I cannot emphasize enough how important that last sentence is. If you use full power at low airspeed you will be amazed at how much right rudder you need. Try it at altitude in the GF.

Have you got that? It sounds too simple doesn’t it – so here it is again. Level the nose and smoothly apply full power and enough right rudder to keep straight. It couldn’t be easier.

aeroplane can only leave the ground again if it has flying speed. In other words, its wheels will stay on the ground if you are at, or below, stall speed – where you should be.

So the bottom line is that the aircraft will only ‘bounce’ if you have too much speed. If you do a steady approach at the correct speed, then round out and hold off until she stalls, she simply cannot fly again. It’s that easy.

So ‘bouncing’ is not bouncing – it’s touching down and flying again repeatedly and it can only happen if you approach and land too fast.

things that can make you too hot and high

It’s called a GO AROUND. Heard of it?

And when should you use this simple procedure? At any point during the approach or subsequent idiocy. It doesn’t matter whether you are on the way up or on the way down – you simply use the elevator to put the nose in the level attitude and fly away.

Once you have done that, gently milk off the flaps in easy stages and mutter, ‘thanks Jim you have saved my life and my reputation’.

Of course, if you decide to land straight ahead after that, then you deserve all you have coming to you. It won’t work – you will be trying to get down again on a runway that’s getting shorter by the second and you will repeat the foolish nonsense until you do break the nosewheel off.

Simply wipe the sweat from your eyes and do a nice gentle, wide circuit and approach again at the correct airspeed on an into-wind runway.

Think about this. After you touch down, the

Okay, now let’s look at why you might come in too fast. I can think of at least 19 reasons, and they are all as a result of being too high on final approach.

So here are the things that can make you too hot and high:

• You are not doing your standard circuit

• There’s a strong crosswind giving a tailwind on base

• You are landing downwind

• You don’t have the QNH

• The strip is narrow – so it looks long

• At a strange field – you tend to make downwind too close

• You have the sun in your eyes

• You didn’t throttle back fully

• You are flying a strange type

• You are doing a flapless landing

• You haven’t lowered the gear

• You misjudged a forced, or simulated forced landing

• There has been a change of runway

• You are doing a straight in approach

• You are in a hurry to land before a storm

• You are in a hurry because of a sick pax

• You are in a hurry to land before it gets

dark. This seems to have been in this case here. He actually landed – crashed – 26 minutes after sunset. Obviously this was not a planned part of his solo crosscountry so I will stick my neck out and guess that he was so late because he got lost at some point.

• There is a sudden wind shear

• You didn’t use enough right rudder on takeoff.

Let me explain the last one. If you don’t use enough right rudder after takeoff, then you climb out at an angle to the left of the centerline. So when you look left to find an aiming point for your crosswind leg, it won’t take you square with the runway. And the same for the downwind turn – you won’t be parallel – you will converge. This shortens your base leg making you too high on final approach.

If this sounds a bit theoretical, it isn’t – it happens every day. A good instructor will spot this and bully you into using enough right rudder in the climb. Your circuits will be wider and more relaxed and your landings will be like a cat pissing on velvet.

I must confess to doing the bunny thing once, ferrying Tony Torr’s Mooney from George to Plett on a sparkling spring day. There’s not a cloud in sight, not a whisper of wind, and the aircraft is almost new – what can go wrong?

Just after takeoff I get a warning buzzer and a flashing light. Mooney love these little gimmicky hooters and LEDs to warn you that other lights are trying to get your attention. I grope and fiddle until I make them go away. I don’t know Moonies well and I don’t like them. The incident has jarred the Davis nervous system.

Then, at 1500 feet over the Knysna forest with sea or jungle as landing options I spot a red digital counter spinning down to zero. It claims I have no fuel flow.

I go cold. The engine is about to stop.

I change tanks and put on the pump, but the red zeros don’t even flicker. I could climb higher so

when the engine stops I will glide further – but that will use more fuel and hasten the stopping.

So I sit stupidly in a cold sweat and do nothing. Eventually Plett appears and I make the worst landing of my career.

I am too high. I’ve forgotten how far a Mooney glides and floats in ground effect. I see this as a forced landing with no option of a go-around because I know the engine will just take me past the far fence before coughing its last.

In short I am too high and too fast and I have to put her down. All the ingredients for an embarrassing set of bunny hops.

When I tell Tony, who watched the whole fiasco, about the fuel flow he laughs fit to die. “Crappy gauge” he sobs.

I could cheerfully kill him. j

ZS-BGM is a very early Beech 1900C, now exported. Image Omer Mees.

MAY 2023

The month of May saw a number of changes in the local aircraft registry with 14 (four fixed wing, two helicopters and eight Non type certified) added and ten exported or cancelled.

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS took delivery of the first of three Airbus A320ceo passenger jets it is leasing from the Hong Kong based China Aircraft Leasing Company. These have the distinction of being the first winglet-equipped members of the Airbus A320 family to be operated locally. As mentioned in last month’s column, the first jet arrived at OR Tambo International on 12 May, still in the livery of the now defunct Vietnamese carrier Pacific Airlines and with the Guernsey ferry registration 2-KMOL applied. This relatively young, 2016 built aircraft has the registration ZS-SZF allocated and will probably soon join the carrier’s fleet after a repaint. It will however also require an extensive cabin refit to provide the mix of business and economy class that SAA requires.

The NTCA register shows strong growth

Safair also added another Boeing 737-86N, ZS-FGN, to its fleet. This aircraft arrived at OR Tambo on 8 May with the American registration N105TS. This plane was delivered to Air China as B-5510 in June 2010 and operated with the carrier till 2018. A short stint with Primera Air Scandinavia followed before the plane joined the fleet of Canadian carrier Flair Airlines until being retired in April 2023.

The first Cirrus SR22 G7 has been delivered and allocated the registration ZS-ZNG. The aircraft arrived at Lanseria on 28 April and was officially launched during a glitzy ceremony at Cirrus Aircraft South Africa’s hangar on 24 May.

The last for the month fixed wing type registered is an early-model PC-12 imported from Germany

ABOVE Winglet equipped Airbus A320 2-KMOL seen on arrival at OR Tambo on 12 May 2024. Image Morne Boiij-Liewes.

BELOW: Bombardier Global Express ZS-BLA as VP-BZN - now in Russia?

58, ZS-LXO Has been exported.

that has become ZS-TJC. The aircraft was delivered to Rand Airport on 26 April after a three-day ferry flight from Germany via Malaga, Lanzarote, Dakar, Monrovia, Accra, Cabinda, Maun and Lanseria.

Two helicopters – a Robinson R44 Raven II and a sleek Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) AS365N3 Dauphine II have been imported into the country to bolster the local helicopter fleet.

The Non type certified register shows strong growth this month. Three of the popular locallydesigned and built Sling aircraft, including two of the new high-wing variants, have been delivered to local owners. Two RV-10s are also registered this month. It’s a bit confusing as one manufacturer is given as Vans Aircraft and the other the popular Cape Town based aircraft builder and AMO, Robin Coss Aviation

ZS-SZF is an Airbus A320 with SAA but it arrived in 2024 and this pic was taken in 2018 of a different A320 with the same registration.

Beech Baron

Several years ago, I was told that CAA uses the homebuilder’s name as the manufacturer of kit-built planes which makes it rather confusing as can be seen in the Orion and Safari three ‘homebuilt’ planes also registered this month. The most recent addition is another of the popular Savannah S planes.

Turning to the exports, I note that my prediction in last month’s column regarding the transient registration of the Global Express 6000 ZS-BLA (9718), was proven correct as this month its departure from the local register to the Turkish one is recorded. No doubt the next stop is Moscow…

Other deletions include a Baron 58 that has been exported to Argentina. A very earlymodel Beech 1900C commuter propliner has been cancelled to Sweden, while a Zlin 142C has gone home to the Czech Republic.

A Rutan-designed Long-Ez is cancelled as “destroyed”.

Two helicopters depart to our immediate neighbours. A Bell Jetranger has been exported to Zimbabwe while a Robinson R44 Raven II has moved to Namibia.

A Sukhoi Su-31 aerobatic plane has been cancelled as exported to the Russian Federation.

The locally manufactured Bat Hawk planes continue to be popular and two are exported this month to Cote d’Ivoire and Zambia respectively, presumably for nature conservation purposes.

As mentioned before, there seem to be significant gaps in the register amendments supplied by the CAA so I will add to it those aircraft I have traced through my own records and sources as being imported or exported from South Africa and hope these reflect on the official register in due course.

I will meanwhile continue to record these changes in this column and see if they make the officially-supplied amendments at a later date.

ZS-USS is a Rutan Long Eze cancelled as destroyed - Image Gary Shephard.

There has been significant movement in the corporate jet market this past month. A new Pilatus PC-24 (c/n 535) was seen at the Pilatus factory at Stans on 7 June with Ni-Da titles and will soon replace the company’s current jet.

Learjet 45 N543CM is another new addition to the local bizjet market that arrived in South Africa on 3 June but it will be seen if it becomes ZS registered. The owner of Falcon 2000LXS ZS-JUN traded-up to a new jet so it may be that this aircraft will also soon leave our shores. Hawker 900XP ZS-TYG was recently noted at Lanseria. It was delivered to the airport with the DRC registration, 9S-PBK, on 10 September 2023. It has subsequently spent some time at Rand Airport where it was also repainted into an all-white livery and has also transferred to the ZS register.

A few notable arrivals the past month that may still make their way to this register review are three very early model Citations:

Citation ISP N551NZ (551-0574), Citation ISP N554TT (501-0133) and Citation I N752CK (500-0255). These were all imported by a well-known Gauteng-based aircraft owner. The Citation IISP arrived at Lanseria on 15 May and the two Citations Is arrived on 4 June after a multi-stop ferry flight from the USA to SA via Europe and East Africa.

Cessna Caravan ZS-NDL (208B-1051) has been cancelled to Canada as C-FFYR according to Canadian records. It was noted departing Reykjavik en-route to Narsarsuaq on 23 May heading to its new home. Another South African plane seen at Reykjavik on 30 May is PC-12 ZS-DLB (791) and was delivered to Minneapolis on 1 June. A second PC-12 has also been exported this past month: ZS-JHG (1211) departed South Africa on 1 June with registration PS-PGR applied, heading to its new home in Brazil, where it arrived on 5 June. j

Hawker 900XP 9S-PBK at Lanseria on 10 September 2023 on delivery before its departure to Rand Airport. It has become ZS-TYG.


Glenn Orsmond


In his book ‘Crash and Burn’ Glenn Orsmond makes the comment –

‘The joke was that you had to be crazy to work for an airline so (at 1time) there were no psychometric tests.’


M & N Acoustic Services (Pty) Ltd


Fuel Prices as at 17/11/2023

Aero Engineering and Powerplant FUEL TABLE

Fuel Prices as at 20/05/2024

Prices include VAT but exclude any service fees

Airfield Avgas Jet A1

Baragwanath - FASY R36,00

Beaufort West - FABW R33,80 R 25,85

Bloemfontein - FABL R33,00 R20,30

Brakpan - FABB

Brits - FABS

Cape Town - FACT

Fuel Prices as at 21/06/2024

Prices include VAT but exclude any service fees

Airfield Avgas Jet A1

Baragwanath - FASY R36,00

Beaufort West - FABW



R33,93 R19,96

Cape Winelands - FAWN R33,00

Eagle's Creek

East London - FAEL

R32,20 R 25,85

Bloemfontein - FABL R33,04 R18,74

Brakpan - FABB


R36,30 R19,55

Ermelo - FAEO R31,51 R24,73

Gariep Dam - FAHV

George - FAGG

Grand Central - FAGC

R34,00 R23,00

R36,97 R18,87


Brits - FABS R31,10

Cape Town - FACT R33,93 R19,96

Cape Winelands - FAWN R33,00

Eagle's Creek

East London - FAEL

Dam - FAHV

Ermelo - FAEO

Gariep Dam - FAHV

George - FAGG

Grand Central - FAGC


R35,73 R19,71

R31,51 R24,73

R34,00 R23,00

R36,97 R18,87

Hoedspruit R33,04 R23,44 Hoedspruit Civil - FAHT

Heidelberg - FAHG

R35,59 R24,55

R32,20 R23,50

Hoedspruit Civil - FAHT R33,47 R27,90

Kimberley - FAKM NO FUEL R22,52

Kitty Hawk - FAKT


Kroonstad R34,04

Klerksdorp - FAKD R32,85 R22,64

Heidelberg - FAHG

R35,59 R24,55

R32,20 R23,50

Hoedspruit Civil - FAHT R33,47 R27,90

Kimberley - FAKM NO FUEL R22,52

Kitty Hawk - FAKT

Klerksdorp - FAKD



R31,65 R28,09

Kroonstad - FAKS R32,32

R32,94 R22,08

Kruger Intl Nelspruit

Kroondal / Airspan R35,10

Kroonstad - FAKS

R33,95 R25,15

Kroondal / Airspan

Kruger Mpumalanga Intl -FAKN R33,95 R28,37

R30,67 R20,71

Kroondal / Airspan R35,10 Kroondal / Airspan R30,67 R20,71


Krugersdorp R32,50

Kroonstad - FAKS R32,40

Krugersdorp - FAKR R30,00

Kruger Mpumalanga Intl -FAKN R35,15 R27,24


Krugersdorp - FAKR R33,35

Lanseria - FALA


Kroonstad - FAKS R32,40 Kroonstad - FAKS R32,40 Kruger Mpumalanga Intl -FAKN R35,15 R27,24 Kruger Mpumalanga Intl -FAKN R35,15 R26,30

R34,04 R23,00

Kruger Mpumalanga Intl -FAKN R35,15 R26,30

Margate R34,04 R23,06

Krugersdorp - FAKR R33,35

Lanseria - FALA R34,73 R24,84

Krugersdorp - FAKR

R34,16 R23,69

R37,95 R23,00


Middelburg - FAMB

Morningstar R34,56

Lanseria - FALA



Krugersdorp - FAKR R31,50

R34,16 R23,69

Lanseria - FALA R34,16 R23,69 Lanseria - FALA R34,16 R23,69

Middelburg - FAMB R33,00 R25,99



Morningstar R32,25


R35,83 R25,99

Middelburg - FAMB R35,83 R25,99

Middelburg - FAMB

Mosselbay R37,50 R20,50


Morningstar R33,50


Mosselbay - FAMO

Nelspruit - FANS

Oudtshoorn FAOH



R32,32 R28,44

R37,50 R27,50

Nelspruit - FANS

R34,98 R25,30

Middelburg - FAMB R35,83 R25,99

R35,83 R25,99

Mosselbay - FAMO R37,50 R23,00

Mosselbay - FAMO

R35,19 R23,10

Oudtshoorn - FAOH R35,19 R23,10

Parys - FAPY


Pietermaritzburg - FAPM

Pietersburg Civil

Pietersburg Civil - FAPI


Morningstar R33,50

Nelspruit - FANS R33,41 R26,14

R34,98 R25,30


Nelspruit - FANS

R37,50 R27,00

Mosselbay - FAMO R37,50 R27,50 Mosselbay - FAMO R37,50 R27,00

Oudtshoorn - FAOH R35,19 R23,10

Oudtshoorn - FAOH R35,19 R23,10

Parys - FAPY

R35,67 R22,67

Oudtshoorn - FAOH

R37,70 R24,32

R33,10 R25,80

Pietersburg Civil - FAPI

Nelspruit - FANS R34,98 R25,30

R34,98 R25,30

Parys - FAPY R28,99 R22,23

Parys - FAPY

R35,67 R22,67

Pietermaritzburg - FAPM R33,10 R25,80

R31,80 R23,70

R33,50 R24,70

Plettenberg Bay - FAPG NO FUEL R25,00

Port Alfred - FAPA

R35,19 R23,10

Oudtshoorn - FAOH R35,19 R23,10

Plettenberg Bay R34,60 R25,00

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth - FAPE

Potchefstroom - FAPS


Rand - FAGM

Robertson - FARS

Robertson FARS

Rustenburg - FARG

Rustenberg FARG

Secunda - FASC

Port Alfred - FAPA


Port Elizabeth - FAPE

R38,30 R24,04

R33,50 R24,70

Parys - FAPY R31,25 R21,29

Pietermaritzburg - FAPM R34,00 R28,10

R31,25 R21,29

Pietermaritzburg - FAPM R32,40 R24,40

Pietermaritzburg - FAPM R32,40 R24,40

Pietersburg Civil - FAPI

Plettenberg Bay - FAPG NO FUEL R25,00

Pietersburg Civil - FAPI R31,95 R23,10

R31,95 R23,10

Plettenberg Bay - FAPG NO FUEL R25,00

Plettenberg Bay - FAPG NO FUEL R25,00

Port Alfred R33,50 Port Alfred - FAPA R33,50


Port Alfred - FAPA

R35,19 R24,84

R38,30 R24,04

Potchefstroom POA POA

Potchefstroom - FAPS

Rand - FAGM

R35,10 R22,09

R37,50 R26,00

Robertson - FARS


Rustenburg - FARG

Secunda - FASC

Port Elizabeth - FAPE

Plettenberg Bay - FAPG NO FUEL R25,00

Port Alfred - FAPA R33,50


Port Elizabeth - FAPE R33,47 R23,46

Potchefstroom - FAPS

R35,10 R22,09

R34,10 R23,98


R32,50 R23,65

R31,91 R25,88

Skeerpoort *Customer to collect

Rand - FAGM


Port Elizabeth - FAPE R35,42 R23,35

R35,42 R23,35

Potchefstroom - FAPS R28,99 R22,23

R37,50 R26,00

Robertson - FARS

R31,30 R23,65

Skeerpoort *Customer to collect

R32,85 R19,85

Rand - FAGM

Rand - FAGM

R32,50 R23,65

Secunda R33,00 R25,88

Springbok - FASB

Springs - FASI

Springbok - FASB

R36,46 R27,03

Rustenburg - FARG

Skeerpoort *Customer to collect POA POA

Springs - FASI



Stellenbosch - FASH

Swellendam - FASX

Tempe - FATP

Stellenbosch - FASH


Swellendam - FASX

Potchefstroom - FAPS R30,67 R20,71

R30,67 R20,71

R37,50 R26,00

R35,75 R27,50

R37,50 R26,00

Robertson - FARS R32,00

Rustenburg - FARG

Secunda - FASC

R31,91 R25,88

R32,85 R19,85

Springbok POA POA

R33,20 R23,30

Tempe - FATP

Thabazimbi - FATI

Upington - FAUP

Virginia - FAVG

Vryburg - FAVB

Vryheid - FAVY


Robertson - FARS R30,90

R32,10 R23,65

R31,00 R23,65

Rustenburg - FARG R32,10 R23,65

R31,91 R25,88

Secunda - FASC R31,91 R25,88

Secunda - FASC R33,07 R25,88

Skeerpoort *Customer to collect

R36,46 R27,03


Skeerpoort *Customer to collect R28,43 R18,47

R28,43 R18,47

Skeerpoort *Customer to collect R26,75 R19,99

Springbok - FASB

Springs - FASI


Springbok - FASB R36,46 R27,03

R36,46 R27,03

Springbok - FASB R33,93 R27,03

Stellenbosch - FASH

R33,20 R23,30

Swellendam - FASX

Springs - FASI R34,22

R33,70 Springs - FASI


Stellenbosch - FASH R36,00


Swellendam - FASX R33,00 R23,00

R33,00 R23,00

R32,09 R22,92

R35,60 R22,59

R32,09 R22,92

Tempe - FATP

Swellendam FASX R33,80 R22,50 Swellendam - FASX

Thabazimbi - FATI

Thabazimbi - FATI R35,60 R22,59

Upington - FAUP R35,19 R26,47

R35,19 R26,47

R35,54 R23,92

R36,25 R22,85


Warmbaths - FAWA R35,50

Welkom - FAWM R32,32 R22,92

Wings Park EL

Witbank - FAWI

R33,50 R23,50


Wonderboom - FAWB R33,35 R20,35

Worcester - FAWC R34,90

Upington - FAUP

Virginia - FAVG

Vryburg - FAVB

Vryheid - FAVY

Warmbaths - FAWA

Welkom - FAWM

Wings Park EL

Witbank - FAWI

Worcester - FAWC

Tempe - FATP R31,91 R22,92

R31,91 R22,92

Thabazimbi - FATI R31,17 R21,21

R31,17 R21,21

R35,19 R26,47

Upington - FAUP R35,19

R33,58 R23,00

R31,83 R21,47



R32,14 R22,92

R33,50 R23,50


Wonderboom - FAWB

R28,93 R18,97




With surveillance and crime-fighting equipment vital to operations, our versatile range of helicopters perform a multitude of critical missions. Supporting law enforcement teams, who in turn support communities, Airbus proudly delivers cutting edge flight technologies that help keep the world a safer place.

Story and photos Laura McDermott.


WINTER HAD ARRIVED with a vengeance in Johannesburg, and the thermometer in the car -registered sub-zero temperatures en-route to Eagle’s Creek airfield that morning for a flight to Lanseria.

It was the much anticipated EAA Young Eagle’s initiative which had been organised by EAA Chapter 322 and hosted by Execujet.

The wind was already gusting 10 knots, but for a welcome change was mostly straight down runway 07 at FALA.

We were greeted by the booming voice of Brian Emmenis who, along with all the participating pilots, donated their services to this worthy cause.

Warren Lovell, who has been in charge of running the Young Eagles in South Africa for the past two years, confirmed that the intention of the project is to introduce youth from all walks of life to aviation.

The programme was started in the United States in 1992 and to date has made the dreams of 2.3 million youth come true around the world.

Mike Puzey shows them how it’s done.
Young Aviator founder Tyla Puzey helps prepare RV10 ZU-IXK.
ABOVE: Some very lucky pupils get to fly with Karl Jensen in The Unpainted One. BELOW: Happiness is… a flight in a Cessna Citation Mustang

‘Boeing’ circuits were the order of the day. Twenty aircraft had braved the frosty conditions. Ranging from the smallest, a Pitts Special to the largest, a Cessna Citation Mustang, and everything in between, the Execujet apron was a hive of activity.

Approximately 85 children between the ages of 10 and 17 had arrived from 3 schools based in Lanseria and Dainfern respectively.

I chatted to the headmaster of Kwena Malopo Comprehensive Farm School, Michael Maligana, who said that grade 10 and 11 children who took maths and science as subjects were invited. The four neatly dressed students standing beside him were beaming from ear to ear.

Lanseria ATC were stretched to capacity that morning as they juggled the joyrides between Safair commercial flights and numerous other general aviation operations.

Most pilots racked up more time waiting at the holding point than flying, and circuits were so big that Jack Taylor Airfield could be seen from the Krugersdorp ridge. The organised chaos was managed without incident, and by mid-day the flights were done.

Execujet laid on a delicious fare of hamburgers, even offering a choice between chicken and beef, which I guess is mandatory at an airport.

Despite being on their feet since early morning, the Execujet staff pitched in to help serve and seemed as at home dressing burger buns as they were managing the intricate details required to get an event of this magnitude off the ground.

ABOVE: Four grade 11 pupils from Kwena Malopo Comprehensive Farm School. BELOW: Derek Hopkins making sure his passenger is strapped in.

ABOVE: Gareth Gill's Pitts Special ZS-MZY.

BELOW: Protea pilot Tarryn Myburgh inspiring the next generation.

ABOVE: Peter Lastrucci shakes hands with a budding young aviator in front of his Piper PA12. BELOW: Execuject’s Grant Naudé, Thembi Odumeleng (bending over), Lucille Beijl and Stephanie Houghton (in front of the table) serving pupils.

The Young Eagles programme is a wonderful social outreach and it would be interesting to know how many of these children go on to a career in aviation. It’s impossible to know what seeds are planted following an experience of this nature.

Execujet were amazing hosts. j

Regardless of the eventual outcome, no one can dispute the joy that it brings to kids the moment the aeroplane’s wheels leave the ground, and that in itself is enough reward.


A quick Google search of ‘Linda Sollars’ brings up a plethora of articles detailing the remarkable journey of this petite dynamo. Notably, she flew from Johannesburg to Oshkosh in N915HW, the inaugural Sling High Wing, which she built from the kit at Sling Aircraft in Tedderfield.

Linda with the Sling HW she built.

FOR MOST INDIVIDUALS, such an endeavour would mark a pinnacle achievement, a feat many dream of, but few realise. Yet, for Linda, it was merely another feather in her very large cap.

I had the privilege of meeting Linda at an EAA Chapter 322 gathering at Rand Airport, and was immediately intrigued. What drove her to undertake such a remarkable expedition? What sets her apart from the other 8 billion humans she shares this planet with?

Perhaps Linda had the privilege and opportunity that elude many. However, there are countless individuals with even greater advantages who would never contemplate a journey akin to Linda’s.

a stark contrast as she navigated the challenges of caring for her ailing mother, who succumbed to cancer when Linda turned 18.

she was earning a fortune

Despite excelling in math and science, Linda’s high school guidance counsellor dissuaded her from pursuing a career in aviation due to her gender. Trusting the guidance of an elder, she diverted her focus to improving her weaker subjects and pursued an undergraduate degree in English literature at the Regency College in England. It was during her year abroad that Linda’s horizons expanded exponentially, igniting a newfound passion for exploration and learning.

Her affinity for flying traces back to her fascination with Snoopy and his iconic red biplane, which symbolised adventure and freedom. However, her teenage years presented

The dynamic landscape of the 1980s in the United States, marked by financial prosperity and technological advancements, prompted Linda to harness her mathematical acumen by pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on finance. A fortuitous encounter with her Personal Finance professor, who

Captain Sollars with a JetBlue Airbus.

happened to be a pilot, reignited Linda’s dormant passion for flying, leading her to obtain her pilot’s license.

While Linda aspired to become a commercial pilot and fly for a living, she found that her eyesight fell short of the 20/80 correctable to 20/20 vision requirements. Undeterred, she ventured to Brooklyn, New York, in pursuit of biofeedback therapy to enhance her eyesight which unfortunately did not yield the desired results.

Armed with her MBA in finance and computer skills, Linda accepted a more lucrative job on Wall Street. This came naturally to her and soon she was earning a lot of money, which allowed her to buy her own plane, a 1979 Cessna 210.

C210. She needed more flexibility and so took a sabbatical from Wall Street to study Airframe and Power Plant Mechanics, thinking that she could save money by maintaining her own aircraft.

Then the FAA announced they were to drop the 20/80 correctable to 20/20 requirement for Class One Medicals, opening a path for Linda to achieve her CPL. The expectation was that the airlines would follow suit.

However, fate had other plans

Even though she was aged 35, this news changed Linda’s game plan and she decided that she would be flying for United Airlines by the time she was 40.

Although she was earning a fortune, she was also spending a fortune on maintaining the

This upped the ante and so Linda added a Piper Apache to her ‘fleet’ to gain experience on multiengined aircraft.

with her first plane - a 1979 C210.


Linda’s qualification in Airframe and Power Plant Mechanics in action.

As is often the bane of old planes, she found herself logging more hours fixing the plane than actually flying it. She did however accumulate enough flying hours to secure a job at a charter company, after which she accepted a position at a regional airline.

Not one to be idle while awaiting line operations training at the regional airline, Linda spent the time documenting various inconsistencies that she had identified in a variety of flight training manuals. In addition, she researched and developed a Cockpit Resource Management course for the airline.

Linda's passion for these projects made them invaluable to her management team, reaping her great rewards in the future.

Finally in 2001, a year before she turned 40, Linda’s dream came true when she was hired by United. However, fate had other plans, as September 11 led to Linda being furloughed from her new job.

Once flights resumed following 9/11, Linda received a call from the regional airline she had worked for before joining United, offering her the position of Chief Pilot.

She told them she’d consider if they would pay the salary that she wanted, thinking they would never agree, as it was substantially more than the going rate. To her astonishment, they agreed, and Linda became their first female chief pilot.

The appointment did not sit well with some of her male colleagues, and they made it their mission to make life hell for her, going as far as putting up signs in the office barring women and accusing her of getting the job due to affirmative action, and not because of her skill.

Despite facing adversity and discrimination in her role, Linda’s perseverance and expertise propelled her career forward, culminating in an offer from JetBlue to head their Systems Safety department.

Linda, Seamus the Flying Dog and Laura McDermid at the EAA Chapter 322 meeting.

Once Linda had set up the department, she applied for a position as a pilot and did both jobs for a couple of years. Initially, she worked mainly in the office and flew a few times a month, and gradually built more hours flying the line until she was doing the occasional office job.

A past colleague from Wall Street convinced her to take a leadership role in information systems at a hedge fund during the week, and soon she was earning three times that of a First Officer. For about a year she juggled hedge funds between flight schedules before she decided that it wasn’t a great fit and ditched the hedge fund.

she taken the job at United, she may have made more money in the long run, but she would not have the schedule flexibility that she enjoys at JetBlue (and she would have been furloughed a second time when the world shut down due to Covid).

I can’t wait to see what she does next

At around the same time, Linda received a call from United, asking her to return, but after some deliberation, she decided to stay at JetBlue. Had

One of Linda’s many ambitions was to build her own plane from a kit. She considered a variety of makes, but there was always something that fell short of her ideal.

In 2016 she had the opportunity to fly the Sling 4 at Fun and Sun Florida, and although it made a positive impression on her, it did not meet her criteria for a plane with high wings.

The high-wing Sling was on the drawing board, so she put her name on the list. Her patience paid off and Linda was offered the first Sling

High Wing kit, the plan being to ship the kit straight to the USA.

However COVID caused huge backlogs and subsequent delays in shipping.

A friend suggested she build the plane in South Africa, an idea that Linda pitched to the folk at Sling. The request was heartily welcomed and so began Linda’s grand adventure.

In order to meet the 51% amateur home-build requirements, Linda travelled to South Africa 11 times within a period of three years. Five of these were spent building the plane whilst the balance was spent enjoying our beautiful country, both from the air and the ground.

The challenge they now faced was how to get the plane to the States, as freight costs were exorbitant, and Sling strongly advised her to never take the wings off the high wing.

So James Pittman and Mike Blyth suggested she fly her plane from Johannesburg to Oshkosh. Having already flown their various Sling models around the world, these two adventurers got planning. On Monday 18 July 2022, three Sling High Wings took off from Lanseria on a journey of a lifetime.

made her even more determined.

If I had to sum Linda up in one word it would be ‘determined’. Wikipedia defines determination as ‘a positive emotional feeling that promotes persevering towards a difficult goal in spite of obstacles’.

Since her childhood Linda has faced a barrage of obstacles, yet she never perceived herself to be a victim, or ever indulged in self-pity. Every obstacle represented a challenge to vanquish,

Passing on the passion - Pallavee Appigadoo meets Linda - the inspiration for her CPL.

and each successive victory made her even more determined.

Linda turns 63 this year which means that according to the current FAA rule, she only has two years in the left seat before she is forced to retire.

I found an article published by Forbes in February that reported that ‘a small group of pilots nearing retirement age are advocating to raise the age.’

I can’t help wondering if it is in fact a small group of pilots or just one small pilot with heaps of determination. I have no doubt that if Linda is spearheading this campaign, the FAA does not stand a chance.

Linda is the true epitome of inspiration, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.



After Dudu Myeni, Glenn Orsmond may be one of the most hated people in the South African airline industry. He was the founder CEO of 1time Airline and twice the CEO of Comair. Both airlines failed spectacularly. In this book he explains –in his words – how they crashed – and provides many other amazing insights into the airline business in SA.

Glenn Orsmond has a fascinating story of the death of two airlines he was the CEO of.

THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY is notoriously difficult. Richard Branson famously said, “The airline industry has made more millionaires – out of billionaires – than any other.”

Airlines are capital and skills intensive, yet they have paper-thin margins that are frighteningly vulnerable to external threats and changes in the environment. A sudden increase in the oil price can threaten an airline’s survival, and many airlines did not survive Covid. A good airline needs a strong balance sheet, and that needs a profitable bottom line.

Glenn got into the airline industry when he was assigned the Bop Air (later Sun Air) audit as an accounting clerk in the early 1990s. This was at the beginning of airline deregulation in South Africa, and so this book covers 34 years of the ‘take no prisoners’ fight for survival by South African airlines.

his fatal flaw is that he wanted to be liked

Glenn Orsmond is an accountant, who by his own admission, struggles to tell a Boeing 737 from an Airbus A320. He reckons running an airline is all about profits – and if we are honest, he is 100% correct. Without profits there is no airline –unless you are SAA.

Orsmond provides fascinating insights into Comair, for which he worked three times – twice as CEO. The airline was hugely proud of its worldbeating unbroken 70 year profit history – and then it all fell apart. Many blame Orsmond – especially the pilots and the unions.

After Sun Air’s collapse (murder?) at the hands of SAA, Orsmond was one of the three founders of 1time, the second true low cost carrier in SA (after Like all good LCCs, the new airline was brash and innovative. It hired staff based on attitude, rather than experience

Glenn Orsmond was one of the founders and the CEO of 1time - another failed airline.

or qualifications, and so, in Osmond’s words, it ‘avoided contamination by personnel from other airlines’. The joke was that you had to be crazy to work for an airline, so there were no psychometric tests.

1time was under-capitalised and was therefore operating cheap but fuel-inefficient MD-82s. Faced with predatory pricing from SAA and Comair, there was conflict amongst board members. The new CEO was Blacky Komani, who Orsmond described as a ‘great guy but his fatal flaw is that he wanted to be liked,’ which was not going to be good for the bottom line. Orsmond left 1time on 1 September 2011.

A fascinating insight is that in 2012 Orsmond and others from 1time got a new air service licence to start an airline called Skywise. They presented a business plan to Safair as they wanted to lease aircraft - but Safair strung them along and then used their plan to start their own airline in 2013 – FlySafair.

intent on minimum work and maximum lifestyle, justified in the name of safety.

Orsmond was appointed joint CEO with Wrenelle Stander. Having two very different CEOs was never going to be an easy relationship, given the different directions the board was being pulled and pushed. Glenn survived Wrenelle and was thus the sole CEO when it collapsed.

Covid, and the resulting Business Rescue, brought an end to this episode. Orsmond then planned a new low-cost ‘virtual airline’ that would lease aircraft on demand and operate only on profitable routes. This innovative project was also hijacked and emerged as the new airline; Lift.

government trying to kill Comair

Orsmond was then approached to be the CEO of Mango and was about to be appointed when the Dept of Public Enterprises, operating – you guessed it – on Pravin Gordhan’s instructions, stopped his appointment. The very competent Nic Vlok resigned in disgust. Then Mango’s R1 billion cash reserve, built up under Nico Bezuidenhout, and which would have probably enabled it to survive Covid - was plundered by SAA.

After four years on the Wild Coast, Glenn was enticed back to Comair, which “had grown fat and inefficient.” The airline had “become arrogant and made the bad decision to buy eight Boeing 737 Maxes. Its staff had swelled, yet customer service was bad, as was on-timeperformance. The pilots called the shots, and the ground staff were unionised and had a “not my job” attitude. He memorably describes SAA pilots as a ‘pantheon of self-anointed demigods’

Despite heroic efforts the Comair restart failed. As I wrote at the time, the biggest challenges airlines faced from Covid was not the lockdown, but the restart, when costs suddenly increased with the resumption of flying. And then there were the further waves of Covid and the hysteria that was Omicron.

Boeing played hardball with the ruinous order for eight new Maxes and the banks were intransigent. Orsmond says that the lawyers and Business Rescue practitioners made obscene profits – at the expense of a business already on its knees.

Then Comair had a double dose of plain bad luck. It had two in-flight engine shut-downs in quick succession. Whether these were actual engine failures or just instrumentation failures, Orsmond unfortunately does not say – he is after all an accountant.

Seeing the vulnerability, the CAA pounced. With a dysfunctional board and unsympathetic banks, Comair collapsed on 31 May 2022. Orsmond blames earlier bad decisions, the pilots, the unions and the CAA. He reckons the CAA attacked Comair to divert attention from their

Glen Orsmond was also involved in start-ups such as Skywise.

egregious failures, which killed three of their own employees in the George Citation crash. I reckon they were acting at the behest of the government in trying to kill Comair to so protect SAA.

In my editorial this month I write, ‘From Glenn Orsmond’s account, the CAA must shoulder a large part of the blame for the loss of the 1,200 jobs and invaluable air connectivity that was Comair. In a horrifying rerun of the CAA’s baseless attempts to bring down CemAir three years earlier, the CAA grounded Comair for supposed Level 1 findings which it was reportedly unable to justify.

with a wounded antelope, Comair stood no chance of survival after the CAA destroyed the vestiges of its reputation by grounding it.”

It may be unpopular to say so with those who automatically choose to disparage Glenn Orsmond, but I really enjoyed this book. It’s an easy read and it provides a fresh and fascinating insight into the dog-fight that has been the airline industry in SA over the past 35 years.

selfanointed demigods

If I have any criticisms, it is that the title and the cover are clichéd YouTube click-bait. And it is in urgent need of an index, as there’s much useful information that you will want to go back to.

“The difference between the CAA’s attack on CemAir and Comair was that CemAir had a strong balance sheet and an alternative revenue source in its charter business, whereas Comair was already on its knees, with the slower than expected restart after Covid, combined with the unaffordable Boeing 737 Maxes. Like a hyaena

The book is available for R310 from all good book stores. Ignore those knockers who have not read it – and have judged it by its cover. For anyone interested in the airline industry, this book is essential reading.



THE MUCH-HYPED Icon A5 amphibious light sport aircraft filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, declaring $170 million in debt.

In May, Icon selected SG Investment America as the ‘stalking horse’ bidder tasked with setting the initial sale price for other potential buyers during the auction process.

AOPA reported on the sale noting that the hearing, which lasted just 30 minutes, drew lastminute offers from SG Investment America and General Atomics CEO Linden Blue, who offered nearly a quarter million dollars less. Ultimately, SG Investment America was chosen due to the “certainty” it offered.

Blue will maintain his position as a “backup” bidder until September, with the option to finalize the sale if the agreement with SG Investment America does not progress quickly. The sale may enable the company to continue aircraft production, although the buyer’s intentions were not clarified in court documents or the hearing on June 18.

Revised terms of the transaction include provisions for the termination of all Icon staff, with possible job offers under the discretion of the new ownership.

3 -5 July

Wonderboom National Airport

Website: or Phone: 011 467-3341

27 July Soutpansberg

Bianca Prinsloo E-mail:

David Le Roux E-mail: Cell:

24 August

Wonderboom or Shirley Gainsford: Phone:0114673341

31 August TBA

Felix Gosher

E-mail: Cell: 066 1919 4603

Frank van Heerden

E-mail: Cell: 082 656 7253 Cell: 066 1919 4603

14 September

Venue TBA

David Le Roux

E-mail: Cell: 073 338 52003


18 - 24 September AFB Waterkloof

Nakedi Phasha E-mail:

28 September Heidelberg Airfield

Chistopher Van E-mail:

Hugh Pryor - Tight Jeans

News - Ethiopia Graduates 750 Aviation Professionals

Laura McDermid - Iris Farewell to Arn Pt1

News - Boeing President Apologises

IATA - The Global Airline Industry Overview

News - Boeing Insists Starliner ‘Not Stranded’

Okavango Dreaming:- Part 3

IATA - Blocked Funds Drop

How is SAA surviving?

IATA - Focus Africa Safety Initiatives

News - Baggage Handling Improves

MIL’s Amazing Helicopters - Pt2 -Steve Trichard

IATA - Q&A: Yvonne Manzi Makolo

Maputo Airshow KHANIMABO!!!

News - Fake Titanium

Supplement - Aviation Consultants

Superior Pilot Services: Flight School Directory

Merchant West Charter Directory

Skysource AMO Listing

Backpage Directory

Flyer and Aviation Publications

Managing Editor Guy Leitch

Advertising Sales Howard Long 076 499 6358

Layout & Design

Patrick Tillman: Imagenuity cc


John Bassi

Laura McDermid

Darren Olivier

Jeffery Kempson


CONTRAILS HAVE LONG BEEN a favourite subject of the tin-foil hat brigade to attack the airline industry.

But now no less a body than IATA has acknowledged that contrails are part of aviation’s impact on the climate.

Some basic science: Jet engines produce water vapour – and other stuff. At high altitude, and in high humidity, the water vapour condenses onto condensation nuclei from the jet combustion chambers. If the air is sufficiently humid the water vapour condenses into crystals and a cloud is formed. These clouds are called condensation trails – or contrails.

The climate effects of contrails depends on how long they last, the place and time of the day at which they are formed, the weather conditions, the combined effect of multiple contrails, and, importantly, whether they have a cooling or warming effect.

formation and climate impact. No methods exist yet to monitor contrails on a per flight basis or tools to mitigate them at scale.”

IATA says that the aviation community, consisting of industry, governments, universities, and research institutions, are engaging in initiatives to further understand the climate impact of contrails and potential mitigation.

Part of the work that IATA is leading is focused on increasing the confidence of where contrails might form, and what their climate effect could be. This involves equipping aircraft with humidity sensors, performing contrail avoidance trials and researching and testing the non-CO2 effects of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and hydrogen.”

they have a warming effect

This makes calculating their net climate effect on a per flight basis extremely complex. Despite this, IATA has seemingly bowed to pressure from the environmental lobbyists to recognise that one of the main climate change contributions is from persistent contrails and the resulting aviation-induced clouds.

While the climate effect of these emissions has been estimated at an aggregate level, the capacity to accurately measure their impact at an airline or individual-flight level is very limited. Also, large uncertainties remain regarding the overall climate effect of these emissions.

IATA has accepted that, “On balance, they have a warming effect, with diurnal, seasonal and geographical variations. The scientific understanding of the non-CO2 climate effects of aviation has grown, but significant uncertainties exist in predicting contrail

A report commissioned by IATA calls for a strengthening of collaboration between research and technological innovation, coupled with policy frameworks to address aviation’s non-CO2 emissions through more atmospheric data.” The short term (20242030) objective is to prioritise the reduction of CO2 emissions over uncertainties in contrail detection and climate impact through: Increasing airline participation in sensor programs, continuing scientific research, improving humidity and climate models. The medium term (2030-2040) objectives are to establish standards for data transmission, continuously validating models, and encouraging aircraft manufacturers to include provisions for meteorological observations.

For the longer-term (2040-2050): IATA believes that aircraft should be continuously providing data, and the models and infrastructure should be reliable.

All this is intensely complex – and reflects the pressures on the airline industry from climate activists. 



a role model for someone who wants a lot out of life, Frank had quite a lot going for him. Ex-Dutch Air Force, he had flown in the early days

of the jet era. Meteors and Sabres, that sort of thing.

HE WENT ON FROM the Air Force to be a test pilot. In fact, he was responsible for test flying the Alpha Jet, that little twin engined jet trainer used by the French Air Force, (and the ‘Patrouille de France’ aerobatic team).

He is a burly open-faced man with a ready smile, an uncomplicated nature and not very much white-blond hair trained over the sun tanned dome of his head.

Among his many stories there was a hilarious one of a flight he did with the Alpha Jet from Ystres in Southern France. It was to be an endurance test, with the drop tanks full.

military controller of his predicament. He reached just over thirty thousand feet before everything went quiet.

The distant coast line of France seemed hopelessly far away, but the little Alpha Jet was a willing glider and not a keen swimmer and after what seemed like hours, the Ystres runway slid temptingly towards the nose and with it, a minute gleam of optimism.

the road as a landing ground

It wasn’t until he was a long, long way out over the Mediterranean Sea that he found that the ground crew had omitted to fill the drop tanks and he had omitted to check them. After a quick calculation he discovered that he was indeed going to have the opportunity of finding out the EXACT fuel endurance of an Alpha Jet with full main tanks and empty auxiliaries.

He turned the aircraft around and, in order to reduce drag and prolong his anticipated glide, he dropped the tanks into the sea and began to climb, advising the

But it was not to be. At ‘Best Angle of Glide’, the little jet just hadn’t got quite enough height to make it back to the field.

As luck would have it, Frank noticed a long straight dirt road, leading through the surrounding fields towards the airport. He decided that this would make a very satisfactory alternative to the real thing. So he set himself up for a landing on it. It wasn’t until he was fully committed that he discovered that the Germans, during the Second World War, had also spotted the suitability of the road as a landing ground for aircraft. They had therefore erected concrete barricades across it to prevent the Allies from doing what Frank was now going to try.

The touch-down was one that even Frank was proud of, but try as he might, there was no way around the

obstruction on the track in front of him as he slowed down. He hit it with the left main gear, which bent with the impact, bringing the aircraft to a halt with a jolt. Frank opened the canopy and climbed out onto the ground. The damage was surprisingly light and the ‘plane looked easily recoverable, particularly since the runway was just the other side of the fence.

He had lost all communications soon after the engines flamed out and the last information received by the controller put him somewhere out to sea. The search therefore concentrated on an area of water either side of the track which he had taken for the test flight, and nobody seemed to be interested in the little jet parked on a concrete block just beside the airport’s perimeter fence, however much the pilot shouted and waved his arms at the passing helicopters.

Finally Frank admitted to himself that no-one was going to come and pick him up and so, grabbing his bone dome he climbed over the fence and walked the two kilometres to the Administration building. He opened the door of the Ops Room and went in.

“I would like to report an accident.” he announced.

fuel. Hardly any damage really, considering. Bloody miracle if you ask me. The poor guy must have had a malfunction on the bang seat because it’s still in the ‘plane. He must have just bailed out over the sea. I’m surprised that the canopy stayed on really. Bloody strong little airplane if you ask me. Shame about the driver. I’ve come to Ops to find out who he was. They didn’t seem to know over the other side.”

“The man you are looking for is ME!” said Frank, laying a calming hand on the other pilot’s shoulder. “And after what I’ve just been through, I need a hot shower and an enormous Scotch, and since I cannot find anybody who is prepared to listen to me, I’m going to get both of those right now. If you find anybody who is interested I would be most obliged if you would advise them that they can call off the search. They will find me in my room.”


miracle if you ask me

“I’m sorry sir,” came the flustered reply from the Duty Ops Officer, “Come back later. We’ve got an aircraft missing and we’re too busy to deal with your problem right now.” And before Frank could get a word in, he turned importantly, strode into his office and slammed the door. Frank tried knocking on the closed office door, but all he could hear was the Ops Officer screaming down the telephone in 3000 wpm French. Frank was just turning around, wondering who to talk to next when the main door of the Admin Building opened and a colleague walked in, obviously fresh from the cockpit, by the sweat which stained his flying overalls. He looked worried.

“What’s the problem?” said Frank.

“One of the new Alpha Jets went up on a test flight this morning and put out a Mayday call somewhere miles south of here, out over the Med. We’ve found the aeroplane. It landed back close to the runway with no

...But Frank’s true love affair was with the Seastar. After finishing the flight testing on the Alpha Jet, he was headhunted by the Dornier aircraft company who were producing an extraordinary little twelve passenger amphibian.

She was not only graceful but also extremely strong and her airframe was constructed completely of composites. Her ancestry was obvious. The hull which swept up to a nicely proportioned tail, sported flared stub-wing balance floats, just like her Second World War forebear, the Dornier “Wal” or Whale.

The Seastar’s fuselage was suspended below a finely sculpted wing with the engines mounted on it and so was the Wal’s. The difference here was that the Seastar’s engines were situated one behind the other, giving centre-line thrust in the event of an engine failure and considerably reducing drag in normal flight. Another departure from the Wal’s design was a retractable undercarriage, with the main wheels housed conveniently in the stub-wing floats.

The design’s incredible strength was demonstrated admirably one day when Frank and a colleague took her out with an engineer, for some heavy weather tests. The Baltic sea is well known for the violence of its

short sharp waves. These can reach heights in excess of five metres and have been known to get even larger vessels into trouble. Frank wanted to see just how good the Seastar was in these conditions and so they ventured out on a windy day which was producing white horses on the wave-tops. The idea was to fly out to sea to find the big swells and try a landing. Then they would try taxying at progressively increased speeds until a take-off could be achieved.

Conditions were rather rougher than they had anticipated and, after landing on the shoulder of one wave, the little amphibian wrestled her way up, barging past the crest of another wave before surfing into the hollow beyond and nosing up the back of the next. Speed was building nicely as the engines laboured to drive the hull up onto the plane and then, suddenly the sea seemed to open up and the Seastar dropped into a dark watery chasm before being hurled high in the air by a massive brutish wall of water. It was all Frank could do to ram the power levers to the panel and stuff the stick forward in a last ditch effort to prevent a stall.

“HOLD ON!” he shouted as they nosed over and dived into the roaring turmoil of storm tortured water. The fuselage stayed under the water for measurable seconds before slowly struggling back to the surface.

Not only did they make it, but when the engineers lifted her out of the water and examined every square millimetre of her structure, they could find no evidence of what she had been through. She was as sound as the day when she came out of the factory. The engines needed seeing to of course. Drinking sea water doesn’t do anyone a lot of good.

Sadly, a major squabble developed inside the Dornier family about the Seastar’s future and she never went into production, which broke Frank’s heart, but gave us the benefit of his company when he joined us as Chief Pilot.

- - -

The first time I actually met Frank, I was in Aden, the then capital of South Yemen. I was flying with a great friend, an Austrian called Franz and Frank introduced himself to us as he came out through the new arrivals building.

a couple of ice-cold Seerah beers

“Hi” he said, his beaming smile breaking down the barriers as we shook hands, “I’m Frank Tuytjens. You must be Hugh and you must be Franz. Good to see you and thanks for coming to meet me.” He appeared to be travelling extremely light.

Frank did not know how long they would have to evacuate before she foundered. Then, while he was checking on the condition of the other members of the crew, he realised that the sound he could hear was not the thunder of the storm, but the rumble of two Pratt & Whitney PT6s. The engines were still muttering away happily in spite of the dousing they had just received. There was no surging in rush of water through shattered bulk heads either. In fact the old girl seemed to be much the same shape as she had been before the plunge. He could almost hear her saying “So? That was fun! What’s next?”

“Well, I suppose we could try and taxi her back to shore and see if she can make it in one piece,” he said and the other two heads nodded in agreement. Any craft that could get you through an experience like that without killing you was definitely worth saving.

“Hello Frank,” I greeted him. “Can we give you a hand with your bags?”

“I wish you could!” said Frank, “But they must have gone astray in Paris. I spoke to the Air France Station Manager here and he assured me that they will arrive on Thursday’s flight. It’s not the first time I have suffered at the hands of Aerogares de Paris! So we can only live in hope!”

“I’ve got some spare clothes if you need them and I’m about your size.” I offered encouragingly and he accepted the offer gratefully.

“I see what they mean about Aden!” said Frank, looking around the crumbling buildings as we left the car park.

Khormaksar Airport, had been built for the Royal Air Force, across the isthmus which connects Aden to the mainland of Arabia. It was still littered with quietly corroding reminders of a busy past, more than twenty years after the Brits had left. A Meteor, a Hunter, lines of old DC-3’s, bits of a Canberra bomber, an old Rolls Royce Griffon engine, presumably off a Shackleton, and the remains of what I could only make out to be an A-26 sweated in the salt-laden sauna along with some artefacts left by more recent tenants.

Mig-15s and 17s and even a 21, shared the apron with Antonov 24s and a Mil Mi-8 helicopter, in front of the tattered remnants of the RAF hangars. An enormous scrap yard, piled high with torn wreckage from previous crashes provided a feast for anyone interested enough to probe out beyond the rear of the Alyemda hangar. Turbine wheels from condemned Russian Ivchenko turbine engines rolled around aimlessly on the concrete aprons which had previously bristled with activity when the RAF were running things. A deserted RAF paint store accommodated mounds of time-ex aircraft instruments. It fascinated me that the Russian Air Speed Indicators had the same classic dodecahedral shape as the American ones. I wish I had kept some of them. The only bits I ever took home with me were the Pratt & Whitney plates off a couple of scrapped R-2000s.

I bought the beer and returned to our table. “Good Health.” We clinked bottles, “And thanks for the jeans Hugh,” Frank added. “However, I think I will have to change my name. No longer Tuytjens,” he smiled. “Now it’s going to have to be ‘Tight Jeans’, I fear, until I get my luggage, of course!”

We had a relaxing evening and the following morning Frank took us up for our Instrument check rides and proficiency checks. They proved to be almost fun and certainly highly educational as we searched the Twin Otter’s performance envelope with the benefit of Frank’s test-piloting background.

His luggage did arrive on the Thursday flight, as promised, (and to our barely suppressed amazement,) and Frank was able to escape from the strictures of having to wear my jeans and extend himself to the more generous dimensions allowed for by his own.

“See you in the bar.”

When we got back to the Hotel, Frank settled into his room and I fed a pair of my jeans round his door as promised.

“See you in the bar.” I said and left him to get sorted out.

Ten minutes later, Frank marched into the bar where Franz and I had broken into a couple of ice-cold Seerah beers.

“Beer?” I enquired, walking over to the bar.

“Many thanks,” said Frank, “I could murder one.” I could see that he meant it.

The evening before he left for Europe, we settled down to explore the possibilities offered by a bottle of Glen Morangie which Frank had managed to secrete away in the check-in baggage which had so miraculously managed to find its way, unaccompanied, from Paris.

“So!” said Frank, holding up his glass, “Here’s to the end of Frank Tight Jeans!” We raised our glasses respectfully to his memory. “And to the return of Frank Tuytjens to civilization...hopefully with his luggage this time!”

“And here’s to a new and very welcomed friend,” I stood up as I reached across to make the toast. “To ‘Frank Two Chins!’”

Frank let out a guffaw of laughter “Don’t you forget!” he wagged his finger at me, “You’ve got another Prof Check coming up in six months’ time.”

“Where will we all be in six months’ time?” I gesticulated, throwing care to the winds. Little was I to know that in six months Franz and I would be in the middle of a war zone and Frank would be sitting with his feet up on a desk in Zurich.


Ethiopian Aviation University has graduated close to 800 aviation professionals including international trainees from eight African countries and one from Asia.

The graduation ceremony on 15 June took place at the university’s facility. The graduates were trainees in Ethiopian Aviation University’s Pilot, Aviation Maintenance, Cabin Crew and Commercial Training programmes.

Congratulating the aviation professionals, Ethiopian Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer Mr. Mesfin

Tasew, said, “We are delighted to witness the fruits of our effort in realizing a self-sufficient Africa, in terms of aviation professionals supporting the industry within the continent. We believe in the potential of Africa’s youths to shape the continent’s aviation and continue to educate them at our centre of excellence."

"Training globally competitive professionals, today, we graduate 308 aviation maintenance, 142 pilots, 297 cabin crew, 25 electro-mechanical professionals and 15 ticket agents. I urge Africans to invest in training their youth for the future of aviation at Ethiopian Aviation University.”

The Ethiopian Aviation Academy.

Laura McDermid continues her stories about Iris McCallum’s early years in East Africa.

THE YEAR WAS 1980 and, despite Kenya achieving independence in 1963, the British influence persisted. Fascination with the country was at an all-time high. Many Britons were familiar with the exotic wildlife and scenic landscapes through literature and nature documentaries.

The media exposure spurred a sense of adventure and a desire to experience safaris firsthand, which benefited the local aviation companies, including Sunbird Aviation, the company I’d been working for since April.

On 14 September 1980, I was asked to charter a film crew that were making a television series based on Elspeth Huxley’s book; ‘The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood’. The memoir tells the story about Elspeth’s family’s ambitious move from Scotland to Thika, a remote area of Kenya, to establish a coffee plantation just before WWI.

IRIS FAREWELL TO ARN in fright before the shadow of my wings PART 1

the local workers and the personal dramas amongst the settlers. The series went on to be nominated for three BAFTA television awards, including Ian Wilson for best cinematography.

A week earlier I had flown Belgian missionaries from Nairobi to Sudan, my first long distance flight which involved some nerve -wracking moments flying over unchartered territory. It’s disconcerting before a proposed flight to find that in many cases the bulk of the terrain over which you had to fly was bluntly marked ‘Relief Data Incomplete’ on the aviation chart. At those times, looking out the cockpit merely confirmed that you had no cooking clue where you were and that Mordor may be an actual place.

Huxley captures the difficulties of transforming wilderness into a farm, the relationships formed with

I flew a total distance of 1600 nm on that trip in the trusty Piper Aztec 5Y-ARN. Although I had only been flying ARN for a few months, he had grown on me and I’d come to view his shortcomings as tolerable quirks, in the same way a parent views the behaviour of a delinquent child in a mildly amusing light.

This day I loaded my film crew’s four passengers, together with their endless bags of fragile camera equipment, and we took off from Wilson at 08h30 local.

My heading would have been direct north-east had Mount Kenya not been in the middle of the flight path.

At over 17,000 ft at its highest point, Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain and has claimed many unsuspecting aeroplanes over the years, including four WWII SAAF airmen who crashed their Bristol Blenheim MkIV in 1942 during a training flight.

With its snow capped peaks, it is without doubt an amazing spectacle, and always elicits gasps of awe from my passengers.

Many mountaineers have attempted to climb this formidable mountain, but one of my favourite stories is of three Italians that were held in a British POW camp during WWII at the base of the mountain in Nanyuki.

They escaped the camp and managed to climb the third highest peak, Point Lenana, before ‘escaping’ back into camp 18 days later. The story is retold in the book ‘No Picnic on Mount Kenya’ written by their team leader Felize Benuzzi. Apparently an image of Mount Kenya on an Oxo tin of rations, provided the three escapees with information on the unseen south face of the mountain.

Stories like these serve as a reminder of the almost godlike achievement of our species which are perpetuated throughout history, often supported on the twin crutches of fable and human incredulity.

The filming was taking place at Lewa Downs, the home of the Craig family who, in order to protect the dwindling black rhino population, converted 62,000 acres into a wildlife conservancy in the early 1980s.

It was a quick flight and soon I was overhead the dark red strip. The place is home to over 70 species of mammals, and at that time of the year the zebras were starting their migration.

The forlorn wreckage of 5Y-ARN.

I buzzed the strip which had the effect of churning a bunch of wildebeest into a frenzied gallop, the clownish beasts ending back where they started. I came in lower the second time and watched them plunge in fright before the shadow of my wings, this time scattering into a thicket of acacias.

I glanced at my watch, it was 09h15, and I could already see the heat shimmering above the red sand airstrip, a portent of afternoon thunder showers.

As I opened ARN’s door, the passengers tumbled out in a tangle of limbs and camera equipment, eager to get started with the day’s filming.

Once my passengers were collected, I performed my post-flight checks and sought out a shady spot from where I could watch the filming.

My young friend Jacky Kenyon oversaw the oxen and ox wagon which played a crucial role in the series. He waved and gave me a wide toothy grin when he saw

me, before returning his attention to the jet black zebu bull, which at its hump stood at least a foot taller than Jacky.

I watched David Robb and Hayley Mills in their roles of Robin and Tilly Grant face various hardships in their beautiful but hostile new Kenyan home with their eleven year old daughter Elspeth (played by Holly Aird).

Lewa air strip with its dark red earth.
Mt Kenya as seen from the air.

The image of Mount

on an Oxo tin of rations.

The Flame Trees of Thika - David Robb and Hayley Mills as Robin and Tilly Grant with Elspeth played by Holly Aird.

The set was made up to resemble a picnic scene. A large white sheet has been draped between two large umbrella thorn trees and Elspeth and her mom are being served tea by headman Njombo out of fine bone china cups.

Suddenly a bunch of curious Maasai materialize out of the bush and stare at the spectacle of the two well dressed European women who couldn’t have looked more out of place if they tried. Njombo is incensed by the intrusion and shouts at the onlookers in Swahili to go away.

The actresses must be sweltering in their Victorian dresses which are buttoned all the way up to their ears and I am grateful that society had evolved to allow women to wear pants and bare some skin.

By late afternoon the sky is grey, and I can hear the faint rumble of thunder in the distance.

the horizon is the colour of a ripe aubergine

The Maasai are meant to look contrite after being admonished, but each time Njombo shouts at them, one of them begins to snort with mirth which triggers the rest into peals of laughter and the scene has to be shot again.

At midday clouds begin to coalesce, offering some respite from the relentless sun. By late afternoon a pall of malaise descends over everything, even the noisy cicadas are quietened into submission.

Ian Wilson calls time out and the arduous process of lugging the camera equipment back to the plane begins. As the first fat plops of rain strike the dusty runway, the fizz of ozone fill my nostrils. Time to go.

When I lift off at 17h40, the southern horizon is the colour of a ripe aubergine and rain is falling in a solid sheet. As soon as I trim ARN for straight and level, I file an IFR flight plan which takes me over the November Victor VOR and clears me to the Tango Hotel Beacon for an ILS approach onto runway 07 at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. 

Lewa Downs Conservancy.


Boeing President Dave Calhoun has apologised to victims of Boeing plane crashes.

CALHOUN TURNED TO FACE the gallery at a Senate committee. “I would like to apologise, on behalf of all of our Boeing associates spread throughout the world, past and present, for your losses,” Calhoun said after numerous calls from those in the gallery to turn around and face them. “I apologise for the grief that we have caused.”

Calhoun was already in for a rough ride before hundreds of grieving relatives flooded into the chamber carrying posters of their dead loved ones and slogans shaming Boeing.

The night before the hearing, another whistleblower came forward alleging Boeing hid infractions from FAA safety inspectors and allowed unapproved parts to be installed in aircraft. Under questioning from the senate, Calhoun said he was aware of the company retaliating against whistleblowers.

As Calhoun was testifying, the Seattle Times revealed that Boeing’s MAX aircraft have a system in their engines that is not included in their flight manuals and has been activated in a couple of serious incidents.

The load reduction device (LRD) decouples the primary fan from the engine if the fan becomes unbalanced. That occurred in two serious bird strike incidents which resulted in heavy smoke in the cabin in one and in the cockpit in another.

The LRD worked as intended to stop the engines from literally shaking themselves apart but in doing so could also have altered the pilots’ response to the damaged fans. The FAA told the Seattle Times there is no evidence the LRD affected pilot responses to the two engine incidents and Boeing said that since the systems cannot be controlled by the pilots there is no need for them to know about it.

But Southwest Pilots Association Vice President Tom Nekouei disagreed. “If I have a system in the airplane that has a function, I need to know about it,” he said, noting the lack of transparency is like the lack of pilot knowledge of the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System that was a major factor in the crashes of two MAXes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun apologises to Boeing victim families.


Addressing the IATA annual general meeting in Dubai in June, Willie Walsh, the IATA Director General said that globally airlines performed well in 2023 with improved profitability. It was also the safest ever year – and a key thrust for the future is the drive towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

IATA Director General Willie Walsh.


by February 2023, domestic markets had fully recovered from the pandemic shock and the recovery of long-haul markets was largely complete by year-end.

“All told, airlines lost about four years of passenger growth as a result of the pandemic. The expectation is that 2024 will see travel exceed 2019 levels and progress toward an average annual growth rate of 3.8% to 2043.”


Walsh says that latest estimates indicate a $27.4 billion profit for 2023 with the expectation of strengthening profitability in 2024. Considering the enormous losses of 2020-2022, achieving this level of profitability is a major achievement. But with net profit margins of just 3.0%, sustainable profitably continues to elude airlines at the aggregated industry level.


The airline industry’s safety performance recorded “best-ever” results by several key measures. In 2023, there were no fatal accidents involving any IATA member airline, and there were no fatal accidents by any airline on the registry of the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

Globally, there was a single fatal accident involving a turboprop. And that is a reminder that safety is a continuous challenge. A key tool that is helping address that challenge is IOSA. In 2023, IOSA marked the twentieth year since the first airline joined the registry. Carriers on the registry have consistently outperformed those not on the registry by a significant margin.

a $27.4 billion profit for 2023

The cargo business also transitioned to a more normal level of activity in 2023. After seeing extraordinary demand in 2021, followed by a sharp drop in 2022, a gradual strengthening set in during most of 2023. Cargo rates experienced a different pattern and are continuing their downward correction to normality after unprecedented highs during the pandemic.

It is also notable that both air cargo and passenger traffic have defied a challenging macro-economic environment. Despite consumer inflation, people continue to travel in growing numbers. And emerging opportunities, such as time and temperature sensitive cargo and e-commerce, have been strong air cargo performers.

Persistent supply chain issues continue to affect the maintenance of existing fleets and the delivery of new aircraft. This is an enormous frustration for airline planning and operations, the impact of which extends to airline financial performance. Walsh insists that solutions must be found.

Several initiatives are further improving safety, notably a Safety Leadership Charter, the strengthening of IATA data capabilities with the advancement of the Global Aviation Data Management (GADM) initiative, and the progressive transition of IOSA to a risk-based approach that will deliver even more meaningful results.


A major focus for 2023 was on progressing the industry’s goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. IATA estimates that 65% of the carbon mitigation needed for net zero by 2050 will come from Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).

Walsh notes that the industry has used, ‘every drop of SAF produced. But in 2023 that was just 0.2% of total fuel used. The problem is simply that not enough SAF is being produced.’

In November 2023, governments, through ICAO, set a target of a 5% reduction in CO2 emissions through SAF. ‘This emphasizes the urgent need for those same governments to be more effective with policies to support the scaling up of SAF. And it highlights the need for policies to support the other decarbonization levers, such as direct air capture, which will be needed to complement SAF.’


IATA will establish the SAF Registry to accelerate the uptake of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) by authoritatively accounting and reporting emissions reductions from SAF. The Registry will help meet the critical needs of all stakeholders as part of the global effort to ramp-up SAF production.

Some of the key capabilities of the SAF Registry are:

• Its wide geographic scope: The Registry will allow airlines to purchase SAF regardless of where it is produced. Each batch’s certified environmental attributes can be tracked and assigned to the purchasing airline. By ensuring that the environmental attributes of SAF are properly recorded and transferred between parties, airlines and their customers can report emissions reductions accurately, aligning with any reporting obligations and international standards.

• Broad application and neutrality: The Registry will be neutral with respect to regulations, types of SAF, and any other specificities under relevant jurisdictions and frameworks, making it capable of handling all such user requirements.

Global standards

Global standards are essential for aviation as they are the bedrock of its safety. They will also be a key to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. A focus of IATA’s advocacy efforts has been defending global standards, for example:

• IATA resisted plans from the Dutch Government to ignore the ICAO Balanced Approach on Noise and illegally impose a capacity-cut at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

airlines would face enormous cost and complexity

• IATA is opposing international corporate income tax proposals that would require airlines to report revenue in each location where it was generated. Currently, airlines report all revenue in their headquarter’s jurisdiction. There are no flags of convenience giving access to friendlier tax regimes, so governments will gain nothing from the change. But airlines will face enormous cost and complexity should the proposals be adopted.

• IATA is also promoting standards that modernise business practices. This includes:

• Governance: Independent governance will ensure the system’s impartiality and robustness.

• Cost efficiency: Participation in the registry will be on a cost recovery basis to avoid adding unnecessary cost barriers to the SAF ramp-up.

• The Registry is being developed in consultation with airlines, government authorities, international organizations, OEMs, fuel producers and suppliers, airports, and corporate travel management companies.

• Modern airline retailing to serve air travellers better, by replacing complex legacy processes with a system of “offers and orders” system that will parallel what most other retailers use.

• Working with aircraft and engine manufacturers to promote best practices, recognizing that airlines own the operational data generated by their fleets and that they must be in control of how it is used.

• IATA’s Financial Settlement Systems (IFSS) continue to process transactions between airlines and agents (passenger and cargo), “efficiently, safely and on time. In 2023, the IFSS processed a total of $445.3 billion excluding $18.2 billion in refunds,” Walsh concluded.



Boeing claims its first crewed mission of the Starliner capsule is “going well” despite yet another delay in the return of its astronauts from the International Space Station.

IN A STATEMENT in late June, the company said the delay is part of the programme and not a failure. “The mission is still going, and it is going well. It is a test flight,” the company said.

Boeing insists the Starliner could return to earth at any time if necessary.

The Starliner docked with the ISS on June 6 and was supposed to leave a week later. But five helium leaks and issues with the thrusters pushed that back.

The return was delayed again and by the end of June, Boeing and NASA had stopped giving projected return dates, saying that the departure is now scheduled for sometime in July.

Many commentators have used the word “stranded” to describe the plight of astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams. However the company is emphatically rejecting this assertion.

It is significant to note that Boeing’s budget to develop the Starliner was more expensive than SpaceX and it was given far more time. The Dragon cost of $2.6B is about two thirds the Starliner’s $4.2B cost to develop and build. Yet SpaceX may still have to launch one of its Dragon capsules to rescue the Boeing astronauts. In 2019 NASA pegged the Crew Dragon’s cost per seat at $55m and Starliner’s cost per seat at $90m.



One summer morning my girlfriend persuaded me to visit a homeopath, a Dr Hisbeeck. I was sceptical but had read Lyall Watson’s bestselling book “Supernature” so kept an open mind.

AT THE DOCTOR we each handed over the fee and filled in a form. All that was required was our names, date of birth, and signatures.

My girlfriend went in first while I went outside for a smoke. Several minutes later I was invited into the consulting room.

Dr Hisbeeck looked at me, and what she said changed my life. Without any diagnostic equipment she gave me an excellent medical, and also a surprising psychological assessment.

If you desire something, once rhythm-entrained, the trick is to visualise it, then believe you already have it. I practised the technique and found it worked. It’s not foolproof and doesn’t always work, particularly if you think you’re meditating, but are actually wondering what’s for dinner.

Many of my wishes came true

Running her finger down a list she had compiled, she spoke of important events in my past. Her analysis was so accurate and comprehensive that I decided to find out how she’d gained these insights. I studied a book called Silva Mind Control and then enrolled in a Silva Mind Control Course. The course uses a small loudspeaker that cycles 10 beats a second which entrain the brain to that frequency while an instructor talks you through a meditation technique.

Many of my wishes came true. I wished for a small affordable home-built plane, called a KR-2. Somehow, a few weeks later I was able to pay cash for one. My KR-2 was beautifully finished but had a higher than usual empty weight and an aft CofG, which made the already very responsive plane into a little death trap.

I survived the KR-2 long enough to sell it and buy a pre-owned Mooney Executive. Now I could travel long distances with an improved chance of arriving.

I was by then girlfriend-free and so decided to practise my augmented wishing program to get a new model: I desired an attractive blue-eyed blonde, articulate and personable.

On a night stop in Maun. I stayed with friends who had invited a few folks to lunch. One was a very attractive, articulate blue-eyed blonde I’d admired around Maun since she was a teenager, and she was now a thirtysix-year-old successful business owner. By dusk I was head over heels in love.

We had a fling, facilitated by the Mooney Executive, so I could often fly off to Maun at a moment’s notice. However, as a long-range relationship it never really worked. I did not want to abandon my prize girlfriend, so I moved to Maun. I knew some folk who were operating a pair of four engine Lockheed Electra freighters carrying food and beer out of Joburg to Pointe Noire in Congo.

I undertook negotiations with the DCA in Gaborone, and the prospective boost to the Botswana economy won the day. A DCA type asked me, “What will you do if you lose an engine at Maun?” I replied, “We’ll do a 3-engine ferry,” hoping it would never happen.

A few weeks later I moved to Maun and one afternoon the first Electra arrived. Unfortunately, the ‘woofer’, a small jet engine which provided compressed air to start the engines, had been left in Pointe Noire. So, the crew kept the No. 1 engine running while the aircraft was loaded from two large shipping containers.

No. 1 engine had seized

My lady in Maun had started a business selling groceries from the back of a small truck in Maun and had progressed to owning a large supermarket. So, all the goods for the Congo were available in Maun.

It was easy to persuade the Electra owners to ship the goods out of Maun instead of Joburg and save almost 4 hours on the round trip.

Shortly after the aircraft had been loaded, the No. 1 engine stopped. It had seized, and there was nothing to be done about it that afternoon.

An inauspicious start to our enterprise.

The next morning an Air Botswana ground power unit was found, the remaining engines started and the previously unhoped for 3-engine ferry to Safair for repairs in Joburg was flown without incident.

A Lockheed Electra at the Maun fuel pumps.

The operation then ran smoothly – and I learned to drive a forklift.

We had a query from Pointe Noire about flying meat into Congo. There was an abattoir in Maun, so a French speaking gentleman arrived on the now almost daily Electra flight and asked to see a cow map.

We had no idea what he was talking about, but the abattoir had a poster of a cow with prices per kilogram. An invoice was generated but we were told we could not just buy the meat and fly it out. The abattoir insisted on knowing the temperature of the aircraft’s freight area, and the flying time. We came up with some figures that satisfied them.

The meat flights were profitable, until one day they suddenly stopped. I enquired why, and was told they had sourced best Botswana beef from a subsidised Botswana meat mountain in Europe. It was cheaper to import it from Europe in frozen container shipments than flying it directly from the Maun abattoir.

I could have bought a better plane

At this juncture the Electra owners asked us if we would be able to supply diesel to Pointe Noire, as the grade required there was not readily available. I declined, saying “You are flying over Angola and a civil war. The Geneva Convention says that diesel is a weapon of war, so we reluctantly prefer not to supply it.”

After a fortnight’s delay, all the paperwork was accepted, even an end user-certificate. I remonstrated with the abattoir officials, saying that the meat was not being weaponised, so should be of no consequence to those who ate it, but all to no avail.

The normal Electra freight runs continued until sometime later a Dutch Electra Captain arrived with an attractive lady. He said she was a friend he had met in Pointe Noire.

“You know that’s not permitted on these operations, for insurance reasons and so on,” I said.

Jeffery with the Mooney at Lanseria - before the new terminal was built..

He shrugged, “Okay, it won’t happen again.”

About two weeks later, I was on the Maun apron waiting for the morning Electra, when a pilot walked up and said, “Do you listen to the BBC Africa Service? Because you’re busted!”

“What are you talking about?”

“A couple of weeks ago a woman journalist got a ride on an Electra down here to Maun, then back to Pointe Noire.”


“Well, on its way here, that Electra landed on a bush airstrip in Angola. The plane was fitted with a big rubber bladder tank carrying diesel fuel to supply the engine on a diamond dredger. The place is surrounded by UNITA land mines to keep the enemy out, and there are lots of European owned spaza shops selling most of the goods that come out of Maun. They pay $100 for 12 beers there. That’s how the airfreight can handle the costs involved.”

“Well, I’m shocked” I said, “Who would have imagined that?”

He continued; “The mercenary group, Executive Outcomes, are being flown into Sau Rimo now, so it’s just a matter of time before they take that diamond mine”.

“What a shame,” I answered. “ But now excuse me as I have to load lots of Castle beer onto the Electra that’s just taxying in.”

About three weeks later the Electra operation from Maun ceased, and I went back to Joburg. Then, feeling that light aircraft charter operations were rather dull by comparison, and not particularly lucrative, I took a couple of months off.

Sometime later, still besotted by the Maun beauty, I tried to exorcise the lady from my mind, but with little success. I also took a precious gem course specialising in the mineral Beryl, more specifically the precious Emerald variety.

Jeffery Kempson loading beer at Maun.

One day at the local Mall I noticed a fellow sealing goods into tin cans. I gave him a nice Emerald to can, well packed in protective tissue paper, then had it couriered to the Maun lovely. It was well received.

I never made any real money out of my occasional gem dealing, so I carried on flying. However, l was still obsessed by the Maun lady.

I had developed the habit of collecting a Mopani leaf whenever I travelled to areas where they occurred. One late afternoon, having dropped my passengers at Maun, I took off empty to return to Lanseria. In my shirt pocket I had a fresh Mopani leaf.

the time I arrived, the storm had abated. I landed and taxied to the rain-soaked apron.

On the apron I took the Mopani leaf from my pocket, said a request out loud, and let it go. As the leaf blew away into the night, I declared aloud that the spell was broken. And so it was.

rather dull by comparison

The weather at Lanseria was really bad. A large thunderstorm was in progress, and for the last forty minutes of the flight I listened to other pilots entering the holding pattern, then diverting. Fortunately, by

I had only achieved this mental state once before, when I had used it to give up drinking. If I had done it to my booze habit earlier, I could have bought a better plane.

Many weeks later the two Electras flew into Lanseria and were stored in open parking. Several years after that, a company called Air Spray bought them, fixed them up, and flew them to Canada where they were converted into fire bombers. 

Starting an Electra with a special ground power unit.



IATA HAS REPORTED a 28% decrease in the amount of airline funds blocked from repatriation by governments. The total blocked funds at the end of April 2024 stood at approximately $1.8 billion, a reduction of $708 million (28%) since December 2023.

IATA reiterated the call for governments to remove all barriers to airlines repatriating their revenues from ticket sales and other activities in accordance with international agreements and treaty obligations.

“The reduction in blocked funds is a positive development. The remaining $1.8 billion, however, is significant and must be urgently addressed. The efficient repatriation of airline revenues is guaranteed in bilateral agreements. Even more importantly, it is a pre-requisite for airlines—who operate on thin margins—to be able to provide economically critical connectivity. No business can operate long-term without access to rightfully earned revenues,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

The main driver of the reduction was a significant clearance of funds blocked in Nigeria. Egypt also approved the clearance of its significant accumulation of blocked funds. However, in both cases, airlines were adversely affected by the devaluation of the Egyptian Pound and the Nigerian Naira.

At its peak in June 2023, Nigeria’s blocked funds amounted to $850 million, significantly affecting airline operations and finances in the country. Carriers faced difficulties in repatriating revenues in US dollars, and the high volume of blocked funds led some airlines to reduce their operations and one carrier to temporarily cease operations to Nigeria, which severely impacted the country’s aviation industry. However, as of April 2024, 98% of these funds have been cleared. The remaining $19 million is due to the Central Bank’s ongoing verification of outstanding forward claims filed by the commercial banks.

“We commend the new Nigerian government and the Central Bank of Nigeria for their efforts to resolve this issue.

Individual Nigerians and the economy will all benefit from reliable air connectivity for which access to revenues is critical. We are on the right path and urge the government to clear the residual $19 million and continue prioritizing aviation,” said Walsh.

Just eight countries account for 87% of the total blocked funds, amounting to $1.6 billion. The leading problems are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, XAF Zone and Ethiopia.


Talking to SAA Interim CEO Prof John Lamola at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Dubai, Guy Leitch gets the latest on SAA.

WITH THE END of the Takatso deal

the big question is whether SAA still needs an equity partner – or yet another taxpayer bailout?

Lamola says, “We may never need an equity partner. If we don’t get one, we can still have the airline we have now, but with a maximum of 20 aircraft. But if we want to move up to an airline with 30 to 35 next generation aircraft, then we need a strategic equity partner, preferably an airline, to partner with.”

Getting new long haul aircraft poses a tricky problem. Normally an airline first develops a route structure, then it gives the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs: Airbus and Boeing), a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the best planes to operate those routes. But currently SAA does not fly to Europe, the USA or the Far East, so how can it order new aircraft, which it needs to do now, given the manufacturers’ 5-year waiting periods?

He says that their current plan runs from 2022 to 2029 and uses a 2023 baseline of nine aircraft. “By 2029, we will need eight A320neos. But we had to revise that strategy after the Takatso deal fell through. We are flying on our own now, with the expectation that when we start a route, it must pay for itself. We will not start a route for vanity.”

As a state-owned carrier there must be pressure to fly politically important but unprofitable routes. Lamola acknowledges this and says that he frequently gets asked: “Why not London? New York? Mumbai? China?

I was in Seattle last year

Given Boeing’s current troubles, would he consider the American manufacturer? He says that as “SAA is the national carrier, to mitigate the national security risks, we have to be friendly to both Airbus and Boeing.

Lamola says that they do in fact have a route plan, devised in September 2022. He says that what drives the airline’s route strategy are the questions: “What do we need to break even operationally: How many aircraft, flying what routes?”

“Pilots will tell you that it’s better to avoid the complication of a mixed fleet, but if you are a national carrier we cannot be beholden to one national industry if there are sanctions against Boeing. I was in Seattle last year and everybody raised an eyebrow. But we also talked to Airbus about what we’re doing. We presented them with our rollout strategy for the coming five years. That for instance, we will fly to London in 2027.”

SAA needs to improve its fleet and frequencies to operate long-haul routes like Perth.

When asked if that was still the plan, Lamola said, “Perhaps that no longer makes sense because the competition is too fierce. We’re doing continuous research on all routes, so I have business cases for Germany, London and Nairobi, which we are refreshing all the time.”

On SAA having recently restarted its Johannesburg-Perth route. Lamola admits; “Our frequencies are terrible [too infrequent], and we need new aircraft. So we are partnering with Singapore Airlines to operate Sydney on a codeshare.”

the CAA takes its time

Lamola says that the airline’s key challenge is a skills shortage; “We need to benchmark SAA to world standards in the quality of management, the vision, and the kind of equipment we operate. Because of the rescue process we have not been able to recruit the best skills for route analysis. But fortunately there is now technology that analyses data on how our competitors are doing on those routes, and we can extrapolate that.”

“We gave Boeing and Airbus the London route to analyse. Boeing flew in a route analysis team who concluded that a 777-9, and not a Dreamliner


787-9, would be best. Naturally Airbus also came, and they said an A350-900 would be best. In the end we said, ‘Thanks, but we’re not ready.’ An extraneous consideration was that they don’t look at the competition.”

When asked about the airline’s immediate fleet needs, Lamola said that the plan for 2024 is to get a further eight aircraft. “Three are delayed from last year.”

For SAA’s fleet update, a significant problem is that it is a full service carrier with business class – yet most A320s are all-economy. Lamola says, “We struggle to get aircraft, and when we do, we don’t get suitable aircraft. At first we were very successful because we were getting back ex-SAA planes which were already configured to our needs, but those aircraft are no longer available.

He notes too that they can’t fly their latest A330-300 long haul because it is all-economy. So SAA is still relying on its old 4-engine A340-300s.

Many analysts argue that, with its A340 four engine ‘quads’ SAA will not be able to compete against new generation airliners. However, Lamola disagrees, “It may have been the case two years ago, when everyone was decommissioning A340s as gas guzzlers. But we have done a study that shows that although the A340-300s use more fuel compared to A330s, plus there’s the additional two engines to support, the extra costs are marginal when you consider the capital costs.”

we have to take between 6 and 10 years, which will make it hard to get to a 60:40 split if we are bound to 10 year operating leases.”

The cost of capital is a key input and this requires a strong balance sheet. Lamola says that SAA V2.0’s credit is good because it doesn’t have any debt. He says, “The lessors are all over us. They look at the cash flows and at our payment record. SAA V2.0 has never skipped one payment on our current leases, and also for our ACMI leases, so we have a good credit record.”

Much of SAA’s balance sheet is in its property holdings. “We now have a property strategy with new leases. Additionally we are getting paid for leasing out our Heathrow slots. The banks understand the difference between commercial property and aeronautical property. So they are willing to give us a R1 billion facility.”

It’s a terrible job

“We don’t have debt, but we need a cash buffer. If there’s another COVID pandemic and we are grounded for six months, we must be able to pay salaries for those six months.”

Lamola acknowledged that it would not be easy for SAA’s current revenues to fund that cash buffer; “We have a high cost structure because of the aircraft leases and our exposure to forex.”

Lamola pointed out that for Sao Paulo, “We need a backup aircraft, so we had no choice but to take an A340 back into the fleet, but in two to three years they have to go.”

When asked if SAA has any pending orders for replacement aircraft at this stage, Lamola said, “We’re not there until our strategy is mature enough for us to be in a procurement position to do operating leases on new aircraft on a 60-40 split between leased and owned.”

A feature of the airliner market is that lessors are insisting on longer lease terms. Lamola confirms that the lessors are no longer accepting six-year leases, “So

SAA has been using expensive ACMI ‘wet’ leases for Boeing 737-800s from Sun Express. Lamola says, “These leases provide schedule stability – and are good for our passenger loyalty programme. When you are running an airline, you have to decide if it is better to have cancelled flights, or to operate flights at a loss – which we cannot afford.”

“Our partnership with Sun Express is an innovative intervention to mitigate not getting the aircraft that we had we expected. It works for both airlines’ peaks and troughs strategy: during their winter they have spare aircraft, yet it is our high season. So in October, two of those aircraft will be coming back onto our strength. And then we will take an additional two in December. This is particularly important in case we have a crisis getting the new seats fitted into all the A320s that we are taking. There are always mishaps – and the CAA takes its time.”

Qatar Airways recently said they are going to partner with an airline in southern Africa. When asked if that was SAA, Lamola replied, “No it’s not us. It’s a mystery – rumour has it that it’s TAAG.”

Finally, SAA is recruiting a permanent CEO. Has Lamola thrown his hat in the ring for that position? He says, “No. However there is an automatic assumption that the incumbent will do so. It’s a terrible job, so I’ll be happy to go back to academia.” 

AME Doctors Listing

Britz Rudi Wonderboom Airport 083 422 9882

Church Belinda Valhalla 079 636 9860

Du Plessis Alexander Athlone Park 031 904 7460

Erasmus Philip Benoni 011 849 6512

Govender Deena Umhlanga Rocks 031 566 2066/7

Ingham Kenneth Midrand 011 315 5817

Marais Eugene Mossel Bay 044 693 1470

Opperman Chris Pretoria Lynnwood 012 368 8800

Tenzer Stan Rand Airport & JHB CBD 083 679 0777

Toerien Hendrik White River, Nelspruit 013 751 3848 ✗

Van Der Merwe Johann Stellenbosch 021 887 0305



One of IATA’s most successful initiatives has been the IOSA audit. This is now being supplemented by the multi-pronged IATA Safety Leadership Charter and the CASIP programme.

Africa has an excellent safety record despite the tragedy of the Ethiopian Boeing Max crash.

THE IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) has become the globally recognized standard for airline operational safety auditing since its inception 20 years ago.

IOSA-registered carriers recorded no hull losses or fatal accidents in 2023. IOSA is now being adapted into a risk based audit by tailoring the audit activity to the operator’s profile and focusing on high-risk areas. In addition to airlines, IOSA is also being used by numerous authorities in their regulatory safety programs. Key facts:

• 425 operators are on the IOSA registry, including 100 non-IATA members.

• The all-accident rate for airlines on the IOSA registry in 2023 was 56% better than the rate for non IOSA airlines.

• The 2019-2023 average accident rate of IOSA airlines was zero, almost three times better than the non-IOSA average.

African Safety Initiatives

In 2024, after registering no fatal accident in 2023, African airlines marked their fourth safe year in a row, according to the IATA aviation safety review for 2023.

Nonetheless, IATA has created Focus Africa initiative and the IATA Safety Leadership Charter. The Charter is aimed at strengthening organisational safety culture, which is an area of focus in IATA’s Collaborative Aviation Safety Improvement Program (CASIP), under Focus Africa.

Launch partners in the CASIP programme are: The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), The African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Boeing and The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).

the IATA Safety Leadership Charter

• The 19 accidents involving IOSA members led to neither hull losses nor fatalities.

• Since 2005, the all-accident rate for airlines on the IOSA registry is almost three times better than for non-IOSA airlines.

IATA’s Regional Director For Africa and the Middle East, Kamil Alawahdi, notes that, “The implementation of global standards improves safety. IOSA’s recent transition to a risk-based audit model will contribute to raising the safety bar even higher by focusing on pertinent safety risks while maintaining a baseline of safety.”

Under Risk-Based IOSA, audits will be tailored to the airline’s individual operating profile and history.

Additionally, IOSA is introducing a maturity assessment of the operator’s safety management system (SMS) and other safety critical programs.

IATA says, “together, the CASIP partners will prioritise the most pressing safety concerns on the continent and rally the resources needed to address them. The benefits of improving aviation safety in Africa will be spread across the economies and societies of the continent.”

“The starting point for safety improvement is the effective use of global standards for safety. At government level, a key indicator is effective implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS).

Data for the year 2022 reveals considerable room for improvement with only 28 of 54 African states reaching an effective implementation rate for ICAO SARPS of 60% or higher.

The CASIP partners will identify deficiencies in operational safety and implement corrective action plans. They will provide continent wide safety training and workshops, and a data-driven approach to safety performance with emphasis on making safety data available to decision-makers and ensuring efficient accident/incident reporting.


“Improving safety performance is a priority for Africa. And we don’t need to reinvent the wheel to deliver the needed results. Collaborative safety teams in Latin America have demonstrated that safety improves when government and industry work together to implement global standards. By working together, the partners will pool resources to have a greater impact on areas where risk can be reduced, leading to measurable improvements in safety,” said IATA Director General, Willie Walsh.

More than 40 airlines were the first signatories. RwandAir was the second carrier in Africa to sign, following Ethiopian Airlines who made the commitment at the launch of the Safety Leadership Charter in September 2023.

“At RwandAir, safety is not just a priority but a fundamental principle guiding our operations. Our organizational culture is deeply rooted in robust safety practices, making it the cornerstone of our operational integrity. By signing the IATA Safety Leadership Charter, we are not only reaffirming our unwavering commitment to a culture of safety but also recognizing the imperative to continuously build on the work that has gone before,” said Yvonne Makolo, CEO of RwandAir.

IATA's Africa and Middle East Regional Director Kamil Alawadi explains CASIP.

The IATA Safety Leadership Charter was developed in consultation with IATA members and the wider aviation community to support industry executives in continuing evolving a positive safety culture within their organizations.

Safety Leadership guiding principles include:

• Leading the obligation to safety through both words and actions.

• Fostering safety awareness among employees, the leadership team, and the board.

• Creating an atmosphere of trust, where all employees feel responsible for safety and are encouraged and expected to report safety-related information.

• Guiding the integration of safety into business strategies, processes, and performance measures and creating the internal capacity to manage and achieve organizational safety goals.

• Regularly assessing and improving organizational safety culture.


The industry agency SITA has announced an improvement in the air transport industry’s rate of mishandled baggage.

SITA’S BAGGAGE IT INSIGHTS 2024 reports the number of bags mishandled by the industry falling from 7.6 to 6.9 per 1,000 passengers in 2023.

This is despite passenger numbers rising above 2019 levels for the first time in five years, growing to 5.2 billion. The long-term trend underlines the positive impact of technology investments.

A steep 63% drop in the mishandling rate from 2007 to 2023 happened as passenger traffic rose by 111%. But the industry still faces challenges, particularly managing surges in baggage volumes. Pushing ahead with the industry’s digitalisation agenda is vital, argues the

survey, focusing on AI for data analysis and computer vision tech in automated baggage handling. That push must include full automation, good communication and full visibility of each bag’s journey. Other SITA research reveals that two-thirds of airlines now offer unassisted bag drop and 85% of airports offer selfservice bag drop.

This reflects industry demand for self-service tech for better passenger flows. At the same time, passengers want to use their mobile phones as they travel, including at bag collection. Today, 32% of passengers rely on bag collection information sent straight to their mobile.


Russia’s Heavy Lift Champions: PART 2

Steve Trichard continues his story on Russia’s massive super-heavy helicopters

Although the Mil V-12 was the largest helicopter ever built, it never went into production, with only two prototypes constructed. The requirement for a heavy-lift helicopter therefore still existed.

THE MI-6 DESIGN was by then 25 years old and so OKB Mil was already designing and planning the next generation of heavy-lift helicopters.

Development started in the early 1970s. The design requirements were ambitious. Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant received a directive to produce a helicopter with a load capacity more than double that of any existing

Mi-26 cargo bay is marginally bigger than a Hercules C-130’s.

The “very busy” cockpit of a Mi-26, before the glass cockpit upgrade.

operational helicopter, in other words, a helicopter with twice the cabin and payload capability of the in-house Mil Mi-6.

Furthermore, the requirement stated that the empty weight of the helicopter must be less than half its MTOW.

The Mil design team concluded that only a single-rotor helicopter configuration would be able to satisfy the weight requirements.

They required an engine of at least 8,000 kW and a gearbox that could transfer the output of two of these engines to the rotors. It was a huge challenge as nothing like that was already in existence.

Mil’s gearbox supplier was not able to design the required gearbox. So the Mil Design Bureau developed a “non-planetary, split-torque design” gearbox rated at 14,800 kW. The gearbox delivers the engine power to the unique eight-blade main rotor, with a diameter of 32 metres.

the empty weight must be less than half MTOW

The engine design and development were done at the Progress Design Bureau (formerly OKB-478) with lead designer Vladimir Lotarev. The powerplant that was produced was the 8,500 kW Lotarev D-136 turboshaft engine, manufactured by Motor Sich in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.

To meet the empty weight requirement being less than half the max all-up weight, aluminium-lithium alloys are used throughout the helicopter.

The helicopter’s empty weight is 28,200 kg and its MTOW is 56,000 kg.

The prototype hovered for the first time on 14 December 1977, with production starting in October 1980. The initial production rate was thirty helicopters per year.

The Mi-26 design incorporated all the features of a modern transport aircraft. The cargo hold is boxshaped, a feature maintained throughout the length of the loading area. There are two 2,500 kg winches

Mi-26 overhead the Chernobyl nuclear reactor spraying a sticky liquid, “bourda”, a dust suppressant.

This graveyard reflects only a portion of helicopters contaminated. The image also includes Mi-6 helicopters.

installed in the roof to position cargo as required by the loadmaster.

Loading is accomplished through a clamshell door and loading ramp located at the rear of a fuselage. The helicopter can kneel, thereby lowering the fuselage to ease cargo loading.

The internal fuel tanks, with a capacity of 12,000 kg, are situated beneath the cargo hold floor. Notably, the Mi-26 cargo bay is marginally bigger than a Hercules C-130’s cargo bay.

The main landing gear has sensors to measure the weight of the helicopter, displayed at the flight engineer’s workstation. The crew can observe the cargo sling loads with closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV).

The Mi-26 has a standard crew of five, being the pilot, copilot, navigator, flight engineer, and loadmaster. The navigator and flight engineer workstations are behind the pilot seats. Unusually for a helicopter, the cockpit and a four-seat passenger compartment are pressurised and the helicopter is fully air-conditioned.

The cargo compartment can accommodate 82 troops, or 20,000 kg of cargo. The Mi-26 can cargo sling a maximum external load of 20,000 kg.

The operational range, with maximum payload, is 318 nm (590 km), at a cruising speed of 138 knots.

The Mi-26 is highly regarded by users for its ease of handling, which is contributed to by the excess of engine power.

Size comparison - a Mi-26 with a Chinook on the sling

challenge to the aircrew and the task was successfully completed by test pilots from the Mil factory. Thirty Mi-26 helicopters were used at Chernobyl, and most of these helicopters are forever stored within the reactor exclusion zone due to radioactive contamination.

Thirty Mi-26 helicopters were used at Chernobyl

Mi-26 Notable Operational Employment

To address the massive radiation leak from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in April 1986 was a requirement that only the Mi-26 could satisfy. It required a cargo sling of air filters, weighing 15,000 kg each, with a cable length of 244 m (800 ft). It was a huge

It is interesting to note that the crew of the helicopters seems to have been relatively unaffected by their heroic efforts to reduce the spread of radiation. An in-depth Wikipedia article lists the 31 more or less immediate deaths from the disaster and it does not have any air crew members. It is speculated that while some may have suffered some delayed cancers, it was at a rate not detectable in the background cancer rate that we all risk.

Another notable deployment is that in early 2002, a civilian Mi-26 was contracted to recover two U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters from a mountain in Afghanistan.

Mi-26 Upgrade Challenges

By 2019 more than 380 Mi-26 helicopters had been built with the latest production derivative being the Mi-26 T2. The T2 is fitted with a comprehensive glass cockpit, eliminating the flight engineer and navigator stations.

In the early 2010s, upgrade plans included a new engine, being the Motor Sich D-136-2, rated at 9,120 kW to improve hot-and-high performance.

After the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, the supply of engines to Russia stopped. However, a “workaround” was established to supply D-136 engines and spares to Russia, albeit on a limited scale. The supply stopped with the arrest of high-ranking officials of Motor Sich by the Ukrainian government.

The destruction of the Motor Sich engine manufacturing plant by Russian forces in May 2022 put an end to any chance of the D-136-2 or the new generation D-127, powering the upgraded Mi-26.

Even before the annexation of Crimea, the Russian Aviation Industry was tasked to develop a homegrown Russian engine. Development was slow, and a change in the preferred supplier extended the development timeline even further, with the first flight only expected in 2025.

a Mi-26 recovered two U.S. Army CH-47 Chinooks

Until the Kuznetsov PD-8V is operational, the Mi-26 fleet will be forced to fly with the original D-136 engine, sourced from existing stock. This will have a major impact on the serviceability of all Mi-26 helicopters operated around the world.

An Aeroflot Yak-24.

The Yak-60 was a massive increase on the Yak-24.

Soviet Union’s early rotorcraft development

OKB-3 (Bratukhin) designed and developed eight experimental helicopters during the 1940s, culminating in the B-11. The helicopters all featured the transverse rotor layout. The B-11 was a competing design for the Mil Mi-1.

OKB-115 (Yakovlev) developed the Yak-24 ‘Horse’ during the early 1950s. It is the only Yakovlev helicopter design that reached operational status. The paperexercise Yak-60 is noteworthy as it was a competing design for the Mil V-12.

Yakovlev is well-known for the development of fixedwing aircraft and more than a hundred Yak designs went into production. Russia produced 61,000 fighter aircraft during WWII of which 38,000 were built to Yak designs.

fills a niche in the world helicopter market

OKB-938 (Kamov) designed the Ka-22, with the first flight in 1959. The “gyrodyne” had the unique ability to change between vertical and horizontal flights. However, this change was a complicated and delicate process, which only highly skilled pilots could master.

The Kamov Ka-22.

ABOVE: A size comparison of the MiL V-12.

BELOW: The huge V-12 from the front.

The prototype reached a speed of 195 knots and lifted a payload of 16,500 kg. The lower part of the nose could “swing” away to facilitate loading. It was a competing design for the Mil Mi-6.

Kamov continued developing helicopters and it fills a niche in the world helicopter market with its coaxial rotor products.


The similarity between a Falcon and B52 in profile have long fascinated design geeks.

Last Thoughts

The Mil helicopter company was, and still is, highly successful. Ninety-five percent of the helicopters in the former Soviet Union were built to Mil designs.

Mil merged with Kamov and Rostvertol to form Russian Helicopters in 2006 and the Mil brand name has been retained. j

A tranverse main rotor location - on the Bratukhin B-11.
An owl successfully carries off a mouse.



RwandAir CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo was the first black woman to chair the IATA Board of Governors. She describes her experiences.

RwandAir's Yvonne Makolo has completed her year as Chair of the IATA BoG.

What has your experience been as a woman leader of IATA?

In Rwanda, we have a long legacy of gender equality, but the aviation sector has been traditionally dominated by men. As the first female Chair of IATA’s BoG, I was aware of the optics and responsibility it conveyed on me as an agent of change. That’s why I have been so strongly supportive of IATA’s 25by2025 voluntary global initiative, which is designed to change the gender balance within aviation.

Over 180 companies, from airlines to aircraft manufacturers and airports, have signed up to this initiative, committing them to increasing female representation in senior roles in areas traditionally underrepresented by women.

IATA recognises the incredible level of female talent available and how vital it is that we, as a global industry, create real opportunities for women to allow them to grow and thrive. Airlines can help lead the way to make our sector diverse and fully inclusive and embrace the extraordinary tale

real opportunities for women

How is IATA’s Focus Africa initiative different from previous efforts to support aviation on the continent? What has this achieved so far? And ultimately what will be its contribution to the future development of African aviation?

IATA’s Focus Africa initiative aims to improve safety; facilitate an efficient, secure, and cost-effective aviation infrastructure; enable greater connectivity through the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM); accelerate secure, effective and cost-efficient financial

services and modern retailing standards; support the net zero carbon emissions by 2050 targets; and promote aviation-related career paths and ensure a steady supply of diverse and suitably skilled talent to meet our industry’s future needs.

There have been many attempts to boost the African aviation sector, and it is not hard to understand why. Despite being home to over one billion people and nearly a fifth of the world’s population, Africa has a very limited presence in the aviation industry and accounts for just 2% of air global passengers. This means there is enormous potential for growth in Africa, which could, in turn, bring huge economic benefits to the continent if we dramatically increase air traffic and flying capacity.

It is widely agreed that the sector needs a major injection of capital to improve its infrastructure, build and modernise airports, improve air traffic control, and increase connectivity between regions and countries.


After a triumphant post Covid return in 2024, the Maputo Airshow returned on 15 June 2024 – and it was acclaimed as being even better than the high standard set by the 2023 air show.

The Flying Lions did their sunset performance over the bay.
The Maputo Airshow was very well publicised.


and the Municipal Council of Maputo worked together to pull off a wonderful airshow over the Maputo Bay coastline that was safe, and above all thrilling, for the large and appreciative crowd.

A key ingredient was the availability to the best teams and airshow professionals from South Africa, who were persuaded to tackle the logistics of a cross-border airshow by Airshow Boss Gavin Neil, from the Maputo Aeroclub, who demonstrated incredible organisational skills in pulling it all together, with little if any prior experience.

Taking advantage of the public holiday, some of the air show teams arrived on the Friday and had the opportunity to explore the delights of festive Maputo.

Katembe Bridge as a backdrop. This makes it ideal for photographers, especially with the glow of the evening sun through the long spans of the suspension bridge.

As the airshow was not held at an airport, the work of the Flying Display Director, Col Keith Fryer, was complicated by having to coordinate the teams taking off from Maputo Airport, 6 km away. Lt Col Keith Andrews was the Ramp Director.

elegant high speed swooping passes

The Maputo Bay waterfront is an almost ideal airshow venue. Sponsors were able to erect hospitality tents on the wide palm tree lined promenade. Over 1 km long, it faces south-west and has the magnificent

Key airshow teams that thrilled the airshow hungry crowd were the Puma Flying Lions who filled the sky with the roar of their Harvard’s radials and smoke. Nigel Hopkins and Jason Beamish impressed as always with their high energy precision teamwork in the Extra 330s. Jason also doubled up as a pilot in the Pitts Specials of the Goodyear Eagles. Coming from all corners of South Africa was the Marksman team, led by Mark Hensman in his MX2 with Jonny Smith and Eugene van As on his wings in Extras.

Menno Parsons showed once again his value to airshows by also bringing the iconic Mustang Sally P-51.
ABOVE: Menno Parsons also brought his evocative Huey.
BELOW: The Marksmen team led by Mark Hensman - all the way from Cape Town

ABOVE: Jet action from Grant Timms in the L-29 Delfin. BELOW: There was something for everyone in the crowd.

ABOVE: The esplanade was a riot of colourful stalls. BELOW: Brian Emmenis with protege Addison Vilanculos and his Capital Sounds team are essential for these air shows.

Helicopter action was provided by Juba Joubert doing amazing feats of flying the Aerospatiale Gazelle and by Menno Parsons in his tiger-striped Huey. Menno also flew his Huey on the Friday to provide flips for more than 20 disadvantaged children.

A highlight of the show was Menno Parsons in his P-51, Mustang Sally, with its elegant high speed swooping passes and the music of its V12 Merlin engine combined with the whistle of its gun ports.

So the spectators got a wide variety of aircraft types.

an almost ideal airshow venue

In between the airshow acts there was a continual stream of water sports with skydivers landing in the warm waters of the Bay and jet skis racing around with plumes of water.

The show ended with a spectacular display by Mark Hensman in his MX2, streaming fireworks from its wingtips in the gloaming. The spirit of the airshow was fantastic and the parties carried on late into the night along the promenade.

Andre van Zyl ably demonstrated his diminutive gyrocopter along the shoreline to the amazed crowd.

Mark Hensman in a spectacular spiral finale.


The FAA and Spirit AeroSystems, a supplier of fuselages for Boeing and wings for Airbus, are investigating counterfeit titanium found in recently manufactured jets.

ACCORDING TO The New York Times, falsified documents were used to verify the material’s authenticity, prompting concerns about the structural integrity of the airliners. Titanium that was distributed with fake documentation has been found in commercial Boeing and Airbus jets.

The aerospace industry has had a series of problems recently with quality and safety issues. The investigation comes after small holes were discovered in the material, apparently from corrosion, according to the Times report.

Boeing said the questionable parts come from a limited set of suppliers, and tests performed to date have indicated that the correct titanium alloy was used.

“To ensure compliance, we are removing any affected parts on airplanes prior to delivery. Our analysis shows the in-service fleet can continue to fly safely.”

Spirit said the investigation is looking into counterfeit documents that allowed the questionable titanium to enter the supply chain. “When this was identified, all suspect parts were quarantined and removed from Spirit production,” said Joe Buccino, a spokesperson for Spirit.

Airbus said it is aware of the situation. “Numerous tests have been performed on parts coming from the same source of supply,” it said in its statement. “They show that the A220’s airworthiness remains intact.”


SA Flyer and FlightCom are increasingly being used as a key information resource. We have therefore implemented a ‘Consultants Directory’ that provides those who are looking for consultants with a ready reference guide as to skills and specialities. Important too are the major qualifications of the consultants – such as for instance whether they are accredited with IATA’s IOSA, ICAO BARS and other industry bodies.

AS AVIATION DEVELOPS and grows it has become exponentially more complex to deal with the regulatory requirements and the inherent challenges of the industry.

Given that aviation is characterised by low margins yet high capital requirements it is essential that the industry players navigate these challenging waters in the most efficient way.

An effective aviation consultancy is able to offer a cost-effective solution to the challenges without the client company having to commit to long term costs.

• Government functions, such as the Air Services Licencing Councils

• Regional Aviation Safety & Security Bodies

• Aircraft Maintenance Organizations

• Aircraft Manufacturers

• Aviation Training Organisations

often a challenging subject

Aviation consultants need to have a broad range of expertise that includes:

• Dealing with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)

• International regulators such as the FAA and EASA

• Associated service suppliers such as ACSA, ATNS and ICASA

In addition, consultants must be able to advise on a wide variety of broader aviation industry issues such as assisting under-resourced governmental departments with the following services:

• Feasibilities studies,

• Research

• Benchmarking the Civil Aviation Regulatory Authorities, Airports Authorities, Air Traffic & Navigational Service Providers, Airports Authorities and Service Providers, National Airlines

• Developing Aviation Regulations, Technical

Standards, Guidance Materials and applicable policies, procedures and manuals covering the following areas;

• Aircraft Certification

• Aircraft Airworthiness

• Flight Operations;

• Aviation Personnel Licensing

• Aerodromes and Air Traffic Control

• Aircraft Accident & Incident Investigation

• Aviation Security.

• Assisting countries in setting up their aviation regulatory systems, to ensure that they comply with the eight critical elements of a Safety Management System (SMS).

• Providing training to senior and operational managers, flight operations, cabin crew, airworthiness, aerodrome, aviation security, dangerous goods & manufacturing inspectors, certification engineers & accident investigators

• Conducting Flight Inspection and Calibration of Navigational Equipment located at the airports.

Aviation security is often a challenging subject for new entrants. Consultants need to be able to advise on:

• Develop an Aviation Security Policy

• Provide Aviation Security Manuals, Procedures and Technical Guidance Materials

• Training of Aviation Security personnel

• Assisting operators and airports to comply with Aviation Security Legislation

• Conduction Aviation Security Audits and Inspections

• Organizational Restructuring.


For airports:

• The development of Airport Pavement Maintenance System (APMS), Maintenance Policy and Manual

• Designing and supervision of rehabilitation and improvements of airport airside facilities

• Structural analysis of concrete pavements

• Life Cycle Cost Analysis study (LCCA) for the implementation of an alternative concrete pavement compared to a traditional asphalt pavement

• Rehabilitation of concrete pavements

• Ad hoc pavement repairs on runways and taxiways

• Pavement upgrade.

Organisational Restructuring

This often involves:

• Advising on restructuring for governmental departments, national regulatory authorities, airports, commercial and general aviation

• Undertaking detailed due diligence and forensic audits

• Development of Strategic, Business and Operational Plans

• Implementing Business Turnaround Strategies

• Executive & Senior Management Coaching.

Expert Witness Services

Specialist aviation consultants within legal firms often need to be able to carry out independent research on matters under litigation and provide independent expert witness.


VIO Aviation 083 230 7821


Ardent Aviation 082 784 0510


Litson and Associates (Pty) Ltd +27(0)21 851 7187 *FSF BARS/IOGP/IATA/ICAO/CAP 437

Where romance meets nature

Located in South Africa’s Safari hub of Hoedspruit, Safari Moon is a boutique base from which to discover the wonders of South Africa’s Lowveld region. Explore a range of nearby attractions from the famed Kruger National park to the scenic Panorama Route, or simply chose to relax and unwind in nature, making the most of your private piece of Wildlife Estate wilderness.

OPERATING FROM GRAND CENTRAL Airport in Midrand, Superior Pilot Services prides itself in its wealth of knowledge and experience in the aviation sector, offering a variety of certified courses, from the Private Pilot’s Licence to the Airline Transport Pilot Licence, Instructor’s Ratings and Advanced training. The school specialises in personal outcome-based training and combines the latest techniques, methods and training aids to maintain a high level and standard throughout. Superior is proud to have been selected as a service provider to numerous institutions like, TETA, Ekurhuleni Municipality, KZN Premiers office, SAA, SA Express and SACAA cadets, however their ideally situated location allows the general aviator and businessman to conveniently access and utilize the same services.

With highly trained and qualified instructors and a fleet of Cessna 172s, a Cessna 182, Sling 2, Piper Arrow, Piper Twin Comanche and R44 helicopter, the school has the know-how and experience to prepare the best pilots in the industry. Making use of a state-of-the-art ALSIM Flight Training Simulator, the Superior Aviation Academy offers unmatched facilities that ensure students’ social needs are catered for and that the training offered is at the forefront of international training standards. The Alsim ALX flight simulator model provided by Superior Pilot Services is EASA and FAA approved and has proven itself worldwide. It provides up to four classes of aircraft and six flight models that cater from ab-initio all the way to jet orientation programmes in one single

The school offers a range of advanced courses, including IF Refresher Courses, Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS), GNSS/RNAV, CRM and Multi Crew Coordination (MCC) conducted by its qualified instructors. The school also offers PPL and CPL Ground School and Restricted and General Radio Courses. Superior Pilot Services has accommodation available. The lodge is conveniently located just six kilometres from the airport. All rooms are based on a bachelor’s unit which includes laundry and room cleaning services as well as breakfast. Students have access to the communal lounge, gym and entertainment room, pool and ‘braai’ area.

(ATO 1155)


South Africa


208 Aviation

Ben Esterhuizen +27 83 744 3412

A1A Flight Examiner (Loutzavia)

Jannie Loutzis 012 567 6775 / 082 416 4069

AES (Cape Town)

Erwin Erasmus 082 494 3722

AES (Johannesburg)

Danie van Wyk 011 701 3200

Aerocolour cc

Alfred Maraun 082 775 9720

Aero Engineering & PowerPlant

Andre Labuschagne 012 543 0948


Jean Crous 072 6716 240

Aeronav Academy Donald O’Connor 011 701 3862

Aeronautical Aviation

Clinton Carroll 011 659 1033 / 083 459 6279

Aerospace Electroplating

Oliver Trollope 011 827 7535

Aerotel Martin den Dunnen 087 6556 737


Richard Small 083 488 4535

Aviation Rebuilders cc

Lyn Jones 011 827 2491 / 082 872 4117

AVIC International Flight Academy (AIFA)

Theo Erasmus 082 776 8883

Air 2000 (Pty) Ltd

Anne Gaines-Burrill 011 659 2449 - AH 082 770 2480 Fax 086 460 5501

Aircraft Finance Corporation & Leasing

Jaco Pietersen +27 [0]82 672 2262

Jason Seymour +27 [0]82 326 0147

Aircraft General Spares

Eric or Hayley 084 587 6414 or 067 154 2147 or

Aircraft Maintenance International

Pine Pienaar 083 305 0605

Aircraft Maintenance International Wonderboom Thomas Nel 082 444 7996

Air Line Pilots’ Association

Sonia Ferreira 011 394 5310

Airshift Aircraft Sales

Eugene du Plessis 082 800 3094

Alclad Sheetmetal Services

Ed Knibbs 083 251 4601

Algoa Flying Club

Sharon Mugridge 041 581 3274

Alpi Aviation SA Dale De Klerk 082 556 3592

Apco (Ptyd) Ltd Tony/Henk + 27 12 543 0775

Ardent Aviation Consultants

Yolanda Vermeulen 082 784 0510

Ascend Aviation Marlo Kruyswijk 079 511 0080

Atlas Aviation Lubricants

Steve Cloete 011 917 4220 Fax: 011 917 2100

AVDEX (Pty) Ltd

Tania Botes 011 954 15364

Aviatech Flight Academy Nico Smith 082 303 1124

Aviation Direct Andrea Antel 011 465 2669


Riekert Stroh 082 749 9256

BAC Aviation AMO 115

Micky Joss 035 797 3610

Blackhawk Africa Cisca de Lange 083 514 8532

Blue Chip Flight School Henk Kraaij 012 543 3050

Border Aviation Club & Flight School

Liz Gous 043 736 6181

Bona Bona Game Lodge

MJ Ernst 082 075 3541

Breytech Aviation cc 012 567 3139 Willie Breytenbach

Celeste Sani Pak & Inflight Products Steve Harris 011 452 2456

Cape Town Flying Club

Beverley Combrink 021 934 0257 / 082 821 9013

Century Avionics cc Carin van Zyl 011 701 3244


Wayne Claassens 011 914 2500

Chem-Line Aviation & Celeste Products

Steve Harris 011 452 2456

Clifton Electronics cc CJ Clifton / Irene Clifton 079 568 7205 / 082 926 8482

Comair Flight Services (Pty) Ltd Reception +27 11 540 7640/FAX: +27 11 252 9334

Corporate-Aviators/Affordable Jet Sales

Mike Helm 082 442 6239

CSA Aviation – Cirrus South Africa Alex Smith 011 701 3835

C. W. Price & Co Kelvin L. Price 011 805 4720

Dart Aeronautical Pieter Viljoen 011 827 8204

Dart Aircraft Electrical Mathew Joubert 011 827 0371

Diepkloof Aircraft Maintenance cc Nick Kleinhans 083 454 6366

DJA Aviation Insurance 011 463 5550 0800Flying

Dynamic Propellers

Andries Visser 011 824 5057 082 445 4496

Eagle Flight Academy Mr D. J. Lubbe 082 557 6429

Execujet Africa 011 516 2300

Federal Air Rachel Muir 011 395 9000

Ferry Flights Michael (Mick) Schittenhelm 082 442 6239

F Gomes Upholsters

Carla de Lima 083 602 5658

Fireblade Aviation 010 595 3920

Flight Training College Cornell Morton 044 876 9055

Flight Training Services Amanda Pearce 011 805 9015/6

Fly Jetstream Aviation Henk Kraaij 083 279 7853

Flying Unlimited Flight School (Pty) Ltd Riaan Struwig 082 653 7504 / 086 770 8376

Flyonics (Pty) Ltd Michael Karaolis 010 109 9405


Andries Venter 011 701 2653 / 082 905 5760

GIB Aviation Insurance Brokers Richard Turner 011 483 1212

Guardian Air 011 701 3011 082 521 2394

Heli-Afrique cc Tino Conceicao 083 458 2172

Henley Air Andre Coetzee 011 827 5503

Hover Dynamics Phillip Cope 074 231 2964

Indigo Helicopters Gerhard Kleynhans 082 927 4031 / 086 528 4234

IndigoSat South Africa - Aircraft Tracking Gareth Willers 08600 22 121

International Flight Clearances Steve Wright 076 983 1089 (24 Hrs)

Investment Aircraft

Quinton Warne 082 806 5193

Jabiru Aircraft

Len Alford 044 876 9991 / 044 876 9993

Jim Davis Books

Jim Davis 072 188 6484

Joc Air T/A The Propeller Shop

Aiden O’Mahony 011 701 3114

Johannesburg Flying Academy

Alan Stewart 083 702 3680

Kishugu Aviation +27 13 741 6400

Khubenker Energy (Pty) Ltd T/A Benveroy

Vernon Bartlett 086 484 4296

Kit Planes for Africa

Stefan Coetzee 013 793 7013

Kzn Aviation (Pty) Ltd

Melanie Jordaan 031 564 6215

Lanseria Aircraft Interiors

Francois Denton 011 659 1962 / 076 810 9751

Lanseria Flight Centre

Ian Dyson

Tel: +27 11 312 5166, F: +27 11 312 5166

Lanseria International Airport

Mike Christoph 011 367 0300

Leading Edge Aviation cc

Peter Jackson Tel 013 741 3654 Fax 013 741 1303

Legend Sky 083 860 5225 / 086 600 7285

Litson & Associates (Pty) Ltd

OGP/BARS Auditing & Advisory Services & Aviation Safety Training

Email: 27 (0) 8517187

Litson & Associates Risk Management

Services (Pty) Ltd

eSMS-S™/ eTENDER/ e-REPORT / Aviation Software Systems

Email: 27 (0) 8517187

Loutzavia Aircraft Sales

Henry Miles 082 966 0911

Loutzavia Flight Training

Gerhardt Botha 012 567 6775

Loutzavia-Pilots and Planes

Maria Loutzis 012 567 6775

Loutzavia Rand Frans Pretorius 011 824 3804

Lowveld Aero Club

Pugs Steyn 013 741 3636

Maverick Air Charters

Lourens Human 082 570 2743

MCC Aviation Pty Ltd

Claude Oberholzer 011 701 2332

Mistral Aviation Services

Peter de Beer 083 208 7249

MH Aviation Services (Pty) Ltd

Marc Pienaar 011 609 0123 / 082 940 5437

M and N Acoustic Services cc Martin de Beer 012 689 2007/8

Metropolitan Aviation (Pty) Ltd

Gert Mouton 082 458 3736

Money Aviation Angus Money 083 263 2934

North East Avionics

Keith Robertson +27 13 741 2986

Orsmond Aviation 058 303 5261

Owenair (Pty) Ltd

Clive Skinner 082 923 9580

Par-Avion Exclusive Catering

Jakkie Vorster 011 701 2600

PFERD-South Africa (Pty) Ltd

Hannes Nortman 011 230 4000

Plane Maintenance Facility

Johan 083 300 3619

Powered Flight Charters

Johanita Jacobs Tel 012 007 0244/Fax 0866 66 2077

Powered Flight Training Centre

Johanita Jacobs Tel 012 007 0244/Fax 0866 66 2077

Precision Aviation Services

Marnix Hulleman 012 543 0371

Propeller Centre

Theuns du Toit +27 12 567 1689 / +27 71 362 5152

Rainbow SkyReach (Pty) Ltd

Mike Gill 011 817 2298

Rand Airport

Kevin van Zyl +27 76 801 5639

Dr Rudi Britz Aviation Medical Clinic

Megan 066 177 7194 Wonderboom Airport

SAA Technical (SOC) Ltd

SAAT Marketing 011 978 9993

SABRE Aircraft

Richard Stubbs 083 655 0355

Savannah Helicopters De 082Jager 444 1138 / 044 873 3288

Scenic Air

Christa van Wyk +264 612 492 68

Sheltam Aviation Durban

Susan Ryan 083 505 4882

Sheltam Aviation PE Brendan Booker 082 497 6565

Signature Flight Support Cape Town

Alan Olivier 021 934 0350

Signco (Pty Ltd)

Archie Kemp Tel 011 452 6857 Fax 086 504 5239

Skytrim Rico Kruger +27 11 827 6638

SleepOver Michael Richardson 010 110 9900

Sling Aircraft Kim Bell-Cross 011 948 9898

Solenta Aviation (Pty Ltd) Paul Hurst 011 707 4000

Southern Energy Company (Pty) Ltd

Elke Bertram +264 8114 29958

Southern Rotorcraft cc Mr Reg Denysschen Tel no: 0219350980

Starlite Aero Sales

Klara Fouché +27 83 324 8530 / +27 31 571 6600

Starlite Aviation Operations

Trisha Andhee +27 82 660 3018/ +27 31 571 6600

Starlite Aviation Training Academy Durban: +27 31 571 6600 Mossel Bay: +27 44 692 0006

Status Aviation (Pty) Ltd

Richard Donian 074 587 5978 / 086 673 5266

Superior Pilot Services

Liana Jansen van 0118050605/2247Rensburg

Swift Flite

Linda Naidoo Tel 011 701 3298 Fax 011 701 3297 /

The Aviation Shop Karel Zaayman 010 020 1618

The Copter Shop

Bill Olmsted 082 454 8555

The Pilot Shop Helen Bosland 082 556 3729

Titan Helicopter Group 044 878 0453

Top Flight Academy Nico Smith 082 303 1124

Turbo Prop Service Centre 011 701 3210

Ultimax Aviation (Pty) Ltd Aristide Loumouamou +27 72 878 8786

United Charter cc Jonathan Wolpe 083 270 8886

United Flight Support Clinton Moodley/Jonathan Wolpe 076 813 7754 / 011 788 0813

Velocity Aviation Collin Pearson 011 659 2306 / 011 659 2334

Villa San Giovanni Luca Maiorana 012 111 8888

Vortx Aviation Bredell Roux 072 480 0359


Adrian Barry 082 493 9101

Windhoek Flight Training Centre Thinus Dreyer 0026 40 811284 180

Wings n Things

Colin Blanchard 011 701 3209

Witbank Flight School Andre De Villiers 083 604 1718

Wonderboom Airport

Peet van Rensburg 012 567 1188/9

Zandspruit Bush & Aero Estate Martin Den Dunnen 082 449 8895

Zebula Golf Estate & SPA Reservations 014 734 7700

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.