MIDWEEK UPDATE 9 MARCH 2016





THIS WEEK IN MIDWEEK UPDATE

Plan Your Weekend……… Forthcoming Events……….This Week's Specials

Aviation News……….Worldwide Incidents and Accidents………Notice Board

This Week in Aviation History………Advertising Rate Card







10: EAA Aviation Legends Talk Show THURSDAY 10th MARCH 2016. Guest Col. J. J. "Cobus" Toerien B.Mil (SAAF ret.) is one of just a handful of South Africans to have 2,000 hours on Supersonic type aircraft, such as Mirage III's, Mirage F1CZ, 800 hours on all Cheetah types. He flew 168 Combat Missions during the Angolan conflict and has been decorated 7 times including the Air Force Cross and CA. Since joining SAA in 1999 he has increased his total hours to 10,000 hours flying B737-800's, Airbus A330 and A340 types.
Time: 18h30 for 19h30 (time to order your drinks & Boerewors/ Steak roll) at the new EAA Auditorium Pub. Venue: EAA Auditorium adjacent to TAC and Holding point of Runway 29, Rand Airport, Hurricane Road, Germiston. Take the entrance at Hurricane Road off Rand Airport Road (NOT thru the main gate). Cost: R50.00 each (R30 for card carrying EAA, members). Booking: Send an e-mail to book at eaa.talkshow@icon.co.za

12: The Coves Fly in. For further information contact admin@the coves.co.za or Rudi Greyling 083 245 9955

12: Witbank fly in breakfast. Any interested parties to Contac Rob Clark @ 082 463 1372.



12: High Alt Flight Potchefstroom. RSVP before 4 March. Contact Riaan 061 719 2430 riaan@epic-aviation.co.za or Andries 076 520 3054








MARCH

29 March - 3 April: FIDAE International Air & Space Fair Santiago, Chile. Contact website: www.fidae.cl


APRIL

3: SAAF Museum flying training and open days. Contact Capt. Kobus Kapp 012 351 2342 or E-mail:
webmaster@saafmuseum.org

2-3: Swellengrebel Fly in Swellendam. Contact Pieter Venter e-mail: pventer@vgv.co.za Cell: 082 250 9504

2-3: SAC Western Cape regionals Saldanha. Contact Annie Boon e-mail: chunge@mweb.co.za

6: EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting, Dickie Fritz Moth Hall Edenvale. Contact editor@afskies.co.za

9-11: Airport show in Dubai United Arab Emirates. Contact Reed Exhibitions Middle East e-mail:
ria.andaya@reedexpo.ae

13: Rosslyn Aero Modellers Fly-Inn. Landing fee of R100.00 will be payable on arrival by the pilots. Hot-dogs and cool drinks will be available. No flying without a valid SAMAA card. Contact Ina Van Der Merwe at fullstop@mweb.co.za for any inquiries.

15: SAPFA National Rally Flying Championships at Brits airfield. Contact e-mail:
chairmanatsapfa@gmail.com

20 -23: AERO Friedrichshafen - Germany. Contact website: www.aero-expo.com

21-24: SA Navy Festival, Simonstown. Contact Brian Emmenis capital@icon.co.za

23 April-1 May: Kroon Microlighters South Coast Fying 2016 - Annual Margate trip. Contact Dawie (082 576 2355) or Pierre 078 119 0949) for more info.

29 April-1 May: EAA National Convention, Mossel Bay. Contact Marie Reddy 083 259 7691




29 April-2May: Bush Air - Fly-In Barberton Airport, South Africa. No airshow and no public will be allowed in. There will be fun activities and competitions during the day such as spot landing, stol, ribbon cutting etc. The rest of the time it will be a big fat party! Fly-in and camp with your plane. An attendance fee of R2000 per person will include all your food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) as well as all drinks (Alcohol included) for the entire 3 day weekend. Payment info and to download registration and indemnity forms, go to web page: Deadline for all registrations will be Monday 25 April 2016.




29-2 May: Gyro Africa Fly in. Contact Juanita Kruger 082 040 9798


MAY

1: SAAF Museum flying training and open days. Contact Capt. Kobus Kapp 012 351 2342 or E-mail: webmaster@saafmuseum.org

4: EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting, Dickie Fritz Moth Hall Edenvale. Contact editor@afskies.co.za

7: SAAF Museum airshow at AFB Zwartkop. Contact Mike 'O Connor e-mail: oc@saafmuseum.org Tel: 012 351 2290



13-15: Battlefields Sports Resorts annual fly in Dundee KZN. Contact Dave O' Halloran e-mail gm@battlefieldslodge.co.za

15: SAPFA Shelia Taylor fun rally - Krugersdorp. Contact Frank Eckard e-mail:
frank.eckard@mweb.co.za

17-28: Sky Grand Prix. Greyville Racecourse, Durban. Details to follow.




21-21: Lowveld airshow - Nelspruit. Contact Willemien Hodgkinson e-mail: willemien.hodgkinson@ffa.co.za

21-22: SAC Free State regionals, Bloemfontein - New Tempe. Contact Annie Boon e-mail:
chunge@mweb.co.za

20 - 22: Vryheid Wings Club Fly Inn. First 10 pilots who fly in on Friday and also on the Saturday will get free food and drinks for the whole weekend (pilots' only not entire crew). All other pilots and crew will be charged R 600 for entire weekend and R 450 from the Saturday and Sunday only (fly inn day only R150).

25-28: SAPFA President's Trophy Air Race hosted by the Bethlehem Aero Club. Website: www.sapfa.org.za e-mail: Race@sapfa.org.za Contact Robbie Myburgh e-mail: roblena@mweb.co.za Cell: 083 377 0925 Francois Marais e-mail: info@stanfra.co.za Cell: 082 726 8550 Philip Jacobs e-mail: md@lsgroup.co.za Cell: 083 284 6142

28: Botswana airshow at the Matsieng Flying Club. Contact Guillaume Knipe e-mail: gknipe@work.co.bw or Hentie de Wet e-mail:
hentie@dewetdrilling.co.bw









R190.00 per copy. Order direct from the author editor@chrisav.co.za




Safair's long awaited coffee table book is now available from the Aviation Shop. At R400.00 the 160 page hardbound full colour history of one of South Africa's most iconic aviation companies is a real bargain







STATEMENT FROM AERO CLUB CHAIRMAN

SA CAA PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE STATUS OF AIRFIELDS


It has come to the attention of the Aero Club that certain correspondence has been circulated with proposed changes regarding the Licencing of all airfields. In its present form it signals a devastating blow to the already over regulated and cost spiralling towards General Aviation.

We are informed that the intention of the changes and the wording are in conflict. It appears that in order to try and PROTECT some of the airfields from being lost to other land uses, this was proposed as envisaged in the NADP. The unintended consequences of some of the wording was not thought through.

Where are we now?
• Senior sources within the SA CAA acknowledge that the wording is incorrect, or at the very least poor.
• At last week's EAA meeting the matter was put to the floor and discussed at some length
• The Aero Club Chairman and Vice Chairman participated as well as EAA members
• Objections to the SA CAA are encouraged in order to stress the gravity of the matter
• Aero Club will also object
• The matter has been set down for a meeting with the SA CAA before the end of March 2016
• If the intention is to ONLY list or register airfields, then Aero Club could see a way of negotiating an acceptable resolution
• Aero Club will vigorously try to elicit an irrevocable undertaking from the SA CAA that this is not just a temporary respite until they see their way clear to implement full blown licencing of airfields
• Our fear is that this may just be the thin end of the wedge, for creeping bureaucracy to further damage General Aviation
• We need to make the SA CAA aware of the fact that this is our major fear and get appropriate reassurances and undertakings from them
• Aero Club has taken note of the major concerns and will represent your interests at ALL the forthcoming meetings.

We will advise on the progress of this matter.

Kind regards,
Jeff Earle
Chairman of Aero Club of South Africa.







BREITLING RACING TEAM SETS ITS SIGHTS ON VICTORY IN THE 2016 RED BULL AIR RACE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP




Photo © Breitling

With Breitling, the definitive specialist in technical watches that continues to serve in 2016 as Official Timekeeper for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, Breitling Racing Team pilots Nigel Lamb and François Le Vot will be fully focused on making an impression at the season opener in Abu Dhabi on March 11th and 12th.

Using the fastest, most agile, lightweight racing planes, Red Bull Air Race pilots navigate a low-level aerial racetrack made up of air-filled pylons at speeds reaching 230 mph while withstanding forces of up to 10Gs.

2014 Red Bull Air Race World Champion Nigel Lamb has announced that his upcoming ninth season will be his last and he will be hanging up his racing gloves in October after the season finale in Las Vegas. This experienced British aviator will however remain as competitive as ever in seeking to recapture the World Championship Title before bowing out of the ultimate motorsport series in the sky.

Always keen to adopt and apply new ideas and concepts, Lamb is supporting a new Red Bull Air Race Master Mentoring program, which has been developed by the Race Committee to further improve the coaching and preparation of new Master Class Pilots. To pioneer this initiative, Red Bull Air Race and Lamb have invited fellow Breitling pilot and 2015 Challenger Cup winner, Mikael Brageot, to fly his high-performance MXS-R through Master Class race tracks. All World Championship contenders will have an opportunity to critique Brageot's style and technique and make suggestions as to how the young Frenchman can improve.

Lamb comments: "We like trying out new ideas, technology and approaches, so we are happy to pioneer the new Master Mentoring program. There is a lot of sense and reasoning behind the initiative, but the main priority is improving the transition into the World Championship series. We will do our best to ensure that Mika is as competitive as possible for his first Master Class season in the future."

Talented Master Class contender and former World Aerobatics Champion François Le Vot is also working through development plans for the French contingent of the Breitling Racing Team. During the short off-season, his team has implemented technical modifications to his Edge 540 and hope to surge forward in the rankings in Le Vot's second season.

The Breitling-sponsored pilots will be using every ounce of precision and skill they have to obtain an aerial advantage, knowing that every point counts in the campaign for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship Title.



GRIPEN FOR BRAZIL-THE WORLD'S MOST ADVANCED FIGHTER AIRCRAFT



Photo © SAAB AB

Saab is delighted by Brazil's order of the Gripen NG. Gripen NG is a true multi-role fighter aircraft that has the operational range, payload and built-in Net Centric Warfare (NCW) capabilities to meet all roles as defined. Brazil's NCW capability will be significantly enhanced by operating the Gripen NG in combination with the Embraer E-99 ERIEYE system.

Net Centric Fighter
Gripen NG is truly Network Centric fighter. It has the world's most highly developed secure and multi-frequency data links systems that provides total situation awareness for the pilot in all modes of operation.

Superior Sensor Fusion
It features a mission system with seamlessly integrated avionics, which provides a full sensor fusion resulting in an outstanding combat capability that assures extremely accurate launching of intelligent weapons.

Outstanding Agility
The Gripen NG is the most agile fighter in the world in close combat. It combines an advanced aerodynamic layout that uses a canard and delta wing configuration, together with its triplex, digital fly-by-wire flight control system (FCS).

Reliability
200,000 flight hours in total safety accumulated in the Swedish, Czech Republic, Hungarian and South African Air Forces and the UK's Empire Test Pilots' School (ETPS).



NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE BUYS EAGLE COPTERS EAGLE 407HP




Photo © Eagle Copters


Eagle Copters Ltd. has announced the Nevada Department of Wildlife as its next customer for the company's Eagle 407HP helicopter, powered by Honeywell's HTS900 turboshaft engine.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is a state agency largely responsible for the proper management of Nevada's fish and wildlife resources and boating safety. As the replacement for the agency's aging Bell 206B3 JetRanger III, the Eagle 407HP is a natural choice. By converting to Honeywell's HTS900, the Eagle 407HP provides a 22 percent increase in shaft horsepower, an additional 500 pounds of payload, 17 percent lower fuel burn and the enhanced safety of a true dual-channel, full-authority, digital engine control over the conventional Bell 407.

"We are fortunate that the director of Wildlife and Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners have placed such a high priority on the safety and performance of our flight crew and staff. The Eagle 407HP is a valuable resource to our department and would not have been made possible without the public and private organizations that have shown their support," said Greg Smith, chief pilot for NDOW. "We look forward to using this new aircraft and technology to expand our current mission profile while remaining within the Bell Helicopter family of products. Both Eagle Copters and Honeywell have put together an impressive product, and we will take full advantage of the increased performance and improved maintenance and fuel savings the Eagle 407HP offers."

"We would like to thank the Nevada Department of Wildlife for selecting Eagle Copters and appreciating the distinct advantages of our Eagle 407HP," said Barry Kohler, president and CEO for Eagle Copters. "In addition to our North America customers, Eagle Copters continues to broaden its reach by selling the first Eagle 407HP in Australia. We are excited to see this program continue to gain market share in North America and around the globe."



EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON-PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT




Photo © Eurofighter

Two Austrian Eurofighter Typhoons are seen here escorting an Austrian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER Two Austrian Eurofighter Typhoons are seen here escorting an Austrian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER to a 'coerced' simulated 'landing' in Zeltweg in the centre of Austria.

This is one of many exercises carried out by Eurofighter pilots to ensure that, in a real emergency, manoeuvres such as escorted landings can be undertaken effectively and safely. The 20 minute simulated exercise ran smoothly and without incident with both the airliner and the fighter pilots maintaining close eye contact during the close proximity manoeuvres. The Boeing (OE-LAZ) pictured here was coming home after being freshly painted in Austrian Airlines livery at a special facility in Shannon, Ireland.



FIRST U.S.-BUILT A321 EXITS PAINT SHOP



Photo © Airbus


Painting of the first U.S.-built A321 has been completed as it emerged from the paint shop in Mobile, Alabama in its JetBlue livery. This latest milestone shows that the first aircraft to be produced at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility is progressing well on its route to first flight and delivery in spring 2016.

The aircraft painting was achieved by MAAS Aviation. The company is responsible for painting aircraft in its new facility located on the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley within the Airbus manufacturing facility campus.




CHINA'S NEW Y-12F OBTAINS FAA TYPE CERTIFICATE

Photos © AVIC

The Y-12F, a next generation advanced turboprop commuter aircraft and developed by AVIC has obtained an FAA type certificate. This is the third aircraft type in the Y-12 family, following the Y-12IV and Y-12E, to be issued a type certificate by the FAA. It is also the only aircraft type in the world that has both obtained the FAA's type certificate and entered the 8-ton class FAR Part 23 commuter airplane market. The Y-12F obtained both CAAC and FAA type certificates at an interval of only 71 days, paving the way for synchronous planning, inspection, and certification in China's civil aircraft industry from both the Chinese and the US authorities.

Developed by AVIC HAIG, the Y-12 family is the first Chinese aircraft to obtain type certificates from the US, UK, and Russia.

The Y-12F can be used widely in passenger/cargo transportation, sea monitoring, air and paradrops, aerial photography, geological survey, medical aid, and artificial rain. With an 8.4 ton maximum take-off weight, 3 ton maximum payload, 400km/hour economical cruise speed, 2,255 kilometre maximum range, and 7,000 meter ceiling, the Y-12F can carry 19 passengers or 3 LD3 standard containers.

Currently, over 200 Y12s have been delivered to nearly 30 countries and regions. AVIC HAIG has signed contracts with both Chinese and foreign customers. Demand for the Y12F is expected to reach several hundred units in both Chinese and foreign markets.



SIKORSKY RECOGNIZES BRISTOW FOR OUTSTANDING S-92 HELICOPTER RESCUE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Photo © Bristow Group
Bristow currently has 75 S-92 aircraft in its consolidated fleet, which are operated in Europe Caspian, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

Sikorsky recognized Bristow Helicopters today for its critical role in safely evacuating hundreds of workers with S-92® helicopters from six oil platforms in the North Sea on Dec. 31, 2015. Sikorsky President Dan Schultz presented the recognition to Bristow President and CEO Jonathan Baliff in a ceremony at the 2016 Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo show. Bristow Helicopters Ltd. is an affiliate of Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: BRS). Sikorsky is a Lockheed Martin company (NYSE: LMT).

Bristow crews, with support from engineers, technicians and operations personnel, utilized nine Sikorsky S-92 aircraft to airlift 400 offshore workers safely from platforms in the Eldfisk and Valhall fields in extreme weather conditions, after a 360-foot-long barge set loose by stormy weather and high seas drifted toward the oil installations and threatened their operations. The barge, which was being used to transport cargo, was returning to Norway from Tunisia when the tow line broke. Bristow's mission was to evacuate offshore personnel away from the threatened platforms to other rigs in the area outside the danger area and to a safe onshore location as quickly as possible, then transport personnel back to their worksites in the following days. When concluded, Bristow transported nearly 800 workers on 40 flights over three days.

"On behalf of our crews around the world and especially the 49 employees involved in these evacuations, we are incredibly honored to be recognized for this operation," said Jonathan Baliff, President and CEO Bristow Group. "Known for its reliability and advanced technology, the S-92 offered a variety of mission capabilities that were key to this Norway response and vital to the flexibility of our operations, even in the harshest of winter weather conditions."


FIFTY FOKKER AIRCRAFT TRANSACTIONS IN 2015



Photo © Fokker

Hoofddorp, Fokker Technologies, a division of GKN Aerospace, announced that a total of 50 Fokker aircraft were sold to 10 existing Fokker operators and 3 new operators during 2015 by their respective aircraft owners. These comprise 5 Fokker 50s, 20 Fokker 70s and 25 Fokker 100s.

'Low operating costs, comprehensive support and more flexible Rolls-Royce Tay engine support solutions remain the drivers behind all of the deals last year', says Fokker Services' Director of Aircraft Remarketing Peter van Oostrum

Australasia is fast becoming the region with the largest Fokker population. Fokker operator Air Niugini, from Papua New Guinea, purchased an ex-Vietnam Airlines Fokker 70 through Jalux and is in the process of adding 7 KLM Cityhopper Fokker 70s. Virgin Australia Regional Airlines bought 2 more Fokker 100s making a total of 15. At the same time, Network Aviation, a Qantas subsidiary, also purchased 2 more Fokker 100s making a fleet of 14 Fokker 100s. Finally, in November Alliance announced its purchase of all 6 Fokker 70s and 15 Fokker 100s from Austrian Airlines. These aircraft will be delivered to Alliance over the next couple of years. These transactions raise the total number of Fokker aircraft in the region to over 90. The aircraft are increasingly being used on regular passenger routes, in addition to more traditional fly-in, fly-out routes in support of natural resources' industries.

Latin America's Fokker presence has also increased significantly as Air Panamá took delivery of 3 more Fokker 100s and Caribbean based airline Insel Air purchased 5 Fokker 70s from KLM Cityhopper.

Kazakhstan's Bek Air added 1 more Fokker 100 to its fleet, making a total of 7, serving both scheduled and charter routes. An undisclosed, new Fokker operator in Central Asia purchased 2 Fokker 50s.

In South Africa, Golden Wings took ownership of the Fokker 70 that was previously leased. CAA Congo (DRC) added 2 Fokker 50s to its fleet while and Rudufu from Kenya purchased 1 Fokker 50.

In Europe Spanish start-up Sky City purchased its first Fokker 100 while Avanti, from Germany, is adding a second Fokker 100 to its fleet.

At present there are close to 500 Fokker aircraft operational across the world. The Fokker aircraft have earned a reputation for advanced technology, comfort, operational reliability, low noise levels and durability. Many consider the Fokker aircraft among the best mid-size aircraft ever built.






Germany, Berlin: A handful of Brits from Southampton may be in for more than a hangover after the Ryanair flight they were on from London to Slovakia's capital was diverted to Berlin Friday night. According to the crew, half the members of a bachelor party misbehaved so badly that passenger safety was compromised. After the group of allegedly intoxicated men was refused more alcohol and became aggressive, with one man allegedly undressing himself, the pilot landed the 170-passenger plane at Schoenefeld airport. Each of the men detained on misdemeanour charges could face fines as steep as $27,000 and could even be sued by the airline.

USA, Texas: A flight attendant on American Airlines flight AA1418 from Dallas-Fort Worth to Detroit started a fire in the plane's lavatory and then pretended to discover and extinguish it, the FBI said. Johnathan Tafoya-Montano is charged with "destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities" and lying to investigators. A court document states he was working on 1 February when he reported there had been a fire in a rear lavatory and that he had extinguished the flames. The captain notified air traffic controllers and declared an emergency but the plane, which was already on approach to Detroit, landed without incident and all passengers safely disembarked.

Nepal, Kathmandu: A plane with nine passengers on board was forced to make an emergency landing at Kathmandu airport Wednesday a week after two deadly crashes highlighting Nepal's dismal air safety record. The 19-seater plane was taking off for Lukla, known as the gateway to Mount Everest, when a bird struck its right wing. Birds have traditionally posed a serious safety concern for Kathmandu's airport, which is located close to forested hills. In 2012, a plane crashed shortly after taking off from the airport when it hit a bird, killing all 19 people on board.

France, Charles de Gaulle: A drone came within 5 meters (20 feet) of a potentially catastrophic collision with an Air France Airbus SE A320, coming in to land at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, marking one of the closest encounters so far between one of the increasingly popular toys and a civil airliner. The flight was arriving from Barcelona at 1,600 meters when the pilot saw the drone on the plane's left side. He disconnected the autopilot and took avoiding action. Such incidents have become increasingly common, with Britain recording 23 close shaves between 11 April and 4 October last year. In one recent case, a drone came close to colliding with a Boeing 737 climbing out of London's Stansted. A recent study by Aero Kinetics suggested that a drone ingested into an aircraft engine would be more likely than a bird strike to result in an uncontained failure, in which metal spewed from the turbine can compromise the aircraft's integrity.

India, Mumbai: A Jet Airways Boeing 737-95R with 128 on-board was involved in a landing accident at Mumbai-Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, India. The accident happened while the aircraft landed on runway 27 following a regularly scheduled service from Delhi. The aircraft came to rest on Taxiway N9, which is located 2190 m past the runway 27 threshold with its no 2 engine resting on the ground and the right hand main landing gear strut penetrating the wing.

UK, Heathrow: A major security alert was declared at Heathrow Airport after an intruder boarded an empty airliner and locked himself in the bomb-proof cockpit. A 38-year-old man is to appear at court this week in connection with the incident, which took place on Saturday morning. The intruder managed to breach security on the airport perimeter, broke through a cordon and climbed aboard the parked British Airways 747. After realising he had been spotted in the cabin the intruder fled to the flight deck and slammed shut the cockpit doors. Security staff were unable at first to reach him through the impenetrable doors. In the end the fire brigade had to be called and carried out a long and very protracted operation to get into the cockpit from outside. They eventually managed to gain access to the cockpit and police were able to storm in and arrested the intruder."

Italy, Fiumicino Airport: An Italian pilot whose wife threatened to leave sent her a text saying he would kill himself along with 200 passengers in the aircraft he was set to fly to Japan. The man's wife alerted officers at Fiumicino airport, who were able to replace the pilot without the passengers' knowledge. The reported incident occurred in January last year, two months before German pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed Germanwings A320 into the Alps. Now suspended, he is still said to be undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

USA, Long Island: It was a father-daughter excursion that nearly ended in a disaster. The Cirrus SR22 Louis Obergh was piloting with his daughter as passenger lost engine power about 2,000 feet above ground. Obergh, radioed for help as he deployed the BRS parachute attached to the plane. The parachute system allowed the aircraft to drop slowly to the ground and crashed on a grassy area of an industrial park in Hauppauge missing a building by just ten feet. Obergh only suffered a minor scratch to his head, his daughter was uninjured.





MARCH 9 1915

Birth of Johnnie Johnson, Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot and Second World War Flying Ace



James Edgar Johnson CB, CBE, DSO & two bars, DFC & Bar
Photo © Imperial War Museums / commons.wikimedia.org

Johnnie Johnson, British fighter pilot, later Air Vice-Marshal (9 March 1915 - 30 January 2001) was an Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot and Flying Ace who during the Second World War shot down 38 Luftwaffe aircraft, thus becoming the British flying ace with the greatest number of victories during the war. An Ace is defined as a pilot that has shot down five or more enemy aircraft in aerial combat.

Born in 1915, Johnson grew up and was educated in the East Midlands where he qualified as an engineer. A sportsman, Johnson broke his collarbone while playing rugby, an injury that later complicated his ambitions of becoming a fighter pilot. Johnson had been interested in aviation since his youth and applied to join the RAF. He was initially rejected, first on social and then on medical grounds. In August 1939 he was eventually accepted. The injury problems, however, returned during his early training and flying career, resulting in him missing the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain.



Photo © commons.wikimedia.org

Johnson was credited with 34 individual victories over enemy aircraft, as well as seven shared victories, three shared probable, 10 damaged, three shared damaged and one destroyed on the ground. Johnson flew 700 operational sorties and engaged enemy aircraft on 57 occasions. Included in his list of individual victories were 14 Messerschmitt Bf 109s and 20 Focke-Wulf Fw 190s destroyed making him the most successful RAF ace against the Fw 190. This score made him the highest scoring Western Allied fighter ace against the German Luftwaffe.

Johnson took part in the 9 August 1941 mission in which Bader was lost over France. During the sortie, he destroyed a solitary Messerschmitt Bf 109. Johnson flew as wingman to Dundas in Bader's section. As the Wing crossed the coast, around 70 Bf 109s were reported in the area, the Luftwaffe aircraft outnumbering Bader's Wing by 3:1. Spotting a group of Bf 109s 1,000 feet below them, Bader led a bounce on a lower group.

The formations fell apart and the air battle became a mass of twisting aircraft as Johnson recalled; "It seemed to me the biggest danger was a collision rather than being shot down, that's how close we all were. We got the 109s we were bouncing then (Squadron Leader) Holden came down with his section, so there were a lot of aeroplanes ... just 50 yards apart. It was awful ... all you could think about was surviving, getting out of that mass of aircraft."

On 4 September 1941 Johnson was promoted to flight lieutenant and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).



Spitfire with Johnson's call sign
Photo © commons.wikimdia.org

Johnson continued his career in the RAF after the war and served in the Korean War, retiring in 1966, with the rank of air vice marshal. He maintained an interest in aviation and did public speaking on the subject as well as entering into the business of aviation art. Johnnie Johnson remained active until his death from cancer in 2001.






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