Plan Your Weekend……..Forthcoming Events

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The topic this week is female vs male pilots. To listen to a recording of the live broadcast click on the link


17-19 March SA Navy Festival, Simonstown.


3rd Saturday of every month. Microland. Bring and braai. Fires and bykos provided. Fires start from 09h30. Contact person: Nick Swardt 082 441 8011 or Alan Hussey 072 82 2341

30-9 April: Entry for the 2017 Stars of Sandstone Festival is available from Leigh Sanders who can be contacted on +27 79 327 7649 or e-mail leighs@sandstone.co.za - or see details at www.sandstone-estates.com

30-1 April: National Rally Flying Championships. Brits Air Field. Contact Frank Eckard e-mail: frank.eckard@mweb.co.za cell: 083 269 1516

31-1 April: Wings and Wheels Festival. Utenhage Airfield. Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: imk@telkomsa.net Cell 082 320 2615


1: EAA Chapter 322 meeting. Dicky Fritz Moth Hall Edenvale. Contact Contact editor@afskies.co.za

1-2: SAC North West regionals Klerksdorp. Contact Annie Boon e-mail:

4: SAAF Museum AFB Zwartkop open practise day

6: Aero Club of South Africa Annual General meeting. Contact

7: TMG, LSA and Glider fly in Brits Airfield. Contact
mandy@airplay.co.ca or daniel.ralefeta@gmail.com

13: SAPFA Sheila Taylor Fun Rally, Krugersdorp, Jack Taylor Airfield. Frank Eckard E-mail: frank.eckard@mweb.co.za

20 -23: AERO Friedrichshafen - Germany Website:

3rd Saturday of every month. Microland. Bring and braai. Fires and bykos provided. Fires start from 09h30. Contact person: Nick Swardt 082 441 8011 or Alan Hussey 072 82 2341

27 -30 May: EAA National Convention - Bethlehem Airport EAA Chapter 1500 Contact Francois Marais E-mail: info@stanfra.co.za Cell 082 726 8550

28- 30: Thaba Nchu Airshow. Christiaan Moriaana. 012 543 1736

28-30: Jabiru Jaunt. Airspan Airfield, North West Province

26 - May 1: SA National Sky Diving Championships. Rustenburg Skydiving Club


1: EAA Chapter 322 meeting. Dicky Fritz Moth Hall Edenvale. Contact: editor@afskies.co.za

4: SAAF Museum AFB Zwartkop open practise day

5-6: Battlefields' Sports Resorts' annual fly in. Dundee KZN. Contact Dave O' Halloran e-mail gm@battlefieldslodge.co.za

6: SAAF Museum Airshow AFB Zwartkop. Contact Tel: 012 351 2290

12 - 13: Lowveld airshow. Nelspruit Airfield. Tel: 013 741 6412 Contact Willemien Hodgkinson e-mail: willemien.hodgkinson@kishugu.com

20-21: SAC KZN regionals. Ladysmith. Contact Annie Boon e-mail: chunge@mweb.co.za

3rd Saturday of every month. Microland. Bring and braai. Fires and bykos provided. Fires start from 09h30. Contact person: Nick Swardt 082 441 8011 or Alan Hussey 072 82 2341

26-28: SAPFA President's Trophy Air Race. Springs Aero Club. Website: www.sapfa.org.za E-mail: Race@sapfa.org.za. Race director Robin Spencer-Scarr: robin@stylegroup.com.au ot Contact Robbie Myburgh e-mail: roblena@mweb.co.za Cell: 083 377 0925

27-28: Wings Park Annual Airfest Fly in. All aircraft welcome. Great fun filled weekend with some of the coolest planes and pilots around. Avgas and Mogas available. Jet A1 on request. Safe parking with kilometer long grass runway. Contact Rob Williamson Cell: 082 574 9034 E-mail: rwhw@iafrica.com

27: Botswana International airshow. Matsieng Airfield (FBMA). Contact Guillaume Knipe E-mail: Gknipe@work.co.bw Cell +267 71300646


The Christen Eagle II was introduced to the aviation world at EAA Oshkosh 1977. At AirVenture 2017, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of this award-winning aerobatic biplane. Designer Frank Christensen, EAA Lifetime 36663, president of Christen Industries, set the standard for kit-built aircraft with the precision and attention to detail that became the hallmark of the Eagle. Three purpose-built single-seat versions were flown by Charlie Hillard, Gene Soucy, and Tom Poberezny during their lengthy tenure as the Eagles Aerobatic Team.

The International Aerobatic Club (IAC) will highlight the history and the development of the Eagle in its pavilion on the AirVenture grounds. Six exhibit panels will tell the story of this iconic aerobatic and sport aircraft and the pilots who flew it. A forum on the Eagle will be held at the IAC pavilion on Tuesday, July 25, from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Speakers will be Mark Ciagla and Lynn Ojala, owners and pilots of Eagle aircraft. Both will bring their Eagles to AirVenture this year with Lynn's being displayed at the Aviat exhibit.


Photo © Glassair

Much has happened since we announced the first flight of Glasair Aviation's Merlin light sport aircraft (LSA), which took place back on April 7, 2015. For nearly a year afterward, refinements and testing, testing, testing were the name of our game as we prepared our newest model plane - named for the smallest raptor, not the wizard - for ASTM certification and the OK for production sales.

Almost a year later to the day, Glasair received the certification it sought on its prototype model, allowing it to reclassify the Merlin as an SLSA (that first S stands for Special). This upshot is a big deal for this pioneering kitplane manufacturer: Unlike all the Glasair Aviation models before it, the Merlin will sell as fully factory-built, ready-to-buy-and-fly aircraft, one of the very few models of LSAs that can.

Production of Merlins continues apace as we continue our hard work to make the Merlin as strong, safe, light and enjoyable as can be. In our minds, it is the perfect light sport aircraft for rusty pilots rediscovering the joy of easy weekend hops across the state. New pilots will enjoy its stable, easy handling and forgiving landing gear. Pilot and passenger alike will appreciate its roomy 47 inch wide cockpit and sweeping views outside. Skylights make it that much easier to track traffic around busy destinations. All in all, a great plane for sport pilots and flight schools alike.


At AirVenture 2015, the (from left) P-51, P-38, and F-22 teamed for a series of unforgettable Heritage Flights during the daily afternoon air show.

Some of the most popular fly-bys each year during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh will be returning in 2017, as the U.S. Air Force's Lockheed F-35 Lightning II and Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II will be flying heritage flights with vintage warbirds during the afternoon air shows at Oshkosh.

These fly-bys, featuring two to four aircraft from different eras, show the different technologies of the various aviation eras and well as saluting the people and aircraft of military air power. Among the vintage warbird aircraft participating in past heritage flights are the P-51 Mustang, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-38 Lightning, and F-86 Sabre.

The heritage flights are part of the U.S. Air Force 70th anniversary commemoration at AirVenture 2017. Exact dates of the flights will be announced as they are confirmed.


Seventy-seven years to the day since its first flight, the Breitling DC-3 has kicked off the great journey that it will be undertaking right around the planet between March and September 2017. A new accomplishment for this legendary airplane that has marked the history of aviation forever.

On March 9th 1940, the twin-engine propeller-driven Douglas DC-3 that now flies under Breitling colors made its maiden flight in the United States. Three days later, it was delivered to American Airlines. Hired out to the army from 1942 to 1944, it was subsequently used by various North American companies. Bought back in 2008 by pilot Francisco Agullo and a group of friends with Breitling's support, and then restored, this veteran in perfect flying condition has since taken part in many aeronautical shows as well as events held by the brand.

In 2017, Breitling has decided to launch its DC-3 on a great world tour in stages punctuated with various events and participations in airshows. The "Breitling DC-3 World Tour" officially kicked off at a dedicated press conference held in Geneva on March 9th. Francisco Agullo presented the project along with the program. Jean-Paul Girardin, Vice-President of Breitling, mentioned the role of the brand in this great adventure and unveiled the 500-piece limited edition Navitimer Breitling DC-3 that was taken aboard the airplane to accompany it on its world tour - and which will be put on sale in the fall with a certificate signed by the captain. The pilots will also wear examples of this specially engraved chronograph throughout the journey. Participants in the press conference later gathered on the tarmac at Geneva airport to visit the plane, prior to leaving the team to put the final touches to preparations for takeoff.

After the Balkans, the Breitling DC-3 will head for the Middle East and India, followed by South East Asia, China and Japan, where it has received a special invitation to take part in the Iwakuni "Friendship Day Air Show". It will then cross the ocean to begin a grand tour of the United States, prior to returning to Europe via Greenland and Iceland and completing its journey in September at the Breitling Sion Airshow 2017 in Switzerland. At 77 years old, the Breitling DC-3 is the oldest airplane to undertake a round the world tour and this new claim to fame will be one more to add to the already long list of its achievements.


HAI HELI-EXPO 2017 is the world's largest helicopter trade show and exposition dedicated to the international helicopter community. It is produced annually by Helicopter Association International, HAI HELI-EXPO and will be hosted in Dallas, TX. The key operators and industry leaders will meet to conduct business, make buying decisions and set the stage for the global helicopter market for the year ahead.

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, unveiled its vision for the future of rotorcraft - the FCX-001. This is Bell Helicopter's first concept aircraft and presents a 3-D roadmap for delivering safer, smarter and more efficient rotorcraft solutions.

Bell Helicopter formed a core group of engineers and a team of graphic designers that proved to be a highly collaborative team of problem solvers. It was through this process that the FCX-001, a concept aircraft, came to light to physically demonstrate a new way of thinking. The concept aircraft was built to address the evolving demands of our customers and demonstrate key technologies that revolutionize the pilot and passenger experience, including:

A new anti-torque system in the tail boom designed to change the safety, noise and performance parameters of vertical lift aircraft forever. Hybridized propulsion combines advanced thermal engine cores for the main propulsion with, for example, electric distribution and motors to drive the anti-torque system for more control and simpler vehicle operations and maintenance.

An airframe that is made from advanced sustainable materials to provide structural performance and offer configurations that our customers desire. In order to provide enhanced situational awareness, visibility and room, we are exploring the right combination of material and geometry. The airframe is also our front line for energy management where we harvest, store, attenuate and distribute external energy or system energy not already employed for useful work on the air vehicle.

A landing gear with non-traditional geometries that facilitate function when combined with advanced materials and actuation. Morphing rotor blades that allow aircraft to optimize performance in different flight regimes. A single pilot seat and an entirely new flight deck experience with the pilot controlling the aircraft through augmented reality and an artificial intelligence computer assistance system. A highly modular passenger cabin enhanced with the same augmented reality technology for individualized infotainment to catch up on world news, hold a video conference call, share documents with other passengers or simply watch a movie or play music to relax.

Sikorsky Aircraft has a long history with Helicopter Association International as a proud supporter of the HAI Heli-Expo. Looking toward the future, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, displayed both new and proven technologies to HAI Heli-Expo with our commercial products and support.

Leonardo participated at Hai Heli-Expo 2017, the most important exhibition in the rotary wing sector. Leonardo exhibited some of its most significant capabilities in the helicopter sector: the AW119Kx and the AW169 in EMS (Emergency Medical Service) configuration, the AW189 in the Offshore and Rescue configuration combined with a virtual rescue experience system and an area dedicated to Customer Support & Training. Also on display were defence electronics products such as the SkyISTAR, an advanced integrated sensor mission management system.

Dallas, Texas, STAT MedEvac will soon be the first air medical transport service in North America to operate Airbus H135 helicopters equipped with Helionix, an innovative and powerful avionics system.

The Pennsylvania-based critical care transport team has placed orders with Airbus Helicopters Inc. for three new H135s to replace older aircraft in its fleet, with delivery scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2017.

The Airbus developed Helionix system, an advanced avionics suite that increases mission flexibility and enhances flight safety, will be standard equipment on new production H135s.

Comprised of two computers and a one-of-a-kind cockpit layout, Helionix includes up to four electronic displays designed to improve pilots' situational awareness. The system provides a four-axis autopilot to reduce pilot workload and a Traffic Advisory System that improves safety by assisting pilots in detecting and avoiding other aircraft.


Boeing [NYSE: BA] has received a five-year contract to continue long-term sustainment of the Republic of Korea Air Force's (ROKAF) F-15K aircraft, supporting to the fleet's readiness.

"This approach guarantees materials and technical support required for aircraft maintenance over many years while managing costs," said Tim Buerk, director, F-15 sustainment in the Far East region and United States. "It also provides opportunities for us to utilize local industry to help maintain and manufacture F-15K components, cutting down on cycle times."

Boeing has been sustaining the ROKAF's F-15K fleet since 2012.

Hyundai Glovis, a Seoul-based supplier, will partner with Boeing on logistics handling and supply chain distribution in country.

USA, Moody AFB: Two pilots of the 81st Fighter Squadron were forced to eject from the A-29A Super Turcano they were flying from Moody Air Force Base. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair. The pilots survived. The Super Turcano is the main fighter jet for the Afghan Air Force, replacing the Mi-35 attack helicopter in January 2016. They arrived at Moody AFB back in 2014 to be a part of the Afghanistan pilot and maintenance training program.

USA, Nome: An Cessna 172 reported overdue after departing from Wasilla for a flight to Nome was found crashed near Nome Monday, with its pilot and sole occupant dead. The pilot had earlier texted his fiancée that he could not land due to weather. Residents in Nome told authorities they heard and saw the plane flying over the community on Sunday night.

New Chitose Airport: A UPS Boeing B767-300F freighter on a flight from Anchorage, USA to Osaka/Kansai, Japan, suffered in-flight failure of No.2 engine The flight diverted to New Chitose Airport Japan where it performed a emergency landing. No personal injuries were reported.

17 MARCH 1997

Linda Finch, pilot, aviation historian, and San Antonio, Texas businesswoman, flying a restored and specially equipped 62-year-old Lockheed Electra 10E, recreates the 1937 Amelia Earhart flight to circumnavigate the globe solo.

Photo Frank A. Vargo III/commons.wikimedia.org Linda Finch, an aviator, businesswoman, author and spokesperson was born on 13 March 1951 in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. Finch was in her early 20s when she decided that she wanted to learn to fly a World War II F4U Corsair fighter aircraft.

Whenever she could afford it she purchased flying and training lessons finally obtaining her pilot's license in 1972. In her 30s, she bought a North American T-6 Texan which she completely restored, modified and raced, primarily to prepare her to fly the Corsair.

Finch joined the Confederate Air Force (now Commemorative Air Force) Association to acquire the flying skills necessary to handle warbirds, including the T-6 and Corsair.

Finch was the head coordinator and primary sponsor of the Commemorative Air Force Republic P-47D Thunderbolt "Tarheel Hal". She is a major fundraiser for the restoration and marketing of this rare aircraft and is also type rated on the P-47D.

P-47 Thunderbolt. Photo commons.wikimedia.org

Finch has logged more than 8,000 flying hours with approximately 5,900 of these flying hours in vintage multi-engine aircraft, warbirds and tail draggers. She has flown in numerous air shows around the world for more than 20 years.

Emelia Earharts Electra 10E. Photo commons.wikimedia.org

The uniqueness of Finch's flight is that it was done in a rare 1935 Electra 10E, restored to the specifications of Earhart's plane. Finch came up with the idea of recreating Earhart's flight in 1994 when she found the remains of one of only two flight-worthy Electra 10Es in existence. She spent nearly every penny she had (a total of $330,000) to purchase the hulk and haul it back to her hometown in Texas where she set about restoring it with the help of a $4.5 million donation from aircraft engine manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney. Using original drawings and old vintage photographs, the 1935 aircraft was accurately restored right down to its rivets.

The only exception to the original is that Finch's Electra was equipped with modern navigation and communication equipment. Finch's aircraft was outfitted with a Global Positioning System for world navigation and tracking electronics as she hopped across the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean between the islands. The Electra's cabin is not pressurized and it does not carry oxygen and, like Earhart, Finch had to fly below 10,000 ft for much of the flight.

Retracing the flight path of Amelia Earhart, Finch closely followed the same route that Earhart flew, stopping at 36 way-points in 18 countries. She was unable to secure permission to overfly Libya and made more stops while crossing the Pacific than were planned by Earhart. The additional 1,000 miles were flown to allow Finch to drop a single wreath over Howland Island from her aircraft in honour of the pioneering aviator. Finch's last leg on May 28 was an estimated 18-hour flight between Hawaii. She finished the trip two and a half months (a total of 73 days) landing back at the Oakland Airport on May 28. At the time of this historic flight in 1997, Finch was 46 years old, five years older than Earhart's age on her final flight.

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