Compiled by Willie Bodenstein



Dear Aero Club Member,

It is the Aero Club and Members Association renewal time for the year 2021. Please note that we had a payment system glitch related to credit card payments that has been resolved as of 7 Dec 2020. Many thanks for your continued support for recreational aviation in South Africa. Although the current year was supposed to be a significant milestone for the Aero Club as our centenary year, we were not able to celebrate as planned. We were at least very active in securing our ability to fly during the lockdown period and made significant progress in engaging with the regulator. We will continue to build on this relationship to improve the overall service standards and work on regulatory improvements.

To renew your membership or join the Aero Club and its sections go to www.aeroclub.co.za where you can use the Aeropay System, or you can pay via EFT.

The Aero Club fee has seen a small nominal increase (from a previous reduction applied for 2020) and section fees have either remained the same or have also applied nominal increases. We continue to manage our budgeted finances to apply our resources to facilitate advocacy matters with the regulator with collaborative support from the sections. Please review and renew your membership as per the payment methods noted. If you have any difficulties, please contact the Aero Club office by email or phone as given below:- Sandra and Charne are ready to assist.
Tel : 011 082 1100
Fax : 086 635 3755
E-mail : office@aeroclub.org.za



The books are now available and available in Novalite (Leather), Hard Cover & Soft Cover versions from the Aero Club Website Shop, or from the Aero Club office.

You may collect at the Rand Airport Aero Club office, or opt for door-to-door courier service anywhere in SA. Courier costs will range between R 100 to R 150 per book dependent on location. Volume purchases are also available should this be required.

- Novalite (Leather) Bound Book - R 500
- Hard Cover Book - R 400
- Soft Cover Book - R 300



Vote now for December week three finalists

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3. All submissions must have an aviation theme.
4. Photo submissions may be cropped and / or resized only. Any other form of photo alteration or manipulation is not allowed and will be disqualified.
5. You may submit up to three entries per week.

1. The Pilot's Post team will select the 2 best photos submitted every week and add them into our "Midweek Update" published every Thursday morning, where our readers will then cast their votes by simply clicking the link below the photo of their choice.

2. At the end of each month, a complete article will be published on Pilot's Post to include the weekly photo submissions with the most reader votes. Our readers will then again have the opportunity to cast their votes by simply clicking the link below the photo of their choice. The photo with the highest number of votes will then be judged the Winner of the Month.
3. A prize of a set of Chock Norris personalised Aircraft Chocks with leather storage bag valued at R500
a voucher from the Pilot Shop valued at R200.00 will be awarded to each monthly winner
a soft cover copy of the Aero Club of South Africa's Centenary Yearbook valued at R300.00 sponsored by Chapter 322 of the EAA of SA

The Pilot's Post "Chock Norris 2020" aviation related photo competition is only open to photographers resident in South Africa as our prizes are not transferable and can only be redeemed in South Africa.

With our MACH program (Member Awards for Chapter Help) your membership could win you a trip to Oshkosh!
Click on the link below today to renew or join!


or for EAA membership information go to

The following events will to take place under the rules controlling the number of people congregating together and are therefore not open to the general public.

30 JANUARY 2021
SAPFA Rand Airport challenge
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: frank.eckard@mweb.co.za Cell: 083 269 1516

30 JANUARY 2021
SAPFA AGM at Rand Airport after the rally
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: rob@aerosud.co.za cell: 082 804 7032

30 & 31 JANUARY 2021
Sport Aerobatic Club Gauteng Regionals Vereeniging Airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail:


The EcoPulse™ distributed propulsion hybrid aircraft demonstrator - which is being developed by Daher, Safran and Airbus with the support of France's CORAC civil aviation research council - has successfully passed its Preliminary Design Review as a first key step toward validating the project's feasibility and firming up the architecture for a first flight scheduled in 2022.

Incorporating a distributed propulsion configuration from Daher, Safran and Airbus, this shared hybrid aircraft project has the goal of helping to transform the aviation sector. EcoPulse™, which was unveiled at the 2019 Paris Air Show, is backed by the French government - with a reaffirmation of support coming in the framework of France's recovery plan presented last June.

By laying the framework for light aircraft by the end of the decade, it will allow the development of technologies that reduce the environmental footprint of future commercial aircraft, thus contributing to the air transportation sector's decarbonization objectives by 2050.

After more than one year of development based on a light aircraft platform supplied by Daher, the project has reached a key milestone with the successful completion of its Preliminary Design Review (PDR), which enabled the validation and freezing of the demonstrator's baseline configuration, as well as confirming the hybrid distributed propulsion system's level of safety and compatibility with the aircraft.

The project is now entering the assembly and integration phase at Daher, with systems supplied by Safran and Airbus.

Safran, which is responsible for EcoPulse's distributed hybrid-electric propulsion system, has finalized the technical configuration of its six electric thrusters. They will be fitted with 50 kW ENGINeUS™ electric motors with integrated electronics and patented air cooling, as well as propellers supplied by DUC Hélices. The Safran ENGINeUS™ motor will be submitted for EASA certification - the same type as granted for a turboshaft engine.

Daher will begin the demonstrator's assembly in 2021.


Britten-Norman delivered the first of two new Islanders to the Falkland Islands Government Aviation Service (FIGAS) on 7 December. The Islander will be used in a variety of roles, including to meet the Falkland Islands' increasing popularity as a holiday destination.

FIGAS is Britten-Norman's Southern-most operator and has employed Islanders since the 1970s. The current fleet of four Islanders serve in a variety of roles and are essential in keeping the Falklands and some of its more remote communities connected.

The new Islander's registration honours Sir Miles Clifford, whose name has been inscribed above the pilot's door. As Governor of the Falkland Islands, he was responsible for the launch of the air service in 1948. The service, which became FIGAS, was originally aimed at providing medical evacuation capabilities but it soon broadened to include mail delivery and passenger flight services.

Sir Miles Clifford was a veteran of both World Wars and recipient of the French Resistance Medal. In 1946 he became Governor and Commander in Chief of the Falkland Islands, a post he held until 1954. Sir Miles was responsible for many structural reforms in the Falklands.


December 2020 will be special, as Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet will be joining Luxaviation UK managed fleet. This single-engine jet, based in Milan, will be the first Luxaviation UK aircraft on the Guernsey Registry.

George Galanopoulos, the Managing Director of Luxaviation UK commented: "Business jet demand has certainly fluctuated in 2020 because of COVID-19 but, even in challenging times, strong and productive aircraft management is always critical. Managed aircraft may have been inactive for unusually long periods this year but Luxaviation UK has remained constantly vigilant and busy, working hard for our clients. Aircraft must be ready to fly at any time.

"The owner of this Cirrus is taking advantage of our full management service, delivered 24/7/365 even in a crisis. It covers everything from flight planning and crew provision to comprehensive safety compliance, including meeting our Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation [CAMO] responsibilities.

"Throughout the pandemic we have kept a constructive dialogue open with all key aviation authorities, including the EASA. With international travel restrictions and regulations changing every day, we're committed to keeping ourselves and our clients informed. We liaise closely with suppliers and service providers too, renegotiating contracts as necessary with a long-term view to protecting the value of our clients' managed aircraft assets. Smart management companies can also take the opportunity to bring scheduled maintenance work forward when an aircraft is inactive.

"And in the case of this new Cirrus jet, we'll also be complying with all the requirements to hold a Guernsey Registry Private Operator Certificate."

With a maximum range of 1,275 nautical miles, the Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet can easily connect Milan with key cities across Europe and north Africa.


The L-39NG visited the 59th Air Force Base of the Hungarian Defence Forces in Kecskemét, to perform the evaluation flights with representatives of the Hungarian Air Force.

The L-39NG second flight prototype with MSN 7004 landed at the Hungarian air base on Tuesday, November 17. In the following days, a mixed Czech-Hungarian crew performed totally three evaluation flights. "Our well experienced pilots flew with the L-39NG and their impression of the aircraft was very positive. The L-39NG is a good and modern training aircraft with a great potential for the future," said the Chief of the Hungarian Air Force, Major General Nandor Kilian.

Aero Vodochody test pilot David Jahoda presented the new Czech aircraft to the Hungarian side. "First, there was an introduction of the aircraft on the ground and pre-flight preparation. Then two flight instructors from the Hungarian Gripen squadron flew the aircraft in the rear cockpit for instructor and Maj. Tibor Molnar also completed a flight in the front cockpit," said factory pilot David Jahoda.

The Hungarian Air Force has historically good experience with aircraft from Aero Vodochody production. Until 2009, this Central European country had operated a squadron of L-39 Albatros (since 1993, a total of 20 L-39 aircraft and then 12 aircraft since 1998). From 2007 to 2010, they also trained their pilots on leased L-159 aircraft. Both types made a very good impression in Hungary for their flight characteristics and operational capabilities.

L-39NG is a new aircraft from production of Aero Vodochody. It offers balanced aircraft characteristics and performance while using advanced aircraft technologies, an effective and sophisticated pilot and ground personnel training concept and easy maintenance. On the other hand, acquisition and operational cost of L-39NG are very reasonable. The L-39NG is able to cover multiple training phases. In September 2020, the Military Aviation Authority of the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic certified the L-39NG aircraft to the new supranational military standards, EMAR 21 and EMACC, which is recognized by all EU and NATO military authorities.

The L-39NG aircraft is a modern and effective light jet capable to serve in a role of light attack and/or unified, comprehensive training system for modern air forces. The L-39NG is based on the aerodynamic concept of the current L-39 with optimized features to reduce resistance and increase efficiency and utilizes the latest technologies and equipment. Power is provided by the modern FJ44-4M engine supplied with the TAP Blue engine support service to ensure unprecedented airworthiness and predictable maintenance costs. The aircraft's avionics are prepared to train future pilots of 4th and 5th generation aircraft and can be tailored to the customer's requirements. The L-39NG is equipped with five hard-points for weapons. The aircraft also features a broad range of simulation technologies, including the integration into high-tech tactical simulation centres with the goal to increase training efficiency. Strategic partner of the L-39NG project is the Czech company OMNIPOL by having 50% of share and financial contribution in the project.


The rollout is a special symbolic moment that represents a milestone in the life of an aeronautical program. It is a milestone eagerly awaited by our customers, partners and employees, united around the new aircraft that will soon be ready for take-off.

The rollout is a special symbolic moment that represents a milestone in the life of an aeronautical program. It is a milestone eagerly awaited by our customers, partners and employees, united around the new aircraft that will soon be ready for take-off.

With over 10,000 military and civil aircraft (including 2,500 Falcons) delivered in more than 90 countries over the last century, Dassault Aviation has built up expertise recognized worldwide in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, ranging from the Rafale fighter, to the high-end Falcon family of business jets, military drones and space systems. In 2019, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €7.3 billion. The company has 12,750 employees.


Embraer has delivered the first jet in a fleet of Praetor 600s to Flexjet. The aircraft will be used for the company's burgeoning operations in Europe. Flexjet is the Praetor fleet launch customer, having received the first-ever Praetor 500 less than a year ago, in December 2019. The deal, valued at up to $1.4 billion, was announced at NBAA-BACE 2019 and comprises a fleet of Praetor 600s, Praetor 500s, and Phenom 300s.

Michael Amalfitano, President & CEO of Embraer Executive Jets commented :"We are honoured to further execute on our commitment to Flexjet, our esteemed partner of over 17 years, with the delivery of this first Praetor 600 to our long-standing fleet customer. It's a privilege to collaborate on the introduction of not only the most disruptive and technologically advanced super-midsize jet in the world but also on delivering the ultimate experience in business aviation to Flexjet Owners in Europe."

Michael Silvestro, CEO of Flexjet said : "We have spent the past three years laying the foundation to become a force in European private aviation and we are proud to exceed the expectations of this valued market. The Praetor 600, with its unparalleled technology, comfort and performance, marked by class-leading, intercontinental range, rounds out the fleet that will help us to meet every possible need and desire of Flexjet Owners in Europe."

Embraer and Flexjet enjoy a long-standing, successful partnership. In 2003, Flight Options - which merged with Flexjet in 2015 - became the first fractional ownership program to introduce the Legacy Executive Jet. In 2010, they introduced the Phenom 300 and in 2012 the company took delivery of Embraer's milestone 100th Phenom 300. Then in 2015, Flexjet became the first fractional provider to offer the Legacy 500, later taking delivery of Embraer's milestone 1000th business jet - a Legacy 500 - in 2016. The Legacy 450 then joined the Flexjet fleet in 2016.


Airbus formally handed over the third SC-105 to the Força Aerea Brasileira (FAB, Brazilian Air Force) at their Seville plant (Spain). This is a dedicated Search and Rescue variant of the C295. Serial 6552 with construction number 195 and will join 6550 and 6551 already in use with 2°/10°GAv 'Pelicano' at Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul state.

The SC-105 was first painted in primer in July 2020 and in full colour scheme in September 2020. The aircraft was delivered to Brazil on 12 December 2020.


The Hungarian Government and Embraer signed a contract for the acquisition of two new generation multi-mission transport aircraft Embraer C-390 Millennium, in its air-to-air refueling (AAR) configuration, designated KC-390. Additionally, pilots and technicians training as well as other services and support are included in the contract as part of the process to strengthen the Hungarian Defence Forces capabilities specifically on the tactical airlift, AAR and medical evacuation roles as well as in other missions of public interest. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2023.

"Following the procurement of personnel air transport capabilities in 2018, we will see the arrival of KC-390 aircraft to Hungary in 2023-24, able to deliver large military loads in an operational environment, as well as providing air-to-air refuelling services. We are acquiring a multi-role transport fleet for the Hungarian Defence Forces to fulfil the widest possible range of tasks within the national framework, in a sovereign way," said Gáspár Maróth, government commissioner responsible for defence development.

"We are honoured for being selected by the Hungarian Government and the Hungarian Defence Forces to provide the most advanced multi-mission transport aircraft available in the market," said Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security. "Hungary is the second European nation and NATO operator to select the C-390 Millennium, a highly capable aircraft that offers excellent productivity through an unrivalled combination of speed, payload and rapid reconfigurability for multi-mission operations."

The KC-390 for the Hungarian Defence Forces will be the first in the world with the Intensive Care Unit in its configuration, an essential feature to perform humanitarian missions. The aircraft fully meets the requirements of the Hungarian Defence Forces, being able to perform different types of military and civilian missions including Humanitarian Support, Medical Evacuation, Search and Rescue, Cargo and Troops Transport, Precision Cargo Drop, Paratroopers Operations and AAR. These KC-390 are fully NATO compatible, not only in terms of its hardware but also in its avionics and communications configuration. Furthermore, the KC-390 probe and drogue refuelling system means the aircraft can refuel the Hungarian JAS 39 Gripen as well as other aircraft that use the same technology.

The C-390 Millennium is fully operational and, since receiving its first aircraft in 2019, the Brazilian Air Force has deployed the airlift on several critical missions in Brazil and abroad with greater availability. Also, the Portuguese government signed a contract for the acquisition of five C-390 Millennium in 2019 that are currently in the production line and will be in service in 2023.

The C-390 is a tactical transport jet aircraft designed to set new standards in its category. Some of the strong aspects of the aircraft are increased mobility, rugged design, higher flexibility, state-of-the-art proven technology and easier maintenance. Flying faster and delivering more cargo, both the C-390 Millennium and the KC-390 variant are the right sized platform for major deployment scenarios. Minimized interventions and on condition maintenance combined with highly reliable systems and components support the reduced downtime and costs, contributing to outstanding availability levels and low life cycle costs.


On 11 December 2020, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) 77 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown (Australia) officially farewelled the F/A-18A and F/A-18B Hornet that has seen 33 years of service. The squadron began converting to Hornets in June 1987.

Unfortunately, the weather on this day showed a grey low cloud and a wet morning start. A total of nine legacy Hornets, eight F/A-18A and one F/A-18B, managed to take off for a final display around the region and the air base.

The squadron will now start to work on the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II. So far, no RAAF Lightning IIs have been noted yet with 77 Squadron markings. The ones that have been seen were all wearing 2OCU and 3 Squadron markings, with a single aircraft in 75 Squadron markings.


The US Air Force has issued a first-of-its-kind safety endorsement of an electric-powered vehicle similar to a helicopter, opening the door to using such commercially developed equipment for military missions. This initial stamp of approval is meant to lay the groundwork for eventual civilian certification of the technology and even approval of autonomous flights crossing American cities, industry and military officials said. The current version does require a pilot.

For now, the impact of the Air Force's decision, expected to be announced as soon as Thursday, is limited. It means Joby Aviation, a Northern California start-up, will become the first maker of novel vertical-take-off-and-landing craft providing transportation for the U.S. armed services.

The Air Force will help accelerate safety analyses by conducting flight tests, pledging to pay for contracts seeking to verify vehicle reliability and generally vetting the capabilities of vehicles through direct and indirect funding of the company.

The Air Force intends to help jump-start the budding industry to enhance American competitiveness. The process is expected to take years, but the race to develop air taxis has already attracted significant investments from companies including Boeing Co. , Toyota Motor Corp. , Hyundai Motor Group of South Korea and Airbus SE.


Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed a new test flight campaign for its Zephyr High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) in Arizona, U.S.A.
The 2020 flight campaign succeeded despite global slowdowns due to the Covid19 pandemic. It focused on aircraft agility, control and operations to build upon previous campaigns, which have already proven the day and night stratospheric persistence of the unmanned aerial system (UAS) essential in military and commercial markets.

This year's campaign held during the first three weeks of November aimed to demonstrate operational flexibility and aircraft agility, particularly testing lower altitude flying and early stage transition to the stratosphere. It also allowed the validation of a new flight planning tool suite and the development of operational concepts through multiple, varied flights in short succession.

"Having proven stratospheric flight, we continue to further mature the operational system with the objective to be more flexible and robust in order to meet our customer needs. The outcome of this campaign is a valuable contribution to the full flight programme next year," said Jana Rosenmann, Head of Unmanned Aerial Systems at Airbus.

The campaign team used a Zephyr aircraft, fitted with new software control systems and specific flight test instruments, plus associated lighter test aircraft to conduct multiple successful test flights during November.

The flights demonstrated take-off, climb, cruise, upgraded flight control and descent phases, followed by successful landings. The objectives of the test campaign were all achieved showcasing a more resilient and capable aircraft.

Zephyr is the world's leading, solar-electric, stratospheric Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). It harnesses the sun's rays, running exclusively on solar power, above the weather and conventional air traffic, filling a capability gap complementary to satellites, UAVs and manned aircraft to provide persistent local satellite-like services.

With the conclusion of this year's successful test flight campaign, Zephyr has come another step closer to an operational reality. Zephyr will bring new see, sense and connect capabilities to both commercial and military customers alike. Zephyr will provide the potential to revolutionize disaster management, including monitoring the spread of wildfires or oil spills. It provides persistent surveillance, tracing the world's changing environmental landscape and will be able to provide communications to the most unconnected parts of the world.


A burnt Gulfstream Aerospace G-1159A Gulfstream III jet was found by law enforcement officers on a clandestine airstrip in southern Belize. It had been used for transporting drugs. The aircraft carried the exact same colour scheme of N370JL (msn 401). This aircraft was auctioned at an execution sale in December 2019. In the night of 10 December 2020, four drugs planes were detected. Another crash landed on the Guatemalan side of the border.

Somalia, Garowe Airport: An Air Djibouti Boeing 737-529 with 44 occupants suffered a right-hand main landing gear collapse on landing at Garowe Airport, Puntland, Somalia. The aircraft operated on a flight from Djibouti to Mogadishu, Somalia, with enroute stops at Hargeisa and Garowe. The aircraft suffered substantial damage. There were no reported injuries.

USA, near Scholes International Airport Galveston, TX: A Van's RV-6 with only the pilot on board accidently became airborne during maintenance work and impacted the terrain near Scholes International Airport (GLS/KGLS), Galveston, Texas. The airplane was destroyed during the accident sequence and the sole pilot, who jumped onboard in attempt to stop the aircraft, was fatally injured.

USA, Wisconsin: A Wisconsin Air National Guard F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed in Michigan's Upper Peninsula during a routine training flight.
The pilot, who was initially missing after the crash was found, but did not survive.

Ukraine, Ternopil Oblast: An Antonov An-2R, that had been cancelled from the Ukraine aircraft register in 2019 crashed near Zolota Sloboda, Ukraine, killing the pilot. The aircraft was found lying inverted in a field.

Japan, Okinawa: A JAL Japan Airlines Boeing 777-200 with 178 passengers and 11 crew, was climbing out of Okinawa on a flight to Haneda when the left-hand engine failed and its access doors ripped off with huge noises prompting the crew to stop the climb at FL190 and return to Okinawa for a safe landing about 35 minutes after departure. The aircraft stopped on the runway and was subsequently towed to the apron.

USA, Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport San Diego, CA: A Cessna 172 Skyhawk, following a loss of engine power, experienced a runway overrun during an aborted take-off attempt at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport (MYF/KMYF), San Diego, California. The airplane sustained substantial damage upon impact with airport perimeter fencing and the two pilots onboard received minor injuries.

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro: A Total Linhas Aereas Boeing 727-200 freighter with three crew on board was enroute from Sao Paulo Guarulhos to Rio de Janeiro when the aircraft encountered two strong jolts prompting the crew to check their instruments. The crew identified the parameters of the #2 engine had changed and shut the engine down. The aircraft continued for a safe landing in Rio de Janeiro about 20 minutes later.

Brazil. Angra dos Reis, RJ: A Bell 206B-3 JetRanger III operated by BlueSky Táxi Aéreo Ltda with only the pilot on board hit power lines soon after take-off and crashed in a wooded area in Angra dos Reis. The pilot did not survive.

USA, Honolulu Hawaii: A Hawaiian Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing after one of its engines malfunctioned approximately 20 minutes into the flight. This prompted the captain and crew on board to return the aircraft to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). The flight safely landed at HNL.

France, Bonvillard, French Alps, Savoie: An Eurocopter EC 135T1 operated by Service Aérien Français (SAF Hélicoptères) with 6 occupants crashed in mountainous terrain in the Bonvillard sector, Savoie Department of the French Alps during mountain rescue training at 1800m altitude. The helicopter was destroyed and only the pilot survived albeit with serious injuries. Weather was a factor in the area.

Australia, RAAF Amberley: A RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet, operated by 1 Squadron, experienced a fire in the cockpit and suffered a runway excursion from RAAF Amberley (YAMB), Queensland. Both pilots ejected safely. The aircraft sustained substantial damage to the cockpit.

16 DECEMBER 1919

Construction of the Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carrier Japanese aircraft carrier Hosho begins. She is the second aircraft carrier in the world designed and built as such to be laid down and will be the first to be completed.

Hosho was the world's second ship designed as an aircraft carrier and the first commissioned as such. Commissioned in 1922, the first aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), the Hosho was used for testing carrier aircraft operations equipment, techniques such as take-offs and landings and carrier aircraft operational methods and tactics. Superstructure and other obstructions to the flight deck were removed in 1924 on the advice of experienced aircrews.

Hosho and her aircraft group participated in the Shanghai Incident in 1932 and in the opening stages of the Sino-Japanese War in late 1937. The small size of the ship and her assigned air groups (usually around 15 aircraft) limited the effectiveness of her contributions to combat operations. As a result, the carrier was placed in reserve after her return to Japan from China and she became a training carrier in 1939.

During World War II, Hosho participated in the Battle of Midway in June 1942 in a secondary role. After the battle, the carrier resumed her training role in Japanese home waters for the duration of the conflict and survived the war with only minor damage from air attacks. She was used for repatriation transport after the war, making nine trips to bring some 40,000 Japanese soldiers and civilians to Japan from overseas locations. Hosho was scrapped in Japan beginning in 1946.

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