My experiences living in Cape Town and travelling in Africa

Aviation

Why drive to lunch, when you can fly?

My friend Hilton called and said that he and a mate wanted to fly to the Black Oystercatcher for lunch and was I keen. Of course I was, not only because I love flying but because I had also visited the Black Oystercatcher before and know they have some great wines and a delicious lunch menu. While it would probably take around two hours to drive there from Cape Town, our flight time from Morningstar was going to be less than an hour.

Hilton and Sarah took off first as their Decathlon didn’t quite have the same cruising speed as the Paul’s RV 7 that I had the pleasure of flying in. We gave them about a 15 minute headstart before we powered down the runway and took to the skies on what was an absolutely perfect autumn day in Cape Town. After take-off Paul gave me the controls for a couple of minutes while he programmed the Black Oystercatcher GPS co-ordinates into the Easyplan App. Paul did quickly remember to point out that the controls of the RV 7 are much more sensitive and responsive than a lot of the other light aircraft I’ve flown, it was incredible, the lightest of touches and I turned us left to follow the N1 towards Franschhoek. Paul then took back controls and I got my camera out to capture some of the unique vistas.

We caught up with Hilton just after Caledon and then had one small mountain range to get over before descending to a gravel runway.  (more…)


AHRLAC – first flight

AHRLAC first flight in South Africa

A few weeks ago I was privileged enough to be part of a media team invited to document the first flight of the Paramount Group and Aerosud’s AHRLAC – Advanced High Performance Surveillance and Reconnaissance Aircraft.

AHRLAC first flight in South Africa

Justin de Reuck, myself and Hilton Mundy in front of the AHRLAC

The aircraft features a twin-boom, high-wing, single-pusher-engine configuration, using a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop engine, with a crew of two seated in tandem.

AHRLAC serves the purpose for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and counter-insurgency missions; coastal patrol, anti-smuggling and disaster relief capabilities.

It was amazing to meet the passionate and dedicated crew that have worked for so many years to make this concept come to life and to be on the ground as the wheels lifted off the runway for the first time. There was exciting and relief at the same time. Here is a short video of this momentous occasion.


Flying over Langebaan Lagoon

langebaan lagoon from the air

Last week I was lucky enough to go flying again with my mate Hilton Mundy, this time in a Sling 2 light sport aircraft. We had planned to fly around Cape Point for me to take some pictures but the infamous south-easterly was howling across around the peninsula so we discussed some alternate routes and decided to head up the coast to Yzerfontein and West Coast National Park and then come back along the beach.

Pre flight checks on the Sling 2 lsa

It was a perfect morning for flying at Morningstar airfield, just as the sun was peeking over the trees we pulled the aircraft out of the hangar, did the preflight checks and we were all set. There was no one else around as we taxied to the start of runway two zero, waited for the oil temp to reach normal and made our final radio call before takeoff. continue reading + 12 more photos


SHORT FINAL – SA’s new aviation series

Short Final TV series

Those of you who know me and follow this blog will be aware of my love for flying and anything aviation related.

I haven’t had much spare time in 2013 because at the beginning of this year, my friend Hilton Mundy and I put the wheels in motion to fulfil a goal we’ve been working to achieve for some time and that is to create, produce and film a South African aviation magazine program.

We have some incredible aviators and aircraft that fly our African skies, but sadly, there is no dedicated video series supporting our passion for aviation and to showcase interesting insights into our community that could build and strengthen the aviation industry even more.

That is about to change. We have taken on the task to change the status quo and pitch an aviation magazine TV show, whose format and style aims to fill the gap. We aim to get the attention of both potential sponsors & networks to hopefully broadcast and showcase more on our local industry.

Fuelled by passion, commitment and with zero budget we have filmed a 24 minute pilot. This would not have been possible without the 100% commitment and drive of our team plus an incredible amount of co-operation by the featured subjects.

To date we have received endorsements for this initiative from:

• The Department of Trade & Industry through their support for South African filmmakers
• Aero Club of South Africa
• SA Flyer – South Africa’s leading aviation magazine
• RAASA – Recreation Aviation Administration South Africa

The challenge is always funding, and this is where we need you to help. No we are not asking for your money – just your support.

There are three simple ways you can help: (more…)


Dias Festival Air Show 2013

A couple of weeks ago Hilton Mundy and myself went to Mossel Bay to film The Dias Festival Air Show took place over the weekend of the 2nd February in Mossel Bay. This festival was 1st established back in 1988 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the landing of Bartolomeu Dias at Mossel Bay.

The air show was organised by Sharon Malcolm & Hans Potgieter & ran like clock work from start to finish. The aircraft that partook in the display were the Eqstra flying Lions, L-39, RV-7, RV-8, Cessna 337, T-28 Trojan, Zlin 50, Pitts Special, Magni M24 & Starlite choppers. One of the highlights of the day was the 27m South African Flag hanging from skydiver Ralph Ridge.

Sit back and enjoy these four minutes of action packed highlights from the show.

 


Going for a quick flight over Riebeek Kasteel

I have always had a love for aviation and a few years ago I took a step towards something I had always thought I wanted to do which was getting a pilot’s license. I started flight training with a friend of mine, Hilton Mundy at a little airstrip called Delta 200 out near Melkbos, up the West Coast from Cape Town. For various reasons I stopped my training but Hilton carried on and while it was a long road he eventually got his Private Pilot’s License (PPL) about 5 months ago. Having followed his progress and sharing a love of aviation, ever since I have been looking forward to going flying with him.

Rory Alexander Photography

It was a couple of weeks ago that the weather was favourable and we were able to get up in the air. Taking off from Morningstar Flight Academy, where Hilton completed his license, we pulled the Ikarus aircraft out of the hangar and after a bit of trouble continue reading + 5 more photos


Live weapons firing at the Roodewal bombing range

You’ve seen the pictures (here) now it’s time for the video of the SAAF Air Power Capability Demonstration at Roodewal weapons range. The program consisted of various simulated exercises and saw the likes of the SANDF participating at the event. VIPs and spectators were treated a display of various scenarios ranging from mortar attacks, light artillery drops, air supplies, counter attacks by jet fighters, photo reconnaissance and fire fighting.

Roodewal Weapons Range is situated in the Northern Province, roughly halfway between Polokwane and AFB Makhado.


Avro Shackleton MR.3 engine run at AFB Ysterplaat

Last Saturday I joined Hilton Mundy of ShortFinal.TV at the SAAF Museum Ysterplaat in Cape Town to film the engine start of the only remaining airworthy Shackleton MR.3 aircraft in the world. I was also lucky enough to be inside during the event filming the action from inside the cockpit. Here are a few of my photos from the day as well as the videos edited by Hilton Mundy.

The SAAF Shackleton being towed out of the hanger

see 6 more photos + 2 videos


In the Jump Seat – DVD Teaser

In December of last year I teamed up with Hilton Mundy, who founded ShortFinal.TV, to film a behind the scenes documentary called In the Jump Seat during the 2011 Ysterplaat Air Show incorporating Wings and Wheels right here in Cape Town. If you have ever wanted to fly, wondered how aerobatic teams prepare their displays, thought about how many crew it takes to pilot a helicopter or dreamt of breaking the sound barrier in a fighter jet then this DVD is for you!

Hilton and myself in the 22 Squadron hanger at Air Force Base Ysterplaat

In this video, filmed over four days at the Wings and Wheels Airshow at Air Force Base Ysterplaat in Cape Town, we follow three pilots from their pre-flight briefings to post-flight analysis. With all-access passes and exclusive interviews, we bring you some never before seen footage of these pilots and their aircraft in action.

The pilots we followed were continue reading and watch DVD trailer


Western Cape Regional Aerobatic Competition

On the 29th of October I drove out with my friend Hilton Mundy to the Saldanha Bay Airfield for the Western Cape Regional Aerobatic Competition. Hilton started ShortFinal.tv to fuel his passion for aviation as well as further his skills in filming and editing. I too am passionate about aviation and wanting to further my skills in photography and film so off we set with our Canon 550D cameras in hand and reflective vests on to capture the action on the ground and in the skies.

Silver Falcon 5 flown by Major Beau Skarda

As a treat two of the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Display Team of the South African Air Force were there and we got to get up close and personal with – continue reading, see 7 more photos & a video>