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.
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.
Paging through the official event magazine for this year’s Cycle Tour I came across this advert for the West Coast National Park and just thought I’d share it because, well, the image is a photograph I took on a clear morning back in 2012 just after sunrise.
That aside, I have oiled my chain one last time and my bicycle is in the car ready for the World’s Largest Timed Cycle Race tomorrow, the 2014 Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour, known to most simply as the Argus. It’s a 109km cycle race around the Cape Peninsula and every year approximately 35000 cyclists take part. For years after moving to Cape Town I would go out and watch the seemingly endless stream of cyclists whizzing past when I decided I’d really like to be one of them and I was hooked. I feel like you can’t call yourself a Capetonian if you haven’t ridden the Argus. I have missed the past couple of years, having been out of the country or travelling so I’m looking forward to being back on the road again. Despite starting in the third last group, because I didn’t do any of the seeding races, the weather forecast is looking favourable. It isn’t going be too hot and the dreaded south-easterly wind is supposed to not be gale force. I am known for never doing much training for events like these but I feel like I am fitter than I’ve been for a while and I will be aiming for a sub 4hr 30min time tomorrow. See you on the road Cape Town…
Update: The official results are in and even though the wind made for tough conditions on the day I achieved my goal finishing in 4 hrs & 26 mins with an average speed of 24.58 km/h and finished 21st out of the 518 in my start group. I even had time to stop and chat with my friend Guy McDonald who was MC at the Tsogo Sun supporters spot in Camps Bay and took this pic of me with some of the cheerleaders on the side of the road. All in all a good Argus and a time to beat for next year.
This morning I was privileged to attend the inauguration of Table Mountain as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The one thing about nature is that we can’t control it and the weather wasn’t the best with Table Mountain shrouded in cloud this was the view from Tafelberg Road at 6:45am as we arrived for the plaque unveiling at the Cableway’s lower station.
The low hanging cloud didn’t dampen the mood though as Bernard Weber (Founder-President of New7Wonders) spoke about how the voting process had been continue reading + 4 photos
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.
Here is a photo slideshow for those friends and family who couldn’t make it to see the vibe of the evening…
Last week myself and Hilton Mundy of ShortFinalTV were sent up to Air Force Base Makhado, near Louis Trichardt, to film some footage of the squadrons based there as well as the Air Power Capability Demo (APCD) which was a live weapons and ammunition display on the Roodewal bombing range near Polokwane. Having just come back from the biggest aviation celebration that is the EAA Airventure in Oshkosh where we thought we had seen it all with a night-time airshow complete with fireworks on the wings of aerobatics planes this show was on another level. We were literally blown away and it was one of the best aviation experiences I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing.
The display involved several aircraft from transport planes like the CASA and C-130 to the Hawk Mk120 and Gripen fighter jets. Troop carrying helicopters like the BK and Oryx to the Rooivalk attack helicopters. While the footage is all busy being cut and edited here are a few continue reading + 14 more photos
That’s right, later today I leave for America. This will be only my second time visiting America and considering my last visit barely lasted three days I can hardly contain my excitement as this time I will be spending nearly three weeks in the USA while visiting as many different states. And yes, you guessed it. I’ve started another blog where you can follow my adventure so check out Rory in America.
Why am I going to America? Primarily for Oshkosh.
Like most of my friends over the past few weeks you’re probably wondering what the hell Oshkosh is. Well, in a sentence, it’s the greatest aviation show on earth. Those of you who know me and have been following me will know that I am a little obsessed with anything to do with flying. I even book international plane tickets not based on the most direct route or the cheapest ticket but by aircraft type. Seriously, who does that? Well me, and so I will be flying with Emirates from Cape Town to Dubai on an Airbus A340 so as to be able to fly on their A380 from Dubai to New York before catching an internal flight to Chicago.
I teamed up with my friend Hilton Mundy, who founded ShortFinal.TV, last year to film a behind the scenes documentary called In the Jump Seat during the 2011 Ysterplaat Air Show. We have just finished the editing of this and it is in production so if you haven’t ordered your copy yet then do it now – here. We are both passionate about aviation and so it didn’t take long for Oshkosh to appear on our radar (excuse the pun). Hilton had decided he was going and it didn’t take a lot of convincing to get me on board. We are joining the guys from Air Adventure Tours who take over other aviation enthusiasts from South Africa and organise everything including catered camping on the airfield a mere 5 minutes walk from the flight-line.