“Never stop being a kid. Never stop feeling and seeing and being excited with great things like air and engines and sounds of sunlight within you. Wear your little mask if you must to protect you from the world but if you let that kid disappear you are grown up and you are dead.”
– Richard Bach, ‘Nothing by Chance,’ 1963.
If you are at all interested in aviation, you have come to the right place! South Africa boasts some of the top aviation and flight training schools. whether you wish to take to the skies to learn how to fly or simply wish to experience scenic landscapes from above – South Africa is guaranteed to have the perfect air adventure for you!
#PickYourPlayground in the sky today!
- Aeronav Academy | Flight School | Pretoria
- 303 Squadron | Flight School | Johannesburg
- Westline Aviation | Flight Training | Bloemfontein
- 43 Air School | Flight School | Port Alfred
- African Ramble | Air Charters | Plettenberg Bay
- Aerosport Flight Training | Flight School | Cape Town
- Sky Adventures | Aviation Adventures | South Africa
About Flying an Aircraft:
A fixed-wing aircraft (commonly called airplane in North America (U.S. and Canada) and aeroplane in Commonwealth countries (other than Canada) and Ireland, from Greek: aéros- “air” and -planos “wandering” — often shortened to just plane in both cases) is a heavier-than-air craft where movement of the wings in relation to the aircraft is not used to generate lift.
South Africa is fast becoming one of the most popular Flight Training Destinations in the World. Many aspirant pilots come here to do their Private Pilots Licence, Private Pilots come here to do further training and build up hours, some of the smaller airforces around the world send their pilots to train here and some of the larger Airlines send successful candidates to South Africa for their ab-initio training.
The reasons for the popularity of South Africa as an aviation mecca vary greatly, but usually include most of the following:
- The weather is excellent with one of the highest average of sunny days in a year.
- Training Standards and supporting structures are World Class Most Airports have all the navigational aids necessary for training and don’t suffer from the congestion that afflicts many other airports overseas.
- Support facilities and amenities are very good and there are lots of other activities for you / your family to do when you are not flying.
- You get to fly over an awesome environment.
There are also many other Fixed-Wing Aircraft experiences available:
- Military Jets – You can now choose from range of adrenalin-pumping flights in different privately operated military jets. You will have to dig a bit deeper in your pockets for these experiences, but we can guarantee that it will be well worth it and you will treasure the memories for life.
- Nostalgic Flights – If you are an aviation history buff or merely want a more sedate flying experience, you can choose from a number of vintage aircraft currently flying in South Africa. These include Harvards, Bosboks, DC3’s, Tiger Moths, Stearmans and many others. Take a trip down memory lane – you will find them all listed right here.
- Introductory Flights – Have you always dreamt of becoming a pilot? Why not take the plunge and go for an Introductory Flight. Most of the Flight Schools offer Introductory Flights They are usually between 1/2 hour and an hour and give you a taste of what flying is all about. Be prepared to get hooked immediately – there is nothing in the world that compares with the thrill of defying gravity!
Equipment for Fixed Wing Aircraft’s:
Most of the Flight Schools use a Cessna 150/152 or a Piper 140 for the primary training. These are tried and tested aircraft and ideally suited to learning to fly.
If you are considering making a career out of flying, it may be advisable to find a school that still uses one of these aircraft types as the jump up to the next level (heavier/faster/more complex aircraft) is slightly easier.
With the rising price of Avgas and general running and maintenance costs, many Flight Schools have been looking for more cost-effective alternatives. The advent of lightweight composite aircraft has proven to be the solution to their problem. These aircraft are broadly classified as Microlights, as they fall into the lowest weight category, but are far-removed from the traditional weight-shift Microlights.
It is often very difficult to tell the difference between some of the Modern Microlights and traditional fixed-wing aircraft. They have three axis controls, are totally enclosed, have a full instrument panel and often cruise faster than their older cousins. Most of them are fitted with a Rotax engine which is easier to maintain and much more fuel efficient.
Both alternatives have their advantages and disadvantages, but either way you will have an unforgetable experience learning to fly.
Statistics show that the risk of an airliner accident is very small, so small that the chance of having an accident while driving to the airport in a car is higher than having an accident during the flight. Many people have a fear of flying because they erroneously believe that the risk of death in the event of an aircraft accident is extremely high, when in fact a study of 583 accidents between 1983 and 2000 show that over 96% of those involved survived.
Furthermore, car crashes rarely feature outside local news whereas air crashes are reported internationally, making the risk seem greater.
Aircraft are the second safest way to travel long distances after railway trains. The per-trip safety of aircraft is somewhat safer than cars, but over the long distances aircraft cover, they are much safer than other types of transport.
The majority of aircraft accidents are a result of human error on the part of the pilot(s) or controller(s). After human error, mechanical failure is the biggest cause of air accidents, which sometimes also can involve a human component; e.g., negligence of the airline in carrying out proper maintenance.
Adverse weather is the third largest cause of accidents. Icing, downbursts, and low visibility are often major contributors to weather related crashes. Birds have been ranked as a major cause for large rotor bursts on commercial turboprop engines, spurring extra safety measures to keep birds away. Technological advances such as ice detectors also help pilots ensure the safety of their aircraft.
The highest altitude obtained by an aircraft: 37,650 m (123,523 ft) by Allexander Fedotov flying a modified MIG-25 ‘Foxbat’ on 31 August 1977 in Russia.
Longest Aircraft: Airlander 10 (Named Martha Gwyn) – 92m (301 ft 10 in) built by Hybrid Air Vehicles. This record was broken on 17 August 2016 in Bedfordshire, UK.
Most Countries visited by fixed wing aircraft in 24hrs: 11 achieved by James van der Hoorn and Iain Macleod from the UK in a Piper PA28 on 9 August 2010.
Yongest person to solo on fixed wing and rotary wing on the same day: 14 years old – on 29 June 2006 in Vancouver, Canada by Johathan Strickland from Inglewood, California
Most consecutive loops flown in close formation: 26 loops – On 20 October 2011 by the Blades Aerobatic Display Team in Sywell, UK.
A Short History of Aviation:
Sir George Cayley, the inventor of the science of aerodynamics, was building and flying models of fixed-wing aircraft as early as 1803, and he built a successful passenger-carrying glider in 1853. In 1856, Frenchman Jean-Marie Le Bris made the first powered flight, by having his glider “L’Albatros artificiel” pulled by a horse on a beach. On 28 August 1883, the American John J. Montgomery made a controlled flight in a glider. Other aviators who had made similar flights at that time were Otto Lilienthal, Percy Pilcher and Octave Chanute.
Self-powered aircraft were designed and constructed by Clément Ader. On October 9, 1890, Ader attempted to fly the Éole, which succeeded in taking off and flying a distance of approximately 50 meters before witnesses. In August 1892 the Avion II flew for a distance of 200 metres, and on October 14, 1897, Avion III flew a distance of more than 300 metres. Richard Pearse made a poorly documented uncontrolled flight on March 31, 1903 in Waitohi, New Zealand, and on August 28, 1903 in Hanover, the German Karl Jatho made his first flight.
The Wright Brothers are commonly credited with the invention of the aircraft, but like Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, theirs was rather the first sustainable and well documented attempt. They made their first successful test flights on December 17, 1903 and by 1905 Flyer III was capable of fully controllable, stable flight for substantial periods. Strictly speaking, the Flyer’s wings were not completely fixed, as it depended for stability on a flexing mechanism named wing warping. This was later superseded by the development of ailerons, devices which performed a similar function but were attached to an otherwise rigid wing.
Alberto Santos-Dumont a Brazilian living in France, built the first practical dirigible balloons from the end of the nineteenth century. In 1906 he flew the first fixed wing aircraft in Europe, the 14-bis, which was of his own design. It was the first aircraft to take off, fly and land without the use of catapults, high winds, or other external assistance. A later design of his, the Demoiselle, introduced ailerons and brought all around pilot control during a flight. Santos-Dumont is put forward as the true inventor of the aircraft, but owing to the competing claims, the concept of the invention of the first flying machine has substantial ambiguity.
Wars in Europe, in particular World War I, served as initial tests for the use of the aircraft as a weapon. First seen by generals and commanders as a “toy”, the aircraft proved to be a machine of war capable of causing casualties to the enemy. In the first world war, the fighter “aces” appeared, of which the greatest was the German Manfred von Richthofen, commonly called the Red Baron. On the side of the allies, the ace with the highest number of downed aircraft was René Fonck, of France.
After the First World War, aircraft technology continued to develop. Alcock and Brown crossed the Atlantic non-stop for the first time in 1919, a feat first performed solo by Charles Lindbergh in 1927. The first commercial flights took place between the United States and Canada in 1919. The turbine or the jet engine was in development in the 1930s; military jet aircraft began operating in the 1940s.
Aircraft played a primary role in the Second World War, having a presence in all the major battles of the war, especially in the attack on Pearl Harbor, the battles of the Pacific and D-Day, as well as the Battle of Britain. They were also an essential part of several of the military strategies of the period, such as the German Blitzkrieg or the American and Japanese Aircraft carriers.
In October 1947, Chuck Yeager, in the Bell X-1, was the first recorded person to exceed the speed of sound. However, some British Spitfire pilots claimed to have exceeded Mach 1 in a dive. The Boeing X-43 is an experimental scramjet with a world speed record for a jet-powered aircraft – Mach 9.6, or nearly 7,000 mph.
Aircraft in a civil military role continued to feed and supply Berlin in 1948, when access to railroads and roads to the city, completely surrounded by Eastern Germany, were blocked, by order of the Soviet Union.
The first commercial jet, the de Havilland Comet, was introduced in 1952. A few Boeing 707s, the first widely successful commercial jet, are still in service after nearly 50 years. The Boeing 727 was another widely used passenger aircraft, and the Boeing 747, was the biggest commercial aircraft in the world up until 2005, when it was surpassed by the Airbus A380.
“More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost, if you can conceive of such a combination.” – Wilbur Wright