Budget for flying hours concerns air force ChiefDate: 13 October 2010
The Chief of the South African Air Force (SAAF) is anxious about the number of flying hours aircrew will be allocated during 2011 and 2012.
"I'm not happy with the likely budgeting for flying hours for the next financial year," affirms Lt-Gen Carlo Gagiano. "To operate all the systems in the SAAF optimally, I need a bigger budget. But we must never stop exploring ways of doing things better and cheaper."
Thus, the SAAF has started using simulators for pilot conversions on to the Cessna Caravan single-engined and Beechcraft King Air twin-engined light transport aircraft (both operated by 41 Squadron), which is proving effective and is saving a lot of money.
"We try and balance the whole air force. It would be very unwise to focus on the fast jets," he explains. "We're constantly evaluating our budget and spending and judge where the need is highest and prioritise that need. We prioritise constantly. We try and make use of the budget in the best possible way. This is a global problem."
In total, the air force has eight flying bases - Air Force Bases (AFBs) Bloemspruit, Durban, Hoedsruit, Langebaanweg, Makhado, Overberg, Waterkloof (which incorporates Swartkops) and Ysterplaat.
Between them, these house ten regular flying squadrons (numbers 2, 15, 16, 19, 21, 22, 28, 35, 41 and 44) three flying schools - the Central Flying School, 85 Combat Flying School and 87 Helicopter Flying School - and the Test Flight and Development Centre.
Only one squadron - 2 - operates fighters; all the rest operate transport aircraft and helicopters (one additionally operates maritime surveillance aircraft), although 85 Combat Flying School also operates fast jets.
Source: Engineering News