Paramotor Paragliding Flights this week – Fantastic Flying!

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

When searching for an ideal tandem paragliding site, our pilots must consider an array of variables for maximum fun and safety. Whilst Lion’s Head and Signal Hill are often suitable, the Cape Town wind and weather do not always play along. It is on these days that we recommend paramotoring; we can take off in virtually any wind direction and strength and from flat ground (rather than a typical hill-side paragliding takeoff site) and gain the freedom to explore where no paragliders can.

Flying high above, we can explore the beautiful Cape airspace like no other aircraft as we can guarantee our clients atleast 30 mins airtime (or longer for cross country flights). Using an intercom radio with noise-cancelling headphones built into the helmet, the noise of the paramotor does not distract us – we use the motor to gain altitude and may then switch it off to resume as “normal” paragliders, using the seabreeze and thermals to sustain the flight until we come to a soft landing.

See our pictures to find out more about our paramotoring services! Mail to info@aerialphoto.co.za to book your flight

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Feedback on December’s Anti Rhino-Poaching Patrols with the Bateleurs (CAUTION: NOT FOR SENSITIVE VIEWERS/READERS)

Friday, January 20th, 2012

This article was sent to us by our friend and associate in Durban, Steve McCurrach:

Greetings fellow flyers and conservationists,

Launching on a negative note is no way to put out a positive 2012 ‘new year’ vibe, but how else does one react when 2012 is heralded in, with more rhino deaths year to date than what there are days in the year – 21 poaching deaths by the 18th of the month. This is sickening and our rhino are under siege by poachers who will kill this massive beast, merely in order to take the horn. As we all know, the horn material is sold in the east (China) where it is revered as a potent aphrodisiac. Most ironically is that science has proven there to be zero stimulant to the libido or anything similar in rhino horn, so the poor endangered animals are dying for the sake of a myth born out of man’s vanity.

The alternate use of the horn is that of dagger handles, used as decorative wear in Yemen. The fact that any human will allow the death of this gentle giant, for the sake of what amounts to a fashion statement, is an indictment of the highest order on people who call themselves men. Most will know the quote of the infamous Mahatma Ghandi “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated“ and this being so, then the converse will be true, making the Yemenis and the South African poachers the lowest of low.

December Patrol Feedback (a little of this may partially be duplication of an interim report to earlier to Bats pilots only):

Continuing with rhino conservation efforts – namely the very kind and caring handful of local pilots flying anti poaching patrol in conjunction with ZWSI (the Zululand Wildlife Security Initiative), supported by The Bateleurs and Project Africa/ACT (African Conservation Trust); I spent almost all of December on patrol in Zululand, that is until my wee aeroplane threw in the towel with wear and tear breakdowns. At a first glance I had what looked to be a stitching failure in the plane’s fabric covering but upon closer inspection by maintenance engineer Kevin Fryer he promptly declared the plane unfit for flight back to it’s base and this due to a UV breakdown in the structural integrity of the fabric. There began a long plot; of acquiring a trailer, derigging, loading and driving to Springs, Jhb and leaving it at the manufacturer where it is to have an entire recovering. So whilst grounded I obviously have time to write feedback reports right! Anyway there endeth my bleat and on with the report.

Below; Buffalo doing what buffalo do, then
Camp 1 was Bayete Bush Camp,
Africa as it ought to be – here you can fly for 15min without seeing a person, track or pathway, just immense beauty.

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For the first time since starting our Bateleurs flight patrols in June, this zone took its first hit, in terms of poaching directly for horn, but then again one poacher in another incident was found in the reserve and when confronted he stupidly fired on the guards with his shotgun. He was subsequently fatally wounded in the return fire. Loss of life can never be a yardstick for success in terms of anti poaching, but it does sometimes take such sad loss, before people realise that areas which are diligently conserved for the all important preservation of wildlife is not a food and products store. I suppose that when we reach a place one day where there are no longer any incursions into game reserves, then this message will have evolved into a universal understanding. If only.

We covered thousands of kilometres and many hours of flying through December with two pilots Duncan and Jas continuing patrols into January. This saturation patrolling being the case, some will immediately ask “how then did we allow a rhino loss during this very period?” a question which could have a dozen answers, but suffice to say that the poachers are damned lucky that we did not bump into them on that day’s work, because once we have them spotted, then they’re not going to get away. The aerial advantage has adequately proved it’s enormous benefits and saddened as we are by the rhino loss, we will continue undeterred and all the more motivated.

Back to the unrelated reserve incursion; where the wounded poacher managed to crawl back out through the fence and a short distance into the adjoining settlement area, where he succumbed to his wounds. A substantial search for him and his two accomplices was undertaken and interestingly the ground sweep of the relevant area by the APU did not detect him, but after several orbits of the zone in the plane the body was spotted by B and we then talked the ground crew into the position.

These images may be disturbing to some, but surely ZWSI and the rhinos can only stand to benefit by such visuals, serving as a deterrent to potential poachers.

First sighting…. followed by a low pass and to capture this zoomed assessment pic.

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Below the APU arrives, thanks to our early spotting and guiding them in on radio, as the APU was then able to gather evidence, a major item of which was the shotgun carried by the poacher – this would have been ‘hustled’ away by the community members had they found him first and thereby making a very weighty load on the guards, to convince a judge that this poacher was armed and shooting at them.

Next pic is the community arriving in their droves.

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After some heated moments, the local Induna arrived and negotiated a calm on the scene and tactfully leading the folk in prayer for their fallen brother, irrespective of the reasons by which they had lost him. Notice so typically the cheeky young uns in the bottom of screen, little interested in such humanitarian matters and issues of faith, whilst everyone else has their heads bowed – these were even possibly his accomplices of the night before.

The white Cruiser on the reserve fenceline and the assembled people in the foreground depicts the distance the poacher managed after exiting the park and into the settlement area.

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No greater a statement could possibly have been made w.r.t. poaching being verboten and a dangerous occupation. This fella was through a stout, barbed and electrified fence, he was armed and he then shot at the guards, the consequences of which were seen first hand by the community. This occurred preceding the public holiday 16th December which generally marks the start of the annual vacation. We can only surmise that the volumes of migrant workers later arriving home for their annual leave were all told of this fatal occurrence and this resulting in the most powerful possible statement, deterring would be poachers for ‘the season’.

Just for good measure, on this same outing and whilst on our way back to base we ran into a poaching party, who were thoroughly straffed by the aircraft and who were running like scrub hares in a car’s headlights. They ran in circles whilst looking over their shoulders at the plane, so heaven knows the extent of the certain thorn assault on them. Nevertheless they went to ground and whilst pinned down a ground patrol arrived and we left it to them. This was one hectic flight, but accomplishing so much.

Whilst the above incident might have deterred the small game poachers, the professionals made their mark on ‘our’ zone with the abovementioned first ever poaching of rhino specifically for horn. Two rhino were seemingly shot right where they lay in the shade of a tree and within only a couple of hundred metres of the boundary fence. With the horns efficiently and neatly removed, this was clearly the work of a professional. Amidst the sadness for this loss and the enormous concern that it brings for the welfare of the rhinos in the region, it was most impressive to see the response to this crime. The Ezemvelo KZN Vet, the serious crimes unit, the “CSI” special unit van, amongst others arrived pretty damned quickly at the scene. Rhino poaching is now formally listed as a priority crime in S.A., as would be say an armed robbery, a murder or such like and it was something of a comfort to see this reaction in accordance with the declared priority status. Evidence was gathered for ballistics etc. and apparently there is an ‘earmarked’ suspect in this case – so we can only hope that the investigation team is successful.

Rhino horn poaching is taken very seriously by all parties, evidenced in the images by the entourage of vehicles attending this crime scene. If the sophisticated poacher has only ever heard that rhino poaching is now a rated ‘priority crime’, then hopefully by distribution of these images they will also see that this is true. This crime scene speaks volumes, in terms of how committed and how serious is the law enforcement in this regard.

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Rather than including more image attachments in this mail – there’s too many, I have loaded the pics to my web.
You really want to open any interesting looking images in full screen in order to get the real view; a mouse click on any image will open that image to full size in a new Explorer window. Once viewed this window can simply be closed and you will be returned to the original Explorer window of thumbnail images.
The most current images are first in line and then going back to older Zapp images and eventually to even older and unrelated Bateleurs images.

http://airserv.co.za/bas.php?pk=bat

I can only hope that this editorial content will motivate the carers and contributors towards our cause – Bateleur pilots being but one sector, with the confident hope that you will all continue with your most meaningful contribution. If you reading this and not a participating pilot, then join us or give me a shout and I’ll guide you through to one of the official/recognised & registered anti poaching support agencies.

All the very best to you and yours for 2012.
Cheers for now.
Steve

With grateful thanks to these folks (below) from a fast growing band of people who are ready to step in and to go the extra mile in protecting our wildlife. At a rate of 21 in 18days, this band will soon turn into an army – so poachers beware, the net is tightening on you!
To the contributing ZWSI landowners who provided accommodation and to BP (names may not be mentioned) for organising this so efficiently.
Simon for the indispensible runway, fuelling and logistics support, all done in his calm and unflappable manner.
Simon (again) and Kim at Bayete for so readily looking after the visiting aeroplane ‘rescue team’.
Dean L and Jas for a brilliant act of Samaritanship – I called back to Durban looking for a trailer, they provided one, brought it to Zululand and helped to load up.
Lorelle, my Schatzie, for her unstinting patience and background support of the work.
Jas (again) and Duncan for the follow on flights.

NO TO CHAPPIES TOLL PLAZA AND OFFICE BLOCK!!!

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Join us on Sunday 22 December at the Hout Bay Beach parking lot (at the Chapman’s Peak Drive end of the beach) at 10h30 for 11h00. People opposed to the construction of a toll plaza and office block on this internationally renowned tourist attraction will voice their objections by marching to the planned toll plaza site to hand over a memorandum of protest.

Chapman’s Peak Toll concessionaries Entilini plan to build a two-storey luxury office block, as well as a toll plaza on a portion of land owned by the Table Mountain National Park. According to an article published in the Cape Times on 9 January 2012, the building will cost R54 million, R25 million of which will be covered by you, the South African Taxpayer. The province has already reimbursed Entilini to the tune of R1.6 million in “preliminary design fees”.

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Deepsea Metro II

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

In January we were commissioned to cover the arrival of the Drillship Deepsea Metro II in Cape Town. This 6th generation Drill Ship was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea, and will spend a month at DCD Dorbyl’s newly upgraded A-berth facility undergoing client-specified modifications. Once these are complete, she will relocate directly to he first contract site off the coast of Brazil.

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Damen Shipyards Cape Town launch another vessel

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

In October Damen Shipyards Cape Town launched their newest vessel, the Multicat Service Barge Chicala. Looking for all the world like a baby aircraft carrier, this vessel is a multipurpose service barge used for various dredging-related tasks.

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Veecraft Formation Shoot

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

The Aerial Perspective were commissioned by Cape Town Shipbuilders Veecraft to photograph a formation of three new vessels which they completed recently and launched simultaneously in November. Once final fitting out and sea trials had been completed, the two 30m Incat personnel carriers Deborah and Perez, as well as “little sister” Ahuva, a 20m Incat crew ferry vessel, were put through their paces for The Aerial Perspective’s cameras in Table Bay.

All three vessels were built for the same customer, C&I Leasing, and by the time you read this, they will have been wrapped up in plastic and loaded onto a cargo ship for transport to Nigeria where they’ll be transporting supplies and personnel to the offshore oil rigs and plattforms.

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Tygerbear Holding Hands campaign at Tygervalley Centre

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

On Saturday 10 December Tyger Valley Mall hosted the Tygerbear Foundation’s “Holding Hands” Campaign, and the Aerial Perspective was overhead to capture the giant teddybear face made up of several hundred people holding hands on the rooftop parking lot.

The tygerbear foundation helps victims of child abuse – a worthy cause indeed, and we at The Aerial Perspective feel priviliged to have been able to contribute.

For more information, visit the Tygerbear Foundation’s website.

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From the Ramp

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

While preparing for a sortie on Friday last week, we heard what sounded like a very large Harley-Davidson motorcycle approaching from behind the hangars. What emerged was this stunning example of the North American T-28 Trojan, a trainer used in the past by amongst others the US Navy.

This particular example was owned until recently by Stu Davidson of Port Elizabeth, but was recently deliverd to its new owner here in Cape Town. It will be living in Worcester, but is likely to be a frequent vistor to Cape Town International, as according to the new owner, fuel here is cheaper. And at a fuel burn of 45 US gallons (around 170 litres) per hour in the cruise, that’s definitely a consideration!

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Painting the Country Red

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

While downloading GPS tracks recently to geo-tag images for one of our clients (yes, we offer that service too!), we were rather amazed at the extent of our travels.

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The pic shows most of our flying this year between July 19 and September 26. So if you heard a plane flying overhead anytime between those dates, it was probably us :-)

WELCOME HOME ZU-TAF!

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

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We’re happy to report that ZU-TAF touched down at Cape Town International today at 3:18pm local time. Pilots Mike Blyth and Jean d’Assonville took off yesterday from Cabo Frio, Brazil at 10:42Z (that’s 12:42pm SA time) in their South African-designed and built Sling 4 prototype on the penultimate stage of their round-the-world flight which began at Tedderfield Airpark South of Johannesburg on August 8.

Never mind that their marathon 26-and-a-half hour non-stop crossing of the Atlantic was done in a single-engined protoype aircraft, what is even more notable is that favourable tailwinds saw them touching down at Cape Town International just under 30 minutes earlier than their planned estimate. The Aerial Perspective was there to capture this auspicious occasion, having intercepted them over False Bay near Muizenberg, and escorting them in to touch-down.

Congratulations Mike and Jean, and the team at The Airplane Factory on this truly awe-inspiring achievement!