Fighter pilot dies in bike crash
Johannesburg - A South African Air Force pilot was killed in a motorbike accident just before Christmas, the Department of Defence and Military Veterans said on Wednesday.
Spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said Captain Thabang Mashilane died after he was involved in a motorbike accident in Polokwane on December 24.
Mashilane was one of the SAAF fighter pilots stationed at Air Force Base (AFB) Makhado in Limpopo. He was involved in the Gripen and Hawk projects in Sweden and Germany respectively, in particular in the High-G training, said Dlamini.
Mashilane was born in Bronkhorstspruit on 14 February 1979.
He joined the SA National Defence Force on 10 May 2000 and qualified as a pilot in 2003 after completion of his training at the Central Flying School at AFB Langebaanweg in the Western Cape.
He was then transferred to 44 Squadron for further training and started his combat conversion course in September 2006 at 85 Combat Flying School at AFB Makhado. He did his operational training conversion on the Hawk and ultimately qualified as a wingman (jetfighter) in 2008. Dlamini said a memorial service would be held in his honour at the Bronkhorstpruit-Nkangala community hall on Thursday.
"The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, has expressed her condolences to the family of the deceased and to the Chief of the SANDF," said Dlamini.