Air force may clip Zuma's wings

2013-08-05 11:16
SANDF (File)

SANDF (File)

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Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma's international travel commitments may be affected by the air force's financial predicament, according to a report on Monday.

Die Burger reported that the international ratings of certain air force VIP pilots will soon expire, and there are insufficient funds available to send them for re-training.

The use of uncertified pilots means an aircraft could be forbidden from a country's air space as this is against international aviation rules, potentially causing embarrassment to the president if he is on board.

According to the report, there are already three pilots in 21 Squadron - the VIP squadron - who are unable to fly because their certification has expired, meaning there are fewer pilots available.

Pilots at 28 Squadron - which undertakes support flights for international peacekeeping missions - are also affected.

Continuation training takes place in simulators in the US and UK annually. The courses cost between R1.5m and R2m, and some were paid for but then cancelled. The US offered free training to SA pilots, but the air force cancelled this at the last minute because it did not have enough funds to pay for the pilots' flights and accommodation.

The SA National Defence Force would not comment to Die Burger other than saying the air force's operational capabilities were not a subject for public discussion.

Read more on:    saaf  |  sandf  |  jacob zuma

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