US$5M agreement signed with Germany

first_imgProtected areas projectA US$5 million agreement was on Friday inked with the German Government to support the implementation of the third phase of an on-going programme to develop protected areas in the country.Minister of State, Joseph Harmon and Germany’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Ambassador Dieter Lamle signing the agreement at the Ministry of the PresidencyThe agreement was signed at the Ministry of the Presidency between Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, and Regional Director of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Ambassador Dieter Lamle.The signing took place immediately after a meeting between President David Granger and Ambassador Lamle, who was accompanied by Germany’s Ambassador to Guyana, Lutz Hermann Gorgens and Honorary Consul of Germany to Guyana, Ben Ter Welle.President Granger said that Germany has a long tradition of supporting green development in Guyana and this bodes well for the ‘green’ trajectory that his Government has embarked on.The President said that Guyana is part of the Guiana Shield, which is considered the lungs of the earth and that the government is committed to preserving the integrity of that Shield. He noted also that the work that Germany has been doing in the field of biodiversity and in supporting Guyana’s environmental thrust, is essentially providing a global service.The Head of State informed that Guyana had committed, at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), not only to extend existing protected areas, but also to the creation of new ones.He explained that each of the 10 Administrative Regions in Guyana has unique and rare flora and fauna that must be preserved.Meanwhile, Ambassador Lamle said that he is extremely happy to be part of the protected areas project and to be in Guyana at a time when the two countries are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations. He also commended the Government and people of Guyana for maintaining the forest in such a pristine state.Ter Welle explained that the Guyana Protected Areas Systems (GPAS) Project commenced some 10 years ago and it is being implemented in phases.The first phase saw the disbursement of €3 million, of which a part was allocated to the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development for training, and the remainder spent on the setting-up of protected areas and the development of legislation.Phase II on the other hand, saw the disbursement of €4 million, which went into the National Protected Areas Trust Fund, which was created through the passage of legislation and is managed by a board of trustees.Of the US$5 million that is made available in this third phase, US$4.2 million will go towards investment in protected areas at Shell Beach, Kaieteur and the Kanuku Mountains. The remainder will be directed towards green initiatives.last_img read more

Echoes of Bianchi as Perez survives F1 crash

first_imgThe session was red-flagged and delayed by 17 minutes before it re-started only to be halted again due to debris on the circuit with four minutes remaining.“It was a really bad accident, pretty unlucky,” said Perez. “The track was dirty and I went on the AstroTurf and I hit the barrier on the other side of the track at a very bad angle, so it made the car roll over.“But everything’s alright. It was a strange accident. I thought it was under control, but the AstroTurf was very dirty which is why I went into the wall. We’ll have to check everything in detail.”Perez ran wide on the exit of Turn 11 at the Hungaroring with 32 minutes remaining in the interrupted session when the right rear corner of his car – adorned like all of the cars with a tribute to Frenchman Bianchi who died last Friday — appeared to suffer a technical failure, possibly with its suspension.Perez’s car spun across the track and, after swiping the barriers on the right, then turned upside down as it landed back on the track. The driver was able to climb from the car with help from track assistants and appeared unhurt as he walked away.After removing the car and clearing the circuit, the session re-started only to be stopped again when Finn Kimi Raikkonen ran wide across the kerbs at Turn 12 and the front wing fell off his Ferrari. He ran over it and suffered a puncture.“I don’t know what happened,” said Raikkonen. “I lost a piece of front wing.”The session was halted, the track cleared again and then re-started for just a final minute that had no impact on the order at the time of the timing monitors.Series leader and defending two-time world champion Briton Lewis Hamilton was fastest with a best lap in one minute and 25.141 seconds ahead of his Mercedes team-mate German Nico Rosberg by 0.109 seconds.Hamilton leads Rosberg by 17 points in this year’s title race after nine of this year’s 19 races and he is seeking a record fifth win in Hungary.Raikkonen is third, six-tenths adrift, ahead of Australian Daniel Ricciardo and his Red Bull team-mate Russian Daniil Kvyat with four-time champion German Sebastian Vettel sixth in the second Ferrari.The struggling McLaren Honda team had an encouraging session with two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso taking 11th spot ahead of his team-mate Briton Jenson Button.The session was the first live Formula One action since Bianchi’s death nine months after he crashed into a recovery vehicle in torrential rain during the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka last October.0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Sergio Perez crashes during Hungarian GP practice. PHOTO/AFPBUDAPEST, July 24- Three days after the funeral of Jules Bianchi, Formula One experienced another “heart in mouth” moment on Friday morning when Sergio Perez survived a spectacular accident in opening free practice for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.The Mexican driver lost control of his Force India car, hit the barriers and flipped upside down, but was able to walk away unhurt.last_img read more

Deputy pleads not guilty to videotaped shooting

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Webb, 45, is the first peace officer in San Bernardino County history to be charged as the result of an on-duty shooting. He could be sentenced to as much as 18“ years in prison if convicted. Defense attorney Michael Schwartz asked for bail to be reduced to $50,000 on grounds that his client was not a danger to the community and was not a flight risk, but the judge set it at $100,000. Webb, who has until 4 p.m. Friday to be booked and to post bail, left with his attorney through a side door without comment to reporters. SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) – A sheriff’s deputy pleaded not guilty Wednesday to attempted voluntary manslaughter in the videotaped shooting of an unarmed serviceman after a high-speed car chase. Deputy Ivory J. Webb, who fired three shots into Senior Airman Elio Carrion on Jan. 29, surrendered voluntarily and was arraigned before San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith. Webb spoke only briefly in responding to the judge’s question about waiving his right to a speedy preliminary hearing. “Yes, your honor,” said Webb, who came to court in a suit rather than his uniform and sat with hands folded during the brief arraignment.last_img read more

Video: Engineering a 2010 marvel

first_imgZoopy TV takes a closer look at Cape Town’s Green Point Stadium, a key venue for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, tracing the sequence of engineering marvels that will go into raising the stadium’s iconic hanging roof – made up of 37 000 square metres of glass weighing 4 500 tons. Click arrow to play video.Posted on SouthAfrica.info on 20 February 2009.last_img

Bafana Bafana: a brief history of the South African football team

first_imgSouth Africa’s national football team, known as Bafana Bafana (“The Boys”), has a relatively short international history. That’s because the first team to represent all South Africans only played its first match in 1992 – two years before the country’s first democratic elections.A close-up of the official South African football team’s shirt used during the 2010 World Cup, hosted in South Africa. (Image: Flickr)Bafana’s first match was played in Durban, against Cameroon, on 7 July 1992. It proved to be a strong debut against one of Africa’s leading teams, which had made the quarterfinals of the World Cup only two years previously. Doctor Khumalo scored the game’s only goal to give South Africa a 1-0 win.Despite that victory over the Indomitable Lions, the effects of isolation soon showed as South Africa failed to qualify for the 1994 African Nations Cup after suffering four defeats in succession – to Cameroon, Zambia, Nigeria and Zambia.African Nations Cup 1996Two years later, however, Bafana Bafana’s place at the African Nations Cup finals was assured when the country hosted the tournament.Under coach Clive Barker, the national team rose to the occasion, topping its group after beating Cameroon 3-0 and Angola 1-0 before losing 1-0 to Egypt.In the quarterfinals, Bafana beat Algeria 2-1 to set up a semi-final clash against Ghana, the only team that had won all its games up until that stage of the competition. Putting in one of the finest performances ever by the South African national team, the home side triumphed 3-0 in front of 75 000 spectators at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.Bafana faced Tunisia in the final, after the North Africans had defeated Zambia 4-2 in the semi-finals. In front of a crowd of 80 000 at the FNB Stadium, Neil Tovey’s men gave the supporters what they wanted by beating the Tunisians 2-0, with Mark Williams netting both goals.1996: the Boys play BrazilStill in 1996, the potential of South African football was demonstrated when Bafana Bafana took on world champions Brazil, who were at full strength, in a Mandela Cup match in Johannesburg.Philemon Masinga put South Africa into a 25th-minute lead and Doctor Khumalo then made it 2-0 to the home side at the break, to the delight of the Bafana fans.The Brazilians fought back after the break, with Flavio netting in the 56th minute. Twelve minutes later, Rivaldo made it 2-2.Then, with only four minutes left, Bebeto, one of the heroes of Brazil’s 1994 World Cup winning team, snatched the winner for the visitors.Although South Africa lost, the match provided ample proof that the team’s African Nations Cup title was no fluke. It also proved to be a wonderful celebration of the game of football, and of the role Nelson Mandela played in bringing democracy to the country.World Cup 1998Bafana Bafana continued to excel on the international stage when, in 1997, the team qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time.They faced the difficult task of taking on the hosts, France, in their first match in Group C. The French, with probably the best team in the country’s history, beat South Africa 3-0. France went on to beat Brazil by the same score in the final.Bafana Bafana drew 1-1 with Denmark in the team’s second match, then shared a 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia. The two draws and one loss saw South Africa exit the event in the group stages after finishing third in its group.African Nations Cup 1998Also in 1998, Bafana defended their African Nations Cup title in Burkina Faso. In a controversial decision, taken shortly before the finals, coach Clive Barker was sacked and Jomo Sono appointed in a caretaker role. Some forecasts were dire, but the South African team again rose to the challenge to perform well.They finished second behind the Ivorians in their group, after a 0-0 draw against Angola, a 1-1 draw with the Ivory Coast and a 4-1 win over Nambia. A young striker by the name of Benni McCarthy made his mark by netting four goals inside 21 minutes in the victory over the Namibians.In the quarterfinals, South Africa beat Morocco 2-1 as McCarthy and David Nyathi netted. That earned them a semi-final place against the Democratic Republic of Congo.In the semi-final, McCarthy scored on the hour-mark to level the scores after South Africa had fallen behind in the 48th minute. He then struck in extra time to earn Bafana a 2-1 win and a place in the final against Egypt, who had beaten the hosts Burkina Faso in the other semi-final.The dream of successive titles was brought to an end in the final when the Pharaohs scored two early goals to take a 2-0 victory. Nonetheless, given the uncertain build-up to the tournament, it was a good showing by South Africa.1999: first win over European oppositionDespite very average results in 1999, Bafana managed to win the Afro-Asian Trophy after beating Saudi Arabia 1-0 in Cape Town and then drawing 0-0 in Riyadh.In November 1999, Bafana Bafana achieved a notable milestone when they scored their first win over European opposition. It came in the Nelson Mandela Challenge against Sweden at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria. Siyabonga Nomvete was the hero, netting an 87th minute goal to snatch a late victory for the home side.At the African Nations Cup in 2000, hosted by Ghana and Nigeria, Bafana Bafana topped their group, beating Gabon 3-1, the DRC 1-0, and playing to a 0-0 draw with Algeria. In the quarterfinals, Siyabonga Nomvete scored the only goal as South Africa eliminated one of the hosts, Ghana.In the semi-finals, SA’s footballing nemesis, Nigeria, beat Bafana 2-0. South Africa ultimately finished third after beating Tunisia 4-3 from the penalty spot after the teams had played to a 2-2 draw in the playoff.World Cup 2002Although South Africa’s African Nations Cup performances had gradually slipped over three continental finals – from winners to finalists to semi-finalists – their performances in at the 2002 Fifa World Cup in South Korea and Japan were noteworthy.Competing in group B, they drew 2-2 with Paraguay and then beat Slovenia 1-0. That left Bafana with a shot of making it to the round of 16, but a tough encounter against highly fancied Spain awaited the side.In a back-and-forth tussle, Spain took an early lead through Raul. Benni McCarthy struck back in the 31st minute to make it 1-1. Gaizka Mendieta then edged the Spaniards in front with a goal in first-half injury time.Only eight minutes into the second stanza, Lucas Radebe levelled the scores. Raul, however, restored Spain’s lead three minutes later, and that’s how it ended: South Africa 2, Spain 3.At the same time as Bafana Bafana and Spain were doing battle, Slovenia and Paraguay were in action.The Slovenians took a 1-0 lead into the break, which meant South Africa would qualify for the next round regardless of whether or not they lost to Spain. Paraguay, however, came roaring back in the second half, netting three times to win 3-1.The South Americans’ third goal, scored in the 84th minute, was enough to see them progress at South Africa’s expense, but only by the narrowest of margins: both had the same number of points, and the same goal difference. Paraguay, though, had scored and conceded six goals to South Africa’s five and five.African Nations Cup slideSouth Africa’s African Nations Cup slide continued in the finals held in Mali in 2002.Bafana Bafana qualified at the top of their group, albeit with a record of only one win and two draws. They opened with a 0-0 draw against Burkina Faso, and followed that up with another goalless draw against Ghana. A 3-1 victory over Morocco, however, was enough to open a path to the quarterfinals. There, Bafana Bafana met the hosts and were beaten 2-0.In 2003, the national side managed a record of only six wins, a draw and four losses. Worryingly, losses began to come against teams that South Africa needed to beat to maintain a strong Fifa world ranking – countries like Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Egypt.The decline was made clear for all to see at the 2004 African Nations Cup in Tunisia. Despite opening with a 2-0 win over Benin, Bafana Bafana failed to progress beyond the group stages. They were humbled 4-0 by Nigeria, and drew 1-1 with Morocco.2004: World Cup bid succeedsIn May 2004, however, the mood of South African football fans was considerably brightened when the country won the right to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ – the first African country to be awarded the honour.And in November 2004, the Nigerian bogey was finally ended when Bafana Bafana beat the Super Eagles 2-1 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.Despite a decent showing as an invited team to the 2005 Concacaf Gold Cup, in which they drew three matches and beat Mexico 2-1, 2005 was not a good year for South Africa’s national football team. They scraped wins over lightly regarded teams early in the year, but ended it with four losses and a draw in their last five matches.Egypt 2006: Bafana hit bottomAlthough they qualified for the 2006 African Nations Cup in Egypt, the tournament proved to be a disaster for South Africa. They lost all three matches they played and failed to score a single goal as they crashed out of the tournament as the bottom team in their group.With four years remaining until 2010 and the national team in disarray – and down to 72nd in Fifa’s world rankings – a decision was made to acquire a big-name coach to prepare Bafana for the World Cup. Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira, who had coached Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Saudi Arabia in previous World Cup finals, took up the post.Parreira achieved his first goal of earning qualification for the 2008 African Nations Cup in Ghana, but South Africa once again bowed out in the first round.2008: improvement under ParreiraCarlos Alberto Parreira, Brazilian coach of the South African football team 2007-08 and 2009-2010. (Image: Wikipedia)They finished bottom of group D in Ghana after two draws and one loss, which was, at least, an improvement over their previous campaign. Bafana drew 1-1 with both Angola and Senegal, and lost 3-1 to Tunisia.After that, South Africa appeared to be making progress under Parreira, and a stylish 3-0 victory over Paraguay in March 2008 was cause for optimism. The following month, however, Parreira abruptly resigned his position to be with his wife, who had recently undergone surgery for cancer.His replacement was another Brazilian, recommended by Parreira: Joel Santana, who brought with him an excellent record in Brazilian club football, but no international experience.2008/09: Santana in at the deep endSantana was thrown in at the deep end, taking over just before a series of African Nations Cup qualifiers. He didn’t know the players, he didn’t have time to work with them – and South Africa failed to qualify for the 2010 African Nations Cup in Angola.The tide seemed to be turning, however, when South Africa scored a national record five consecutive wins in succession – over Zambia, Cameroon, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, and Malawi.However, disappointing losses to Chile and Portugal in early 2009, either side of a last-gasp win over Norway, suggested that Bafana still had considerable ground to make up if they were to progress beyond the group stages of the 2010 World Cup.2009 Fifa Confederations CupAt the Confederations Cup, a World Cup warm-up event played in South Africa in June 2009, Bafana Bafana gave a good account of themselves in reaching the semi-finals. With a place in the final on the line, they went down 1-0 to eventual champions Brazil, who scored only three minutes from time.Against Spain, in the play-off for third and fourth, Bafana pushed the European champions into extra time before succumbing 3-2.With good performances against the world’s two top teams, confidence in the national side was running high. Sadly, this proved to be a false dawn.Parreira returnsIn August and September 2009, Serbia beat Bafana 3-1 in Tshwane/Pretoria, Germany beat them 2-0 in Leverkusen in September, and Ireland won 1-0 in Limerick before South Africa scored an unconvincing 1-0 win over minnows Madagascar at home.And in October 2009, Bafana went down 1-0 to Norway in Oslo and 1-0 to Iceland in Reykjavik. Eight losses in nine matches saw Bafana Bafana drop to a 16-year low of 85th in Fifa’s world rankings.Not long afterwards, on 19 October 2009, the South African Football Association announced that Joel Santana had stepped down as coach of South Africa’s national team.On 23 October his replacement was announced: none other than Carlos Alberto Parreira.“I see light at the end of the tunnel,” Parreira told Fifa in an interview the following month. “When we have this team up to a good level of fitness, they will prove far more competitive. This side has played at a high level before. When I worked here the first time we beat Paraguay 3-0, and that’s the standard I want the team to get back to.”The 2010 Fifa World CupUnder Parreira, Bafana Bafana’s fortunes improved dramatically. In fact, by the time the World Cup arrived the team was on a 12-match unbeaten run. Included in the results were wins over fellow World Cup finalists Denmark and highly-regarded Colombia, as well as some big victories over lesser lights.Thailand were handed a 4-0 hiding and Guatemala were then on the wrong end of a 5-0 result, which was South Africa’s biggest win yet, in captain Aaron Mokoena’s 100th international.At Soccer City in Soweto, Bafana got the World Cup off to a rousing start when they played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with Mexico. Siphiwe Tshabalala scored the first goal of the tournament with one of the best shots of the tournament, but Rafael Marquez netted an equaliser 11 minutes from time to earn the Mexicans a share of the spoils.Things did not go well for South Africa in their second game as they fell 3-0 to Uruguay. Diego Forlan, who went on to win the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament, pulled the strings for the South Americans and a few breaks went against Bafana to leave the team on the verge of elimination ahead of their final game against France.Showing impressive heart and teamwork, Bafana put on an impressive showing against the 2006 finalists in Bloemfontein, winning 2-1, which proved to be not enough to make it to the next round. They did at least end on a high and the fans showed their appreciation for the players’ whole-hearted effort.The match was Carlos Alberto Parreira’s last one in charge of the team.Thanks to their much improved form under the Brazilian, and their results in the World Cup, they improved from 83rd place in the Fifa World Rankings before the World Cup to 66th place after its completion.Pitso Mosimane eraParreira’s former assitant Pitso Mosimane took over from the Brazilian as coach of the national team after the World Cup and initially the results under him were good.In his first nine matches in charge, South Africa won six times, drew twice and lost 1-0 to the USA. However, from August 2011 to May 2012 the fortunes of Bafana tumbled as they played another seven matches, winning none, drawing five and losing two.Goal scoring proved to be the problem that Mosimane was unable to fix. Under him, Bafana played 16 matches and scored only 14 goals while they conceded seven. That wasn’t the kind of record that drew the support of fans and earned the team important wins.In fact, unfortunately, the most memorable match under Mosimane was a game against Sierra Leone in Nelspruit, which was the last match of Bafana’s campaign to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations. After a goalless draw, the South African team celebrated qualification for the continental finals. Embarrassingly, they did not understand the qualifying criteria and the team had, in fact, missed out on the finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.At the beginning of June 2012, Mosimane was axed after a 1-1 draw against 138th ranked Ethiopia in a 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier played in Rustenburg.Just less than a month later, Gordon Igesund was named his successor.Gordon IgesundCoach Igesund, a winner of the Premier Soccer League title with Manning Rangers, Orlando Pirates, Santos and Mamelodi Sundowns, faced the tough task of reviving Bafana Bafana’s fortunes, but he had a big opportunity for a quick turn-around with South Africa hosting the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.From his first match in charge, a narrow 1-0 loss to Brazil in Brazil, Igesund focussed on preparing his team for Afcon 2013. Results were not the be-all and end-all of his approach and while that made some supporters unhappy, he fielded a vastly improved team for Afcon.Bafana Bafana won their group after beating Angola and drawing with Cape Verde and Morocco, but were eliminated in the quarterfinals by world number 25 Mali, who won from the penalty spot.Importantly, though, the home team’s wholehearted approach earned the approval of fans and the side rocketed 25 places up in the Fifa rankings after the tournament to 60th in the world.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Sling planes soar to new heights

first_imgThe Sling aeroplane, manufactured by The Airplane Factory, is known as one of the most reliable and affordable light sport aircraft in the world. Company owners and airplane enthusiasts, Mike Blyth and James Pitman, have written the plane into aviation folklore after flying it around the world twice. (Image: Aaron Gautschi) • Andrew Pitman Marketing director The Airplane Factory +27 76 498 7391 +27 (0)11 948 9898 andrew@airplanefactory.co.za • Robots that can savce miners’ lives• SA engineer to help build Bloodhound • Bloodhound brings world focus to South Africa• SA air school, Boeing in unique deal• SA’s inflatable hovercraft By Shamin ChibbaThe little two-seater Sling 2 aeroplane buzzes through the amber sky, high above the town of Meyerton in Gauteng. The 3-D display screen indicates that it is flying at an altitude of 6 700 feet and at a speed of 120 knots – about 220 kilometres an hour. Holding the lever of the plane, you cannot help but be awed by the raw power at your command. It gives you the sense that you are holding your – and your co-pilot’s – destiny in your hands.The Sling 2 is one of South Africa’s best aeronautical exports in recent years, with 160 planes sold worldwide. And its story begins with a bit of aviation romance. It was designed and developed by Mike Blyth and James Pitman, two aviation enthusiasts looking to build the perfect light sport aircraft (LSA). Once it was finished, in 2009, they took their homemade plane and flew around the world in 40 days.Covering more than 45 000 kilometres, they stopped in 14 countries, including the United States, where they attended the Airventure Airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Sao Tome; Guinea; Brazil; and Malaysia. “The amazing thing was that we could design and develop an aircraft ourselves, get into it and in 40 days zoom all around the world in this little aeroplane we dreamed of making,” says Blyth.But the trip led to something even bigger. When Pitman and Blyth returned, they decided to turn their passion into a business venture and started up The Airplane Factory. The company produces some of the world’s most reliable light aircraft out of its hangar in Tedderfield Airpark, situated in the dusty town of Eikenhof between Johannesburg and Vereeniging. To prove just how stable the plane is, the team flew two more long distance flights in 2011 and 2013.“Just Google ‘best handling LSA in the world’ and you’ll see the Sling,” says Blyth. “It’s become very popular in many parts of the world.”The company has grown so rapidly in the last five years that it now employs 115 factory workers who turn sheets of metal into the beautiful Sling. Engineers at The Airplane Factory push one of their customer’s Slings into the service hangar at Tedderfield Airpark where the company is situated. The planes have to be serviced at least once a year or after every 100 hours of flying. (Image: Shamin Chibba) Veteran of flightBlyth, 60, may have been designing and developing aircraft for a great many years, but he did not know his passion, and his life’s work, would lie in aviation until he was 30 years old.His background is in engineering and his first venture was in the trucking industry. It quickly went bankrupt as he did not have the business acumen at the time to run it. It was not until 1984 that he found his passion in the skies. “When I was trying to find something to do again, I met this chap who took me flying and immediately felt this was great and decided to make a career of it.”Blyth threw himself into the world of flight, becoming an instructor and a designer of aircraft. He started developing and flying trikes, which he describes as motorised hang gliders. It led him to the World Microlight Championships in 1992, which he won, a first for South Africa.His first long-distance flight with the vehicle was from Cape Town to the northernmost tip of Norway, to a place called North Cape. His second flight with the trike was a nine-month trip with Swiss pilot Olivier Aubert in 1999, from the southern tip of South America to the top of North America. In 2004, Blythe and Aubert completed another trike expedition, this time flying from the Mozambican to the Namibian coast.But it was not until 2009 that he built the Sling, which would take him around the world for the very first time. Co-owner of The Airplane Factory, Mike Blyth, discovered flight 30 years ago after failing as a businessperson in the trucking industry. He has since circumnavigated the world twice, flown two long distance flights on a microlight and has won the World Microlight Championships in 1992. (Image: Shamin Chibba) Birth of the SlingWalk into The Airplane Factory’s reception area, and there is a large wing standing behind the receptionist’s desk. “That is part of the first prototype,” says Blyth. That particular Sling lasted just six months before the designers decided to scrap it. But they kept the wing as a reminder of how far the company has come in the five years since its establishment.Before the Sling, Blyth sold Rotax aircraft engines he imported from Austria. But engine sales were dipping and he had just sold another microlight venture, called Rainbow Aircraft, to a business partner. So he looked to design a new kind of plane. “I had been involved in many microlight manufacturing businesses before. And I wanted to develop a slightly better aircraft than I had been making before.”He put together a small team that included a draughtsman, an engineer and himself, and started working on the plane. A few years later, Blyth met Pitman, who had a passion for flight. Blyth did not have enough cash to start the business, and Pitman decided to channel funds into what became The Airplane Factory.They built the first prototype together, says Blyth. “We got the first aircraft into the air. We flew around for about six months, getting the controls and the engine right, and then scrapped it because it wasn’t perfect. We didn’t want an aircraft going into the marketplace that was not 100%.”A person at Denel helped with the aerodynamics of the second prototype, and Blyth decided to take the Sling to the skies. As a result, its handling, size and ergonomics turned out to be perfect, he says. The 3-D display screen that comes fitted in all Sling aeroplanes are designed and made in South Africa. It displays altitude, speed and even a three-dimensional rendering of any landscape that the plane flies over. (Image: Shamin Chibba)After the Sling 2 proved to be a success, Blyth and Pitman brought in a third shareholder, production director Jean d’Assonville, to build a four-seater aeroplane they called the Sling 4. The three owners completed a second round-the-world trip in 2011, flying eastwards in their new four-seater plane.In September 2013, the team completed a three-legged long distance flight with the Sling 2. Blyth and his son flew to Oshkosh, with Pitman flying from the US to England and his brother, Andrew Pitman, flying back to South Africa. The month-long trip cost them about R180 000 (about $17 400).There were no major problems with the Sling 4, but the troubles the pilots did experience were beyond their control. For Andrew, the company’s marketing manager, refuelling at airports in Africa that did not have fuel pumps took up to five hours. “You have to take your two 25-litre jerry cans out the airport, into a taxi, to a petrol station, back to the airport, through customs, out on to the runway, fill it up then go out again. And we have these long-range fuel tanks on our Oshkosh planes that take 450 litres of fuel.”But still, refuelling, says Andrew, was not as big a problem as the rigid bureaucracy at these airports. He first had to clear customs and “prove that you are a real pilot even though you’ve arrived in this tiny aeroplane”. Thereafter, he would have to run to several offices just to pay for landing and parking fees. Along the way, officials would ask for bribes to hasten the process.But The Airplane Factory has a strict policy against bribes, he stresses. “When someone tried to [solicit a bribe from] us we would say, ‘No, we will just sit here and wait until a high official comes around.’ So we didn’t end up spending a whole lot of money.” Stringent testing and quality control Mike Blyth does a mandatory inspection of a newly built plane before taking it on a test flight. According to Blyth, such meticulous inspections and quality control measures have made the Sling one of the most reliable light sport aircraft in the world. (Image: Shamin Chibba)Just outside the service hangar, d’Assonville lands on the tarmac with a Sling fresh off the production line. Andrew explains that he is testing the plane before it is shipped off to a training school in Australia. The test includes an all-round inspection of the plane while it is on the ground, followed by five flights to check for faults.According to Blyth, there have been no recorded problems with aircraft the company has sold. There have been a few minor incidents, but Andrew points out that these have not been the company’s fault. “When [Blyth] says minor he means in terms of no injuries at all. He also means that it’s been completely pilot error and not the fault of the aeroplane.” Sling is cheap and economicalAndrew says the company now manufactures two Sling 2 models – the original 700 kilogram plane and the 600 kilogram light sport aircraft. “The LSA category is useful for us because they are sold worldwide as factory built planes. Anything above 600 kilograms has to be a certified aircraft to be factory built. Our planes are non-type certified, a slightly less stringent form of certification we apply to. It is the reason we can sell our planes as cheap as they are.”Sling planes are marketed towards general aviation pilots, those who want to use them for personal use. A typical certified four-seater plane can cost as much as R6-million. However, since the Slings are non-type certified, they can be sold for R1-million. But this does mean they can only be used for hire-and-fly and training planes and not for charter flights. A factory worker feeds a sheet of metal into the sensory punch machine, which presses out parts that would eventually be bent into various components for the plane. (Image: Shamin Chibba)Andrew says the biggest advantage of the Sling is that it takes petrol, otherwise known as mogas, which is cheaper than aviation gas (avgas) and jet fuel. “In Accra, Ghana, avgas costs R78 per litre. So it would cost you R30 000 to fill up the plane. But normal mogas costs R6 per litre. So there’s a huge difference in price.”It is also economical, he says. The 150-litre fuel tank in the Sling 2 can give a pilot up to 11 hours of flying and the 168 litres on the Sling 4 as many as eight hours. This translates to 2 200 kilometres in the two-seater and 1 800 kilometres in the four-seater. Big in America The Sling is pictured flying over Santa Monica Pier in California. The plane has become so popular in the United States that The Airplane Factory has opened up a branch just outside of Los Angeles. (Image: Aaron Gautschi)Besides selling factory assembled planes, the company also produces kits for customers who want to build at home. The biggest market for this product is the United States, followed by Brazil, Australia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana.The company’s success in the US has been possible because it has certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, which tests the safety of aircraft used in that country. As a result, it has built up a large client base and has even set up a branch in California. “The biggest market for general aviation is America. It is the leader and the rest of the world looks to them for trends, so we need to have a strong presence there.”The company is located at Torrance Airport, just outside Los Angeles. “At the moment it’s not so much a factory,” says Andrew. “It’s a chief executive, a marketing guy, and a few workers assembling kits. We have a flying aeroplane there for customers to go on demo flights.”Though one kit has been sold to a customer in Poland, it is difficult for The Airplane Factory to enter the European market because the company does not comply with the European Agency of Safety and Aviation (Easa) certification laws. However, James met Easa officials in Belgium this month to discuss the criteria needed to obtain certification. The futureAfter the success of The Airplane Factory, Blyth’s dreams for the company are flying as high as his planes. Though all three Sling models have proven reliable among pilots worldwide, Blyth believes the plane can be improved. “If you are an engineer you are always looking for ways to improve it. For instance, I would like to try a slightly different wing and a lot of little different things to streamline it.”Within the next year, he is looking to design a new high-winged version of the Sling 4. He is also set on building a faster twin engine aircraft. “One day, when I’m sitting on a beach somewhere, we’ll do jets. Eventually we’ll do airliners. There is no point in putting this amount of effort and only doing this. Take the business, hand it to your kids and let them take it to a new level.”For Andrew, The Airplane Factory’s success is down to just one thing: the passion the team has for flight. “People ask us why we still fly to Oshkosh and around the world; they say we don’t have to prove the aeroplane anymore,” says Andrew. “But our answer is we don’t do it to prove the aircraft, we do it because we love doing it.”last_img read more

Brand South Africa hails discovery of Homo naledi

first_imgSome of the 1 550 fossil specimens of Homo naledi, which represent at least 15 different individuals. (Image: National Geographic)Johannesburg, Thursday 10 September 2015 – Brand South Africa applauds the team of scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand and other volunteers, on their discovery of a new species of human relative – Homo naledi – at the Cradle of Humankind.Brand South Africa CEO Mr Kingsley Makhubela, reflecting upon the significance of this find, for the South African brand in particular said, “This find of approximately 1 550 fossil elements emphasizes South Africa’s position as a global leader in the field of paleo-anthropology. The discovery has been described as one which will force us to rethink the origins of humankind as whole. While we cannot claim to have created what lies in our soil, we can celebrate this as a part of our heritage and as part of South Africa’s legacy to the world.”“South Africa is described as one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world because of our mineral wealth. The rich fossil and archeological remains in our soil is another reason why South Africa is so valuable to the world.”“We salute the team of scientists led by Professor Lee Berger, from the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand and a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. We celebrate you today for unearthing and bringing to light this magnificent discovery, and for its significance to humankind as a whole and South Africa in particular.”“South Africa looks forward to welcoming the world to the Cradle of Humankind to view the fossil elements which will be on display from 11 September – 11 October 2015.”“We look forward to and eagerly anticipate your continued work in this field and wish you well in your future endevours,” concluded Mr Makhubela.Follow the conversation on #HomoNaledi and #AlmostHuman.last_img read more

Firefox vs IE Smackdown!

first_imgTags:#Browsers#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Well not really, but it seems you can’t get much attention these days without using a controversial headline 🙂 Yesterday I live-blogged the Webstock conference speeches of Ben Goodger (Lead Engineer on Firefox who also works for Google) and Tony Chor (Group Program Manager of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team). I published them on my ZDNet blog, thinking my browser-obsessed readers over there would appreciate my efforts. But all I got was accusations of writing a puff piece 🙁 Duh, I was live-blogging a conference!Anyway, if you want to get away from all the mob justice of the O’Reilly Web 2.0 trademark kerfuffle, you may enjoy what the lead developers of Firefox and IE have to say about their products.From Ben Goodger speech:Managing growth: “Netscape in 1994 looks pretty similar to us” – will Firefox’s fate be similar? Ben doesn’t think so, but doesn’t want them to become complacent. They’ll continued to focus on their ideals, not be distracted by what the competition is doing. They don’t have closed decisions and want to encourage ‘lurkers’ – make it easy for them to contribute if they want to.Read more…From Tony Chor speech:Now talks about designing and developing for IE – “we know it can be a little frustrating” [little bit of frustrated-sounding laughter from the mainly designer and developer audience here]. Discusses CSS issues and shows that IE7 has fixed all but one of the 25 bugs they identified “that drive developers crazy”.Read more…Photo: Rinabee Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… richard macmanuslast_img read more

Storage: Storage Sales Buck the Bad Economy

first_imgWhile sales of anything are almost universally down, storage sales were up in 2008 and expected to continue to grow. Gartner reports that storage sales in 2008 grew from $16.2 billion to $18 billion, or about 11.3 percent.The top seven storage companies are (in order of sales):EMCIBMHPHitachi DataDellNetwork AppliancesSun MicrosystemsZD quotes Freeform Dynamics Jon Collins as saying “Storage just continues to beat the market and will continue to grow. There is no recession in storage for many reasons, but the two main ones are: the continuing growth of rich media, and compliance. As long as we need to keep records of everything, the need for more storage will always be with us.”last_img read more

Podcast: Skull cults, Parkinson’s proteins in the gut, and bee-killing pesticides

first_img Country-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees and wild bees, B.A. Woodcock et al. Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids reduces honey bee health near corn crops, Tsvetkov et al. webted/Flickr This week we have stories on what the rogue Parkinson’s protein is doing in the gut, how chimps outmuscle humans, and evidence for an ancient skull cult with Online News Editor David Grimm.Jen Golbeck is back with this month’s book segment. She interviews Alan Alda about his new book on science communication: If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?Sarah Crespi talks to Jeremy Kerr about two huge studies that take a nuanced looked at the relationship between pesticides and bees. Read the research in Science:center_img Listen to previous podcasts.[Image: webted/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]last_img read more