Major Catherine Labuschagne completed her maiden solo flight in the South African Air Force’s Gripen Jas 39C in October, becoming the first woman fighter pilot ever to fly the supersonic aircraft.Maj Catherine Labuschagne made history when she became South Africa’s first female fighter pilot. (Image: SAAF)Brand South Africa reporterLabuschagne, who is identified by her call sign of Siren, is now the only female member of the SA Air Force’s (SAAF’s) elite 2 Squadron. The squadron, which flies the single- and dual-seat Gripens, is based at Makhado Air Force Base in Limpopo province.Formerly known as Air Force Base Louis Trichardt and today also called the Fortress of the North, or Castrum borealis, Makhado is the most northerly of South Africa’s bases.Established in the 1940s, 2 Squadron has earned many battle honours, including El Alamein in 1942, South East Europe in 1944 and 1945, and Korea from 1950 to 1953. Lieutenant Colonel Glen Gibson is the unit’s officer commanding (OC).Labuschagne trained on the venerable Impala jet before graduating to the Hawk 120 lead-in fighter trainer in preparation for the step up to South Africa’s most formidable aircraft. Pilots are required to accumulate about 430 hours on the Hawk and pass several courses before they can sit behind the controls of a Gripen.Dedicated and meticulousShe got her wings in 2000 and, a decade later, is one of South Africa’s most highly skilled women pilots. Although she’s never felt that she’s had to work as hard as her male colleagues, the going has been tough, Labuschagne admits.“You need to be dedicated; you need to be meticulous; you need to work hard, be committed to what you do; and definitely must have passion for what you do,” she said in a recent television interview.Labuschagne boasts 1 900 flying hours, of which 1 000 have been on military jets.Back in 2004 she made military history as the first woman to fly in a Gripen, but it was from the back seat of the two-seater 39D. Today she is among the first group of locally trained Gripen pilots to complete their operational conversion course – the initial six received their training in Sweden.Major Labuschagne (left) during training in Sweden. (Image: SAAB)The other local graduates are Lieutenant Koobendra Chetty (Saffron) and Lieutenant Colonel Gys van der Walt (Samurai). The three will complete their training in 2011 with Major Lance Mathebula (Lancelot), who trained in Sweden.Gripen instruction takes place at 85 Combat Flying School, based at the Centralised Training Centre at Makhado and operating under the motto Detrimento sumus (Destruction is our business). The centre offers a computer-based instruction system and a virtual aircraft training facility, also known as a simulator.According to 2 Squadron’s OC Gibson, the approximate ratio of air and simulator sorties is 50:50.SAAF setting the exampleThe Gripen is a single-engine fighter built by Swedish manufacturer Saab. Besides the SAAF, which was Gripen’s first export client, the craft are currently in service in the Czech, Hungarian and Swedish Air Forces.The SAAF has placed an order for 17 single-seater 39C craft and nine two-seater 39D craft, and in April 2008 took delivery of its first Gripen.To date, 15 of the nimble fighters have arrived in South African airspace, and the order is expected to conclude in 2012. The Gripens will replace the fleet of Cheetah fighters, some of which have been in service since 1986. The Cheetahs, which are basically refurbished Mirages, have now been retired.Before the Gripens could formally join the SAAF fleet, they had to pass a stringent two-year test programme to adapt the craft to local systems.“South Africa was the first export customer to select Gripen, and its recognition of Gripen’s capabilities and its faith in Saab has inspired other new Gripen customers, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, the UK’s Empire Test Pilot School and, more recently, Thailand,” says Saab president Åke Svensson.Svensson adds that the success of future negotiations with other countries depends to a degree on the performance of the aircraft in South Africa.BAE Systems South Africa CE Mike O’Callaghan says the purchase of the Gripens and Hawks has revived the country’s defence and aerospace industry and enhanced its reputation internationally. The UK-based BAE Systems is that country’s biggest defence contractor, and manufactures the Hawk fighters.With a maximum speed of Mach 2 – twice the speed of sound, or about 2 400km/h – and a highly advanced sensor system, the Gripen is widely regarded as the world’s top medium-weight fighter aircraft.During the recent 2010 Fifa World Cup, Gripens and Hawks were responsible for much of the security in the air.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Major companies are backing strategies that will allow consumers easy access to detailed information about their energy useTo the extent that telecommunications gadgets and related software applications have become ubiquitous, it seems inevitable that consumers will soon be able to monitor and control energy use in the home by punching a few keys on a cellphone or computer keyboard.The hardware and software to do the monitoring already exist. What’s needed is a way to deliver the information, in an easily accessible and useful form, to consumers.Competition is already heating up in this area.In February, for example, online search giant Google unveiled a prototype of its PowerMeter application which, through a secure connection, would allow each household to view in real time detailed energy-usage data for virtually every appliance and circuit in the home.Among the keys to fully implementing PowerMeter software, the company says, will be widespread installation of “smart meters” in homes (40 million of the devices, in fact, are scheduled to be installed as part of the government’s stimulus program) and cooperation from regulators and utilities in making usage data available to a third party like Google.Will Verizon’s Fios get into the act?Last week Verizon Communications confirmed it might offer an energy-usage monitoring service via a Wi-Fi connection to its Fios routers, which are installed in the homes of consumers who subscribe to the super-high-speed broadband service. Once it’s linked to a smart meter, the Fios router could become yet another source of near-real-time energy monitoring.Verizon has not yet committed to offering the service, which, like PowerMeter, would provide usage data in enough detail to allow consumers to adjust their usage patterns in ways that will reduce their electric bills. But it is exploring the idea. By most estimates, supplying customers with detailed usage information would allow them to reduce their power bills by about 10%.The Twitter factorSpeaking of real-time information feeds, the social messaging utility Twitter has also come into play in the energy usage realm thanks to a kit that allows consumers to modify a widely available power monitor – the Kill a Watt, a $20 device that tracks usage on the outlet it is plugged into – so that the data is fed wirelessly, and continuously, into the user’s Twitter account.The modification hardware, called Tweet-a-Watt, is available from Adafruit Industries, a supplier of do-it-yourself electronics kits, for $90. Early in March, the device placed second in the 2009 Greener Gadgets Design Competition held by green-tech blog forum Inhabitat.Jesse Berst, an analyst at GlobalSmartEnergy and founding editor of Smart Grid News, told CNET News.com last week that while utilities may be slow to develop a system for delivering real-time usage data to consumers, telecommunications firms and gadget makers are likely to move quickly and aggressively to reach consumers who want energy-management services.“There will be a huge collision in the home, but it won’t just be utilities and telcos. Many others are converging there as well,” he said.
MOST READ PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting View comments Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Klay Thompson #11 and Quinn Cook #4 of the Golden State Warriors celebrate the play against the Toronto Raptors in the second quarter during Game One of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on May 30, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFPMANILA, Philippines—Golden State’s Klay Thompson is known as one of the most stoic players in the league, rarely showing emotion during games and his words following the Warriors’ 118-109 Game 1 loss to Toronto spoke volumes of his character.Thompson said it’s too early for the Warriors to get into panic mode and that they will respond to the adversity as the defending champions.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew READ: Raptors draw first blood, thump Warriors in 1st NBA finals appearanceThis is also the first time that the Warriors didn’t face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals, a scenario that Thompson acknowledged as unfamiliar for them.“We’re not very familiar with this team, but that’s no excuse,” said Thompson who had 21 points and five rebounds.The Warriors can tie the series on Monday in Game 2.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PBA: Phoenix halts Blackwater’s perfect run in Commissioner’s Cup debut Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday PLAY LIST 03:12Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “Our goal was to get one, and it’s still on the table for us, I know we’ll respond like the champions we are,” said Thompson in the post-game press conference h/t to Bleacher Report.READ: Warriors sputter at times, fall in Game 1 of NBA FinalsFEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsThe Warriors are on their fifth straight Finals appearance, winning three of the last four. The only other team in NBA history to make at least six consecutive trips to the Finals are Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics who had 10 appearances in succession.What made this series different, though, is that it was the first time the Warriors dropped the opening game under Steve Kerr. Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess