Guy Leitch



As a born and bred Capetonian I remember the high esteem we held SAA in and the excellent service it provided. The last time I flew SAA was in 2003 or 2004 but found the service very poor so never used them again.

I seem to remember around this time there were complaints from the government that the requirements for training pilots were too strict and biased and they were going to change the application procedure. Which brings me to my point. What has been the outcome of the “well trained” pilots and crew of an Airbus A340 who miss-calculated their take-off weight on jolly to Belgium (to collect Covid vaccines)? They (I think) tried to hide this incident or at least didn’t report it. The incident was picked up by Rolls Royce and Airbus.

I notice another flight was prevented from take-off recently over safety concerns. An aircraft and crew capable of carrying 50 odd tons of cargo to fetch less than one and a half tons? No wonder they went bust.

Finally, I had an uncle who flew the last two years of the war for Mosquito Bomber Command doing daylight raids into Germany. His youngest son was desperate to join SAAF but failed the entrance qualifications. My uncle pulled some strings and eventually his son was accepted. He was later lost at sea in an aircraft. That’s why it is vitally important for the strict examination of ability, especially for a commercial airline pilot. Another uncle, the late Ralph Aitchison, flew a Marauder during the war.

John Parkes East Sussex

Dear Mr Parkes

I formally asked the SACAA about whether the so-called alpha floor exceedance for the Brussels vaccine flight was treated as an investigable incident by the CAA. They replied that as it was a flight procedures incident it was investigated internally by the SAA flight ops division and no findings had to be made public. It should be noted that there was a known glitch in the flight planning software that led to the incorrect weights being entered and thus an excessively reduced thrust applied for take-off.



I was a pilot involved in an aircraft crash February 2021. The SACAA accident investigation report came out with a lot of BS statements in the report.

The SACAA makes me out to be the idiot pilot in this accident. Maybe you could direct me, how to go about re-evaluating this accident report.

Thank you.

Denis Howe

Dear Denis

Has the final accident report already been issued? Or just the preliminary? If the final has been issued you will have to build a case of compelling evidence as to why the initial report was wrong. But it has been done – have a look at Jim Davis’s revised analysis in the October 2020 issue of SA Flyer about the Cessna 185 crash at Syferfontein about 20 years ago, where the original accident report was completely overturned by the very determined father of the pilot.


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