Dec 09, 2010
Real Economy ReportBack
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Engineering News reflects on the stories that made news headlines this year:
We begin this year’s top ten Real Economy Report show with the second South African Solar Challenge where the world champion solar car, the Tokai Challenger, took the chequered flag.
The Tokai Challenger travelled 4 061 km during the solar challenge – the furthest distance on solar power in a single South African event. The futuristic-looking car, at some points reaching speeds of 120 km/h, also travelled the furthest distance on solar power in a single day, clocking up 565 km.
9. SOLAR PARK ANNOUNCEMENT (RER 128)
The next most watched show was an announcement by the South African government about the development of a new solar park near Upington, in the Northern Cape.
The proposal is for the development of a 5 000-MW solar park in the sun-drenched Northern Cape. Engineering News spoke with Ministry of Energy adviser Jonathan de Vries about the initiative.
8. EASSY CABLE (RER 97)
Engineering News was part of a media contingent attending the landing of the 10 000 km fibre optic cable Eassy project on South Africa's east coast, which makes its debut at number 8.
The fibre-optic Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System is one of nine undersea telecoms cables that will connect various parts of sub-Saharan Africa to the rest of the world by 2011. The project signifies great strides not only for the South African telecommunications industry, but for Africa as well. Telkom executive for global capacity business Johan Meyer explains.
7. JDS INDUSTRIES 50-T ROCK BREAKER (RER 113)
The seventh most watched Real Economy Report show introduces one of South Africa’s largest workhorses in the world, the 50-t rock breaker manufactured by JDS Industries.
Only three of these gigantic rock breakers have been manufactured globally, and interestingly, all three are based on South African iron-ore mines. JDS sales and technical manager Hendrik Alberts tells us what makes these machine so magnificent.
6. MENLYN MAINE (RER 118)
Coming in at number six is Africa’s first ‘green-city’ precinct, Menlyn Maine.
Menlyn Maine, in Pretoria has broken ground, and development has started. Creamer Media’s Real Economy Report spoke to one of the developers.
5. ARMY ENGINEER CORPS (RER 122)
We’re halfway through this year’s most watched shows. At number five is a look at the training of the Army’s engineers.
The main training unit of South African Army Engineer Corps is the School of Engineers at Kroonstad in the Free State. New recruits are trained at the junior training wing at Bossiespruit, not far from the town. Junior training wing commander Major Erica Westraadt explains the kind of training the recruits receive.
4. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT (RER 95)
At number four, we posed the question of flying unmanned aircraft in civil air space.
A major issue in aviation today is the use of unmanned air vehicles in civil air space subject to air traffic control. The Study Group is working on regulations and standards to allow such operations worldwide.
3. ATE’S WEAPONS SYSTEM (RER 126)
Debuting at number three is a demonstration of Advanced Technologies & Engineering’s stand-alone weapons system fitted to a Eurocopter EC635 helicopter.
ATE’s manager for the programme, John Reynolds, explains what the stand-alone weapons system is and how they came to develop it.
2. SADF’S NEW GRIPEN FIGHTERS (RER 129)
Our second most watched show in 2010 introduces the South African Air Force’s recently graduated Gripen pilots and its first Gripen strike navigator trained entirely in South Africa.
Previous Gripen air crew received part of their training in Sweden. The newly graduated pilots are Major Catherine Labuschagne, Major Lance Mathebula and Lieutenant-Colonel Gys van der Walt, while the strike navigator is Lieutenant Koobendra Chetty. While Lieutenant-Colonel Van der Walt was already a fighter pilot – he flew the Cheetah from 2003 to 2005 – both Mathebula, who graduated a week before the others, and Labuschange, are new to supersonic fighters. Labuschagne is also the first woman Gripen fighter pilot in the world. Following their solo flights in the Gripen, all were subjected to the traditional ice water bath for aircrew newly graduated on a fighter jet.
1. JONKER JS-1 REVELATION SAIL PLANE (RER 104)
South Africa’s recently certified Jonker JS-1 Revelation sailplane is probably the most advanced aircraft in its category in the world today and easily sails in at number one in this year’s most watched Real Economy Report show.
A key factor in the success of the JS-1 is its unique aerofoil design. The aerofoil is the cross-section shape of the wing, which generates the lift that allows an aircraft to fly. This aerofoil was developed in South Africa by Jonker Sailplanes to achieve optimum performance and is measured in Reynolds numbers. As applied to aircraft design, Reynolds numbers measure how smooth the airflow will be around an airframe.
Edited by: Shannon de Ryhove© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
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