Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Defence Concepts moves to instil aircraft ownership in Botswana

It will take a genius to convince the rich that they can ditch their expensive sedans and make aircraft part of their collection, but Teezzarh Seduke is banking on Batswana’s like for taste to consider adding a plane to their collections.

Seduke, a Technical Director at Defence Concepts Botswana, brought invited guests for a demonstration of two light aircraft manufactured by Air Plane Factory, a South African company.

“The idea is to sensitise Batswana and residents about flight ownership,” Seduke said after Sunday Standard team was taken on a spin around Mmopane.

The aim of the demonstration of the two aircraft (a 2 seater Sling 2 and 4 seater Sling 4) was to give select individuals from Botswana the chance to see, learn and fly the aircrafts.

Seduke said the move was also to discourage the thinking that flying, let alone owning an aircraft, is for the elite only or perhaps people from first world countries.

“We are trying to break that mindset,” he added, saying the move is also supported by the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana.

Seduke is also leveraging on the elegance of the locals and does not believe a person who drives an expensive car will not want to buy a light aircraft.

The monied guys in Botswana who may be interested in owning these aircraft include ranch owners and private business owners.

The two aircraft do not need the Category 1 airports, which means they can fly and land in bad places. They are very attractive to contractors and farmers with works in the countryside.

Contractors can use the light aircraft to monitor their projects in areas like Maun while staying in Gaborone, by conducting routine supervisions.

James Pitman, a director and shareholder at The Air Plane Factory, said they are coming to Botswana because the country is developing and the aircraft could be of good use.

“We are coming here because we have been focusing in South Africa…. (and) we do not have establishments in other parts of Africa,” Piman said.

“Countries like Botswana, which are developing, we think the aircraft can be of good use. We would like to do business with you if you are interested,” he added.

The Air Plane Factory has sold 25 aircraft in South Africa only and it is now looking into the region. The company also has aircraft in the U.S, Australia and Europe.

“We have taken trips around the world and it has demonstrated that the aircraft are robust because it can fly in harsh weather conditions,” Pitman said. “The Air Plane Factory has two aircraft models, the Sling 2 and Sling 4, both of which we have personally flown around the world to not just prove how much we believe in our designs, but to also experience the passion for adventure.

The Sling 2 model, which sells for P730, 000 (exclusive of Value Added Tax) is a two seater aircraft that has a bigger cabin and bigger plane range, which means it can fly longer distances.

The all round performance aluminium aircraft can be purchased ready to fly or as a homebuilt kit.
Mike Blyth, another director at the company, said they have succeeded in making the aircraft ‘sexy’ and as experienced pilots they know the handling of the aircraft.

“The pricing is good. It is far less expensive, so it is good value for money with features that most light aircraft do not have,” said Blyth.

He said they have flown the aircraft around the world with more weight and it handled that well.
The Sling 4 model sells for P1, 07 million excluding VAT and has more features. It has flown from Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town.

The Airplane Factory is a Johannesburg based business focussing on the development and manufacture of high quality, high utility aircraft.


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