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International Forum for Aviation Research summit in South Africa “memorable"

International Aviation Research forum meets in South AfricaAviation and aeronautics research is one area where happily, South Africa has not reached junk status level as evidenced by the hosting of the eighth summit of the International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR) in Pretoria.

Thirty-eight participants from 17 member countries were at the CSIR Conference Centre for the two day event.

According to the CSIR: “IFAR represents a global network of 26 aviation research establishments from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, South and North America. Founded in 2010 and representing more than 35 000 researchers working in aviation around the world, it aims to strengthen networking and information exchange as well as bilateral/multilateral technical collaboration among members, addressing the world’s most pressing challenges in aviation. It is also the world’s only aviation research establishment network”.

Dr Kavendra Naidoo, CSIR aeronautic systems manager, is South Africa’s representative to IFAR and facilitated hosting of the event.

Delegations at the summit included leaders from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States of America (NASA), Germany's Aerospace Research Centre (DLR), the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute of Russia (TsAGI), the French aeronautics, space and defence research lab (ONERA), the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment (CAE), Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary, the Italian Aerospace Research Centre (C.I.R.A), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the National Institute for Aerospace Research (INCAS) in Romania, the National Research Council in Canada (NRC), the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), the Vienna University of Technology in Austria, the Czech Aerospace Research Centre as well as South Africa’s CSIR. The IFAR Leadership team is NLR, JAXA, TsAGI and DLR.

Discussions on opportunities and challenges in aviation, including the future of supersonic transport and new-generation aerospace materials were held during the summit. Delegates also deliberated on empowering early-career development in the aviation sector.

The CSIR created an opportunity for the South African aerospace community to engage with these global thought leaders by hosting a panel discussion on “Empowering Aerospace Growth in Africa,” with panel members from the CSIR; TsAGI; ONERA; DLR; CAE; NASA and IFAR.

The final day of the summit saw IFAR members introduced to the CSIR aeronautics research facilities and the South African aeronautical industry. Delegates visited the CSIR’s Aeroswift and wind tunnel facilities, as well as Denel Aeronautics, Aerosud and the SA National Space Agency in Gauteng.

The late October IFAR summit was held at the same time as the Aeronautical Conference of South Africa and the Avi Afrique summit. IFAR leaders supported the local events delivering keynote addresses on future aerospace trends and drivers, the future of supersonic transport and air traffic management among other topics.

IFAR chairman and JAXA vice president Dr Fumikazu Itoh said it was “a memorable stay in Pretoria”.

“I am confident we will fondly look back on this summit as one where we had highly productive discussions and decisions leading to IFAR taking a great leap forward as an organisation and community.

“We also came away impressed with the high levels of capabilities CSIR and its industry partners possess in aeronautics research and technology and enjoyed fruitful discussions with industry leaders.”