Incomar appoints Lance Wellington as new CEO

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Aerospace and defence company Incomar has appointed Lance Wellington as its new CEO, replacing former CEO and co-founder Johannes ‘Blokkies’ Joubert.

Incomar was co-founded in 1999 by Joubert, who has served in the SAAF since 1982, as a fighter pilot, fighter display pilot, and test pilot. He became CEO of Incomar in 2004.

Incomar has grown rapidly in recent years, and now employs more than 240 people. It focuses on systems design, development and integration; testing on a range of platforms; product development; and flight testing and support. The company has done considerable test flight and development work in South Africa and internationally over the years, for example on Paramount’s Ahrlac/Mwari aircraft – both Joubert and Wellington were test pilots for this project.

“Lance has a passion for fighter operations and flight test system development with more than 25 years’ experience under his belt. With broad-based management, technical and operational skills, he is well positioned to take over the role from former CEO and co-founder of Incomar, Johannes Joubert,” Incomar said in a statement announcing the new appointment.

“We feel we have the right candidate in Lance,” said Joubert. “We are heralding in a new era pertaining to the group, which has grown at a very rapid rate on both the local and international front. The timing is on point.”

Lance has spent 20 years in the South African Air Force (SAAF) where he earned his wings in 1997 and went on to fly and instruct on the Astra, Impala, Cheetah, Hawk and Gripen aircraft. He successfully completed the Professional Test Pilots Course at the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, California in 2006. He was also awarded the Ad Astra Decoration for “excellent airmanship or outstanding ingenuity or skill during emergencies or unusual situations on board aircraft in flight” after successfully landing a stricken Impala at night.

Between 2005 and 2008, Wellington served as a test pilot for the SAAF, before taking command of 85 Combat Flying School until 2011, when he moved to the Test Flight and Development Centre in the Western Cape to become an experimental test pilot there. In 2016 Wellington was head of flight operations for Gripen flight test operations. In January this year he was appointed head of flight testing at Incomar, before becoming CEO from 1 July.

“Not only is he highly accomplished as a test pilot and has proven himself as a strong leader at Incomar, but he also embodies everything Incomar stands for: integrity, precision and a solutions-driven approach,” Joubert said.

“It is an enormous honour for me to be taking up this position, and to continue to work with this extraordinarily skilled team. At the helm of this company, I hope to take Incomar to new heights,” Wellington stated.

Incomar is part of the privately owned Arya Group. It was grown and developed together with Mongezi India, who has worked extensively in the aerospace, defence and civil security sectors (he served as Chief of Aviation Security for South Africa, for example).

Much of Incomar’s work involves flight testing, and it owns a couple of aircraft for this purpose. A Cessna Caravan 208B is typically used for Electro Optical Sight (EOS) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) testing as well as avionics testing and evaluation and image data gathering, while an RV7A is used for flight testing training and modelling and simulation development, as examples.

Incomar has a complete Flight Test Engineering (FTE) capability and can offer a full solution from flight test definition through to flight test execution and final flight test reporting. The company has internationally qualified and recognised flight test engineers with experience on a wide range of airborne platforms.

On the engineering side, Incomar is a development house that provides solutions for clients through a wide range of avionics and mission computing systems.