Airspace restrictions over greater Cape Town this week for Armed Forces Day


The powers-that-be at the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) are taking no chances this week when Armed Forces Day will be commemorated in Cape Town and have instituted airspace restrictions for all aircraft, including UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).

“A temporary restricted airspace has been declared by aviation authorities in the Cape Town area,” according to a statement issued by the SANDF’s Directorate: Corporate Communications.

In addition to preventing people flying drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles, in the vicinity of military activities in and around the Western Cape provincial capital this week, the national defence force has also warned against “directing laser beams at aircraft”.

This and the restriction on UAV flights are in accordance with regulations promulgated by the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).

“Military aircraft operating in the Western Cape Region will conduct flypast and aerial displays within the legal limits of the SACAA and Military Regulations.  All aircraft will be under control of both military and civilian air traffic controllers (ATNS) and will be monitored closely.

“Local and International airspace users are aware of military flying operations as the necessary communication has been distributed by means of published notices (NOTAMS). Additionally, engagements with the local flying fraternity from minor airfields and international airports management were conducted.  These engagements foster close civil military relationships in the aviation sector and create understanding of planned SA Air Force activities.”

Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi quotes SACAA regulations and asks “the Western Cape public to refrain from interfering with any aviation activities, civilian or military, as interference can constitute a criminal offence”.

The temporary restricted airspace is defined as Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Muizenberg and Table View/Bloubergstrand in the Cape Town metropole. Flying drones or what SACAA terms RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft systems) in these areas when the SANDF is displaying is prohibited. SACAA regulations state drones are not allowed to fly within 10km of restricted airspace.

Final details of SAAF aircraft taking part in the 2019 Armed Forces Day event have not been released. Indications are Gripen and Hawk jets, C-130BZ Hercules and C-212 transport aircraft and Oryx, Rooivalk, A109 and Super Lynx helicopters will take part. The aircraft will fly out of AFB Langebaanweg and AFB Ysterplaat and will, in addition, to flypasts over Armed Forces Day event sites also provide show-of-force flying formations over the wider Western Cape, including the north west and southern coasts.

Highlight of the week is a mass parade and mechanised column marchpast with the salute to be taken by SANDF Commander-in-Chief, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday (February 21).