The African aviation community has descended into South Africa’s capital city, Pretoria, to attend the first annual Aviation Innovation Summit, within African aviation industry.

Launched in 2012, the two-day summit, called Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) Avi Afrique Innovation Summit is hosted by Air Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS) SOC Ltd.

The 2017 theme is ‘In Africa. For Africa. By Africa: Enhancing aviation sustainability of the African market within the global space’. The AVI Afrique Summit is an ATNS’s thought leadership platform, specifically designed for the African aviation industry to engage on innovation-related Research and Development and as an exploratory infrastructure development tool for the participation of Small and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the aviation market across the continent.

This morning, delegates listened to our guest speaker, Soweto-born Mr Nthatho Moagi, a young emerging innovator. Moagi designed a Low-Cost Educational Robotics Toy (LCERT) kit developed to provide learners and educators with affordable access to educational resources in their Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics classrooms. His company, CRSP dsgn, was established to commercialise his invention. Named as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans of 2017, Nthatho is highly focused on empowering SMMEs in the innovation sector.

There is no doubt that innovation within the aviation sector is of the utmost importance, not only to ensure competitiveness across the sector, but also to enhance and advance the industry with a focus on safety and security. As the transport of people and cargo across countries, continents and time zones becomes increasingly complex, airlines, airport owners, operators, and investors are challenged to adapt and provide efficient aviation solutions.

Meanwhile, Mr Mark Van Wyk (two-time Avi Cumulus Award winner), last night walked away with the top Innovation Award, renamed the OR Tambo Cumulus Award at an Awards Ceremony, held at the CSIR ICC. The renaming is in celebration of the Life and Legacy of the Oliver Reginald Tambo, considered to be South Africa’s foremost freedom fighter.

Just before the Summit ends – this afternoon – the world’s smallest, most capable, personal reconnaissance system, the Black Hornet, will be launched in South Africa by Desert Wolf Consulting. The FLIR Black Hornet system is inherently safe and pose no risk to other air vehicles or personnel, allowing the system to be operated almost anywhere by trained pilots, day and night. The Black Hornet’s small size and electric motors makes it virtually inaudible and invisible once airborne.

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