In 2002, the South African Air Force lost a total of 58 pilots and in 2001, 67 pilots. Of those who left last year, 25 took up better work opportunities,
while 27 others let their contracts expire, three more left for personal reasons, and three died. Considering the whispers of poor morale and leadership throughout the "new" South African armed forces, it's not surprising that so many of the older hands are "voting with their feet".
One of the pilots had over 36 years experience, three had 31 to 35 years, six had 26 to 30 years, 10 had 21 to 22 years, eight had 16 to 20 years, 10 had 11 to 15 years, 13 had six to 10 years, and seven between one and five years experience. When those with experience leave an organization and there's no one to backfill them, operational effectiveness plummets. If the United Nations is looking to South Africa to pick up any slack in peacekeeping operations, this will just be one more reason for them to keep looking.
On February 26, the South African National Defense Force was promised $151 million over the next three years to acquire four maritime helicopters and $ 25.3 million a year for the operational costs of peace support missions. Now they just have to find someone to fly the birds. - Adam Geibel
The unofficial South African Air Force webpage is online at: http://www.saairforce.co.za/