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Young black talent wins big at aviation awards


Young black talent won big at the recent Avi Awards that honours those making positive contributions in the aviation industry.

A Grade 10 teenager from Ga Rankuwa scooped an award in the recent the High School category awards while local aviation innovation company, Sentian Aerospace won the Overall Winner and SMME Winner for the design of its Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that can carry up to 15kg of payload over 1400 kilometres nonstop.

Muzi Dube; Edmund Moyo, Nigel Nkundhlane and Ishmael Chiremba of Sentian Aerospace.

Seventeen-year old Samuel Nkgoeng for his unique concept of lowering a wind turbine in an aircraft to provide energy to power small electrical items.

Nkgoeng is a pupil at NM Tsuene High School in Garankuwa and he received R2500 for his efforts.

Sentian won R100 000 for being overall winners as as well R2500 for also winning the SMME category.

Samuel Nkgoeng being handed his award by ATNS chairperson Simphiwe Thobela as ATNS interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo as well as Technology Innovation Agency senior managers Aarti Panday and Sello Maugane look on.

According to Muzi Dube, CEO of Sentian, the UAV eliminates the need for runways and heavy, complex launch equipment.

Furthermore, he said, the hovering ability allows for stationary surveillance of infrastructure such as stockpiles, power lines and pipelines.

"The idea behind our design was to reduce the cost of aerial transport. A typical helicopter can cost in excess of R10 000 an hour and we’d like to cut it down to about R2000 an hour.

“We believe Sentian Aerospace is uniquely positioned as we can in the future also offer services and products that can save lives such as delivering critical medical supplies to rural hospitals.”

Hosted by the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), the awards recognise those individuals who contribute to innovation, elevate the aviation industry through intelligent design of products and processes, and enhance the capabilities of the aviation industry.

“Our awards winner truly impressed us with their innovative and unique aviation concepts which speaks volumes of the sheer talent we have and also bodes well for future innovation and development,” said Thomas Kgokolo, interim CEO of ATNS.



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