The Old Diocesan Issue5 Mar2020 - Page 36

Lt Col Kyle Jonker stands in front of
a Super Lynx maritime utility helicopter
at Ysterplaat Air Force Base, Cape Town.
Kyle Jonker (1996O)
As a youngster, Kyle Jonker was
spellbound by anything mechanical,
which soon turned into an obsession
with aircraft. And while civilian
aircraft were fascinating, his true
passion lay in military aviation.
“I was at prep school when I realised
the only thing better than looking
at aircraft would be to fly them.
And so I set about making that
happen. I started my career in
the SAAF in January 2000 as
one of 40 candidates selected
for pilot training, of whom 20
were awarded their wings in
December 2002.
“After flying fixed-wings for a
year, I was identified as having the
aptitude to fly military helicopters,
and continued my training on a
variety of light utility helicopters
(LUH), before operating as a
commander on Oryx medium-lift
transport helicopters and Super
Lynx maritime utility helicopters.
I also returned to Central Flying
School Langebaanweg, where I did
a five-year stint as an instructor pilot,
training future pilots for the SAAF.
“A bonus of military helicopter
flying is the variety of work we do.
I’ve been involved in mountain and
sea rescue in the Cape, and police
operations on the border and
in various provinces. The most
gratifying flying I’ve done within
the borders of the country is as part
of fire-fighting efforts in and around
Cape Town, especially during the
destructive 2016-2017 fire season.
“For the SAAF, I have flown
the Pilatus PC-7 MkII Astra trainer
aircraft and Aérospatiale Alouette III
LUH, AgustaWestland AW109 LUH,
Denel Oryx medium-lift transport
helicopter and AgustaWestland
Super Lynx 300 Mk64 helicopter.
“The highlight of my career to date
is the multitude of peacekeeping and
peace-enforcement tours I have been
involved in across Africa on behalf
of the SAAF or under the auspices
of the United Nations (UN). The most
notable of these is the humanitarian
work done for the UN in the DRC.
I’m currently stationed at Air Force
Base Ysterplaat as the Air Wing
Coordinator to help facilitate the
base’s day-to-day operations, and
I continue to fly at 22 Squadron
(SAAF maritime helicopter squadron).”

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