Media Centre / News / Wits University National Aerospace Centre (NAC)

 2018 News 

 Wits University National Aerospace Centre (NAC) News 

Embraer tour of a new training facility with Airlink & National Aerospace Centre tour

On Wednesday, 28 March, winners and learners from Rhodesfield Technical High School were treated to a tour at the National Aerospace Centre facilities. The enthuisiastic youngsters were also given a tour of the new Embraer Training Centre facilities. Not only were the tours fun but it was educational too! Visit our 2018 Events page for pics.

 2018 Award Winner 

 Thabiso Leballo   (in her own words)
Nominated by Bhule Dlodlo & Wits University NAC

"My name is Thabiso Leballo. Growing up in a township like Alexandra, there are not many role models to look up to. Luckily my father helped me to dream big. We would stay up late playing video games, then one day he bought me an aeroplane game. He started taking me to airports just to watch the planes land and take off. I then wanted to become a pilot. I was young, inspired and I had a dream: to be a part of those big flying machines I saw in the skies of Alexandra and at airports. I quickly realised the world of airplanes, better yet, the world of aviation is big and connected, from pilots to technicians to engineers, and even hobbyists. I decided to be an aeronautical engineer. I chose this field because I wanted to understand more about how these big machines fly, and how they stay up there without falling. So I enrolled at the only university that offers undergraduate for Aeronautical Engineering: the University of the Witwatersrand. It has not been an easy path. I have truly come a long way. I am currently in my third year. Sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes I don’t, but in truth, though this road has been hard it is definitely worth it. I hope that I can have an impact on the world of aviation, in any way, big or small. I also hope to inspire young South Africans from disadvantage backgrounds - I want to show them that anything is possible and it doesn't matter where you come from, you can achieve your dreams."

 2017 News 

Wits team flying high

Engineering students reach the top 50 in Airbus global aviation competition
by Wits University. 20 January 2017

Four Wits Aeronautical Engineering students have progressed to round two in the Airbus Fly Your Ideas competition that challenges students from all disciplines to develop new ideas and innovate with Airbus for the future of aviation. South Africa is represented by Team Aero Squad consisting of the four Witsies: Makhosazana Moyo, Seshni Govender, Thabiso Leballo and Buhle Dlodlo.

Although we have different personalities and think differently, on some level we speak the same language and when you are willing to listen, you find that your team mates have strengths that you can learn from such as resilience, patience, good communication and the willingness to make sacrifices. Buhle Dlodlo, SA Team Aero Squad member

Read the full article in Wits' news here.

 2016 Award Winner

Buhle Dlodlo is our first Award Winner who is an aeronautical engineering student. She is one of Wits University’s top aeronautical engineering students, a past National Aerospace Centre (NAC) Scholarship recipient, and has taken the time to help with WOA.

Buhle is in the process of designing a program that will encourage high school students to read more books about aviation; she helped the National Aerospace Center develop an exciting one day program at Wits for our Award Winners; and she was responsible for selecting next year’s Award Winner from Wits.

National Aerospace Centre supports Wonders of Aviation 

The National Aerospace Centre (NAC) is a proud supporter of Wonders of Aviation. The NAC is a national aerospace-focused programme managed and hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits). 

Recognising the need for greater innovation and skills development in line with the needs of the South African aerospace industry, the NAC was launched in 2006. The centre engages with government, industry, academia and research institutions, locally as well as internationally, in promoting sector competitiveness and developing human capital. Additionally, the centre has a sound project management function, and enjoys partnerships with Airbus Research and Technology (R&T)Airbus Defence and Space (ADS)Boeingas well as the Universities of Cape TownStellenbosch, the WitwatersrandPretoria and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology amongst others. 

Internationally, the NAC has established a sound partnership with Airbus as well as participating in AeroAfrica-EU, an African and European Union aerospace initiative involving five countries.

Relevant skills for a relevant industry

The NAC runs an extensive human capital development programme, which includes human capital sponsorship, providing support for course development, a bursary programme and targeted training initiatives. Some specific projects include:

Driving innovation and competitiveness through research

The NAC facilitates research in key areas such as advanced materials and aeronautical dynamics, simulation, and control and aerospace design by fostering partnerships and funding projects, producing new technologies aligned with industry and government's vision and strategy for the aerospace industry.

Research is organised at the NAC in three thematic areas. In addition to conducting in-house research, the NAC funds projects and facilities at universities throughout South Africa. The thematic areas are:

Building aerospace awareness

The NAC also undertakes a number of discretionary projects and awareness initiatives, such as hosting a student day at the International Aerospace Symposium of South Africa (IASSA), a Youth Development Programme at the D Exhibition, and participating in the Sci-Bono Aerospace Week for school learners.

The key to the NAC's success lies in its extended networking capabilities, allowing best practice to be incorporated and participation in forward-looking strategies.

For more information visit the National Aerospace Centre website.