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Air Services

Air Services Personnel

Head of Department: Air Services

Mr K. AR Maggs


Sandra Snelling 0137355109
Alta Purdon 0137354251



Grant Knight: Chief Pilot
Charles Thompson: Pilot

Fixed Wing

Ken Maggs

Has been in the SANParks service since 1987 and has served in the KNP Alien Plant Protection Unit, the KNP Rangers Services, stationed at Pretoriuskop and the Corporate Investigations Services (Anti-poaching and Investigations). He now heads up the Specialized Corporate Operations (SCO) comprising the following specialized units of SANParks: Corporate Investigation services (CIS), Veterinary Wildlife Services (VWS) and Air services (AS). Ken obtained his official Private pilots license (0270417330) in June 1996 and has over 700 hours flying experience. He has the following aircraft ratings: Cessna 172 Skyhawk, Cessna 182, Skylane, Cessna 206 Super Skywagon, Piper Pacer and a Bellanca 8 Scout on his license. At present he flies the SANParks Cessna 182 and Cessna 206 in support of anti-poaching and investigations related activities in the Parks

Ian Whyte

Ian Whyte started work in the Kruger National Park (KNP) in September 1970. Initially he was employed by Dept. Animal Health but in April 1974, he moved to South African National Parks (SANParks) in the Department of Scientific Services. Initial tertiary education was a diploma with the University of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1976. He gained an MSc in 1986 (University of Natal), and a PhD in 2001 (University of Pretoria). He started flying in 1991 in order to track radio-collared elephants in KNP. He subsequently took over the role of aerial census coordinator in 1998. He flies fixed-wing aircraft to census general game in the annual Aerial Line Transect surveys (ALTs). He also flies for SANParks in a variety of support roles including projects such as vegetation monitoring through aerial photography, and the tracking of radio-collared animals (buffalo elephant, lion, wild dog). He holds ratings for Cessna 172, 182 and 206 and a twin rating for Partenavia P-68. He has over 1800 hours flying experience.

Mike Knight

Dr Michael H Knight has been employed with SANParks since 1984. He was stationed initially in the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park as the resident Scientific Officer, where he obtained his PhD studying the movement ecology of large herbivores and carnivores over the southern Kalahari. He obtained his PPL in 1985 and has accumulated over 3500 hours on C182 and C206 types. The flying has focused mainly on aerial radio tracking and survey work. With the centralization of SANParks scientific teams, he was stationed in Kimberley in 1990 (which he later headed up), primarily focused on research in the arid parks. In 1999 Dr Knight established the Scientific Services office in Port Elizabeth to focus on the World Bank funded greater Addo programme. This office has grown to accommodate the Park Planning & Development section which Dr Knight now runs. His obligations are now to all park planning issues throughout SANParks which requires him to visit SANParks far flung national parks. Current flying involves reaching outlying parks as well as the aerial surveys in the Kalahari.

Giel De Kock

Began to work for SANParks in 1994 at Golden Gate NP as section ranger.
Transferred to Kgalagadi TP (Nossob) in 1995 as section ranger.
Done PPL in January 1996(C182); instructor was Danie Terblanche, a SANParks pilot.
Transferred to Richtersveld NP IN 2001 to manage the park and train a Richtersvelder as Park Manager.
Transferred to Namakwa NP 2003 under Park Planning/Development to activate the De Beers negotiations for Groen/Spoeg coastal section and linking this with the existing NP through a corridor.

Type of flying:

• Mostly radio collar tracking;
• Game census;
• Transportation of personnel in arid region(long distances) and whenever a park needs any type of aerial assistance.(1,200 Hours to date)

Bantam (Ranger Aircraft)

Steven Whitfield

Steven Whitfield was born in 1968 while his father Ted Whitfield was Warden in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. In 1970 his association with K.N.P started when his father was employed as Section Ranger at Klipkoppies section (now Mooiplaas).

After completing National service and acquiring his National diploma in Nature Conservation, Steven was employed in the K.N.P as a Wilderness Trails Ranger in 1991.

In 1995 Steven was appointed as Section Ranger and stationed at Nwanetsi, with subsequent postings to Vlakteplaas, back to Nwanetsi and to where he is currently posted at Tshokwane.

Steven obtained his PPL in June 2006 after the submission and approval by K.N.P Exco of a Pilot project, for the use of a Bantam B22J as a Ranger based and operated tool in the support of managing Ranger sections in the K.N.P.

Steven is rated on a Cessna 172 and the Bantam and is approaching a total flying time of 80 hours

Aircraft Maintenance

Stephen Zungu

Hangar Assistants