The aircraft development group focuses on aerodynamic and structural research that could improve the performance and safety of sailplanes and light aircraft. The technology gained from the research is then directly implemented in new designs which have great commercial value. The group also focuses on new technologies for manufacturing of these aircraft in order to improve quality and to reduce manufacturing costs. These sailplanes are sought-after by some of the best pilots around the world in order to compete internationally in gliding championships.

Final year engineering students as well as post graduate students working in the group, experience a high technology, commercialized environment which further prepares them for a career in the industry. The group’s industry partners are Jonker Sailplanes and On Track Technologies.

Projects are:

  • JA-1 FAI 18-meter sailplane development
  • JS-1 Jet sustainer system
  • JS-1 FAI Open class 21-meter sailplane
  • JS-2 Self-launch sailplane (2016)


  • First flight of the JS1 prototype – December 2006
  • SABS DISA design excellence chairman’s award, 2007
  • South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) Type Certificate for the JS1 sailplane, 2010
  • Unveiling of the open class version of the JS1 in Uvalde, Texas, during the world gliding championships in 2012
  • Bronze medal from the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) in London. This is the first time ever South African organization to receive such a prestigious award from the RSeS since the establishment in 1866
  • Numerous first places in National gliding championships all over the world by pilots flying JS1 sailplane

Contact details:

Please contact Dr Johan Bosman at: