People News

Philip Cronje the ULP Superman!

Your intrepid reporter brings exciting news of a man renowned for flying across half of Southern Africa (and beyond) to help pilots in distress!  It is the ULPower Superman!

This Superman lives in Pretoria, South Africa and is the director of Bundu Aviation, Philip Cronje!

Phil has always been passionate about aviation.  He started off as a kit sales & support centre for Zenith (Zenair) Aircraft, and has since grown Bundu Aviation into a full workshop offering aircraft repair & services, ATF inspections, electrical & avionics installations.

Phil was involved at Zenith aircraft when they did the FWF installation for the first UL350iS into a Zenith CH650 (a low wing aircraft) and that had him hooked on the ULPower range of aero engines. He hitched a ride with Nick Heintz (son of aircraft designer Chris Heintz) to fly from Oshkosh back to the Zenith factory in Mexico, Missouri in the plane.  That cross country flight was not only smooth and enjoyable, it removed any little doubts that may have lingered about the engine performance. “It was simply amazing!” he states.

Immediately after, Phil arranged to visit the ULPower factory in Belgium, where he spent two weeks with the ULPower team going over the engines and assisting with the build of engines on the production line.  Seeing the inner workings of the engine the first time instilled a deep confidence about engine integrity and strength, parts production and design.

People in the Southern hemisphere also  know him as a very competent engine mechanic,  specialized in ULPower, Rotax and Jabiru engines.  He is so sought after, he recently returned from a two-week trip covering Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa to work on a variety of projects.

Happy to enjoy the air conditioning of his office after two weeks in extreme hot temperatures, he sits back in his chair and explains “We are quite challenged with high density altitudes here in Gauteng South Africa regularly finding airfields at 8,000 feet altitutde, at ground level! It’s such a pleasure to see the ULPower engines always start, even straight after shutdown, when other aircraft engines need cool down periods, cowls opened etc for the vapour lock that occurs to clear. We always smile – as we don’t have those issues. Another benefit of the ULPower engines.  No problems with hot starts.”

According to our ULP Superman, the ULPower engines are becoming more and more well known and accepted in SA and their owners love them,  spreading the news to an even wider audience.

Full of pride, he tells me that he just completed the world’s first installation of the 200hp, six cylinder UL520is in a BD4 aircraft, in Namibia.

By assisting customers and overseeing the installation he ensures that his customers get to know their engines intimately.

When I ask him why this is so important he responds, “I have been working on aircraft now for twelve years, and I have a background in Design Engineering.  I have been absolutely impressed with the ULPower range of engines due to its robustness, simplicity and ease of maintenance. The ULPower engines are a doddle [really easy] to work on compared to other engines out there.  When the BD4 project came up, the customer was already convinced that ULPower was the way to go. The power to weight ratio and simplicity of the FADEC system, coupled with ease of working on the engines is what he wanted, and ULPower delivers just that! Guiding the customers on their installations has the added advantage that the customers get to know their engines and installations, feel more comfortable about various aspects and why certain things are done as best practice. I find that this approach instils confidence in the owner’s ability to inspect and maintain their own engines to the required parameters.”

When he opens up his facebook account to show me some pictures of this project, I discover there is more… he has also installed his favourite ULPower engine into a Velocity pusher!

“The Velocity owner was already convinced this is what he wanted, and the possibility of supplying a Reversed Rotation engine made the deal so much sweeter as it opens up so many more propeller options in the pusher application. Again also such a clean installation and light weight!  Airmaster sent us a prop setup to run in usual direction but pitching in reverse fashion, so our favourite hub and blades could be used in pusher configuration…”

You can see a video of the Velocity running here




For those in Southern Africa,  if you’re a pilot in distress or just want to meet the ULP Superman, give him a call on +27 834 852 427

Bundu Aviation has their own website:

In the meantime, you can join your editorial team as we follow his adventures on Facebook