Chairmans Chirp

Thrown into the deep end is an understatement! The Monday after a very successful 2019 Nationals, Nigel Hopkins, John Gaillard and I attended a CAA Audit of our ARO (Aviation Recreation Organisation – Aerobatics). With the dissolution of RAASA, the CAA picked up the responsibility for the ARO’s. They have for obvious reasons taken this responsibility seriously and we ended the audit with a total of 15 findings that needed attention before we could renew our certificate.

Without going into too much detail (Mike Stark will complain!), the committee, with the assistance of a few energised CAA personnel, managed to resolve the issues that led to the findings. The changes basically forced better oversight over our operations and members. The revisions also ensured improved compliance with our own procedures. Just when we thought we had it “signed, sealed and delivered”, the CAA took issue with the format of our MOP (Manual of Procedures). With much haste certain members of our committee, again with assistance from CAA personnel managed to reformat the MOP and have it approved just prior to the Swellendam competition. It was close… very close!

We now have a documented MOP that I believe we can all be proud of. Please visit our website and take a look, its worth a read. The bulk of the work has now been done. Although there is a possibility that CAR PART 149 may be revised, necessitating changes to our MOP, we don’t expect these changes to occur anytime soon. Provided we maintain what we have now, I doubt the CAA will find issue with our MOP going forward. Forming part of these changes we are also renewing our LOP’s (Letter of Procedures) with ATNS that approve designated aerobatic zone. These should be concluded early in the new year. We also managed to change the CAA’s mind on how airspace clearances and approvals for our competitions occur. We now have a solution that gives us far greater flexibility. I would like to extend my thanks to the entire committee for the work they put in up to this point. I would also like to thank the following CAA personnel for the assistance offered – it is certainly appreciated:  

Subash Devkaran
Erik du Rand
Brian Kumalo
Claude Luthaga           

But let’s talk about the ‘why we’re all here’ – Aerobatics!!

We will soon have dedicated aerobatic cylinders at Swellendam (WC), Heidelberg (GA) and Wings Park (EC). We are busy with the CAA approval process and it is our hope that these boxes are approved early in 2020.    

As stated in my previous chairman’s chirp, the plan was to concentrate our focus on growing the club. We have employed the use of aerobatic training camps in order to attract and safely introduce new pilots to our sport. We advertise these camps in the form of articles that Garth Calitz kindly shares on Thank you for this Garth, it’s appreciated! The articles are then shared far and wide on various social media platforms including our own Facebook page and website. This creates awareness which results in more training camps. Over the past 6 months, we have held training camps in Tzaneen, Wings Park, Swakopmund and a RV Day at Kittyhawk. The Kittyhawk Day created an opportunity for our next camp (planned for early in 2020). This camp will hopefully bring even more RV pilots into the fold.
Apart from the training camps, the new year will see an Eastern Cape Regional contest. The Wings Park Training Camp got the guys there really excited about aerobatics. They were very keen to hold a contest and we of course want to grow this into an “aerobatic hub”. Believe me, they will go all out on this event – it will be one definitely not to miss! Please do what you can to ensure you do not miss this event!

Nationals will take place at Tempe next year. We have decided to once again couple it to an Air Show. Both the
Air Show and our Nationals will be organised by Conrad Botha. Knowing Conrad’s organisational skills and his ability to source sponsorship, I am left in no doubt that the SAC will find itself in a far better financial position subsequent to this Air Show! Good luck Conrad, you’ll need it!

We unfortunately lost our bid to host the 2020 WAAC (World Advanced Aerobatic Championship). It went to the Czech Republic. This was a major let- down for us. Without going into detail, we will take the lessons learnt and be sure to apply them to our next bid. As a lot of the leg work had already been done (sourcing aircraft, location, sponsorships etc.), we felt that we could use the resource for a SHAC (Southern Hemisphere Aerobatic Championship), the brainchild of Nigel Hopkins. We are hoping to get this off the ground first thing in the new year. More to follow…  

As you may have gathered, 2020 is looking really promising! Please support as many of the competitions and training camps as possible! Please continue bringing the new guys to the game!

While we’ve cheerfully welcomed some new members to the club this year, we’ve unfortunately also had to say sad farewells to some who have passed on.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support over the past year and wish you and your family a peaceful festive season & prosperous New Year!

Gary Glasson

First, words of thanks to the previous committee – Nigel, Barrie, John, Q, Elton, Helm, Cliff, Bugs & last but not least, Annie. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to keep this club on the road. I didn’t fully appreciate this until I was elected to the committee. The committee put the work in because they are passionate about aerobatics, and 100% dedicated to ensuring that our club & sport continues well into the future.  The 2018/ 19 committee have all been re-elected for the next year. Thank you for once again standing for election! We have included a few new members namely, Eugene du Preez, Conrad Botha and Mike Stark, thank you gentleman!

Our objective for the coming year is the very same as the years previous, which of course is to grow our club. We need to add new members. The reasons I am sure are obvious to all. So the question is how?

In the past we have pretty much left it to the committee, and I guess mainly the chairman to wave a magic wand and produce new members, which they did and we thank them for it. However, the committee is a small group of volunteers, with a limited amount of time & resources. They can’t be everywhere on every airfield all of the time canvassing for new members. So what do we do?

Another hectic year is coming to a rapid end and we have one contest left. It has been another good year with many of our members excelling Internationally. The 2019 CIVA figures have been released and it’s good to see the plans for the 2019 International events, which also include the Intermediate World Champs.
Aeroclub Awards
Congratulations to our members for their various awards.
Aeroclub Gold Wings:
Awarded to two dedicated members Barrie Eeles and Elton Bondi for their services to the SAC and Aeroclub. Well done Gents, well deserved recognition.

National Colours:
Awarded to Eugene Du Preez and Leigh Le Gonidec who represented SA at the Advanced World Aerobatic Championships in Romania.

At the recent AGM the 2018/2019 SAC Committee was elected and I am honoured to be able to serve as Chairman for the next 12 months. It gives me great pleasure to introduce the Committee to you;
Chairman Nigel Hopkins
Vice Chairman Barrie Eeles
Secretary Annie Boon
Finance Quintin Hawthorne
Chief Judge/ CIVA Rep John Gaillard
Members: Helm Ludwig, Elton Bondi, Mark Hensman, Gary Glasson, Cliff Lotter
A big thank you must go to the 2017/2018 Committee lead by Chairman Elton Bondi for all the hard work and dedication to the sport of aerobatics. There is no doubt that recreational aviation in SA is faced with mounting difficulties as the country in general is pressured by financial and political stress. Aerobatics is not immune and it is important for us to ensure the Sport remains healthy and importantly fun for all.
SAC 2018/2019 VISION
The Committee has already engaged and there are some good ideas on the table. We plan to look at some introduction to aerobatic days, more fun and inclusive contests around the country and some social and fund raising events. Notwithstanding the current climate we want to make the year ahead fun for all. Our motto for the year is #4theluvofaerobatics. Social media is a great platform for promoting aerobatics so please join us on the SAC FB page. This is for club activities and promotion and not for promoting personal interests. We aim to keep this and the website current and informative. We ask all our members to get involved this year and join in on the fun. Please engage with the committee with your suggestions and ideas.

A Review of 2017 for the Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa
2017 was not an average year for the South African Sport Aerobatics Club.  We had some significant highs, and lows too.
We very sadly said good bye to Werner Nel who was tragically lost when his engine failed shortly after take-off at Kitty Hawk.  Werner was larger than life character and a rising star in aerobatics; he is, and will continue to be missed by the Sport Aerobatic Club.
One of numerous highs for the club was the Unlimited World Aerobatic Championships that we were fortunate to be able to successfully host for the first time in this country.  It was also the first time in the history of international sport aerobatics that all competitors were able to fly all flight programs.  We received warm thanks and sincere accolades for hosting the event from many of the competing pilots as well as the international officials.   
Although we were very grateful to receive some corporate sponsorship we did not, despite a huge effort, raise as much as we had hoped to; in fact when one of the international jury members learnt how small the budget available to us was, he was truly amazed that we were able to pull it off at all. 



The way that Werner lived will remain an example and inspiration to all of us who knew and flew with him.  
Much like the legendary Second World War ace Douglas Bader, Werner overcame significant physical obstacles with huge courage in order to gain his wings.  Not content with merely being a private pilot, Werner went on to become a highly respected commercial pilot and instructor, giving not only knowledge and skill to his students, but inspiration too.

I understand and accept that the inherent nature of aerobatic flight places demands on both equipment and aircrew that necessitate higher levels of safety vigilance than almost all other flight operations.   
I understand that the two most important components of safety in aerobatics are knowledge and self-discipline.  Knowledge to be able to identify hazardous conditions and circumstances, and self-discipline to proactively avoid such hazards.
I am sensitive to the reality that once the basic handling skills have been mastered, the resultant euphoria of aerobatics can often induce displays of unwarranted overconfidence and showmanship which often lead to misjudgement and other dangerous practices beyond the ability of pilots and equipment.
As a member of the aerobatics fraternity I have an obligation to inform other aerobatic pilots of any of their actions that I deem hazardous.  In turn, I have an obligation to accept such critique when offered to me by fellow pilots.
I recognise that aerobatics attract significant attention, and hence I have an obligation to exhibit high levels of airmanship in order to set an example of professionalism at all times.
The opportunity to fly aerobatics is an extraordinary privilege requiring extraordinary levels of maturity, discipline and judgement.
Deserve the right to be part of aerobatics.