Chairmans Chirp

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.
Another National Championship has come and gone, congratulations to all our National Champions in the respective classes and a big thank you to all the volunteers, organizers, staff, sponsors and pilots for a safe and enjoyable contest. Bloemfontein has become a superb venue for aerobatics, a world class box layout, and excellent facilities. The wind ordered for the contest made for challenging flying conditions and the final day was all but blown away. In all a fun filled contest flown with great sportsmanship and we look forward to the next competition in Klerksdorp.
Full results are available on the website:
National (Unlimited) Champion - Patrick Davidson
Sportsman Champion - Dustin Hughes
Intermediate Champion - Kayle Wooll
Advanced Champion - Gary Glasson
Freestyle Champion - Nigel Hopkins
WAAC 2018 starts in Romania on 15 August 2018. South Africa will be represented by Eugene Du Preez and
Leigh Le Gonidec as well as John Gaillard as Chief Judge, Quintin Hawthorne as Judge and Johnie
Smith as assistant Judge. Good luck to our team and fly the flag high! You can follow the progress at
We look forward to a great year of Aerobatics,
Nigel Hopkins
Sport Aerobatic Club of SA

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.


We are all still reeling from the dreadful news of Michel's accident at an airshow on Saturday 27 August 2016, and I am certain that the entire Sport Aerobatic Club as well as the wider aviation fraternity will be deeply affected by his passing for a very very long time. 


With the launch of the SKY GP in Durban held recently we are blessed to have the
international pilots back on our soil at the end of May 2016.
The 5 International pilots competing in this years SKY GP will be:
Rob Holland-USA
Artur Kielak-Poland
Mikhail Mamistov-USSR
Gerald Cooper-UK
Aude Lemordant-France

We look forward to seeing you all there - book at Computicket now.


Kitty Hawk, Tempe, Middleburg & Uitenhage all have active aerobatic boxes as of
March this year. We will be able to host aerobatic events at these locations in the
near future. These new aerobatic boxes together with Vereeniging and
Syferfontein will help to promote the sport in a safe way.
There are standard procedures for the activation and closure of these boxes.
Please refer to the document in the Briefing Room on this website.

It is with great pride and joy that I get to congratulate Michel Leusch on his new title. WORLD INTERMEDIATE AEROBATIC CHAMPION.

The event was not without its interruptions from the weather as two competition program flights could not be completed. I doubt if it would have had any effect on Michel’s overall score but for the rest it could have.

The feedback from every pilot who flew was positive and we all learned a lot from the experience. Some local pilots had their first introduction to international judges and this would be very valuable going forward to prepare for future comps around the world.

The British Pilots could not believe how they were treated as celebrities in Swellendam by the town locals. "We can only try but will fail to make you guys feel as welcome in the UK compared to the South African experience" they said. The New Zealand team manager wished they had our energy as they can only scrape two competitions together a year.

We can all agree that this was a successful event held at a brilliant venue. As we flew in on Thursday I was greeted with a 40 Knot Headwind into Bloemfontein. It was cold and with that wind, there was clearly no flying in the box. Friday morning with icy conditions and wind-chill below 0 deg we got flying only around 9am. The benefit of these cold conditions was good engine performance.

The amount of work that has gone into building such an incredible aerobatic box marked on the ground was clearly visible from the sky above. Wally Goodrich and Conrad Botha have created the best looking aerobatic box in South Africa, if not in most parts of the world.

Gary Whitecross has joined the SAC with his Pilatus B4 Glider and kicked off what hopefully sooner rather than later will become a great new following in aerobatic competition flying in RSA.

Would you believe it, we did not get blown away! The week started with winds up to 35Kts on the ground and stronger in the box. The last 2 days,although cold,were windless compared to the start of the week with unbelievable flying conditions.

Some pilots flew their first competitions at Nationals and we are pleased to see new talent joining our family. The evening socials as always are very enjoyable, and once again the folks at the Klerksdorp Airfield delivered.

The winners of each class were:

Sportsman -Jason Alexander

Intermediate-Gary Glasson

Advanced -Elton Bondi 

Unlimited -Nigel Hopkins

Freestyle -Nigel Hopkins

By Neville Ferreira