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.
You only had to meet Werner once, or even just glance at his social media posts for a short time to understand that here was a larger than life character who lived life with full zest and at full throttle. And perhaps more importantly is was clearly evident that here was man that was greatly admired and loved by so many people.
He was enthusiastic about everything to do with aviation, and his enthusiasm touched everyone he interacted with. The dedication that he put into refurbishing his Zlin so magnificently is clear evidence of this.
Although he had been part of the competition aerobatics fraternity for a short time, there is little doubt that he would have very quickly made his mark in the highest rankings of our sport. He was a very competent pilot. One example was during the training leading up to the National Aerobatics Championships in Bloemfontein in 2016. Werner’s Yak 52 experienced a serious engine problem at a critical moment whilst flying aerobatics. In a cool, calm and totally professional manner, Werner assessed the situation, and made all the correct choices which resulted in a safe landing back onto the runway. A solid example of a very professional aviator.
Few people live life as fully as Werner did, but fewer still live with the humility that Werner exhibited, he took nothing, and no one for granted. He greatly appreciated the blessings that he was endowed with, and the experiences he had, and he always had an infectious smile for everyone.
Werner, the aerobatics fraternity will miss you and we will never forget you.
Chairman Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa.