So far, the first half of 2021 has been incredible!
The year started with its challenges once again brought on by a spike in Covid infections. The committee felt it prudent to postpone all competition until we were through the Covid Second Wave. Luckily this only impacted the Gauteng Regionals which was postponed to and combined with the Judges Trophy we held early in March.
Other challenges included another CAA audit in February. The audit went extremely well with no findings or observations discovered. The committee must be thanked for the ongoing maintenance and improvement of our quality system.
The committee has recently lost two of its stalwart members while two new ‘young guns’, Warren Eva and Dusty Hughes have been co-opted in their stead.
Nigel Hopkins, who resigned at the time of the previous AGM, has been a leading light on the aerobatic scene. He has actively encouraged and supported many pilots to take up aerobatics since he himself got involved with SAC. With a combination of many hours of training and his talent, Nigel has set an example by achieving success at the highest level of the sport. Nigel has also attracted sponsorship opportunities for the club; apart from contributing to club funds, the Suzuki sponsorship in 2009 and 2010 was an unforgettable time which provided a significant boost to the status of the club. He has served on CIVA sub committees and is well respected internationally for his knowledge and leadership in aerobatics. While he has decided to opt out of committee work, we all trust that he will continue to share his vast knowledge and leadership at contests.
Barrie Eeles has served on our committee for over a decade. An Aeroclub Golden Wings recipient (for outstanding contribution to the SAC), Barrie served this committee with distinction. We recall his early involvement on the committee when he worked with the then chairman Ian Billing to reinvigorate what was at that time a waning sport. Through to his own chairmanship where he pioneered the successful training camps for RV and other emerging pilots. The fruits of those efforts still benefit the club today. Barrie was also instrumental in the Aerobatic Cylinder application & approval process. He has always been at the forefront of all committee decisions, never shy in volunteering to get things done, moreover, always doing as promised, in his direct and highly effective “Barrie” style. He will be missed!
The Gauteng Regionals/ Judges Trophy was a great contest. Planned as a one- day event over two days was fortunate as the first day’s flying was cancelled due to weather. Day 2 was warm and clear with a blustery wind which challenged pilots both in the box and on the runway! Results may be found on our website. Read more about this competition here:
Next, we moved to Wings Park, East London for the Eastern Cape Regionals. There are not enough superlatives to describe this event! Most definitely one of the best events on the calendar!
About a year and a half ago, we held a training camp down at Wings Park for a few guys with a Yak 52. This bunch of oil- stained 52 pilots, led by a highly energetic/ oil-stained Mitch Hill had grand plans for competition aerobatics at Wings Park. We very quickly discovered that they were serious and got on board. They organised a golf day and raised the money they needed to mark out an aerobatic box. Laying box markers was their next challenge. If you’ve seen the terrain the box falls over you would quickly realise that just getting a can of white paint to most of the markers was no mean feat! The box is stunning guys and we appreciate the amount of work that was put into it!
The Wings Park team hosted an incredible event and afterparty! Next time, please, fewer Gin Jets! Results may be found on our website. Read more about this competition here:
Last weekend the SAC participated in the Aeroclub Centenary celebrations at Middleburg Airfield. The event was very well attended and lots of fun. The SAC showcased the various competition aerobatic classes from Graduate to Unlimited that was well put together and commentated on. The pilots came in one after the other without delay which was rather impressive to watch! Many thanks to the pilots that offered up their time and aircraft for this event. Thanks must also go to our organiser, Elton Bondi and SAC Safety Officer, Quintin Hawthorne. Read more about our participation here:
Two weeks from now, the SAC will hold another Kitty Hawk Training Camp. These camps (especially Kitty Hawk) have been wildly popular. This camp, to be held on the 14th and 15th of May, is also over- subscribed. These camps are pegged at the novice from complete beginners to sportsman class pilots.
Planning for next weekends KZN Regional Aerobatic Competition is in full swing. For those participating have fun and fly safe!
I personally did not believe that a Nationals in 2020 was going to happen. As lockdown prevented all forms of recreation aviation, we ended up cancelling both the Eastern Cape and KZN Regional competitions. We decided to postpone Nationals to August and then to end September. When we realised a comp was possible, we first decided to gauge interest from our members (no point organising a Nationals for 5 guys!). We were all amazed at the response which to be honest, was unexpected! The committee gave Conrad Botha the green light to commence with planning to host what you see here today, an incredibly well attended and organised Nationals 2020! I would like to extend my thanks to Conrad Botha for not only the hard work required in organising an event of this nature, but also the never say die, let’s make it happen attitude. I think he deserves a round of applause!
As you all know, 2020 had its challenges. Initially Covid lockdown regulations completely outlawed recreational aviation. As pilots and aircraft owners, we feared for both lack of currency/ proficiency and the continued serviceability of our aircraft in particular, their engines. Aeroclub & CAASA fought hard to get maintenance flights approved for Recreation Aviation. Although it was great to get back into the air again, monthly flights didn’t do much to assure proficiency. An easing of lockdown allowed weekly proficiency flights to take place. Thanks mainly to Eugene du Preez, a flight authorisation system was designed and implemented by the Aeroclub that controlled the process. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Aeroclub for fighting to free up recreation aviation during this period. I can tell you, both Rob Jonkers and Marthinus Potgieter worked their asses for us off during this period.
The SAC committee had their share of challenges throughout the year starting with the CAA audit of our ARO. This was the first CAA audit after the dissolution of RAASA. It didn’t go well! We ended the audit with 15 findings which needed addressing prior to our ARO Certificate being issued. Our Manual of Procedures required a major overhaul & working documents needed to be created and implemented. Thankfully, we managed to complete the required changes and have them approved just prior to the Swellendam competition last year. Other changes included the addition of an Emergency Response Plan, a revised Contest Directors Report & improved selection criterion for SAC instructors. Document & record protection & storage procedures were revised – both are stored on Dropbox where information being accessible to all on the committee. Glen Warden is revising student training procedures together with instructor training guidelines, the latter, once implemented will be disseminated via annual instructor seminars. Thanks again for doing this for us Glen and we can’t wait to see the end result! Just recently, we drafted a new Code of Conduct (to be approved here today). We also intend updating our Constitution.
September this year saw another CAA audit of our MOP. We fared far better with the CAA arriving at 4 observations with no non-conformances. Our MOP required a few changes but this did not affect the issuing of our certificate. I must thank the entire committee for the work they put in to get the MOP up to standard. I must however single out one of our committee members in particular. Quintin Hawthorne put in massive amounts of work revising the MOP on more than one occasion. The CAA commented that we have one of the best interpreted (requirements derived from CAR PART 149) and implemented MOP’s of all the ARO’s. Thanks Q, it is appreciated! I would also like to thank the CAA’s Claude Luthaga for his assistance in this regard.
To the committees that come after this one; fear not, the hard work has now been done. It is however important to ensure that the system is well maintained going forward.
Next up, aerobatic boxes. We were hoping to have Wings Park and Heidelberg aerobatic cylinders approved by now. For various reasons, mainly due to the lockdown, the approval has been delayed. I am however happy to report that submissions for both of these cylinders will be considered at the next NASCOM meeting due to take place in November. I know Dusty and Adam are keen to get a competition organised for Heidelberg shortly after approval. Mitch and company down at Wings Park continue to get their airfield prepped and ready for next year’s Eastern Cape Regionals. We hope to have the Western Cape submissions, namely Malmesbury, Swellendam and Delta 200 in for approval shortly. Once these cylinders are approved, the intention is to have a training camp down there to re- invigorate the area and hopefully get some new pilots involved in our sport. We also envisage the training of local judges which would free up the cost constraints of having regular competitions down there. Ingmar Bezuidenhout is hoping to get a box approved at Phalaborwa airfield. I am sure you’ll all agree, a winter comp in the lowveld would be fantastic! We ask that all of our members support these initiatives by ensuring that they attend the competitions planned for these locations.
The Kitty Hawk Aerobatic cylinder is under pressure from the local community who are citing noise and safety concerns. The committee with assistance from the Aeroclub is currently dealing with this issue which seems to be more of a general aviation problem. The Kitty Hawk boys are obviously very fond of their box and we intend doing everything necessary to maintain that privilege.
The committee reviews the viability of our aerobatic cylinders on an annual basis. Should a cylinder fail to meet requirements as contained in our MOP, it is removed. Richards Bay and Springs aerobatic cylinders come to mind. Those that have read through our MOP will notice that the list of approved cylinders has been removed. We ask that members consult the CAA AIP ENR 5.5.49 for the list of approved performance zones. Please note that unless the particular aerobatic cylinder is in regular use, please consult with the committee before using it as there may be certain restrictions that have to be considered first.
At our last AGM, I outlined our objectives for the coming year. This basically revolved around grass roots growth and how we were going to achieve this. Training camps were organised throughout the year in the hopes of attracting pilots from the large RV fraternity in our country and its neighbours.
We started in June 2019 with the Tzaneen training camp. We then moved on to Wings Park, East London, Swakopmund in Namibia and then two training camps at Kitty Hawk, Pretoria (one just before and one just after lockdown). To get the word out to the general aviation population, we asked Garth Calitz at Flightline Weekly (www.flightlineweekly.com) to cover the events. Garth penned some terrific articles for us which no doubt brought interest to what we were doing.
The interest in these camps has been startling. Most camps were over- subscribed, in particular, the Kitty Hawk camps. Eugene probably has the numbers for this, but I am sure all of you have noticed the up swell in numbers of Sportsman and RV pilots at competitions over the last year. I count nine pilots at this event that are products of these camps and there are more that unfortunately could not attend this event. To all our new aerobatic pilots, thanks for giving it a go and welcome to this incredible sport!
Organisation of these events takes a monumental & time- consuming team effort! And there are many people on this team to thank.
Eugene du Preez
Eugene du Preez
Bertus du Preez
It must be noted that all of our instructors offered assistance as and where required.
Helm Ludwig – who was just too happy to get out of the Cape!
Garth Calitz – Flightline Weekly
Andre Venter – Flightline Weekly
Stacey van Zyl – SAC Instagram and Facebook updates
Kayle Woole - SAC– Facebook updates
Going forward, we intend to continue with grass roots training camps. As already mentioned, we want to get down to the Western Cape. We also want to arrange a camp for pilots based in Kwazulu Natal. I personally can’t wait to get back up to Tzaneen or perhaps Phalaborwa for another camp.
We have realised with all the focus on development at grass roots level, we have perhaps marginalised the training needs of our existing membership. In the year ahead, we envisage utilising the experience and skill set of our more experienced pilots and judges to improve your aerobatic flying. I am a firm advocate for incremental training. One camp a year seldom yields desired results. The plan is to arrange regular well- structured training camps as and where requested. More on this will follow in the next month or so.
To end, I would like to thank our committee for all the work put in over the past year. To all of our competitors I wish you an enjoyable and above all, safe competition. Thank you.
Tempe, Bloemfontein 1 October 2020
As I am sure you all know by now, all aerobatics is permitted.
Just recently, we were given additional permissions by the CAA to hold events (training days, training camps and competitions) - see CAA General Notice below this paragraph. This permission was granted based on the creation & implementation a Standard Operating Procedure that will be used at any of our events and when followed mitigate the risks associated with Covid 19. Our SOP may be found on our web- site - click on the Briefing Room tab. Details of these provisions may be found in the following CAA General Notice:
In practical terms, this is what this permission allows:
1. Allows a group of pilots to congregate at an airfield with an approved aerobatic box for the purposes of aerobatic flight i.e. training day, competition or camp.
2. Allows a group of pilots to congregate at an airfield with an approved aerobatic box for the purposes of an inter- provincial competition
Our members need to conform to the dictates of the SOP (found on our web- site – Briefing Room). It may seem rather complicated but in a nutshell the following must occur –
1. Ensure your Aeroclub and SAC membership is up to date.
2. Pre- Register on the day of the event.
3. Appoint a Covid Compliance officer for the event (C/O Appointment letter and Covid Screening Register available on the web- site – Briefing Room). The Compliance officer will screen all persons – this info is sent to our Registrar.
4. At the event, adhere to Covid infection avoidance protocols (contained in the SOP).
It is important that we conduct ourselves in a professional manner at these events ensuring that we adhere to the procedures put in place. One picture posted on social media of any one of our members breaking these rules may put this privilege in jeopardy. If there are any questions or you need help, feel free to contact me.
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:
Erik du Rand
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 Flightlineweekly.com. 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!
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. http://civa-news.com
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.
Awarded to Eugene Du Preez and Leigh Le Gonidec who represented SA at the Advanced World Aerobatic Championships in Romania. http://www.civa-results.com/2018/WAAC_18/indexpage.htm
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.