Chairmans Chirp

It is with great sadness that we end off the year with the passing of one of our long standing members, Glen Warden. As the saying goes, Glen was an officer and a gentleman, in the true sense of the word! Every person I know agrees with me and hence the feeling of utter devastation at the untimely loss to the aviation fraternity and particularly, to the Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa. We will miss you Glen. We will miss your attitude to life. We will miss your willing advice based on your years of experience, which was worth its weight in gold! We will miss your friendly, welcome, hospitable, humble and courteous demeanor! I could go on infinitely, but suffice it to say, Glen’s passing leaves a vacuum that will take a long time to fill.
Rest in Peace my Friend!
Obviously the Ace Of Base was canned after the incident as we were all in shock and not fit to fly . The accident was totally unexpected and there are some lessons to be learnt and the committee will discuss and implement whatever is deemed necessary in an attempt to ensure that this never happens again.
The above notwithstanding, the club is in a healthy condition even though we have been through another year of uncertainty where forward planning proved to be a hit and miss affair because of covid restrictions. As opposed to 2020, where we only managed 4 comps for the year, this year we managed 5 comps, so hopefully in 2022 we can get back to our normal 7 comps for the year. In spite of all the distractions in 2021, we still managed to have well attended comps, so thankyou to all the guys that made an effort to participate.
Covid also managed to limit our planned training camps and as a result we only managed one camp upcountry at Heidelberg but the guys down in the Cape managed to organize three. Well done to all the guys that participated and hopefully we can put together more in 2022.
On the judge’s side, we had our very esteemed and current world chief judge, Sir John Gaillard, retiring from the position of South African chief judge, a position he has held since 1652. Once again thank you John for your dedicated efforts to promote and support the sport of aerobatics not only locally, but internationally as well. Congratulations too, on being selected the vice president of CIVA!
To fill John’s shoes, we have the very capable and eminently qualified, Quintin Hawthorne! Congratulations Q and may you enjoy many years judging some of the world’s best, and just to keep you humble, worst pilots!
To all our judges, you guys are the best, most patient, long suffering people I know and although it does not always show, we love you to bits.
The following provinces will be hosting comps: Gauteng, WC, KZN, FS, Limpopo, NW and of course the Nationals in the EC. Dates for comps can be found on the website.
Speaking of planning, the 2022 Nationals is definitely happening at Wings Park, which if our president allows us, will be taking place from the 15th to the 18th of June. Knowing the organizational abilities and hospitality of Mitch and his motley crew, this promises to be a razz, so make sure you book the dates!
The Advanced World Champs take place in 2023 from the 11th to the 23rd of October and hopefully we will be able to field a full team. In the new year we will start the selection process so start practicing!
May everyone have a blessed Christmas and here’s looking forward to an exciting and successful 2022. Fly safe.
Cliff Lotter


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.

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 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
 

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.

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
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. 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.