A new, much larger committee was elected at the recent AGM which was held virtually as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions. Traditionally the AGM would have been held at the Nationals, which this year has had to be postponed due to the pandemic, but it was decided to go ahead with the meeting on the originally scheduled date.
Cliff Lotter was the unanimous choice to fulfill the role of Chairman and Dusty Hughes elected to be his wingman. Retaining their previous portfolios was Annie Boon (Secretary), Quintin Hawthorne (Treasurer), and John Gaillard (CIVA Rep) while John Gaillard decided to step down as Chief Judge and Quintin Hawthorne elected to replace him. All provincial regions are now represented with a selection of enthusiastic club members.
Outgoing chair Gary Glasson had been faced with some unprecedented challenges during his tenure, all of which he managed successfully with the support of his deputy Eugene du Preez. The new CAA requirements for recreational aviation organisations after the demise of RAASA placed a huge emphasis on reviewing the way SAC managed its affairs. Gary spent an enormous amount of time attending to this task. He has earned some time off to practice for the Nationals.
Good luck to the 2021 committee!
The Aero Club of South Africa Centenary celebrations, due to be held in 2020, had to be postponed to 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was hosted by the Middelburg Flying Club and held in conjunction with the annual EAA Convention resulting in a great turnout of aircraft and airmen. While it was well supported by most of the recreational aviation sections, the Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa dominated proceedings with a selection of aerobatic aircraft, formations and demonstrations. Read the reports published by Pilots Post and Flightline Weekly.
2020 will forever be remembered for the impact that the coronavirus pandemic had on the world. The virus, labelled Covid-19, spread quickly and reached every corner of the globe by March when almost every country closed their borders in an attempt to stem its tide. Only world wars and plagues had resulted in universal ‘lockdowns’ of this ilk in the past, most of which were followed by years of protracted economic hardship. Locally, the airline and tourism economies were decimated, resulting in wholesale job losses.
The restrictions on international travel forced all the scheduled international aerobatic championships to be postponed to 2021 while there was only limited aerobatic competition in some countries during the lockdown. Despite being postponed several times from the originally scheduled dates in June, the lockdown restrictions were lifted sufficiently to allow for the South African Nationals to be held at the end of September albeit with required health protocols in place. Not many people had believed that any sporting activity would take place during the remainder of the year though, so the news was a relief to most aerobatic pilots.
The second edition of the publication Aerobatics - the South African Story is now available. Originally intended to be published in conjunction with the Centenary celebrations of South African sport aviation during 2020, unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic put paid to those celebrations in 2020 and the release of the book was delayed to include the results of the 2020 National Aerobatic Championships. The book documents the progress of sport aerobatics in South Africa over the past 60 years and includes detailed results and accounts of national championships, achievements by individuals at both local and international competitions amongst many other related topics. The book contains 100's of photographs and illustrations over almost 300 pages.
The book retails for R450 excluding postage and can be ordered by registering here.
By Dane Laing, as published in www.flightlineweekly.com
As a young boy, I always dreamed of taking to the air, when I left school I was adamant to start my flying career as soon as possible and was fortunate enough to realise this at a young age.
I now have amassed over 5600 hours and currently flying for a local airline but one of my aviation dreams had still not been realised until fairly recently that is. I’ve always wanted to delve into the adrenaline-filled world of aerobatics and thanks to the dedicated guys at the Sport Aerobatics Club (SAC) this is finally becoming a reality.
As of 17 August 2020 all aerobatic activities may be resumed without restriction. It will however be subject to the implementation of suitable measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus by following guidelines published by the Government. In view of this change, the 2020 National Championships will be held at Tempe airfield from 30 September to 3 October 2020.
A team from the SAC was recently invited to conduct a training camp in Swakopmund, Namibia for local RV owners. By all accounts it was a successful venture and enjoyed favourable compliments from the participants. Read the recently posted article on Flightline Weekly Online magazine, below.
Johnie Smith, Quintin Hawthorne, John Gaillard
Two SAC judges were honoured at the 2019 Aero Club Awards function held at Rand Airport. Quintin Hawthorne and Johnie Smith both received Special Recognition awards for their achievements at World Championship events during 2019 where each was ranked first at the World Aerobatic Championships (WAC) held in France, and the World Intermediate Aerobatic Championships (WIAC) held in the Czech Republic, respectively. Judges are assessed and ranked according to their ability to correctly apply the requisite judging criteria and to correctly rank the pilots overall placing.
While attending the World Aerobatic Championships in France earlier this year, I came across a newly released book that has, as it turns out, an important South African aviation connection. Written by acclaimed aviation author Annette Carson, Camel Pilot Supreme tells the story of a South African born pilot who achieved fame during the Great War.
It was with sadness that we learnt of the passing of Ian Popplewell on 6 October 2019 after an illness bravely borne. Ian was one of the longest serving members of the Sport Aerobatic Club and apart from the most recent years, he was actively involved with aerobatics for almost 40 years. Based at Baragwanath from where he flew his DH Chipmunk, Tiger Moth and Pitts S2A aircraft in local competitions, Ian served on the committee of the SAC for many years and in his quiet inimitable manner, got whatever task he accepted, done. He was Team Manager of the team that competed at the 1986 World Championships in England for which he was awarded National Colours.
Our condolences and thoughts go out to his wife Helen and their extended family.
RIP Ian Popplewell.
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