Master of Ceremonies at the lavish dinner held at the historical Wanderers Club Maj General Des Barker is a legend in his own lifetime. A fast jet pilot of more than thirty years' experience with more than 6500 hours he was a member of the Silver Falcons, the Officer Commanding of the SAAF's Test Flight and Development Centre and the author of numerous articles and books on aviation including 'Zero Error Margin' a definitive analysis of safety at air shows worldwide.
In his opening address Maj Gen Barker welcomed the VIP's that included Poppy Khoza - Director of Civil Aviation, Ron Wheeldon - AeCSA appointed RAASA Director, John Morrison - AeCSA appointed RAASA Director, Neil De Lange - CEO RAASA and Jeff Earle - Past Chairman of AeCSA.
In his welcoming address Maj Gen Baker asked the audience to please stand saying, "In the audience tonight, we have Chester Chandler an Aero Club supporter, who already has received our highest accolade - Gold Wings for his contributions over the years, but we need to acknowledge the number of years this support has been provided. Tonight we acknowledge and celebrate his continuous support for the last 60 years of our near 100 years of operations.
It then was time for Paul Lastrucci, Chairman of the Aero Club of SA to do his Chairman's Address. Born in Krugersdorp on 6th August 1961 Paul's father emigrated from Tuscany in Italy to South Africa just before WW2. His mom was a South Africa and he is one of three siblings a twin sister and an elder brother by eighteen months.
Paul started Flying in 1987 at the Krugersdorp Flying Club and attained his PPL in 1988. He did a tailwheel rating in 1997 and is current on high performance single engine aircraft and also has a passion for vintage and experimental aircraft. Paul currently has a Ĺ share in a Piper PA 12 with his brother Peter.
National Colours and Special Acknowledgements
The South Africa Olympics Committee - SASCOC - only acknowledges participating competitors and their team managers by awarding them Springbok colours. Yet many sports require the support of others for competitions to actually take place. Aero Club acknowledges these whose dedication, commitment and sacrifice is equal to that of the competitors, and as necessary; by awarding their efforts with Special Acknowledgement Certificates.
Balloon and Airship Federation of South Africa (BAFSA)
Danie Minnaar and David Mac Gregor are not in attendance, but each are awarded with Senior Protea Colours for participating in the 23rd FAI Hot Air Balloon Championships held at Austria from the 19th to the 25th of August 2018 and special Acknowledgement to the Crew who was Heinrich Hoffman, Jos Minnaar, Burger Minnaar.
Parachute Association of South Africa (PASA)
Matteo Pagani accepting the award on behalf of Christopher Teague
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Christopher Teague for participating in the 7th FAI World Championships of Canopy Piloting held at Wroclaw, Poland from the 2nd to the 7th of July 2018.
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Johannes Liebenberg for participating in the 2nd FAI World Wingsuit Flying Championship held at Prostejov, Czech Republic from the 26th to the 31st of August 2018.
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Bailey Edmunds, Bernard Janse van Rensburg, Carmen Edmunds, Ian van den Berge and Yolande van den Berge for participating in the 23rd FAI World Formation Skydiving Championship held at Goldcoast, Australia from the 6th to the 13th of October 2018.
Bailey Edmunds & Nicolaas Hickley, Claire King and Diederik Venter were not present.
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Bailey Edmunds, Claire King, Diederik Venter, Nicolaas Hickley for participating in the 3rd FAI World Cup of Indoor Skydiving held at Zallaq, Bahrain from the 25th to the 28th of October 2018.
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Matteo Pagani, Christopher Teague and Warren Hitchcock for participating in the 9th FAI World Cup of Canopy piloting 2017 held at Dubai, UAE from the 25th of November to the 2nd of December 2017.
Sport Aerobatic Club (SAC)
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Eugene du Preez and Leigh Le Gonidec for participating in the Advanced World Aerobatic Championships held at Ploiesti, Romania from the 15th to the 28th of August 2018
Special Acknowledgement to Quintin Hawthorne, Johnnie Smith, Lazlo Liskay and John Gaillard for Judging the Championships.
South African Modelling Aircraft Association (SAMAA)
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Evert Scholtz and Keith Renecle for participating in the FAI F2 World Championships for Control Line Model Aircraft held at Landres, France from the 14th to the 19th of July 2018.
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Alan Smith, Craig Goodrum, Michelle Goodrum for participating in the FAI F3J World Championship for Model Gliders held at Ploiesti, Romania from the 22nd to the 28th of July 2018 and Junior Protea Colours to Aldo Vos for his participation in the F3J World Championships for Model Gliders.
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Alan Ball, Devon Barnett, Luke Bakke and Ruivan Branco for participating in the FAI F4U World Drone Racing Championships held at Shenzhen, China from the 1st to the 4th of November 2018. Junior Protea Colours to Jadon Churchman for his participation in the FAI F4U World Drone Racing Championships
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Andrť Stockwell, Clinton Carter-Brown, Grant Brook and Roston Dugmore for participating in the F3A World Championship for Aerobatic Model Aircraft held at Villa Gesell, Argentina from the 5th to the 11th of November 2017. Roston was not present.
South African Power flying Association (SAPFA)
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Caroline Eckard, Frank Eckard, Jonathan Esser, Martin Meyer, Mary de Klerk, Matthys van der Merwe, Rob Jonkers, Ronald Stirk and Sandra Goddard for participating in the 21st FAI World Rally Flying Championships held at Dubnica, Slovakia from the 5th to the 11th of August 2018, and Special Acknowledgement to Hans Schwebel for being the 1st International Judge, Ursula Schwebel, Jozef Jacobs and Barbara Frieboese who was the International Judges and Leon Bouttell who was the Judge Observer at this event.
Soaring Society of South Africa (SSSA)
David Pretorius and Stephan vd Berg
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Attie Jonker, Dawid Pretorius, Uys Jonker, Nico Le Roux and Stephan van den Berg for participating in the Club, Standard and 15meter classes of the 35th FAI World Gliding Championships held at Ostrow, Poland from the 1st to the 7th of July 2018.
Senior Protea Colours awarded to Abraham Kotze, Carol Clifford, Laurens Goudriaan, Oscar Goudriaan and Uys Jonker for participating in the Open, 18meters and 20 meters, 2-seater classes of the 35th FAI World Gliding Championships held at Hosin, Czech Republic from the 28th of July to the 12th of August 2018.
South African Hang and Paragliding Association (SAHPA)
Special Acknowledgement Certificates awarded to Andre Rainsford-Alberts, Andrew Smith, Jon Pio, Khobi-Jane Bowden, Russell Achterberg, Stephan Kruger, Theunis de Bruin for participating in the Paragliding World Cup Tour held at Aksaray, Turkey from the 8th to the 15th of September 2018.
Special Recognition Certificate is presented by Aero Club to Alard Hufner for winning the Icarus Trophy 2018. The Icarus race is a 1000-mile, unsupported, cross country paramotor adventure race. This is you and your flying machine against the wilderness in the ultimate test of pilot skill and endurance, this is the world's toughest air race which took place in Southern Africa in July 2018 and started on the 25th of July with 27 paramotorists taking to the skies just north of Johannesburg and took them across Botswana to finish near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Alard completed the journey over a period of three days, 27 pilots from the UK, Europe, North and South America, South Africa and the Middle East made it to the finish line. Alard also won the shorter weekend-long-X-series event in April this year.
Special Recognition Certificate is presented by Aero Club to Christopher Teague for the splendid achievement on setting the African Canopy Piloting Record of 2.404 seconds over a 70meter carved speed at Wroclaw Poland on the 4th of July 2018. The previous record was 2,434 seconds also set by Christopher Teague on the 5th of April in 2015.
Special Recognition is presented by Aero Club to Naomi Kotzee for being invited to be part of the Vertical Elite Team to participate in the Vertical Formation World Parachute Record 2018 attempt held at Skydive Chicago, Ottawa, IL, USA from the 13th to the 18th of August 2018.
Nico Hickley and Baily Edmunds
Special Recognition is presented by Aero Club to Bailey Edmunds, Nico Hickley, Claire King and Dirk Venter for achieving the great distinction and honour of representing South Africa in the sport of parachuting Indoor Formation Skydiving.
Richardt Lovett accepting the award on behalf of the club
Special Recognition is presented to the Middelburg Aero Club Team for successfully hosting the Aero Club Airweek 2018. The team accepted the challenge of hosting the Aero Club Airweek 2018 with enthusiasm and met every problem with a solution. This was a true team effort and it would be unfair to single out any person, however under the guidance of Richardt Lovett, an excellent air meeting was achieved. The event was marred by imperfect weather but that should not discount the extraordinary efforts the team went to, in hosting the event.
Special Recognition is presented to Theunis De Bruin out of 278 pilots for winning the Nordic Open 2018, with a total score of 2507 in his Ozone Enzo 3 Glider the competition was held at Macedonia from the 26th of August to the 1st of September 2018.
Bailey Edmunds, Carmen Edmunds, Bernard Janse van Rensburg, , Ian van den Berge and Yolande van den Berge were awarded certificates by the FAI for establishing a new continental record in the 4-way parachute formation discipline.
Whilst Henri Liebenberg was awarded a FAI Certificate for establish a new continental Africa distance record in wing suit flying record.
Daniel Ralefeta is an IT specialist and trainer, but most importantly, an enthusiastic aviator, is highly commended in the South African government ICT strategic development for political bearers and civil servants alike. His IT skills are utilised by PiLog Data Management key projects to ensure maximum input into the uplifting of ICT skills for previously disadvantaged communities.
As Chairman of the Aero Club of South Africa Transformation and Development division, Daniel oversees the development of aviation enthusiasts through model flying, glider pilot training and the achievement of a private pilot license. It is his overwhelming and insatiable enthusiasm for fellow aviators, and creating new ones, Daniel is also a serving member of the Executive Committee for Wonders of Aviation.
James, also a shareholder in The Airplane Factory, grew up on a farm in the Kwa-Zulu Natal midlands of South Africa. He is a qualified lawyer who completed a university degree in science prior to studying law. More recently James has worked as a VP of a mining exploration company listed in London and Toronto. Following the successful sale of the mining business, James was able to give expression to his love of flying by joining Mike as his business partner in The Airplane Factory.
Most Enthusiastic Flying Club
1st Place for the most enthusiastic Flying Club award is presented to the Ermelo Aeronautical Society. Their general enthusiasm is demonstrated throughout the year in their activities, from a willingness to host the PTAR, to organising distinguished guest speakers, to being an early participant in African Pilots Flying Club articles. They boast about 60 members, and 35 aircraft. But it is their enthusiasm and support for Aero Club activities that we celebrate tonight.
2nd Place for the Most Enthusiastic Flying Club award is presented to Brakpan Aero Club. One of the older flying clubs, founded in 1928, it has been continuously active especially with training since Sluggy started instructing in 1963. They now own the airfield and have upgraded the facilities to make it a destination of choice for the $100 breakfast. The overall enthusiasm is demonstrated in hosting the Safety First Aviator presentations and continuing to find reasons to celebrate aviation such as a Women's Day or a Bi-plane day, or even a Cessna Day.
Air Show of the Year Award
In 3rd Place FAW Ermelo Air Show
Ermelo Aeronautical Society was the first airshow of the 2018 season. The officials went out of their way to accommodate those professional photographers. The overall logistical management of fuel and smoke oil, air traffic control, spectators, vendors, sponsors, the large beer garden tent and of course the participating pilots was outstanding. The pre-show documentation was high quality. This was an excellent day of exciting entertainment as the display pilots excelled to keep the crowds on their feet and cheering with delight. As an outlying town on the air show circuit the Ermelo team went beyond the normal call of duty to earn this airshow a place amongst three best in South Africa.
2nd place Rand Airshow
The annual Rand Airport Airshow is known to be one of the bigger shows on the circuit. Not only in footprint but also in the offering to the public. The complexity of the layout in terms of airspace and other logistics is a challenge to any organiser. The Rand team have managed to capture this winning formula to near perfection. Crowd numbers is proof of this concept. A line-up of participants can't wait to be part of this event to entertain the crowds. A wide variety of stalls compliment the crowd area with plenty of opportunity to view static display and other aviation related stalls. Despite the economic constrains in South Africa, the Rand Air Show management continue their support and commitment to host a show of such magnitude and maintain the world class standards in the flying displays. The Rand show has become a "landmark" on the SA calendar. The show style and presentation of the airshow programme are aligned with world class standards.
1st place Lowveld Airshow
The Kishugu Lowveld airshow started with early morning action in the sky with the launch of several hot air balloons to well after sunset with the night formation flight of the Puma Energy Flying Lions, followed by an incredible fireworks display and a rock band on the airside. A very first in South Africa. With a good mix of military aircraft, including the Gripen, two Airlink Embraer E195 displays, Working on Fire Huey helicopters and water bombers, the brand new to South Africa magnificent Blackhawk helicopter as well as a fantastic line-up of individual display aircraft and aerobatics teams this was an airshow to remember. The general layout of operational matters and the professional handling of the pre-show planning, post-show debrief to ensure continuity and identify areas of improvement is a huge contributing factor to ensure a place amongst the top three air show in South Africa.
The Youth Development Awards is presented to an individual for his significant Contribution to the Development of Aviation amongst the Younger Generation.
The Youth Development award is presented to Henk van Wyk for his significant contribution to the Development of Aviation amongst the younger generation. When PASA received the first allocation of SRSA funding via the Aero Club in April 2016, Henk van Wyk at Skydive Mossel Bay identified one of his parachute packers as a worthy recipient for such funding. Sakhele Tyakume had joined Skydive Mossel Bay as a parachute packer in 2012, having reviously packed parachutes and qualified as a skydiver in Grahamstown. From the outset, he had made known his long-term goal of becoming a Tandem Instructor.
The Don Tilley Trophy is presented to Nigel Musgrave for his significant Contribution to Safety in Aviation.
Nigel has been:
An ASSA Accredited Safety Officer for more than 10 years the Chief Safety Officer at the President's Trophy Air Race since 2016, the Designated Safety Officer for EAA Chapter 322 and of EAA of South Africa for at least 4 years
Nigel has acted as Safety Officer for numerous air shows, fly-ins, air races, rally's and other Aeroclub member organisation flying events at many centres all around South Africa. He works tirelessly at all these events. Nigel also assists the flying clubs, AeCSA member organisations in the tedious process for all pre-event and post event documentation required.
Without doubt, Nigel's dedication has been a major factor in enhancing flight safety. Most often, Nigel Musgrave's oversight costs him financially on most occasions when he carries out Safety Officer duties.
The Dennis Jankelow Trophy is presented to Sean Russell for exceptional airmanship
It is not often that we award someone who steals an aircraft. Our candidate DID actually steal a motorglider at the age of 12, and sent himself solo in the process. He invited a friend to join him in running away from home in Cape Town, to see his mum in Johannesburg. He was most successful in this venture arriving safely at Robertson to refuel, where his conscience and the practical aspects of the adventure finally overtook him.
He elected to return the plane and took off back for Cape Town which would have been successful other than an unseen three wire fence in the forced landing ground following a genuine engine failure (it was not caused by fuel starvation). Buy him a beer and you can hear the full story that was much publicised in 1988.
He went on to fly fixed and rotary wings rather successfully and is a recreational aviation enthusiast still after some near 8,500 hours. Sean Russell is currently the chief test pilot for The Airplane Factory, producers of the magnificent Sling series of aircraft. When not flying for TAF you can find him tugging gliders for fun on his days off.
But that is not why we celebrate Sean Russell tonight.
In April of this year Sean noticed that a fellow aviator was attempting to land at Tedderfield without his nose landing gear extended. He quickly ran to a radio and advised the pilot to go around and the nature of the problem. Whilst the pilot flying around nearby, Sean quickly grabbed a plane to assist - he did not steal it this time. Despite advising the pilot to pull G and a close visual inspection by Sean they were unsuccessful in getting the nose gear to deploy. Then the pilots radio began failing, the pilot could only agree to commands via clicking. Sean assessed the situation and took action against pilot overload, failing communications, lack of emergency services all compounded by diminishing fuel and daylight. He directed the pilot to fly in formation with him to Rand Airport where there were full emergency services. He then advised Rand of the problem, declared an emergency on behalf of the pilot and escorted him in formation all the way to finals.
We can celebrate that the landing was without injury. Sean then flew overhead to ensure all was well and flew back to Tedderfield.
He considers this willingness to help a fellow aviator in distress just a normal thing, totally unworthy of any attention. And that in itself, shows just what we are celebrating tonight. A display of exceptional and exemplary airmanship, care for a fellow aviator in need and expert assistance without reward.
Sean is a very worthy recipient of this award, so long a he does not steal any more planes!
James Gilliland Trophy awarded for the most meritorious feat over the past year.
The James Gilliland Trophy is presented to Patrick Davidson for the most meritorious feat over the past year.
In 2018, Patrick Davidson became the first pilot from South Africa to fly in the Challenger Class in the Red Bull Air Race. Although a newcomer to the Red Bull Air Race, he achieved a 2nd place on the Podium in Kazan in Russia, and a third place on the podium in Indianapolis in the United States.
Patrick says "I feel that becoming a part of the Red Bull Air Race is one of the highest accolades that an aerobatic pilot could dream of. This is a different kind of flying and I would like to learn as much as I can, but having the personality that I have, I also want to achieve as best I can! It is an awesome privilege and an honour for me to fly the South African flag in this sport."
SA Eagle Trophy for most meritorious achievement at in international event
The SA Eagle trophy is presented to Aldo Vos for the Most meritorious achievement at an international event. Aldo (age 15) participated for the first time at the FAI F3J World Championship for Model Gliders, only 18 months after he started flying competitively. Through his dedication, skill, and competitive drive, he improved his skills through the many training sessions, by the experienced seniors of the team. By evaluating himself against the seasoned senior pilots due to a lack of junior competition, he inadvertently pushed himself to a very high standard. After 14 rounds at the world championships, he made the fly-offs. Under lots of pressure he stayed calm and consistently flew well through the 6 rounds of finals and achieved a FAI Silver Medal. This performance is well worth a most meritorious achievement award, and we wish him all the best for his flying future.
PGS Trophy for significant contribution to Manufacture or Design in South African Aviation.
The PGS Trophy is presented to Bat Hawk South Africa for its significant contribution to Manufacture or Design in South African Aviation. The Bat Hawk is a proudly South African "Light Sport Aircraft" designed and built by Micro Aviation in Nelspruit. The aircraft is supplied as a complete ready to fly aircraft and complies with the ASTM2245 Build Standard rules and regulations as well as South African Civil Aviation Type Approval. It features a strut-braced high-wing, a two-seats-in-side-by-side configuration open cockpit, fixed tricycle landing gear and a single Rotax engine in tractor configuration. It is a conventional 3-axis light sport aircraft with unrivalled STOL capabilities and out-of-cockpit visibility. The Bat Hawk proudly plays a major role in the attempt to combat Rhino and Elephant Poaching in Africa.
Silver Wings are presented to an Aero Club member for an exceptional project to further the goals of the Aero Club of South Africa.
Our first awardee tonight is Richardt Lovett. Richardt was instrumental in making Aero Club's Airweek 2018 a success, by personally making use of his facilities, aircraft and financial support. He ensured that wherever a problem was raised, he stepped in to find a pragmatic solution that prevented Aero Club from having to absorb significant costs. He went further by personally making a donation to the Transformation and Development teams expenses. And there is more, he provided rides in his jet at cost to himself to ensure that Aero Club was not out of pocket. His enthusiasm and support for all Aero Club members is truly noteworthy.
Silver Wings are presented to Kevin Storie for an exceptional project to further the goals of the Aero Club of South Africa. This award is given to Kevin not for a single project but for his continual passionate behind-the-scenes support of Aero Club in various projects. Such support has not always been popular, but it has been conducted with a clear focused goal to create a stronger and better Aero Club across all its sections, for all its members. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that the recreational aviator remains able to pursue their freedom without undue costs and regulatory impediments. Whilst it is true that Kevin started many of these projects whilst being an employee of the Aero Club, he has continued his efforts and support well beyond his tenure with passionate determination.
Silver Wings are presented to Marie Reddy for an exceptional project to further the goals of the Aero Club of South Africa. In every organisation you get someone who sits quietly and often their exceptional deeds possibly go unnoticed. They are often the first to help in a crisis and get the job done. Silver Wings are awarded for exceptional service for a particular project for the benefit of Aero Club members, but in this instance it would be hard to identify one, but we can name a few - FAI Conference bid proposal for 2020 (which we withdrew from due to finally establishing that the costs exceed the potential benefits), overall 2020 Centenary Planning, the 2017 Awards dinner and tonight's function. Marie Reddy is a constant supporter of Aero Club whose efforts often at huge personal cost who over-delivers and is a pleasure to deal with, making her a real asset to our club.
Gold Wings are presented to an Aero Club member for 10 years' continuous contribution to Sport Aviation in South Africa.
Our first 3 awardees are most unfortunately unable to be with us here tonight, but we shall recognise them for their long contributions towards Aero Club.
Dave Cormac became an AP and an Aero Club member in 1988, 30 years ago, and has dedicated himself to the safe and affordable flying of many aircraft during that period. He gained his wings in 1988 as well and has been a licensed pilot ever since.
Dave has given 3 decades of service to the AeroClub of SA, and thereby to members of AeroClub on whose aeroplanes he works.
Dave is a licensed engineer for Certified Aircraft as his day job, but it is his activity as an Approved Person that demonstrates his dedication to Aeroclub and the EAA. Dave spends evenings and almost every weekend on airfields throughout KZN helping EAA, Light Sport and microlight pilots keep their aircraft in tip-top condition. He cares for a fleet of 50 odd Light Sport and homebuilt aircraft in KZN, the owners of which are continually grateful for his dedication and oversight. All of the above he does regularly - without charge to the owners. He even resists suggestions that his travelling expenses be met.
Gold Wings are presented to Graham McDonald for 10 years' continuous contribution to Sport Aviation in South Africa.
Graham McDonald has been a pillar of the light aircraft movement in KZN for more than 30 years.
In 1986, as a member of EAA Chapter 645 (The Durban Chapter), he bought a farm near Cato Ridge and created an airfield which he named Grass Roots. It became the 'home' of EAA 645 (now Ch 1502 after the amalgamation of the Pietermaritzburg (Chapter 357 and Durban 645) and it has continued as such to the present day.
EAA members from far and wide would use Grass Roots as a stop over and campsite on their way to and from the EAA Conventions in Margate enjoying Graham's hospitality.
He held the position of President, and various other responsibilities, for many years and encouraged and promoted aviation to everyone willing to listen.
He owned and built two Tiger Moths, ZS-BGP and ZS-ARM, and restored Piper J3 Cub ZS-HKR. In these aircraft he gave hundreds of Young Eagle flights.
He supported the construction of three Pietenpols, and various other aeroplanes and was involved in collecting a great amount of material for the restoration to flight of a Supermarine Spitfire - now flying in the USA. He built the substantial wooden fuselage of the Spitfire Mk 9 replica that is now in the Port Elizabeth SAAF museum, using many original Spitfire parts in-so-doing.
Gold Wings are presented to Chris Hicks for 10 years' continuous contribution to Sport Aviation in South Africa.
Chris Hicks has been a member of the AeroClub for more than a decade, and he is a pivotal force in EAA Chapter 645 (latterly Ch1502). His service to the EAA and AeroClub has been immense, having served on the Chapter committee for more than 25 years in various positions. He was Secretary/Treasurer for 2 years. He served another later period of Secretary for a further 2 years, and held the finances as treasurer for a further 7 years. When elected to the President's chair, in which he served for 3 years, he personally phoned dozens of aviators and grew the Chapter membership from 28 members to over 80.
He has owned and flown the "Longest Continuously Registered" aircraft in South Africa, the Aeronca 65 Chief ZS-APY, for more than 30 years and has always supported and participated in the EAA Conventions countrywide. He has been generous with his aircraft and in the use of his flying skills, preaching safe aviation to the dozens of Young Eagles he has introduced to flight, some of whom have gone on to get their wings.
Gold Wings are presented to Nigel Musgrave for 10 years' continuous contribution to Sport Aviation in South Africa. Nigel Musgrave has been an AeCSA Member for 13 years and has been a major contributor to flight safety during this time as an ASSA Accredited Safety Officer. Nigel used to fly his own microlight aircraft but no longer pursues this activity.
He is a gentleman and an asset to the Aero Club of South Africa
Gold Wings are presented to Rowena Kraidy for 10 years' continuous contribution to Sport Aviation in South Africa. Don't let her size fool you because "dynamite definitely comes in small packages"! Skydiver, Balloonist, Microlighter, PPL'er, Instructor, Administrator, Mother and wife, golfer ... Rowena's recreational aviation involvement began in 1985 when she started running the Grahamstown Parachute Club.
In 1988 her aviation career and interest in aviation began when she won a complete skydiving rig on a raffle at the Swakopmund Christmas Boogie. The Grahamstown Parachuting Club became Eastern Province Skydivers in 1989 which she ran together with her husband, Deon, for 13 years boasting with an impeccable safety record. During this time, she got her PPL and accumulated over 1000 skydives and dedicated her time to teaching skydiving.
For a period of 10 years, she acted as a skydiving judge of her life to judging skydiving at both national and international skydiving competitions in Switzerland, France, Turkey, Australia and the USA. She established Leading Edge Flight School in 1995. She is passionate about teaching. Training started initially on weight shift microlights and then progressed to conventionally controlled microlights and light sport Aeroplanes.
In 2002 she relocated the school to Hoedspruit and found that she was a little closer to the action in Gauteng and started getting more involved. Rowena was first elected to the MISASA Committee in 2008 as the Technical representative, a portfolio she has held and managed till today. She has diligently served on the Aero Club Approved Person Technical Committee for the past 10 years. She was very involved with the start-up of RAASA in 2008 as a consultant assisting to draft many of the regulations and documents. She has personally sacrificed valuable time away from home to be involved with the RAASA run Project 24 as the Secretariat and has served as a member of the board of Aero Club of South Africa since 2013. She currently holds an A-grade instructor's rating.
A deserved award for Rowena and thank her for her dedication, sacrifice and her immense contribution to MISASA
Gold Wings are presented to Nico Willemse for 10 years' continuous contribution to Sport Aviation in South Africa. Nico started his microlight flying career in 2000 under the instruction of Piet Junius on a Windlass Weightshift Controlled Microlight. He would later purchase this aircraft. Johnty Esser did his final flight test. Most of Nico's flying was done in the Potgietersrus area. Sadly, the flight school closed at Potties. Nico later did his PPL in Pietersburg but personally found the joys of microlights far outweighed fixed wing aircraft.
He obtained his instructors rating in Gauteng. He assisted several flight schools in the Johannesburg area as an instructor and in doing so accumulated many logged hours but also valuable experience. He started his own school in 2013 and was the first RAASA Part 62 approved school. He has trained several instructors, has a thriving school and trained students from as far as Namibia and Botswana. Limpopo Flight School is a fully fledged ATO offering ground school, radio courses, online examination centre and flight training is done on a variety of trikes. There are 10 WCM's to choose from. He currently has 18 students and a full waiting list for prospective aviators. Nico has accumulated over 6000 trike hours, is a respected aviator and family man and a valuable member of the MISASA Committee. We thank him for his contribution.
Gold Wings are presented to Charlie Marais for 10 years' continuous contribution to Sport Aviation in South Africa. For his contribution to develop and facilitate the officials training courses for special air events in the Air show environment, now also been extend to other disciplines. He has been involved for the past 10 years in the ASSA discipline and also served as ASSA chairman previously. His knowledge and unconditional eagerness to help is an asset we need to acknowledge with the highest order in the Aero Club "
Gold Wings are presented to Barrie Eeles for 10 years' continuous contribution to Sport Aviation in South Africa. Barrie started flying at the age of 17, and did his first solo at 11hours, achieved his PPL in 1986, and started flying Aerobatics in April 2005.
Barrie has been a very active member of the SAC committee since 2008, serving as Chairman for 2 of those years. In addition to all the normal duties of the SAC committee, Barrie has very successfully organised special training camps, and has coached numerous pilots in aerobatics. Barrie is very passionate about the sport of Aerobatics and is always willing to find new ways to encourage new pilots into the sport. He has often taken on the role of contest director, and organiser at our local aerobatic contests.
Barrie is a very focussed competitor, and as such he has won several National championship titles in the various categories as he has grown in the sport. He was Sportsman National Champion in 2007, Advanced National Champion in 2012, and represented SA at the World Advanced Aerobatic Championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
In 2010 he was part of the very successful South African Advanced Aerobatic Team who won the silver medal for South Africa. Barrie has been awarded full national colours for Aerobatics no less than four times. He currently flies in the Unlimited Class and has also represented SA at this level in 2017.
Barrie Eeles is an integral part of the SAC committee and we value his support and commitment to the SAC.
Gold Wings are presented to Elton Bondi for 10 years' continuous contribution to Sport Aviation in South Africa. Elton Bondi learnt to fly in Zimbabwe, when he was 17yrs old, and worked as a flying instructor in that country teaching 10 pilots to fly before he was himself 20yrs old. He has been flying competition and display aerobatics for over 10 years.
Elton has been a very active member of the SAC committee since 2008, serving as Chairman for 2 of those years. Charismatic as ever, Elton often quietly sorts things out behind the scenes. He has often assisted in organising our local contests, as well as being contest director a number of times. He played a pivotal role in the success of the 2017 World Aerobatics Championship, when it was hosted in South Africa, often spending numerous hours ensuring everything was in place.
Elton has won three national titles including the Advanced National aerobatic championship twice. He has senior Protea colours for representing South Africa twice in international Advanced aerobatic competitions.
Elton believes that aviation has the power to inspire people to be the best that they can. Flying requires self-discipline, tenacity, passion and most of all a huge dose of humility, all excellent traits which we believe Elton has.
Lewis Lang trophy
Lewis Lang Trophy is awarded to Russell Achterberg for Pilot of the Year.
Russell Achterburg - Won the paragliding world cup in Aksaray, Turkey 8-15 September 2018. Started paragliding in 2004 and has been part of the SA Paragliding team since 2011. For this gold medal performance, he is awarded our Pilot of the Year.
The Life Time achievement award is presented to an Aero Club member who has been unfailing in his support for the last 30 years.
Basically, the man is a legend in Aerobatics and he is John Gaillard. John Louis Gaillard has been involved with aerobatics since the 1970s.
He has been a member of the SAC since the late 1970s. He used to be a competing pilot in the 1970s. He has captained several International SA teams during the 1980s. He has been SAC chief judge for over 2 decades. He has been world chief judge for over a decade. He has been a very active Director on the CIVA executive for over a decade. He pioneered the first World Advanced Aerobatic Championships in SA 20years ago.
He conceived and pioneered first World Intermediate Aerobatic Championships again in South Africa 5 years ago. He was the catalyst for South Africa hosting the 2017 Unlimited World Championships, where he was the Contest Director. He is often invited to be Chief Judge at the national contest of different countries (European, Australian, Brazilian) And despite all this international acclaim the guys still find time to coach Sportsmen level pilots from time to time.
He initially competed in a Stampe Biplane, and was sufficiently fortunate (and skilful) to have survived a catastrophic engine failure after take-off at the old Baragwaneth aerodrome.
Not deterred by this experience, John has continued to play a very active and leading role in aerobatics to this day.
By the 1980s John had captained the South Africa team at a number of world championships. He also became very proficient at judging local contests, and was soon invited to judge at international events.
A particularly testing moment occurred internationally when John called a zero score for an incorrectly flown figure by a very popular leading pilot, none of the other judges saw the error and hence all scored the pilot highly, this made John even more unpopular. Even under significant pressure John refusing to back down on what he saw to be true. A subsequent review of the video recording proved John to be correct. From this moment onwards John's reputation as a fair and precise judge grew enormously and he was soon appointed as the World Chief Judge, a title he holds to this day. There is hardly an international aerobatic contest that John is not invited to oversee as the chief judge.
John is so well recognised across the world, that he is often invited to be the Chief Judge at the National Championships of other nationals and to train their judges. John has judged aerobatics in North America, South America, throughout West, Central and Eastern Europe, China, Australia and of course in South Africa.
In addition to judging John is also the South African representative on CIVA, the FAI body responsible for overseeing aerobatics internationally.
John has personally pioneered two world firsts in aerobatics which have gone on to become fixed and very popular events in the international aerobatics calendar. Prior to 1995, international aerobatic competition only occurred at the Unlimited level. John pioneered and successfully organised the very first international contest at the Advanced level which was hosted in Cape Town in 1995. The Advanced class have been competing internationally ever since.
And in 2013 John again pioneered the first international contest at the Intermediate level which was again organised by John and successfully hosted in Mossel Bay. To top this all John was the initiator and Contest Director at the successful 2017 Unlimited Aerobatics Contest held last year in Malelane.
Johns pioneering spirit is showing no signs of slowing down and he is part of a team looking to introduce a new more affordable class of aerobatics involving light sport aircraft and even electrically powered aircraft.
Despite his achievements and recognition internationally, John still enjoys and is very active judging at a small local regional contests. He even finds time to coach junior up and coming pilots from time to time. John has been the Chairman of the Sport Aerobatic Club several times and remains a member of the Executive Committee.
John has also played an important role in promoting safety in aerobatics in both the competition and airshow arenas. To this end he has authored a number of policy documents which govern the safety of airshow operations as well as the qualification of airshow pilots.
John has participated in Sport Aerobatics from all perspectives, as a competing pilot, as a judge, as an organiser and as an official. He is probably one of the most recognised and long standing names in aerobatics worldwide, and there can be no doubt that a large part of the success and stature that South Africa has achieved in world aerobatics can be accredited directly to John Gaillard.
John continues to receive the highest respect and recognition from his counterparts internationally. Not scared of confrontation, John is respected for his research, foresight and wisdom in addressing areas that others steer clear of and welcome his input. His international standing was recently highlighted at a recent FAI conference where his absence was noted with genuine concern and a display of respect by many.
The evening's proceedings ended when Alan Evan-Hanes, the general manager of the Aero Club thanked the Wanders Club for the venue, the catering company for the food and service as well as the guests, VIP's and media for attending.