The Aero Club of SA hosted its annual awards dinner at the Wanderers Club on Saturday the 3rd of November 2012. The evening was well attended and for the aviation enthusiast, the cream of South Africa's aviation fraternity was there to meet. The proceedings were opened by Kevin Storie, the General Manager of the Aero Club who welcomed all the special guests. Jeff Earl, the AeCSA Chairman followed with his address and reported back on the activities and progress of the year. The host of the evening was Karl Jensen, and with his jokes and light hearted stories he directed the flow of the ceremony efficiently but relaxed.
Recognition for achieving national colours was first on the list and started with Elton Bondi, Annie Boon, Patrick Davidson, Pieter Du Preez, Barrie Eeles, Warren Haslam, Johannes (Johnny) Smith, Charles Urban and Glen Warden representing South Africa at the Advanced World Aerobatic Championships - held in Hungary.
Ronnie Beukes, Anthony Gibson, Paul Jackson, Riaan Marais, Robert Mc Fie, Anton Naude, Keith Pickersgill, George Pires Da Naia, Hendrik Theron and Hendrik van Zyl received National Colours when they represented our country during the 7th Para Motor Glider Championships held on Spain.
Percy Attfield, Conrad Cloete, Dirk Meyer and Keith Rennecle earned their national colours during the FAI Control Line Model World Championships in Bulgaria.
Christian Adriaan, Johan Bruwer, Craig Goodrum, Dion Liebenberg, Tshepo Molefe, Ryan Nelson, Alan Smith and Jason Weber were awarded national colours for their participation during the World Model Gliding Championships.
Carol Clifford, Laurens Goudriaan, Oscar Goudriaan, Mark Holliday, Adriaan Jonker and Jacobus Jonker received National Colours during the 32nd FAI World Gliding Championships in the USA while Mary De Klerk, Caroline Eckard, Frank Eckard, Leonard Edwards, Wikus Kritzinger, Rob Kennedy, Adriaan Pilling, Anthony Russel, Hans Schwebel, Ron Stirk and Leon Weideman received theirs for their participation at the World Rally Flying Championships in Spain.
Jan Daniel Minnaar attended the 20th Hot Air Balloon Championships in the USA and therefore also received his National Colours.
For Competing in the World Skydiving Series 2012, a Special Acknowledgement certificate, FAI certificate and gold medal was awarded to Timothy Mace and a Special Acknowledgement certificate awarded for International Judge 18th FAI World Rally Flying Championships in Spain went to Jacques Jacobs and Arddyn Moolman.
National Speed record of 35.6 km/h over a Triangular course of 50 km in a Paraglider Class on 9 Dec 2011 at Pampoenfontein was awarded to Andre Rainsford Alberts.
National Speed record of 38.9 Km/h over an out-and-return course of 100 km in the Paraglider Class on 10 Dec 2011 at Pampoenfontein was again set by Andre Rainsford Alberts.
World record of a Straight line flight of 129.2 Km with limited fuel in the Paramotor Class on 26 June 2011 at Pretoria to Hendrik Johannes Theron.
The Lewis Lang Trophy, awarded for Pilot of the Year for Quality Airmanship was bestowed on Oscar Goudriaan. Runner up Hans Schwebel who he received a special recognition certificate for attaining 2nd Place in the World Landing Championships at the 20th FAI World Precision Flying Championships - Brits, South Africa.
The SA Eagle Trophy, awarded for the Most Meritorious Achievement at an International Event was awarded to the South African Precision Flying Team Mike Cathro, Mary De Klerk and Hans Schwebel placed second at the World Landing Championships at the 20th FAI World Precision Flying Championships - Brits, South Africa, and Jason Weber, Tsepo Molefe, Ryan Nelson who attained a Silver Podium Finnish through struggle and tenacity. They posted incredible scores in poor flying conditions that included an unforeseen snowfall. Their spirits and conduct bore testament to their competitive flying maturity and experience. Their energetic morale coupled with their team charisma had their fellow overseas competitors taking note of South Africa's capabilities. These young men embodied the ethos of team work combined with the teenage “cool factor”
The Don Tilly Trophy, Awarded for the most Significant Contribution to Air Safety was awarded to The Aero Club of South Africa for the development of the National Safety Campaign "Fly Safe Aviator" that was rolled out nationally following on from the 6th Annual South African Civil Aviation Safety Challenge issued in 2011 to General Aviation by the SACAA, a goal of halving the accident rate by the SA CAA Safety Seminar in 2014. Outstanding and real contribution has integrated a culture of safety to the General Recreational and Sport Aviation industry in South Africa. It supported a credo that is tangible and a practical example and information sharing theme to assist new pilots, and refresh existing pilots, by igniting the passion for the wonderful world of flight. The Aero Club of South Africa and its members have contributed to the overall success of this campaign and are set to expand on the safety campaign to achieve the goal as set out.
1st Runner up to Don Tilly Trophy was Walter Doubell. Walter started flying when he retired from his career in the banking industry. He completed his PPL at Heidelberg where he lives and uses every opportunity to pursue his accomplished dream. Walter epitomises volunteerism that is part of the ethos of EAA and in a short period has become the EAA of SA Safety Officer and Treasurer for both EAA National and EAA Chapter 322 Johannesburg. Walter completed the Air Show South Africa Safety Rating Grade C and is on hand to provide assistance in planning and the oversight of fly-ins and other events. He completed a safety course offered at Henley Air and at his own expense went to study the safety oversight of the Duxford Airshow in the UK. Walter assisted with the 2012 SAPFA President's Trophy Air Race as a Safety Officer and also at the World Precision Flying Championships at Brits earlier this year. Walter is part of the management team of the Heidelberg Aviation Association that manages Heidelberg Airfield. He was instrumental in setting up the Manual of Procedures including their safety management system that is required by licensed airfields. Walter Doubell is a worthy recipient of this award as he truly takes safety to heart.
2nd Runner up to the Don Tilly Trophy was Steve Murray for his 4 decades of contribution to safety in the Soaring Society of South Africa, this being his last year as Safety Officer.
The James Gilliland Trophy for the Most Meritorious Feat during the Past Year was awarded to Mike Visagie. Mike lives near a little known dorpie in the NW Province, Makwassie. He learned to fly in 1998 at the Vaal River Gliding Club in Klerksdorp and attained a PPL. When EAA Chapter 1504 was chartered at Klerksdorp in 2011, Mike took on the EAA Young Eagles portfolio to assist with youth development in aviation. He started what will hopefully become an annual tradition, The Makwassie Mid-Winter MoJo, a fly-in to his farm airstrip Swartpan International, is aimed at instilling aviation enthusiasm for the young and old in the Klerksdorp environs. The MoJo is a well-structured day for EAA Young Eagles to show young people how to reach aviation dreams and aspirations. The day includes model aircraft demonstrations, presentations and Young Eagles introductory flights culminating in an evening of fine foods and hospitality. The 2nd MoJo was held in July this year. Mike's dedication and hard work has got many sponsors happily inveigled into supply all manner of goods and services that make this event exceptional in every detail for all taking part. The event has already gained tremendous momentum with the acquisition of a Pietenpol airframe that was ceremonially handed to the headmaster of the Wolmaranstad High School. This airframe is to be used as a training and skills development platform of an EAA Young Eagles initiative at the school. A Johannesburg EAA member Graham Haird has since donated a nearly completed Pietenpol to the Chapter. A target has been set to complete the aircraft by the 3rd MoJo in June 2013. Mike Visagie's on-going dedication and infectious enthusiasm is certainly worthy of this award.
Youth Development most promising Aviation Enthusiast was awarded to Mike Brown. Dr Mike Brown is the EAA of SA National Young Eagles convener and vice chairman of EAA Chapter 322 Johannesburg. He constantly puts in tremendous effort to continue the momentum of the EAA Young Eagles initiative and introduces novel ways to extend and promote the Young Eagles beyond the initial flight experience that candidates receive. Mike freely uses his Beechcraft Debonair and his Globe Swift to allow many Young Eagles to experience the magic of flight and skilfully ensures that each Young Eagles day is vibrant and well organised Mike Brown has now also taken on the role of host at the EAA Flying Legends Talk Shows at the EAA Auditorium at Rand Airport. His superb style at the ever popular event is ideally placed to MC this educational and entertainment forum. He is certainly a worthy recipient of this award.
Certificates of Recognition went out to the Brits Flying, Johan Coetzee, Gordon Dyne, Neville Ferreira, Pierre Jacobs, Paul Lastrucci, Keaton Perkins, Cliff Pike,
After dinner it was time for the African Pilot and Airshow South Africa Awards presented by Athol Franz of African Pilot Magazine and Rikus Erasmus, Chairman of ASSA. The winner of this prestigious award was The Swartkops Airshow with the Grand Rand Airshow and the PE Airshow as runner up.
Silver Wings were bestowed on Claire King, Dirk Venter and Tony Russell.
Gold Wings were bestowed on Nigel Hopkins. Nigel joined EAA at age 14 and SAPFA in 1995. He won Rally Flying titles in '96/98/99/2000/2001/2 and 4. He won Precision rally titles in 99/2000/2002/2/3 and 4. He joined the Sport Aerobatic Club in 2005 and has been Chairman since 2007. In 2009 he won a medal at the World Advanced Aerobatic Championships and 5 more medals in 2010. In 2011 he was placed 25th in the 2010 Unlimited World Championships. Nigel has been awarded the Aero Club Pilot of the Year no less than 3 times.
Helmut Ludwig was another Gold Wing recipient. Helmut started flying aerobatics in 1996. He competed successfully at 4 Advanced World Aerobatic Championships in 1999/2000/2002 and 2004 and also successfully in the 2001 Australian Aerobatic Championships. He has served the Sport Aerobatic Club in the capacity of chairman for a number of years and he wrote the SAC constitution and served on the Aero Club committee.
The guest Speaker of the evening was Wing Commander Bruce Harrison.
Bruce was born in Scotland and raised and educated in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. He worked on several mines and did his National Service in the Royal Rhodesian Air Force. He was selected for pilot training in 1967. He introduced the use of computers into the RRAF. and held several posts including Personal Staff Officer to the Commander of the Air Force and ADC to the President of Rhodesia. On retirement he joined the Edgars group and eventually left as Edcon Group Executive. He now runs his own consultancy in card and payment systems specialising in fraud prevention. Among others, Bruce is active in the local church, the Gideons, and many charitable organisations and NGOs. He is the current Chairman of the Royal Air Force Officers' Club of Johannesburg.