EAA of SA National Convention 2013 - Its Going To Be A Big One

By Juri Keyter

Planning of the EAA of South Africa National Convention scheduled for 9 to 11 August 2013 at Heidelberg Airfield started when more than 30 EAA members, friends and volunteers gathered at the Heidelberg Airfield on Saturday 12 January 2013. Unfortunately low lying cloud and poor visibility prevented many from attending this important session but there is so much enthusiasm to make this one of the most successful and biggest EAA events to date and we do expect that those who could not make it will catch up quickly to pledge their support and assistance over the next few months.

Heidelberg Airfield is the perfect location for this event, especially considering the size of the planned event. Its runway is extended and upgraded, ample aircraft parking and camping space, ablution facilities, many guesthouses in the area for the less adventurous, a fuel facility and a newly renovated clubhouse. It may be a bit far for those based in the coastal areas but it will still be worth the distance traveled.

The meeting was chaired by Fanie Bezuidenhout and his enthusiasm & commitment is truly commendable. There are many aspects of an event like this that most people do not even think of and Fanie has completed many of these challenging tasks already. Although this was just the kick-off meeting, a combined EAA gathering with an air show on Saturday is currently the school of thought. This will provide entertainment to both EAA enthusiasts and to those attending purely from a general aviation perspective. We all know that in the past an air show was not welcomed by many EAA members and that this convention should be purely focused on the experimental part of aviation. However, by ensuring that the focus remains EAA related, an air show, well planned to coincide with EAA activities will add more entertainment to the general public. It is after all these people who will generate the financial means required to host this event.

It is only January and that leaves more than 6 months to plan and finalize the event but if you see what this organizing committee have in mind, you may think that 6 months will not be enough. Most people assume that the arrangement of such an event is a simple task and do not always see or appreciate the effort going into an event like this. To ensure public safety, Air Show South Africa, a section of the Aero Club of South Africa has developed a program to guide and support aviation event planners and every special air event must be registered with ASSA and authorized before it can take place. But before this application process can even be started, the organizers have to meet many important requirements such as fire prevention, emergency services, alternate escape routes, appointing qualified safety officers, an event schedule and a long list of other requirements. Apart from the legal and safety requirements, it must also be enjoyable and convenient to ensure that the public return next year. The organizers must therefore ensure adequate toilets, food and drinks vendors, aviation exhibitions and other stalls. Air traffic control, aircraft parking, ground marshals, ticket sales, registration desk staff, PA systems, guest speakers and many other important operational functions must be identified and filled long before the time.

Although the organizing committee will appreciate your ideas or suggestions, they will appreciate your hands more. Volunteers will be required to perform many different functions, sponsors are needed to finance many of the activities and exhibitors are required to make this event enjoyable and entertaining. Your food stall will also add value to the event.

The organizing committee will value your contribution and if you may be of any assistance, as a volunteer, sponsor, exhibitor or vendor, please contact the organizing committee chairman, Fanie Bezuidenhout (ansan@tiscali.co.za).

Let us put our hands together to make this a big one!!!

Events 2013

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