SSSA Chairman Report 2017

By Dirk Smit

The ever changing environment on the regulatory front has become par for the course. Recreational aviation has become over regulated with ever increasing bureaucracy encroachment. Our sporting discipline uses General Airspace all the time within well defined operational areas. It could be stated that our use of these areas is the largest of any discipline. Now is the time to move in unity and have each others back. The ever
y increasing regulatory environment will catch up with us if we stagnate and cling to the past. The changes are rapid and if not checked and adapted to will impact severely on our sport. It is unfortunate that many legislative issues are driven on various levels and unbeknown to us impact our operations. Decisions taken in the Government field of Science and Technology or the Department of Environmental Affairs for that matter, on many occasions impact directly on General Aviation and airspace use.

The ultra modern J S Sailplane international multi competition winning aircraft is built on home soil at Potchefstroom by the Jonker Brothers.

Gliding as a sport usually avoids controlled airspace due to the very nature of the sport. Variations of altitude during cross country and following of thermal or lift lines under cloud streets is not the norm in propelled aviation. "As the crow flies" is usually not practiced by glider pilots unless the Gods smile on you and the clouds line up between turning points.

Gliding as a sport usually avoids controlled airspace due to the very nature of the sport.

When you evaluate traces of the modern hi-tech gliders one battles to comprehend that an engineless flight of 1300 km at an average speed of 150 to 160km/h can be done in a day on thermals only. One brand of glider SSSA is proud to be associated with is The J S Sailplane. The ultra modern, international multi competition winning aircraft is built on home soil at Potchefstroom by the Jonker Brothers.

This year saw the official launch of their racing class JS Rapture. The debut of this beauty was at the World Gliding Championship in Ben
alla Australia. A strong family presence was presented at the Worlds with brothers Oscar & Laurens Goudriaan; Attie and Uys Jonker plus father and son team Pieter & Marcus Nouwens. Uys and Attie finished 11th and 12th overall in the 15m class. In the 18m class Marcus & Pieter made it 20th & 35th place respectively and in the Open class Oscar just podium in 4th place with Laurens at 20th place. What is note worthy is that of the top ten positions in open class 7 were locally built JS gliders.

FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Series VIII Race 1 - 16 April 2017, Orient Airfield

SSSA went back to its gliding roots in November by arranging the Rag & Tube race. The entry to this weekend competition required flying a Rag & Tube or classic gliders with basic instruments. The event was held with great success at the Goldfields Gliding Club in Welkom. Touring motor gliders were also catered for at this event where a task was set, engine switched off after takeoff and a flying trace plus fuel use submitted. A formula was developed to determine the best gliding and least fuel used which determined the winner. The combined age of participating aircraft was estimated to be close to 400 years! The winner in the TMG section was Peter
Bailey from Springs Gliding Club and in the RAG & Tube section was Phillip Leach with former world champion Oscar Goudriaan in the back seat. The Rag & Tube fun event is set to grow.

SA Nationals, Potchefstroom 2017

Membership remained stable under ever increasing government instability and political uncertainty. Disposable income for sport flying remained under pressure but this year saw one of our first 14 year old students going solo at Potchefstroom. The positive influx of younger students has been welcomed.

Magaliesburg Glider Fly in, Orient 2017.

I am coming to the end of my tenure as Chairman mid 2018 and as I look back many hurdles and obstacles have been successfully navigated. A word of thanks go to the SSSA team plus the many volunteers that make our sport great by paying it forward.

Soaring remains one of the sport activities that can only be described as the proverbial saying goes:

" It remains the most fun activity you can have with your clothes on" ....and it takes you higher and lasts longer.

To get on to the natural high of Gliding contact a club near you and start your sport flying or career the right way. Gliding!

Obsession doesn't guarantee success. On the other hand, a lack of obsession does guarantee failure!

Dirk Smit
Chairman SSSA

Aero Club of SA

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