Dear members & friends, I sincerely admit that I find writing the Chairman's report to be my Everest. I climb this mountain and find it to be rather "stressful" but that, said in good jest as a volunteer. I will however be brief.
Early morning flying at Kroon Airfield.
In 2016/7, I referred to challenging yet interesting times that lay ahead. My prediction was not far off the mark and thus far has not disappointed. MISASA and Aeroclub, are often criticized for not communicating too well but have been in part rectified by the utilisation of PilotsPost.com as media channel and have found the delivery of information and news to be quite efficient.
I find it vitally important to include a paragraph from the 2016/7 report as it highlights the challenges we are facing:
"Now is the time for building bridges with the South African Civil Aviation Authority." Given the decision by the SACAA not to renew the Service Level Agreement with RAASA, it highlights the importance of MISASA as recognised ARO for microlights and light sport aircraft and gives credence to my statement. These challenging changes contribute to the strong possibility of additional responsibility of the ARO's future and gives credence to nurture a healthy relationship with the aviation authority. Given the changes between CAA & RAASA, the matter of Project 24 also comes to the fore but how all the work that has been done up to now will be affected, remains to be seen."
Kroon Breakfast Fly in 2017.
During the high-level talks between CAA, RAASA and representation from Aeroclub, it became apparent that building the bridge with CAA was of paramount importance. MISASA formed an ARO-Collective (which we refer to as the ARO A-Team) along with specific ARO's that needed to understand where we would fit in or function within the industry, bearing in mind the dramatic changes taking place. This collective is comprised of the Chairman & Chairlady of namely MISASA, SAGPA, SSSA, PASA along with SAMAA & CASA, liaised with CAA and had a ground-breaking meeting to pave a way forward in the interest of not only recreational aviation, but also the commercial aspect of our sport. Indeed, this meeting was an "olive branch" approach and most enlightening for all parties that attended. I have always complained that our "voice" or "representation" was diluted with Aeroclub not having a weighted vote in committees such as CARCOM and ASO. The reward for the A-Team taking charge was that a collective seat on both CARCOM & ASO was awarded to us and this would be utilised to the benefit of our all our members. In our unity lies our strength. Our immediate participation was evident in the important presentation of the proposed Part 55/56 regulations by RAASA where the collective had full representation and hands on deck at the ASO sub-committee meeting. It is apparent that the CAA "top-brass" are impressed, that we as representatives of industry have taking charge and are actively participating, but more so for us, that we are being recognised by the regulating authority for the important our role we have to play. The time has most definitely come to be able to mould our future as ARO's as well as how we will function hand in hand with the regulators.
The AGM was held at Kroon on the 17th June 2017. The meeting was well attended due to the fact that the event coincided with the Kroon Fly-In. Also in attendance was the new GM of Aeroclub, Alan Evan-Hanes. I regrettably could not attend due to health issues. We have several new committee members elected to office. Serving on the committee for the first time may be rather daunting an eye opener for all the matter we manage behind the scenes in the industry. To the departing committee members - Alan MacKenzie, Mervyn Reynolds and Louis Jordaan, our most sincere appreciation for your dedication & sacrifice. I however have to add a special note of commendation and appreciation to Alan Mac who has for so many years fought in the MISASA trenches & religiously churned out the magazine year in and year out. Obtaining content and compiling the magazine is most definitely not for the feint hearted - Thank you from ALL of us Big Al.
The committee had to revisit the publication of the yearly magazine from a cost perspective for 2018. We decided to hold off on the magazine for 2018 and have opted to focus on the MISASA image and branding. Our current MISASA website is also set for change. Apart from the newsletter channel via Pilotspost, MISASA will be sending a condensed newsletter to your listed e-mail address. It is vitally important that we revitalise the industry and attract new blood.
We face a major challenge in that the MISASA MOP & CONSTITUTION will be revamped during 2018 and will thus comply to several additional requirements. It is our opinion that instead of patching the current MOP & Constitution, we start from scratch in consultation with CAA to position ourselves for the transition as well as the envisaged changes in Aeroclub. Rowena Kraidy, our technical stalwart, and I will be hard at work to make this happen. We will no doubt keep all members informed as we progress.
Transformation & Development
Our T&D student, Jan Moabi is at the point of going solo. We have however been necessitated to place him on terms before progressing any further. It is paramount that he writes the regulatory NPL exams before progressing any further. T&D in our industry is always going to be a challenge and contentious issue but under the watchful eye of Marius Nel, I sincerely trust we can conclude his training. I doubt we'll pursue any pilot T&D in the near future and would much prefer leaving this developmental area to Daniel Ralefeta.
The BlueBoxOnline payment portal and MISASA administration is in the capable hands of Thelma. We are still experiencing minor housekeeping issues with the system but a scheduled training session in March 2018 should resolve matters. We'll have the opportunity to show the developers in a hands on approach of the difficulties we are experiencing and adding to the administration task. The feedback from members is however positive in respect of ease and seamless operation. Kindly contact Thelma should you have issues that you need assistance with, preferably on e-mail email@example.com or alternatively on 071 656 2027.
Our respective portfolio reports are printed in our yearly magazine and can also be found on the MISASA website. Remind yourself that the sterling and unselfish commitment to make these portfolios function are filled by volunteers. They are passionate aviators including holders of NPL's, PPL's, CPL's, AP's and Instructors.
Africa Cup, Hotel Numbi 2017.
Events, Fly-Ins & Competitions
Brett Hickman arranged the Numbi Africa Cup but this year was assisted by our competitions man - Hendrik Loots. Apart from having to jump through the regulatory hoops (again!), a safe and incident free event was held. The hope of revitalising our competitions has definitely received a boost with Hendrik's involvement and envisage a couple of events through the year.
Limpopo Flying School Fly In 2017.
As customary, I have represented MISASA on the AeroclubSA Board and Rowena Kraidy was co-opted. There are major changes planned for Aeroclub and how it functions but these announcements will be forthcoming from the GM of Aeroclub.
Search & Rescue
We are constantly reminded of the important role Santjie White and the ARCC perform. We thank her for her incredible personal sacrifice and dedication in finding and assisting us when we "fall".
Grasslands Fly in 2017.
In three separate events, with varied outcome, I cannot stress enough how important it is to know what to do in the event of an accident. In two accidents, the prompt action by 2 MISASA members ensured that ARCC could function flawlessly. To weight shift pilot, Rafiek Sallie and MISASA Committee member, Adrienne Leigh, we DOF our hats for your prompt actions and rising to the occasion in time of need.
The third accident I choose to mention specifically. John Waterson and one of his staff were tragically killed when test flying a new aircraft. John was an amazing person, an exceptional aviator and most of all a gentleman. He was a friend to all in the industry and more so to MISASA. He religiously supported all our showcase events at Tedderfield and Kitty Hawk, flying his aircraft up from East London to display.
His determination to attend these events landed him in trouble on one occasion, but all was sorted by MISASA's intervention. To say that John will be sorely missed, is surely an understatement.
My fellow committee members, without singling out any individual - THANK YOU for your SACRIFICE! I realise I'm a tough nut to crack at the best of times, but, we do make a formidable team!
To our most important asset, YOU, our valued & esteemed member, on behalf of the committee, our most sincere appreciation for the loyal support and the trust you have vested in us as a committee.
Elon Musk is quoted as saying "Constantly seek Criticism - A well thought out critique of whatever you're doing is as valuable as GOLD". For this very reason, I urge members to put pen to paper and e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org should you find the need to.
My kindest regards and Be SAFE out there folks…