Safety First Aviator
The SFA Team were invited to present at Wonderboom's Blue Chip Aviation's monthly safety event. The venue was the Morgenzon Hall, which was filled to capacity. Blue Chip makes a very positive impression by their attitude to safety. Their instructors and students mirror greater South African society, and many of the students receiving their "solo" acknowledgements on the same evening were from other African states. A welcome development.
Another overwhelming impression was the very young age of the instructors and students. Gone are the days of seeking grey haired wise men; todays new students want someone who understands their needs to have appropriate photos for their Facebook pages. It poses questions as to how one can pass on experience; we sort have got the sharing of knowledge and teaching skills right.
SA Search and Rescue gave a presentation at a recent Aero Club Board of Directors meeting. The work that this team does deserves the very highest accolades and support. The anguish they experience on a near daily basis is unbelievable, and it is amplified by the many who fail to file flight plans nor have any location finding equipment such as an ELT.
Aero Club Membership 3,025 + 3,465 = lots of enthusiasts
As at 6 August 2018, Aero Club has provisional figures of 3,025 individual paid up members, an increase of nearly 100 members since last month. This figure excludes SA Model Aircraft Association who can proudly boast of 3,465 members themselves.
New constitution for Aero Club
The Aero Club has operated according to an outdated Articles of Association. Many of the requirements were written for times well past, and due to the devoted efforts of Hanke Fourie and Rob Jonkers, we have new document that should take Aero Club members well into the future. It also supports a Memorandum of Incorporation, which is a requirement of the latest version of the companies act (Aero Club is a not for profit company). The roll out plan will be to circulate to members in August, and call an SGM for September/October to constitute the documents.
Airspace Expropriation without consultation
The Department of Environmental Affairs passed legislation which affects all pilots who fly over designated game reserves, 2500ft above the highest point, which can be horizons away. They failed to consult adequately with the Department of Transport, who is the constitutional regulator of airspace. The Department of Science and Technology also seem free to infringe into airspace without adequate consultation in respect of the Square Kilometer Array. This is akin the SACAA determining mining rights for motor boat owners. A recent redesignation in the western Cape has the potential to close an existing safe VFR route.
Aero Club is doing its best to ensure we preserve free flight, but some of this happens dubiously and we get to hear about it too late to do anything. Please keep us informed of any developments you might hear about.
Approved Persons Scheme
Aero Club through EAA and SSSA, successfully managed a peer review based NTCA aircraft inspections for many years, generally without any problems. Then aircraft became available to enthusiasts who did not have the technical skill to inspect and maintain them, so the commercial Approved Person was born. Insurers refused to offer discounted premiums for the higher risks that these businesses offered and withdrew liability cover.
Aero Club is aware of the problems described above and is in the process of resolving them in a sustainable manner that should allow for continued growth without compromising current operations; and safety.
US Test Pilot School graduates. Photo © Chris Okula
Recently there has been a move to promote the use of formally qualified test pilots for all first flights of aircraft above 600Kg. This poses a massive problem for EAA and some gliders, who do not need nor cannot afford the fees associated with these scarce highly qualified people, who are the ultimate beneficiaries of a taxpayer funded R20M education. It is also not sustainable. RAASA in collaboration with Maj Gen Des Barker, developed an excellent book, and associated curriculum for the test flying of light aircraft, especially those not intended for production; and Aero Club will be pushing to have this implemented to prevent a collapse of the industry. We do not really need to pay for an ex Empire Test Pilot School graduate to test fly a RV-7.