Aviation Family Day at Brits Airfield
Wonders of Aviation (WoA) and The Aeroclub of South Africa Transformation and Development section (T&D) hosted a Family Aviation Fun Day on Saturday 27 October.
The aim of the day was to thank everyone that has been a part of the partnership between WoA and T&D over the past few years and also invite the parents of the young recipients so they can better understand the wonderful world of aviation.
The day’s proceedings were kicked off with a warm welcome for the organiser of this event Gift Kgadima. Gift is one of Wonders of Aviation’s many success stories, after his enthusiasm and dedication was detected he was offered a position as Secretary General of Wonders of Aviation. In lieu of the tasks he performs for WoA he receives funding to continue his dream of obtaining his Commercial Pilots Licence. Gifts love for aviation was nurtured at Kranskop Gliding Club where he obtained his Glider licence at a very young age.
A brief overview of the day to day operations of WoA was given by Dy Moonsammy the current Chairperson of Wonders of Aviation here in South Africa. Dy is the Senior Manager: Learning and Development at Comair Limited, where her responsibilities include the management of Comair’s Cadet Pilot Programme, learnerships, and graduate programmes, as well as oversight of a Learning Academy that serves indigent learners. As well as the Vice-President of the Association of African Aviation Training Organisations (AATO), a UN-ICAO mandated initiative responsible for the standardising and harmonising of training material for all African aviation training organisations. She is the also Airlines Association of Southern Africa’s (AASA) representative on the Aviation Chamber Committee of Transport Education Training Authority (TETA).
Donald Schenk the man responsible for the creation of Wonders of Aviation and the current Deputy Chairperson SA as well as the Chairperson USA addressed the visitors. He explained in brief what the values and objectives of WoA are. Don’s list of achievements, both in the humanitarian and financial sectors, is too long to mention here but above all he has an unquenchable love for people and aviation. The perfect combination for an organisation like WoA.
After the formalities the visitors were invited to visit the five stations that were set up to highlight different aspects of aviation.
Epic Aviation, the Powered Para Glider (PPG) flight school and manufactures was one of the first stops for all these bright eyed future aviators. Riaan Struwig, the owner and instructor at Epic Aviation, explained the general capabilities and uses of the PPG. He also with the help of Herbert Heynderrych demonstrated the Wing and Motor assembly. Epic Aviation is located at Grasslands Sports Club in Centurion and is currently the only power paragliding manufacturer and dealer in South Africa. Their Spider range of power paragliders has become a world-class motor with dealers in the USA, Europe and Africa.
Stop number two was the newly formed Dream Drones ZA which specialises in the training of drone operators for the international market. Drones have become an intergyral part of the industrial landscape over the past few years and as a result a massive shortage of drone pilots has developed. Drones are now being used for inspections of hi-rise towers, internally and externally, inspecting cargo holds on ocean vessels that transport diverse loads, as well as the examination of electrical installations with thermal imaging to detect hot spots and other defects. According to Edwin Leemans the owner of Dream Drones ZA there is a huge opportunities for a well-trained skilled drone pilot both locally and abroad.
Neville Ferreira, local and international aerobatics pilot, was on hand to give the young ones a glimpse into the world of an aerobatics pilot. Neville is currently a test pilot for a brand new aerobatics aircraft which is built in Hungary. The Genovation Genpro is currently in its testing and certification phase and is scheduled to go into production in the near future.
Daniel Ralafeta an Executive Team Member of WoA gave the children an opportunity to get up-close and personal with drone flight. As Chairman of the AeroClub of South Africa Transformation and Development, Daniel oversees the development of aviation enthusiasts through model flying, glider pilot training and the achievement of a private pilot license. Daniel has a wide network of significant role players in the IT and aviation industry, and uses these networks to give back to the PDC.
The fifth and final stop was the radio controlled aircraft section; RC pilots brought out their aircraft and were available for questions on this very popular sport. Many young RC pilots have gone on to fly commercially in later years driven by the love for aviation born while flying radio controlled aircraft.
Members from the Kranskop Glider Club decided to treat some of the young visitors to a short flight in a glider, Kranskop Glider Club and Brits Flying Club have always been very supportive of WoA and AeCSA Transformation and Development, and have hosted many of their events over the past few years.
The afternoon concluded with the awarding of accolades to people that have put in effort to assist both WoA and AeCSA T&D over the last few years, Gary Whitecross was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for his assistance in training young aviators as well as being a huge participant in all the past WoA events.
Neville Ferreira was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for his selfless dedication to advancing young aviators.
Arjan Schaap and Lizelle Keyter were presented with a commemorative print containing the poem by Frans Manakisi, Arjan and Lizelle were recognised for exceptional services in the transformation of South African Aviation.
Lizelle Keyter and Arjan Schaap
Special mention went to the following people:
Buhle Dlodlo - hired by Hensoldt, a multinational aerospace company based in Munich. Accepted into a Masters Programme in Aeronautical Engineering at Wits University (with a scholarship).
Gift Kgadima - passed 5 subjects towards his Commercial Pilot's License (CPL), and his Glider Pilot's License has been renewed.
Orifha Mbedzi - received a scholarship from Accenture to study Information Technology.
Mahlatsi Mokonyane - was selected to participate in a South African Air Force (SAAF) programme in Cuba.
Frans Monakisi - published his second book of poetry, he is studying Biomedical Science and founded an aviation-inspired clothing brand called Runway 21.
Elijah Rakoma - is studying Mechanical Engineering.
A very successful was closed off with some interesting display flights by the pilots involved
WoA SA is a not for profit organisation that supports the South African government’s commitment to having all South African institutions reflect the composition of that country’s population. This commitment is implemented though policies and laws that support outreach programs, as well as, the education and training of the previously disadvantaged.