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Aero Club of South Africa Awards Ceremony 2022

After a break of two years due to the pandemic, the Aero Club held their awards luncheon at Rand Airport. Flippie Vermeulen kindly made his hangar available for the function, one could not ask for a better backdrop, a DC3 towering over the stage and a DC4 parked as a guard outside the hangar door.

David le Roux, the MC for the day, invited everyone to take their seats before welcoming the honoured guests, these included a fairly large contingent from the SACAA sadly the Director herself was not present. Ms Mankopane Manamela from SRSA was welcomed and the dedicated aviation media were thanked for their support throughout the year. After a run-down on the house rules, it was time for starters to be served.

Rob Jonkers the current chairman of the Aero Club was invited to the stage to address the guests, Rob touched on the recent international competitions that were held on home ground, the World Rally Flying Championships was the most recent of these in fact it had just ended the week before. He also mentioned the centenary year that was somewhat ruined by the pandemic, plans to enjoy a bumper year in aviation were all but ruined as the imposed lock-down lingered on and on. Rob did mention the successes like the printing of the Aero Club centenary book and the eventual launch of the Aero Club hot air balloon.

With the speeches out of the way, it was time to honour the outstanding members of the Aero Club. Proceedings were kicked off with the awarding of National colours for all the participants in the various international events that took place not only in the last year but in the past three years.

SASCOC look after all National Federations that are affiliated with them, together with the various provincial sports councils. They are responsible for the awarding of National Protea Colours to athletes/officials who have met the criteria to represent South Africa in different sporting codes and arenas and they also endorse the applications for Bidding and Hosting of international events.

Senior Protea Colours awarded to SSSA members Uys Jonker, Jason Adriaan, Oscar Goudriaan, Dolf Pretorius, Nico Le Roux, Attie Jonker and Riaan Denner for participating in the 37th FAI World Gliding Championships from 23 July to 6 August 2022 in Szeged, Hungary.

Junior Protea Colours is awarded to Michael Tiffen, Phillip Jonker, Henry Richard Daly and William Richard Daly for participating in the 12th Junior World Gliding Championships, held from 30 July to 13 August 2022 in Tabor, Czech Republic.

PASA members, Naomi Kotzee received Special Acknowledgement for her participation in the 2022 Woman’s Vertical World Record and the 2022 Vertical World Record in Chicago, USA on 22 August and 20 November 2022, respectively.

Another Special Acknowledgement goes to Christopher Teague for participating in the World Games from 7 to 17 July 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama USA.

Senior Protea Colours is awarded to BAFSA Marc Nuthall and Pieter Steyn for participating in the World Hot Air Balloon Championship from 16 to 24 September in Murska Sobota, Slovenia.

SAPFA had a bumper year with many members achieving the highest sporting honour in South Africa, Senior Protea Colours are awarded to Nigel Hopkins, Mary de Klerk, Alewyn Burger, Steve van der Merwe, Hendrik Loots, Jandrè Loots, Jonathan Esser, Sandra Goddard, Hans Schwebel, Ronald Stirk, Daniel ‘Apie’ Kotzee, Fredrik Kotzee Jnr, Tarryn Myburgh, Iaan Myburgh, Antony Russell, Pamela Russell, Marko Nel, Leon Bouttell for participating in the World Rally Championships in Brits, South Africa from 5 to 19 November 2022.

SAMAA members Alan Smith, Graig Goodrum and Jethro van der Molen received Senior Protea Colours for participation in the FAI F3K World Championships for model Gliders in Martin Slovakia from 24 to 29 July 2022.

Senior Protea Colours is awarded to Jadon Churchman, Devon Barnett, Lance Churchman and Stephan Gore for participating in the 2019 FAI Drone Racing World Championship Grand Final in Xiangshan Ningbo in China from 11 to 14 December 2019.

The very popular Speed Rally series for 2020, 2021 and 2022 winners were awarded Aero Club Colours for their efforts they are Hendrik Loots and Jandre Loots for the 2020 season, Mike Blackburn and Steve Briggs for their achievements in 2021 and finally Quintin Kruger and Johan Whiteman for the 2022 season.

Aero Club Colours were also presented to Leon Bouttell, Martin Meyer and Apie and Frederik Kotzee, the winners of the 2021 President’s Trophy Air Race as well as the 2022 winners Martiens Marais and Stephan Lombard.

The South African Power Flying Association recognises the hard work and dedication of Rob Jonkers and Marthinus Potgieter. After the announcement of the Covid lock-down and the State of Disaster being invoked, the Aero Club team got to work to motivate and develop a process to initially carry out maintenance flights in conjunction with the CAA, which eventually became an online mechanism, thereafter to develop a process for proficiency flights until the State of Disaster reverted to a level where normal operations could continue.

Neil de Lange, Pierre Laubscher and Mary Stephens were also awarded special recognition for their tireless work from the regulator's side to once again open the skies to general aviation.

Special Recognition awards were also afforded to Eugene du Preez, Eddie Viljoen and Annelie Fourie for going above and beyond in the period when the Aero Club started developing a process to allow maintenance flights. Eugene, Eddie and Annelie through their experience with on - line Aviation IT systems offered to develop a system in which maintenance flight applications and approvals could be facilitated, which within a week of creation with CAA endorsements, could be used as the platform for GA to enable it to carry out maintenance flights. This system allowed an application through the approval process to be granted within hours of submission.

A Special Recognition Award was bestowed on the well-known Neil Bowden or his annual tours to Airventure Oshkosh that has been responsible for many hundreds, if not thousands of South African enthusiasts and individuals from neighbouring countries being able to enjoy Air-venture Oshkosh as full members. Neil arrives well ahead of Air-venture and acts as a volunteer in the setting up of this wonderful event. Neil has for 24 years with few exceptions conducted expeditions /tours to the EAA Annual Oshkosh mega aviation event, thereby encouraging involvement in Recreational Aviation and general involvement in aviation in South Africa. Many thousands of South Africans have experienced the Oshkosh phenomenon because of Neils's leadership and involved themselves more intensely in recreational aviation on return to South Africa.

Mark Pretorius was called to the stage to receive a Special Recognition award on behalf of Fred Bebington. Fred has contributed immensely to Aviation Safety, he has served on many committees as Safety Officer and assisted SSSA over many years. He in addition does regular Safety seminars and works hard to promote aviation safety.

Regular airshow pilot Andre van Zyl received a Special Recognition citation, Andre is an ambassador for gyroplanes, always ready to assist where possible with representing SAGPA at air shows and fly-ins. Andre assists on a yearly basis with the Children’s flight ‘Willy Wonka’ at Magaliesburg for his own account.

Gavin Mocke On the 8th of December 2021 on an airstrip in Piketberg, Western Cape, Mark Bellingan was in the process of doing a proficiency flight check under the watchful eye of Gavin Mocke. Mark ultimately crashed the gyrocopter. Unconscious from the impact, he was trapped in the wreckage that was almost instantaneously engulfed in flames from burning fuel. Gavin waded into the burning wreck, without regard for his own well-being, and was able to free Mark. He was then able to drag him clear of the inferno. Gavin, for his brave and unselfish act, to not only save the life of a fellow human being but to save our brother, friend and fellow pilot was awarded a Special Recognition Award.

SAGPA recognised Yolande Combrinck for the contribution she has made to the section. With her numerous certificates, qualification, and experience, she is well-placed to assist Aeroclub, SAGPA and MISASA with the ARO-related matters, and SACAA interactions with Audits and proposed regulations and amendments.

The Youth Development Certificate was awarded to two worthy recipients this year. Semakaleng Mathebula and Harold Tjiana attained their Balloon Pilots Licences through the Aero Club/SRSA grant scheme. Their awards were accepted by fellow BAFSA members.

After all the awards a short break was in order, the scrumptious main course was then served with lots of chatter going on between old friends that haven’t seen each other in a while.

Don Tilley Safety in Aviation Trophy was awarded to the ever-present Nigel Musgrave, he has demonstrated not only a passion for flight safety but has involved himself in every EAA, SAPFA and many other flying events countrywide as the Official Safety Officer or assisting others where has was not appointed Chief Safety Officer. Nigel has fastidiously ensured that all Flight Safety paperwork required by the CAA in preparation for events is timeously submitted and has shown no fear or favour when there are deviances from approved practices. Often Nigel’s Safety Officer duties include travel and the use of his own personal equipment, carried out without remuneration or compensation.

Kassie Kasselman was awarded the prestigious DJA Trophy for Airmanship. Kassie took part in the Presidents Trophy Air Race in 2022 held in Bloemfontein, where he showed stellar Airmanship during the event with many aircraft movements that make up the race. Wener Kruger from DJA accepted the trophy on his behalf.

The African Pilot Air Show of the Year Trophy is a hotly contested competition between airshows held within the borders of South Africa. Stellenbosch Air Show was declared a deserved winner for 2022 with The Grand Rand Airshow a close second.

The James Gilliland Trophy for the Most Meritorious Feat Over the Past Year had two recipients this year.

The first recipient is Sling Aircraft represented by James Pitman and Mike Blythe. On 19 July 2019, Mike Blyth and James Pitman of Sling Aircraft announced their Sling High Wing and accepted the first order on the day. To demonstrate the ability of this superbly manufactured South African design, they committed to fly the prototype from South Africa to AirVenture 2020. Unfortunately, with the devastating global effect of the Covid19 pandemic, for the first time in its 50-year history, the Experimental Aircraft Association cancelled this annual event for 2020 and again in 2021. The cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 trips resulted in the opportunity for not just one but three Sling High Wings to grace the skies. While Covid19 did slow everything down, the Sling factory continued work on the High Wing including the production of serial numbers one and two, which are nose wheel and taildragger variants respectively.

The three aircraft that participated in this huge undertaking were:

ZU-SHW – The factory ‘Development Prototype’ Sling High Wing, piloted by James Pitman and his mate, Matt Cohen.

N 915 HW – The first Sling High Wing delivered to a customer, in kit form, and assembled by its American owner, Linda Sollars, here in Johannesburg, was piloted by Linda and Mike Blyth.

N 669 JP – The first Sling High Wing Taildragger delivered to a customer, again in kit form, assembled by its Namibian owner, JP “The Candourist” Schulze, also here in Johannesburg, and piloted by JP and his Australian mate, William. The three Sling High Wings departed Lanseria, Johannesburg at 06h15 on 17 July 2022 and landed at Oshkosh, Wisconsin on 27 July 2022. Their flight was 8902nm over 67,5 hours and 7 flying days.

Matt Cohen, who lost the use of his legs in a motorcycle accident, recently obtained his private pilot licence. He insisted upon flying along with his friend James Pitman to Oshkosh in the prototype Sling High Wing aircraft. The aircraft was modified for hands-only flight and Matt flew all legs of the route sitting left seat. Matt’s determination and courage in undertaking this extremely long, arduous and physically taxing flight in a developmental light aircraft is also deserving of the highest recognition.

Matt’s fortitude is recognised by this trophy of Outstanding and Noteworthy Aviation Achievement which the Aero Club will bring in as a new category of award for persons in the future showing against many challenges the ability and fortitude to achieve their dreams.

The second recipient of the trophy is Pierre Carter: The man who paraglided off Mount Everest and into the history books. Mountaineers tell you that climbing down Mount Everest is harder than climbing up. But this adventurous South African, Pierre Carter came up with an exhilarating, death-defying workaround: hang gliding his way back to the bottom. In May 2022 became the first person ever granted a permit by the Nepali government to glide off Everest. While it has been done by a few daring souls before, their descents were technically against the law. (None were ever fined or prosecuted)

Pierre, 55, leapt off near the summit at an altitude of nearly 8000 meters, that is 26246,72ft! He flew above the Himalayas as other mountaineers descended on foot. Carter flew down within 20 minutes, at a speed of around 80km/hr, and landed at the small settlement of Gorakshep at 5,164 metres. Due to adverse weather conditions, Pierre did not climb all the way to the fop of Everest’s 8,849-meter (29032ft) summit before his flight from the South Col ridge around noon.

Since 2005 he has flown off five of the seven mountains that make up the world’s tallest summits on their respective continents, beginning with Russia's Mount Elbrus.

Carter reached the summit of Alaska's Denali in 2016 but was not permitted to fly. He next aims to repeat the feat off Mount Vinson in Antarctica. This is truly one feat to go down in the annals of aviation.

The SA Eagle trophy is presented to the SA Gliding Team for the Most Meritorious Achievement at an International Event. SA Gliding Team at Hungary World Gliding Championships (Szeged Hungary 2022) who achieved 2nd place (Silver) in the country placing – SA’s best-ever result.

Kevin Hopper and his team of Dean Hopper and Aidan Cantin received the PGS Trophy for outstanding manufacture or design in South African Recreational Aviation. They designed, built, and successfully flew a radical new design aircraft – the Orion Cub.

The Orion Cub incorporates many design innovations that have all been created, and the majority are manufactured in-house. The aircraft can be built to fit the LSA Category or an aircraft that will be included in the NTCA Category with hopefully full certification in time. In the two years that it has taken to design and build the aircraft, all components were designed to be accurately replicated.

The Orion Cubs will be available as kits with the FAA 51% rule in min or as in-house-built aircraft with engine power ranging from 100hp-200hp. The design and build have included the training of Dean Hopper and Aidan Cantin in the skills required for this project, neither of whom had any experience in aircraft design or building. In doing so Kevin is ensuring continuity by equipping these young men with these valuable skills for the aviation industry. Kevin has made a major contribution to recreational aviation over many years, including the building and rebuilding of 19 Tiger Moths, each one has been expertly built and restored.

John Illsey has been an Aviation Historian of South African Aviation for many years, and when approached to be the Editor for our own Centenary book, he enthusiastically took up the challenge. We started the initial outline in November 2019, given that we had gathered material since 2017 with a deadline to complete the first draft by end of January 2020, and a final print by end of March to be in time for our 2020 Airweek. Well, we all know what happened in 2020, and given that many of us had some additional time on our hands, John set out to make the book the most comprehensive compendium possible featuring the richness of our Aviation heritage which became the 350-page volume that most of you have seen and enjoyed. Many thanks for having put together such a book in the time available, as South Africans we will demonstrate our unique and varied capabilities in Recreational Aviation.

Aero Club Gold Wings are awarded for at least 10 years of meritorious service to the Aero Club and as always there were many recipients this year.

Walter Walle has served on the SAFPA committee since 1999, representing the Free State. He has coordinated the hosting of the President's Trophy Air Race several times in Bloemfontein. More recently he has been the chairman of our selection committee, he now has stepped down. Frank Eckard collect the award on his behalf.

Marthinus Potgieter has served SAMAA since 2002, from 2012 to 2020 he served as Chairman of SAMAA and from 2020 to 2022 served as Vice Chairman of Aeroclub. In his vital role as Aeroclub Advocacy Representative, he excelled, during a challenging transitional period in the industry and rose to the occasion during the COVID period.

Mike Stark has served for over 10 years as a member of the SAC committee and on the judging line, both locally and internationally.

Natalie Stark has dedicated over 10 years of service and commitment to the SAC in her important role as registrar and scorer.

Walter Doubell has been a keen aviator and member of the General aviation environment for more than 20 years. His involvement starts as a private pilot and later the safety aspect triggered his interest. He became involved in fly inns and the Presidents Trophy Air Race which led to the official accreditation as Safety Officer with ASSA at a later stage. His passion and drive to perfection did not stop there. He was soon spotted as a willing and able individual to share his knowledge and skills with the Aero Club board, elected Treasury of the ASSA board and co-opted by the SACAA as a member of the GASS initiative. His ability and passion to get involved with these activities are a great asset to the industry with his multiple tertiary qualifications from Potchefstroom University.

John Boucher has served uninterrupted on the MISASA Committee from 2009 to the present and has had uninterrupted service on the Aero Club Council since 2014. In MISASA, he has held the position of Scribe, P.R.O., Safety Officer, Vice Chairman and Chairman. He was instrumental and part of the organising committee for the popular MISASA Best of the Best events hosted at Tedderfield in 2012 and 2013 and then Kitty Hawk in 2014 and 2015. Has participated as Navigator in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2015 SAPFA President Trophy Air Races. He was part of the SAC and Aeroclub team, along with John Gaillard and Kevin Storie that secured, organised, and administered the inaugural FAI Intermediate World Aerobatic Championships hosted in Mossel Bay 2014. During the champs, he filled several active liaison roles with FAI judges and international teams.

Since he was elected Chairman in 2015, has played a vital role with regard to the recreational aviation industry and the multitude of forums present and guided the MISASA Committee and members through challenging times.

Donald Hicks has had uninterrupted service on the MISASA Committee since 2008. He was also elected as Chairman in 2008 given his corporate experience. He also served on the Aero Club Board from 2008 to 2014. In MISASA, he has held the position of Events Co-Ordinator, Vice Chairman and Chairman and facilitates the KZN region.

He started flying weight shift trikes and progressed to flying fixed wing and currently flies a Sling 2. Donald was part of the organising committee for the MISASA Best of the Best events hosted at Tedderfield in 2012 and 2013 and then at Kitty Hawk in 2014 and 2015. He has also organised several “Wild Coast Fly-Aways”

He took up the position of Vice-Chairman in 2015, a position he still fills. He has played a pivotal role in the MISASA Committee with his sound, logical reasoning and guidance, especially through some really difficult periods in the industry.

Brett “Bullet” Hickman has had uninterrupted service on the MISASA Committee since 2008. He was also elected as Treasurer in 2008, a position still fills today on the committee. In MISASA, he has held the position of Treasurer. Started flying weight shift trikes in 2007 and progressed to flying fixed wing and currently flies a Cheetah. Was part of the organising committee for the MISASA Best of the Best events hosted at Tedderfield in 2012 and 2013 and then Kitty Hawk in 2014 and 2015.

He is also on the organising committee for the MISASA Numbi Africa Cup event… the longest-running event of MISASA. He took over from Rob McFie as the event organiser in 2014 and has managed it successfully and continued the sacred traditions of the Africa Cup.

Paul Lastrucci is a member of EAA Chapter 322 Johannesburg and EAA USA since 1991. He has been an EAA and Aero Club member for many years and been heavily involved in the operation of the Krugersdorp Jack Taylor Airport as Vice Chairman of Krugersdorp Flying Club 1993-1998 and Chairman 1998-2011. In 2012-2017 he was Vice Chairman of AECSA and Chairman from 2017- 2019. In 2011 - 2012, Paul became National President of EAA of South Africa and again in 2022 until present and serves on the Board of Aero Club.

He has a deep understanding of the advocacy pertaining to recreational aviation activities and maintains a strong relationship with the decision-makers in the CAA. Paul’s ‘Olive Branch Approach’ to negotiations on behalf of Aero Club, EAA and Krugersdorp Flying Club has resulted in the successful resolution of often difficult matters and potential conflicts.

Caroline Eckard. After marrying Frank at the end of 2009, Cally quickly got involved with the planning of Rally and Precision Competitions. Starting with helping Frank with the 2009 Springs Rally, and the route planning of the 2010 Rand Airport Challenge. She achieved her Protea Colours in 2010 and represented South Africa at the Slovakian World Rally Flying Championships.

Cally and Frank were the Route Planners for the 2011 World Precision Flying Championships and were tasked with rewriting the World Rules for both Rally and Precision competitions. More recently Cally and Frank were the Route Planners for the 2022 World Rally Flying Championships.

To date, Cally has been involved with the planning of more than 100 Rally and Precision Competitions.

Sandra Strydom started at the Aero Club around 2011 in a support role along with the secretary of the Aero Club Secretary at the time. Sandra has worked diligently over the past eleven years and has been at the forefront of administering several changes at the Aero Club from the membership system as well as the membership value add that was recently implemented by the Aero Club. Sandra has led the daily office requirements as well as been a vital link between the Aero Club Sections always at hand to field queries and requirements of the Aero Club membership.

Sandra is in daily contact with all the sections where necessary, always with a courteous and highly efficient culture that she has maintained for over ten years at the Aero Club. Sandra treats the tasks at hand very diligently and is always reliable to ensure all deadlines are met.

She has built up a friendly and professional rapport with each of the sections and is always on hand to assist.

For their meritorious service to the AeCSA they were all awarded Aero Club Gold Wings

The Lewis Lang Trophy for Pilot of the Year was awarded to Oscar Goudriaan for achieving second place and winning a silver medal at the World Gliding Championship this year which was held in Szeged Hungary.

Various Aero Club members were granted Honorary Section Membership in their respective Sections.

The Sports Aerobatic Club granted Nigel Hopkins and Roger Deare Honorary Section Membership for organising the very successful SKYGP event in 2014. Quintin Hawthorne was also granted Honorary Membership for his contribution to the organisation of the various World Aerobatic Championships in South Africa in 1995 and 2017.

Chester Chandler Chester was called to service in the President’s Trophy air race in 1984. He was required to sort out the handicaps of the President’s Trophy Air Race with fairness and impartiality. He has attended every race as a handicapper since then till 2021 and brought his skill to the handicapping.

He has suffered abuse from the competitors, however with unbending fairness ensured a fair race. For these years of commitment, he was granted Honorary Membership of SAPFA.

Chris Booysen joined the SAPFA committee in 1996 and served first as Treasurer for eight years and then as Chairman for six years and once again as treasurer for four years. He started compiling our website and its history in 2000 and his efforts are to thank for the rich record of SAPFA’s history that has been compiled.

He stood down from the committee at the end of 2013 and tragically passed away in 2021. For these years of commitment, he was posthumously awarded the Honorary Membership of SAPFA.

Walter Walle has served on the SAPFA committee since 1999. He has represented the Free State and been the coordinator between SAPFA and the Bloemfontein Flying Club for eight President’s Trophy Air Races. Lately, he has served on the Protea Selection Committee and eventually as chairman. He stood down from the committee at the end of 2021.

Dirk de Vos joined the scoring committee of the President’s Trophy Air Race in 1990. He assisted Chester Chandler with the handicapping and added value with his meticulous records of past performance. With his dedication to accurate results. For these years of commitment, they were both awarded Honorary Membership of SAPFA

Hans Schwebel the South African representative to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale awarded Rob Jonkers a special FAI blazer pin in appreciation of the sterling job done as competition dirctor at the World Rally Flying Championships.

The afternoon was then ended with a delicious selection of desserts and lots of socialising, past and present national team members were coaxed into posing in front of the beautiful Sky-master for a historic photograph.

Special thanks must go to Sandra Strydom and her team for once again putting together a wonderful event.



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