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CAA Accident Reduction Week Roadshow at Stellenbosch

By Rob Russell

October being Transport month, the Civil Aviation Association has organised various events around the country. Amongst these are safety security workshops, drone workshops and an accident reduction road show.

The inaugural accident reduction roadshow was held this past weekend, down in the Cape, at Stellenbosch airfield. A full programme was organised over two days, namely Friday and Saturday and what a stunning success it was. Eric du Randt, assisted by his very able team, put on a truly world-class road show, Of course, having it at such a great venue as Stellenbosch Airfield, added to the success of the event.

The roadshow started on Friday afternoon, with flying display mentorships and training for those pilots that participated, under the umbrella ship of Air Show South Africa (ASSA), with their Chairman, Rikus Erasmus and Display Authorisation Examiner, Charlie Marais in attendance. Guidance was given to pilots that made use of this opportunity, three new airshow validations were awarded, as well as seven revalidations were completed. Those spectators in attendance were able to see how pilots validate and prepare for airshows. Piet Fourie and Pierre Laubscher, from the CAA, were on hand to assist as well.

The CAA had made use of this roadshow to invite the SA Search and Rescue organisation to present a display showing how they fit into aviation and what facilities they make use of, to conduct and assist in searches. The head of the Aviation Rescue Coordination Centre, at OR Tambo. Gregory Crutchley, was in attendance to answer any questions about procedures around Search and Rescue. SASAR made use of the opportunity to show off various organisations that are involved in search and rescue, some being:

  • K9 Search and Rescue Association of SA, based in Somerset West.

  • SARZA 4 x 4 vehicle Association, based in Cape Town, Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal and Mpumalanga. These two organisations are manned by volunteers and make their own dogs and vehicles available to SASAR, to assist in the search and rescue of missing aircraft and persons.

  • SA Police Dive unit. They had on display much of the equipment divers use to search for aircraft and bodies, underwater.

Mayday SA was invited to participate and they had a table, with representatives on hand to answer any questions about the vital and important role they play in aviation.

The evening entertainment took the form of a truly fascinating panel discussion. Eric du Randt welcomed everyone to the function. Neil de Lange, General manager of Civil Aviation at the CAA, spoke briefly before Eon De Vos, the panel chairman, was introduced to the audience by Eric. Those of you, who know Eon, will know that he is regarded as an expert in the field of CRM, (he runs a CAA-approved academy specialising in CRM). Eon had on his panel:

  • Charlie Marais, a well-known helicopter pilot, examiner, airshow examiner and someone who is truly passionate about flying and safety

  • Juba Joubert, ex-SAAF helicopter pilot and now instructor and examiner

  • Flippie Vermeulen, ex-SAA pilot, now CEO of Springbok Classic Companies and respected instructor and examiner and

  • Dave Doull, ex-SAA, now a Human Factors Expert, holds an MSC in Human Factors

Eon de Vos and his panel

It proved to be one of the most fascinating panel discussions related to safety in General Aviation held in the Western Cape. The panel are all passionate about safety, training and human factors and many topics were discussed. Amongst them being:

  • Deficiencies in training standards and procedures

  • The difference between older disciplined military training and civil training and the problems in this area, ie cost factors being the highest one

  • The need for fewer “captains and instructors” and more “coaches and mentors”

  • Dave spoke at length about Human Factors performances, failures and limitations

  • The need for pilots to make use of experts in all fields of flying to assist you. Pilots should never have to scare themselves – talk and get these people to assist and mentor you

  • The importance of situational awareness at all times, whilst preparing for your flight and whilst flying. The need to know where you are and what is going on around you and how important it is

  • Hindsight and what we can learn from it

  • A just culture – you are going to make mistakes and errors. The difference between genuine errors and unintentional errors and the consequences was discussed.

All too soon the discussion was brought to an end, but it could have gone on all night. The audience was kept thoroughly entertained by the panel and Eon did a brilliant job leading the talk and raising the various issues. It is a pity more pilots did not make use of the opportunity to listen to such experts discussing and adding value to the points raised that evening.

If there was a bit of criticism of the event, it was not filmed or broadcast live. Flightline Weekly did raise this with the event organiser and he is investigating making such events available online or via podcast.

The panel participants were available afterwards to answer questions and discuss aspects of the talk and many pilots made use of these people to improve their knowledge and understanding of general aviation safety.

Eric du Randt brought the evening to a close. Day 1 was done and dusted and what a great success it was.

Day 2 – Saturday

Saturday morning arrived, and the Skygods were not very cooperative. A cool cloudy day dawned, with plenty of rain showers in between. Unfortunately, many pilots who were planning to fly in, could not and they missed out on another great day's entertainment, although some jumped into the vehicles and drove to Stellenbosch.

The Stellenbosch Flight Academy had made their FNPT2 simulator available to the participants, in support of the roadshow. A special rate was made available for anyone that wanted to use the sim. Participants were invited to look over the simulator, for themselves, as well. Instructors were available to show off the simulator and how it is used and the advantages of using a simulator. More info can be found on their website at

The SASAR display had an additional display for those that were there:

  • The W Cape Government drone unit. This division of the W Cape EMS had on display two drones and lots of equipment. Personnel were on hand to answer questions and show how they use drones to assist in a search. Onboard video equipment on the drones, enables live pictures of the search area to be sent to organisations conducting searches. They also have drones with the capability to drop supplies and equipment, as well as carry hoists to hoist equipment out and into restricted areas. This unit is amongst the best in the world and the personnel are highly trained to carry out the various tasks they are needed to do. It was good to see how our tax money is being correctly and wisely spent.

Meanwhile, inside the hangar, David Doull was introduced to the audience and he presented yet another brilliant talk about human factors, safety and training. The topics discussed included:

  • Leadership - What is it and how is it achieved? And also what it isn’t and what should not be done!

  • Psychological safety- Dave spoke frankly and candidly about the psychology of safety. He mentioned it is a vital and important aspect of safety and how it impacted on safety. He mentioned that it was a scary place to go and the need for brutal and honest conversations around safety -Something that is often overlooked. This aspect was finished by a short discussion on the difference between blame and learning and how they sit at opposite ends of the scale.

  • Safety- What it is, and how various organisations define it, the best being the USAAF definition – Freedom from loss. He spoke about the need for safety, and how to aim for a safe environment. Moving on from that he gave described how safety and training were evolving and moving to systems-based training, which is all about interactions and interdependency - The need to train and to work towards certainty. The best place to train for this was in a real-life situation, or simulator, not in a classroom. He dealt with the difference between a safety investigation, which looks at preventing a loss in the future, as opposed to a legal investigation, which deals with what happened in the past and apportioning blame. He ended by saying the two should not be linked and intertwined.

Dave Doull presenting his speech

Dave went on to discuss the need to bring skills training, and how it has evolved from a multi-crew environment, down into single-pilot operations. How can you improve your performance, even as a single pilot operation and how you can achieve it?

He brought his talk to an end, with a short discussion on the difference between teaching and learning. Learning by discovery is the most important way to learn. He went on to discuss how an instructor should not be teaching, but rather creating environments where a pupil can learn the most and in an effective and efficient manner. As he stated, this is for everything, not only flying. The importance of learning from others and other people’s mistakes was also discussed.

It was a thoroughly entertaining and useful talk. He continued from the panel discussion last night and he made a big impression on the very attentive audience. It was good to see some participation from the audience as well. Who will ever forget his brilliant, softly-spoken, and humble introduction? - “Hello, my name is Dave and I am a pilot”

The show then moved on to the rally. After much discussions between the Competition Director, Mauritz du Plessis, the safety officer, Rikus Erasmus and the CAA, it was decided to hold the rally, bearing in mind the overcast day with a spit and bother of rain showers, but the weather was fine for VFR flight. Tony Russell, gave a briefing to all about the rally, and where they would be more or less going. The rally participants then headed to the clubhouse where they were handed their maps, frantic planning was completed and they all headed off into the miserable weather to try and not get lost!

Tony Russell, rally organizer, with Livetrack360 in the background

To enable the non-flyers to keep track of what was happening, each aircraft was equipped with a GPS tracker, which enabled live tracking of the aircraft. Much fun was had watching where some of the pilots headed to, wondered off the route and how they found themselves back onto the route! These trackers are also used to work out the penalty points earned by each aircraft, as well as any time penalties. Gone are the days of trackers sitting along the route with binoculars and stopwatches!!! On returning to the airfield all the participants took place in a spot landing competition, just to add to the fun of the rally!

Another competition that was also held, was by the CAA Airworthiness department – a pre-flight inspection competition. People were encouraged to take part in this – a Cessna 172 was parked on the ramp and people were asked to do a pre-flight and note all the faults they could find. In some cases, not finding, was more appropriate! Much fun was had by all who took part, and it was a really clever light-hearted, but serious, addition to the roadshow.

Lunch was served and the Stellenbosch Flying Club yet again delivered a fantastic lunch for all those there. Anton Theart and his catering staff did a brilliant job keeping the participants happy with some of the best pizzas in the area.

After lunch, and with the Skygods delivering some heavy and really much-needed rain, Eric introduced Charlie Marais to the participants.

Charlie gave another brilliant presentation on Non-Stable approaches and loss of control. He made use of some rather scary statistics to highlight and illustrate his talk.

Charlie Marais delivering his speech

His talk highlighted:

  • An increase in accidents, due to a lack of skills and bad attitudes

  • The importance of SOPs, how they are written, why they are needed and how they evolve and the importance of every pilot operating within them. They are there for your guidance, correct operating procedures and to avoid becoming a statistic.

  • The difference between a stable and non-stable approach. What is an unstable approach, how they are applicable to every, even a single engine, single pilot operation, approach and how you should react if you are not in a stable approach on final.

  • The importance of proper briefings and planning. This is for every flight, even if you are just going to hop in your aircraft and fly around the airfield.

  • The need for pilots to know their limitations for both themselves and their aircraft

Another fascinating and useful presentation.

All too soon the road show came to an end, It remained for Eric du Randt to announce the competition winners.

The Rally

1. Georg Gabrielides and Phil Bristow

2. Marko Nel and Sara Bilbe

3. Paul Smit and Thys Roux

The Spot landing competition

1. Paul Smit

2. Derek Lord

3. Thys van der Merwe

In addition, two new ASSA qualifications were announced and the two persons were presented with their certificates, namely Anike Erasmus, now a certified Airshow Director, and Brent Warren, now a certified ramp director.

After a few brief closing remarks by Neil de Lange, Senior General Manager of General Aviation, CAA, the event organiser, Eric du Randt closed the event and invited those present to join the CAA, in the clubhouse for spit braai and drink.

Eric and his team did the CAA proud. The event was a truly well-organised and seriously good and useful event, well run and it achieved what it set out to do. Sure there were one or two minor issues, which can be easily resolved. Just a pity a lot of pilots who would have learnt a lot from this roadshow were not there. It's not often you get to meet with so many experts, dedicated in their fields, who are willing to pass on their knowledge and assist pilots.

The roadshow continues this weekend, at Kitty Hawk airfield. It finishes on the 28th of October, with a webinar. Attendance at both these events is free, register and make use of these opportunities to learn and enhance your safe flying skills. If you are in Gauteng, register and take the time to get there. You are assured of a great event and you will leave it much wiser and with a greater understanding of safety in aviation.



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