Thrown into the deep end is an understatement! The Monday after a very successful 2019 Nationals, Nigel Hopkins, John Gaillard and I attended a CAA Audit of our ARO (Aviation Recreation Organisation – Aerobatics). With the dissolution of RAASA, the CAA picked up the responsibility for the ARO’s. They have for obvious reasons taken this responsibility seriously and we ended the audit with a total of 15 findings that needed attention before we could renew our certificate.
Without going into too much detail (Mike Stark will complain!), the committee, with the assistance of a few energised CAA personnel, managed to resolve the issues that led to the findings. The changes basically forced better oversight over our operations and members. The revisions also ensured improved compliance with our own procedures. Just when we thought we had it “signed, sealed and delivered”, the CAA took issue with the format of our MOP (Manual of Procedures). With much haste certain members of our committee, again with assistance from CAA personnel managed to reformat the MOP and have it approved just prior to the Swellendam competition. It was close… very close!
We now have a documented MOP that I believe we can all be proud of. Please visit our website and take a look, it’s worth a read. The bulk of the work has now been done. Although there is a possibility that CAR PART 149 may be revised, necessitating changes to our MOP, we don’t expect these changes to occur anytime soon. Provided we maintain what we have now, I doubt the CAA will find issue with our MOP going forward. Forming part of these changes we are also renewing our LOP’s (Letter of Procedures) with ATNS that approve designated aerobatic zone. These should be concluded early in the new year. We also managed to change the CAA’s mind on how airspace clearances and approvals for our competitions occur. We now have a solution that gives us far greater flexibility. I would like to extend my thanks to the entire committee for the work they put in up to this point. I would also like to thank the following CAA personnel for the assistance offered – it is certainly appreciated:
Erik du Rand
But let’s talk about the ‘why we’re all here’ – Aerobatics!!
We will soon have dedicated aerobatic cylinders at Swellendam (WC), Heidelberg (GA) and Wings Park (EC). We are busy with the CAA approval process and it is our hope that these boxes are approved early in 2020.
As stated in my previous chairman’s chirp, the plan was to concentrate our focus on growing the club. We have employed the use of aerobatic training camps in order to attract and safely introduce new pilots to our sport. We advertise these camps in the form of articles that Garth Calitz kindly shares on Flightlineweekly.com. Thank you for this Garth, it’s appreciated! The articles are then shared far and wide on various social media platforms including our own Facebook page and website. This creates awareness which results in more training camps. Over the past 6 months, we have held training camps in Tzaneen, Wings Park, Swakopmund and a RV Day at Kittyhawk. The Kittyhawk Day created an opportunity for our next camp (planned for early in 2020). This camp will hopefully bring even more RV pilots into the fold.
Apart from the training camps, the new year will see an Eastern Cape Regional contest. The Wings Park Training Camp got the guys there really excited about aerobatics. They were very keen to hold a contest and we of course want to grow this into an “aerobatic hub”. Believe me, they will go all out on this event – it will be one definitely not to miss! Please do what you can to ensure you do not miss this event!
Nationals will take place at Tempe next year. We have decided to once again couple it to an Air Show. Both the
Air Show and our Nationals will be organised by Conrad Botha. Knowing Conrad’s organisational skills and his ability to source sponsorship, I am left in no doubt that the SAC will find itself in a far better financial position subsequent to this Air Show! Good luck Conrad, you’ll need it!
We unfortunately lost our bid to host the 2020 WAAC (World Advanced Aerobatic Championship). It went to the Czech Republic. This was a major let- down for us. Without going into detail, we will take the lessons learnt and be sure to apply them to our next bid. As a lot of the leg work had already been done (sourcing aircraft, location, sponsorship etc.), we felt that we could use the resource for a SHAC (Southern Hemisphere Aerobatic Championship), the brainchild of Nigel Hopkins. We are hoping to get this off the ground first thing in the new year. More to follow…
As you may have gathered, 2020 is looking really promising! Please support as many of the competitions and training camps as possible! Please continue bringing the new guys to the game!
While we’ve cheerfully welcomed some new members to the club this year, we’ve unfortunately also had to say sad farewells to some who have passed on.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support over the past year and wish you and your family a peaceful festive season & prosperous New Year!