The Aero Club of SA Awards Dinner 2017
By Willie Bodenstein & Photos by Cheryl Smit
Founded on 6 April 1920 by a group of passionate aviators, mostly from serving forces, the very things that were true back then are still relevant today. In 2020 the club will celebrate its centenary. Throughout the years the Aero Club has become the most important organisation to protect the rights of freedom of flight.
This year the Clubs Awards dinner was again held at AFB Zwartkop and the assembled guests, prior to taking their seats, were treated to a display by Colonel Glen Warden in the SAAF’s Museums de Havilland Vampire.
Marie Reddy and Alan Evan-Hanes
Organised by the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Marie Reddy the lavish black tie dinner is held annually to recognise and award members for special and meritorious achievements in sport and recreational aviation during the year.
Master of Ceremonies, Paul Lastrucci
Master of Ceremonies, Paul Lastrucci during his opening address welcomed all and acknowledged the presence of the VIP’s acknowledgement of VIP’s Simon Segwabe (Executive Aviation Safety Operations SACAA), Mmanare Mamabolo (Executive Legal & Compliance SACAA), Chris Zwiegenthal (Chief Executive Airlines Association of South Africa), Tracey Eloff (Commercial Aviation Association of South Africa), Major General Ngema (SAAF), Neil De Lange (Chief Executive Officer RAASA), Donald Schenk (Founder Wonders of Aviation), Bruce Harrison (RAFOC), John Morrison and Ron Wheeldon before introducing Jeff Earle, Chairman of the Aero Club.
Jeff Earle in his address welcomed all and outlined the successes of the club. The club, whose finances are sound, he said, is mindful of the importance of cooperation’s and agreements with neighbouring countries and kindred organisations as this could open up the entire southern African region for recreational aviation. On the all-important Transformation and Development front astounding visibility, under the able leadership of Daniel Ralefeta, is being achieved with many awareness events being held almost on a weekly basis. Planning for the Club’s centenary in 2020 is well on its way.
During the dinner SASCOC Protea Colours were awarded to the following members for participation in an international event:
Senior Protea Colours 22nd FAI World Air Balloon Championships 2016 from 31st October to 6 November 2016 in Saga, Japan to Danie Minnaar, Heinrich Hoffman and Jos Minnaar acknowledged for crew support to Danie Minnaar.
Senior Protea Colours World Cup of Wingsuit Acrobatic Flying at Skydive City, Zephyrhills, Florida from 3rd to 9 November 2016 to Lehan Bornman, Susan Watts and Tamsyn Snyman
J Pio who partook in the 15th FAI World Paragliding Championships.
Senior Protea Colours for the World Aerobatic Championship 2017 from 10th to 17 September 2017 in Malelane, South Africa to Barrie Eeles, Bertus Du Preez, Mark Hensman, Neville Ferreira, Nigel Hopkins, Patrick Davidson and Annie Boon as the team Manager.
Senior Protea Colours for the 15th FAI World Paragliding Championships 2017 from 1st to 15 July 2017 in Monte Avena, Pedavena, Italy to Andre Rainsford-Alberts, Jon Pio, Khobi Bowden and Russell Achterberg and Special Acknowledgement to Andrew Smith and Jan Minnaar
Senior Protea Colours for the FAI F3K Glider World Championships in Lviv, Ukraine from the 23rd to the 29th of July 2017 to Alan Smith, Craig Goodrum, Ivor Fletcher and the team manager Brett Lewis and Junior Colours to Tiaan van Rooyen.
Senior Protea Colours for the 1st FAI World Air Navigation Race Championship 2017 held in Castellon, Spain held from the 11th to the 17th of September 2017 to Cally Eckard, Frank Eckard, Hans Schwebel, Mary De Klerk, Ronald Stirk, Thys van der Merwe and for participation as International Judge Special Acknowledgement to Arddyn Moolman.
Senior Protea Colours for the 23rd FAI World Precision Flying Championships held in Spitzerberg Airfield, Austria from the 29th of July to the 5th of August 2017 to Andre Kluyts, Frank Eckard, Mauritz Du Plessis, Ronald Stirk and the team manager Mary De Klerk and for participation as President of the Jury, Special Acknowledgement to Hans Schwebel.
Senior Protea Colours for the 34th FAI World Gliding Championships Open 18m and 15m Class held in Benalla, Australia from the 1st to the 22nd of January 2017 to Attie Jonker, Laurens Goudriaan, Oscar Goudriaan, Pieter Nouwens and Uys Jonker, Carol Clifford as the team Manager and Junior Colours to Marcus Nouwens.
FAI Silver Badge Dannie Minnaar
The be awarded the FAI Silver Badge in ballooning the following needs to be performed: The four tasks in no particular order are: 1) Fly for 100km in one flight, 2) fly a minimum of 3 Hours, 3) Gain an altitude 3000m from take-off and 4) Fly into a target from 3km away and drop a marker to a target closer than 10m.
Danie Minnaar was fortunate enough to perform three of the four tasks in one flight. On a very cold July 2016 winter’s morning in Bothaville, Danie took of from his farm. The flight was in the direction of Bultfontein. Abeam Wesselsbron, he ascended to a whooping (remember we are ballooning) to 14 500ft AGL. The flight ended 3 hours and fifth teen minutes later and 113.5 km from takeoff. Danie completed the fourth task at the South African National Hot Air Balloon Championships in New Castle, Kwa Zulu Natal with a distance of 3,4 meters from the in 2015. And you thought you cannot steer a balloon! Danie received his silver badge from the FAI in December 2016.
FAI Continental Records were established by:
Matteo Pagani for setting an African record for the max distance in Canopy Piloting (133.08m) at the World Games in Wroclaw, Poland on 22 July 2017.
Special Recognition Certificates
Awarded to Aeroclub members who have made an exceptional contribution to the Aeroclub during the year.
Ron Stirk for achieving a Silver Medal, 2nd Place in the Landing Section of the 23rd FAI World Precision Flying Championships held in Spitzerberg Airfield, Austria from the 29 July – 5 August 2017
Safety First Aviator Team
SA Weather Service, African Pilot, ALPA SA, Century Avionics, Experimental Aircraft Association of South Africa.
The results as presented by the SACAA Accident Rates show that this initiative is making a difference.But it is the people whom make it happen and the Aeroclub wishes to acknowledge the 2017 team for making it happen, some names might have been forgotten, but if you are here tonight will the following people please come up to the stage:
Eric Du Rand, Piet Fourie ,Santjie White ,Danie Heath, Cobus Toerien, Kylee Burnett
Adriaan Leodolff, Mike Bowyer, Leon van der Mescht, Horace Block, Don Keth, Eon de Vos, Rian Smit, Karl Jensen, Jeff Earle, Margie Viljoen, Hennie Marais, Brenda Thomas
Megan du Raan, Sibusiso Ketwe, Sandra Strydom, Alan Evan-Hanes, Chandre Steenkamp
Richard Becker, Sonia Ferreria, Xolile Jele, Dean Thomas, Wendy Santhilano and Rian Smit
This season of Safety Aviator has had a particularly strong presence of 30 venues country wide to bring the message to as many aviators possible by linking up at club level at local airfields, covering a number of topics with a safety aspect. Attendance was generally good. The enthusiasm of the team was infectious to the audience as evidenced in their presentations, and it is hoped that what was provided in that short space of time will have a lasting effect on the attendees.
Cliff Lotter, Mel Preddy and Alan Evan-Hanes excepting the award on behalf of SACSA’s South African World Aerobatic Championship Management Team of John Gaillard, Mike Visagie, Annie Boon, Kelly McCauley, Natalie Stark, Adam Puc, Cindy Weber, Alan Evan-Hanes, Mel Preddy, Quintin Hawthorne, Cliff Lotter
The 34th FAI World Gliding Championships South African Teams Oscar Goudriaan, Lourens Goudriaan and Attie Jonker, Uys Jonker and Nouwens, Marcus Nouwens
It was less than two years ago that brothers Attie and Uys Jonker and Johan Bosman, designers of the JS3, considered developing a 15-metre sailplane to be ready for the World Gliding Championships in Benalla, Australia. The aerodynamic design was only frozen in March 2016 leaving the team with less than 10 months to complete the detail design and to construct a completely new sailplane.
The wing moulds were completed in July 2016, the fuselage mould construction started in August and the basic structural design was completed in October 2016. The wing of the first JS3 started on 8 November 2016 and integration was completed by 1 December 2016. Paint and final assembly sections work around the clock to complete the prototype and the planned maiden flight date, 12 December, followed by the maiden flight serial number 2, nine days later.
The only transport option to make Benalla in time was airfreight. A small engineering team branched off to work with Qantas designing boxes to fit in the cargo bay of a passenger 747, serving the Johannesburg-Sydney route. Many technical issues had to be overcome to ensure these boxes fit through the side cargo door, to be able to move over the pallets and floor structure and to be safely tied down. Qantas assisted in every possible way.
Exactly a month after the maiden flight of the JS3, it had its first day win at the WGC in Australia. Wasn’t it for some unfortunate strategic errors by the brothers on day 3, the JS3s would most probably be on the podium.
Dr Brown is versatile and always assists with EAA projects and has taken the lead in a many EAA initiatives. He is on hand to assist with hosting EAA Flying events throughout year and makes a special attempt to ensure they operate to a high standard. Mike will be relocating to Cape Town in the New Year and our Johannesburg Chapter and the entire EAA will miss his get it done style. There will be some EAA movement now at Morningstar we are sure. Mike is certainly a worthy recipient of this prestigious award.
It is as a direct result of his credibility, and the high esteem with which he is held by the local community, that the people of Malelane have opened their hearts to this contest and made this event possible. Mel Preddy is a credit to Malelane and indeed to South Africa.
The Youth Development Certificate award for any person who has made a significant contribution in developing new young Aeroclub aviators was awarded to Dr Rob Hurlin
Dr Rob Hurlin has run a Radio Control Model Flying development project at Cornerstone College for the past 11 years . Young boys and girls from grade 7 to 11 have been taught how to fly RC models and have learnt about the principles of flight and aviation safety. From a group of 20 there are usually two who qualify as Solo RC pilots each year.
The young people involved in this project have been guided in developing their passion for a career in aviation. The project is sponsored by the Aero Club of South Africa, the South African Model Aircraft Association, the Silverton Model Flying Club and Frasers RC models. Rob Hurlin and his wife founded Cornerstone College 26 years ago to make excellent education accessible to disadvantaged communities. He has a doctorate in Aeronautical Engineering and was the manager of the CSIR wind-tunnels before joining the school full time 16 years ago.
Guest Speaker Paul Maritz
After finishing his graduate studies, Maritz had a programming job with Burroughs Corporation and later became a researcher at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, before moving to Silicon Valley in 1981 to join Intel. He worked for Intel for five years, including developing early tools to help developers write software for the then new x86 platform, before joining Microsoft in 1986.
From 1986 to 2000, he worked at Microsoft becoming executive vice president of the Platforms Strategy and Developer Group and part of the 5-person executive management team. He was responsible for essentially all of Microsoft’s desktop and server software, including such major initiatives as the development of Windows 95 , Windows NT and Internet Explorer.
In July 1999, he announced he would have a reduced role at Microsoft, and resigned in September 2000. He has been publicly acknowledged as “a leader among leaders”. Bill Gates stated that “Paul’s vision and technological insight has had a major impact not only on Microsoft but on the entire computer industry.”
Paul co-founded, and was CEO of Pi Corporation, a company which developed software for Linux with development in Bangalore, India. When Pi was acquired by EMC in February 2008, Maritz briefly became president and general manager of EMC Corporation’s cloud computing division.
In 2008 he was appointed CEO of VMware (an internet cloud company) and later CEO of GoPivotal Inc. He also sponsors third-world development projects and is the chairman of the board of the Grameen Foundation which is an NGO involved that brings innovative and sustainable solutions to the fight against poverty and hunger. Paul is very interested in all aspects of nature conservation and is involved in many related projects.
In 2016, he took part in the Vintage Air Rally from Crete to Cape Town, flying a Bushcat which was made in Springs by Skyreach. He normally flies a Decathlon, a Piper Aerostar and recently purchased a new Cessna 206 and a Cessna Caravan just to assist with the infamous logistical problems not resolved by the organisers of the event. He has in the past owned a Cirrus SR22 and a Diamond Twin Star and some trike microlights.
The Don Tilley Award for Safety in Aviation was awarded to Lt. Col. Francois Hanekom for his contribution to aviation safety.
South African Air Force trained and a passion for flying, Francois needs no introduction to the aviation industry. A well-known, respected Air Force instructor in his early days and known for his discipline and solid principles. Soon he spread his wings and expertise to the civilian air show arena and become a key player to formulate the standards today in place. He served as vice chairman on the ASSA board and took the flight safety and training of safety officer’s portfolio under his leadership.
Better known as “Hosepipe”he has trained many pilots and ground personnel in the industry all respecting him for his diligence and always willing to help with no questions ask attitude. “Yes I’ll be there” attitude and then making it work is his footprint all over the Air Show circuit.
Francois has been involved in the airshow area for more than 25 years, with this back ground and willingness to help and train, assist where necessary playing a key role in the back ground of flight safety we recommend him for the Don Tilley Award for Safety in Aviation.
Karl Jensen was awarded the Dennis Jankelow Airmanship Trophy.
He recently was seconded on behalf of EAA to assist with the industry Safety First Aviator initiative, which is administered by the Aeroclub. Karl has thrown his full weight behind making aviation safer. His enthusiasm and true passion are symbolized by his genuine love of aviation and aviators. It is also displayed by his constant demonstration of doing things the right way, acting as an exemplary role model for peer review. He is always approachable and willing to share his wisdom acquired over 27,000 hours of flight. He has been known to offer quiet confidential suggestions to other pilots to help them understand why they should change their behaviour for future flight safety. His constant display of exemplary airmanship over years of flying makes nominating him for this award an easy choice.
Athol Franz Air announced and presented the African Pilot Airshow the year award.
The Kisugu Lowveld Airshow took 3rd place.
Middelburg airshow was the runner up.
And the Airshow of the Year Award went to the Airlink Wonderboom Adrenaline Airshow.
The James Gilliland Trophy Awarded to the most meritorious flying feat accomplished in the past year was awarded to Marc Oostingh
Most good adventures start over a bottle of wine. Together with his good friend Motswanan Brett Warren, Marc Oostingh agreed to fly an open cockpit biplane along the length of Africa. A minor problem was the Marc did not own a biplane, so he quickly bought a Tiger Moth and then had it suitably modified in order to undertake the journey. He did some minor test flights to Botswana where it and Brett’s Tiger were boxed and shipped to England. On arrival the propeller was found to be broken. After being assembled with a new propeller, and some flights within England, Marc and his brave wife Lauren flew to Crete. Lauren soon became weary of oily cold uncomfortable air travel, and elected to send Marc solo from Rome southwards. On a final inspection in Athens, the engine was found to be un-airworthy and certain failure in the next five flight hours. New parts and a mechanic were quickly imported from England, and the engine was repaired.
Marc flew solo across the Adriatic Sea, and the Mediterranean to enjoy all the spectacles Africa has to offer, witnessing the great pyramids, along the centre point of early civilization, the Nile, Kilimanjaro, landing on the rim of the Ngorongoro crater and the mighty Victoria Falls. Along with Brett Warren in his Tiger Moth, Marc rightly believed that no trip would be complete without visiting the Okovango Swamps so they deviated from the Vintage Air Rally route to incorporate this. It was here that Brett damaged his Tiger Moth when a storm damaged it.
Marc completed the journey in 90 hours, the only real problems being minor damage to a wing when landing at Nairobi, and a flat wheel on landing in Plettenburg Bay.
Of special mention is that also considered for this nomination were Botswanan resident Brett Warren, and Paul Maritz who flew a South African built Bushcat along the same route and for his general enthusiasm and commitment to South African recreational aviation, if only they were Aeroclub members.
The SA Eagle Trophy for the most meritorious achievement at an international event went to Tiaan van Rooyen.
Tiaan was born on the 22nd July 1999 and is a grade 12 scholar at Pretoria Boys’ High School. He participates in athletics high jump, squash, cricket, ice skating and plays the guitar. After completion of matric he wishes to study Mechanical Engineering. Tiaan is a very keen aero modeller and a member of the Silverton Model Flying Club.
He grew up surrounded by his father’s planes since the age of three and spent every Saturday afternoon on the flying field. Tiaan had met so many people that this wonderful hobby has brought him into contact with. As a youngster while playing with cars, Tiaan would pick them up and fly around like an aeroplane. Everything he got in his hands would fly. At age five he would take the RC transmitter and fly the aeroplane for a few minutes before running off to play. By seven he flew like an accomplished pilot, taking-off and landing with no hassles. It was evident from a young age that Tiaan was set for big honours in the radio control fraternity.
One of the most important elements that he was taught from a young age was to fly the aeroplane, and not wait for the plane to move before correcting its movement. He mastered this skill amazingly fast. Tiaan’s natural ability to stay calm under all conditions is the ultimate element necessary to be an excellent pilot which falls direct in line with his relaxed characteristics.
The PGS Trophy Award for the most significant achievement by a South African manufacturer or designer of recreational aviation aircraft or products went to Jonker Sailplanes. Attie Jonker, Uys Jonker & Johan Bosman accepted the award on behalf of the company.
Since 2010 the JS1 was on the podium in every World Gliding Championships. During the 2015 European Gliding Championships, seven out of the first ten places were held by JS1 pilots, including places one to four. The JS1 is currently also dominating the Grand Prix format – both the 2015 and 2016 Grand Prix finals were won by JS1s.
The company’s ultimate dream was achieved earlier this year during the 34th World Gliding Championships in in Australia. The JS3-15m racer was revealed to the world during this contest, a bare 20 days after its maiden flight. The JS3 achieved 2 day wins as well as the fastest task speed during the championships. On top of this, the JS1-18 EVO won the 18m class and its bigger brother (or shall we say sister) the JS1C-21 was awarded the gold and bronze medals in the Open Class. Jonker Sailplanes is indeed well on their way to be the best in the world.
Daniel Ralefeta is an IT specialist, trainer but most importantly an enthusiastic aviator.
He is highly commended in the South African government ICT strategic development for political bearers and civil servants alike. His IT skills are utilised by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) key projects to ensure maximum input into the uplifting of ICT skills for previously disadvantaged communities.
As chairman of the Aero Club 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 Previously Disadvantaged Children.
It is his overwhelming and insatiable enthusiasm for fellow aviators and creating new ones that he deserves this recognition. He is also a serving member of the Executive Committee for Wonders of Aviation.
Mark Clulow is an experienced Pilot who has served the EAA of SA diligently. He flew ex Impala Mk2, Mirage III and Mirage F1 for SAAF during the conflicts of the 70’s and 80’s on SA Borders in both operational tours and sorties during the Angolan war. Mark is now a Chartered Accountant by trade and spends most weekends as a flight instructor at Circus Airfield. Mark’s gentile manner and generosity with his time is always something to be marvelled at.
Mark took on Project Cuba for the EAA of SA, supporting Arthur Piercy in his efforts to complete Project DreamWings – the highlight being the opportunity to reconcile with a Cuban Airforce Pilot on what happened to him when he was shot down in his Mirage as a young SAAF pilot in Angola. Mark headed up this project with enthusiasm in order for a fellow SAAF pilot to be able to reach his goal. Although the vision of the project evolved over four years, the end result made it a success and gave Arthur Piercy some form of closure and offered all those that were involved along the way an opportunity to share in Arthur’s experience. This would not have been possible without Mark Clulow.
Introduced into aviation at the age of seven by his father, an aircraft mechanic during WW II, when two French navy Lancaster’s flew over St Paul’s Church in Durban.Gerald joined the Pietermaritzburg EAA Chapter in 1972 where he honed his aviation interests and has been an active EAA and Aero Club member ever since.
Gerald championed the EAA Natal Chapter Merge in 1996 to what is now known as Chapter 1502 which is now the second most active chapter in South Africa today.
Gerald a school teacher by profession now retired, spent many years between his teaching and chapter duties restoring an Auster ZU -MGM back to pristine condition and has also whilst in his retirement from his teaching profession recently attained his PPL.
Gerald has spearheaded many projects over the years and his most notable is the merge of the KZN chapters into Chapter 1502 East Coast. His tireless efforts putting together the local Chapter newsletters and keeping the enthusiasm and interest alive within the KZN region is commendable. He is well known for keeping the dream alive by arranging B/S sessions where like-minded aviation enthusiasts shoot the breeze.
His is known within the chapter as Gerald Conduit as over the years he has
amassed a huge friendship with many folk involved in aviation. He is known for putting people in need in touch with people that know, a real handy guy to have around. Gerald is also a member of the LAA in the UK as well. He spent time in the UK following the vintage aircraft circuit following his passion. He has also put together an aviation library at Grass Roots airfield his home base to further the rich history of aviation in Natal.
Gerald also serves on the board of EAA South Africa as Chapter Chairman.
His attainment of Silver Wings is a worthy accolade for championing the EAA and in turn the Aero Club for his superb efforts spanning over almost 50 years is something special.
These Adventure Rallies have become a hit with EAA and SAPFA members and the last one at the EAA Sun n Fun convention attracted 18 entries. For this superb effort and his many other contributions, including volunteering to plan the Aeroclub 2020 Centenary Events we award him Silver Wings.
He oversaw all the accommodation, and other related support activities surrounding the contest. For the last 20 years Quintin always has the clubs interest at heart first and foremost. Without him we would not be hosting WAC 2017 in South Africa.
Mark started flying at the age of 15. His flying career began with gliding, and model aircraft and many years later he became a training captain on Boeing 747s.
His involvement with Sport Aerobatics began in 1995, when he entered his first aerobatic competition, under the guidance of his mentor, Nigel Lamb. He has twice held the title of SA Aerobatic Champion in 2006 and again in 2009, and has represented his country many times, achieving the silver medal for the South African team in both 2008 and in 2010 at the Advanced World Aerobatic Championships. Mark also placed 5th at the 2010 China International Air Sports Fiesta, and came 4th in the World Air Masters in China in 2011. In 2010, after 15 years of performing solo displays around South Africa, Mark set up the Team Xtreme MX2 duo with Nigel Hopkins, and then decided to expand it to a 4 ship, taking it to China and around the World, thereby putting the South African aerobatics mark on the world! Mark has served on the SAC committee for the past 10 years, and continues to share his passion not only in SA, but throughout the world.
What is truly remarkable, however, is Peter’s constant willingness and personal generosity in helping others. Peter has seldom, if ever, covered even the costs of his services. He has been known to provide others with spare parts at his own cost to help others in need; and solve unsolvable problems in various aircraft. Peter will carefully research problems if he does not have the answer. And it is not only his technical knowledge he willingly shares, but he will willingly swing a spanner to help a fellow pilot in need to ensure that the solution has been safely attended to.
Peter is not only an acknowledged master mechanic and a walking library of technical knowledge but also a very enthusiastic member. There are probably many here in the audience here tonight that have been the recipient of his generous efforts. He embodies what an Approved Person and an Aero Club member is all about, and has done so for over 30 years.
Len has been an Aero Club of South Africa member and an EAA member since 1973. That is more than 40 years ! Len was one of the first two Approved Persons (A.P.s) in Natal (now KZN), that being achieved in the mid 70s. He is a very active A.P., signing out about 50 odd aircraft each year.
He has accumulated more than 5000 flying hours in a vast array of differing aircraft types, and was an instructor at Cato Microlight airfield for many years.
He continues to be an inspiration and a fount of knowledge to KZN EAA members, and as a talented engineer will always step forward to assist with the manufacture of door locks, brake levers, bushes, or whatever bit of engineering is required, quite often without even asking for the material costs.
Len is a man who has been at the heart of homebuilding and NTC aircraft in KwaZulu-Natal for many decades, and truly fits the description of a ‘selfless aviation enthusiast’.
A young 74 Years old and still actively involved in aviation. He has never stopped working and says he does not know how to say no. There are few who have contributed more to the well-being of Aviation, and gliding in particular, than Barry. With at least 3000 hours of flying Barry has also spent many years instructing. He taught young kids from the township when in Zimbabwe and five of these are now airline captains. He was a keen tennis player but had a motor cycle accident at 17 years old ended his sporting activities. He discovered gliding and joined the Midlands Gliding Club which happened to be opposite his home.
Airplanes were in short supply in those days due to sanctions. The first plane Barry bought was a wrecked Slingsby Swallow for GBP15, it was more broken than fixed but after 4 years effort Barry eventually repaired it. Since then Barry has gone on to rebuild in excess of 20 to 30 airplanes taking them from write-offs, to complete rebuilds for either his own use or coming to the aid of club aircraft. As he says “It was the only way I could afford new aircraft”.
Whilst still in Zimbabwe he flew in a number of different championships with various degrees of success. He flew in the Caproni and attained the record when he flew a 300km triangle – it is highly likely that this record is still unbroken. He continues to entertain with his stories of an outlanding on a farm in the Free State where he was forced to take refuge at the top of a wind pump away from the affections of the farmer’s daughters – the rest is censored!
His first foray into metal gliders was when he rebuilt three Blaniks. His pride and joy was his beloved Libelle which as usual he had bought as a wreck and rebuilt to fly competitions.
He moved to South Africa in 1982. Peter Howe phoned him and told him there was a crashed Fornier RF5 in Nelspruit, unable to resist the lure of an opportunity to resuscitate old aircraft to their former beauty and grace, he went on to accumulate in excess of 700 hours before getting involved with the motor glider movement. He was a founding member of East Rand Gliding Club (ERGC) which was formed in 2004 and is based at Springs airfield.
Over time Barry has been involved in flying generally, not only in his various roles at ERGC but also serving for many years on the SSSA Exco as technical officer helping to develop the then SSSA managed Approved Person scheme. Given his auto mechanic background he has become a leading expert when it comes to VW derivative aero engines and continues to rebuild, give advice and get that extra ounce out of those engines particularly on the Highveld.
During this time Barry has never sought recognition, reward or favor. While due to age, arthritic hips, failing health etc. Barry is not putting in the flying hours that he once did, he has and continues to show his passion for aviation and his desire to share this unique experience. We consider Barry a worthy contender for Aero Club Golden Wings for services to aviation.
Mary de Klerk
Mary is well known as one of the most enthusiastic and competitive aviators in our domain of recreational aviation. Her presence at flying events is always infectious and brings fun into our world of flying. Mary has served on the SAPFA committee for 10 years, and has organised and also assisted with many of the SAPFA Fun Rally events, and has also managed the South African Flying Team at our international events. She is a great ambassador for South Africa at our international competitions.
Hanke Fourie presenting Col Jeff Earle with his Gold Wings Award.
Jeff is an ex combat hardened military pilot, who holds the distinction of performing a perfect forced landing in a jet in a foreign country on a tiny sand road. Jeff has worked in aviation throughout his life and has been an avid supporter of Aero Club. Jeff has often at his own substantial personal cost gone the extra mile to support the Aero Club. Over the years, they have become too numerous to mention and his willingness to volunteer is easily taken for granted. Despite being semi-retired, and busier than ever before, Jeff has volunteered his time to support the industry initiated Safety First Aviator campaign. He has done so at tremendous personal cost, yet his support is unfailing.
The next two awardees have achieved so much in the flying for South Africa and as ambassadors for the Aero Club that there are only a few awards which they have not achieved. You will recognise them as they have worn out the carpet on the way to the podium tonight as they have in years before, most deservedly, but it was with surprise that we established that neither had received Aeroclub Gold Wings, so tonight we rectify that.
Laurens has flown in 17 world competitions since 1981, and is always in the top 10 positions at world competitions; 1983 Hobbs New Mexico USA placed 3rd, 1985 Rieti Italy placed 3rd, 2001 Mafikeng South Africa placed 4th and 2008 in Lusse Germany placed 3rd.
Currently ranked 44th in the world on the IGC ranking list. Also won the South African Grand Prix series in Worcester in 2015 and 2017, and was 3rd in Potchefstroom in 2012 and National Champion in 2015 and 2016 and 2nd in 2017.
First Solo flight on his 16th birthday, obtained his PPL soon after. Gliding Hours: 5500 PPL 4000, 18 times SA National champion, Current #1 ranked glider pilot in South Africa and ranked #16 internationally.
National Colours: 1989 (Austria), 1991 (Texas), 1993 (Sweden), 1999 (Germany), 2001 (South Africa), 2003 (Poland), 2005 (Sweden), 2012 (Texas), 2014 (Poland), 2017 (Australia) and World Champion in 2001, 3rd in 2012, 4th in 2017.
Invited by Barron Hilton (founder of the Hilton Hotel Group) to fly on his ranch in Nevada (Barron Hilton Soaring Cup) in 2002. The Barron Hilton Cup can only be attended by invitation and received the State Presidents Award in 2002 for gliding.
Frank Eckard was awarded the prestigious Lewis Lang Trophy awarded to the Pilot of the Year.
Frank’s first flying lesson was in 1977 with Oli Tennant and cost him R 13.00/hour. He won his first spot landing competition during his 5th hour of instruction with Andre Kluyts in the right-hand seat. Frank did his first Rally as a navigator with Martin Hellberg before he got his licence in 1987. He and Martin earned their first Protea colours in 1995 at the World Rally Flying Championships in Denmark.
In 2004 after having enjoyed and taken much from aviation, Frank decided it was time to give back, and so started the Fun Rally program. To date SAPFA have arranged about 125 events, and more than 1600 pilots and navigators have enjoyed and learned from the experience. In 2004 he was elected to the SAPFA committee and served as chairman for 7 years.
In 2009 he was awarded the first ever claimed World Record for a flight from Johannesburg to Durban, where he proposed to Cally. Since then Cally joined Frank as Navigator and together they earned their Protea colours in 2010 at the World Rally Flying Championships in Slovakia.
In 2015 they were selected by the FAI to compete in the World Air Games -Dubai. They won the Gold Medal for the Landing Trophy and Bronze for the TOP ANR Trophy. In 2016 they competed in the World Rally Flying Championship in Santa Cruz Beach – Portugal and were awarded the Silver Medal for the Team results with Hans Schwebel and Ron Stirk.
This year they earned the FAI Gold Medal for 1st Place in the Landing Section of the 1st FAI World Air Navigation Race Championship 2017 held in Castellon, Spain in July 2017
Frank now serves as Chairman of the Rally Subcommittee of the General Aviation Commission of the FAI with the support of Cally as secretary.
Alan Evan-Hanes General manager of the Aero Club of South Africa