November 1973

Aero Club of South Africa – Gold Wings

Ann White

For services to General Aviation especially the Natal region of the Aero Club of South Africa.

In 1969, Aero Club experimented on diversifying and regional committees were formed. Anne   White acted as secretary to the Natal Region from 1969 to 1975 when the idea was stopped. The Natal region was the most successful as they not only had representation from the flying clubs, but also parachuting, model aircraft, EAA etc. The Committee held quarterly meetings at different venues and when away from Durban the power flying side also did instruction and flight tests where there were no Grade 2 instructors. Ann also arranged fly/drive away’s for the meetings where the family and club members could also participate – one at St. Lucia for the opening of their airstrip where the participants did flipping for the local community. Another was at Midmar Dam where a parachute drop and a display by model aircraft were arranged, so that the public were once again involved.

Ann learnt to fly at Virginia airport in 1964 with her husband. Both served on the Flying and Executive committees of the Durban Wings Club for  many years. Ann also went on to do a CPL and Instructors and Instrument Ratings. Ann was a member of the Aero club power flying committee for two years in 1972/3 and served on the Executive Committee of Aero Club in 1973.

Ann participated in the annual flying competitions while she was a private pilot as, in those days they were only open to private pilots. She won a number of trophies in the Women’s Aviation Association competitions and was also awarded the de Havilland trophy. The WAA trophies are in the archives of Aero Club as they were disbanded.

In 1968 Ann was volunteered to assist the handicapping committee at the finish of the Air Race in Durban. The next year the start was in Durban and Ann once again came along to help. In those days, calculations of times were done on a graph, times were by pigeon clocks and not very accurate. Ann started completing the calculation chart of the air race from 1971 and this was when there was more interest in the race as positions were given for all aircraft not just the first few. Ann still has copies of all the charts from 1971. Ann also attended some of the handicapping deliberations to give advice from the figures she had. In 1978 she was appointed as a handicapper of the race, a position she has held since then.

Ann was awarded the Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship in 1971 by the Internationall Organisation of Women Pilots – the Ninety-nines. This enabled her to get an open rating on singles and a conversion to Cessna 310/320 series. Ann was awarded the Paul Tissandier Diploma in 1984