Aero Club of South Africa Development Programme
Annual Report – 2004
The Africa, Aerospace and Defence exhibition is the largest display of land, air and sea systems on the African continent and, for that matter, in the Southern Hemisphere. The show was presented at Air Force Base Waterkloof over the period 21 – 25 September 2004. One of the most important elements of the 2004 AAD exhibition was the SANDF Youth Development Programme. With Colonel Bobby Keiler from the SA Medical Health Services at the helm, a very dynamic committee was established to manage and execute the programme. The goal of this year’s programme was to ensure that it would be the biggest development programme in the world, by incorporating youth from a wider sphere than just the aviation fraternity. For this purpose, 3 days (21 -23 September 2004) was set aside for ±2 500 youth from various organisations to participate.
AAD as a whole includes a very strong aviation component and thus the major thrust of the development programme included high technological environments in aviation i.e. Flying, ATC, Engineering and Technician. The very big difference between this years programme and the programmes which were hosted in 2000 and 2002 was the practical and interactive approach, where youngsters could be exposed to practical and hands-on displays and be lectured on criteria and knowledge required to make the specific element a career choice.
Two halls where designated as the Youth Development Programme. Hall 7 was dedicated to the traditional Africa Militaire show which was a scale model, military cultural and historical show. Hall 6 was assigned to the SA Air Force (SAAF) under the leadership of Brigadier General James Wallis, the Director of Aviation Awareness in the SAAF. The components in hall 6 were all aviation related and tied practically into all high technological environments. Each of these components will be discussed later.
Each element portrayed a segment of aviation and how these components could provide a very enriched career. A very professional auditorium was built and hosted by Aviation Dimension and was used for presentations on various high-tech environments.
NATIONAL YOUTH DEVELOPMENT TRUST
At Meyer who heads up this career orientated organisation provided an interactive exhibit of youth in his organisation actually busy with technology and science related projects. Very innovate ideas and concepts were visible and were very indicative of the creative mind of the youngsters involved. Aviation in Space Technology was very powerfully portrayed. The development of the inventive mind and future technological demands on society was emphasised. The art of creative thought and the use of raw material were profound in many of the projects on display.
S.A. AIR FORCE COMPONENTS
The SAAF’s Siyandiza Aviation Awareness Programme included static as well as interactive displays from Bases, Units and Squadrons around the country. Central Flying School Langebaanweg provided an Astra Aircraft and a full technical display indicating various expertise required to maintain aircraft systems. Maj Richie Richardson very professionally displayed the typical Wings Course presented by the School. The SAAF’s elite acrobatic team, The Silver Falcons, hosted autograph sessions for the youth. Test Flight and Development Center, Bredasdorp provided an Impala Homebuilt Flight Simulator as an interactive display. Static aircraft in the hall were provided by 2 Squadron, Cheetah D and Air Force Base Hoedspruit, 85 Combat Flying School, a fully armed Impala MkII. The SAAF’s Command and Control Systems Directorate provided a very comprehensive exhibit on the typical work of an ATC, by erecting a Mobile Air Traffic Control Centre.
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS
AVIATION AWARENESS PROGRAMME: VULINDLELA
This participant provided their ‘horse and trailer’ display for the duration of the show. SAA ensured that an active pilot was available every day to answer questions relating to careers as an airline pilot. Staff from SAA were also available to advise the youngsters on various careers in the technical sphere.
THE AERO CLUB OF SOUTH AFRICA
By far the biggest and most comprehensive contribution to the Youth Development Programme was from the various chapters of the Aero Club. Some organisations very closely related to the Aero Club were also approached to assist with the exhibitions and interactive displays. The key area in this regard was the availability of subject matter experts in the high-tech aviation environments. It is known that many of the exhibitors spent large sums of money ensuring that their contribution would be of value to the youngsters. Emphasis was placed on interactive displays with particular focus on a specific science within the chapter.
BALLOONING ASSOCIATION AND FEDERATION OF S.A. (BAFSA)
Felicity Ciegg from BAFSA co-ordinated a very compact but professional stall. They provided material and expertise on ‘lighter than Air’ technology and had video footage on ballooning in general. Apart from the interest shown by the youth, all visitors showed great interest in their exhibit and technology.
SOUTH AFRICAN ROCKETRY ASSOCIATION (SARA)
Albert Smuts provided the most valuable input to a youngster dream of becoming a Rocket Scientist, by presenting a very interactive display, utilising video material and experts in the science of rocketry. Dummy launches were also provided which added lustre to their contribution and the show as a whole. This relatively small chapter provided a ‘large contribution’ in terms of appropriate display material and a pragmatic approach to aviation science.
MICROLIGHT ASSOCIATION (MISASA)
Louis Jordaan assisted in co-ordinating members from their organisation to place a microlight at the exhibition and provide a stall where the youth could enquire about flight training using microlight aircraft. The particular scientific approach to weight-shift technique in aviation was displayed. Waterkloof High School’s Aviation Academy displayed alongside MISASA and together they provided information of various aspects of flight training of youngsters, particularly because the academy utilises microlights in their flight training programme.
EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION (EAA)
The science and technology of aircraft building, as an interactive participant proved to be somewhat difficult. Very few projects in process can be moved and displayed without the risk of damage. However, Terry Hertz co-ordinated their stall which depicted the ‘art’ and technology of aircraft manufacture and building. Although the Young Eagles Aviation Awareness Programme is synonymous with EAA the level of communication concerning careers and attributes of the aviation science was not appropriate for this particular event and was not included. Much interest was however shown in the programme.
SOUTH AFRICAN AERO MODELLERS (SAAM)
Andre Beukes and Craig Goodrum provided a most valuable display and included companies from the fraternity. Andre mustered much participation and included models in all their subsections for display. From jet engine technology to the art and wonder of scale building was displayed. One very interesting and important presentation was the science of Turbine Technology. Craig Goodrum’s team built a stall where youngsters could experience first hand RC flying on PC simulators as well as aircraft model building. Special must be made of the dynamic approach displayed by members of this chapter. These people have a heart for kids and a great passion for aviation. A truly excellent participant.
Peter Eich together with his team of soaring enthusiasts helped provide this stall. The glider hanging from the hall roof is and will always be a noteworthy site. The wonder and science of utilising meteorological conditions to ensure flight was the emphasis of their exhibit.
WINGS AND TRACKS
Barbara and Renier Friebose (SAPFA members) presented the science of instrumentation technology. A practical display of the earliest instruments plus a working simulation of glass cockpit avionics was most professionally displayed. The enthusiasm of the members and their commitment to the programme made their contribution highly commendable.
ASSOCIATION OF VIRTUAL AVIATION (AVA)
Not new to the world of youth development AVA had a stall of 20 computers which were totally interactive and displayed the practical flying component of the development programme. A PC Based game will always attract a crowd. This is probably because an individual can react personally with the image he/she sees on the screen. Literally thousands of youngsters flocked to the PC’s to experience for the first time the wonder of flight. For the first time, the International Virtual Aviation Organisation (IVAO), which is an internet online flying organisation, joined AVA to experience how the PC based flight simulator could be used as a wonderful tool to orientate potential aviators. The’star’of the exhibit undoubtedly had to go to the Mirage FICZ home-built flight simulator. This totally 3 Dimensional simulation of flight is the first military jet fighter home-built PC based project in the world. The ‘aircraft’ featured very prominently on MNet’s Carte Blanche shortly after the show and provided the much appreciated exposure of virtual aviation to the greater public in general. The emotions of real-world fighter pilots ran high when they experienced the realism of this simulator. ‘Unbelievable’, ‘Awesome’, ‘Mind- blowing’ were but some of the words uttered. All the credit has to go to the Dooley twins, members of AVA, for their incredible ability in completing this project in 3 months, in time for AAD 2004.
In closing, it takes dedication, patience and tenacity to spend a week of your life telling thousands of people about your passion for aviation, and in particular the knowledge, experience and attitude you require to be a successful aviator, in this context, any element of aviation. The word thank you seems to be lacking in substance to express the measure of appreciation for the commitment and sacrifice made to make the Youth Development Programme a success. But Yes! Thanks to all of you out there, who did make this youth programme the best and biggest to date. A standard has been created from which countries around the globe can benchmark to. Well Done!