Aero Club of South Africa – Silver Wings

Robin Spencer-Scarr

Robin Spencer-Scarr started flying in 1984 and obtained his fixed wing license in that year. He is also a qualified helicopter pilot. He has in excess of 2 500 hours in a number of different types of aircraft.

He has been active in promoting sport and recreational aviation over a long period of time and has represented South Africa in Rally Flying. He was part of the team that earned Gold for South Africa in 2003.

Robin has served on the South African Power Flying Association Committee for an unbroken period of seven years. During this period he took over responsibility for running the President’s Trophy Air Race, giving this event the continuity that it lacked in the past. This event, the most prestigious Air Race in the World, requires high levels of organisation and safety. Robin has the unique ability to ensure that the event runs smoothly but at the same time he manages to inject fun and humour which makes it an event for the competitors. This has resulted in the Race growing in popularity over the years he has been in charge. This growth in popularity is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the 2010 Race had a waiting list in excess of thirty aircraft.

Robin (also known as Mr Air Race) is a worthy recipient of Silver Wings.

Ron Stirk started flying in 1988 and is a PPL with a night rating. He has been active in promoting sport and recreational aviation over along period of time.

Not only has he served on the South African Power Flying Association Committee for an unbroken period of 10 years, some of those years as Vice Chairman but has also been a nominated representative on the Board of the Aero Club. He has also served on the Committee of the Brits Flying Club in various capacities, including that of Chairman.

Ron has not only been active in the administration of General Aviation but also in competitive flying. He has represented South Africa twelve times in World Championships. He is the only pilot that has won the World Landing Competition twice, in 2000 and 2006.

Ron was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident in April 2008 in which he lost his right arm. While in hospital his first thoughts were how and when he would be able to fly again. In less than a year after the accident he was back in the air and competing in the National Precision Flying Championships. Ron was placed fifth in that competition and won the landing section. His performance resulted in him being selected to represent South Africa at the World Championships. His performance in Poland contributed to South Africa being awarded the bronze medal in the Team Landing Competition at the World Championships.

Ron is a worthy recipient of Gold Wings.

Barry de Groot has made a significant contribution to Sport and Recreational aviation in South Africa.

Barry started flying in 1979 and has a tremendous flying record covering the approximately 25 years and 2 500 flying hours.

Barry has represented South Africa on 14 occasions at World Championships, seven times in Rally Flying, six times in Precision Flying and once in Microlighting. He has also acted as team manager for the South African team. Barry has been a co-recipient of the S A Eagle trophy on two occasions.

In the competition arena Barry is also a regular participant in the President’s Trophy Air race and has won it once and been on the podium on three further occasions.

He has also contributed by organising competitive flying events in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Barry has been on the committee of the Pietermaritzburg Flying Club since 1995 and has served as President and Vice-Chairman on that committee. He is also on the committee of the Cato Flying club and has served as Chairman on that committee. Barry has made a substantial contribution to sport and recreational aviation by serving on the committee of the South African Power Flying Association for the past fifteen years.

In his spare time Barry acts as Chief Pilot for the parachuting club at Cato airfield and regularly flies the aircraft for that club.

Aero Club of South Africa – Honorary Diploma

Chris Booysen

Chris answered his calling to aviation by completing his Private Pilots License in 1990. This was followed by a Night Rating in 1996 and an Instrument Rating in 1999. Since early in his flying career he has been involved in sport flying and has notably achieved 3rd place in the 1996 President’s Trophy Air Race.

It is in the representation arena that Chris’ capacity to make sacrifices in the interests of aviation shone brightly in what at times is a dark environment.

Chris set the tome of things to come when in 1990 he was elected onto the Algoa Flying Club committee where he served for 15 years. During this period his work on projects such as the implementation of the requirements of the Air Services Act won him widespread recognition

In 1996 he took on the additional responsibility of treasurer of the South African Power Flying Association committee, a post he occupied with distinction until his appointment as Chairman in 2004. During his tenure on the SAPFA committee Chris has become known as one of General Aviation’s most redoubtable promoters. His efforts to curb the infringements of our right to fly are well illustrated by his contributions to the Part 61 consultations, ATNS and SAWS fees, averting compulsory fitment of autopilots for night flying, challenging the 12 year overhaul requirement and contributions to the NTCA discussion paper. In addition he also acts as editor of the “Joystick” magazine and is in fact its most prolific contributor. Of further note are his efforts to establish a milieu that will encourage the advancing of Aero Club and FAI objectives for record setting in South Africa.
His propensity for hard work and willingness to take up the cause on behalf of others quickly catapulted Chris into various leadership positions, particularly that of Chairman of the Algoa Flying Club and manager of the Protea team at the 2004 and 2006 World Rally and Precision Flying Championships. While tirelessly working on the daily requirements associated with his responsibilities, Chris has always remained focussed on the long term health of aviation. With this in mind he was instrumental in setting up the Aviation Watch South Africa information network to counter apathy of which General Aviation so often stands accused.

Chris’ unremitting selfless sacrifice since 1990, and specifically in the last three years, has made him a true champion of “Preservation of Free Flight” and wholly deserving of the Aero Club “Honorary Diploma”

An important part of the World Precision Flying Championships is the Landing Championship which comprises four different type of landings namely:

  • 1 Powered approach with flaps (This is the normal kind of landing executed by pilots every day)
  • 2 Glide Approach with/without flaps (Here the pilot is required to cut the power at 1000ft abeam the threshold and glide the aircraft onto the landing line. The use of flaps is optional)
  • 3 Glide Approach without flaps (Here the pilot is required to cut the power at 1000ft abeam the threshold and glide the aircraft onto the landing line. No flaps are allowed in this approach)
  • 4 Barrier Landing (This is a very steep approach where a 2 meter barrier has to be cleared before touching down on the landing line)

For each landing the pilot must touch down in a strip marked on the runway which is only 2 meters in depth. Penalties are awarded for ever meter short or long of the zero box. The competition has been dominated by the Polish and Czech Republic teams for years.

The World Precision Flying Championships were held in Troyes, France in July 2006. The conditions for the landing competition were reasonable with temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius and light and variable winds. The high temperatures resulted in variable lift in the circuit. The landing box was set up for landings on Runway 18 which was the preferred runway of the organisers despite the slight tailwind prevailing in the early morning. Landings No 1 & 2 were executed in the first half of the day and landings No 3 & 4 after lunch, this time on Runway 36.
Results were delayed due to a protest being received regarding a tailwind that was in excess of that allowed by the rules. After the Jry made a ruling Ron Strik was declared the winner and 2006 World Landing Champion with a total of 4 points.

This is the second time Ron has won the title, previously having won it in 2000 in Sweden. This is the first time in the 17 year history of this competition that a competitor has won the trophy twice.

Kassie Kasselman started flying in 1976 and since then has been actively involved in all aspects of general aviation. He has also left behind tangible evidence of his involvement.

He has organised six air shows in Bloemfontein over the years and has acted as Safety Officer at another five events. The most recent event where he acted as Air Show Director was the very successful air show held at Bloemfontein Airport during August 2006.

In the 1980’s he was involved in a significant way in the compilation of the first Aero Club Air Show Manual. Kassie has also acted as Testing Officer for display pilots.

Kassie served as a member of 106 squadron in the South African Air Force for approximately twenty years and for most of his career in the SAAF he acted as Safety Officer.

He started his active involvement in competition flying in the late 1970’s and earned his Free State colours in Precision Flying in the 1990’s. He also organised a number of club and provincial events. He has also served as an International Judge for Rally and Precision Flying.

When the new Tempe Airport was established, Kassie was one of the key roll players in the construction of the Club House for the Bloemfontein Flying Club. He has also been involved in its development on an ongoing basis.

In 1990 he was awarded the Paul Tissandier Diploma for his service to general aviation by the Federation Aviation Internationale. This award was presented to him by the FAI during the 1991 World Rally Championships in Stellenbosch.

Kassie has also been involved with the President’s Trophy Air Race as organiser and competitor. He was also instrumental in the drafting of the official rules for the air race. Kassie has acted as Race Director and chief organiser of six races, the first in 1998 and the last in 2005. He has also served on the race jury for a number of years.

He has also contributed to the administrations of general aviation bodies. He has served on the committee of the Bloemfontein Flying Club for a number of years. He also served on the committee of the power flying section of Aero Club and its successor, the South African Power Flying Association for a period of 14 years. He has acted as chairman of both the Bloemfontein Flying Club and SAPFA.

Kassie is well known in the flying fraternity not only as organiser of flying events, but also as a very competent businessman.

Paul commenced his flying career in the SAAF (44 Squadron) and is rated on Harvards, Impalas and Dakotas. He served as the Flight Safety Officer of that unit. After giving aviation a break for a while Paul joined the Cape Aero Club in Cape Town in 1995 to regain his CPL and IF ratings. Paul immediately involved himself in Club activities, and has played a valuable role in guiding the Cape Aero Club with his extensive knowledge of the practical and legal aspects of aviation. During all of his involvement in aviation he has been making a contribution for the benefit of others.

Paul served for an extended time at the Club involved in Safety activities, coordinating with the other Cape Clubs, and also chaired the Safety Committee and dealt very efficiently with a number of delicate safety incidents.

Paul contributes to aviation in many ways, contributing both financially and of his time, to the organizations he is involved with, often without other members of the organisation being aware of it. In 2001, Paul was deeply involved with the Action Group against the Peak Approach Charges promulgated for Cape Town, then threatening the viability of GA. Through his efforts an innovative solution was found to address those issues.

With the introduction of the new ATNS tariff structure in April, Paul has once again, without hesitation, taken the lead in doing something really constructive in neutralizing the threat to General Aviation. It is hard to comprehend the amount of time, personal money and energy Paul has invested in dealing with this matter by arriving at a solution that is acceptable to all parties. He is willing to contribute substantially despite the risk of neglecting his own business that needs his attention.

Without Paul, General Aviation would be a more divided body at the mercy of practices and costs more appropriate to the airline industry which would be to the detriment of GA. Paul does this without seeking any personal glory, power or compensation.

Nigel represented South Africa in the World Precision Flying Championships and World Rally Flying Championships held in Denmark in 2004. He finished 5th in the Precision competition with only 161 penalty points and with his navigator was 4th in the Rally competition.

Earlier in the year Nigel had entered the Danish National Precision Competition as practice for the World Championships which he won.

Nigel’s achievements assisted the Protea Flying Team in obtaining a 4th and 7th position in the team results in the World Rally and Precision Championships respectively.


For his outstanding commitment as chairman of SAPFA and for the way in which he organized the 13th World Rally Flying Championship at Pilansberg.

Jan has been a representative on the SAPFA committee for a number of years of which three were chairman. He has also been a regular member of South African flying teams as pilot and manager.

Jan was the Competition Director and main organiser for the 13th World Rally Flying Championships in 2003. At this event South Africa won both the individual and team section of the competition, a first for the country.

He also developed the Air Observer logging system, one of only three recognised by the FAI. This system, together with its software, is recognised as a world leader in logging equipment.

For the promotion of Sport Flying over a long period of time. He has been the editor of the Joystick newsletter for many years, He has also been team manager for the Protea Flying Team on two occasions, for the Precision flying team in 2000 (Sweden) as well as both the Rally and Precision flying teams in 2001 for the World Air Games that were held in Spain.

Deon has also acted as competition director in a number of National Precision and Rally Flying Championships and was one of the main organisers of the World Rally Flying Championships held in Rustenberg in 2003.