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June Newsletter 2012

Tuesday, 19 June 2012 09:57 Richard Wernberg
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Incorporating Powered Paragliding & Hang Gliding
Non-Profit Organisation ??? Empowering the Free Flight Community of South Africa
Company Registration Number: 2005/028858/08
P O Box 191, Celtis Ridge, 0130
Tel & Fax: ++27 (12) 668 3186/ ++27 (0)74-152-2505 Fax: ++27 (0)86-611-1005
E-mail:?? This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Website:


June 2012


Dear SAHPA Members,


The SAHPA elections are underway and the Ballot forms have been posted to each current SAHPA Member. Please send in the ballots via fax or email before 20 June 2012. If you wish to attend the AGM, then you have the opportunity to hand in your ballot form there as well. The link

The AGM will be held in Barberton at the Golf Course on the 21st of June 2012 at 18H00 for 18H30.


Renewal forms have been sent out to all pilots and instructors but can also be obtained on the website under members information.

All licenses expire on 30 June of every year. The penalty for late payment is that you have to pay the full amount, whether you pay 2 or 10 months late. Renew your membership and licence before date of expiry. You will be flying illegally when your membership expires. Pilots must comply with all renewal criteria.

Please inform SAHPA (in writing) when you stop flying permanently so that we can update our records.

In order for the SAHPA office to speedily process and issue your licence please ensure that the following documentation is sent and signed off by the either a Club L&SO, Instructor or safety officer.

Instructors who have not renewed their licence and ratings by 1 July will not be allowed to do any training and if student applications are submitted, they will not be processed and the student will be notified of this accordingly.

To avoid any problems we ask that the Instructors renew their licenses before the due date to avoid any problems.

What do I need to do to renew (please take note of a few additional documents):

You are welcome to scan and email or fax the above to the office but please send the original documents in the post as well.

Kindly submit the following

Standard Renewal

  • The SAHPA form is completed and attached to your payment
  • The minimum flight and hour requirements have been met or a signed off skill test is submitted
  • Section D of the form is signed by a CLUB LICENSING & SAFETY OFFICER or Instructor
  • Medical certificate of fitness is attached
  • Copy of ID/ passport
  • Copy of previous year???s licence
  • 1x Color ID or passport photo
  • A copy of your logbook with the flights for the past year for each sport is attached. If a skill test is required then a copy of your logbook with the flights showing the 5 signed off flights is attached (abbreviated logbook form is not applicable with a skill test), A Skill test is required when the minimum flight requirements have not been done.

Instructor rating & TFI Rating Renewal

  • The SAHPA form is completed and attached to your payment
  • A valid First Aid certificate is attached (Section C)
  • Section D of the form is signed by a CLUB LICENSING & SAFETY OFFICER
  • Section E or F is completed in full
  • Medical certificate of fitness is attached.
  • Copy of ID/ passport
  • Copy of previous year???s licence
  • 1x Color ID or passport photo
  • A copy of your logbook with the flights for the past year for each sport is attached.


In addition:

  • If you take part in hang gliding and paragliding and/or powered paragliding, each section of the form must be signed by a Club Licensing & Safety Officer or Instructor for each sport
  • Tandem rated pilots and pilots from the age of 60 have to submit a Medical Fitness Certificate signed by a medical practitioner.


Please note that flying licenses and ratings can only be issued when all required documentation has been received. Payment, on its own, is NOT enough for licence renewals.





In the period 1 October 2010 to 3 April 2012, 23 accidents and 35 incidents have been reported to SAHPA.


Three of the accidents resulted in a fatality. One caused by a pilot forgetting to do up his leg straps and plunging to his death. The other two occurred due to incidents in flight and both pilots suffered massive head trauma that subsequently resulted in them passing away.

A further 16 of the accidents could be classified as serious, with 10 spinal injuries, 3 broken femurs and various other injuries, including another serious head trauma.

Of the 23 accidents, 9, including 2 fatalities, involved foreign pilots all with either IPPI 4 or IPPI 5 level qualifications. The 14 locals include 5 Students, 7 Basic level pilots, a Tandem rated pilot flying solo and an Instructor .



From personal experience it is clear that not all incidents are reported. The 35 incidents include 8 reserve deployments, 12 landing incidents and 7 launching incidents. Nine incidents resulted in minor injuries. The split between local and international pilots is 29 to 6. Of the 29 local pilots 11 were students and 13 held basic licenses.


The split between International pilots and local pilots (15 vs 33) indicate that we have a disproportionate number of International pilots having incidents and accidents in RSA. It is my recommendation that all tour operators and comp organisers should make an extra effort to ensure that the pilots are properly briefed on the conditions and topography of the local flying sites.

The split between students and licensed pilots, local, 16 vs 27 is to be expected as the training phase is the most dangerous. However, at least some of these accidents could possibly have been prevented if the student flew in the right conditions and with the right equipment. The fact that we had a student throw a reserve, and possibly save his life, should put pay to the notion that students do not need reserves.

Of great concern is that almost half of all local incidents 20 out of 43 involved pilots only holding a basic licence. This could indicate one of two things, one, it indicates a lack of experience or two, sport rated pilots know how to deal with situations. No incident or accident has been reported for a local sport rated pilot with the seven other incidents and accidents involving Tandem pilots and Instructors.????


In general, I need to raise the following concerns.

  • All accidents and incidents need to be reported to SAHPA. It is very obvious that this is not being done.
  • The real dangers of our sport are not stressed enough to new students
  • With the advent of the reinforced leading edges gliders tend not to collapse as regularly as in the past, but due to the leading edge holding its shape, the collapses that do occur can be very dynamic, even on low rated gliders. It concerns me that instructors refer to gliders as bulletproof. There is no such thing.

Due to two recent fatalities, both resulting from massive head trauma, we will have to look at requiring better head protection.???? Compiled by Charles Swart




To ???roll up??? in time for the AGM the year in office has flashed by. Notwithstanding it???s been a year of varied occurrences ??? some outstanding, some good, some normal and some we would like to have avoided.

We lost three friends and pilots in three separate accidents (two on one day) and the death of another pilot in a car crash, sad, tragic and a sobering reminder to all of us that remain that we are not excluded when our time arrives.

It is fundamentally up to all of us that we create and instill a culture of responsibility and co-dependability to help prevent any such repeat potential paragliding accidents.

In one instance had the pilot verbalized his pre-flight check ??????., leg straps good,?????? before take off it could have saved his life.

In another, had a local pilot been present to fly off last a life might have been saved ??? we will never know.

But we CAN implement peer vetting to prevent such reoccurrences and we CAN brush up on safety related procedural considerations.

It takes very little to verbalize one???s checks, making thus one more conscious of them and hopefully also rubbing off on another pilot in earshot.

And if you???re guiding/signing pilots off at your local site get the 2nd most experienced pilot to launch first as the wind dummy and the most experienced pilot launches last.

Instructors and senior experienced pilots are supposed to know the ropes and they have got to where they are by being sensible ??? it is also their responsibility to share this by guiding younger, lower airtime pilots accordingly and these pilots need to remain open and receptive to such input.

REMEMBER: your license is a ticket to an ongoing learning phase throughout ALL of your flying. Never assume you know it all and never for one minute overlook the opportunity to learn.

At a paragliding meeting in the past year I was present when a specific sector of the South African TFI group was spoken of highly by another very experienced pilot. The group???s ability to operate in challenging conditions with sometimes demanding, technical take off conditions was lauded and everyone seemed to feel pretty good having received such praise.

It left me thinking about what I heard for a while.

Having been there and got the T-shirt as a full time commercial tandem operator for a good few years, it has left me wondering how much of that safety record is due to skill, judgment, luck or even fate?

And if one is a professional pilot, should fate ever be a factor??

How much room for improvement in professionalism and safety is left the way current operations are run?

Again, as a regular observer, one comment I make without reservation, is that it might pay to slow things down a bit especially from pre-flight briefing a passenger to getting them safely airborne. I???m not talking a long time, perhaps a minute or two of slightly less accelerated preparation. Something where the pre flight aspect of a flight is not so much just a quick formality, but where the passenger???s ability to absorb all these new stimuli is taken into account in order to execute safe launch commands effectively and when required. Just a thought.


Ian Cowie, Peter Mauchan and Lucas ???Robo??? Barnard have secured strong positioning on the Leonardo League leader-board and Josh Degenaar of KZN smoked everyone (in SA) to some 340-odd KM???s from Prieska last summer.

Nevil Hulett???s (almost) round tour of the Cedarburg ex Porterville also raised eyebrows (and I believe spiked Nevil???s adrenal output when his ???TienRand??? (R10.2) tried to shake him off deep in a Cedarburg ridge crossing).

On the newcomer side Richard ???Swoop??? Theron has not only made a rapid entry in performance flying from his skydiving background (as did Peter Mauchan ???Long Pete???), but both have taken to XC flying like the proverbial ducks to water. Nice going guys!

In De Aar Des and Arnold have been hard at work making this exclusive central paragliding Karoo venue not only one of SA???s top winch sites, but with much hard work have put De Aar squarely onto the mountain launch map too.

Competition flying

Waldo Minnie, Des and Arnold Pansi and several other driven pilots have gone beyond their flying commitments to excel at making possible some brilliantly organized competitions. To all involved a collective thank you on behalf of all the pilots!

Without your input, none of these competitions would have happened and the standard of SA competition flying would not allow us to have produced World Class pilots like Russell Achterberg, Andre Rainsford-Alberts and Andrew Smith.

The South African competition scene needs help though. In Porterville, De Aar, Barberton and The Dam (when it comes back online) and others, we have amazing sites, but apart from a hardcore few (you know who you are), we lack the organizational drive to enthuse both the larger paraglider pilot group and potential sponsors. We need more helpers and organizers to help lighten the load of the regulars.



The ever changing demands of air transport will continue to have growing impact on the decreasing volume of air we may legally enjoy our ???free flying??? within.

There are two key areas that require our implicit understanding and compliance ??? our knowledge and conduct in and around the various classes of airspace and our ability to combine with other like-minded airspace users at securing our rights to fly as we do.

The first requires pilot compliance and responsibility and the second, a formal group (in our case SAHPA) to interact with the powers that be that legislate aviation. We are extremely fortunate to have both RAASA and the Aero Club of SA taking an active interest in helping us protect our own. Kev Storie (Aeroclub) and Neil de Lange (RAASA) were both present at the recent SAHPA Instructor seminars and there they shared with us there experience and knowledge on keeping SAHPA a proactive, interactive player in the preservation of our rights to fly in accordance with the law.

We have nationally had to address amended airspace from Gauteng, Mpumulanga, KZN Natal (The Bluff and special thanks to DPC Jo Chananie and Kev Storie for finalizing that), the Wilderness and the Western Cape.

Airspace and access management are on-going items and good and proper conduct by our membership will strengthen our cause when making approaches for favoring our sports??? futures and rights to fly.


Club level functionality

Club participation and functionality appears healthy and the creation of regional interest from clubs??? demographic regions always needs a fresh look, particularly in today???s economic climate. Paragliding might well be an upper echelon ???luxury sport??? or occupation, but it nevertheless remains the first door I would recommend opening if choosing a career in aviation (one need only look at the very many successful pilots from all of our sports who have achieved well beyond the limits of ripstop and mylar).

Another dynamic is the unity between various disciplines becoming evident with some pilots ???crossing over???, others doing multi discipline flying and some clubs amalgamating achieving greater critical mass for all members??? collective interests. While we may have fewer players in each section, the information sharing taking place I believe builds greater mutual respect.

Once again we need to look at our overall numbers and where we envisage SAHPA being in a few years time ??? two areas we have not yet adequately addressed are:

Creating interest in schools and school leavers (our average age profile has ???matured??? with an historic core membership. We do not seem to be drawing numbers in the (growing) younger age group profile. This needs urgent attention.

Rolling out a development plan, escalating the SAHPA profile as a more serious role-player for the inclusion of South Africans from all walks of life and the facilitation of this by way of government funding. After all, as and introductory aviation sport, the academic application of flying training alone (even just for free flying) should be a key draw-card alone, let alone the personal achievement of learning to fly.

So how do we get this message to the masses?


Thanks for your support

I???ve enjoyed serving on the committee over the last year and I???d like to thank each and every one of you ??? fellow committee members and fellow SAHPA members and many others behind the scenes for all the interests, hard work and achievement of keeping it all on track. We???re bound to be faced with more challenges but I couldn???t think of a greater bunch of people to face those with next year.

Thanks again!

Ant Allen (PG Chairman)




Congratulations to the following pilots for achieving new licenses and Ratings:



Basic Licenses:


Fly De Aar Paragliding School, Northern Cape


Paragliding Adventures School, Gauteng


Blue Gravity Paragliding School, Gauteng


Skywalk Paragliding School, Gauteng


Cloudbase Paragliding School, Western Cape


Fly De Aar Paragliding School, Northern Cape


Paragliding Adventures School, Gauteng


Windmaster Paragliding School, Western Cape


Birdmen Paragliding School, Western Cape


Cloudbase Paragliding School, Western Cape


Wildsky Paragliding School, Kwa-Zulu Natal


Birdmen Paragliding School, Western Cape


Wallendair Paragliding School, Western Cape


Sky guide Paragliding School, Kwa-Zulu Natal


Wallendair Paragliding School, Western Cape


Cloudbase Paragliding School, Western Cape


Skywalk Paragliding School, Gauteng


Wallendair Paragliding School, Western Cape


Cloudbase Paragliding School, Western Cape


Cloudbase Paragliding School, Western Cape


Wallendair Paragliding School, Western Cape


Paragliding Adventures School, Gauteng


Fly Time Paragliding School, Southern Cape


STD Tandem Rating:


Glen Paragliding Club, Western Cape



Novice Licenses:


Big Sky Hang Gliding School, Western Cape




Cape Albatross Hang Gliding Club, Western Cape



Pilot Licence:



Xplorer Ultraflight Powered Paragliding School, Western Cape


Flying unlimited Powered Paragliding School, Gauteng


Paragliding Adventures School, Gauteng


Flying unlimited Powered Paragliding School, Gauteng


Free Flying adventures Hang Gliding School, Gauteng


Flying unlimited Powered Paragliding School, Gauteng


Flying unlimited Powered Paragliding School, Gauteng


Flying unlimited Powered Paragliding School, Gauteng


Flying unlimited Powered Paragliding School, Gauteng


Flying unlimited Powered Paragliding School, Gauteng



Last Updated on Monday, 09 July 2012 12:58