by Karl Jensen, Chairman EAA Chapter 322, Johannesburg
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) of South Africa embraces far more than design, building and flying of experimental or home built aircraft, although this remains an important activity of the EAA. As an Aero Club of SA affiliate, the EAA of SA actively supports initiatives of the AeCSA to ensure that the freedom of the skies in South Africa is sustained for recreational aviation under ever increasing restrictive legislation. If one flies a non-type certified aircraft, membership of an Aero Club affiliate such as EAA is a requirement for the issue by CAA of the Authority to Fly (ATF)
The EAA is sectioned into autonomous clubs or Chapters in various centers in the country with 12 official Chapters under the auspices of EAA of SA National. All members of EAA National are volunteers who do not receive any remuneration. The structure has a President and Deputy, (Paul Lastrucci and Mike Visagie) and board members comprising the Chairmen of each Chapter. The committee section heads are the Secretary (Stephen Theron), Treasurer (Mark Clulow), Technical Officer (Kevin Hopper), National Safety Officer (Walter Doubell), EAA Auditorium Convener (Jeremy Woods), EAA Young Eagles Convener (Dr Mike Brown), newsletter CONTACT! Compiler and Webmaster (Gus Brown) and PRO/Membership (Trixie Heron)
Most months the EAA Auditorium at Rand Airport features The EAA Flying Legends Talk Shows which are always fully booked for these fascinating interviews. The EAA Young Eagles initiative encourages our youth between the ages of 14-18 to get involved in the many forms of aviation as a career or as a pastime after enrolling on the EAA Young Eagles website. The monthly newsletter CONTACT, loaded with topical information, is distributed electronically free of charge to all who apply.
The largest and most active EAA Chapter in SA is Chapter 322 Johannesburg which, the first EAA Chapter in SA, was founded in 1964. At present there are 290 paid up members who meet monthly in Dowerglen, Edenvale.
Chapter 322 have an aircraft build project under way where the members are building a Teddy - a look- alike but modified Piper J3 Cub - under the watchful eye of the designer Kevin Hopper. The well attended meetings result from energetic and entertaining content and a brief agenda required to control finances and encourage activities. We stimulate a safety culture, especially amongst the pilot members. A noted aviation personality does an audio/visual presentation at each meeting on topical matters such as regulations, flight planning, aerodynamics, meteorology, aircraft building, simulators, aviation photography, CRM or Error Threat and Management as it is referred to for single pilot operation etc. There are also panel discussions where experienced air force qualified pilots, professional pilots, flight instructors and ATC’s face the members’ questions in an effort to uplift the attitude and flying skills of members. Regular fly-ins are held at least monthly as well as members’ project visits and the Teddy build activities on most Saturdays. Our major fly-aways are to the annual National Convention, the Sun n Fun fly-in and the Nylstroom Vliegklub/EAA Taildraggers Weekend at Nylstroom. We encourage visitors at the meetings and are constantly striving for membership to grow the Chapter and thereby give power to the elbow of the Aero Club. The membership embraces a wide spectrum of people from many walks of life from professional business people, technicians, medical doctors, professional and airline pilots to student pilots and many people who simply wish to mingle socially with aviators and have an interest in aviation and the robust ‘hangar talk’.