Annual report 2005

The Aeroclub year started with Mandy Latimore's amazing wing walk in October last year. Like all determined people with ambition and drive, Mandy worked hard to achieve her childhood dream. Through the support of Stu Davidson and sponsorship from Sasol, Mandy managed a 20 minute wing walk above Cape Recife on the top wing of a Boeing Stearman. Mandy will hopefully make the Guinness Book of Records as the first paraplegic to wing walk. This effort has once again demonstrated that with the correct vision combined with excellent planning and skill anything is possible.

nAndre Goosen organised another successful disabled flying day in Nelspruit. The local disabled community were treated to flights over the Nelspruit area, After the flying experience the participants enjoyed boerewors rolls and a drink at the Lowveld Aero Clubs clubhouse. The event was made possible by the enthusiastic support of the local pilots, where over 25 aircraft were made available for the day. Mention also needs to be made of Nelspruit airport for allowing their facilities to be used for the day at no charge and to the sponsors some of whom were as far away as Cape Town..

Events like these demonstrate the community nature of aviation, where Andre managed to raise the awareness of disability issues to the flying community and judging by the success of the event, it is certain to become an annual event.

Often the there can be a huge difference between a vision and implementing the vision. This is the case with the Goldfields Gliding project where hand controls were to be fitted to one of their gliders. Unfortunately mother nature intervened and damaged the glider when a dust devil tore through the clubs hanger. This has unfortunately set the project back by 10 months.

On the bright side though, Paul Daniels of silent wings has managed to get his hang gliding project up and running. The hang glider, which has pontoons, is launched from a dam or lake. This enables the pilot to be strapped in and ready to fly in the prone position. This is the difference between the traditional hill launch where the pilot has to run off the hill, and only once airborne gets into the harness. Provided the pilot has reasonable upper body strength they can perform as well as non disabled pilots.

The last year has been an eventful one, where we have raised the profile of disabled aviation. For the next year we will endeavour to make facilities available. One priority is to get a powered aircraft converted in the Gauteng region.

As we say, if you cant walk Fly!