Gliding in South Africa

his initiative is to extend the joy and pleasure of soaring to the broader community with special emphasis on those with physical disabilities. In South Africa, there are an estimated 5 million people with various disabilities who have been marginalised and excluded from various activities, such as gliding not because they were incapable of flying, but because no effort had been put into breaking the traditional mindset and overcoming obvious problems (such as developing hand controls for sailplanes).

The aims of this initiative
To bring the joys of soaring over the spectacular scenery of South Africa to the widest possible audience.
To train potential pilots from previously disadvantaged communities.\r\nTo introduce as many disabled people as possible to the joys of soaring flight
To train disabled pilots to fly solo.
To further train disabled pilots to become gliding instructors with a total understanding of and sympathy for the special needs of disabled pilots.
To introduce disabled people to the thrills of aerobatic flight.
To aid disabled pilots in the purchase, modification and operation of their own single seat gliders.
To promote gliding as a sport accessible to all

This initiative was initiated by the Disabled Aviation Association of South Africa but is being hosted by Goldfields Gliding Club. The location of the club is within easy reach of Johannesburg Bloemfontein and Welkom, and hence has the ability to attract potential disabled pilots from a large area of South Africa. Depending on the success of the initiative there is potential for courses to be run around the country.

Goldfield Gliding Club has approximately 50 members and has agreed to allow their training glider (ASK -21) to be converted for disabled use. The club will be integrated with able bodied and disabled pilots flying the aircraft. The reason for using this aircraft is that there is a factory designed and certified hand control modification.

The initiative is a long term one where hopefully there will be a regular turnover of disabled pilots. As this happens, some of them will achieve substantial goals (such as a disabled pilot in the UK who flew 730 km in a glider, and unfortunately just missed a 750km goal).

This initiative is to extend the joy and pleasure of soaring to the broader community with special emphasis on those with physical disabilities. In South Africa, there are an estimated 5 million people with various disabilities who have been marginalised and excluded from various activities, such as gliding not because they were incapable of flying, but because no effort had been put into breaking the traditional mindset and overcoming obvious problems (such as developing hand controls for sailplanes).