North meets South - Francois Strydom (14/12/2010)

The recent NORTH MEETS SOUTH set wheels in motion that cannot be stopped. The prime mover of this event,  Johan Stemmet, has started a movement that must have surprised even himself. It seems as if the Gyro fraternity has fallen into an apathetic state and needed a push start. What became quite evident after this event was that a breath of fresh air was injected and that it is possible to recover from this quack mire if the momentum can be maintained. The blame for this situation falls squarely on the shoulders of the Gyronaughts, who started flying in isolation, with the net effect that we had this fragmented situation which can and will kill our beloved sport. Maybe our sport became secondary to legislation, so much so that it resulted in a dampening effect. This is where SAGPA can play a significant role. The emphasis should lean more towards participation than legislation. Without aviators we don�t need a "SAGPA" and certainly no laws. On a slightly different note, the issue of conservation comes to mind, and I am convinced that most aviators feel the same about this. There seems to be a willingness from recreational pilots to participate in fighting poaching and protecting our environment. SAGPA is maybe the ideal platform to launch an initiative like this and maybe the next event, Gariep, is the opportunity we have been waiting for to get the ball rolling. Johan Stemmet and his connections can maybe provide some illumination to this cause, a fund can be established to try and compensate pilots who are willing to help, for at least their fuel and accommodation expenses. A similar movement is in motion by the bikers and it seems to be quite successful in gathering presents for the less privileged. The obstacle would probably be to convince the authorities that the private sector is willing and able to help curb this savage slaying of rhinos, even on a voluntary basis. The only concern for the government now is to see how they can stay in power. It might even be possible to form a "squadron", investigate landing sites, providing army style accommodation and mess facilities, and a governing body like SAGPA can administer the process. These are my own personal views but if we can get some feedback on this issue we can decide if it is feasible, or maybe investigate other avenues.

Francois Strydom