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 an “amateur-built” aircraft(NTCA), membership of EAA is a requirement for the issue by CAA of the Authority to Fly (ATF) and in fact for the “operation” of a NTCA.

The EAA is sectioned into autonomous clubs 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, (David Toma and Paul Lastrucci) and Council members comprising the Chairmen of each Chapter. The committee section heads are the Secretary (Marie Reddy), Treasurer (Mark Clulow), AP Representatives (Andy Lawrence & Pete Lastrucci), National Safety Officer (Nigel Musgrave), EAA Auditorium Convener (Marie Reddy), EAA Young Eagles Convener (Keaton Perkins, newsletter CONTACT! Compiler (Neil Bowden) and PRO/Membership (Karl Jensen).

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 250+ paid up members who meet monthly in Dowerglen, Edenvale.

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 build activities on most Saturdays. Our major fly-aways are to the annual National Convention, the Sun ‘n Fun fly-in and we do like to participate at the annual Taildraggers Fly-In. 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’.