SAHPA ATO Suspended

Dear Members,

Last night at the SAHPA AGM, the outgoing committee were formally replaced by the new volunteer committee consisting of:

  • Louis Stanford (Chairperson, Executive)
  • Pete Wallenda (Vice Chair, Executive)

As no nominations were received for other posts, it now falls on the new committee to identify volunteers and appoint suitable post-holders.

Suspension of the SAHPA ATO

Both Kevin Storie and Pete Wallenda are being sued for damages by one of the schools in their personal capacity (in spite of them being SAHPA volunteers), and both are thus unwilling to shoulder any further responsibility for the SAHPA ATO.

As these two critical posts are now vacant (ie. the ATO Accountable Manager, and the ATO Safety Manager), SACAA PEL department has suspended all training operations in the SAHPA ATO with effect from 3rd October 2022. This means that all schools operating under the SAHPA ATO may not operate.

SACAA has agreed to a concession to allow schools to operate for the next four days while the relevant paperwork is addressed. Pete Wallenda has also agreed to remain the ATO Accountable Manager, supported by Wayne Heuer as ATO Safety Manager, however only until midnight on Sunday 2nd October. Thereafter the SAHPA ATO will be suspended and no schools may operate under the SAHPA ATO.

This suspension does not affect schools which have already transitioned to their own DTO.

Unfortunately there is no quick solution to this problem. SACAA has indicated that in terms of their policy, it will take 4-6 weeks to evaluate and approve new SAHPA ATO post-holders. In addition, potential volunteers are rethinking their willingness when learning of the reasons for Kevin and Pete’s departure.

The SAHPA ATO certificate expires 28 February 2023 and will not be renewed, nor will SAHPA apply for a DTO (the regulations do not make provision for sub-DTOs, which means that if SAHPA did apply to be a DTO, it would be in direct competition with schools).

Most schools have applied timeously for their DTO certification, and while some have been approved, others are awaiting final authorisation. We urge school owners to please follow-up with the SACAA PEL inspectors working on your DTO application, bringing attention to this problem to expedite the issuing of your DTO certificate.

Growing Risk

Recent lawsuits against SAHPA and volunteer committee members, has put a significant strain on SAHPA’s ability to fulfil its role to promote, protect and administer the sport, and threatens to destroy the willingness of volunteers to get involved. For this reason, the SAHPA committee will be consulting with legal professionals on how best to approach the next few months until the SAHPA ATO can be phased out.

Recreational Pilots not affected

Recreational pilots are not affected by the suspension of the SAHPA ATO, unless you are a student currently undergoing training by an affected school. Please discuss this with your instructor on how to work around this.

If there are any queries with regards to this notice, please contact the SAHPA Office with your concerns.

The SAHPA Committee