Airplay Aviation and Wings Academy
By Willie Bodenstein
Wings Aviation Academy School located in Fort Beaufort is the only school of its kind in Africa has now teamed up with Gary Whitecross of Airplay Aviation. The school with its highly dedicated teaching staff that understands education and aviation specialise in one- on- one teaching, thus providing students with personalised teaching and assistance with all the required subjects. Based on South Africa's best CAPS curriculum provider known as IMPAK the self- paced learning teaches students to take responsibility for their studies.
However, today a Grade 12 certificate does not get you far, but a Grade 12 with a pilot's license will open doors really fast.
Since teaming up with Airplay Aviation students will start their training on stick and rudder, using the Motor Falke Touring Motor Glider and Jabiru LSA Trainer. Not only is training on the motor gliders more cost effective but it is also generally accepted that a Glider Pilot is trained to the same standard of that of a power pilot, becomes in essence a far better pilot as they have developed more skill during an equal number of quality type training hours. There are many instances of commercial airliners crash landing or effectively landing off base after multiple engine failures with few or no injuries or fatalities, the common denominator seemed to be that all their Captains were Glider pilots as well.
Once having qualified for their Touring Motor Glider Pilot License (TMGPL) pupils will then move on the Jabiru for training to their National Pilot's Licence (NPL) and then it is just a short step to their Private Pilot's License.
Gary Whitecross CFI at Airplay Aviation started flying in the mid-1970s and has flown most aircraft types from paragliders to jets, including multi engine commercial aircraft, helicopters, micro lights and Gliders. He is currently Head of Training at the Soaring Society of South Africa, was voted the societies Instructor of the year for 2014, Chief Flying Instructor at Goldfields Gliding Club and Winner of multiple Regional Gliding and Paragliding Championships. Gary represented South Africa at the World Gliding Championships 2014.
Gary is in the forefront of Recreational Aviation Instruction, having been involved in Aviation and Scuba instruction for the past 30 years he holds a Grade A Instructors rating in Touring Motor Gliders, all facets of Gliding and a Grade B in Light Sport Aircraft, he is also a NPL Test Pilot.
Airplay Aviation is the first and currently only full time commercial Touring Motor Gliding and Gliding school in operation in South Africa, with bases at Springs Airfield (Gauteng) where it is operated in conjunction with the East Rand Gliding Club.
The Fort Beaufort (East Cape) operation is operates in conjunction with the Border Gliding Club and was initially opened exclusively for the kids at Wings Aviation High School.
The courses offered at the High School is intended to ultimately make the student a Private Pilot and prepare them for a career in aviation by taking a slightly longer route but more cost effective one.At the end of the course if all optional courses are selected students will have achieved four license types. At this time they should be ready and far better prepared than their PPL counterpart for a Commercial Pilot's License.
The recreational training on gliders was the culmination of a study of the declining numbers in the gliding sport; Gary identified the major problem as a lack of consistent training and the inconvenience factor of voluntary flight training, which is the main activity at gliding clubs. Airplay Aviation was then developed as a full time commercial operation catering for the needs of pilots that required rapid professional training convenient to the learner's timetable.
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