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Foreign PPG pilots visiting South Africa

All foreign visiting PPG pilots who wish to fly in South Africa need to obtain temporary membership to the South African Hanggliding and Paragliding Association, which is only R200 (approx US$26 as at February 2010)
Obtain the application form from: www.sahpa.co.za (Click on VISITORS)
Take this form to any PPG instructor in SA who will assist and process this for you at no charge.
Contact SAHPA (at the website above) for a list of PPG instructors in each area.

If you have a FAI (International Aviation Federation) sanctioned PPG Pilot License, then this requires supplying a copy of your PPG license plus a copy of your log book (or at least the last few years' logs). Any supporting documentation should be included.

If you do not have a FAI sanctioned PPG pilot's license but you have a local PPG license or local PPG Proficiency Certificate from your home country (e.g. USA pilots), then you need to visit any South African PPG Instructor to complete a PPG Flight Proficiency Test. This is simply a matter of demonstrating that you are experienced enough to fly unsupervised.

In both cases, the local instructor will brief you on local rules and local airspace issues, and advise the most suitable places to fly from. He may also introduce you to a local club, or to the local pilots for you to fly with.

Note for USA PPG pilots: Unfortunately the USPPA is not affiliated to the FAI, therefore any ratings they issue are not internationally recognised, hence the need for a proficiency checkout.

All visiting pilots must also have access to the largest scale aeronautical map of the area you intend to fly in, to be fully informed of the airspace structure in that area, and to be aware of what airband radio frequencies are used and where. You may obtain this info by visiting any flight school in each area you wish to fly in, including microlight and/or PPL flight schools, or any ATC (air Traffic Controller), civilian or miltary. You will find that everyone you approach is likely to be friendly and quite helpful in this regard.

Some notes about flying PPG in South Africa.

You may not, under any circumstances, fly into civilian controlled airspace without a mode-S transponder and without prior arrangement, however military airspace is easy to gain access to, provided you make prior arrangements (via telephone to the tower) and that you are on airband radio and in contact with the controller for the duration of any flying in military airspace.

It is a mandatory requirement in South Africa to fly PPG with airband radio (and be licensed to use it in SA and to operate on the correct frequencies), unless you can meet all of the following requirements to fly without airband radio:

  1. No higher than 1000 feet AGL throughout the entire flight
  2. Not approach within 5 Nautical Miles of any airspace, including GFA (General Flying Areas)
  3. Not fly under any TMA (Terminal Movements Area)
  4. Not approach within 5 Nautical Miles of any active airfield, including uncontrolled airfields.
    (Small, private airfields with very little activity are excluded, provided you make arrangements with the owners beforehand and advise them you have no airband radio).
  5. Not approach within 5 nautical miles of any established VFR routes, including the entire coastline of SA.

    Breach of any one (or more) of these requirements during any part of a flight requires airband radio operations for that flight.

As you can see from the above, it is often impossible to comply with all these requirements, so airband radio becomes quite necessary on almost all flights.

An exception to the airband radio requirement can be made when flying in a loose formation, where only the formation-leader needs to make radio calls and takes the responsibility to maintain air traffic separation and apply collission avoidance precautions on behalf of the entire formation. The entire formation must fly in a reasonable close proximation with the formation leader. This allows visiting pilots to fly in a group with a local pilot who can do the radio-work. However, there should be a backup formation-leader in case the primary formation-leader has engine problems and is forced to land, otherwise the entire formation must land with him, or meet with the above requirements to continue flying without radio calls, which is often not practical.

Whenever planning to fly anywhere near Cape Town (within 100km), please read: www.xplorer.co.za/local.
This provides local radio frequencies, special local rules, weather resources, and local aeronautical charts.

PPG pilots visiting Cape Town may contact: Keith Pickersgill at [email protected] or call 082 414-8448 (or from abroad, +27 82 414-8448)

PPG pilots visiting Gauteng (Johannesburg and Pretoria), may contact Tony Gibson at [email protected] or call 082 948-2001 (or +27 82 948-2001 from abroad)


PPG instructors in other areas of SA are encouraged to provide myself with links to their local resources and contact details to publish here.

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