Safety First Aviator

Theme: Safety First Aviator

Date: Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Time: 18h00

The 2020/2021 theme of "Prop Clear", ensuring that engines are ready for take-off, following the Covid-19 Lockdown. The underlying theme for the campaign is "Resilience", focused on how we will adapt to the change and the "new normal" to ensure flight safety in preventing accidents.

Join Cobus as he digs deeper into accident prevention through resilience, Santjie will discuss Search and Rescue tips for getting back safely in the air, and Lauren will assist in using the South African Weather Service website to ensure safe flying times." Cindy will share details on the topics covered in the MayDay SA "Caring During Covid" campaign and will inform aviators the process to follow in order to contact them for support.


  • Cobus Toerien - ALPA SA
  • Santjie White - SASAR
  • Lauren Smith - SA Weather Services
  • Cindy Bessel - MayDay SA
  • Franz Smit - Pilot Insure (Moderator)

Previous SFA Webinars: 

Date: 26 August 2020

Time: 18h00

Theme: Safety First Aviator

Celebrating the launch of the AERO South Africa Virtual Marketplace, AERO South Africa is proud to present its first webinar "Safety First Aviator" with the theme ‘Prop Clear’

The Safety First Aviator [SFA] webinar launches the SFA Campaign for 2020 / 2021. The theme for this year is “PROP CLEAR”, indicating ready for engine start, thus back to flying following the Covid-19 lock down. The underlying theme for the campaign will be ‘Resilience’; how we can adapt to change and manage the ‘new normal’ in order to ensure Flight Safety and as such accident prevention.

A focus point during this discussion will be to introduce some of the team members and to explain WHY the team behind Safety First Aviation do what they do, HOW they plan to achieve this and WHAT they plan to do in order to promote Aviation Safety in the Industry.

Safety First Aviator Speakers: 

Santjie White


Santjie White has been involved the Search and Rescue industry for 26 years as is currently the Chief of the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre.

Lauren Smith


Lauren Smith is a meteorologist based in the Cape Town weather office, with a big passion towards Aviation and the weather forecasting. Has been part of the campaign for 4 years now, and is honoured to be part of such a positive team.

Carl Bollweg


Qualified for SAAF wings in July 1983. SAAF postings included 42 Squadron (Bosbok), CFS Dunnottar (Harvard), 84 LAFS (C185), 81 LAFS (C172 and BE58) and 41 Squadron (C208). Carl, joined Comair in November 1993. He then moved to SAA in September 2000, he is currently ALPA-SA president and IFALPA RVP AFI South region.

Cobus Toerien


Joined the Air Force in 1974 and after completing training on Harvard, Impalas and a B.Mil degree, completed operational flying tours at 8 Squadron [Impalas] and 3 Squadron [Mirage F1CZ], with a total of 168 Combat Missions and the Air Force Cross.

Qualified in Aviation Safety, Aircraft Accident Investigation, Pilot and Pilot Attack Instructor and completed the Senior Command and Staff Course to become the Officer Commanding 2 Squadron, the "Flying Cheetahs." Completed my Air Force career as a Colonel with a total of  4 500 hours, of which 2 000 on Supersonic types.

Joined South African Airways in 1999 as an Accident Investigator, before being appointed as the Flight Safety Manager and as a CRM facilitator. In 2004  commenced flying on the Boeing 738, Airbus 330 / 340 till retirement in February 2019, with a total of 12 000 flying hours.

Joined the Airline Pilots Association in 2015 as the Chairman of the Accident Analysis and Prevention Committee and since 2019 as the Technical Director as well. Representing ALPA on the National Safety First Aviator Campaign since 2016, whilst now 'freelancing' as an Aviation Safety / SMS / CRM facilitator and advisor.

Neil de Lange


Following his studies in electrical engineering, Neil worked as a technician and systems analyst at MITTAL steel (Then ISCOR). (1989 – 1999)

Neil obtained his first pilot license in 1993 flying microlights.

After running his flight school for three years in 1998, he identified structural and systemic deficiencies in the aviation regulatory regime; he joined the Board of the Aero Club of South Africa with the view to influence change to the legislative and administrative arrangement.

In order to better qualify himself for this new challenge, Neil enrolled with the University of South Africa to further his studies in law.

In 2008, during his tenure as General Manager of the Aero Club of SA and with the support of its Board Neil form part of the team establishing Recreation Aviation Administration SA (RAASA). A non-profit company he heads up until 2019.

 In 2014 Neil compiles the manuscript “Concept and History of Designation – the Highway to Effective Self-Governance”, a guide on performing designated function.

Currently Neil is employed by the SACAA as Senior Manager – General Aviation. A challenge he gladly accepts.

Damon Brown


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