BAFSA, the controlling body for the administration of recreational & sport ballooning, is a section of Aero Club of South Africa and therefore also affiliated with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.
Aero Club is a company formed in 1936 and looks after the recreational flying in South Africa. As quoted of the Aero Club’s webpage “The Aero Club of South Africa is a composite body constituting all sectors of sport, recreational and private aviators. It is the combined force of all its sections, from power flight to gliding, ballooning to modeling.”
As a section of Aero Club, we work together with aviation authorities to ensure the skies over SA remain accessible to all sport and recreational balloonists. Primary contacts are made with the South African Civil Aviation Authority, Air Traffic Navigation Services, South African Weather Services and the South African Sports Council. Through these contacts BAFSA is able to provide input into the establishment of regulations which will meet the needs of the sport and recreational balloonist.
BAFSA organizes the annual South African Hot Air Balloon Championships which is run in accordance with the requirements and rules of the Commission Internationale d'Aerostation (CIA), the ballooning section of the FAI. The SA champion and second or third medalist may compete in the bi-annual world championships. We regularly send a representative to the annual CIA meetings where we also vote on the ballooning issues. BAFSA assist visiting international pilots with loan equipment, customs clearance and the arrangement of transport and accommodation when competing in our championship.
Every year the organizers of the world famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in America invite BAFSA to send a representative to the event. Our member will receive sponsorship towards the costs of attendance as well as free accommodation and the use of a retrieve vehicle and crew for the duration of the event. Our contacts at the event also assist our lucky pilot in securing the use of a local balloon. Selection is done through a lucky draw.
BAFSA is committed to the cause of the development of previously disadvantaged persons in aviation and work to achieve the aims of Aero Club in this regard.
COBASA or the Commercial Hot Air Balloons Association of South Africa is a body formed by all the hot air balloon operators of South Africa. This body looks after the interest of the commercial balloon operators from communication to the public to safety of all passengers and public.