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 An icon in aviation has passed away

By Mr Mike van Ginkel

Roland Archer Nicholas “Nick” Turvey, an icon in aviation, died in Johannesburg on Sunday 26 March 2006 after suffering from emphysema for many months. He was born on 16 November 1931, was educated at Hilton College and, while studying at Wits University, joined the South African Air Force pupil pilot training scheme to obtain his SAAF wings in 1955.
Nick started training pilots with his brother, Chris Turvey, in a little Aeronca ZA AVX in 1958. After Chris was tragically killed in a Harvard of 40 Sqn, Nick joined the Johannesburg Light Plane Club as Chief Instructor, and in 1963 was joined by Mike van Ginkel. Together they were instrumental in the formation of aerobatic competition in South Africa.
In 1964, after Nick had won the National Aerobatic Championship for the first time, he represented South Africa at the World Aerobatic Championships held in Bilbao, Spain. He was the first aviator to be awarded Springbok colours. In 1965, Nick with his partner, Mike van Ginkel, formed the Avex Air company, which became involved in many diversified operations in commercial aviation. Nick won the National Aerobatic Championships eight times and represented South Africa at the World Championships four times. In 1963 the Chairperson of the Johannesburg Branch of the South African Air Force Association (SAAFA), Col Jim Williams, persuaded Nick to become a member of his committee. Nick served on this Committee for 43 years until he resigned in 2005 due to ill health. The Committee refused to accept his resignation and instead granted him a sabbatical. For many years Nick was involved with the care of the aged of the SAAF association.
The Johannesburg Branch honoured Nick at a monthly lunch in recognition of his work for the SAAFA. Nick was well respected as an instructor, not only in aerobatics, but in all aspects of aviation. Nick will be fondly remembered by all who came into contact with him in the aviation community.


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