Welcome to the Wonders of Aviation website. 

Wonders of Aviation NPC (Reg. no: 20201607342408) is a South African non-profit organisation that uses the magic of flight to inspire and educate previously disadvantaged youth about the aviation industry, and to engender a lifelong love of learning.  

Wonders of Aviation supports the aviation industry’s outreach programs that encourage learners to consider a career in aviation, while focusing the majority of its effort on individuals who we hope will become mentors and future aviation industry leaders. 

Wonders of Aviation believes that safe and efficient air transportation requires the commitment of exceptional individuals who value technical knowledge, team work, and above all, safety. 

Wonders of Aviation depends on supporting organisations to provide awards, rewards, mentors, role models, and educational material.


Wonders of Aviation's objectives are to:
  • Help South Africa’s previously disadvantaged youth who demonstrate a love and enthusiasm for aviation to pursue a career in aviation.
  • Mentors and role models are available to provide support and encouragement to these youth.
  • Support South Africa’s aviation companies and industry associations with their outreach programs for previously disadvantaged youth.
  • Provide a forum for sharing educational and training ideas.
  • Create a community of aviation volunteers.
Wonders of Aviation is a wonderful initiative aimed at creating awareness of aviation amongst the previously disadvantaged youth of South Africa, and developing them to become a part of the industry. Erik Venter, CEO of Comair Limited  

Who we are

Wonders of Aviation is the creation of aviation enthusiasts in South Africa and the US. It initially involved soaring enthusiasts who became friends at the World Soaring Championships in Uvalde Texas in 2012. Mark Huffstutler and Marion Griffith from the US, and Dick Bradley from South Africa, believed that soaring provided inspiration and a cost-effective way to train pilots...Read more...

How we do it

Wonders of Aviation is a community of aviation professionals who are committed to training tomorrow’s aviation leaders, and to providing ongoing education for Wonders of Aviation Award recipients, mentors, and role models. The South African government is committed to having South African institutions reflect the composition of that country’s population...Read more...


Wonders of Aviation relies on the aviation industry to identify high potential students who become the Wonders of Aviation Award recipients. Award recipients learn about the aviation industry by participating in sessions that include a tour of an air traffic control tower, a ride in a helicopter, experience flying a plane either in an Airbus or Boeing flight simulator, instruction in gliding...Read more...

Book Share Programme

Wonders of Aviation has initiated a book share education programme, started by retired aviators who live on Bainbridge Island, Seattle, USA. They all loved aviation and wanted to provide a connection between themselves and Wonders of Aviation in South Africa. These people have been leaders in some aspect of aviation and have given us books that were important to each of them...Read more...

Award Winners/our accomplishments are our people

Buhle Dlodlo

Buhle Dlodlo is our first Award Winner who is an aeronautical engineering student. She is one of Wits University’s top aeronautical engineering students, and has taken the time to help with WOA. Buhle is in the process of designing a program that will encourage high school students to read more books about aviation; she helped the National Aerospace Center develop an exciting one day program at Wits for our Award Winners; and she was responsible for selecting next year’s Award Winner from Wits. She was part of the South African Aero Squad team that made it into the top 50 in a global Airbus competition. Buhle is also the 2017 Schenk Family Award Winner. 
Read more about Buhle and the WOA 2016 Award Winners...

Orifha Mbedzi

Orifha Mbedzi is a great example of the power of WOA. His dream was to become a pilot and Don Schenk mentored him as best he could from 13,000 miles away. At the end of his matric year, they discussed his options, one of which was to attend the University of Pretoria and study computer science or set university aside and try to find a way to become a pilot. They decided that he was being given a wonderful opportunity to attend this university, where he started last year. He has done so well that he has been invited to teach a first year computer course. He is an existing WOA mentor, and has offered to provide a leadership development course in computers to WOA.
Read more about Orifha and the WOA 2015 Award Winners...

Latest News

Aero Club of South Africa 2017 Annual Awards
Flightline Weekly, 6 November 2017

Daniel Ralefeta (above, receiving the Silver Wings Award) is an IT specialist and trainer, but most importantly, an enthusiastic aviator, is highly commended in the South African government ICT strategic development for political bearers and civil servants alike. His IT skills are utilised by the State Information Technology Agency’s (SITA) key projects to ensure maximum input into the uplifting of ICT skills for previously disadvantaged communities.        

As Chairman of the Aero Club of South Africa Transformation and Development division, Daniel oversees the development of aviation enthusiasts through model flying, glider pilot training and the achievement of a private pilot license. It is his overwhelming and insatiable enthusiasm for fellow aviators, and creating new ones, that he was awarded the Silver Wings Award. Daniel is also a serving member of the Executive Committee for Wonders of Aviation. Read more Aero Club of SA News...

AASA sponsors WOA's attendance at 47th Annual General Assembly
WOA news. 16 October 2017.

The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) held its 47th AGA from 12 to 15 October 2017, at the Wild Coast Sun in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. The theme of the AGA was Building Human Capital for African Airlines. AASA sponsored the attendance of Gift Kgadima, WOA Secretary, to the 3-day annual event, and Comair Limited sponsored his flights. Read more AASA news...

AeSSA hosts 2017 annual conference in partnership with the AISI @ CSIR
CSIR news. 25-26 October 2017

The Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI), an initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry, hosted and managed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has teamed up with the Aeronautical Society of South Africa (AeSSA) to host the society’s 2017 annual conference. The event, which takes place at the CSIR International Convention Centre on 25 and 26 October 2017, has as its theme: Today’s research and technology for tomorrow’s aerospace

The annual conference brings together the full spectrum of aerospace engineers, academics, researchers, students and industry leaders in South Africa and their international counterparts. It provides a forum dedicated to the exchange of ideas and discussions of recent advances in aerospace engineering and related technologies from a scientific as well as an industrial applications point of view. Read more AeSSA News...   

Don Schenk presents the John Weston Lecture
WOA news. 25-26 October 2017

WOA's founder, Don Schenk, was invited to present the John Weston Lecture at this year's AeSSA annual conference. Don's lecture was titled: People, Knowledge & Innovation. He introduced and discussed the progress that Wonders of Aviation has made over the past few years. This was a wonderful platform for Wonders of Aviation, and he has been invited to be more involved at the 2018 annual conference which will be held in Cape Town. Read more AeSSA News...

WOA wins the 2017 John Weston Award
WOA news. 25-26 October 2017

Don Schenk, on behald of Wonders of Aviation, was presented with the 2017 John Weston Award by AeSSA in recognition of the work the NGO is doing to develop human capital and support previously disadvantaged youth in the South African aviation industry.
Read more AeSSA News...