MISASA Sets New Event Standard In South Africa
By Juri Keyter
Between 7:00 and 8:00, an average of one landing per minute took place during the Microflight Africa 'Spoilt by Choice' Aircraft Leader board Shootout hosted by the Microlight and Light Sport Aeroplane Association of South Africa (MISASA) at the Tedderfield Air Park on Saturday the 4th of February 2012. MISASA truly lived up to the saying “Let's build the aviation industry together” by inviting all disciplines in aviation to participate during the event. More than 100 aircraft flew in and included microlights, gliders, gyrocopters, fixed wing aircraft, hot air balloons, parachutes, virtual aviation, aircraft distributors and displays by other aviation merchandise suppliers. The day started with a parachute jump from a hot air balloon followed by the mass arrival of all the participating and visiting aircraft.
Throughout the day visitors could attend two parallel presentation tracks hosted in the Tedderfield clubhouse and the Airplane Factory showroom. The well planned schedule alternated discussion topics every twenty minutes and the presentations covered different aircraft models, kit building, aircraft hardware, ballooning, search & Rescue, EAA of South Africa, Aero club of South Africa, and Aviation Photography.
The main attraction of the day was probably the new Arrow-Copter. This is without a doubt the most modern aircraft in South Africa today and the number on the tail says it all. This piece of art is not only built with space-age technology, it also looks like a vehicle from a James Bond movie. The Arrow-Copter was surrounded for most of the day and photographers waited for hours to get a complete view without spectators all over this beauty. It was however disappointing that the Arrow-Copter was only on static display and we would have loved to see it take to the skies.
The JK-05 Junior was another impressive feature at the event. I expect to see many more examples of this fine aircraft based on its comfortable and well-designed interior, impressive looks and specifications, but most of all, its affordability.
Graham Field of Aerial FX and Pierre Laubscher provided many exhilarating moments during the day with regular parachute jumps and it is clear that with their experience it is possible to jump from almost anything.
The hospitality demonstrated by the members of Tedderfield Airpark during the event must be commended. Visitors were free to view some very unique and interesting aircraft generally not seen by the public. This KOPKE-GK1 (the only one of its kind) is owned by Carlton Blandford who is probably the biggest KR-2 enthusiast in South Africa. Carlton, builder of the immaculate ZU-BCB, is also in possession of Sakkie Halgreen's ZS-UKU and we look forward to track this restoration project in the future. A Bucker Jungmann was also parked outside and this classic is always nice to see.
Local aircraft manufacturer and pride of South Africa, The Airplane Factory, had its facilities open throughout the day so that interested visitors could see their absolute pristine workshops and workflow. Owners Mike Blyth and James Pitman flew countless introductory and demonstration flights in their superb Sling 2 and Sling 4 and even after a long day the pleasure of flying the Sling was still evident on their faces.
The fact that this event was aimed to attract people from all the different spheres of aviation allowed us all to meet many new pilots and enthusiasts from other disciplines. Everyone enjoyed it and if we are to promote and grow the industry, then this is the way to do it. Good food and laughter was the order of the day and although there were not many refuse containers visible, Tedderfield was left spotlessly clean compared to what we have seen at other events in the past.
After sunset the event was closed with some extraordinary photographic opportunities when Mike flew the sling in line with the moon while the hot air balloons ignited the skies.
THIS IS HOW IT IS DONE BOYS!!!!
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