They came in numbers. Saturday the 3rd of March was hot and dry in Swellendam but this didn't deter over sixty small aircraft from gathering for a fly-in at The Swellengrebel Airfield.
It was certainly a sign of the times and a pointer of the direction that recreational flying is taking. The “for fun” pilot can no longer afford to get his flying fix from the expensive and over regulated “Witchita Wonders.” Cessna, Piper and the other big corporate manufacturers can no longer compete with the choice and affordability of the likes of Bantams, Kitfoxes and a host of other types that have become available to the recreational pilot. Even South Africa's very own Sling was represented.
The Sun beat down unmercifully but the club must have had a hot line to the weather gods as they had erected a large restaurant area under shade cloth and this took the edge off the heat. No big wind or thunderstorms made it a great day weatherwise. All the participants and spectators could at least enjoy their food and drink under the shelter of shade cloth awnings.
The Swellendam Flying Club must be congratulated on a well organised and enjoyable day. A lunch time fly away was organised to the De Hoop strip but regrettably I didn't have a seat and missed out on that excursion.
A wide spread of types were represented, from a Warbird with a massive radial engine, a turboprop powered fire bomber with its long sleek nose to a host of autogyros, microlights, ultralights and homebuilts.
A big “well done” to the committee and of course an equally big “well done” to all the pilots and their crews that pitched with their various flying machines. Without them - no fly in.