Not Even A Wheels-Up Could Spoil The Zebula Fly-Inn
By Juri Keyter
I landed at 07:15 on Saturday the 14th of April for the annual Zebula / SAA Fly-in and there were already more than 50 aircraft parked.
By 10:00 I stopped my count at 80 and I am sure that visiting aircraft comfortably exceeded 100. Pilots flew in from all over and arrived in helicopters, microlights, home built s, certified aircraft, classics, war birds and even Beach King Airs.
Sadly there was one mishap on the day when the pressure on the pilot in a Pioneer was perhaps a bit much and he neglected to extend his under carriage on landing. I was standing at the threshold of runway 08 when he flew past for the landing but by the time I realised that his gear was still retracted, it was too late. I must admit that my heart went out to him throughout the day and I wondered what went through his mind when he realised that he is descending further than usual.
The arrival of the DC3 “Klapperkop” was very exciting and we all admired the fortunate few who were privileged enough to flew in on this classic aircraft. During the day the Klapperkop flew a few times providing great photographic opportunities, entertained the crowd and the awesome sound triggered the alarms of cars parked close by on every take-off.
The SAA Harvards provided good displays and I was very impressed with the four ship Yak formation team. Nigel Hopkins flew a formation with a Cirrus and again with a L-39 later in the day which was also extremely entertaining. A Boeing Steerman is always a favourite at any air show and we were delighted to see two fine examples in the air during the day.
Wow, I just can't get enough of the P-51 Mustang's sound and speed. Brad Bennetts performed an inverted ribbon cut in his Extra 300, lots of jet noise from the L-39 and what will an air show be without the GoodYear Pit Special team?
To me the highlight of the day was a four ship Beach King Air formation. They kept a tight formation and considering the cost of this exercise, it lasted much longer than I expected. This is certainly something new on the air show scene and I hope that we will see this again at other events later this year.
Everything on the day was perfect. The weather, the attendance, the flying displays, the air traffic control, the food and the organization of the event was all “A” grade and I look forward to next year's Zebula Fly-Inn.
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