Every year we look forward to winter from an aviation perspective. We all believe that winter will hold better weather for flying and we remain conscious about thunderstorms during the summer. I am not so sure if this philosophy is the correct approach. Yes, you don't want to end up in a thunderstorm but you should know that thunderstorms are most prevalent in the second half of the day (especially on the Highveld) and that the chance of flying in the mornings is highly likely. The downside is that if you plan to fly out to an air show of fly-in during summer, chances are fairly high that thunderstorms will prevent you from returning home. It is for this reason that the air show season is scheduled during winter. Is this good or bad? Looking at the month of June, a few events experienced poor participation and although the current economic situation could be blamed, cold fronts, fog and generally unpleasant weather was probably the main culprit. I feel sorry for some of the event organisers who invested lots of time and money to see it all adversely affected by the weather.
Regardless of poor winter weather in some areas, June featured a few highly successful air shows with good participation and more importantly, highly entertaining displays. June started off with the Newcastle air show during the first weekend of the month. There were once again world-class acts on the day with good air force participation. Personally, the highlight was Glen Dell's return to the air show scene at this event.
The Groblersdal fly-in was hosted on the 9th and was sadly one of those affected by our winter weather. Only 10 aircraft flew in for the day but on the positive side, the organisers received strong support from the biker community in the area. “Youth day” was appropriately celebrated on the 16th of June with an air show at Ulundi. Our reporter on the day was Cheryl Smit and nobody could describe it better that Cheryl when she wrote
“the KZN Winter Tour hosted its best Airshow of the season, truly bringing aviation to the rural people in the heart of Zululand. The free entrance gates closed at the Ulundi Airport once the allocated 10,000 spectators had arrived, most of them to view their first airshow ever. “
The Sheila Taylor / SAPFA NAV Rally and the Alldays Fly-in were also hosted 16th of June. I tested my navigation skills at Krugersdorp during the rally and must admit that it was truly a lot of fun and I certainly recommend it to everyone. Chris Kyle and Michael Warthal won this event hands down and as part of his regular contributions, Chris submitted an article “Navigation and the 'MARK ONE EYEBALL'
” this month capturing his secrets of navigation. Johan Barnard was kind enough to report on the Alldays fly-in and it is clear from Johan's report that it was definitely not the last time that he attended this well supported and exciting fly-in.
The Pietermaritzburg air show was another one of those where the results were far from what the organisers had hoped for. A mere 2000 people attended as bad weather and rain spoiled the day.
Sadly, the month of June ended with a fatal accident at the Klerksdorp Air Show when an L-39 jet crashed minutes after starting its performance. Unfortunately I never had the privilege of meeting the pilot, Gianfranco Cicogna, but many of us saw him on TV during the last week and also in the July edition of African Pilot Magazine
for his display of selflessness when he made himself and his jet (ZU-HIT) available to treat a few young students for the flight of their lives.
also shared another interesting experience during June. He investigated the myths of the current situation in the South African Air Force fighter squadrons. Very interesting but as usual, also very entertaining.
Pilot's Post closed the month of June with more than 24,000 hits, another record for us. I sincerely thank everyone for supporting this publication and for spreading the word. We receive many new email registrations every month and if you have not registered your email address, make sure you do to stand a chance of becoming our monthly winner and receive a copy Johan Lottering's book “Avoiding Fatal Flying Traps”. Johan is a regular contributor to Pilot's Post and based on the popularity of Johan's articles, he certainly makes a huge impact in aviation today. This month's winner is David Warren who has completed his multi engine, IF and commercial pilot's license with a frozen ATP and I trust that Warren will enjoy and learn from this book as much as I did. Warren wants to join the charter industry and if you have an opportunity for Warren, please let us know so that we may send your details to Warren.