More than 90 aircraft attended the Nylstroom Taildraggers gathering on the 21st of July 2012. The weather was absolutely perfect. Blue skies, a light breeze, shorts and short sleeve shirts made this a day we will remember.
We saw taildraggers big and small. One of the highlights of the day was an Antonov AN-2. Its massive 1000 hp radial engine roared up and down when it took kids for their first flight during the EAA Young Eagles program. Five more pilots made their aircraft available and more than 50 children became Young Eagles on the day.
Only 30% of the visiting aircraft on the day were taildraggers and I must admit that this was a little disappointing. As this was not an air show and intended to be a relaxed day where we could meet other pilots, many of us were hoping that more of the regular air show taildragger pilots would attend so that we may have the opportunity to rub shoulders with them and not only see them behind a barrier line as we usually do. I do understand that they also need a break and can't attend every event, but that does not mean I can't have a wish list. Neville Ferreira is one iconic pilot who did make the time to visit in his Yak 55 and it was a pleasure to see him between us as just another regular pilot but the hot water
he is known for while in the air.
SAPFA also hosted a nav rally on the day with Frank Eckard and his wife Cally organizing a superb event as they always do. Expressions of serious concentration could be seen as participants took off but on their return it was clear that it was enjoyed by all.
The boys of the Harvard club had a busy day and flew a total of 23 new club members. Later in the evening they were very kind and started a Harvard so that we could all see the blue flames from its exhaust, a sight we never get a chance to see.
Just before we concluded the day with a bonfire, sizzling meat over the coals and a few drinks, Jeff Earl presented all the visiting pilots with the Aero Club's “Fly Safe Campaign”. This is another very valuable contribution by the Aero Club of South Africa and if you have not attended this presentation yet, makes sure that you do.
In closing I must pay tribute to the organizers and in particular, Richard Nicholson (the chairman of Nylstroom Flying Club ) and his team, Paul Sabatier and the other marshals, Uncle Bob Allison in the Tower and Karl Jensen for his informative and humorous commentary during the day.