Mafikeng Fly-In and Hangar Dance 17th November 2012
By Cheryl Smit
The Beauchamp Proctor flying club was established in 1971. It is based at the Mafikeng Airport in the North West Province. A backdrop of five retired commercial aircraft, one of which is a 'Fokker 100' and the others are an array of Boeings which make for an interesting view from the club house.
The Beauchamp Proctor Flying Club in Mafikeng takes its name from Captain Andrew Weatherby Beauchamp-Proctor, a 5'2" (157,48 cm) tall South African First World War flying ace, highly decorated and the recipient of the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order, the Military Cross and bar, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was South Africa's highest scoring WWI ace. Andrew was the son of the headmaster of one of the Mafikeng schools. When war broke out, he abandoned his studies in engineering at Cape Town University, enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps and joined the newly formed 84 Squadron. He survived WW1 and was killed after the war in a flying training accident in preparation for an air show. Performing a slow loop, it is believed that the cushion he placed behind for him to reach the rudder pedals, slipped out at the top of the loop, he lost rudder control and went into a vicious spin. He was buried first in England, but was later exhumed, and was re-buried in the Mafikeng cemetery with full state honours. His gravestone is adorned by brass spread eagle, bearing the inscription ' on eagle wings I do thee bear', which is the insignia of the club.
Trevor Davids and I arrived at the Flying Club late Friday afternoon after battling a head wind all the way from Fly-Inn. On arrival we participated in the spot landing competition before taxing to the club. At the club we were greeted by the Chairman Connie Conradie and his bunch of merry men. The Club at present has twenty members of which ten are active and serving on the committee and six of whom own their own aircraft. Friday evening a braai was held around the 'lapa' at the club house. I was surprised to find Koos Kiek now resident in Mafikeng at the club. We all chatted and 'kuiered' late into the night.
I returned to the airfield on Saturday morning just as the biker club from Mafikeng arrived for the hearty breakfast served by the club. Most of the day was spent in the sweltering heat on the airfield photographing the local aircraft, before returning to the Mmabatho Palms Hotel to freshen-up for the evenings Hangar Dance.
On arrival back at airfield the Hangar had been transformed with the local aircraft and a helicopter in the one corner of the hangar, the scrumptious dinner of 'boere beesvleis potjiekos', 'rys', 'boontjiebredie' and 'soet-pampoen' on the other side. The live band of Piet Le Roux en Orkes was placed in the centre and the tables were scattered around to form the amazing atmosphere of the evening for the 150 guests.
Connie was the master of ceremonies for the evening and he started off the proceeding by awarding the prize for the spot landing competition, which was won by Trevor Davids in his Savannah.
Santjie White from 'Search and Rescue' was unfortuanately unable to attend the event but did send her speech earlier in the day to Connie. Connie then called on me to read her well written speech. (Santjie, you owe me big time.)
After the dinner, Connie announced the lucky draws for the evening and once again called on me to draw the lucky tickets. Wow! I felt like a VIP. Once all the formalities were done the band took centre stage and we all took to the dance floor and danced the night away until the early morning.
The sponsors of the Event, Spot Landing Competition and the Lucky Draws were:
Mmabatho Palms and Wellness Spa
Orange River Cellars
SA Power Flying Association
BPFC Club Members
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