Early in November I discovered a South African aviation series “Vleuls” on the KyKNet DSTV channel and this is truly entertaining. It is a series from 1989 and brings back good memories. It is not just the historic aircraft in action that makes this series so enjoyable but also seeing airfields like Dunnottar, Orient, Krugersdorp and others and what they looked like 23 years ago. It took a while before I recognised Krugersdorp with a grass apron, grass all around the fuel facility and my hangar standing so lonesome down on the western side of the field. Certainly a different picture today. If you have not seen this series, it airs on Friday evenings between 20:00 to 21:00.
It was nice to see Arthur Piercy flying in a Tiger during the SAAF Museum flying training day on the 3rd of November. Arthur is wheelchair bound following an accident in September 1987. The tail of his Mirage F1CZ was badly damaged in a dogfight with a Cuban Mig 23 and this left him without brakes or a drag chute. On landing he unfortunately could not stop the aircraft which raced off the end of the runway and in the process his ejection seat deployed resulting in a very serious back injury. You can read more about Arthur and his challenge “Project Dreamwings” at www.projectdreamwings.co.za
The 3rd of November saw what was probably the most exciting event of the year, the “Parys Pylon Racing” organized by Scully Levin and the members of the Parys Flying Club. The weather on the day was absolutely perfect, lots of spectators and of course superb racing. I can't wait for the next Pylon Racing events scheduled for next year.
Also on the 3rd of November, The Aero Club of South Africa hosted their annual awards dinner where the leaders, pioneers and those keeping our aviation clocks ticking were honoured. This prestigious event was well attended and continue to serve as an inspiration to everyone else in our industry to do more and better to the benefit of everyone.
November was a good month for me when I had my first flight in a Harvard. Scully Levin invited me to fly with the Eqstra Flying Lions in a formation over the Zonderwater prison. Here, every first Sunday of November, the Italian community come together in the presence of diplomatic authorities of both countries to commemorate the approximately 109,000 soldiers who sacrificed part of their youth as they waited and yearned for their return home ten thousand kilometers away.
Piper Aircraft celebrated 75 years in aviation in November and I am sure that people around the world celebrated it with Piper as this aircraft brand is a household name today. Most of us have flown a Piper aircraft at one stage or another. Some of the older pilots will testify to the pleasures the iconic J3 Cub provided while most of the younger pilots are familiar with the Piper Cherokee. I myself learnt to fly with a Cherokee and I was also fortunate enough to fly a Piper Seneca for a few years. William Piper had a dream which he lived but he certainly also made other people's dreams come true, including mine.
EAA Chapter 1503 Bloemfontein and convener Jack Onderstall made sure there was something for everyone during the EAA Sun 'n Fun at New Tempe near Bloemfontein on Saturday the 10th of November 2012. Most of the visitors flew in on Saturday and I lost count at fifty early in the morning already. I will not be surprised if this figure doubled as visiting aircraft kept pouring in not to mention those who drove to the event.
The 4th annual fly-in breakfast in remembrance of Peter Hengst who was a former Chairman of EAA Chapter 322 was held at Brits Airfield on the 17th. Peter Hengst was a proud partner with Chalkie Stobbart flying his Fairchild at 65 mph to Oshkosh in 1992 and also in his RV6 ZU-EAA to Oshkosh, Kitty Hawk and return for the Wright Brothers Centenary in 2003. Peter also owned a hangar at Brits which housed his two Bücker Jungmans as well as his Piper Twin Comanche.
Connie Conradie and the rest of the Beauchamp Proctor flying club hosted their long-awaited Fly-in and Hangar Dance on the 17th of November. Reading Cheryl Smit's reported on the event it is clear that the flying, food, parties and hospitality were second to none. Clearly an event not to be missed next year.
To close off the events of the month, the EAA Chapter 322 visited the Aerosud manufacturing facilities in Pretoria. Rob Jonkers, a very active member of general aviation in South Africa, passionate SAPFA competitor and a member of the original Rooivalk development team invited us for the day and showed us how they manufacture more than 1,000,000 parts per year for both Boeing and Airbus.
The year is over and not much happening for the rest of 2012. It is time for us all to take a break from the hustle and bustle of normal life and Pilot's Post will do the same to ensure that we are rejuvenated and ready for an action packed 2013. Looking at some of the planned events, 2013 will surely be a busy but fun filled year to which we are all looking forward to.