Cover Photograpgh by Cobus Brink
The purpose of a fly-in. Socialising with friends.
The weekend of 28 February to 2 March saw the aviation community congregating at Swellendam for the annual fly-in. The event, hosted and organised by the Swellengrebel Flying Club, with support from Prosperian Capital, is always a favourite amongst aviators in the southern regions of the country. The past weekend's event was no exception.
Reid Wardle's beautiful Cessna 170, all the way from Stutterheim.
Pipistrel Virus 912 SW 100. This type was the winner of the NASA 2007 Personal Air Vehicle Challenge and the 2008 General Aviation Technology Challenge.
Since this year's event was only a fly-in, and not the customary format of a fly-in combined with an airshow, there were no air traffic control services on duty. This meant nobody kept track of movements, but on Saturday 60 aircraft were counted on the ground with an estimated 8 in the air, to give a total of 68 aircraft in attendance. So popular is this event that attendants as far as East London and Stutterheim made the trip.
Bosbok on landing.
Richard Quin's Auster Aircraft Ltd J5B Autocar based at East London.
The attending aircraft represented a wide range of types, from the Piper Aerostar of Johan Strasheim down to a few LSA aircraft. And to get the demographics correct a Bell 206 was in attendance to represent the rotary winged aircraft. Strictly speaking not the only rotary wing aircraft, as a few gyrocopters was also in attendance.
Part of the flight line with Johan Strasheim's Piper Aerostar in the foreground.
Bell 206B flown by Pieter de Kock.
Willie Marais from IAFA (AVIC Flight Training Academy) in Oudtshoorn and George brought his own "Air Force" with a total of 10 aircraft, 4 twin and 6 single engine aircraft, each with a few students and instructors.
One of AIFA's Piper Seminoles flown by Willie Marais.
AIFA's Aztec followed by three of their Seminoles.
The attention grabber however was the Howard DGA-15 of Alan Fergis out of Stellenbosch, crewed by Fergis and Alewyn Burger.
Howard Aircraft Corporation DGA 15P. The "P" signifies the aircraft is powered by a Pratt and Whitney (R-985) engine. The DGA is a commercial derivative of the DGA-6 plane which in 1935 won both the Bendix and Thompson Trophies, the only aircraft to do ever so
Johan Strasheim in the Piper Aerostar and the Piper Aztec of AIFA.
Other noteworthy aircraft were an AusterJ5B from East London, a Pietenpol Aircamper, Willie Tschopp's Harvard from Worcester and the Bosbok from Stellenbosch.
Willie Schopp's Harvard T6-G and the Aermacchi AM-3 C Bosbok from Stellenbosch.
The Sling LSA of Hennie Prinsloo
. Local boykies, Lourens Enslin and Nico Delport in their RV-7.
The Swellendam fly-in is known for its tented camp and catering provided by Zulu Overland. This means you bring yourself and your aircraft, and the rest will be looked after. Looking at the 40+ tents on Sunday morning it seems the on-site stay option was very popular this year. Judging by the late night noise a bumper sale of refreshments was done too.
The tent town.
The Pratt & Whitney R1340 of the Harvard. The R-13 40 Wasp was the first engine produced by the Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Company's.
The customary Saturday De Hoop lunch was this year enjoyed at a long table next to the airstrip at De Hoop, instead of the restaurant yard at the complex . Other side events were trips to the Bontebok Park, the club's neighbour, for some game viewing, and scenic cruises on the Buffeljagsdam. Saturday night the guests were entertained by various bands.
Sunset cruise on the Buffeljagsdam.
By mid morning on Sunday almost all the aircraft had departed, and the airfield reverted back to a quite rural field, until next year that is.