By Willie Bodenstein

Conre Swart was seven years old in 1997 when his father Coen started flying a Cessna 182 at Flight Training Services at Grand Central Airport. Coen later converted to the Beechcraft Bonanza and as would be expected young Conre was a regular passenger.

Conre finished school and enrolled at a local flying school where he had just slightly more than 5 hours instruction before enrolling at Progress Flight Academy where on 7 April 2010 he had his first lesson in a Cessna 172 before moving up to the Piper Warrior. Fifteen hours later on the 16 May 2010 Mike v/d Berg send him solo and on the 2 November he got his wings and twenty eight days later on the 30 November his night rating.

Whilst studying for his Commercial License Conre flew a 172 and did a conversion to the Bonanza in which his father has a share as well as the Piper Warrior and Cessna 152 II which they bought in September 2011 and that he and Lex Erasmus fetched from Stellenbosch.

Their 152 II, serial 83104, build in 1977 for the 1978 model year was one of the first to leave the production line. In February 2000 and still a resident of the USA registered as N46790 and with a total time of 6305 hours she was removed from service. In 2010 she found herself in South Africa at Stellair, Stellenbosch where John and Stephen Barry did a complete strip down and rebuild which included an overhauled engine, new windows and windscreen as well as a complete re-paint.

On 18 October 2011 Conre passed his Com subjects an on 18 May 2012 got his license flying his father's Bonanza. By then he was type rated on the 152,172, 182, 210, 206, Warrior, Arrow and Bonanza. Conre now fly commercially in Africa.

In April 2011 with Claus Keuchel who used to instruct in the then East African Federation and has 740 instructional hours in the right seat they flew the 152 to the annual EAA Convention held in Margate. The flight down was uneventful until they reached the escarpment where they and others that also made the journey encountered severe turbulence. Claus got of worse with cuts and bruises and just before Glendale, where they landed they had a strong tailwind, the GPS at one stage showing a ground speed of 140 knots. Coen, who flew down in the Bonnie recorded a ground speed of 190 knots. The little Cessna 152 which was the 152 was a modernization of the proven Cessna 150 was planned to compete with the new Beechcraft Skipper and Piper Tomahawk, both of which were introduced the same year behaved impeccably though.

The 152's airframe is an all-metal construction. The metal skin of the aircraft is riveted, which allows loads to be spread out over the structure and all models constructed between 1977 and 1982 is powered by the Lycoming O-235-L2C engine producing 110 hp (82 kW) at 2550 rpm.

Production of the 152 was ended in 1985 when Cessna ceased production of all of their light aircraft; by that time, a total of 7,584 examples of the 152, including A152 and FA152 Aerobat aerobatic variants, had been built worldwide. Besides its popularity in general aviation the 152 also found a home in the Air Forces of Botswana and Gabon as well as in Lesotho where one served with the Police Mobile Unit. The little Cessna also has the unenviable honour of being the only aircraft in history to be shot down by a Hellfire missile when Estephan Nicolian, a Lebanese student pilot was shot down by a Israeli AH-64 after ignoring repeated warnings by Israeli ATC that he was violating Israeli airspace.

Conre however was well rewarded for making the trip to the EAA's most prestigious and popular event by receiving the award for the youngest pilot to fly down. The little Cessna has now been sold and there is no doubt that her new owner will have many pleasurable hours in her.

Many thanks to Brian Appleton for flying the camera ship and to Brian Stableford for taking the right hand seat in the 152 during the photo shoot.


Maximum speed: 126 mph (110 knots, 204 km/h)
Cruise speed: 123 mph (107 knots, 198 km/h)
Stall speed: 49 mph (43 knots, 79 km/h) unpowered, flaps down
Range: 477 mi (414 nm, 768 km)
Service ceiling: 14,700 ft (4,480 m)
Takeoff roll: 725 ft (221 m)
Rate of climb: 715 ft/min (3.6 m/s)
Max. wing loading: 10.44 lb/ft≤ (51 kg/m≤)

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