The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) was established during 1953 in the USA. Eleven years later in 1964 South Africa followed suite and in 1969 Chapter 322, the first chapter outside the USA, was established.
Following in the footsteps of the EAA of the USA Chapter 322 annually organised its own version of Sun 'n Fun held annually in Florida in the USA. South Africa's version has at one time or another been hosted by Rustenburg and Tempe and this year it was the turn of Brits, one of the friendliest clubs in the country.
Planned for the weekend of 21 to 23 November with camping on the field or for those that want more home comforts accommodation is available in any of the numerous lodges or B&Bs. Unfortunately the weather gods did not play ball and most visitors opted to only arrive on Saturday morning and then they arrived in droves keeping Bob Allison who offered an advisory service from the tower extremely busy.
More than 100 aircraft arrived, some only stayed for clubs famous breakfast whilst other remained longer to enjoy the Bushveld sunshine in the company of friends or just to wander through the rows of visiting aircraft.
The Aircraft Factory, manufacturers of the Sling 2 and 4 invited owners and a large number responded and of all types the Sling were the best represented.
Neil Bowden, the organisers of the legendary tours to Air Venture arranged a reunion of all who have spent a week in "Kamp Plakkersfontein" at Oshkosh and Neil and family camped in typical Oshkosh style at Brits.
SAPFA, the South African Power Flying Association arranged one of their extremely popular Fun Rallies and thirteen visitors, including Captain Karl Jensen chairman of Chapter 322, were roped in to participate. The results were as follows:
1 Frank Eckard Cally Eckard RSA ZS IUD Open 84
2 Hans Schwebel Ron Stirk RSA ZS IWD Fun 104
3 Rob Jonker Martin Meyer RSA ZS KEZ Open 111
1 Thuys v d Merwe Mauritz RSA ZU AFP Fun 132
2 Karl Jensen Mary de Klerk RSA ZU VAL Fun 146
3 Bryan Belcher David Lister RSA N4217P Fun 367
4 Nic Christodoulou Andre Kluyts RSA ZS EGZ Fun 613
5 Damian Rogans Ruan Schoeman RSA ZS OWB Fun 1020
6 Moose Woods Mark Clulow RSA N35297 Fun 1043
7 Graham Methius Andrew Pitman RSA ZU FRP Fun 1505
8 Steve Theron Marie Reddy RSA ZU IFM Fun 2490
9 Shaun Russel Graeme RSA ZU TAD Fun 2540
10 Roque Hafner Theuns Koekemoer RSA ZS EDC Fun 3600
The ideals of the EAA of SA are to foster recreational aviation, the building of aircraft and the Approved Persons (A/P) scheme, aviation entertainment, sowing the seeds of enthusiasm for aviation amongst young people through the Young Eagles initiative and nurturing members building and flying activities, developing a flight safety culture and monitoring any threat to our freedom of the skies in South Africa. The EAA does this by holding monthly meetings with regular presentations, forums, lectures, workshops, project visits, Young Eagles events and the monthly Flying Legends Talk Shows at the EAA Auditorium at Rand Airport as well as organising fly-ins and events like Sun 'n Fun.
Sun 'n Fun at Brits had all the makings to be a huge success. Unfortunately the threat of inclement afternoon weather conditions on both Friday and Saturday and the possibility of worse weather on Sunday prevented a large number of aircraft from arriving whilst those that did visit scurried home before the weather turned nasty. None the less all that visit had an enjoyable time and Chapter 322 deserves an accolade for a safe and well organised event.