Saturday 21 March 2015 Parys was the place to be. Close to fifty aircraft arrived at this friendly field to celebrate Vans RVs, the most successful kit built aircraft in the history of aviation.
Fanie, owner of the Montgolfier Restaurant in jovial mood
Before the rush at Parys Airfield
RV's at Parys is part of the extremely successful Pylon Time Trials, the brain child of Scully Levin and Frank King but unfortunately like so many other events organised for this time of the year the weather on Saturday did not play ball. Twenty five entries were received for the time trials but because of the weather only twelve competed of which only three qualified, nine having missed the turning points.
The briefing was held in Scully's hanger were he thanked the sponsors and welcomed all the competitors. Besides the usual Pylon Racing formation workshops were also arranged. The purpose of this is to qualify as many pilots as possible in formation flying so that in the future proper racing between the pylons can take place. Currently, equally matched aircraft take part separated by twenty seconds during take-off. Cliff Lotter, "Mr Fix it", explained the radio procedure and Pierre Gouws, "airshow performer extraordinaire" advised the formation what was expected of them.
Cliff and Pierre
Competitors, organisers and officials
Five teams entered the formation workshops; a 7 ship, 4 ship, 2 x 3 three ships and 2 ship. Participants are scored, amongst others, the integrity and precision of the formation flight.
Formation flying is serious business. Frank King and Cliff Lotter walking their routine
The masters of formation aerobatics, the Team Torre Pitts Specials, (previously the Gabriel Pitts Specials) made their debut at Parys. Torre is the holding company of amongst others Grabiel shock absorbers, Textar, Pation and Manhand.
Two of Eqstra flying Lions Harvards were present but because of the inclement weather the program was shortened and they only did two demonstration laps.
The time trials were slotted in between the formation and aerobatics displays and as always the pace were fast and furious and the competition fierce. One can only imagine how exciting would be when once pilots have earned their formation ratings!
The three qualifiers were: Pierre Gouws in his RV-8 clocked at 192.793 mph (310.271 kph), Paul Quick flying his RV-4 clocked at 185.501 mph ((298.535 kph) and Mark Allison in his RV-7A at 175.692 mph (282.749 kph).
The only non RV participant was Brian Appleton in his classic de Havilland Chipmunk
Two participants need special mention. Mike Bottger who crossed the border and flew all the way from Eros in Namibia in his extremely pretty RV-8 and Alewyn Burger who made the journey up from Stellenbosch in his RV-6
To top off a day filled with action Nigel Hopkins in the MX2 and Neville Ferreira in the Slick 540 showed how high speed, high G aerobatics is done.
If you haven't been to a Pylon Time Trials yet, either as visitor or as participant, diarise 20 June and make sure that you don't miss Warbirds over the Vaal for non-stop action.
20 June: Warbirds over the Vaal fly-in and time trials - Parys Airfield. Contact Scully Levin e-mail: email@example.com