Aero Club Air Week 2015
By Garth Calitz
Building up to the Aero Club of South Africa’s 100th anniversary in 2020, the Aero Club hosted its first annual “Airweek” in great style with a wonderful weekend of aviation fun at the Parys Airfield.
Kevin Storie and his dedicated team went all out to make this event one for the record books, with informative talks and impressive displays. The event really picked up momentum on Friday, being a holiday many aviators flocked to the small town of Parys situated in the Northern Free State.
After a hearty breakfast at the Montgolfier Restaurant the proceedings were formally kicked off by Karl Jensen program director for the event. First up was RAASA (Recreation Aviation Administration of South Africa) who hosted a network session, followed by a technical forum by the EAA.
Charlie Marais gave a very informative talk on attitude management in air shows in South Africa, many of the points raised here can be used in general aviation. “Your ego and aviation” was the theme for a talk by Prof Andre Coetzee.
Project Cuba an imitative to get Capt Arthur Piercy to Cuba to meet with the Pilot that shot him down in the 80's was next up, Arthur was badly injured in a crash landing after sustaining serious damage to the tail of his Mirage F1CZ.
With the growing number of Rotax users in South Africa, Comet Aviations talk on the proper maintenance procedures and documentation on Rotax Aircraft Engines was most welcome. Test Pilot and former fighter pilot General Des Barker gave a very informative talk on the new threat to aviation; Automation Addiction followed by a talk on Safety Focus by Chris Briers the owner of Wonderboom based Air Team. Dr Mike Brown a leading aviation doctor explained the role of medicine in aviation and was on hand to answer any medical related quires. Athol Franz the editor of African Pilot presented a video on international Airshows to close the formalities for the day.
All the while there was lots of flying to keep everyone that did not attend the talks entertained.
Saturday morning saw many arrivals all greeted by slightly chilli Free State morning but absolutely excellent flying conditions, pilots arrived from as far afield as Virginia in Durban.
The spot landing competition slotted in between the arrivals and departures competition was held and continued most of the day. Arrivals and departures, were excellently managed by a team form ATNS who as always did a sterling job of keeping everything safe . Unfortunately only eight pilots took part in the spot landing competition but nevertheless made for some very entertaining flying.
Ron Strik took the honours in his a Cessna 150 followed by Hans Schwebel also in the same C150 (ZS-IWD). Third place belonged to Marcel Griffen in a Pipistrel Sinus (ZS-GZC). Willem Greyling managed fourth place in a Savannah (ZU-FXZ)
Rob Jonkers was next up in Fifth place in his Cessna 172. Bennie du Plessis took Sixth spot in his beautiful red and silver Cessna 172 (ZS-DXZ). Seventh place was claimed by Shaun Murthy in yet another C172 (ZS-TRL). Last but not least was Gregory Clegg in his Lambada (ZU-EUK).
Gary Whitecross and Mark Howse kept the crowd on their toes with brilliant displays of aerobatics in gliders. Gary was in a Pilatus B4 and Mark in a Schleicher KA6, they both did two displays one from a tug launch and one from a winch launch.
For the speed freaks Scully Levine flew the pylon course in both a Beechcraft Baron and a Ravin 500. The Ravin belongs to Calle Hedberg, also known as “The flying Hobo.” Calle recently flew around the world this Raven. The trip took him just over 10 months.
While all the Flying was going on there were a series of talks kicked of once again by RAASA followed by an outline on the EAA Young Eagles. Dr Mike Brown presented his talk on Medicine in Aviation for all who missed it the day before whilst Mr JP Truter from the CAA, enlightened aviators on Aircraft certification and continuous airworthiness. Mark Swarts also from the CAA , presented a very interesting talk on Risk perception in the general aviation environment and also gave a breakdown of accidents and incidents over the last three years.
Karl Jensen interviewed a World War Two Spitfire Pilot, followed by a talk by Mark Howse on approved persons workshop.
A big word of thanks must go to Kevin and his team for a wonderful weekend.
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