Twenty four RVs braved the challenging runway of the Jack Taylor Aerodrome in Krugersdorp during the Van's RV fly-in hosted by Pilot's Post on 13 February 2016. With clear blue skies and not a hint of cloud, it sure made for a perfect flying day.
Although the event was scheduled between 8AM and 10AM, the first aircraft, a RV-12 (ZU-FSH) own and flown by Trevor Davids from Fly Inn Estate, landed before 7AM already. It was clear that RVAtors in Gauteng were hungry for a RV gathering as Jan Hanekom from The Coves landed 5 minutes later with his beautiful RV-10 (ZU-RVI). We were very surprised to see that the next 2 arrivals were more RV-10s as Rudi Greyling, also from The Coves, landed with ZU-LUX and Fank van Heerden with ZU-MAR from Kitty Hawk.
Hans de Beer from Wonderboom
Andrew Robinson from Tedderfield next to his RV-7
RVs arrived from afar as the Freestate with Neil Terblanche covering the 101 nautical miles from Kroonstad in a mere 37 minutes and others arriving from closer fields Tedderfield, The Coves, Kitty Hawk, Rustenburg, Wonderboom and Fly Inn Estate.
Neil Terblanche flew his RV-4 from Buitenzorg outside Kroonstad
Apart from a RV-3 and Van's latest addition, the Rv-14, all other RV types were present. We had 6s, 7s, 8s, 9s, 10s, and 12s.
As RVs landed, marshals Pierre and Dale de Klerk directed them to a dedicated RV parking area where taildraggers were parked in the first row, tricycle gear RVs and RV-12s in the second row and all the RV10s at the back.
One thing that certainly added some spark to the day was a RV formation display flown by Pierre Gouws, Ryan Beaton, Neil Murry and Trevor Warner. Their close formation flying, perfectly coordinated turns and stunning break after their routine caused many gasps of air by those on the ground entertained but this professional performance.
There are currently an estimated 165 RVs flying in South Africa with a large number of kits under construction. Worldwide almost 9,300 RV kits have been completed and flying whilst thousands of others are in the process of being built.
When Richard (Van) VanGrunsven founded Vans Aircraft in 1972 with his RV3 he probably never dreamed that one day Vans would be a household name in the aviation industry. Today Van's is the largest manufacturer of single engine light aircraft kits and its products outsells that of all the other similar certified aircraft.
Inspired by Pilot's Post founder and RV-7 owner Juri Keyter, the fly-in was organised to pay tribute to the designs of Richard "Van" VanGrunsven. In South Africa RV's have already achieved legendary status, are regular competitors in aerobatic competitions and crowd favourites at airshows.
Hosting and sponsoring aviation events is our way of giving back to an industry that we are passionate about. We must thank the Krugersdorp Flying Club for allowing us the use of their facilities, Johan and Wilma for the catering and to Dale and Pierre de Klerk from Alpi Aviation for braving the sun all morning to marshal the arrivals and for flying us for the air to ground photo-shoots.
Left to right Juri Keyter with Piere and Dale de Klerk