American Ric Woldow was in charge of the Caterpillar manufacturing arm in South Africa until this facility ceased operations in 2010. The worldwide Caterpillar company is represented in South Africa by Barloworld.
During the time Ric was based in Johannesburg, he was an enthusiastic and active member of EAA Chapter 322 Johannesburg. He did not own any aircraft in South Africa, but regularly flew with EAA members and often hired and flew a Beech 36. When Ric returned to his home in Peoria, Illinois, he kept in regular touch with EAA SA via a newsy column in the EAA SA CONTACT! newsletter (www.eaaa.org.za) 'Where in the World is Woldow', the title having been borrowed from an early computer detective game called 'Where in the World is Carmen Dandiego', and, of course, the popular series of children's books called 'Where's Wally?'
Ric (left) and Leon du Plessis
Ric and his wife Lisa arrived in SA on 25 March for a 2-week vacation and to renew local friendships and acquaintances on this side of the pond. On Saturday 26 March, more than 30 EAA Chapter 322 members gathered at Ricardo De Bonis' hangar and braai facility at Krugersdorp. We were all very grateful that Ric and Lisa managed to spend time with us, literally and figuratively chewing the fat around the braai. Ricardo hosted the Woldows at his family home while they were in Gauteng.
Left to right: Jeremy, Lisa and Ric
The Woldows were flown around the next day by Neville Du Piesanie in his Siai Marchetti S-205 and Ricardo's AirCam from Krugersdorp for a hearty breakfast at Brits Flying Club, before continuing with a scenic flight over the Roodekoppies, Vaalkop, Buffelspoort and Olifantsnek dams.
The Woldows departed on the Monday, heading out from George on a leisurely tour of the Western Cape. Their vacation had originally been planned to include the 2016 EAA Convention at Mossel Bay at the end of April, but regrettably business commitments in China deprived the EAA of their company at what promises to be a popular event. www.takingchargeevents.co.za/EAAReg.asp
Back home in the USA Ric and Lisa have a veritable Aladdin's Cave filled with immaculate flying toys, amongst which are a T-6, a Boeing Stearman, a Lake Amphibian, Super Cub, a Zlinn, a Waco, and many old motor cycles that are fully functional and in concours d'elegance condition, as well as the original Stinson that Ric grew up with from early childhood. Some of our EAA 322 members have had the privilege of visiting the Woldows at home on pilgrimages to Oshkosh. The glowing report-backs were of just amazingly friendly people and wonderful aircraft - not only of the Woldows, but also the unsurpassable hospitality and generosity of the entire flying community at their airfield. In addition, Ric has always ensured that the visitors flew to various fly-ins as their guests and, needless to say, everyone has returned with riveting stories about these once-in-a-lifetime adventures.
Ric Woldow loves saying that the only creature in Africa who is taller than him is a giraffe. As you can see from the pics, at 2.10 metre he is definitely the tallest EAA member on the planet, and he is every inch a sincere gentleman of a quality that one seldom has the pleasure of knowing and calling 'my friend'.
Our heartfelt thanks to Ric and Lisa Woldow, and a fond farewell until we meet again.