Brakpan-Benoni Airfield New Clubhouse Opening Fly In
By Willie Bodenstein
To celebrate the opening of their Clubhouse and Bar the members of B.A.C. hosted a Fly-In on Saturday 16 April. The club has about 200 members making it one of the largest flying clubs in South Africa.
The swimming pool at the clubhouse was the first gunnite pool that was built and was donated by Penquin Pools. Mr Ferdi Chuvier, the club member then responsible for looking after the pool, decided that there must be an easier way keeping the pool clean and designed, tested and developed the well-known Creepy Crawly pool cleaner in the Club's pool.
Brakpan Airfield was established in 1953 and today still forms an important part of Ekurhuleni's transport infrastructure. The airfield is owned and maintained by the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality and the Brakpan Aero Club is the license holder. Brakpan has a long tar runway, which makes it possible for bigger and faster as well as jet propelled aircraft to operate from it. The runway is also equipped with runway lights that can be switched on by any aircraft via radio contact, thus allowing night flying.
It mainly serves Brakpan, Benoni and Boksburg but to a certain extent also Springs, Nigel, Delmas and Heidelberg. The airfield is quite busy with an average of about 40 take-offs and 40 landings per day and it can easily handle much more. There are currently three flight schools at the airport, jointly training some 120 new pilots every year.
Brakpan based Fred Blockland's immaculately re-build Seawind amphibian
There are presently about 80 aircraft permanently stationed at the airfield of which the majority is owned and operated by businesses and industries in the area. The field has lots of space for future expansion and development of more aircraft hangars and associated services.
Brakpan based Gordon Dyne's Nanchang CJ6 Dragon
NITRO RACEWAY conducts Drag Races on the runway, the first Sunday of every month. Flying is still accommodated at the same time by a volunteer Club Member that controls the event and gives both aircrafts and motorcars a chance. If the event is rained-out on the first Sunday it will then be moved to the second Sunday of the month. Income derived from this event is used to improve the facilities at the airfield. Most of the taxiways as well as the entrance road have been paved with the income generated from the Drag Races Event.
The weather on Saturday was perfect for flying and the club had pulled out all the stops to ensure that visitors stay were as pleasant as possible. The scrumptious breakfast drew much favourable comment with one visitor saying: "If they serve this every Sunday I have found my new breakfast destination."
Despite being fairly well advertised, we received an email during the week reminding us, the number of visitors was rather disappointing. Brakpan certainly deserved more support. Since the weather was no problem was it perhaps because of the closeness of the ORT Tambo and Rand controlled airspace that has put pilot's off?
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