There can be no doubt that the Van's series of kitbuilt planes has taken homebuilding both in the USA and across the world to a new dimension. Just over 10,000 are now flying with many more under construction.
On Saturday 17 February we pulled Juri Keyter's award winning Van's RV 7 from his hangar at Krugersdorp (FAKR) for a quick flight to Rustenburg where the Flying Club hosted one of its regular breakfast fly in's.
Juri always had a dream of flying and in 2000 completed his PPL at Krugersdorp flying Club. His first aircraft was a Pietenpol Aircamper and he then completed the full circle with a Piper Seneca multi-engine aircraft.
Having decided to build his own aircraft, cost played a big role in his decision making process. He chose the RV7 due to its aerobatic capability and larger engine. Juri completed his build in 20 months and 1,500 building hours. He imported a brand new off production line Lycoming 0-360 180HP engine driving a Sensenich FP propeller.
Being intrigued with technology Juri knew his instruments were going to be a glass panel. After some research his mind was set on the MGL Odyssey.
On the 5 November 2009 Chalkie Stobbart performed the first test flight. After his own thorough inspection he simply climbed in, taxied to the runway, made his radio call and took off. Chalkie flew for 40 minutes before returning to give Juri a ride in his own creation.
"Without the assistance and advice from Peter Lastrucci, Andy Lawrence, Jan Hannekom, Chalkie Sobbart and my wife Liezel, I think I did it right. Not only do I have a great RV but am still happily married." Juri said.
The RV went on to win the Grand Champion title twice at EAA conventions and currently, after our flight on Saturday now has only 319.9 hours on the hobbs meter.
Our flight to FARG
We arrived at Rustenburg to an extremely busy circuit. Everybody, it seemed, had the same idea. We found a spot on the grass apron shut down and got out and walked to the clubhouse, meeting many old acquaintances along the way.
Some early arrivals, their tummies full, were already departing whilst more and more arrived. Eventually close to sixty aircraft were at some stage at the field.
Breakfast was scrumptious, the coffee divine and the hangar talk informative and often hilarious.
Some of the visiting aircraft
Some of the visitors
FARG is also the venue of Skydive Rustenburg and they were extremely busy during our short visit.
We had to leave early, work called. Some of us must keep the economy going. However, instead of taking the direct route we decided to explore and visit some cultural sites in the pristine bushveld as well as a number of dams, which we are glad to report, are all full.
Our flight home
After a rather bumpy flight back, we arrived at FAKR with just over a hour of flying time for the day and as usual the RV behaved exceptionally well.
Our thanks to the good people of Rustenburg for their hospitality and for hosting an extremely successful, well organised and incident free fly in. We at Pilot's Post are looking forward to the next breakfast fly in.