Witbank Aeronautical Association - Breakfast Fly-In 31 Mar 2018
By Jaco Pitout
Slideshow by kind permission of Karl Jensen, SAA retired Senior Captain.
I was very excited to learn that the Witbank Aeronautical Association would again be hosting a Breakfast Fly In. I was fortunate enough to fly to the event in Jabiru ZU-CBL. The trusty little workhorse was first registered in 2000 and has amassed over 3000 hours of flying during that time.
With an extensive refit in the not too distant past, she is now equipped with a panel throttle, modern GPS and an all new paint-job.
With a short flight lying in wait, the little Jabiru leapt off runway 09 at Rhino Park and we headed into the rising sun and all too familiar winter haze. During the 25 minute flight, I marveled at the privilege and responsibility that comes with being a pilot. Having another person trusting you with their safety and comfort is not easy to forget!
I digress, with Witbank airport in sight, runway 04 was the runway in use due to a northerly wind.
During final approach I could see that the turnout at this event was beyond what I had previously observed. I was soon to find out that this would be the biggest and most successful fly in that the Witbank Aeronautical Club has hosted?
Flying inevitably leads to quite severe grumbling of the stomach and for this the ladies and gentlemen of the Witbank Aeronautical Association had the perfect remedy. A scrumptious array of breakfast foods for the very competitive price of R60 which also included a warm refreshment of your choice being either tea or coffee was on offer. Many flying stories were shared in the shade of their well-appointed clubhouse.
I also took station next to the runway to capture some arrivals.
All too soon it was time to head home and the visiting pilots were lining up for take-off. Upon speaking with Dr. Robert Clark, Witbank Aeronautical Association communications head, he stated that the turnout had been beyond their expectations. He said that they had some reservations with regards to having the event over Easter weekend, however it was clear that the aviation community came out in force to support what is a superb fly in location.
We soon also had to depart in order to have the Jabiru back at Rhino Park in order to be flown by a student and instructor. We made our way out to runway 04, after all checks were done, the Jabiru faithfully climbed into the northerly wind as I set course for Rhino Park.
Cruising along the N4 at 6500ft my friend and I continued the conversation about the absolute necessity of mentorship in general aviation and the fact that "hangar-talk" is such an important learning platform. It was encouraging to see so many general aviation aircraft together at a flying event. It bodes well for our flying future in South Africa.
Landing back at Rhino Park, putting the airplane to bed, I checked our fuel and saw that we had only used 15 liters of avgas for 1.3 worth of time on the hobbs. What a great day it was!