Organiser of the fly-in Freddie van Rooyen could not have chosen a better date, it was perfect flying weather and although cool early in the morning it, as the day progressed, almost turned into a summer's day.
Freddie and brother Gideon were busy braaing boerewors for breakfast when I arrived. There were a number of weightshifts as well as four fixed wings parked. Earlier, some of the Klipriver guys were still mowing grass when the first aircraft was landing whilst a group of guys and gal volunteers were getting the breakfast together. Getting a steamy cup of coffee, I joined those already there watching as steadily more and more aircraft of various types and shapes arrived.
Speaking to Freddie he told me that the field has been going for at least 25 years. Situated South of OR Tambo in the southern suburbs there are two runways on the airfield, Runway 02L/20R is an 850m grass runway with no obstacles and Runway 07L/25R a 420m with power lines on approach 07. For some reason Klipriver is one of aviation's best kept secret. A real gem, it is one of the better smaller fields in the area with eight hangers and approximately thirty resident aircraft. Originally Klipriver was the home of microlights. However, today the majority of aircraft housed at the field are fixed wings.
Klipriver has for a number of years hosted a winter breakfast fly-in, skipping last year when two pylon races were instead held at the field. For those that wondered what happened to the races, the good news is that they may again take place in the not too distant future. Also being discussed is a rally navigation race strictly for weightshifts.
Although there is a clubhouse there is no club as such at the field and organizing and running an event like the fly-in depends on those that volunteer. Mike Skinner runs a fix wing and weightshift flight school from the field and his group of guys keeps the field klip alive and buzzing. The field is fortunate that there are enough individuals who offer their time to make the events a success. Tenants are kept abreast of happenings via a WhatsApp group and they regularly have fly-aways, the last one was to Margate on the KZN South Coast. Freddie told me that they were planning a flight around the shores of the Vaaldam for later that afternoon and that they will be attending the MISASA Africa Cup in Numbi later in the year.
On Saturday almost thirty aircraft visited, most from fields close-by although a number flew from Kroon, North of Pretoria.
For those who hasn't been to Klipriver before; The airfield is situated on the North western tip of the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve at S" 26 28.883 E 028 06.316. It boasts three grass runways:
02-20 now 1000 Metres and in good condition. 07-25 500 Metres also in good condition. However, beware of power lines on approach to 07. 13-31 is quite short. Altitude is 5000 feet, traffic to join overhead at 6000 feet whilst the circuit height is 5500 feet. Frequency is Special Rules South frequency 125.6.