I wonder if Richard Van Grunsven ever envisaged what life had in store for him when he modified his Stitts Playboy to create the Van's RV1 in 1965.
I also wonder if he knew what an incredible following his designs would have and the sheer volume of Van's aircraft would economically and rather rapidly dash across the skies of the globe. What an incredible story!
RV aircraft from all over South Africa flew in to Kitty Hawk Aerodrome on 14 September 2019 celebrate these versatile aircraft. When I arrived at Kitty Hawk, I met with Nigel Musgrave who would act as safety officer on the day and Dawie Pretorius, who was also in close attendance. I could see that the airfield had been carefully prepared with whitewash being laid down to demarcate the designated parking areas.
Arriving between 7am and 8am, there were quite a few aircraft on the ground already. When I spoke with Andre' Burger from Wonderboom, he indicated to me that they had already visited the Vereeniging and Vaal that morning with his RV10 and his family was feeling puckish, so they decided to make a beeline for Kitty Hawk to enjoy the scrumptious breakfast that was on offer.
At this time the arrivals were coming in thick and fast with Ricardo Afonso and his team from ATNS providing assistance with a temporary flight information service at the airfield.
I took up position towards the end of runway 19 and captured some of the arrivals.
It was not only RV aircraft that took to the skies to enjoy the day. I also captured some of the other visiting aircraft.
The highlights of the day were a mass formation of RV aircraft, totaling 15 aircraft in three waves of five aircraft. After the mass formation fly-past, the Raptors aerobatic team broke off and demonstrated how they would practice for airshows in the Kitty Hawk aerobatic box.
Ryan Beeton, a member of the Raptors formation aerobatic team, celebrated his birthday, happy birthday Ryan!
One of the official sponsors of the day was Puma Energy. And they specially brought two of the Flying Lions Aircraft for a display. Flown here by Scully Levin and Arnie Meneghelli.
Frank van Heerden and the team at Kitty Hawk certainly did themselves proud with yet another excellent, well organized RV fly in. He took some time out during the day to inspire a future aviator.
All too soon it was time for the visiting pilots and aircraft to depart for their various airfields.
Events such as these would not be possible without sponsors. Robin Coss Aviation, Sport Plane Builders, Adventure Air, Shell and Puma Energy made a contribution to the success of this very enjoyable fly in.
Exceptional organization and a friendly atmosphere ensured that the day was enjoyed by all. Also our congratulations to Dawie, the airport manager who celebrated his birthday the past week. Let's do it again next year!