Oudtshoorn Scale 2019 - 50th event anniversary 19-22 Sept 2019

By Cobus Brink

The Oudtshoorn Scale RC event is one of the most anticipated events on the radio control flying calendar each year. This year, the event, albeit through a few name changes, reached a special milestone in its existence, the 50th anniversary.

Claude Williams - Junkers Stuka

Dean Grobler - De Haviland Vampire

The originally event was organized back in 1969 by the late owner of Radio Control World in Cape Town, Chris Sweetman. That 1st event took place at Rietvlei and a second event for that year was organized by the then newly formed Helderberg Radio Flyers at their field. The aim was the promotion of scale radio control aero models.



The event was first known as "Radio Control World Scale" and was a strict scale competition with 7 models entered in the first event. The following year, the event was moved to Oudtshoorn, where one of the original co-organizers, the late Keith Bowles, relocated to. He saw the near perfect weather in the Klein Karoo as presenting much better flying opportunities than the Peninsula. Keith Bowles, one of the founder members of the Cango Flying Club, organized the event in 1996 after which the Cango Flying Club took over as host and organiser.

Gee Bee Model R

Glenn Roberts - Cessna 182 Coast Guard

Oudtshoorn Scale grew year by year and quickly became the premier scale event in South Africa, drawing regular international participants and visitors. This became the showcase event for new technologies and achievements in the radio control flying field.

Herman Grobler - Albatros D.Va


Chris Sweetman flew the very 1st ducted fan powered jet on South African soil at Oudtshoorn. It debuted also some of the 1st twin engine aircraft and twin duct fan jets in the country. The first helicopter flights and the 1st scale pulse jets also flew at Oudtshoorn. It also hosted the first flight of a home-built turbine engine. Chris Sweetman passed away in 1995 and for that year the name was changed to the "Chris Sweetman Memorial Scale" event. When Keith Bowles took over in 1996 it was called by the name of the main sponsor for that year. When the Cango Flying Club took over the organization they changed the name to "Oudtshoorn Scale" followed by the year.

Herman Grobler - Gotha G.II

Johan van Tonder - Schweizer RSG 300

Although the Cango Flying Club has their own field, Oudtshoorn Scale is held at the town's civil airfield as it has better facilities for such a large event. The local users of the airfield, the Oudtshoorn Aero Club and AVIC International Flight Training Academy (AIFA) graciously suspended their flight activities for the 4 days of the event.


Neville Wright - Pilatus PC-21

Over the years, the event adapted its format from a strict scale competition to a more relaxed scale fly-in. Judging is done with secret judges and trophies are presented in a variety of categories. Ray Moody, a Cango Flying Club member attended the 2nd event and has been to every other event since. Another regular attendee is Brian Martin, who too has attended all but one event.

Overnight storage

Parachutist with flag

Naturally an event of this size has to be organized along strict lines. This is done under the umbrella of SAMAA, the South African Model Aircraft Association, a section of the Aero Club of South Africa. Events of this nature have to adhere to strict SAMAA Airshow rules and only pilots with at least a Gold proficiency may fly. In light of the special nature of the 2019 event, SAMAA has agreed to slightly less strict pilot requirements, allowing Solo rated pilots to fly aircraft less than 5Kg and a Silver rating for aircraft heavier than 5Kg. GOLD and Vlamgat ratings remained a requirement for pilots of scale jets and turbine powered aircraft.

Rubber power

Ryan PT-22 Recruit

Pilots started arriving on Wednesday, ready for the start of flying Thursday morning. Although strictly a scale event daybreak, each morning saw the rubber powered crowd testing their skill in the calm morning air. Indoor flights, where pilots tested their skills in a confined space were conducted in the sports center of Oudtshoorn Municipality on Friday evening. Each morning was started with a pilot's safety briefing, just like in full size airshows. There were even scale parachutists, complete with the SA flag, to keep the spectators' attention.

Scale tug

Tiger Moth

From Thursday morning the field was a buzz of activity and a feast for the eyes of the spectators. There was ample opportunity to walk among the aircraft and marvel over the spectacular details of some aircraft. Normally the Sunday morning of the event still see some aircraft in the air. But even though Oudtshoorn is renowned for very good weather, the main reason for moving the event from the Peninsula, Sunday saw Oudtshoorn being clouded in and a much-needed drizzle of rain came down, thus the pack up and homewards journey was started earlier than previous years. With the SAMAA exemptions in place, 136 pilots attended the 50th anniversary of Oudtshoorn Scale with 306 different scale aircraft, making it a very enjoyable event yet again.

Werner Mayer - Bleriot XI

Youngest pilot - Zandre Potgieter

The category winners:

Best Pre WW1 Model: Radio Control Repair Centre Werner Mayer Bleriot XI
Best WW1 Model: Willie van Staden Herman Grobler Gotha G.II
Best WW2 Model: Kango Wyne Claude Williams Junker Stuka
Best Civilian: Marcus & Ann Weitzmann Steve Philby Ercoupe 415 C
Best Multi Engine: Jan's Used Spares Damian Hinrichsen Mitchel B-25
Best Bi-Plane: Radio Control Repair Centre Gert Swanepoel - Marc Wolffe Tiger Moth
Best Large Scale Model: Radio Control Repair Centre Neville Wright Pilatus PC-21
Best Ducted Fan: Radio Control World Marius Botha MIG 15
Best Aerobatic Display: Cango Flying Club Damian Hinrichsen & Hitesh Gajjar Mitsubishi A6M Zero x 2
Best Helicopter: Timbercity Oudtshoorn Johan van Tonder Schweizer RSG 300
Best Glider: Cape Sailplanes Marc Wolffe Slingsby T31 Kirby Cadet
Best Electric Powered Model: Hekkie Fourie Brett Linton Ryan STA
Most Realistic Flight: Len Salter Neville Wright Pilatus PC-21
Most Realistic Turbine Flight Terry Hamilton Dean Grobler De Haviland Vampire
Most Enjoyable Flying Radio Control World Thinus Krugel
Most Unusual Model Dericks Fish & Chips Hansie Grobler Dornier 335
The Hard Luck Thropy Kruger Electro Tech Eric Bell Eurofighter
The Pilot's Choice Tom & Dot McWilliam Foundation Neville Wright Pilatus PC-21
Best Spirited Club Cango Flying Club Central Radio Flyers
Best ARF Tsitsikama Lodge Glenn Roberts Cessna 182 Coast Guard
Best Owner Builder St. Blaize Hobbies Brett Linton Ryan STA
Furthest Travelled Pilot RMAC Greg Donaldson 8000km
Youngest Pilot Marcu & Ann Weitzmann Zandre Potgieter 9 years old
Best Indoor Keith Bowles Matthew Going
Best Rubber Powered Oudtshoorn Aeroclub Hazel Goodfellow
Best Electric Helicopter Brett Linton Augusta 109
Pilot with the best Attitude Zane Mannell

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