Groblersdal Flying Club Fly In 26 September 2020

By Adam Barnard

Groblersdal Flying Club was founded early in the 1960's (exact year unknown) by Neels Pretorius, a retired SAAF pilot who not only flew Spitfires, but also flew some of the very first De Havilland Vampire's that were delivered to the SAAF in 1951 to replace the much-loved Spitfire.





In the early 1960's, one of the first things Neels did at Groblersdal was to call a few guys together and told them that they must build an airfield and start a Flying Club.





As the story goes, the next moment, out of the blue, Neels announced to the new flying club, a forthcoming air show he had advertised in all the newspapers! Everybody, including the municipality was up in arms because there was not even a trace of an airfield. They then involved Jan Pretorius who had a farm on the south-western side of the present airfield. After getting the go-ahead from the municipality, Jan's tractors along with other farmers started with bush clearing where the airfield stands today.





When the first aeroplanes arrived for the air show, the tractors were still busy bush clearing and shaping the airstrip. Apparently, the airshow was a great success.





After months of being grounded due to the Covid-lockdown, quite a few pilots took advantage of Groblersdal Flying Club's invitation to aviators to fly in for breakfast.







With clear blue skies and no wind to speak of, the first aircraft arrived shortly after 07:00, with another 32 fixed wing and 7 gyro-copters and 1 weight-shift microlight, following in quick succession. Visitors came from as far Lydenburg, Krugersdorp and most parts of the Gauteng province.





Unfortunately, the wind picked up as predicted, and aircraft started leaving before winds got worse.

Thank you to Groblersdal Flying Club for hosting and all the aviators who attended the Fly In.

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