De Haviland Day Springs 2021-05-22

By Russell Dixon-Paver

A really cold winter morning at Springs Airfield saw many busy folks preparing for this historic day to celebrate 75 years of the De Haviland Chipmunk and some other DH types. Supplies for the breakfasts were delivered and the kitchen started buzzing, while at the Hangars of Classic Flying Collection, coffee warmed the hands and hearts as the aircraft were rolled out of the hangar for display and action. They also moved their vehicle collection for display with the Military Collectors & Reenactors of SA, who had camped out overnight in the very cold conditions.

The Springs SPCA were the beneficiaries of the donations for the excellent breakfasts provided by members of the Springs Airfield based Ekurhuleni East Aviation Association with seating provided in the mess tent.

Gavin Brown and Grant Timms with their willing helpers rolled out the Chippies and later the Tiger Moths and Stampe.

DH Chipmunks ready for scramble at the news the DH Rapide was en route.

Three beautifully restored and maintained DH Tiger Moths and the recently rebuilt Stampe on display outside their classic Flying Collection hangar.

The Auster is on guard at the beautifully clean and well-organised hangar.

The visiting aircraft and enthusiasts started arriving and soon there was a good crowd within the limits of Covid 19 regulations enjoying aviation banter and a great breakfast.

Interesting arrival of three whirling, weaving Chipmunks, overseen by the Stearman.

Grant Timms turns the Chippies engine over to make sure there is no oil remaining in the cylinders, prior to start-up.

Scramble, Rapide is en route! Chipmunks accelerate down the grass runway.

Chipmunks form up and circle the field.

DH Rapide and Chipmunk formation treated the ground-bound to some fly-bys.

The Rapide begins the separation break before the formation lands.

The Rapide taxis in, with Captain Flippie Vermeulen in the single-place cockpit.

Captain Flippie Vermeulen who made the freezing trip up from Queenstown earlier in the week.

Front view of the Rapide and some of her tatoos.

Pretoria Boys High School has a very active Aeronautical Society of around 50 boys and they are building a Flying Flea and a ĺ scale Mustang P51 replica. John is a walking encyclopaedia of aviation history and his passion for aviation clearly rubs off on the boys, who took turns to sit in the Raphide. Great to see young folks interested in aviation! John gave some background of the Rapide - two 200HP Gipsy 6 motors. This example was built in 1944 and is thus actually a Dominee, but is in the Rapide livery.

Mr John Ilsley and some of the boys from the Pretoria Boys High School Aeronautical Club.

Chipmunk formation pilots "walk" their routine in preparation for their display in front of the Rapide.

Nine Chipmunks were on the field - here are the pilots just before their display.

The nine Chipmunks present taxi out for their formation display.

Nine-ship Chipmunk formation display.

The Puma Energy Flying Lions provided another great display to round off the flying apart from departures of visiting aircraft.

The event was graced by many other types of aircraft and the faces of the old faithful EAA members were in their natural environment! This was a historic event of note!

Pilot's Post wishes to thank Gavin Brown and the Classic Flying Collection for their contribution of restoring and displaying these precious aviation legends as well as Mark Sahd for letting the legendary Rapide again grace our Gauteng skies. Thank you also to the Springs Flying Club for hosting a historic event and aslo to ATNS and CAA representatives for a safe, fun and well-run event.

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