Johannesburg is blessed to be surrounded by a large number of airports and airfields. To the south, starting at Klipriver, that delightful gem on the eastern boundary and working one's way west along an imaginary line is, or rather was, Circus that unfortunately closed a couple of months ago. Then there is Vereeniging with its two tarred runways, a large number of hangars and good infrastructure. Vereeniging, a couple of years ago regularly hosted some wonderful airshows. Next is Panorama, established in 1980 with its three grass runways, then Tedderfield, home of the Sling factory and tarred runway and finally Baragwaneth, also tarred and home of the Johannesburg Light Plane Club, one of the oldest Clubs in SA.
On Saturday 23 October 2021, Panorama airfield hosted one of its regular Fly-Ins. Situated in Alberton at 5050 ft and close to the Mall of the South, the field has three well maintained grass runways, 02/20 1000 meters, 05/23 700 meters and 12-30 600 meters. The privately owned field that is home to the Johannesburg Flying Academy has a number of hangars and a clubhouse, but currently has no fuel.
I arrived just after 07h30 and found a number of aircraft, mostly weight shifts and some gyros already at the field, their crews tucking in to what smelled like and looked a scrumptious breakfast. A powered paraglider took off as I greeted some friends before making my way to the apron as more arrivals landed.
I have covered a number of events at Panorama and none has been as well supported as Saturday's breakfast Fly-In. Maybe it's my imagination. This Covid lockdown has left us all starved for aviation events.
The weather was perfect, the wind on the nose for most of the morning picking up as the day progressed. Although not forecasted, we all know the Highveld weather pattern, mostly perfect in the mornings with thundershowers in the afternoons. That probably accounted for the number of arrivals that left soon after having enjoyed breakfast.
However, there was a steady stream of arrivals as well as departures as the day progressed. Most of the fields in Gauteng was well represented. Two ex SAAF Allo's flew in from Brakpan. Panorama, only a few kilometers from Alberton and 27 km for where I live (close to Eastgate and the Gilhooly's interchange) is so close that some decided to rather just drive in.
By the time I left at about 11h30, I estimated that more than sixty aircraft were at some stage parked at the field. By then the kitchen had run out of food, always a sure sigh of a really successful Fly-In.
It was heartening to see a number of businesses present at the Fly-In. Smaller general aviation events have kept general aviation alive during the Covid pandemic and those that have supported GA need all our support.
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