Steady Climb Fly-in at Rhino Park Airfield - 2021-12-04

By Russell Dixon-Paver



This occasion was the 4th Steady Climb Fly-In event hosted by PilotInsure. The aim is to raise funds to assist aviators who have been severely impacted by the covid pandemic and the consequent lockdowns, to start alternative businesses and provide a mini-expo event for them and other supporting vendors to showcase their business ventures.

All of the Steady Climb events have been hosted in partnership with Legends MX at the Rhino Park Airfield, which also offers accommodation, camping, MX motorcycle and MTB tracks, various function venues and the Oppi-Plaas weekly market.


Nigel Musgrave, who provided local airspace control, discusses some final pre-event details with David and Laura le Roux from PilotInsure at the pilot registration table. Someone said Nigel was an "an Old Faithful", plenty faithful, but not so old!

Weather predictions indicated heavy rain from around 13:00, but fortunately the weather behaved with a low cloud base and heavy ground haze early on. The haze cleared and the cloud-base lifted quite soon thereafter. There had been overnight rain with some muddy puddles remaining. The weather uncertainty led to arrivals being rather late and relatively few aircraft flying in overall, estimated at about 15. Most of the visiting aircraft left relatively early to avoid the impending rain, which did hit Pretoria around 13:15, as evidenced by storms and heavy rain on the highways between Silver Lakes area on the N4 and Menlyn on the N1, on the way home.



There were a number of vendor stalls, ranging from flying models for the youngsters to flying training, aviation art and provision of aviation law access, with the essential food, coffee and drinks to keep visitors sustained.




Vendor tables and gazebos under the blue gum trees, with another "old faithful" Sam, the aviation hawker, a personality in his own right providing aviation related toys for the youngsters.


Vanessa Richardson and Belinda Bouwer from LSA Covers. Two ladies who work long hours to provide custom covers to protect aircraft interiors from the ravages of the sun.


Karel Zaayman from The Aviation Shop, purveyors of models, books, DVD's and memorabilia, chats to a customer.


Craig Wood from Aviation4SA has an app that provides ready access to up-to-date aviation legislation without the need for cumbersome books.


Carl Kieck and his wife Natasha from Independent Aviation provides an instructor listing service to connect specialist experienced instructors with pilots and students for a productive personal and professional match. Lehan Viljoen, also a partner in Independent Aviation, does the website support, is also an authorized Flying Eyes distributor for aviation eyewear.




Due to the weather instability and predicted storms later, the number of aircraft was lower than hoped.


Henly Air showcased their Aeronautical Institute of Learning.

The Puma Energy Flying Lions Harvard Aerobatic Team landed and performed the traditional Harvard mass shutdown.

The 4th Benoni Air Scout troop arrrived to expose their youngsters to different aspects of aviation and to achieve various progression badges. In a discussion with Scully Levin, now 75, the point was made that many aviation people were getting on in years, so it was refreshing to see that efforts were being made to grow interest among the younger generation. There are apparently five Air Scout troops active in Gauteng. Warren Lovell had his young boys there with the Air Scouts and he approached Juan Thessner, representing the sponsor of the Puma Energy Flying Lions Harvard Team. The Air Scouts were taken out to the aircraft by Ellis Levin and also enthusiastically shown some aspects of the flying and the Harvards by Scully Levin.




Scully Levin holds the interest of some of the Air Scouts and the Air Scouts join Ellis Levin (Harvard #3) for a group photograph with a 1942 Harvard, while Arnie Menegelli (Harvard #2) looks on. Sean Thackwray (Harvard #3 and team soloist) shows other young people the Harvard "driving seat". A special privilege for these young boys to have the attention of a legend like Scully.
Some other (older) young people were given the opportunity to sit in the Harvard cockpits and have some details explained by Scully and Ellis Levin, Arnie Menhegelli and Sean Thackwray, the pilots of the Puma Flying Lions Team. Then it was time for a final briefing for the team before they took to the air and performed their aerobatic show as the cloud base had lifted sufficiently by that time. After their routine, they headed off to another engagement.






Nicholas Jansen v Rensburg and Nathan Wreyford, both from St David's Marist School and Dhiav Naidoo were some of the young aviation enthusiasts to have an opportunity to sit in the front seat of Scully's Flying Lions Harvard#1.




The Flying Lions performed their aerobatic show as the cloud base was high enough, with their signature break from the front and the tora-tora-tora flypast down the runway, in this case, by Ellis in Harvard #3.
There were a variety of aircraft flown in, but the predominant types were the BushCat kitplane and three Zenith variants that are built locally at Wonderboom Airport. Only one helicopter, an Alouette III, owned and flown from Brakpan by Rob Osner was present, along with some of their club members to support the event.


The BushCat from Rainbow SkyReach flys along the runway. This can be home built from a kit.




Adventure Air is building these Zenith aircraft at Wonderboom Airport and these examples landing included the STOL CH 750 Super Duty with 200hp and huge bush tyres as well as the STOL SH 750 with a 100hp Rotax powerplant. There is also the CH 750 Cruzer in their range with a 100 hp Rotax and no slats for economical cruising.


Derek Hopkins takes off with the prize winning RV8 he built. They were just going to stop by Kittyhawk for a mikeshake…


Dornier flypast and departure.


Super Decathlon also doing a flyby on departure. If it looks good, it flies good!


Rob Onser and the Brakpan supporters depart in his recently acquired Alouette III - he says he is working on getting a squadron of them together!

It was once again a pleasure for Pilots Post to report on the Steady Climb Fly-In. Thanks are extended to David le Roux, his team, vendors, sponsors and those that flew in. It was especially heartening to see many young people in attendance and that particular effort was made to expose them to aviation passion.





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