Hans Schwebel's 50th anniversary as a Brits Flying Club Member

By Willie Bodenstein


When 20-year-old Hans Schwebel arrived in South Africa in October 1971 from Germany, Brits Flying Club, one of the oldest and most respected flying clubs in South Africa, he was nineteen years old.

The club boasts a proud heritage of exceptional aviators over many years.

Since Brits Flying Club's formation in 1952, the club has produced top sportsman, some of whom have represented South Africa all over the world. Among the club members are world champions in their respective categories.

Hans was sent to SA by the German company employed him to train the then employees of Impala Granite in the art of stone masonry and he has been here ever since.

Some of the visitors.

Some of the visiting aircraft.

Always interested in flying, Hans flew radio-controlled aircraft while still in Germany. At that stage, Brits Flying Club, like most clubs then, operated a flight school. When Hans heard about this, he became a club member on 1 April 1972, enrolled at the school and soon had his licence.

Hans awaiting the arrival of the Puma Energy Harvard Flying Lions Formation Aerobatic Team.

In 1973 Hans, met Ursula and they married in 1975. They have two children a son Michael and a daughter Cloudia. Also present on the Saturday was a niece and friend all the way from Germany.

Hans, Ursula with their niece and a friend from Germany.

Hans presently has 3955 hours and is rated on approximately 20 types. He has represented South Africa 25 times in precision and rally flying world championships, which must surely must be a SA record of its own.

Hans with Ellis Levin, Arnie Menehgelli and Sean Thackwray.

Hans is currently the president of the General Aviation Commission, a sporting body affiliated to the FAI, an international body that handles all general aviation sports worldwide.

Hans's long-time friend and rally flying partner Ron Stirk.

Brits Club Member Mof van Niekerk and Hans.

Brits club member Roel Jansen.

Hans has also served on the jury at international events and has been elected as the president of the jury for the next precision flying championships that will take place in France from 13 to 18 November 2022 later this year. Four years ago, he was the Chief Judge during the precision flying championships in Spain.

Hans and Ursula celebrating his 50 years as a Brits Club member.

He has been a committee member of the Brits Flying Club uninterruptedly from 1974 and for three years, served as club president.

Another breath-taking display of precision aerobatics by the Puma Energy Flying Lions, the masters of the art.

Hans's best results as a flying competitor have been 2nd place individually and 2nd place in the team landings section of the worlds held in Brits in 2011 as well as a silver medal in the Rally Flying Championships in Portugal in both the landings and team qualifications.

Somebody that I spoke to said; "A lot of people have been members of clubs for fifty years or longer, but few have been active, dedicated members involved. Hans is one those the few.

Many thanks are extended to Hans, Ursula and the club for having invited us. It was an honour to be present.

The SA Rally Flying Nationals are set to take place at Brits from 16 to 18 June and Hans will no doubt pull out all the stops to ensure a place in team SA.

16 to 18 June
SAPFA Rally Nationals at Brits airfield. Contact Frank Eckard on E-mail: frank.eckard@mweb.co.za
or Cell: 083 269 1516

Brits Flying Club Contact Details
Cell: +27 71 444 0928 Office: +27 12 255 0155 Email:

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