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On Saturday the 7th of May 2022, Pilot's Post
visited the Vryheid Car Show and Fly-In. It was a really big event that must have taken a huge amount of organisation to pull off. Chief organisers of the day were Harvie Van Heerden of the Vryheid Vintage Car Club (VVCC) and Morne Strauss of the Vryheid Wings Club. The event was blessed by stunning autumn weather, warm sunshine with virtually no wind.
ZU-ITD - KFA Safari
ZS-USS - Rutan Long-Ez
ZU-IAZ - Sling & ZU-KVB - Van's RV-7A
ZU-FZN - Sling LSA & ZU-TSI - Sling TSi
ZU-SHW - Sling High Wing
ZU-FYL - Sling LSA & ZU-STH - Sling 2
ZU-INT - Sling LSA
Some of the visiting aircraft on Saturday
Vryheid has been known for holding impressive fly-ins over the years including a couple of EAA national conventions. It is well situated for this, having ample space for pilots to park and camp. A number of visitors flew in on Friday and camped on the airfield overnight. Many elected to leave on Saturday afternoon as it looked like the weather may be changing for the worse.
On arrival, we were greeted with the magnificent sight of Howick based Alan Turner's hot air balloon 'Bumble Bee' in flight. Unfortunately, the little wind that was there was took him away from the airfield. He did another flight later in the afternoon, but again the slight wind was not playing ball. In the end, he did manage to fly it down the runway, such are the challenges of ballooning.
Alan Turner's hot air balloon 'Bumble Bee'. Photo by Ruan Barnard
ZU-VIP - Aeroprakt A-22LS
ZS-MCW - Cessna 172M Skyhawk & 0241 - ZS-IOU - Piper PA-18A Super Cub
ZU-NES - Jabiru J430 & ZS-JTG - Cessna 182Q Skylane
ZU-KVB - Van's RV-7A & 0321 - ZU-IRX - Van's RV-7A
ZS-KDT - Cessna 182Q Skylane
More of the visiting aircraft
Later there was a crop spraying demonstration by an Ayres S2R that dumped a load of water alongside the runway. It was an impressive display of the manoeuvrability of this workhorse.
Vryheid airfield is 1176m above sea level. The main runway is 11/29 with 29 being used on the day. The airfield itself is in magnificent shape with the grass recently cut and looking pristine. From early in the morning, aircraft streamed in from all parts of KZN and some from Gauteng. The official number that flew in was 54. The airfield was buzzing with all the various attractions. The official paid headcount was over 3000 people. The entry costs were very reasonable at R40 per adult, R20 for children with those under 3 admitted free.
Derek Hopkins and Hanlie Konig
Durban visitors Gary Shephard (photographer), Nollene Mitchell, Ron Mitchell (Durban Wings Club) and Morne Strauss (Fly-In Organiser - Vryheid Wings Club).
ZS-SUS - Mooney M20R & ZS-ZOE - Piper J3C Cub
De Havilland DH-82A Tiger Moth
ZU-TJX - Van's RV-10 & ZU-IBX - Van's RV-9
ZU-TSI - Sling TSi
Safety Officer on the day was well known Nigel Musgrave and a full ATNS service was provided from the impressive looking tower.
The organisers thanked Santam and Skeerport Verspreiders (Avgas) for their support and services on the day. Without them, the event would not have happened.
Harvie Van Heerden told me that the Vryheid Vintage Car Club was very proud of their large exhibit of pre-1945 cars which, mostly belong to their members. He stated that there are not many other shows that manage to showcase so many Model T's. The restoration work done on the cars by the members of the club is of a very high standard and every member is very proud of his old car. "We are very proud of our members for putting their cars on display and also for their hard work before and during the show to make the day a big success."
In addition, there are not many shows that have so many of the really big and heavy stationary engines on display, due to the difficulty in moving them around. Also on display were numerous tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles (including a large contingent of Harley-Davidsons).
A group of bikers
Another attraction was an extensive flea market that had kiosks selling all manner of items, from motor car parts to home made goods. There were many off-road vehicles and camping goods displays.
Camping in style
ZS-KFM - Piper PA-28R Turbo Arrow
ZU-FWZ - Savannah
ZU-WPT - Van's RV-6 & ZU-IOH - Cessna Razzo 180L
ZU-CXI - Van's RV-6 & ZU-IAK - Cessna Razzo 160L
ZS-MYN - Beech V35A Bonanza
Of course, the all-important food and beverage outlets, set up in two of the hangars, were very popular and remained busy throughout. There were stalls selling books and military memorabilia and a fine display of radio-controlled model aircraft. There was also an arena where young teams of dancers performed. There was also a stage set up on a trailer where local bands performed from the early afternoon until the following morning! Morne Strauss told me that at 1 am, they closed the gates and started trying to get people to leave. At that time, there were still around 200 people partying. He told me that he eventually managed to leave at around 5am!
Auto Gyro MT-03
ZU-EBG - Jabiru J430
ZU-EUR - Europa
ZU-IDV - Sling 2 & ZU-RVE - Van's RV-8
ZU-MEE - Van's RV-10
ZU-SON - Van's RV-6A & ZU-DXM - Zenith Zodiac CH-601
ZU-JPV - Maule M-5-210C & ZU-DXN - Zenith Zodiac CH-601
ZU-TLC - Van's RV-7A
So, a wonderful event drew to a close. Aviation people, car people and the general public must have gone home happy. I heard a number of visiting pilots say that the event was a great success and that the impressive mix of attractions made it an interesting experience, more than just an ordinary fly-in. The organisers and the many volunteers, needed to make this event what it was, deserve high praise. This was a safe and well-run flying occasion. It is not easy to do something like this in these times. Let's hope that we have more like this as things start to normalise. We look forward to the next one!
ZS-USS - Rutan Long-Ez
ZU-JPB - Flight Design CTsw & ZU-EKP - Sky Cruisers Jora
ZS-KYD - Cessna 210N Centurion
ZU-IVO - Sling 2
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