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Pic by kind permission of Vusa Moyo
The Soutpansberg Vliegklub held their first ever fly-in at the Louis Trichardt Civil Airfield from 29 to 30 July 2022 and they pulled out all the stops to ensure it was a spectacular weekend.
We arrived on Friday afternoon to a very warm welcome. ATNS at Makhado Airforce Base was very friendly, routing us directly to Louis Trichardt Civil. While they normally close at 5PM, they stayed for a few minutes extra to ensure we were handed over safely.
The airfield was already a hive of activity with quite a few aircraft already on the ground, set up for the night. The club prepared a camp site for visitors including ablution facilities and pre-pitched tents for those, like us, who might struggle to fit their tents in their baggage compartment.
On registration, we received a goodie bag stuffed full of delicious treats including locally grown macadamia nuts, pecan nuts, biscuits, biltong and chocolates in a specially designed bag. Live entertainment, a well-stocked beer garden and a variety of food stalls ensured a festive atmosphere for the Friday arrivals.
Saturday kicked things up a gear with a large variety of fixed wings, helicopters, gyros and trikes joining the party. The grounds are well looked after with a tarred runway of 1200m and tarred taxiway to the hangars. The grass parking areas are well-maintained, and the entire field is fenced.
In an effort to promote aviation, the club invited residents from Louis Trichardt and surrounds to join in the fun. With the runway a distance away from the hangars, a game drive vehicle regularly took visitors to a cordoned off viewing area where you could sit under gazebos and watch the planes as they arrived and departed.
Iaan from SAPFA assisted with arranging a fun Air Navigation Rally on Saturday morning and an impressive 9 teams entered. Makhado AFB joined us for the briefing and ensured us that they would help any lost teams by finding us on the radar! For most teams, it was their first ANR and the general feedback was that it was a lot of fun and an interesting challenge. Even with the new teams, some very impressive scores were achieved.
With fantastic support from the town, the variety of stalls expanded on Saturday to include coffee, a variety of delicious food, aviation related companies and local businesses showing off their hand-crafted goods. A dedicated children's area provided face painting, jumping castles and lucky packets to keep everyone entertained. As the sun set and temperatures dropped, visitors dusted off their dancing shoes for more live entertainment and a hangar dance!
The weather played along all weekend with beautiful sunny days with light wind resulting in perfect flying conditions to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Many of the microlights and gyros took advantage of the perfect conditions to enjoy scenic sunset flights over the nearby Soutpansberg.
A big thank you to Jaco, Bianca and Floris from the Soutspansberg Vliegklub and to Nigel as the Safety Officer, Mbali and Kulani from ATNS. At only 200nm from Pretoria, it is well worth a visit and we are already looking forward to the 2nd annual fly-in in 2023!
Go to www.airheart.co.za for more of Iaan and Taren's adventures
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