Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Paula Denysschen on the Graaff Reinet Jet Fly In

The fly in that was organized by Ross in Cape Town from the 27th April to 2nd May was an absolute blast! Graaff Reinet is a very pretty Karoo Town situated on the route from Bloemfontein to Port Elizabeth in the eastern Cape. The town, with its prominent white painted houses, lies at the foot of a mountain range. There is a road that takes you to the top of the mountain overlooking the town and the valley of desolation. From there you cannot only see into the future but also into the past.
The actual activity took place on the municipal airstrip just out side the town.

On arrival at the airfield on Wednesday afternoon after the trek from Gauteng all the Capetonians had already parked their trailers, their planes were already assembled and had done a flight or two. By Thursday morning everybody had arrived barring Chris and Terry who only arrived on Friday morning. After a short pilots briefing it was time to fly. The weather for the whole of the weekend was absolutely awesome. In the early part of the day it was breathless but in the afternoon we had a breeze straight down the runway. There was a good spread of planes to be seen ranging from scale planes to jets.

Some of the Cape Town boys used the weekend to sort out their new jet models as well as themselves, but by the end of the weekend they were pro's. Bernard Langa from Cape Town flew a large Ultimate Bipe, which at times performed some very precise aerobatics. The times when it did not perform so well was when he tried to pretend it was a large Helicopter.

Zane Mannell flew his Eurosport now fitted with an AMT Pegasus, which has vertical performance like a home-sick angel. Brian Martin who has also now joined the jet scene flew an identical colour Eurofighter as Zane's. He also used the weekend to come to grips with jets and by Sunday was flying formation aerobatics with Zane. It was good to see a few ducted fans tearing up the skies as well.

Oloff Schoemann was at his normal self -- arriving at the field with an incomplete aircraft. At last years outing to Graaff Reinet he worked on a plane and was ready for test flight on the last day but due to a strong cross wind he did not manage to test fly the model. This time round he completed the model and managed a test flight. The aeroplane is a Boet - Cat that actually belongs to Norman Kempsley who was to make the trip down with us from Gauteng but at the last minute cancelled due to work commitments. Better luck next time Norman.

Not everyone had a good long weekend in the sun as some were plagued with some sort of bad luck or misfortune. About four jets were totalled but the worst and saddest was the B.A Hawk belonging to Christo Groenewald from Cape Town, which on maiden flight after not even one minute in the sky went into a severe spiral straight into the ground and burst into flames. It took the team of salvage hunters a long time to locate the wreck, which landed in the adjacent nature reserve. They had to make use of a full size plane to spot it from the sky, after which they managed to find what was left of the plane.

Another group of pilots who made the trek to Graaff Reinet were the men from Upington. Alex flew his F15 with ease but was plagued with a sick controller on his Raffael. Terry clocked more flights on his good old trusted Dominator but Chris had his fair share of gremlins that crept into his F16.

On Friday evening an organized braai was held in the nature reserve, which was attended by just about all the pilots, and on Sunday evening everyone went to a local restaurant for a social evening. All in all it was a great weekend spent with a wonderful bunch of modellers from all around the country. So watch out for the dates for 2006.

A special thanks goes to Brian Jones who helped with the organizing with the local club, municipality and he organized the accommodation for those he needed help.

A few prizes were arranged just as a good gesture to some pilots -

Best Prop - Bernard Langa - Ultimate
Best Jet - Zane Mannell - Eurosport
Best Test Flight - Ross Holing - F20
Best Aircraft - Bernard Langa - Ultimate
Best Jet - Ray Anderson - Pantha
Hard Luck - Christo Groenewald - BA Hawk

Then their were a few joker prizes handed out just for fun which was best geriatric and was deservedly won by Ross Leighton . The worst fireman went to Bernard for pointing the fire extinguisher at his foot instead of at the fire in Ross's aircraft. I can think of a few other titles that come to light for prizes and that is for the pilot who brings an unfinished aircraft and actually completes it at the event. This year there were at least three pilots in the running to compete for first place. I must say Oloff won the race, it must be due to his experience as this was his third attempt. Other prizes could go to the most miserable pilot or the hardest working helper. The list could go on and on. Lastly a special thanks to all the pilots who attended the weekend, as well as those who made the weekend possible.

For those of you that have noticed and those who have shown concern about the website not being updated for a long time, the problem is with the web site host. In the past Phil ran the whole process but since he has not got the facility to host the site he has made use of another service provider. Apparently there is a problem getting access to their site for changes and updating of information. At present the service is free of charge. It has now become quite embarrassing and something has to be done about it. We are going to do some investigating and come up with an alternative provider. If we have to pay for the service then so be it. If anyone can assist with information regarding this problem please contact either Boet or Phil, it will be greatly appreciated by all.


For those that receive the newsletters via email from the Jet Association and are unhappy about receiving them please feel free to send me a email to have your name removed from the mailing list, as you are under no obligation to receive it.

Due to dealers passing on email addresses and information of new pilots that have joined the ranks the list of Jet pilots in the whole country has grown by 0 percent. It is in your interest as well as ours to keep the list updated so please send us the info. For the pilots who forwarded their info to the committee we welcome you and hope to see you sometime, somewhere at a fly in.

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