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Nylstroom Taildraggers

The sleepy Limpopo town Modimolle of was rocked with the arrival over ninety aircraft on their annual pilgrimage to Nylstroom flying clubs Taildraggers fly-in. Richard and Mariette supported by the rest of the Nicholson family always go all out to make this a very memorable weekend for all that attend. Aircraft start arriving early on Friday morning from all parts of South Africa the first visiting pilot was Hans de Beer in his beautiful Vans RV8 followed very closely by the first Lady pilot Sue Singleton in her Jabiru.

The steady stream of arrivals continued the whole of Friday with the line of aircraft growing steadily down the taxiway. Willie vd Walt the pilot who was adjudged to have made the most effort to attend arrived all the way from Graaff-Reinet in his Jabiru J400 quite a journey for a weekend, but then again it’s no normal weekend. Jerermy Woods arrived in the oldest taildragger a 1941 Piper J5Cub. Gregory Clegg based at Fly-inn south of Pretoria in his 43 year old Jodel D11 the oldest homebuilt present, the aircraft is almost double Greg’s age.

Francois Prinsloo was amongst the few that almost didn’t make it this year, Francois’ Bush Baby Explorer was in for maintenance and he could only collect it on Friday morning but he rushed home after collecting it and made the trip to FANY. Jonty Esser’s Yak 52 was still in pieces on Thursday afternoon but he managed to assemble it and get to the best fly-in in South Africa.

As always a wonderful evening of aviation comradery was enjoyed by all on the Friday evening at the Nystroom flying club’s magnificent clubhouse, fortunately the weather played along this year it was nowhere close to as cold as it has been in past years.

Nigel Musgrave was on duty early on the Saturday morning to accommodate the early birds that took there machines out for dawn flights around the beautiful bushveld area. Stefan Coetzee was without a doubt the most active visitor taking many people for flights in his Bush Baby Safari, Stefan builds the Bush Baby range of aircraft at his factory at Petit Airfield.

Karl Jensen kept the crowd of pilots and enthusiasts entertained with his own personal brand of informative banter throughout the day. Captain Karl is a retired SAA B747 driver and the former chairman of EAA chapter 322, the EAA always support the Nylstroom Fly-in and this year was no exception with many of their members in attendance.

Scully, Arnie and Dewald from the Puma Energy Flying Lions dropped in for a short visit and delivered a great display of formation flying in what is probably the most loved taildragger of all the North American T6 Harvard.

Some of the most notable taildraggers was the beautifully restored Pietenpol belonging to Marc Paxton and son Steven and John Illsley’s stunning Auster. There were however some none taildraggers that also grabbed some of the attention a duo of Long Ez’s turned many a head with their unconventional design .

After a long day of flying the air traffic controllers could take a well-deserved rest, Clarence Mngomezulu, Nadia Pietersen and Riaan Oliver handled the busy airspace in their stride the whole day and decided to award the prize of best airmanship to a young comm pilot from Blue Chip Aviation unfortunately Giovan and Hilton flew back in the mushsak and couldn’t be at the prize giving, it encouraging to see such disciplined young aviators.

The evening Braai and Prize giving was a very jolly affair, Jannie du Plessis once again kept the party on the go with his live show. If you haven’t been to a Nylstroom Taildraggers yet put it in your diary now it is a definite must attend event on the aviation calendar. Well done to Richard, Mariette, Tayla-Kaé , Richard (jnr) and Phillip Nicholson and all the members of Nylstroom flying club for yet another memorable Taildraggers fly-in.

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