The well-known and active Brits Flying Club hosted an Open Day on Saturday the 29th July. Two key events formed the foundation of the event. The first was Kranskop Gliding Club, based at BFC, who held another successful Transformation and Development day, under the guidance of the Daniel Ralafeta, chairman of Aero Club’s Transformation and Development team. The second exciting reason was the inaugural day for Brits Model Aero Club – BMAC, recently approved and registered with SAMAA, Aero Club’s model aircraft affiliate.
It was a full day event, with the Brits microlighters starting the day with competition flying. Under new management, the club provided coffee and breakfasts for the arriving guests.
A bee-hive of activities saw gliders and tugs being readied at the holding point for runway 20, while model-flyers started unpacking and preparing their prized possessions in front of the clubhouse. A bus full of high school learners and other visitors arrived and were briefed by Daniel of what to expect of the day.
Safety briefings were held and the importance of airmanship and personal responsibility was laid down by Arjan Schaap, who was the chief marshal of the day. Arjan spent the whole day at the runway intersection, radio in hand, ensuring that the day played out uneventfully. Demarcated areas ensured that safe separation existed between modeler’s, gliders and powered aircraft.
Flying visitors also arrived during the course of the morning with an entertaining arrival of the RV-team, inbound from the Coves, under leadership of one-arm-bandit Jason Beamish.
This was followed by Neville Ferreira’s visit that came to inspect the surroundings for the Judges Trophy Aerobatics Contest, to be held at Brits on 5 August 2017. The agility and power of the Slick 540 remains spectacular to see.
Gary Whitecross gave the visitors unique aerobatic displays in his aircraft “without an engine” in his Pilatus B4.
In the meantime, Kranskop Gliding Club members were taking the school kids and visitors on introductory flights. The Blanik and the club’s trusty K7’s, of which ZU-GUR was only assembled a couple of days prior after major refurbishment, proved to be the ultimate way to bring aviation to the people. This carried on the whole day and ended only at around 17h00, with tug pilots Chris, Rainer and Derek clocking hours to get the continuous stream of gliders into the air over the Brits airfield. The term, RV-smile seemed to apply to the glider passengers as well as they exited the cockpit after their flights.
BMAC members were always at hand to explain and display their aircraft to the visitors. There were breathtaking displays by scale piston aircraft, electric models and two turbine driven aircraft, one of which was a 6-meter wingspan model of a DG glider, with a top speed of 329 km/h.
Model aircraft are not anymore little things powered by temperamental by Baby-B engines. Louw van Zijl’s VZ Rookie Jet produces 8kg thrust, while Hennie’s 1/3rd scale Edge 540 sports a healthy 170cc two-stroke twin. This sport has become extremely high technology.
Model tugs towing model gliders, even skydiving ships taking parachutists in the air, and precision spot landings done by these model parachutists - radio controlled by their masters. A Hangar 9 Beast bi-plane belonging to Roger Collins painted the background of the para-drops with graceful aerobatics.
With the club restaurant feeding the hungry and thirsty and a braai supplying boerewors-rolls, the day saw visitors leaving the club with a big smiles, and lots of aspiration for young learners, our future generation in aviation.
As always, what has almost become an expectation of visitors to the club, Brits Flying Club ensured a great day was had by everyone at the club.
South African flying clubs have generally gone into survival mode, but Brits Flying Club’s vision of providing an airpark atmosphere for all modes of aviation, certainly ensures a bright future for this already shining club.
Please browse our gallery of this event