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Bara Festival

Johannesburg Light Plane Club based at Baragwaneth Airfield seemed to find the recipe for reviving the golden era of club flying. The relaxed atmosphere and comradery of the Bara Festival had many of the older members reminiscing about the “good old days” when a day at the flying club was a family affair. Twenty two visiting aircraft arrived, many of them joined for lunch after having breakfast at Orient.

The first to arrive was Ivan van der Schaar in his Boeing Stearman, Ivan and his wife Sonica completely restored this wonderful machine from an airframe the resembled a chicken coup in a few short years.

Ricardo de Bonis followed Ivan in his very unique AirCam, this twin taildragger always attracts lots of attention with its praying mantis like features.

Karl Jensen and Wayne Giles payed a quick vist in the newly built Bearhawk LSA, this is the second Bearhawk that Wayne has built the first being the larger Bearhawk Patrol. The LSA was busy with its forty proving hours.

The smallest aircraft that arrived for the day was the tiny KR2, powered by a VW motor.

The only rotor wing in attendance was a beautiful Alouette III that dropped in for a short visit.

Alan Evan Hanes took a few lucky people for a quick flip in his Super Cub, having this machine buzzing around overhead really added to the ambiance of the day.

A four piece band kept the mood going play many old sixties favourites while the pilots and visitors sat on the balcony overlooking the aircraft, with the Impala and Harvard “gate guards” keeping an eye on things from their vantage point up on their poles.

The Johannesburg Light Plane Club (JLPC) was formed in 1927 at a meeting in Johannesburg, and when it was finally disbanded, it was regarded as being one of the oldest active flying clubs in the world. In its Heyday JLPC was one of the greatest flying clubs in the world with six hundred members and over three hundred aircraft, including seventeen Tiger Moths reckoned to have been the most anywhere in the world based at one airfield. In addition there was the thriving gliding community which provided pilots of world class standard who represented South Africa in many countries, and later a parachute club. This was all at the old Bara-G as it was affectionately known.

In the early 1980’s the Baragwaneth Airfield was closed down and JPLC moved to Syferfontien unfortunately the gliding fraternity could not be accommodated at the “new” Bara-G and they moved to Orient near Magaliesberg and became the Magalies Glider Club.

Three Cottages have been erected to accommodate overnight visitors, one standalone unit and two adjoining units these can be rented at a nominal fee for anyone wishing to spend the night, ideal for visitors that get caught by a Highveld thunderstorm.

Thanks for a great day to all the friendly people at Bara, can’t wait for your next event.

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