The annual Warbirds over Zwartkop unfortunately was pretty much rained out on Saturday, no sooner had the pilots start unpacking and assembling their beautiful aircraft and the heavens opened up and the rain didn’t stop for the rest of the day.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Gert de Klerk has been organising the Warbirds fly-in for the past 18 years , the first one was in 2000. All participating pilots that fly these stunning handmade scale replicas qualify for the sought after “Warbirds Wings”. Wings are presented to any pilot that gets airborne, fly’s a circuit and then lands safely without damaging the aircraft.
Unfortunately due to the weather no flying could take place on Saturday, Sunday however was a beautiful day but not many of the pilots could make it. The Defence Model Flying Club and South African Model Aircraft Association (SAMAA) had set Sunday aside for an open invitation flying day for all members that could make it. The turnout was a bit disappointing but nevertheless it was a very exciting day with a good mix of military and civilian aircraft.
The hit of the “show” was definitely the eight year old Gerdrie de Beer who masterfully flew both an Extra 330 (60cc petrol) and an 111cc MX2, this young man’s ability is evident to all and I believe he will be representing South Africa on the world stage very soon. Gerdrie’s mother says he has been interested in flying since he was a baby, he wants to start flying full-size aircraft as soon as he is old enough and plans to fly aerobatics.
Dirk Visser, the owner of Down and Locked, brought three aircraft on Sunday. Dirks F14 Tomcat had the spectators in awe with the amazing detail, once airborne it even sounds like the real thing with its two turbine motors. Dirk brought along a turbine powered BAE Hawk and a replica of the famous “Air Wolf” a Bell 222, Both aircraft built with the highest degree of detail.
Making up the Warbird numbers Wessie flew his stunning P38 Mosquito, unfortunately he suffered a landing gear failure and after flying around trying everything to get the port side main gear to extend he opted to land and fortunately the damage wasn’t too bad.
Arno Janz brought two Yak 55 one was equipped with a 200cc four-stroke Motor, flying with a four stroke motor makes the aircraft behave more like their full size counterparts. Joining the Yaks Arno also flew a beautiful RV4 replica.
All in all the day turned out to be very enjoyable despite the terrible weather, Flying at a full scale Air Force Base is always a pleasure for the Pilots and being at a Base with the History of that of Zwartkop is an added bonus.
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