The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) held their annual Sun n Fun fly-in at Brits Airfield over the weekend on 9-11 November 2018, and the was an abundance of both SUN and FUN. The weather man definitely played along with temperatures reaching well into the high thirties. The Fun n Sun fly-in has been held at Brits Flying Club for the last few years with the exception of last year when it briefly moved to Rustenburg and was affected by some really nasty weather.
The aircraft started streaming in on Friday morning with members joining from all over South Africa for their annual pilgrimage, one of the first to arrive was Peter How in his Stemme S10, Peter made his way from Gariep in the Free State, another long-time member of the EAA, Neil Terblanche arrived from Kroonstad also in the Free State. Peter Lea in his RV10 made his way from Barberton Mpumalanga to join the festivities.
Ivan van der Schaar took many of the ground bound visitors for a short aerobatic flip in his wonderfully restored Boeing Stearman, Ivan commented later that he loves sharing the joy of flying such an iconic machine with whoever appreciates it.
Ivan van der Schaar
There was a constant stream of arriving aircraft for the rest of the day, by sunset on Friday over thirty aircraft graced the parking area at Brits airfield. Neil Bowden, the organiser of the annual South African tour to Oshkosh, set up camp for those who didn’t bring along their own tents after setting up the tents he bummed a lift to Krugersdorp to collect his aircraft.
Flightline Weekly Camp
Friday night was a festive affair with everyone braaing and catching up with old friends and of course supporting the Brits Flying Club by consuming a few ice-cold beers.
Saturday morning started off very early with Roel Jansen getting airborne at 05:00 in his BMW Powered Trike form the on the air got very busy with planes of all sizes taking to the skies to enjoy the beautiful sunrise.
As has become customary at Fun n Sun Rob Jonkers, Chaiman of SAPFA put together an Adventure Rally for anyone that felt like taking part, you can read more about the rally more about the rally in our article in this edition.
As the day went on the more and more aircraft arrived from all over South Africa, many of the pilots just dropping in for the day. By 14:00 the three Air Traffic Controllers had recorded over 200 movements and estimated that there were well over 80 aircraft on the field at peak times. While I was up in the tower talking to Marcus,Benji and Eugene I realised that these guys were working under terrible conditions; the tower is nothing but a corrugated iron roof with four glass walls with a door the temperature in there must have been close to 50°, well done and thank you guys.
Air Traffic Controllers in the Tower
Nigel Musgrave, the safety officer, and his team of marshals must have also feeling the heat out on the apron. They did however take refuge under the wing of an aircraft when there wasn’t much flying going on. Big thanks to Nigel, Kyle and Kevin for keeping things safe.
Hiding from the Hot Sun
Brits Radio Flying Club brought out their impressive array of Radio controlled models, Brits airfield made a decision recently to included model flying in the activities of the club, promoting Brits as an Air Park where all aspects of recreational aviation are catered for.
Karl Jensen, the newly elected Chairman of EAA Chapter 322 keep all informed and entertained with his own unique brand of commentary throughout the day. "Captain Karl", as he is affectionately known, has a wealth of knowledge which he is always willing to share.
As the shadows started getting longer many of the “day visitors” made their way back to their respective basses many pilots decided to go on sunset flights as it began to cool just before darkness set in.
After everyone was safe on the ground a sit-down dinner was served in the club house, Brits Flying Club really out did themselves this year, taking care of every need that anyone may have had, from repairing flat wheels to providing hangar space for aircraft that needed to sleep indoors. Thanks for everything Roel, Arjan and the rest of the team.
The party went on till the wee hours with Dr. Frank Parsons entertaing the faithful with his brilliant vocal and musical ability, pity the same can’t be said for the people attempted Karaoke.
The Fun n Sun more than lived up to its name this weekend, to all the pilots and passengers that made their way to Brits “Thank You” for joining weekends like this are only possible if they get the support from the aviation community, until next time fly safe and happy landings.
Please Browse our Gallery of this Event