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Womans day – Stellenbosch pays tribute to our lady aviators

Stellenbosch Flying Club decided to acknowledge the important role woman play in modern day aviation, by hosting an open day. After the recent successful air show, several people turned up expecting a show of similar scale, so some people were a bit disappointed!

Friday the 9th November brought a welcome respite from the harsh winter being experienced in the Western Cape and with it, the promise of a lovely clear winter’s day. What started off being a great day, soon turned into a rather overcast and chilly day, which put a damper on the day’s events. Clearly the weather gods did not get the message!!!

Early morning at Stellenbosch airfield

The somewhat poor turnout, which was largely due to the miserable weather more than anything had an opportunity to see how woman fit into modern day aviation and also afforded the opportunity for aspiring young ladies to speak to ladies involved in aviation and interact with them. Of course, it did not help being a long weekend and so many other big events in the area, but those that did turn up were not disappointed.

The small crowd, all dressed up in their winter woollies, enjoying a meal and watching some of the flying

The day begun at 0900 with a morning breakfast, after which a briefing was held for those pilots that were going to partake in the spot landing competition. Unfortunately, with the northerly wind, it was not really possible for the small but attentive crowd to really see some of the landings.

The Stellenbosch breakfast is fast becoming a legend and is available 7 days a week, so if you in the area you should pop in and you won’t be disappointed.

Aspiring spot landers paying attention, generally, to Rikus Erasmus briefing them about the competition

The club hangar was emptied and many small stalls and stands were put up for the day. One of the popular displays that attracted a lot of attention from potential lady pilots was the Sakikama stall. Hosts were Samantha Gie, who also flies 737s and is an instructor at 43 Air school, and Nousheena Ebrahiem . Sam was kept pretty busy answering the many questions put to her, both by parents and aspiring aviators.

The Pilot shop was also in attendance, as well as ER24 who had a stall and were able to show the students and their parents how they interact with aviation and the role they have to play, especially when in comes to medivac flights and rescuing injured peoples.

Ross Leighton, chairman of Morningstar flew in with his daughter, Gabriella and visited the Sakhikamva stall and spoke to Samantha Gie.

Great to see two legends of the Western Cape – Dietlend Lampp and Vera Frahn, who looked a little bit lost in a Cherokee, compared to her usual Embraer of SA Airlink!

With the emphasis on our lady aviators, many an aspiring lady pilot had a chance to interact with them and ask them questions and one hopes to see many of those young students following a career in aviation, be it up in the air or on the ground.

Some legendary lady aviators were present and it was good to see them there and being acknowledged.

Being the first such event, one looks forward to Stellenbosch club growing this event, making it an annual event and attracting more young students to come and have a look at how aviation works and what an important all our lady aviators have to play.

Thanks to Anton Theart and his merry group of helpers for organising the day.


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