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Vans RV Fly-in -Kitty Hawk Aerodrome

Photos by Andre Venter

Kitty Hawk Aerodrome East of Pretoria was abuzz on Saturday with ninety three aircraft flying in for the 10th Annual RV Fly-in, every year the RV fly-in grows from strength to strength. The first arrivals started as early as 6:30 and there was a steady stream of aircraft for the rest of the morning. Mr Dawie Pretorius, the manager of Kitty Hawk was extremely pleased with the turn-out.

Approximately ⅔ of the visiting aircraft were from the Vans RV stable, it was great to see so many RV pilots gathering together, many of them coming a long way to join their likeminded friends. Andrew Evans flew all the way from Paradise Beach to visit his old home base and Peter Lea, another far off traveller made the journey from Barberton in Mpumalanga. Peter’s RV is one of many that were built by Robin Coss Aviation who were also one of the sponsors for the event.

Robin Coss Aviation is the only approved professional build facility for RVs in South Africa, both with SACAA and with Van’s Aircraft. They have built over forty aircraft completed including some operating in Flight Schools. All of this equates to a superior product based on accumulative years of experience, management are involved with each and every build, setting the standards by example. Together, Robin and Damon have more than forty years of experience in the field.

At 10:00 all eyes were drawn skywards when fifteen RV’s performed a beautiful formation fly-past, its not everyday we are fortunate enough to see a formation of fifteen of any aircraft never mind stunning RV’s. The formation was led by RV Raptors leader Pierre Gouws and he was joined by pilots of the calibre of Nigel Hopkins, Jason Beamish, Ryan Beeton, Derek Hopkins, Trevor Warner Dion Raath and many more highly skilled pilots.

After the mass formation the Original Raptors broke off for one of their textbook displays of Formation Aerobatics, Nigel Hopkins filled in the gaps with a brilliant solo display in his recently completed RV8. 

After the display all the pilots were invited to attend a talk by Trevor Warner on RV aerobatics, the Sport Aerobatic Club are going to great lengths to try recruit new members into the aerobatics fraternity in South Africa (please read more about this drive here ). After the talk Trevor went out in his RV7 to demonstrate what he was talking about, hopefully he managed to persuade some RV pilots to make full use of their versatile aircraft and get involved in aerobatics.

Juan Thessner, GA Commercial Manager for Puma Avaition spent the day chatting to pilots to find out what Puma Energy could do to facilitate better fuel supply at airfields. Many suggestions were raised and hopefully solutions could be found for the problems currently being faced by aviators. Later in the morning Scully Lavin and Arnie Meneghelli arrived in two of the Puma Energy Flying Lions Harvards. Not long after they arrived, they got airborne for a wonderful two ship display, the sound of these nine cylinder radials will always be a hit wherever they perform.

Santjie White from ARCC came out to visit “Her Aviators”, it was great to see the Guardian Angel of South African Aviation at a fly-in. The work Santjie selflessly does can never be repaid by the aviation community, although every pilot in South Africa can feel a bit more content knowing that her and her team are looking out for them.

As the day moved on many of the visitors started leaving, unfortunately the wind had picked up and some pilots decided to wait for it to calm down a bit before they took-off. They definitely weren’t disappointed as the local aerobatics’ pilots started their weekly practice sessions, its amazing to see how these guys coach and crit each other’s sequences.

In a very unusual scenario for any fly-in there were still many aircraft around late into the afternoon, normally the guys fly in,  have a meal, chat to friends for a while and then leave but at Kitty Hawk people seem to stick around, The last visiting aircraft left with just enough time to reach its destination with the last bit of daylight.

Well done to Dawie and his team on yet another great RV Fly-in, I am already looking forward to next years RV day or as Dawie says, Kitty Hawks National Day. See you all next year.  Thank you to Christo for taking me for a flight in his stunning Bell Jet Ranger to get the Arial shots of Kitty Hawk. 

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