The idea of a week spent soaring in the mountains was hatched by Gary Whitecross, the chairman of MOGAS, he opened an invitation to all MOGAS members and the call was enthusiastically answered by members with vastly varying gliding experience.
The week started of with Gary and I going to collect our “chariot” for the week from Brits airfield. Arjan Schaap, himself a very experienced glider pilot with many national and international competitions under his belt, graciously offered the use of his DG505M self-launch glider equipped with pop up Rotax 503 thus eliminating the need for a tug plane. Arjan quickly brought Gary up to speed with all the ins and outs of the DG before we packed it up in the trailer and headed off to Pretoria for a short rest before the long drive to Robertson.
Initially Worcester was the destination of choice, due to its perfect soaring location with two mountain ranges at almost 90˚to each other. The layout of the mountains create the perfect opportunity to exploit the ridges no matter which direction the wind is coming from, making it one of the best mountain soaring areas in the world. As a result, Worcester was packed with foreign glider pilots, the majority of them from Germany, a decision was made to rather move to Robertson, about 50km to the East.
Gary and I left Pretoria at 18:00 to collect Frank Persson in Johannesburg and then the long road to the Western Cape, the plan was to drive through the night and arrive at about midday on Saturday. Marek Bozalek left Hoedspruit on Friday morning in his Flugzeugbau Grob G 109B, after a short stop at Springs to fetch Neville Ferreira the duo made their way to Bloemfontein for a night stop, flying from Bloemfontein to Robertson on the Saturday morning.
Everyone arrived at Robertson Airfield at very much the same time, including Kevin and Rika Fouche who joined from Knysna, and we decided to assemble the Glider immediately, once she was ready to fly Gary and Frank jumped in and went for the first flight of what became a very enjoyable week.
Throughout the week many sorties were flown in both the Grob and the DG, Marek’s soaring skill and confidence in the Grob grew so much that he stopped the motor and feathered the prop for the first time and enjoyed the soaring ability of the versatile motor glider. Kevin took the opportunity to learn as much about soaring as possible, as he is currently building a Whisper Motor Glider which he can now enjoy to its full potential.
Our home for the week was The Grand Hotel in Robertson, it definitely lived up to its name, the staff there went above and beyond to make our stay as enjoyable as possible, I will definitely recommend The Grand to anyone visiting Robertson.
After a week of very enjoyable flying and comradery it was time to pack up and make our way back up country. Special thanks must go to Gary and Mandy for organising this amazing week, Arjan for the use of the DG, a truly thoroughbred Glider, and last but not least all the MOGAS members that joined the fun. MOGAS will be hosting more of these flying weeks in the future, please go visit www.mogas.co.za to find out more about the organisation.
Kevin Fouche, Gary Whitecross, Derek Hopkins, Frank Persson, Marek Bozalek and Neville Ferreira
The “Motorised Aviation and Gliding Association of South Africa", known by the acronym “MOGAS” is the only independent Aviation Recreation Organisation in South Africa and is fully registered with the CAA.
The object of MOGAS is to advance, promote and encourage the sport of Motorised Gliding in South Africa. They support touring motor gliders, light sport aircraft that are also TMGs and gliders. The aim is to be an affordable representative body dedicated to the needs of Touring Motor Glider aircraft as well pure gliders, microlights and LSA’s they endeavour to represent the legislative needs of MOGAS members on all forums available. MOGAS aim to be progressive in the development of the training methods used for pilot training and thus grow the sport. They intend to be the leader in the upliftment of Previously Disadvantaged Individuals in the arena of Flight and we will always strive to be non-political or non-partisan in their approach to the industry and foster a better cross pollination of skills between the various disciplines of flight. They will always strive to develop competitive skills among their pilots and foster discipline, safety and airmanship within the member ranks.