To all our loyal readers the Flightline Weekly team wish you a very Happy, Prosperous and above all a Safe 2022. The last two years have been anything but easy for everyone in the aviation industry but hopefully, we are reaching the end of all the madness created by Covid-19.
By the looks of things the aviation community is feeling positive that things will return to some kind of pre-pandemic normality soon, the events calendar for the coming year is definitely upbeat with many events planned.
The Sports Aerobatic Club will be taking the lead with the first official event for the year planned for late in January. The Gauteng Regional Championships will be hosted by Heidelberg Airfield on the 22nd and 23rd, it is bound to be a difficult competition after the tragic loss of Glen Warden at the Ace of Base Competition in December.
The second Comp for the year will be taking place in Klerksdorp, North-West Regionals, on 26 and 27 February. For anyone wanting to fly to the comp and looking for some great accommodation Bona Bona Lodge is a great venue to stay with a very nice runway and top-notch offerings and it's a short hop away from Klerksdorp.
After a short break, the SAC chargers will make their way to KwaZulu Natal for the KZN regional championships which will take place in Ladysmith this year on 9 and 10 April.
In May the top Aerobatic pilots in the country will be competing in the City of Roses, Bloemfontein has always been a favourite for aero competitions as it's very central and the turnout is generally good from all the provinces. The comp will be held on 14 and 15 May at New Tempe Airfield.
In June all eyes will be on the SAC National Championships which will be happening at the beautiful Wings Park Airfield in East London from the 15th to the 19th. Wings Park has become a favourite venue for the competitors after hosting a very successful KZN Nationals there last year. Flying at sea level is always an added bonus for the slightly underpowered machines.
Phalaborwa will be hosting the Limpopo Nationals, building on the success of the 2021 National Championships. The competitors loved the short trips to Kruger National Park when bad weather stopped the flying, these stoppages may not be too prevalent as the weather in August is normally pretty good in that part of the country. The comp will be held on the 13th and 14th.
The Western Cape Regional Championships are planned for 1 and 2 October, but at this point, there is still no venue confirmed for the competition. The last competition for the year has always been Ace of Base no venue has been earmarked for the comp yet.
SAPFA have crammed the calendar with the ever-popular speed rallies and many other events planned for 2022. The Rally flying season will kick off with the Rand Airport Challenge which will be held on 29 January, a great opportunity for all the rally pilots to shake off the holiday cobwebs.
The 2022 Speed rally season will kick off at Witbank Airfield on 5 March, Speed Rallies have proved a great breeding ground for Precision Rally teams with no less than three teams that cut their teeth in speed rallies qualifying for National Colours in 2021.
In March SAPFA will be hosting a Rally Flying Training weekend at Brits, this is an ideal opportunity for the rookies in the sport to get some practice and advice from the top teams in South Africa. This will take place from the 18th to the 20th.
From 19 to 21 May Bloemfontein will be the centre of attention for the annual President's Trophy Air Race. The PTAR is the pinnacle of all air races in South Africa and it has always been a massive honour to earn your Black winners blazer. In 2021 the top of the leader board was populated by many teams that started their rally flying in Speed Rallies so if you are interested in taking part it would be a great idea to get involved in the Speed Rallies.
The SAPFA Rally Nationals will be held at Kitty Hawk Aerodrome from 16 to 18 June. The Nationals this year, as with the last two years is a very serious affair as any qualifying team will be eligible to take part in the World Rally Flying Championship which will be held in SA at Brits in 2022.
The Speed Rally season will be continued at Klerksdorp on 25 June this is a new venue for a Speed Rally and promises to deliver an interesting course.
Rustenburg will be yet another new home for a Speed Rally on 27 August, many of the rally teams will be familiar with the area as it is very close to Brits.
The Speed Rally Season Finale will once again be held at Springs Airfield where the 2022 champion will be crowned, the season will be ending earlier this year in an attempt to miss the adverse weather that plagued the 2021 season finale.
The SA Landing Championships will be decided at two venues as it was last year, Brits will host all the inland competitors and Stellenbosch will host the coastal pilots. This dual format was tried in 2021 and worked quite well even if the competitors had to deal with very different conditions.
From the 13th to the 18th of November the world best will descend on Brits to compete in the 2022 World Rally Flying Championships. The Worlds were earmarked for Stellenbosch in 2020 and again in 2021 but sadly the pandemic ruined plans for both years, we sincerely hope by then Covid will be nothing but a bad memory. The worlds will be preceded by a training week for the national team.
For those of us who can remember airshows and would love to experience one again we seem to be in luck this year, ASSA has boldly added no less than 12 Airshows to the calendar. The first of which is scheduled for 26 March in the picturesque Stellenbosch, I hope the limits on outdoor activity numbers has been lifted by then. As there are some exciting new airshow teams chomping at the bit to get out and show their skill one of them being Marksmen Aero who are based in Cape Town.
A week later the Airshow Circus will move up the coast to Uitenhage for the Wings and Wheels Festival.
Rustenburg will be hosting an Airshow for the first time in many years on 23 April, it will be interesting to see how the organisers layout the display line with the close proximity of the informal settlement to the airfield.
A week later there will be an Airshow in the sleepy town of Kuruman in the Northern Cape, I can not recall Kuruman ever hosting an Airshow but I may be mistaken.
Nelspruit will be hosting an Airshow on 27 and 28 May, in the past, the Lowveld Airshow has always delivered brilliantly and I’m sure they will deliver once again.
Newcastle will be hosting their 10th Airshow on the 4th June, in the past, the Newcastle Airshow has always been a winner and was always well supported by the locals.
The Airshow family will then head North for the Polokwane Airshow which is penned for 22 June at the Gateway International Airport.
The next Port o’ Call is in the heart of the Free State, Bethlehem Airshow has always been a firm favourite for all the Airshow loving public and is also historically very well attended.
The 4th of September will see the return of the Grand Rand Airshow, the only airshow in the country that has a 90° display line which makes for wonderful opportunities for photographers.
From 21 to 25 September the highly anticipated Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo will be taking place at Airforce Base Waterkloof. This event is not only an Airshow but is Africa premier defence and Aerospace Expo as well.
Sadly Heidelberg will be hosting an Airshow on the 24th as well unfortunately this is bound to clash with AAD and could prove to be a costly oversight for the organisers.
The final Airshow for the year will be in Port Elizabeth on the 26th November we sincerely hope that these events will be able to go ahead without being limited or cancelled due to Covid restrictions.
Fly-ins and other events
Sling Aircraft is planning a Fly-away from 8 to 10 April, the stunning Tankwa Karoo is the destination, I can't think of a better place to spend a few days amongst friends.
For those who stay behind PilotInsure will be hosting the next Steady climb Fly-in at Rhino Park Airfield on 9 April, the Steady Climb initiative was created to support aviation personnel that have had to find other income streams due to covid and downscaling in the aviation industry.
The Aero Club of South Africa will be hosting their annual Aero Club Air Week at Middelburg Airfield from 29 April to 1 May, all sections of the Aero Club are invited for a wonderful weekend of flying and camaraderie with fellow members.
Zandspruit Bush and Aero Estate will be opening up their piece of paradise to visitors on 7 May. Zandspruit is located just outside of Hoedspruit in the heart of the bushveld and offers a wonderful aviation-themed boutique hotel known as Aerotel where one can sleep in luxury abroad one of two beautifully converted airliners.
From the 13th to 15th May the Battlefields Country Lodge will be hosting the annual Battlefields Fly-in. Located in northern KwaZulu Natal in the heart of the historic Battlefields of the Anglo Boer War.
The EAA will be invading Warmbaths between 1 and 3 July, this will be the 13 Taildragger event and the third to be at their new home the first ten years Nylstroom was the home of the Taildragger.
Aero South Africa Expo will be making a welcome return, after the inaugural expo was held at Wonderboom Airport in 2019 the following two years events had to be cancelled due to the arrival off the pandemic.
On 3 September the next instalment of the Steady Climb Fly-in will be happening at Rhino Park, followed by the final instalment for the year planned for 3 December.
On Heritage Day, 24 September aviators will be spoiled for choice with an event happening in Stellenbosch, Heritage Day fly-in and the Annual Kitty Hawk Vans RV fly-in not to mention the two Airshows planned for the same day.
The years flying will be topped off with the St Francis Fly-in which is scheduled for either 29 or 30 December depending on the weather.
Sadly, it seems as if there is once again a communication breakdown between organisers of these events, hopefully, some of them can be rescheduled to alleviate the clashes, will do our best to communicate any changes to our readers timeously.