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A Trip to Queenstown Flying Club Wings and Wheels Festival

Text and Potos by Caitlin Richter and Timothy Homan

Come along with me, Timothy (Springbok Classic Air) and Caitlin Richter (Passenger) on a trip to the Queenstown Wings and Wheels event on the Weekend of the 10th to 12th of May 2024. We flew down the Friday afternoon in Springbok Classic Air’s Beechcraft 18 with Capt. Flippie Vermeulen and his eldest son Ben.



Early day for us at Springbok Classic Air (SCA) where we had two flights, one Scenic for a lady who has her 50th birthday and a long flight to Queenstown Flying Club Wings and Wheels event, with 5 passengers, two of them being incredibly special guests, Bert Denman 104-year-old WW2 Veteran and his wife Ann Denman. Bert was based at 47 Air School during WW2 as an Aircraft engineer and worked on Avro Anson Aircraft. Springbok Classic Air and Capt. Flippie Vermeulen got invited to attend the show with the Beechcraft 18 to do scenic flights and Capt. Flippie to fly the de Havilland Dragon Rapide.

From a Crew perspective, it was a flight which needed thorough planning due to the terrain we were flying over. However, we had plenty of experience in the cockpit with Capt. Flippie and his son Ben, with Capt Flippie alone has over 27000 flight hours. We experienced some turbulence on our descent into Queenstown through the mountains but nothing our Pilots couldn't handle. Upon our arrival into Queenstown just past Hangklip Mountain Bert immediately started pointing out to Queenstown.


I arrived at Springbok Classic Air at Rand Airport to the glorious sight of a hangar filled with planes, and right in the front, on its way out was our plane for the weekend, the Beechcraft 18. I wasn’t prepared for how incredible a flight in this beautiful plane would be… We met Captain Flippie Vermeulen, who gave some insight into the history of the plane we would be flying, before we climbed aboard to begin our journey. It was incredible to learn that we were sharing the plane with Bert, who had just turned 104 years old and his wife Ann.

The flight itself was smooth, with amazing views out the windows of the Lesotho mountain range and the Orange River, along with some amazing sandwiches thanks to Tim. There was a rough spot going into Queenstown because of the surrounding mountains, however, the excitement overtook any nerves... Tim mentioned that the landing might be a bit bumpy, however, Capt. Flippie landed the Beechcraft 18 so delicately, it honestly felt like we glided onto the runway. Although Queenstown nearly blew us away (quite literally), it was amazing to see the airfield and the incredible view it provided.

Saturday, The main event


During Friday and Saturday, we saw many aircraft flying from Gyro Copters, Tiger Moths, a Mooney, multiple Cessna, and Piper types just to name a few.

One of the big attractions for the Wings and Wheels event was the Scenic Flights in Springbok Classic Airs Beechcraft 18 flown by Capt. Flippie Vermeulen and his son Ben Vermeulen. SCA did a total of 8 Scenic Flights for the day, having a total of 70+ passengers onboard for the day. The Scenic Flight consisted of a wider circuit over town with a fantastic view of the town and landing back at Queenstown Airfield.

Later that day we had the great privilege to see one of the rarest aircraft flown by Capt. Flippie. The de Haviland Dargon Rapide is one of only a handful flying in the world and the only flying example on the Continent. The Rapide was bought by Mark Sahd in 2011 and the Restoration was done by Dave Hart. The Rapide was some of the very first transport aircraft manufactured and to still see it fly today was something special. I really do hope a new generation of people will look after these Aircraft one day and they don’t just become pictures on the internet.

From the left: Dave Hart (The Restorer) Capt. Flippie Vermeulen (The Pilot) Mark Sahd (The owner)


After a fantastic night’s rest at Roche House and a delicious breakfast, to fuel us for the day, thanks to the owner Johan Reynders, we made our way to the airfield. Upon arrival, we saw how everyone had made an effort to come to this very special event of the Queenstown Wings and Wheels Day. The number of different aircraft on the apron and the surrounding field was out of this world, a large number of people had flown their small aircraft in for the weekend.

The first stop was the hangar to check out all the different art and craft stalls. Walking out the back, we headed over to the rows and rows of vintage cars, including many VW beetles, MG’s, a 1965 Ford Mustang 289 and the most amazing of all, the Model T Fords. I spent some time, sitting by the apron, catching some sun and watching all the different planes, including the Beechcraft 18 we flew in on, take to the skies.

The big finale of the day was when Capt. Flippie Vermeulen took to the skies in the historic “African Queen”, a De Havilland Dragon Rapide, one of the very few still flying, this one being the only one in South Africa. I feel extremely privileged to have witnessed and photographed this momentous occasion.

What an incredible weekend!

Thank you Queenstown Flying Club

From All of us who flew down, Thank You. Queenstown and the Flying Club your reception and hospitality were something special. Well done to everyone involved in organizing this fantastic event.



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