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Airspan Airfield Fly-In and Formation Flying Workshop

By Garth Calitz

Airspan Airfield is nestled in the foothills of the Magaliesburg between Olifantsnek Pass and Buffelspoort Dam and sports a 900m long and 9m wide tar and well-lit runway. Up until recently, Airspan was a hidden gem but due to the renewed effort of the owners and the support of the general aviation community, especially the EAA, the airfield is becoming more and more popular as a breakfast destination.

The owners, Fanie Coetzee, Barry Harmse en Fanie van der Walt have big plans with the airfield they are planning on lengthening the runway by about 400m to the south, which will result in an almost 1300m long runway, which is plenty for an even larger aircraft on the hottest day. A series of hangars are also planned, with the sad squatter situation at Rustenburg Airfield, Airspan is a great option to have.

Aircraft started arriving very early on Saturday morning as the Formation Flying Workshop was scheduled to start at 8:00 and the attendees were not about to start before enjoying Airspan's great breakfast. Soon after breakfast, the workshop started in the wonderful conference facility on the airfield which is ideal for business conference courses and larger meetings.

A total of 35 aircraft landed at Airspan and were parked on the manicured lawns around the restaurant. Including two very special aircraft, Heystek and Michelle Pretorius flew in with their amazing Antonov AN-2 which probably used as much oil as the average Jabiru used fuel for the flight from Wonderboom. The second impressive visiting aircraft was Jeff Crause in his Auster Mk 5, it's great to see these amazing aircraft being kept in pristine condition.

The Van RV fraternity was as always very well represented with a host of RVs across their range making the trip along the Magaliesburg. The Sling High Wing was another very welcome visitor and it was good to see the young pilots that flew her in joining the formation flying workshop.

The Workshop was presented by the highly experienced Colonel Jeff Earl who has amassed a wealth of experience in his years of both military and civilian flying. The workshop has been offered many times before and some of the attendees were repeat offenders taking the opportunity to brush up on the finer details.

Most of the visitors stuck around for the morning and left at about lunchtime for the relativity short hop to airfields all over Gauteng and the North West provinces. The people that stuck around for lunch were in for a rather large surprise, the burgers were, without a doubt, the biggest and tastiest I have had in a long time and at R110 they are definitely amazing value for money.

The EAA are so impressed with the Airfield that they are planning on hosting the annual Sun n Fun there later this year. There is more than enough camping space, plus the accommodation is currently under construction and being only 12km from Rustenburg there is no problem for the Guest House crowd either. I personally think Airspan is a great venue for any flying or non-flying event, they have already delivered amazing functions like matric dances for local high schools, music festivals and launches of various types.

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