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EAA Krugersdorp Breakfast Fly-in

By Andre Venter

Krugersdorp Airfield or HMS Krugersdorp as it is affectionately known by some seems to still raise a bit of trepidation amongst some visiting aviators. This may be an explanation for the rather disappointing turnout for the EAA breakfast fly-in on Saturday.

FAKR is, in my opinion, one of the friendliest Airfields anywhere in Gauteng, on arrival all visitors were invited to enjoy a fresh coffee and scrumptious breakfast in the very inviting clubhouse.

Throughout the morning fifteen odd aircraft popped in for breakfast and in total sixty breakfasts were served, many of the EAA stalwarts made the short hop to this vibrant airfield situated on the boundary of Lanseria airspace.

While the visitors were enjoying the morning one of the newest residents at Krugersdorp made an appearance and as always the Orion Cub immediately attracted a lot of attention. Dale de Klerk offered a few of the EAA members a flight in this remarkable aircraft, the first being Marie Reddy. As soon as Marie and Dale landed I was offered a flight, an opportunity I wasn’t about to let slip.

I couldn't believe our quiet it was with the Rotax motor in comparison to other aircraft I have had the honour of flying in. Dale showed me what this aircraft could do and I was amazed in every way. No wonder anyone that flies in the Cub is keen to get on the growing waiting list to own one.

With both windows open it handled beautifully even at stall Speed it just hung in the air. We made a few passes over the airfield, to show some no hands flying by just using the rudders to keep direction. I was blown away by the experience.

Dale noticed Charles Pratley was in his aircraft and offered him a flight over the radio, an offer he promptly accepted. Dale offered Charles the front seat and the controls of the Orion Cub. Charles looked so comfortable behind the controls and spent a good 30 minutes in the air. When he landed he was grinning from ear to ear. He was quick to shake Kevin's hand and congrats him on designing and building an excellent aircraft.

A Piper PA-24 Comanche that Aircraft Inc has just finished respraying made its way from the hanger to stand on the apron for all to see. Dale was asked to fly the aircraft as a test Flight, and he was very happy when he climbed out of the aircraft ensuring that all work was done to the highest quality.

It was great to see the Yak 55 out there doing circuits, sadly on landing it hit two plovers but no damage to the Yak, sadly the same could not be said for the plovers. Karl Jensen removed the remains of the unfortunate birds off the runway before the visitors started heading out.

Dale de Klerk gave Flightline Weekly a short report on his flight with Charles Pratley, Charles’ impressions of the Orion Cub can be read here.

"I took Charles Pratley, an experienced Tail-wheel pilot for a flight in the Orion Cub. As he didn’t have any experience with Rotax engines, I needed to give him a briefing on the systems. Once we had started up I gave him full control with me just advising over the intercom. We taxied to holding point 26 and did run-up and pre-take-off checks.

Charles is very safety concession and took his time to check everything. We then lined up on runway 26. Applied power and started the take-off roll. Charles was a little nervous about possibly running into the red line on RPM but all worked well. At 25mph we lifted the tail. He over- correct slightly due to the very powerful rudder. We got airborne at 40 mph and climbed away at 55. Heading out to the west, he got the feel of the controls very quickly. About 6 miles out we were over Van’s airfield. A private strip, 370 meters long. We did some steep turns to get the coordination between roll and yaw sorted. Charles was quite surprised at the lack of adverse yaw. I then asked him to do an approach with 10 degrees flap. The approach looked so good, I decided to let him do a touch-and-go. The touchdown was a little bumpy and the powerful rudder caught him again but full power and we were flying again. We tried a second approach and this time it was perfectly smooth. We did a few more in different configurations and he was already at home in ZU IVS.

We then returned to FAKR where he felt so comfortable, he did another 3 or 4 landings with spectators watching. Of which one was a 3-pointer and the others all wheelers. Another session and he’ll be ready to fly it all alone."

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