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Krugersdorp Flying Club Spot Landing and Airfield Festival

By Garth Calitz Photos by Andre Venter

Krugersdorp Airfield, or “HMS Krugersdorp” as its affectionately known by aviators, is the host field for the annual spot landing competition. The weather always seems to play a part in the competition and this year sadly was no different. The morning started off with a safety briefing by the club chairman, Francoise Tolmay, explaining the rules of the competition to the large field of twenty-six entrants. As FAKR is located on the approach to Lanseria Airport altitude restrictions are strictly enforced, the last thing anyone needed was a small little Cessna arguing with the heavy metal on its way to land.

The committee decided to marry the spot landing competition with an airfield festival, where vendors were invited to set up stalls to display their goodies. The majority of the stalls were selling some kind of food or drinks and of course, the most important on the day was the coffee truck that definitely did very well in the early morning chill.

At 9:30 the first group of three aircraft took to the sky for their three landings attempts, the first group consisted of Kevin Marsden in a Cessna 150, Nicky Verbaan in a Cessna 172 and Marie Reddy in her Icarus C45. Aircraft are generally grouped together with others of similar speed to prevent them from catching up to each other on the downwind leg. Marie’s landings were exceptionally good coming very close to scoring two bingos.

The second group got airborne shortly after the last landing of the first group, they were led into the air by Andrew Pratley followed by Giovanni Naidu both of them competed in Cessna 172’s. By the time they got airborne the wind was starting to pick up but it was still within safety limits.

The third group consisted of Christine Pratley and Hertzog Oberholzer in Cessna 172’s, they were joined by Dale de Klerk in Marie’s Icarus C45. The wind was starting to get pretty nasty and the approaches were more difficult as the wind was from the North and at almost 90˚ to Runway 08.

Neil Bowden in his Sling 2 was joined by Grant Rousseau in his V-Tail Bonanza and Leon Meintjies in his beautiful Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser, the only tail dragger in the competition. By the time this group got airborne the wind was getting close to safety minimums which made the landings exceptionally difficult.

The airspace was cleared as the Puma Energy Flying Lions were inbound for a display. Due to the height restrictions at FAKR, they were unable to perform their normal display but they did treat the fairly large crowd to a magnificent flat display in very difficult conditions. The smoke trails clearly showed just how violent the wind had become, a 24-knot crosswind was recorded and as a result, the safety officer decided to call off the remainder of the competition.

Due to the cancellation of the competition, it was decided that the donated prizes would be given out as a lucky draw instead of the normal winners off each category. All the pilots' names were placed in a bag and called up one by one, they then drew a number from another bag and were awarded the corresponding prize.

The good people from Helivate Helicopter Services spent the day taking members of the public for flips in their Alouette III and a Robison 44, on one of the flights they took their youngest ever passenger for a taste of flight. Young Axel is only one month old and went for a flight in the Alouette III, his parents will probably realise that they have infected him with the same sickness that many of us suffer from known as the incurable love of aviation.

The judges did turn in the results for the few pilots that did manage to fly and out of these the winning spot was shared by Marie Reddy and Dale de Klerk with only 19 penalty points each, Neil Bowden came in one point behind them with 20.

The day, although cut short was very enjoyable with good company, great music and the wonderful hospitality of the Krugersdorp Flying Club. Add the scrumptious food at the clubhouse and you have a winning combination for a great aviation event. See you all at the Krugersdorp Breakfast Fly-in that will be held on the 20th of November.


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