By Neil Bowden Photos by Andre Venter
It’s hard to believe that what started out as a challenge after a small EAA pancake breakfast held at Krugersdorp Airfield as we came out of the Covid-19 lockdown, a challenge by the Silver Creek team to hold the best pancake breakfast fly-in in the country, has now become one of EAA’s premier events.
This year’s fly-in, hosted by the good folk at Silver Creek Gorge Aviation Estate, held up to that challenge. Despite a calendar clash with the Kitty Hawk RV Fly-in, nearly 50 aircraft attended.
A number of aircraft and vehicles arrived the day before, one of the traditions of this event is the overnight camp-over on the airfield. Flying in from Krugersdorp it was wonderful to see the little green oasis below us, having passed over the very dry and burnt Magaliesberg mountains. Louis and his crew were hard at work setting up – a new semi-permanent stretch tent was being erected outside their clubhouse, chairs and tables were being laid out and the green lawns were immaculate as usual.
Braais were lit that evening, and what a pleasant experience as we enjoyed a few sundowners with friends and watched the sunset flying activities overhead. If you haven’t camped over at the Creek, make sure you are there next year!
The wind picked up during the night and we woke up to clear skies and a fairly brisk westerly breeze down the runway, making runway 26 the active for arrivals and departures. Mike Visagie, EAA vice president and safety officer for the event had devised a new streamlined arrival procedure, inspired by the FISK arrival at Oshkosh. Radio calls would be limited and marshalls, armed with red and green flags, would communicate with aircraft on the ground. A tower was set up next to the runway at the apex of the hill, ensuring visibility of the entire runway.
Aircraft started drifting in from around 07h00 and continued to do so until way after 10h00, many of them RV’s joining us after popping in at Kitty Hawk. Aircraft included a Longeze, a motor glider, gyrocopters, many Jabirus, Savannahs and Zeniths, a Pioneer, Slings, Bat Hawks and Piper Cubs.
As usual, the catering was not only outstanding, but also very unique, The remarkable pancake machine churned out square pancakes which could be filled with a range of savoury or sweet fillings, something for every taste. Even gluten-free, dairy-free and plant-based options were included in the comprehensive menu! A coffee station was also on standby to supply a welcome cup of good coffee to those who had left home early!
A number of exhibitors were also present - aviation insurance, avionics and aviation toys which add colour and purpose to the event. In all, another wonderful Pancake breakfast and camp-over – congratulations must go to all who made it happen, the Silver Creek crew and to EAA, we look forward to another successful fly-in this time next year!
Out of the vast amount of aircraft that flew in, I saw 5 Cirrus, 5 RV, 2 Bushbaby, 5 Jabu 3 Slings, and 4 KFA's. The best-looking aircraft on the day was the aircraft of the CEO of Cirrus in his privately owned aircraft a Stinson Voyager 108 ZS-BHL.