By Garth Calitz with Photos from Andre Venter
The Aviation industry must be one of the hardest-hit sectors of the economy and will take a long time to recover from the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the demise of SAA, SAX and the multitude of international airlines retrenching South African pilots have left many aviation professionals in a bind. True to form the aviation community of South Africa rallied to the call by Franz Smit from PilotInsure, to offer their services to pilots that have decided to start new businesses generally outside of the industry.
The Steady Climb innovative was created to assist these pilots, some of whom have been without an income for the last year. This was the second fly-in to raise awareness for this worthy cause and in complete contrast to the previous “Steady Climb” Fly-in, the weather couldn’t have been better for this one.
The morning at Rhino Park Airfield started off very early with the first arrival landing just after sunrise, Dick Jacobs in his tiny KR2 , after having made the short hop from Kitty Hawk. From then onward there was a steady stream of aircraft arriving from all over Gauteng and as far as Barberton. During the day fifty-two aircraft flew in which is a very impressive turnout.
Some really notable aircraft joined in the fun at Rhino Park from the largest single engine Bi-Plane in the world, the Antonov AN2, to the VP1 one of the smallest aircraft ever built and a beautifully restoredTaylorcraft Auster. The bulk of the aircraft was as usual made up by Vans RV Range of aircraft.
Neville Ferreira wowed the crowd with a few high speed passes in his GK1 this little pocket rocket is extremely fast and the sound just screams speed. A three-ship formation by the Puma Energy Flying Lions entertained the fairly large crowd, this display served as a stark reminder of how much everyone misses airshows.
Events like these have to rely heavily on sponsorship and there was no shortage of sponsors for this one. Many of the sponsors offered prizes that would somehow be converted to a monetary value to support the Steady Climb initiative.
Tranquillity Spa and Lodge donated a weekend for two which was won by Jan Hatting. Des Warden was the lucky recipient of a cash prize of R1000 generously donated by Johannesburg Flying Academy. A very welcome R2500 Fuel Voucher sponsored by WanaFly Aviation was presented to Jeff Crause I’m sure this will be very welcome and keep his Auster flying high for a while. SA Trolley Dollies, a gift shop specialising in aviation-related novelties sponsored a Gift Prize Hamper that was won by Adrie Kritzinger. Click here to check out their wonderful range of products.
But wait folks there is more, during this week attendees are to look out for further communication regarding additional prizes that will be allocated. If you registered at the event you are entered in the draw. A second R 2 500 fuel voucher – WanaFly Aviation A weekend away – Tranquillity Spa & Lodge A second introduction flight – Legend Sky Aviation Coffee hamper – Hired Gun Coffee Your next flight medical – sponsored by PilotInsure Free 3 month subscription to the Aviation4SA App to all attendees on the day 1 Free Annual Subscription to the App Valued at R 2000 to one lucky attendee on the day.
Thanks again to Franz Smit and his team for putting a great event together, Nigel Musgrave for keeping things safe and running smoothly. Future Steady Climb fly-ins and other supporting initiatives have been planned we will be publishing all the detail on our various social media pages.