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Vans RV Fly-in Breakfast at Kitty Hawk Aerodrome

By Garth Calitz photos by Andre Venter

The morning started very early for the organising team of RV breakfast fly-in. I met Frank van Heerden at the airfield at just before 6:00 as he invited me along for a sunrise flight before the masses started arriving. We left Kitty Hawk to the north and then with the kind permission of the Waterkloof ATC’s we flew over the Pretoria CBD and on to Loftus Stadium, which later in the day sadly became a Shark Abattoir, but enough said about that.

Kitty Hawk was established in 1995 and is situated East of Pretoria in the Boshkop Area, ideally suited to the aviators that reside in the Eastern and Southern suburbs of Pretoria. Kitty Hawk has over the years also become home to many of the competition aerobatic pilots and now sports a registered aerobatic box to the West of the field, visitors to the clubhouse and restaurant are often treated to aerobatic aircraft practising while enjoying their breakfast or lunch.

Dolph Kruger started the annual RV fly-in in 2009 and the event has grown exponentially since then, Frank van Heerden took the reins in 2013 and has managed to host a fly-in every year except 2020 which was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.

Long-standing partnerships with Sport Plane Builders and Robin Coss Aviationwho have been the sponsors of this event for many years. Sport Plane Builders are based at Wonderboom Airport and specialise in the production, repair and manufacturing of non-type certified aircraft. Robin Coss Aviation (RCA) has been building “quality all-metal aircraft” for more than twelve years. Both of these organisations have a long-standing love for the Vans RV range of aircraft.

Frank utilized an online registration for the first time this year and it proved to be a wonderful success with many aircraft registering upfront but as we know in general aviation nothing is absolute and as expected many more aircraft arrived than were registered. The amazing flying weather undoubtedly played a part in the number of visitors. Once the registration book was calculated the organisers determined that 103 aircraft had visited and a staggering 79 of them were from the Vans RV stable, I’m almost certain that it is a record for the most RV’s at one airfield in South Africa.

Phot by Bruce Perkins

Keeping order amongst the hordes of aircraft was the safety officer Nigel Musgrave assisted by Bengi and Marcus from ATNS. Dawie Pretorius, the airport manager at Kitty Hawk had his hands full making sure that all the visitors that need fuel were taken care of.

The RV Fly-in has become one of the must-do events on the aviation calendar in South Africa, so much so that visitors made their way from all over our beautiful country to attend. Frank Olson and Pieter Uys flew all the way from Stellenbosch in their RV7’s, Jan Hanekom joined them from Mosselbay these were definitely the visitors that came the furthest to join the fun.

The RV community at Springs Airfield is on the increase and a few of them decided to make the short trip across the boerewors curtain and arrived overhead in a loose formation before breaking off to land. The bulk of the aircraft were from airfields in and around Gauteng.

The steady stream of arrivals lasted throughout the morning with most of the visitors leaving from 11:00 onwards, at 13:00 Nigel officially closed the event and the field once again reverted back to an unmanned field, with most of the visitors either in the process of leaving or already gone a group of experienced pilots decided to get their RV in the air and do a mass flypast in loose formation, 14 RV’s ranging from an RV4 to the RV14.

ThisRV Fly-in will go down in the records books as one of the best that have been held and one can only speculate as to what it would have been like if it wasn't for all the uncertainty caused by the global pandemic. Well done to Frank and his team and a big thank you to the restaurant staff that managed to churn out many breakfasts in a very short time.

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