By Garth Calitz
The 2023 rendition of the annual Kitty Hawk RV Fly-in was set to be a bumper affair, that was before the announcement that the Silver Creek pancake day was to be held on the same day. Having two high-profile events on the same day that target very much the same people was a bit of a blooper and effectively halved the possible attendance at both events.
But enough of the negative nonsense, for those that did make the trip to Kitty Hawk it was a great day with the great people. 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.
Although the attendance was down on the last few years there were still well over 200 breakfasts served, this is a very good indicator of how many people were there, whether they drove in or flew in. Some really enthusiastic pilots dropped in for a quick “brekkie” before making their way west to the pancake day. Forty-odd RVs were counted throughout the morning among all the other aircraft that visited the most popular of these were without a doubt the RV10s which have become very popular over the last few years.
Peter Lea was probably the pilot who flew the furthest to join the festivities, he hails from the beautiful Pyramid Airpark just to the north of Barberton in Mpumalanga. The majority of the other aircraft were from various airfields around Gauteng.
Sport Plane Builders and Robin Coss Aviation who have been the sponsors of this event for many years sponsored breakfast and a cap for all the RV pilots that made their way to Kitty Hawk. 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 thirteen years. Both of these organisations have a long-standing love for the Vans RV range of aircraft.
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.
Frank utilized an online registration for the second time this year, but as we know in general aviation nothing is absolute and as expected many more aircraft arrived than were registered. The wind was rather nasty the whole day and caused a few pilots to pucker a bit as they approached the threshold of runway 19, notorious for unpredictable for nasty turbulence even in the best of conditions.
In conclusion, I do believe the fly-in was a great success, even with the reduced numbers it was still a very busy day for Nigel Musgrave, the safety officer and Dawie Pretorius the Kitty Hawk airport manager who ensured that everyone stayed safe the whole day. Let's hope the organisers of flying events take a bit more care in selecting dates for events in the future so double bookings can be prevented.