Brits Airfield - True Bushveld Hospitality

26 Feb 2018

 The club was established in 1954 by Arrie Bolt, Ellle Bolt, Kosie Coetzer, Ben Habig, Pat Farrel, Charlie Allen, Bushy Meiring, Dennis Annandale and Doris de Wit on a piece of ground belonging to the Department of Agriculture. Two gravel runways were constructed 02/20 (950m) and 18/36 (840m) funded mainly by the founder members with some support by the Brits Municipality and the local community. The original open thatch roof clubhouse was also built this was later replaced by the existing clubhouse.The old clubhouse was converted into a flat which can be rented out.

Johannesburg Light Plane Club offered their support by supplying an instructor one or two days a week to satisfy the growing need for flight training in Brits, at that stage all training was offered in a Tigermoth, belonging to Arrie Bolt and a Chipmunk. After a long day of instruction the students and instructors enjoyed a braai and camaraderie and this tradition seems to have stuck, making Brits one of the most hospitable flying clubs I've had the pleasure to visit.

As the membership grew the need for hangar space arose, two hangars were built, one of the hangar's roof trusses were constructed out of used granite “gang-saw” blades and this hangar is still in use today.

The club became a social hotspot with the construction of a swimming pool and a clay tennis court which was used for many tournaments. In 1965 the Club decided to purchase their own brand new aircraft after long discussions it was decided that they would import a Piper Cherokee 140, a massive sum of R4700-00 had to be forked out for their new acquisition. ZS-FTB was sold in 1975 and replaced by ZS-ILC, a Cherokee 150 unfortunately she had to be sold due to financial restraints in the economic depression of 1977.

The economic challenges also led to the vertical crash of the club with membership dropping to only six, from being the biggest flying club in the Transvaal in 1968 with 58 active members and 9 resident aircraft. Frans Guba the chairman and committee members Bezuidenhout, Hans Schwebel, Fred Boshoff, Gerhard Gast, and Chris Forbes soldiered through the difficult years maintaining the airfield on their own account until 1988.

Brits Flying Club over the years have become home to many businesses and smaller specialised clubs these include Wings 'n Tracks the home of the Lambada, Flamingo, Samba and the Seagle light sport aircraft operated by Rainer and Barbara Frieböse, Tailwind Aviation a helicopter AMO.

Kranskop Gliding Club was established in Brits in 1994 but later moved to Warmbaths only to return in 2001 and have made it their permanent home ever since.

Brits has become very popular amongst the Microlighting fraternity this may be due to the decision made in 2000 to welcome this type of aircraft when most registered airfields did not accommodate them.

 

Early in 2017 a decision was made by the club management to move in the direction of an “Air Park” incorporating all disciplines in aviation, Brits airfield was then registered as a Radio Controlled Airfield and now welcomes RC flyers to join the club.

Brits is also in the privileged position to have a registered Aerobatics box just to the east of the field, many of the top Aerobatic pilots come around and practice their sequences to the delight of all visitors.

 

 

   

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