Aero Club of SA Airweek Middelburg Airfield 2024

By Jaco Pitout


The Aero Club of South Africa 's Airweek 2024 was again hosted by the Middelburg Aeronautical Society between the 8th and 10th of March.
The beautiful autumn weather promised to make the event one to remember.

Airweek is probably the most outstanding general aviation event on the South African aviation calendar and host displays from most of the sections of the Aero Club as well as the National Convention of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).

I was to fly out to Middelburg airfield on Saturday morning with EAA Chapter 322 member, Nico Brandt out of Tedderfield Airpark. I had never visited Tedderfield before this past Saturday and I was very impressed at this wonderful residential airpark in the southern parts of Johannesburg. Beautiful hanger homes can be found adjacent to the kilometre long runway with orientation 29/11 at an elevation of 4200 feet.

Our early morning flight took us east towards the Ergo-Slimes dam and then in a Northerly direction passing the towns of Springs, Delmas and Witbank on the way. The one-and-a-half-hour flight was delightful with cool calm air all the way to Middelburg. Nico shared some of his flying experiences with me including stories of his much-loved Maule M6 ZS-LLV.

The circuit at Middelburg was buzzing! With aircraft arriving and departing every few seconds, very reminiscent of EAA Airventure! Having made a perfect landing, Nico taxied the Savannah to the massive ramp area where we were welcomed by members of the local flying club involved in the marshalling of the many arriving aircraft.

The airfield was jam packed with aircraft and with visiting exhibitors. An extensive array of accessories, engines, avionics, and aircraft manufacturers had made their way out to Middelburg. A feature Airweek is that visitors may camp next to their own aircraft or make use of pre-booked tent accommodation. Ablutions are modern, clean, and neat and a very short walk away.

As part of the EAA's convention there were forums held in the beautifully appointed hanger of Richardt and Irene Lovett. Experts sharing their knowledge about Rotax engines as well as fuel vaporisation.

During the morning a fun navigation rally was held to introduce visitors to this exciting discipline.

A route of approximately 30nm was set up to the east of the airfield. The challenge is for crews to stay within a 0.4nm wide corridor throughout the route. The more time spent outside the corridor, the more penalty points are accrued. Timing at the start and finish gates was not timed for this fun event. The first half of the route followed roads and the difficulty ramped up towards the end of the route with limited navigation features available to judge your position or timing of turns.

The event was well attended with 11 crews participating. Experienced pilots and navigators were at hand to assist newer participants, and transfer knowledge to help improve the new team's skills. Tips and tricks were shared to give everyone the best chance of enjoying the flight while challenging their navigation and communication skills. As a fun event, crews and individuals were allowed to fly the route more than once either as the same team or mixed with new pilot/navigator
Report by Iaan Myburgh.

Tarryn Myburgh

The Sport Aerobatic Club, one of the sections of the Aeroclub, also conducted a demonstration of what an aerobatic competition would look and sound like. I looked over the shoulder of judges, Maritza Boswel and Tayla-Kae Nicholson to understand what they look for when judging a competition aerobatic sequence. The pilots conducting aerobatic practise was Jason Beamish in the Pitts Special and Warren Eva in the Yak 55M.

There was certainly a lot going on around Middelburg airfield and with so many aircraft arriving and departing, there had to be a solution to get fuel to the visiting aircraft. Platorand Lugbespuiting had a mobile bowser with 100LL aviation fuel and 95 Octane unleaded fuel available. Card facilities were also available right at the point of purchase. This type of convenience is certainly a very big plus for this type of event.

Flying and talking airplanes have long had a reputation for causing grumbly stomachs and thirsty throats. There were several vendors on site to provide for every taste and preference. From delicious breakfast jaffels to steaming coffees and ice-cream, there was a lot to choose from!

Introduced last year the STOL competition, I am glad to report, was back this year. This is definitely a crowd drawer.

Dale de Klerk with two bingo landings in the Orion Cub was announced as the precision winner. Regard Coetzee in a KFA Explorer powered by the 916 Rotax took the shortest take-off prize while his dad, Stefan in a 135hp Explorer took the shortest landing prize.

During the awards dinner held in the Lovett’s hangar, certificates were handed to the following:

-Ian Beaton & Theo Arrenbrecht for Best Kit Built Aircraft - ZU-ITT RV 10

-Gavin Hill for Runner-Up Best Kit Built Aircraft - ZU-RVR RV8

-Johan Loubser for Best Restoration Aircraft Pitts - S1S ZS-MEL

-Christo Erasmus for Runner-Up Best Restoration Aircraft - Ercoupe ZS-VCE

-Ian Beaton & Theo Arrenbrecht for Convention 2024 Grand Champion - RV10 ZU-ITT

-Kevin Hopper for Best Rotax Powered Aircraft - Orion Cub ZU-IVS

-Stuart & Laura McDermid for Runner-Up Best Rotax Powered - Pioneer

-Dr Mike Brown for longest flight to convention - Globe Fury ZS-BCE

-Dr Mike Brown for Best Vintage Aircraft - Globe Fury ZS-BCE

-Grant Timms for Runner-Up Best Vintage Aircraft - Piper PA20 ZS-VYL

-Dean Hunter for Best Warbird Aircraft - Ryan Navion ZS-DCS

-Reyno Coetzer for Best Warbird Aircraft - Ryan Navion ZS-ROB

-Steve George for Best Warbird Aircraft - Ryan Navion ZS-WUK

-Kevin Hopper for Best Light Sport Aircraft - Orion Cub ZU-IVS

-Scott Williams For Runner-Up Best Light Sport Aircraft - Bearhawk LSA ZU-ISP

-The Kenyan Delegation for Attending the EAA South Africa 2024 Convention

Lets hold thumbs that this will be a regular part of the event.

A fantastic fun weekend was had by all! Middelburg again proved to be a fantastic venue for the Aeroclub's Airweek as well as the EAA's National Convention. As always, we close with some of the friendly faces seen at the event on the Saturday.

Airweek 2023 Non-Event Aircraft

Events 2024
Aero Club of South Africa

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