EAA Chapter 322 Fly-In to Brits Airfield 16 March 2024

By Willie Bodenstein

I first visited Brits Airfield on the 22 December 2006. The primary reason for that visit was to spend time with Rainer and Barbara Freiboese who I had met at other events and airshows. The Freiboese's then had the marketing rights to the Lambada Motor Glider as well as the Samba and Flamingo LSA's. These wonderful Czech composite Rotax powered products sold like hot cakes.

Kitplanes for Africa

It was also the time when there were two complete wooden fuselages and wings of two Spitfire replicas languishing in a hanger. They eventually disappeared for years until a few weeks ago when the fact that they are for sale appeared on social media platforms.

A year later, on the 8th of December 2007 I again visited. This time to attend the Sport Aerobatic Club's Ace of Base Aerobatics competition. The clubhouse then looked about the same as it does today. That is where the similarities end. During the following years it got a number external face lifts giving it a fresh modern look.

However, one thing remained the same, the bonhomie of that first visit which was planned to last no more than three hours caused me, who had arrived a complete stranger, to eventually leave the clubhouse at 22.30. Arriving home after midnight the reception was to say the least rather stilted and is probably the reason why I stayed away for a year.

In 2009 on 17 October, we celebrated Rainers 50th birthday and a month later on 14 November I attended the Peter Hengst Memorial Fly In. Peter's two immaculate Bucker Jungmans was then still at the field. They were later sold and exported.

Throughout the years this relatively small club had batted well above its weight hosting no less than two world Rally Championships as well as numerous EAA Conventions, SA Rally and SA Landing Championships.

Yesterday, 16 March I met Nico Brandt at his superb hangar home at Tedderfield Airfield. Nico, who I had met in May 2010 was then flying his immaculate Bushbaby, had kindly offered me a lift to Brits. Nico now fly a ICP Savannah.

We had a slight headwind but lovely smooth flight with the normal turbulence approaching the Satellite Tracking Station and landed on 02 and was followed, totally unplanned, by two more of the Italians. A third arrived later showing how popular the type is in SA.

Brian a regular visitor from New Zeeland posing next to ZU-MYS. I met Brian in Oshkosh in 2012 and we ,I am honour to say, have become friends, regularly meeting at Osh and during his frequent visiting to out wonderful country.

Brian, who flies a Bantam in New Zeeland taking Sean's Bathawk for flight.

Pallavee, Dylan, Steven & Mikaela are members of the new EAA of SA initiative called Young Aviators (16- to 30-year-olds). This initiative bridges the gap between Young Eagles (8- to 16-year-olds) and the majority of current members that tend to be 45 years and older. Steven, with his back turned, smilingly admitted that he does not qualify and are only there to lend support.

Some of the visiting aircraft.

Lunch in the Flying Saucer Restaurant. The fare is well worth the flight.

This banner is proudly on display in Marius Combrink's Hangar. A avid Pilot's Post reader and supporter Marius had the banner featuring photos of him and his aircraft supplied to him by Pilot's Post made up at his own cost.

Sadly, it was time to depart. The fly in may not have been the best attended, especially after last week's Aeroclub's Air Week where 150 aircraft were counted, it was well worth the flight to one of the friendliest airports around.

Again a smooth flight with some brief obligatory turbulence and two superb landings by Nico we arrived back at Tedderfield. The sad news is that Nico's hangar home if for sale and that he may soon depart for Kenton on Sea. He will be sorely missed.

EAA Chapter 322 Fly in to Brits 16 March 2024

Events 2024

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