The Grasslands Sports Club is located in Sunderland Ridge, close to Centurion. This was the first ever fly-in to be hosted at the airfield. The fly-in was to be held over two days to benefit the construction of a hangar for one of the darlings of the airshow and aviation scene in South Africa, the AN2, Little Annie. It is also the 30th birthday of Little Annie which was celebrated throughout the weekend in fine style.
The event was also envisioned to introduce the airfield to the greater aviation community. The club is home to Epic Aviation, a para-motor training school with plans afoot to open a weight shift microlight school at the airfield in the future. The airfield has a 900m compacted gravel runway with an orientation of 30/12 which I observed to be in good condition. There are several hangars constructed on the field which house microlight aircraft as well as some LSA aircraft.
Saturday dawned with a very strong South Easterly wind, which saw many of the weight shift aircraft opting not to fly in. Some pilots did brave the wind and flew in, in a variety of aircraft such as a Savannah, Cheetah a Bat Hawk and a Bantam aircraft. I was very impressed with how these very light aircraft handled the blustery conditions!
Jonty Esser also arrived in his immaculate Yak52, ZU-CXK. Jonty recently established The Yak Club. This club enables any individual to join and receive a membership to the club which has exciting benefits. Jonty's enthusiasm for aviation shines through and I am sure that the Yak club will be a resounding success.
The airfield was overflown by a few visitors too. The highlight was when the Silver Falcons routed via the airfield on their return to their home base at Langebaan. Other visitors included a Savage Cub and flight of three aeroplanes which included amongst others a Cherokee 235 and a C185.
Saturday afternoon was spent enjoying delicious fare from the on-site restaurant, Fokker Bush Pub. The pub serves a variety of meals which include a very tasty breakfast and steak and chips can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner. Lots of entertainment was on hand with live music from several bands. Kids were entertained too with a jumping castle, jungle gym and trampoline.
The airfield saw a lot more activity due to the beautiful conditions with para-motor pilots decorating the spring sky with their colourful canopies.
The event continued on Sunday morning. The pilots at the airfield awoke to near perfect flying conditions as they unzipped the doors of their tents.
Plenty of microlights also enjoyed the perfectly still air.
According to Grassland Sport Club Chairperson, Adrienne Leigh, the goal for this event was to facilitate a fund raising effort to construct a hangar for Little Annie. Adrienne said that, “Annie, is an orphan and we wanted to provide her with a place she can call home”. She closed by saying, “providing a permanent home for Annie, is the least we can do to pay tribute to such an icon”.