ZU-MOF-a BMW engine-18 months-passion and dedication

By Willie Bodenstein

In 2008 Brits Airfield based Roel Jansen was flying his Windlass Aquilla powered by a Rotax 503 that has just had its engine overhaul by AP when it seized. Roel survived. Two years later it happened again and this time his son was flying with him. Fortunately Roel who had represented South Africa at the World Hang Gliding Championships in Spain in 2009 and had 1180 hang gliding hours was able to put the trike down. He and his son walked away with cuts and bruises.

"Twice was enough and I started thinking about an alternative power plant." Roel said. "As it happened Rainer and Barbara Frieböse of Brits based Wings and Tracks had a brand new BMW R1200 engine and gearbox that they had imported from Take-Off GmbH in Germany and had not had the time to install it in a Samba. They made me an offer I couldn't refuse and I found a Pegasus Quantum second hand undercarriage and with help by Fred Blokland and a wing by Jenya Zozulya in October 2016 flew my Swift-M."




Mof and Roel


Mof van Niekerk also based at Brits started his flying career in 1990 when he was signed out in a Cherokee 140 after 40 hours and having spent R2, 740. He flew another 80 hours before he because of other commitments allowed his license to lapse. However, his passion for flying remained and in 2000 he completed his MPL at Petit when Andy Kaspersen signed him out. This time the 25 hours of instruction came at a cost of R12,500.


Another R35,000 later and Mof became the proud owner of a Windlass trike powered by a Rotax 503. After 300 hours and three forced landings he sold the Windlass. In 2007 he bought a Aquilla with a Rotax 582 which he still flies. The Rotax has been overhauled three times and Mof has accumulated approximately 750 flying hours.


In November 2016 Mof and Roel was sitting in Mof's hangar having a beer after some flying when realising that they could not see all the way to the threshold Roel suggested that Mof built a viewing platform. "I would rather spend the money on a BMW project like yours." Mof replied and a few days later Roel found a Aeros on a farm near Loxton in the Karoo.

The owner of the Aeros has been unable to register the aircraft as it was the first of its type in the country the CAA has insisted that one of its engineers be send to the factory in the Ukraine to inspect the facilities. Roel fortunately has been the route before since they have in any case decided that the parts will only be used as the basis for a complete new aircraft they submitted their design ot he CAA and was granted a build number.


Mof, in the meantime had found a second hand BMW 1200GS engine and with Rainer and Barbara's help have imported a gearbox for Take-Off in Germany and in April 2017 the first phase, the stripping of the components started until only the bare frame remained.


Stripping the old


The gearbox mounted to the engine


Making engine mount templates…. Wires, wires and some more wires

When Roel got his engine it was already converted for flying. Mof's engine, programmed and wire for a motorbike needed a load of work. All excess wiring was removed and it was totally reprogrammed. Custom made chrome-molli mountings mate the engine to the frame. A second hand topless wing by Jenya Zozulya completed the built process.



Mock-up panel assembly


Mounting the wing


Paper work


Finally the proving flight authority

On 15 September Andre did his final inspection and on 11 October 2018 the CAA issued its Proving Flight Authority. The cherry on the top was the fact that the call sign MOF was still available. As was to be expected they were eager to take ZU-MOF aloft but for ten days the weather did not play ball and it was only on the 20th that it was perfect and she performed as was expected, she had loads of power and the new smaller wing was perfect. Taxing back to the hangar it started raining lightly, ZU-MOF was properly baptised.


Smiles all around after another successful flight

"We spend almost every Saturday and eighteen months building ZU-MOF. We started at 08h00 and only stopped once the task we had set ourselves was finished. Then we'll do a tool count and clean up and only then will we call it a day and relax; time to relax, time for a beer or two, time to socialise and talk to the many friends and visitors that would pop in to offer advice or just to look- see. A home build project is a big challenge. It takes discipline, one need to have passion and dedication to succeed. However, knowing that every nut and every bolt and every part was placed there by your hands makes that first flight so much more special and every subsequent flight so much more rewarding." Mof said.

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