I have had the privilege of knowing the Giles family for longer than their daughter Rachel has been on the planet. It is extremely hard for all of us and of course to dear Rachel and son Brandon to comprehend the dastardly crime that has taken Wayne and Janique from us.
Wayne Giles 58, and his wife Janique were brutally murdered by gunfire during a break in by criminals at their home at Fly Inn Estate just before daybreak on 4 August 2020. Is this tragically escalating crime in South Africa what we want? DEFINITELY NOT.
I hope that this sad tale will be read not only by South African aviators, but by others around the world who have influence to help stem this awful tide of violence.
Wayne with his first Bearhawk.
My association commenced with the family when Wayne brought his burgundy-coloured Piper Pacer into the big hangar at Fly Inn about 27 years ago. It was parked next to my airplane. I was strongly associated with the family when I was still a pilot with the then wonderful SAA.
Wayne and Janique built the 1st home on the Fly Inn Estate village adjoining the runway about 25 years ago. Wayne flew the Pacer for many years before buying a Cessna 185 which he used for business and pleasure. He broke that Cessna a few times, but it was always immaculately restored and upgraded to better than new condition.
Wayne's Cessna 185.
The family went on a few fly-aways with us in that plane with the Experimental Aircraft Association when I was heading our Johannesburg EAA Chapter 322. I have a hangar at Fly Inn on the opposite side of the runway to the housing Estate. It was always a pleasure having any of the Giles passing by and where Wayne visited almost without fail when I was there for tea, coffee, to tan a coil of boerewors and an occasional sundowner. It was always fun exchanging 'war stories', telling lies often with much laughter that erupts during hangar talk. It wasn't always laughter. We spoke of many things and Wayne, an engineering graduate, gave me much advice and assistance with technical matters as I did him on flying matters.
The Author flying the Bearhawk during a photoshoot.
In 2015, Wayne acquired the Barrows Bearhawk Aircraft franchise for South Africa after a trip to Oshkosh. He built a Bearhawk Patrol in 8 months. He was an absolute stickler for perfection. This came through very clearly when he built that first Bearhawk ZU-BHP. I did the extensive test flying that this 1st of type in South Africa required. Wayne went on to build another light version of the Patrol. When this was certified, he would allow all and sundry to fly the plane with its unusually benign handling characteristics. The airplane building was a hobby. His wife Janique told me that she encouraged the airplane projects that were a tonic that gave him so much pleasure. He needed this as a break from his business commitments.
Later, he almost completed another two much enhanced Bearhawks. The colour schemes and logos were designed by son Brandon. His workers called the green and yellow one Wayne was building for himself, Cyril. The red one being built with his best friend was called Ju-Ju.
Some of the aircraft at the memorial fly past.
On Saturday 5 September 2020, a Memorial/Celebration of Wayne and Janique's lives was held at a venue east of Pretoria that could only accommodate 50 people in terms of the Covid regulations.
Jeremy Woods with his Bearhawk Patrol prior to the departure from Kitty Hawk.
The original Bearhawk is still in immaculate condition, now owned by Jeremy Woods who kindly allowed me to fly it in the 'Missing Man' fly-past at the Fly Inn Estate.
The planned route of the missing man formation.
Trevor Warner tops up his smoke oil tank with Nigel Hopkins supervising.
Ryan Beaton's RV.
Nigel and Derek Hopkins in the distant RV8 and Ryan Beaton close in.
Stoney Steenkamp in the Red RV8 and Trevor Warner in the closest.
With smoke on overhead Fly Inn Estate.
Nigel Hopkins, an SAA Airbus Training Captain and present SA Aerobatic Champion had called in friends from The Raptors Formation Aerobatic Team with 4 RV's for this Missing Man formation, which is a military type honour to fallen airmen colleagues.
With smoke on the formation flew the second pass.
The formation flies over once and on the second pass, the aircraft representing Wayne and Janique, climbs away signifying their spirits leaving to a higher plain and leaving a gap in the formation as is the gap Wayne and Janique have left in our lives.
The Raptor pilots were Ryan Beaton, Trevor Warner, Nigel and Derek Hopkins and Stoney Steenkamp. We operated from the Kitty Hawk airfield and the plan ensured that we did not overfly any built-up areas.
Wayne and Janique were substantial citizens, leaving behind their son Brandon and daughter Rachel. They will not only be sorely missed by myself, but also by many others who are dependent on Wayne's business and in the aviation community in South Africa where he was well liked.
Rest in Peace my dear Friends.
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