The Aero Club of SA Airweek and EAA Convention 2022

By Willie Bodenstein Rally report by Rob Jonkers

22 to 24 April 2022

The field on Friday shortly after the mist had dissipated by approximately 10.30

The Aero Club of South Africa pro-actively promotes, protects, and preserves all forms of aviation sport and recreational aviation in South Africa. Through the participation of its members, the Aero Club of South Africa has the following core objectives; Protect and Preserve, Administer, Promote and Grow the sport and recreation aviation.

The first three arrivals

Middelburg's Richard Lovett, who has again kindly made his facilities available for the Air Week, flew a few flips during the morning.

This year was the 4th year that Middelburg hosted the Aero Club's Airweek and the EAA of SA's National Convention and as in previous years, the Club pulled out all the stops to make it a memorable event

In the control tower. From l to r: ATNS's Rouvierre Roux and Roelof Janse van Vuren and Safety Director Nigel Musgrave

More Friday arrivals

Some of the campers

However, the weather, to a large extent, did not play ball and the number of visitors were substantially down from last year's Centenary +1 attendance.

A braai on Friday ended the day's activities.

Piet Meyer and
Fanie Scholtz were two of the approximately fifty that flew in on Saturday. Photos by Piet.

Saturday started off with the launching by BAFSA (The Balloon and Airship Federations of SA) of three hotair balloons from almost in front of the control tower. The three intrepid pilots showing their navigation skills by completing a full circuit eventually landing back on the opposite side of the field.

Some of Saturday's movements

On Saturday the mist cleared early, but some rain was forecast for the afternoon. and That seemed to have deterred many visitors. Despite this, ATNS recorded more than 230 movements during the two days.

The who's who in general aviation exhibited at Airweek

A full program including a Navex fun rally, aircraft judging, Forums with Paul Lastrucci overview of Part 103 and Phillip Cronje's life Rotax oil change demo and his talk about Ulpower's direct drive air cooled power plant and Andy Kiel's Puddle Duck training solutions talk. A who's who row of exhibitors were arranged and well supported.

The Puma Energy Flying Lions Harvards

Airweek and the Convention are under current regulation not classified as an airshow and only two displays are permitted. Airshow legends and crowd favourites, the Puma Energy Flying Lions and Goodyear Special Pitts Specials during their Saturday slot got the adrenaline pumping.

The lone Powered Para Glider launched with the Balloons on Saturday morning

Some of the Rise Above sections members. Photo by Daniel Ralefeta

Kids and their handlers waiting patiently for their turn to go for their first flights

Dan and Goitse was the busiest pilot's during Airweek, each flying more than 12 flights with an excited youngster aboard

The EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association), SAPFA (South African Power Flying Association), Rise above Aviators and BAFSA were the four best representative of the Aeroclub's thirteen sections. SAHPA had a single powered parachute on display. All the other sections were conspicuous by their absence.

Happy campers and others

EAA Navex at Middelburg Aero Club Airweek

by Rob Jonkers

The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) hosted a Navigation Exercise on behalf of the EAA for their convention. The navex was planned to be an ANR (Air Navigation Race), which is one of the newest forms of competition flying that gauges accuracy of flying through an imaginary corridor where navigation time penalties are applied for excursions outside of the corridor. For this event as timing would be difficult to achieve with the many airfield aircraft movements. No start or finish timing gates were applied, however some photograph observation tasks were given to find 4 places en-route.

The route was planned for 25 nm north of the airfield close to Loskop dam. 5 teams entered, with 2 crews new to flying nav exercises. On hand to assist with briefing and helping crews to plan their flights were Tarryn & Iaan Myburgh as well as Hans Schwebel & Ron Stirk. SAPFA brought their Gazebo to promote the Association and is where the briefing was also held. David le Roux was also on hand promoting the Association in particular the Speed Rallies & the PTAR.

The winner of this short ANR was Leon Bouttell & Steve vd Merwe in their Sportstar ZU-FWS, the course having proved to be quite tricky, not many having seen the photographs.

This is the map that was used to fly the route showing the route corridor, with the flight track superimposed on the route.

Saturday's sheep on the spit sit down dinner and prizegiving was well attended.

Past EAA president Karl Jensen who handled most of the commentary during the day introduced Sema Mathebula, South Africa's first black lady Balloon pilot, to the dinner guests

Dinner guests

Various attendees were awarded for their contribution towards the success of the events as well as to those that had entered their pride and joy to be judged.

Rob Jonkers during his Aero Club Chairman's address

Mario Fabbraio took the price for the Hottest Air Balloon and Richard and Irene Lovett

Peter Howe was the EAA member that travelled the furthest and Lance Holland for being the owner of the best light sport aircraft

Patrick Watson won the award for the best vintage aircraft and The Bateleurs were judged as the Most Enthusiastic Team

Leon Boutell and Steve van der Merwe were the winners of the Navex Rally. Paul received the award on their behalf. Steve George wone the Pampered Bottom Award for His Navion Warbird. Paul received the award on their behalf.

'You built or restored your aircraft, you keep it in pristine condition, now's time to get the recognition you deserve!' That is exactly what happened to those that entered their pride and joy in the various categories to be judged by a team led by past EAA President Paul Lastrucci. Judging by the applause and the smiles on the faces of the winners everyone seemed to have agreed with their descisions.

Richard and Irene Lovett's Vans RV 14 won the crown as the Grand Champion Home Build Aircraft

Herbert de Graaf' Piper Colt was judged to be the best Tube and Fabric Aircraft and Jeandre Kasselman's Beach V35B Bonanza the best Metal Aircraft

Karl Jensen's Cessna 170B was the winner of the vintage aircraft category and Ryan Beckley's Vans RV4 the winner in the Kit Build category

Steve George's North American Navion was judged the Best Warbird

The Concourse de Elegance title went to Ryno Alberts for his Ryan Navion

The 2022 Airweek and EAA Convention had the potential to be the best ever. However, the weather had other ideas. None the less fun was had by all. Many thanks to those that were involved especially the wonderful people of Middelburg Aero Club for whom nothing seems to be impossible as well as all the sponsors who made the event possible. A special word of thanks to Vektor Aviation & Sport Plane Builders for their support.

The Aero Club is looking at reinforcing this event as the general and recreational aviation annual showcase, and will be working again with Middelburg to host again in 2023.

Events 2022
EAA South Africa

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