Steady Climb at Rhino Park airfield
On Saturday 10 April I attended the Steady Climb fly-in breakfast organised by PilotInsure at the delightful Rhino Park airfield
east of Pretoria and not far from Kitty Hawk airfield.
Speaking to Nigel Musgrave who was the advisory air traffic controller and safety officer on the day, about 50+ aircraft of shapes and sizes flew to this event and they were complimented by some of the light aircraft based at this airfield. Some aircraft that were present I had never seen before and I may use one or two of them for the mystery aircraft quiz in the future. This was the second of the Steady Climb fly-ins that are an idea mooted by Franz Smit of PilotInsure. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the collapse of South African Airways as well as SA Express Airways, many pilots lost their jobs at these airlines. In addition, the present economic climate largely created by the pandemic, many airline and commercial pilots have need to find other ways to survive. The idea behind the fly-ins is to create awareness and raise much need funds to support professional pilots, whilst assisting them to find alternative business opportunities.
Once most of the participating aircraft had arrived and the pilots were enjoying a delicious breakfast at the main restaurant, three Harvards from the Puma Energy Flying Lions team arrive overhead. Once they landed, I used this opportunity to interview Ellis, Shawn and Arnie at their aircraft.
Ellis Levin and Sally Levin have started a mobile coffee shop called ‘Hired Gun’ that is parked everyday at the BP service station in Uranium Street in Fourways every day until around 14h00. Christine and I enjoyed a delicious cup of hot chocolate and a chocolate croissant at their kiosk early in April and I can recommend paying Hired Gun a visit. Sally had prepared a gift box filled with branded cups, coffee and a host of other goodies to be auctioned off at the event.
David Le Roux advised me that the prizes awarded were as follows:
• Franco Swanepoel, ZS-TAO – Introduction flight, sponsored by Legend Sky Aviation – His to give to an aspiring aviator or keep for himself
• Jeff Crause, ZS-WBF - R 2500 fuel voucher sponsored by WanaFly Aviation
• Adrie Kritzinger – gift prize hamper, sponsored SA Trolley Dollies
During the following week participants were advised to look out for further communication regarding further prizes that will be allocated:
• A second R 2 500 fuel voucher from WanaFly Aviation
• Weekend away from Tranquillity Spa & Lodge
• A second introduction flight from Legend Sky Aviation
• Coffee hamper from Hired Gun Coffee
• Your next flight medical sponsored by PilotInsure
• Free three-month subscription to the Aviation4SA App to all attendees on the day
• One free annual subscription to the App valued at R2000 to one lucky attendee on the day.
The autumn weather was amazing with clear blue skies overhead and most spectators spent their time taking refuge from the strong sun under the forest of blue gum trees that fill the area. Once the Flying Lions fired up their engines the crowd surged forward to obtain a better view of the amazing show that they performed. On completion of what can only be described as a flawless performance, the Harvards returned to their base at Rand airport.
One of the other unusual aircraft that arrived was Nevil Ferreira’s GK-1 Civilian Racer that has a Honda 1600cc car engine driving a three-blade composite propeller. Neville thrilled the spectators with two high-speed fly past runs overhead the runway and later he told me that at full power the GK-1 can top 220 MPH in a straight line. This is seriously impressive, but Neville reminded those of us that spoke to him that this little aircraft is extremely sensitive and requires serious management.
My impression is that things are slowly returning to normal
as aviation events spool upwards. A BIG thank you to those brave people that organise events and of course everyone
involved, including the pilots that attend these events. Also, to the PilotInsure team thanks for your commitment
to sport and recreational aviation.