THABAZIMBI – The Thabazimbi Flying Club can be congratulated for a well organized aviation weekend that everyone should put in their diary as a “must attend” for next year. Hopefully a date will be selected that doesn’t clash with the other big event of the weekend, the State President’s Trophy Air Race so that far more people will be able to fly in.
The first time visitors to Thabazimbi airfield, set in the picturesque Thabazimbi valley flanked by beautiful mountains and cliffs, were pleasantly surprised. The airfield was well prepared with a huge area of the bare red oxide surface being thoroughly watered to minimize dust before the aircrafts started arriving on Saturday. A total of 58 visiting aircrafts attended the event, under glorious cloudless skies with a warm autumn sun, which was held to raise funds to aid a young local lad inflicted with cancer. The townsfolk and surrounding area farmers, businesses and individuals opened their hearts and wallets to the cause with sponsorships being many and generous.
Fine displays by 4 Harvards flown by Robbie Beaumont, Pierre Gouws, Nigel Hopkins and Larry Beamish thrilled the 2000 or so paying spectators. The Snake Team flew two displays including their sunset spectacular with pyrotechnics. An unusual combination was a formation of two Harvards with full flap extended flying momentarily in front of the crowd with two of the Snake Team microlights. Altogether there were 14 display events which included the Harvards, two Northwest Province Extra 300’s, a Yak 32, Johnnie Smith’s Suzuki sponsored Slick 360, a R44 Raven, a Jetranger, Ian Puntis’ Sport Cruiser, a Bantam microlight, a pair of new Apollo Delta Jet microlights, the Wings and Tracks Flamingo and the Snake Team. Bob Alison ably manned the ATC radio and provided a pilot friendly AFIS which enhanced the flying activity safety and efficiency. The ATC and PA were housed on the back of a large truck instead of rickety scaffolding – a novel idea that worked like a charm. Neville Bohm, the EAA National Safety Officer officiated on behalf of ASSA. The pre show safety briefing was thorough and all emergency and other support services were in no doubt as to what was required of them on the day.
A massive TV screen was in place in the beer tent for the big rugby match of the day which started shortly after the Snake Team’s sunset display. This kept the crowd at the airfield where the catering facilities were excellent. A few of the rugby fans were still present on Sunday morning celebrating a blue victory with many revelers nursing sore heads.