Spitting, huffing and puffing and here and there a clap of thunder as the roaring engine backfired. Saturday 24th of September heads turned as a 1947 Antonov AN-2 aircraft soared over the Thabazimbi skies. This made many aircraft enthusiasts, hast their way to our local airfield for a closer view.
The Antonov AN-2 was designed to meet a 1947 Soviet Ministry of Forestry requirement for agricultural and other utility roles. The beast is powered by a 750 kW (1,000 hp) nine-cylinder Shvetsov ASh-62 radial engine. She has an unquenchable thirst, which burns through 200 litres of fuel an hour. The aircraft was such a success, that variants of it were built for over 45 years, totalling over 18000 planes.
The Antonov was on a training flight from Vaalwater. The aircrafts appearance totally overshadowed the visiting Magalies Gliding club. Thabazimbi is known as one of the best places in the world for thermals, which induces lift for gliders. Thus making Thabazimbi very appealing to glider pilots.
Flying to and from Thabazimbi has become a lot safer since the involvement of Kumba with their kind and open hands towards the community, by tarring the town’s runway and revamping its facilities. Thanks to them, we will be seeing a lot more exciting aircraft in the future.