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Veterans Day 29th March, 2014

The weather played the part in making this year’s annual Stellenbosch Club Veterans Day one of the best and most well attended for some time. It was good to see veteran Pilots from all aviation disciplines get together and catch up on news.

We have an ‘honorary veteran’ who was invited about 14 years ago by mistake! He had been a visitor to the Club and had signed the visitor’s book the day before that particular veterans day. A year later, my secretary telephoned all the veterans on this photocopied list from the visitor’s book and inadvertently invited Tony Rodrigues (from APCO) to the Veterans Day. Tony, being a true sport, has not  missed one since then and supports Stellenbosch Flying Club’s Veterans Day each year, flying or driving all the way from Pretoria to attend!

Besides the wonderful veteran Pilots and Crew – some of who are 93 years old! – our own Club Members made the day the success that it was. Paul and Jesse Roos took their vintage Tiger Moth and Chipmunk out of their hangar to add to the static display. Shane Oberholzer made his Tiger Moth available for veterans who wanted to go for a flight. Graham Smith was wonderful in flying a few veterans – one of whom was Fritz Johl, 93, instructor and veteran aircraft designer. He was famous for the BJ Glider series designed and built by himself and Pat Beaty (Betty Rowells’ husband), and flown by Maurice “Bomber” Jackson at the world championships in Texas in the ‘70’s. Jacko (as he is also known) also attended.

Kay Jocelyn and Jean Bulmer were the “meet and greet” ladies who did a sterling job of welcoming the veterans. Estelle and her kitchen staff excelled with their snacks of which a steady stream emanated from the kitchen.  Mark Jackson and his “Working on Fire” crew assisted in many ways including impromptu ‘aerial displays’ and assisting the veterans into and out of aircraft. Lyle Grace and Paul Nicholson opened their hanger for anyone wanting to have a look at their vintage aeroplanes, too. Alewyn Burger flew his J3  Cub together with Mark Jackson and his Piper Family Cruiser for the veterans to see, and Alan Fergus flew overhead in his L39.

The aeroplanes who had flown to Robertson for the breakfast fly-in also parked in front of the Clubhouse to add to the ambiance.

At another place further down the airfield, a Dream Wish was taking place.  A young girl suffering from a chronic liver illness was kindly flown by Cecil Atherstone in his beautiful C185 making this girl’s dream come true! Thank you very much Cecil!

I hoped that I have not missed anyone but wish to thank each and every member who had attended for making the day the success that it was!

Alison Navarro,

Stellenbosch Flying Club