The Matsieng Epic
On the 25th of May the Blue Chip Flight School Matsieng Epic flyaway started. The entire fleet of aircraft was already booked out, by students that are busy with their hour building towards the Commercial Pilots Licence. This fleet consisted of 13 Aircraft, and included from Sling 2, Sling 4, C172, C182, C82R right up to Senneca IV, and one Quantum Bus, these transported 53 Blue Chip family members safely to and from the Matsieng Airshow without incident.
The excitement was tangible at 0630 in the morning for the intended departure at 0800, there was not a single person who could remain stationary for more than a few seconds at a time. The months of eager preparation paid off, with a departure that was only delayed by a minor technical difficulty, which was quickly resolved. The remainder of the trip continued without any further incident.
Upon arrival at Pilanesburg International Airport, everyone gained the valuable exposure of conducting over border flights, by having to complete their own General Declarations. This experience was further reinforced, by the actual border crossing at point NESEK, which also flowed seamlessly as if everyone had been doing this for years. Even though the flyaway had 7 Instructors distributed between the aircraft for guidance, our expertise were not required at any point.
All 13 aircraft touched down safely at Matsieng airfield at around 1300 local time. After the aircraft were safely put to bed, and the customs and formalities were concluded, everyone could finally start to relax and enjoy the vibrance of the much-anticipated weekend. The Friday evening was concluded with a very welcome braai, and after some dancing and festivities in the entertainment area, we all met back at the campsite for the compulsory hangar talk around a camp fire.
Saturday morning everyone was awoken bright and early, to the sound of Bennie Willemse’s arrival in his V-tail Bonanza, and preparations for what is arguably one the best airshows on the current calendar. Coffee, morning ablutions and breakfast done, the group went their separate ways for a while, till the main event kicked off. Once the flying started, we were treated some spectacular flying by the pilots we all aspire to become. Certainly one of the many highlights we were treated to was watching Menno Parson fly the PC-12. This was special in that it is an aircraft which is not really seen at many airshows. The sunset display by the Flying Lions in their Harvards, was the perfect way to conclude a spectacular and safe airshow.
The evening was spent around a fire for another braai, and then some socialising with the pilots from the airshow, another unique opportunity of this event. Sunday morning the entire group and aircraft were ready to depart by 10:00 local time. The flight back was again uneventful, apart from some minor delays experienced with ATC, but this was to be expected with the large volume of aircraft arriving more or less at the same point at the same time. By 14:00 everyone was safely back at Wonderboom airport, feeling a little sad that our time together as a team and more importantly as a family had ended.
Blue Chip hosts numerous fly aways during the year to increase the exposure to environments and experiences not usually experienced during the normal training curriculum. Destinations include Matsieng, the Eastern Cape to name but a few.
All at Blue Chip that participated would like to extend our gratitude, and compliments to everyone involved in the organisation and the displays for their exceptional hospitality and professionalism. Without them this unique event would not be possible, and certainly not be one of the most sought after fly away events for the Blue Chip Flight School Family.
Article by Brendon Lubbe – Chief Flight Instructor