Tag Archives: Rand Airport

COVID Aviation Trips – Rand Airport

By now most of us have been absolutely deprived of aviation. Unfortunately all airshows for 2020 have been either postponed or cancelled. This leaves us with almost no aviation action, or does it?

In the coming weeks, we will be looking at different smaller aviation spots that can help scratch that aviation itch that has been annoying us all during this lockdown.

In the third installment in this series we are looking at yet another smaller airport in Gauteng. Rand Airport is a great spot to feel the wind coming off aircraft and smell the turbine exhaust.

What makes Rand great is the fact that it has more than one great spots. The first of these being the SAA Museum located at the Eastern side of the airport.

The museum has many historic SAA aircraft like 737s, DC-4s and 747s where one can get the opportunity to not only admire them from the outside, but also from within.

At the museum one can also find the Dakotas Pub and Grill. From the restaurant one has a nice view of Runway 29 takeoffs and landings as well as some taxiway action.

The second spot at Rand Airport is another Harvard Cafe. Just like the one at Grand Central, this restaurant offers a nice view of the apron, with great food and a play area for children.

Rand Airport is home to many beautiful aircraft like the Flying Lions, Cows Pitts, Goodyear Eagles, Menno Parsons’ collection and many more.

P51D Mustang
Springbok Classic Beech 18
Cessna 208A Caravan ZS-NKG
SAPS Airwing Airbus H125 ZS-RNR
Boeing Stearman
Bell 222 ZS-HDK
Bell UH-1H Iroquois Serial 11162 ZS-HLZ 

This airport makes for another great outing during these times where aviation seems to be a scarcity. With the SAA Museum and Harvard Cafe one can easily get two unique trips out of this one spot.

The 16th Rand Airport Challenge 2020

By Cally Eckard

With the World Rally Flying Championships in sight, a record 8 teams took part in the Class 1, or “Open” category of the sport at the Rand Airport Challenge.  In previous years most participants preferred to stick to the simplest and easiest Class 3, or “Fun Rally”, but this year pilots and navigators were encouraged to enter the most advanced group. 

They all certainly found their skills were challenged on this first rally of the year. Mary de Klerk and Rob Jonkers presented a Navigation workshop the previous week, so everyone was keen to exercise their new-found knowledge in this rally.    

Route Planner Cally Eckard gave the teams the task of flying two back-to-back arcs, which are curved tracks between two turn-points, and a follow-the-feature, where they had to fly along a road.  All navigators plotted the arc perfectly, and the pilots flew them accurately, and really enjoyed the challenge. 

Sadly, drizzle and low cloud kept some of the entrants grounded at their home airfields, but for local pilots the skies cleared early enough for them to fly through just in time for the briefing by Competition Director Frank Eckard, so there was no delay in the start time for the rally.  The sky continued to clear during the course of the morning, but strong winds challenged the pilots on some of the legs, making it difficult for them to maintain their allocated speeds.  

Use of Google photos which were taken in mid-winter were also difficult to match up to the current terrain after soaking summer rains which have coloured the landscape a lush green.

The route took them west from Rand Airport, over Soweto, with the Start Point the train station at Nasrec, then the two arc between Carletonville and Fochville, skirting north of Vanderbijlpark, before turning northwards for the return journey over Ennerdale to a tricky Finish Point which was the “Stirrup Club”.

Although none of the results were of National Standard, there are many rallies and training opportunites between now and the World Champs, and we hope to put together five “A” team and five “B” team partnerships to give SA the best chance of a good team result. 

The Rand Airport Trophy, donated by Rand Airport, was won by seasoned rallyers Jonty Esser (pilot) and Mary de Klerk (navigator).  

The full results are:

Class 3 (The Fun Rally section):

1Michael CrauseEdzart VerseputSling 41161

Class 2 (The Intermediate Section):

1Thys van der MerweKerry MatthysenC172392

Class 1 (The Unlimited or Open Section):

1Jonty EsserMary de KlerkC150 C 798
2Antony RussellPam RussellC1721060
3Andre KluytsDon LucasC 1721709
4Leon BouttellKaryn PurchaseHarmony1850
5Quentin TaylorDerick BirdSuper Decathlon1914
6Shane BritzKaren StroudJabiru2121
7Hendrik LootsJandre LootsSling LSA2366
8Milan DanizCaroline KollTC07 Sling 4No result

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of this sport, and are all very motivated to take part in the next rally events:

  • 7  March – Brakpan Rally (Classes 1, 2 and 3)
  • 3 – 5 April – Rally Nationals in Stellenbosch (Class 1 only)
  • 5  April – Stellenbosch Rally (Classes 1, 2 and 3) 
  • 8  August – Rally Training Camp in Brits (Class 1) 
  • 22 August – Krugersdorp Rally (Classes 1, 2 and 3)
  • 3 October – Witbank Rally (Classes 1, 2 and 3)

Look out also for our very exciting Speed Rallies.  

Please see our website Sapfa.org.co.za for our events calendar

Flying Lions Charity Day – 17 Nov ’19

This was the 18th anniversary of the annual Flying Lions Charity Day, which happens mid-November. The Puma Flying Lions Aerobatic Team treated orphans to flights in Harvards, lunch at the Harvard Café, awesome goodie bags and a whole lot more to lift their spirits during the festive season. This year, over 60 children from Nkosi’s Haven, iKhaya da Luz Children’s Home and Children of the Dawn experienced a once in a lifetime flight.  Puma Energy was the major sponsor of the day, with other brands contributing gifts, such as Mango Airlines who provided caps and pens. The day ended on a cheery note as Father Christmas made an appearance at the Christmas party that was held after all the flights. Santa handed over all the gifts to the children. The Children were also treated to an all-time favourite Hamburgers and chips with soda drinks.
Aircraft at Rand Airport

Aircraft used
Cessna 140,  Cessna 210, Beechcraft Baron,  2 x Pitts Special from the Cows Aerobatic Team, 3 x Harvards from the Flying Lions

To witness events like this is extremely heart-warming and we at Aviation Central witness few of these events yearly!
Well-done to Puma Energy, Flying Lions, Cows Aerobatic Team, Andrew Blackwood-Murray who also joined the team and provided flips in a Cessna.

Pilots for the day :

Arnie Meneghelli

Andrew Blackwood-Murray

Rodney Chinn

Sean Thackwray

Hayden Tunmer

Sally Bates Levin

Mark Fleck

Dylan van der Merwe

Ground Crew for the day :

Chloe Spolander

Aubyn-Shaye Paul

Brad Wood

Keagan Foley

Margo Venter



Retania Mahabeer

Lee Naidoo

Click to enlarge photos below

Rand Airport Challenge 2019

A typical summer morning at Rand Airport where most pilots like to take to the skies over Johannesburg and enjoy the beautfual scenary
around the Gauteng Province.

Briefing on the way

Entry’s for the day

This past weekend we attended the first fun Rally for the year and no better place to have it at a busy airport,with the Harvard Cafe
along side the terminal building, pilots and navigators stocked up on a filling breakfast and coffee, they made their way to the airports terminal building for a sharp briefing at 8.30am.A quick photo of every participant in front of what could be a oasis of palm trees shading Rand Airport Tower!

Once the briefing was over the team memebers made their way to their aircraft making sure all routes and refrences marked out so that the best man or women wins.

The SAPFA Committee, particularly Rob Jonkers and Mary de Klerk, who organised a very thorough workshop recently on Rally Flying,  saw their efforts bear fruit at the annual Rand Airport Challenge, when a record 8 teams took part in the Intermediate form of the sport.  In previous years most participants preferred to stick to the simplest and easiest form which is Fun Rally, but this year pilots and navigators were encouraged to enter the more difficult category.  The reason for this, is to elevate their skills levels, so that they can participate at national level, thereby building up a new breed of South African champion rally pilots and navigators.


The navigators and pilots in the Intermediate category had one hour to plot the entire route, and had to do so in the cockpit, which was a first for most of them.  They also had far more photo targets to identify, and these were mixed up instead of being sequential and only one per leg. The pilots had only a 5 second window to get through each turn-point, instead of 15 seconds  for Fun.

Organisers Frank and Cally Eckard gave them the task of flying an arc, which is a curved track between two turn-points, and a follow-the-feature, where they have to fly along a road, river or railway line.  Every pilot flew the arc perfectly, and really enjoyed the challenge.

The route took them south from Rand Airport, around Suikerbosrand to Heidelberg, then down to two turnpoints on the banks of the Vaal Dam, and back again near Vereeniging to the Finish Point at Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve.

Rand Airport, who sponsor the Rand Airport Challenge Trophy, also waived landing fees on the days for the participants.  The trophy was won by the defending team of Shane Brits and Karen Stroud, who have been putting a lot of effort into their sport.  

The full results are:

The Fun Rally section:

1RC ShillawCJ Shillaw319
2Thys van der MerweGerda870
3Kim PratleyAndrew Pratley1231
4Piet MeyerPieter Kriel1410

The Intermediate Section:

1Shane BritzKaren Stroud750
2Jonty EsserJonathan Esser967
3Adrian PillingAdam Pilling982
4Don LucasAndre Kluyts1488
5Leon BouttellKaryn Purchase1955
6Mark ClulowRenee Clulow2170

Unfortunately the two teams consisting of Phil Wakely and Mary de Klerk, and Jakes Jacobs and Franz Smit did not complete the course due to mechanical problems.  

The Unlimited Section:

1Rob JonkersMartin Meyer409
2Hans SchwebelRon Stirk766
3Antony RussellPamela Russell1344

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of this sport, and are all very motivated to take part in the next events:

  • 1-2 Feb – Cape Speed Rally, Morning Star
  • 16 Feb – Training Day in Brits, with the focus on the role of the pilot, and cockpit-management
  • 23 March – Virginia Rally, Durban (with a training course on 22 March)
  • 4 – 6 April – Rally Nationals, Stellenbosch

Please enter online at http://Sapfa.org.za

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