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Newletter South Africa Issue Number 10 Magni Flying in EAA Chapter 240, Wilmington, DE , U.S.A Editor Its so nice hearing from the U.S.A. A few of us are off to a small town in the Western Cape this weekend called Carnavon. Distance 469 miles , I am looking forward to it. Read about this adventure in our next newsletter. Don’t forget . My Email Address is kevin@ade.co.za Lee and I have been corresponding via Email for quite some time, Lee
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  Newletter South Africa Issue Number Magni Flying in EAA Chapter 240 Wilmington DE U.S.A   Editor    Its so nice hearing  from the U.S.A.  A few of us are off to a small town in the Western Cape this weekend called Carnavon. Distance 469 miles , I am  looking forward to it.  Read about this adventure in our next  newsletter.  Don’t forget . My  Email Address is  kevin@ade.co.za  Lee and I have been corresponding via Email for quite some time, Lee is the writer and editor for his local EAA chapter and  is also a M-16 Magni owner and avid pilot. Lee thank you so  much for your contribution to our Magni newsletter, I hope other Gyro pilots find your article as interesting as I did, it so  good hearing from another ”neck of the woods” so to speak.. Doing what I can to stir up interest in gyro flying and Magni gyros in particular! A short time fixed wing pilot, I am just about to enter my third year with my M-16, almost 300 hours now under my belt. Our EAA chapter is out of Wilmington, DE (the first state in the USA). We are about 130 members strong with extremely varied interests. Of the 8 members so far wishing to take a ride with me, all have been amazed at how much fun the Magni is, how stable, and capable, es-pecially with me at the controls! Some friends! The reac-tions are dramatic and infectious. Pilots that once looked askance are now asking when they can go up! Then they  want their kids to have a ride! That says a lot about the sta-bility! Last week I rushed together an hour-long program on gyros for our monthly EAA program… last minute speaker cancel-lation. It helped to have just attended the First International  Autogiro Convention in Long Island, New York, at Hofstra University. Armed with a cd of historical photos, courtesy of Bruce Charnov the conference organizer, and anxious to educate a captive fixed wing pilot audience, we all had a great time. There was way too much to say and not enough time. I covered everything from Yuan de la Cirerva to Vitto-rio Magni with a surprise showing of some of “Little Nellie” as part of a supposed Demo tape comparing helicopters  with gyros. Under the “Gyro Aerodynamics for Dummies” portion it  was enough to introduce the rotor as a third form of energy that we have over fixed wing pilots (altitude and speed be-ing the other two). Everyone is most amazed at how the stored energy in the rotor provides such versatility and sta-bility to enable extremely slow flight, zero mph controlled descents (save some altitude for a flare!), and feather soft landings, even a hover landing with wind! A stable gyro like the Magni handles wind and turbulence comfortably compared to small GA fixed wing aircraft. Of course by now we all take these Magni gyro characteristics and more for granted. Then with my Magni in the chapter hangar, some gathered around for a close inspection and to listen to me talking en-thusiastically with my hands. It must be the Italian lineage! Now I have more rides lined up than this streak of almost daily rain will allow, only one fully sunny day the last month!  Yikes! It has to end soon. But guess what, with the gyro I have been able to sneak in many fun local flights between the raindrops, and in the  wind that has grounded many others. Pictures are of the lecture held at EAA Wilmington and of Lee Blazejewski and his MAGNIficient flying machine.     Especially important to me was to emphasize that gyro flying is serious aviation, not to be entered into lightly or without proper instruction. Also, the Magni gyro stable flight characteristics are superior to most other gyros. [I do have many hours in several other popular gyros for comparison.]  A bit of local aviation history I have recently learned more about. Delaware’s coast-line on the Eastern USA put it into prominence during WW II as the first line of defense against Germany’s active assault against the ship building cities of Wilmington and Philadelphia. The Civil Air Patrol arose just before the Japanese Pearl Harbor attack. Though a branch of the Air Force, it is still run by civilians. Out of this small state ac-tive patrols played a major part in keeping submarines submerged. Having greater efficiency afloat, the subs preferred to stay on the surface, but were forced into a de-fensive dive whenever any planes (not knowing which were armed) approached. When sightings occurred, the CAP planes could then spot for shore armament batter-ies or patrolling antisubmarine vessels. Picture is of the remnants of the storm of the century in Pennsylvania 2003 and of the country side (must have been cold taking this pic)    And speaking of Pearl Harbor… this small state of Delaware put three out of the handful of pilots into the air immediately after the first attack. A leading ace in WW II, Delawarean George Welch was the pilot dramatized in the opening sequence of the movie “Pearl Har-bor” staging such a defense, it is said, the Japanese cancelled a second planned attack. Or at least that is what I am told! MAGNIficient flying in the Eastern Free State On a recent flyaway to the famous Bethlehem airshow that takes place annually, usually at the end of May ,we discover a gem of a country lodge just outside the village of Fouriesburg     from where we base ourselves to explore the Eastern Free State and Northern Lesotho . Here  is my story.  Attending to this air show last year and enjoying the people that live in this part of the  world I decided that this would be a really good flyaway. I proceeded to Email Gyro pi-lots about this flyaway offering them the opportunity to fly with us. This time however we only had one taker Malcolm and his wife Pat. Knowing Malcolm and having flown with him on quite a number of occasions ,we decided to fly out on Friday the 30/5 at 2Pm, this al-lowed us to put in a good half days work at the office yet giving us enough time to fly to our destination with one and a half hours of last light left as an safety factor. Yes, you guessed it we don’t get airborne at 2Pm but got airborne at 3Pm. Realizing this and five minutes into flight I get in touch with Vereeniging ATC and request a direct flight over the airfield low level , the “girlie” traffic controller routes us directly above centre line run- way 03 , we fly along the runway and at the same height as the tower and give her a friendly wave, I must at this stage commend the friendly bubbly voice of the ATC at Ver-eeniging airfield, what a pleasure to deal with you. This change in flight plan has saved us at least 10 minutes .Zone outbound I again make a radio call, ATC responds with 125.4, enjoy your flight Kevin. I respond with 125.4 next see you on our return flight, she called me by name WOW, I then recall that we had met before at a meeting at Solitude airfield, there was this red head young girl that was busy completing her PPL , very enthusiastic ,with a great interest in flying, listing to my story about our recent trip into Namibia .What a small world, she recognized my voice!. The weather gods are good to us a light tail wind but the viz , not so good due to the pollu-tion coming from Sasol, not to worry soon we clear the special rules area , we change fre-quency to 124.8 I do a call to VFR traffic no response, Malcolm and I decide to change frequency to the general chat frequency which is 130.35, the understanding was that every five minutes I would go back to 124.8 and do a call, this is quite common on long flights like these in S.A especially when you are low level. Who do we find on Chat fre-quency?, Doug and his lovely wife Renata who also flies, and is one of the best woman pilots I have ever met , she fly’s a Pitnipol fixed wing tail dragger now, and Doug flies a magnificently recently rebuild Stinson to the exact specs of the srcinal including the power plant. Doug (alias Red Eye) and Renata, (alias Vulture) and I (alias Eskom), have a good chat, incedently these flying names are given to you by a special naming commis-sion in the Microlight fraternity headed up by (Demon ), Barry Cunningham on a special flyaway to the Drakensberg , the names being chosen very carefully , you cannot choose your own flying name, what a pity !, you are only given a name when you deserve it, ex-ample mine coming  from the fact that I crashed into11000  Volts power lines on an engine out situa-tion in the Nottingham road district many years ago and survived to continue to fly. (for those reading the newsletter outside our borders Eskom is the company that supplies our electricity in South Africa). I remember spending 500 fond hours of trike time flying with these two wonderful people ,who indecently will be my new hanger landlords at Krugersdorp Airfield  when I move there later this month. We enjoy the wonderful landscape at this time of the year, everything is so dry yet  wherever you look there are tractors  very busy plowing the land for who knows what. Before we know it we are 5miles out of Bethlehem airfield, we climb to circuit height of 6500ft and call  ATC who give us instructions that we are quite happy to hear which is do a low flyby down tar runway 29 then sharp right out and land on grass runway 13  which we do to the delight of the crowd,  we switch over to ground control fre-quency and are guided to a place where  we can have the petrol bowser refuel us. Its amazing how many aircraft and peo-ple are already here considering the Air show only officially starts tomorrow. Its almost 5pm by the time we get airborne again only half an hour of sunlight left and never having been to Shumba before I would really like to inspect the runway before we land , so up with the airspeed  while Laura merely photographs the sun-set again. Before we know it Shumba runway comes into sight I do a low level inspection , ok the runway with Malcolm who goes in first, by the time we have put on our plane covers its dark. We are met by the hosts Di and Bob what gentle friendly people that decided a few years ago to opt out of the rat race in Johannesburg and buy a farm and start enjoying quality of life I envy them. To cut a long story short they have developed this Farm into a lodge, but with a quality unlike any other lodge that I have been to. It is still a  working farm hence a farm atmosphere , ducks and chickens running around, horses for Africa Di is an avid “horsy” girl and has a diversity of horses from ex racing horses to Shetland pony’s, so if you ride horses this is the place to come to, they do tours around the area on horse back where they even sleep out at a old stone house near the Caledon river for the night. We are shown to our room  which we have chosen outside of the main house. Its clean and neat but very cold no problem in a flash Bob brings an electric heater, plugs it in, a quick shower and off the “Armourey “we go, this is the name of Bob pub, we siphon some beers and have some laughs with the Rietfontein club, one of the Rietfon-tein guys flying name is Big “G” , don’t ask me how he got that name, one can only speculate. There are 3 other fixed  wing Microlight pilots in the pub with us one of them been the Dennis who has been flying for many many years. It feels good to be in the company of the Rietfontein crowd again, reminds me of  previous flyaways when I used to fly Mi-crolights, what a pleasant bunch, I have to fly with them more often. From there off to the next room for a lamb “potie kos” next to a roaring log fire, Boy life is good in  Africa. The next day its an fairly early start  with a good helping of bacon ,eggs, boerewors, toast and coffee, the cutoff time for arrivals at the air show is 9am and flying time from Shumba is 30 minutes the air is so very smooth this morning al-though a bit chilly I suppose it is winter, 5 minutes to run we see this whole conglom-eration of Hot air balloons just off ex-tended centre line 11 what an increasable site it turns out that there had been some type of hot air balloon event earlier on this morning, ATC clears us to land on grass runway 31 no fly by this morning the con-trollers are very busy with last minute arri- vals trying to make the deadline of 9am at this point I must again commend the con-trollers very polite professional and ac-commodating, I know I harp on this sub- ject but you must confess there are some really “chip on the shoulders” controllers around, the last one I recall was at Nel-spruit International airport when Leo did the radio work on one of our flyaways. Malcolm and I fuel up immediately with  Avgas .We walk around the stalls selling every thing from biltong to tractors , have lots and lots to eat and enjoy the aerobatic displays from the performing aircraft, but as with all air shows once you have been to a few they in essence are pretty much the same, so we always use these venues as a springboard for more adventurous things to do like today I have organized  with ATC to let us fly out at 12pm with the understanding that we would keep it low route out West until we where given the instruction to turn South and to our very exciting destination Katse Dam in the Country of Lesotho. We do a formation take off, and keep low level , after flying West for about 3 minutes we are instructed to turn South change frequency to 124.8 and enjoy your flight to Katse guys, Thank you 124.8 next. About 30 minutes into flight Shumba comes into view on our right hand side and over the border we go, gee  wiz Shumba Lodge is almost on the bor-der which is the river we are crossing now, no wonder I had to dial international code last night from my cell phone to speak to our daughter, we were picking up the Lesotho phone network.  Ahead looms a majestic mountain range  we have to cross to get to Katse so we start climbing and climbing and climbing and  just clear the tops between 10500ft and 11000 ft. Wow is it cold up here every stream and waterfall we see is frozen solid but what a breathtakingly spectacular site of indescribable beauty, this once again is an occasion where I feel insignificant and  vulnerable to the elements that are so beautiful yet so cold, hostile and harsh. Back to reality check temps and pressures, and both Malcolm and I GPS mark any road, village, weather station we pass as a  Eastern Free State continues safety measure along our flight path, in case of an engine failure. Soon the vast expanse of the Katse Dam comes into view way down below at 7000ft, what an amazing sight the water is a dark blue-ish color. You can just tell that the water is cold and very deep. This amazing man made dam was built amongst the mountains purely for hydro electric power to sell back to its neighbor South Africa. Here are some staggering facts. The Cumulative catch-ments area is 1866Km squared ,total storage capacity of the dam is 1.950 million cubic metres, and to hold back this vast volume of water is a dam wall that is 60 metres wide at the base, and 9 metres wide at the crest, the height of the wall is 185 metres, with a con-crete volume of 2.32 million cubic metres, and a concrete weight of 5.5 million tons, Crazy figures hey. From the beauty point of view the dam is awesome , so different to any other dam that I have seen, it reminds me of scenes like a lost valley in the movie planet of the apes, when you think of a dam you immediately think of a sandy Shore line with trees or shrubs of some sort, not here, just shear granite walls all over. We see the platform where the divers are working from that are recovering the bodies of the helicopter that crashed into the dam the pre- vious week and as a matter of a fact did remove the body of the pilot the day we flew over the dam , we watched the police helicopter fer-rying some of the divers from the platform back to the base on shore from our lovely perch our MAGNIficient machines, time to return to South Africa if we want to get back with enough fuel to be safe, our flight back was just as good Malcolm finds this valley that we drop down into and follow all the way back to Shumba Lodge. Malcolm and Pat land at Shumba while Laura and I continue to explore the area around Shumba , a wonderful flying area of sand stone cliffs carved by the weather ,caves with bushman painting, the meandering Caledon river so much for the mind to absorb, one of the sand stone outcrops we fly around is called “Hoenderkop”, (  see pic  ) and a story goes like this the farmer who’s land this outcrop was on built a grass hut on top of this outcrop , the only access to the top was up a steel rope ladder , now this farmer, every Friday evening would take a bottle of brandy with him and up the ladder he would go to spend the night in the hut and contemplate the past weeks happenings or so he would say anyway, he did this for many years until one night a storm blew his hut off the hill, he managed to cling to a bolder for the night and survived the ordeal, guess what, yes, he never went up that outcrop again. Laura has had enough of flying for the day and we head back to Shumba. There is still one hour of daylight left and I need to fly some more, this time I take along Bob the owner of Shumba  what a great idea , I get this continues enthusiastic commentary from the back. Go left see there is Fort Campbell, go down the river, see there is an old water driven mill wheel , ah see that stone house over there, that’s where we sleep when we do the horse trails and there that house has been in one family for three generations you should see the antiques inside. I could have flown forever listing to all the in-teresting things Bob was telling me but nightfall is catching up fast we land just in time. I feel tired but yet so satisfied with life, I shower get dressed because tonight Bob and Di are taking all of us into Fouriesburg to have dinner there. Fouriesburg is your typical one horse town but has a good hotel with a stunning restaurant where you even get to choose your wine by going down into a cellar and fetching it yourself. Malcolm and I choose a Allesveloren Cabernet Sauvignon, what a good choice. We have a good dinner next to this log fire, Pat and I have the Lamb curry , Malcolm of course has Fillet steak again, and Laura fish as usual. From there we go to a pub called “J.P Saloon”, where we continue to party and have fun, who said pilots are boring?. That night I sleep like a log and awake to this Cock’s morning call of “ COCK A DOODLE DO!!! ! ”, feels like this chap is inside my ear cavity, so darn loud he is. Don’t you just hate it when animals are so bright eyed and bushy tailed in the mornings, does this bird not know that I have a head ache “that skriks vir niks”. A good breakfast and some panado sorts me out, Bob takes us into town to buy some Mogas for our return trip to Solitude Airfield, an exciting trip I have plotted to take us home. After fueling up Cizy we say our goodbyes get airborne do our usual fly past and route for the Caledon River border we follow this river past the border post then onto the beautiful town of Clarens established in the year 1912 for you guys that think Dullstroom is a quant, want to be seen in place, you aint seen nothing until you have been to Clarens, unfortunately lots of rich folk from JHB have cottoned on to this idea and are buying up real estate left right and centre. From there we route to Golden Gate Highlands National Park, fly around there for a while and then route direct Solitude airfield we are all pretty much quite on the trip home enjoying the flying and scenery when suddenly this Harvard flown by Nigel comes flying so close to my right hand side that we get a wake up call by his prop wash , we knew Tracy in the Wilger and Nigel in the Harvard where behind us as we had been talking to them on the radio a few minutes ago but I did not expect them to catch up so fast, thanks for the beat up Nigel, Laura got a great photo of your magnificent Harvard. Nigel continued with his flight just not in a straight line he was doing loops, barrel rolls and just having fun. What a wonderful flying, exploring weekend we have, thank goodness Laura and I share such common goals  which really lets us see the world and our country while we are young and able. We will sit in the comforts of our cozy house and relax  when we no longer can do the things we do now, at least we will have something to talk about and reflect upon and share in our later life. Thank you Laura for being such a wonderful partner and friend. The weekend must have been good flying we clock 9.5 hours total.
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