Malalane takes to the air

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Photo by Johan Orton/Asics for illustration purposes only.

Mel Preddy

Everyone has undoubtedly noticed that the sky around Malalane has been a bit busier than normal over the past few weeks, in particular since Saturday.  With that has come a bit of noise, and the odd complaint! It is all for a good cause.

Malalane is in the privileged position of being host to two major flying competitions this year.  The first is the annual South African National Aerobatic Championships, for 2017.  This happens yesterday 5 July at 14H00 up to Saturday, 8 July, at 14H00.  Although there has been a LOT of activity during the past weeks, this has been training and practice activity.  The real deal started on Wednesday afternoon.

The best among South Africa’s competitive pilots are among those competing.  While this is not traditionally a spectator sport, all are welcome to come and watch them at work.  A parking area has been opened at the entrance to the airfield.  PLEASE TAKE NOTE THAT THERE ARE SAFETY RULES – THEY WILL BE SPECIFIED AT THE END OF THIS COMMUNICATION.

The second competition is the World Aerobatics Championships 2017.  This event is held every two years, and attracts the top pilots from around the globe.  Among those competing will be the French Air Force team and many others.  The 2017 event will be the first official Aerobatics World Championship event one to be hosted in Africa, which raises Malalane and Nkomazi to prominence in an interesting way.  This happens in September and more information will be distributed in due course.

Arrangements and rules:

  • All entry is at your own risk;
  • There are no entry fees;
  • The airfield is private property, and the property of RCL Foods.  RCL Foods at all times reserves the right to limit access to the facility;
  • Please use the parking area between the N4 and the airfield office.  If you want to park next to the N4, this will be at your risk.  Although this is not illegal, TRACN4 does not condone this from a safety perspective.  If you do so, please park as far away from the N4 as possible;
  • DO NOT CROSS THE N4 ON FOOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES unless you have a death wish;
  • LOOK AFTER YOUNG CHILDREN – DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO WANDER AROUND UNATTENDED;
  • There will be no food sold at the venue;
  • There will be soft drinks and water available from Thursday to Saturday;
  • The tarmac will be a very busy place, with aeroplanes coming and going on a continual basis.  As a result, please stay behind the fence and do not enter the tarmac area under any circumstances;
  • PHOTOGRAPHERS: contact Mel at 082 777 6076 for information and special arrangements (SMS/ WA or phone);  Alternatively, look for a lady by the name of Annie Boon – she is the Contest Director and can also assist serious photographers with arrangements.

Given the above, enjoy the experience of watching our top aerobatic champions battle it out in the air.  Keep safe, be wise and help create an environment where all visitors feel welcome.