IRF Float Fly-in: 18 and 19 March, Sunset View resort, Bon Accord dam

It has been a very long time since anyone or club for that matter arranged a float fly-in.  Well it just happened.  Irene Radio Flyers hosted a float fly-in at Sunset View resort, Bon Accord Dam on the 18th and 19th March 2017.  Most pilots were keen on doing some float flying, but a suitable location has always been a challenge. After some searching and driving around and looking at every blue spot on Google Earth, we found Sunset View resort at Bon Accord.  It turned out to be a great venue. The management of the resort was very accommodating,, especially since the event was arranged over a long weekend and the resort would be open to the public who normally camp and do some fishing there. They reserved an area for us that consisted of a few jetties and a boat launch slope and it was game on.  We advertised the event amongst the local clubs and the interest was amazing.  Apparently, Aerial Concepts sold 15 pairs of floats prior to the event and Hi Flyer sold a number of foam float planes.

Deon Viljoen's Stick

Deon Viljoen's Stick

On Saturday 18 March club mostly club members from Irene Radio Flyers, supported the float fly-in.  The main event was Sunday 19 March and we had fantastic participation. No less than 5 clubs supported the event and 20 pilots from Irene Radio Flyers, RMAC, PRF, NERF and PMRF showed up at the event.  Everyone was very excited and took to the water without hesitation.  There were a few nice float planes that emerged on during the weekend. There were Sticks, Beavers, Icons, Cessna’s and some very good-looking scratch built planes, made of composite, balsa and foam.  The Sticks flew well but the foamies on floats impressed most by being surprisingly competent taking off from water.  The foamies will definitely be a popular model of choice next time around. So model hobby shops, please take note.

Martin Venter's Cessna

Martin Venter's Cessna

The flying was fantastic even though many pilots have not done any float flying before.  The landings were even more spectacular not to mention the many “crashes” that occurred.  Landing on water is just not that easy as it seems, but after a while, everyone got the hang of it.  Luckily, the “crashes” were mostly not fatal with only the float mounts that either bent or got detached. Warren van Rensburg’s Stick was not that lucky and broke a wing and Petrie du Preez’s scratch built foamy, known, as “the duck” did not survive the event. It would have been great to see a chopper with floats. Maybe next time.

The Duck

The Duck

Grant Tunbridge and his wife, Leazel did rescue duty on Saturday with a canoe and Dirk van der Bank had his Bass boat out on Sunday to collect the stranded planes and pieces from the water. 

Grant Tunbridge

Grant Tunbridge

Dirk van der Bank rescuing

Dirk van der Bank rescuing

We were hindered by hyacinths on Saturday afternoon and we had our hands full to open an area at the jetty so that we could launch and land our planes.  Sunday was fantastic and the wind pushed all the hyacinths to the opposite shore

Everyone enjoyed the event tremendously and Irene Radio Flyers thanks everyone that supported the event and contributed to the success. The event was incident free due to the excellent safety measures in place.  This will definitely become an annual event and we are already following up on some leads for suitable dams.     

Johnny Foonk's Beaver

Agreement with Waterkloof AFB

As per the instruction from Air Traffic Navigation Services, several SAMAA-registered Clubs within the control zones of major airports are required to enter into an agreement with their local Air Traffic Services Unit (ATSU).

Irene Radio Flyers is situated within the Waterkloof CTR and therefore we were required to negotiate and sign a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the Waterkloof Airforce Base ATC.  This LOA is an agreement for the safe use of a portion of the Waterkloof airspace by Irene Radio Flyers.

I am happy to report that the IRF committee successfully negotiated an agreement with Waterkloof Airforce Base and the agreement will be signed within the next few days.  This LOA covers the flying of model aircraft for sporting and recreational purposes only.    

The most important contents of the agreement are as follows:

1.      Flying of any model aircraft shall not exceed 400ft above ground level.

2.      ATS shall take the site as permanently active for model aircraft flying up to a mass of 25kgs.

3.      In the event of loss of control resulting in a model aircraft "flyaway" event, ATS are to be notified immediately via telephone on 012 672-3251/3060/3264.

4.      A spotter/safety officer shall always be present during any flying activity.

5.      ATC may place any restrictions to flying which they see fit.

6.      All model flying activities are to be conducted strictly in accordance with SACAA CAR Part 94.06.10 and 94.06.11 and the SAMAA Manual of Operations.

7.      For temporary increased height, applications may be made to RAASA as per FUA/CAMU processes and for NOTAM publication.

8.      All model aircraft sites/clubs will be 1NM radius centered around the stated co-ordinates (Irene Radio Flyers S25°54’34”   E028°13’13), unless otherwise specified.

9.      ATC shall be informed of all organized fly-inn events well in advance on telephone numbers 012 672-3251/3060/3264.

Further requirements are that:

1        Waterkloof ATC shall be notified whenever a radio-controlled model jet fitted with a turbine powered engine is to be flown at the club

2        pilots shall always maintain line of sight when flying

3        all flying activities shall daily be limited from 0600 in the morning until 1800 in the afternoon. I would like to inform you that Waterkloof has issued a NOTAM (Notice to airmen) today that regulates these flying hours.  (we may, however, negotiate alternative times when we want to do night-flying for example).



It is still a few months away, but already time to start getting ready for our trip to “Tamatieberg”. You should start thinking about; what to fly, what to build, and believe me the time will fly past. Before you realize, there are only two weeks left and no more time to get ready.

For now this is only a reminder to start preparing and keep date for our weekend at “Tamatieberg” Volksrust 28 to 30 October, 2016.

Reservations will be taken at a later stage for accommodation and meals, there are limited availability but we hope to fill it up this year.

Please note “Tamatieberg” is a registered SAMAA site and operates under their rules, please practice responsible alcohol usage. Of course after the day’s flying, let’s enjoy something together.

So what do we do there? A fun weekend spent with fellow members where we use the wind and lift to spend hours flying with delta wings, gliders or other non-motorized planes. But good idea to also bring something with a motor when the wind does not play along.

We will try gather some prizes and one of them will be for best looking or most interesting plane, so think about it.

If you want to find out how the story actually works, speak to these veterans who are regular visitors and can be seen at club regularly.

Martin or Rassie Venter, Robbie Wilson, Petrie du Preez, Andre Beukes, Kleintjie de Klerk Francois de Ravel, Johnny Foonk and myself.

Take a look at the following:

Why you must improve your proficiency

In the interest of the hobby and sport of model aircraft, it is a requirement of Samaa, and subsequently also a local club rule, for any pilot to be allowed to fly on his own without a qualified instructor in attendance, that he/she should possess at least a solo proficiency rating (Section 6.16 of the General Rules and Guidelines for Operation of Model Aircraft)

 The proficiency rating system was introduced by Samaa to ensure a RC model pilot’s ability to fly and control a model aircraft safely when other members are present and flying. It also ensures that the model pilot had been instructed on his club’s bye-laws, safety rules, the SAMAA Operating Manual, and has an understanding and working knowledge of his radio equipment, radio installation, and a basic understanding related to model safety and aerodynamics.  There are five proficiency ratings:  Solo, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Instructor.  Samaa has for many years regarded the Bronze rating as the club minimum standard.

Out of the 120 club members at Irene Radio Flyers, there are 40 members who do not possess a SOLO rating as yet.   Many of these members are excellent RC pilots with excellent flying skills.  The completion of a SOLO proficiency test should for many therefore just be a formality. We as a Club would therefore like to call on these members to at least do a SOLO proficiency test as soon as possible.

But if you already possess a Solo proficiency, please do not stop there.  RC planes are getting bigger, faster and more powerful.  Turbine jets are becoming even more popular.  Samaa has therefore stipulated in Sections 6.26 and 6.27 of the said General Rules and Guidelines for Operation of Model Aircraft respectively that pilots who want to fly large model aircraft with a mass more than 10kg but less than 25kg, should at least possess a Silver proficiency rating and pilots who want fly gas turbine jets, should at least possess a gold rating.   The South African Model Jet Association (SAMJA) also has minimum proficiency requirements in this regard.

We can therefore not emphasize the requirement of obtaining a proper proficiency rating enough.  We have determined quite a few dates in our calendar to assist members with proficiency tests.  But we are willing to accommodate you on any date when you are ready and willing to complete a proficiency test, provided that instructors would be available on that day.  Any two members with a Silver rating are allowed to test a pilot for a Solo rating. 

Please consult our new web at and then click on the CLUB and then PROFICIENCY TESTS tabs to download the Samaa proficiency booklets fir fixed wing and heli’s.

Please make use of these opportunities availed to you.  You are welcome to discuss any of the above with any of the committee members or the qualified Samaa instructors at our club.