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.
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.
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.
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.
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