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 Small things - Big attitudes

Article and photographs by J.P. van Vuuren, SAAF Intranet

PRETORIA – Swartkop airfield in Valhalla was bustling with activity on 17 and 18 February 2007 when, apart from a flying training day at the South African Air Force Museum (SAAF Museum), the South African Model Jet Association (SAMJA) presented the South African Model Jet Masters. SAMJA forms part of the South African Model Aircraft Association (SAMAA)Both these bodies are governed by the Aero Club of South Africa.

There were a lot of small jet planes and a lot of small people who accompanied the adults. Then there was “Sorsie” – the small dog who paraded the event as if appointed in an overseeing capacity and who did not seem to mind the “big” sound of the mini jet turbine engines. Most things might have seemed small to many but there was big attitudes from the model jet aircraft and their owner-operators.

The SAAF Museum had training hours flown on the Alouette II (number 22) and Alouette III helicopters (number 628), the Bosbok (number 959), the Kudu (number 969) and the Harvard called “Nelson” (number 7111). The day also saw a Supermarine Spitfire replica of Neil Thomas which was flown in from Lanseria airport for display purposes.

Members from SAMJA and their families gathered at Swartkop under various gazebos and shelters. The Model Jet Masters were hot in more ways than one – hot aerial displays, hot model jets, hot tarred surfaces everywhere and then there was the occasional hot “chick”. Model jet aircraft included a F22 Raptor, Eurofighter, Hawk, Sukhoi Su-27 and F16 Falcon amongst others.

Radio control enthusiast Andy Keil sported an exact scale replica of a U.S.A.F. F15-C Eagle and which was modeled on an aircraft based at Bittburg Air Force Base in Germany in 1981. Andy proudly explained that he has been flying model aircraft for more than twenty years. A very attractive F16 Falcon, painted in orange and black tiger stripes also formed part of his collection.

Spectators and participants agreed that the excitement of the day was worth the trip to Swartkop airfield and amongst the boerewors rolls and cold beverages the tenacious sound of small things with big attitudes could be heard…



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