The Kingston SE Flying Group celebrated the club’s 50th anniversary on February 24 with a nationally publicised fly-in.
The weather wasn’t kind. There was about a 1500-foot cloud-base with a southerly breeze of about 8 knots increasing a little later in the day.
Many grounded pilots opted to drive. The farthest traveller was from Brisbane! He’d read the long-range forecast a week before and set off several days early rather than miss the event. They were Queensland representatives Bruce Sansom and his wife Meryn! Well done guys! That shows real commitment!
Other attendees drove from Adelaide, Renmark and Loxton. A group drove from the Peninsula Aero Club at Tyabb, in Victoria. Others of their group managed to fly as far as Mt Gambier and drive the 150km from there to join the fly-in.
Attending by road from Digby in Victoria was enthusiast/builder Derek Dyer, who many will know from his penchant for radial motors in his beautifully produced recreational kit planes.
While organisers had expected no aircraft to actually fly in due to weather barriers around the Adelaide environs and even further afield at Murray Bridge and the Riverland, this wasn’t to be so!
Bernard and Isaac waited most patiently until about 2 o’clock and managed to join the group for the dinner, as did Jeremy and co-pilot.
Russell Garraway flew from Colac in Victoria and had a great flight, while Mark and Diana Johns came from Loxton the day before and tricked good ol’ Murphy at his own game.
Incidentally they saw 183kn on the ASI due to a very nice tail wind helping their RV6A. Later in the day the gathering was thrilled to see a gaggle of 4 beautiful 2 seat state-of- the-art gyrocopters come roaring out of the North West from Strathalbyn in the Adelaide hills.
The barbecue lunch was attended by 64 people all of whom ate most heartily and enjoyed the cooking of the trusty volunteers.
The local vintage and special car club had an amazing array of faithfully restored vehicles including a beautiful Rolls Royce from Robe, another beautiful fishing town sitting on the tip of picturesque Guichen Bay.
Locals had many unusual vehicles, the most unusual being a ford kit racing car owned by the local postmaster and really turning heads throughout the day.
Hangar talk extended late into the day when everyone adjourned to prepare themselves for the informal celebratory dinner. Over 40 sat down in the dining room of the Royal Mail Hotel on the foreshore and enjoyed delicious treats from the extensive ala carte menu. The night concluded with a short but amusing and heartfelt talk from the long-time president of the Kingston SE Flying Group, Robin Crouch.
Robin opened by recognising the unexpected passing of our great friend and long-time aviation helpmate Roger Duance, whose contribution has been recognised in many arenas for his support and advice, over many years to homebuilders and restorers in and around the state.
The group’s condolences were offered in absentia to his wife Merry in her sad loss.
Robin went on to thank the attendees, particularly commenting on the number of fine younger pilots who managed to both drive and fly in to the gathering.
He commented that it was these people who would be the ones to carry on the work having been begun by the “old guard” such as Roger et al, into the future as thy enjoy the freedoms we have all stood up and worked towards in both the recreational aircraft arena and the GA brotherhood.
He took the time to congratulate the sole remaining member of the original club, and now Flying Group treasurer, well-known local identity John Edwards on having recently also achieved the amazing milestone of having flown for 50 years! What a grand achievement!
And most notably John is still flying several times weekly at the tender age of 83! Robin quipped that they certainly breed them tough in the “Old days”!! How very true!
In closing Robin thanked the Recreational Aviation Australia who had kindly advertised and sponsored the event by supplying lots of giveaways for attendees.
He told the gathering that the club had officially adopted the R.A.Aus safety awareness catchcry in their club slogan which proudly reads: “Clear mind. Clear prop. We fly to do it again often.”
He thanked everyone who attended the commemorative gathering and wished them a safe journey home.
In all, despite a somewhat slow and cloudy beginning, the fly-in was a resounding success. Sincere thanks to all who made it possible.