Festival got off to an exciting flying start

CANDICE BRADFIELD

THE Air Festival at 43 Air School
which took place recently saw a constant stream of visitors lining up to take a
flip in one of the many planes available – for a fee.

Planes giving rides included a Cherokee,
Yak 52, Stearman, Harvard, Sea Fury, Mustang and L-39. Adrenaline junkies could
opt for aerobatic flips which cost a little bit more.

Fifteen-year-old Tom Westcott was thrilled
with his 20 minute flight over Port Alfred and out over the sea in a Cherokee.

FUN FLIP: The Port Alfred Air Festival,
which saw a great turnout, took place at 43 Air School last weekend. Visitors
had the chance to take a flip in a variety of small planes, like this Harvard
Picture: CANDICE BRADFIELD

“It was great, the view was awesome,” he
said.

Eight-year-old Leo Human who went on the
same flight agreed it was “awesome”.

Terry Clarke went on his first aerobatic
flight and was lucky enough to have famous pilot Laurie Kay, who flew over the
Ellis Park stadium during the 1995 Rugby World Cup, at the helm.

Clarke said they did loops, 90 degree turns
and Kay even cut the engine and let the plane freefall.

“It was amazing,” said Clarke.

Dr Crystal Watson, who was the organiser of
the event and is the director of the MTR Smit Children’s Home, was impressed
with the turnout.

On the second day the extreme heat resulted
in the planes being grounded to cool down between flights which meant less time
in the air, but there were no other problems, she said.

Airplane enthusiasts were able to take a
walk through history by visiting The Wright Place, the air school’s own museum
of flying memorabilia. Visitors could also peruse the stalls, children had a
jumping castle to keep them entertained and loud music contributed to the
festive atmosphere.

About R140 000 was raised from the event of
which R70 000 will go to the MTR Smit Children’s Home and R70 000 to the Port
Alfred Soup Kitchen.

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