Inauguration of Chapter 1500 Bethlehem

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- Francois Marais, Chapter 1500 Inaugural Chairman

Saturday, 16 May 2015, was one of the big milestones for the 18-month old Bethlehem Aero Club. From Friday 15 May there were fly-ins from all over. On Friday night everybody was entertained with an informal braai at the clubhouse. On Saturday a few more planes flew in and the local KIA branch made transport available for the visitors to explore Clarens. The rest relaxed in the autumn sun at the clubhouse with boerewors rolls and coffee.

Saturday night was the inauguration of the newly established Chapter 1500 as well as the initiation of the newly renovated Clubhouse. This was in the form of a buffet dinner set to take place in Philip Jacobs’ hangar.

The guests were welcomed by the BAC Chairman, Philip Jacobs, who thanked all the members from especially Chapter 322 who offered their time to assist with the establishment of our Chapter. This was followed by Ms Thandi Hadede, Director of Economic Development of the Local Dihlabeng Municipality.

Paul Lastrucci, the EAA of SA National President, took the stand and presented the certificate of inauguration to Francois Marais, PRO of Bethlehem Aero Club. Karl Jensen then entertained everybody with his speech before the guests tucked into the dinner and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

For the Bethlehem Aero Club, this is a huge honour and they will strive to become one of the most active Chapters in SA.


- Karl Jensen, Chapter 322 Chairman 

Greetings to you Special People

I would like you to all know who the EAA members were who so kindly supported the inauguration of EAA Chapter 1500 Bethlehem. In my view it was most important that we had a good showing and solidarity in launching Chapter 1500. While I understand that some people could for whatever reason not stay over on Saturday 16 May at Bethlehem, the mere fact that you flew in and spent maybe just a few hours at the airfield was a good show of our efforts to launch and support Chapter 1500 with enthusiasm. There were also those who drove in (Marie Reddy, Kevin Hopper and Willie Bodenstein) because of aircraft unserviceability, and this also shows exceptional dedication and commitment.

The inauguration took place in Philip Jacobs’ hangar adjacent to the Bethlehem Aero Club during a delicious sumptuous dinner on Saturday evening.

Phillip Jacobs provided 2 cars and a minibus with driver to transport our members to Clarens for lunch and a few frosted neck-oilers and great company. We were back in Bethlehem by about 16h00 to be able to go to our various hostelries to freshen up for the evening function starting at 18h00.

Various speeches were made and Paul Lastrucci, our National President of EAA of SA, after an excellent speech handed over the inauguration certificate for Chapter 1500 Bethlehem to Francois Marais who is the inaugural Chairman of the

Chapter. Archie Kemp had made special inauguration licence holder discs and stickers for the event which were handed to Francois.

This morning (Sunday 17 May) the framed inauguration certificate was on display mounted prominently in the Bethlehem Aero Club.

Our wishes are for every success with this, our newest EAA Chapter. in SA. May you grow from strength to strength.

From memory, the EAA participants who were not from Bethlehem included:

Brian Appleton, Willie Bodenstein, Nico Brandt, Mike Brown, Jonty Caplan, Stuart & Greg Clegg, Mark Clulow, Ricardo De Bonis, Neil Fenton, Trixie Heron, Kevin Hopper, Neil Jacobs & Koos, Karl Jensen, Rob & Vera Jonkers, Archie Kemp, Clive King, Paul Lastrucci, Martin & Alexis Meyer, Irene Naude, Marie Reddy, Brian Stableford,  Stephen Theron, Theuns Welgemoed, Jeremy & William Woods, Hennie Roets.

Thanks again everyone!





 - Irene Naude, Chapter 322 

We had a wonderful flight to Bethlehem from Tedderfield in Nico Brandt’s Maule 6 on Saturday 16 May. Nico flew at low level as far as Reitz and then higher from there to Bethlehem. What fascinated me particularly were the many pink flamingos that we saw and tried not to disturb as we flew by.

On arrival at Bethlehem we drove to Clarens in cars kindly loaned to us by Philip Jacobs who is the KIA dealer in Bethlehem. We enjoyed a languid lunch at the Rote Hahn. On return to Bethlehem, we attended the inauguration of the Chapter 1500 Bethlehem in Philip Jacobs’ hangar which the members’ wives had tastefully decorated. It was a most enjoyable event with mouthwatering food and great company.

On the Sunday I was flown over Golden Gate and the magnificent mountain scenery by Philip in his Piper Arrow, a breathtaking flight arranged by the new EAA Chairman Francois Marais. We departed around midday with Nico back to Tedderfield. A woman can’t get more spoilt than this in a single weekend. Many thanks to the kind people of Chapter 1500 and to Nico for taking me along in his lovely aircraft.