2016 National Convention, looking at the Western Cape

If EAA SA is to grow, it is necessary to give the Western Cape recreational aviation community the motivation and opportunity to have an EAA Convention conveniently close by. It is also the right thing to do. There are an enormous number of aircraft in this area whose owners and pilots are not involved in in the EAA movement. We need far more members to belong to EAA and thereby also strengthen the hand of the Aero Club in protecting our rights to the skies and monitoring as well as influencing the rule making processes of the aviation authorities. If we fail in attracting more members, it will within a short period result in restriction our relative freedom of the skies as has been the experience of recent attempted hostile legislation.

A decision was made by our EAA National President Paul Lastrucci for a delegation to travel to Mossel Bay (FAMO) to investigate the possibility of holding the 2016 EAA National Convention at this venue. This was the result of strong motivation at the 2015 Convention at Margate by Horace Blok (Chapter 322) who lives nearby at Groot Brak River. Horace’s enthusiasm and energy is infectious. At the end of 2014, the well organised and successful World Intermediate Aerobatic Championships were held at FAMO. Importantly, the airspace is uncluttered and the airfield has a registered aerobatic box.

The Mossel Bay Flying Club has a lovely clubhouse with catering facilities and they operate a fuel service that includes Avgas and Jet A1 with imminent availability of Mogas too. The airfield has a 1200 metre tarred runway with taxiway, a large apron adjoining the clubhouse and about 33 hangars. The use of conveniently positioned hangars by EAA has been assured. The Flying Club is also enthusiastic about hosting the Convention with warm hospitality shown to the delegation by the very friendly members. All branches of recreational aviation and their followers and members of other sections of Aero Club are encouraged to attend.

FAMO is about 6-7 km from the town, which boasts reasonably priced accommodation where special deals have been promised with more to be negotiated. The delegation overnighted at the Diaz Beach Hotel where the Convention Dinner and Awards will most probably be held in one of their fine function facilities to avoid driving after partying. This hotel has 85 rooms that have been promised at well discounted rates. Even though a shuttle bus will be organised to transport visitors between the airfield and hostelries in town, camping will of course be permitted at the airfield.

In order to alleviate the cost of travel between Gauteng and Mossel Bay, negotiations are in progress to use the SAA Historic Flight’s DC-3 at an affordable rate. Despite the fair distance from Gauteng to Mossel Bay, the distance from Tempe to FAMO is only 373 nm compared to about 300 nm from Rand to Margate. A cross-country flight from Gauteng to FAMO would be a pleasant adventure.

Although coastal weather is often variable, we should expect good weather during the 2016 Convention weekend which will be from 29 April to 1 May. This falls conveniently between the 27 April (Freedom Day) and 02 May (Workers Day) public holidays.

The stars are favourably aligned for this Convention.

Let’s do it and make the 2016 Convention the best ever!

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