Brilliant debut by the ‘Flying Doctor’ at the Ch322 January meeting

Gordon Dyne's picture

A brilliant debut by the ‘Flying Doctor’ Mike Brown at the January meeting

Some 100 members and friends of EAA Chapter 322 came together last Wednesday 13 January for the inaugural meeting of the Chapter’s new Chairman, Dr Mike Brown.

What a scintillating debut by this true professional! A medical doctor for more than 40 years and an even longer period as a pilot, mainly private, sometime commercial and always recreational. A smooth talk show host, in the same league as Larry King, and now the crowd-pleasing and crowd-pulling Chairman of South Africa’s biggest EAA Chapter. I wonder if the Dickie Fritz MOTH Hall will be large enough to accommodate the audience which is sure to swell as the news of Mike’s successful Chairmanship spreads. Maybe the committee should start thinking of the Linder Auditorium in the near future!
Due to heavy traffic, I was late arriving at the Hall and thus did not have time to partake of the culinary delights on offer. However, I am reliably informed that the refreshments provided by Ann Ferreira and her team plus the rapid response duo in the bar made sure that everyone was fully satiated by the time the meeting began.
So by the time I arrived, Chairman Mike was in full swing and running through the formalities with his usual easygoing manner. Treasurer Mark Clulow was explaining in simple terms how members could pay their annual EAA and Aero Club subscriptions.

The safety feature showed a short video of the dangers of ‘swinging a prop by hand’. In this demonstration the ‘swinger’, not realising the ‘mags were live’, almost lost his arm when the engine fired. The moral is to always ‘treat a prop as live’!

Jeremy Woods, the auditorium co-ordinator, advised the meeting that we may have a Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado pilot as our next talk show guest. Now, with the RAF bombing Syria, that will be a fascinating talk. Bring him on Jeremy! Another job for Mike Brown as Talk Show host!
Future fly-aways included the weekend’s breakfast at Mabalingwe. I went last year and the morning was excellent. Clive King proved to be a most amiable ‘host in the bush’.

Mike had interspersed the formalities with some excellent clips from his laptop. Amongst these was a video of a tandem skydive made by our senior member, Claus Keuchel. Claus, now well into his 80s, explained that this was a bucket list activity that he finally managed to tick off recently. From the expression of pure excitement and obvious joy, I suspect this will become a regular activity! We were all rolling around with mirth. Half-time was called and the glasses were recharged. Mike then called the rowdy troops to order and the Chapter’s gorgeous secretary Marie (Amelia Earhart) Reddy regaled in detail, with some great pictures and maps, her ground-breaking seven-day trip to Mossel Bay in her delightful little two-seater Ikarus ZU-EEE. What a plucky young lady is our Marie. With less than 100 hours in her log book and never having flown outside Johannesburg, off our intrepid adventurer goes into darkest Africa completely on her own. Marie, in her usual modest fashion, did not wish for her trip to be compared with those of Tracey Curtis Taylor in her Boeing Stearman, but for such an inexperienced pilot as Marie, her trip was ‘the stuff from which legends are made’! The whole audience rose ‘to a man’ to salute her. Well done, Marie. A magnificent feat!

I sat, for the entire meeting, with the Chapter’s previous Chairman Captain Karl Jensen who held the mantle for nearly a decade . Near the end of the meeting Karl turned to me and said, “Mike has done a brilliant job.” Praise from the Master is praise indeed. Karl knows his ‘baby’ is in good hands.

That concluded the inaugural meeting for our new Chairman. Fabulous , Mike. You deserved all those plaudits you received and the beers we consumed after the meeting. On my way out I reversed into a pole in the car park of the MOTH hall! Your fault, Mike!
Thank you very much.

Dr Mike Brown
Marie Reddy
Gregg Clegg
Gordon Dyne addressing the Chapter 322 meeting.