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Namaqualand Aero Sport Association


BACKGROUND

 

The old Koperberg Flying Club was established in the early sixties. A Piper Cherokee and a Piper Tri-Pacer were operated by the club and a resident flying-instructor ensured that new student pilots received training.

 

In the late seventies the rand was strong and Springbok saw several new aircraft (see above) also operating from the field. Instruction was given in a Cessna 172 (ZS-JCK) by instructors flying for Namakwaland Lugdiens. Young pilots, still at school (Carel Oberholzer and Elsa Hennig), were trained and about seven student pilots were on the books of the old Koperberg Flying Club during this period.

 

The weakening of the rand and rising fuel prices caused a slow decline in flying activities and the club membership declined to zero. The club was revived in the late 1980s under a new name, Namaventures. Club activities now included flying, 4x4 excursions, parachuting, offroad racing, mountaineering, hiking and river-rafting. Under new management and with a very active club secretary, Ursula van der Westhuizen, the membership boomed again and many successful excursions followed. These activities continued for quite a few years and a large number of social and outdoor activities kept the members busy and interested in the club. With the departure of Ursula, who kept the members active and informed with a monthly news letter, the club membership once again slowly declined. Only the flying members and those interested in aviation visited the club over this dormant period and it was time for a change.

 

THE MODERN CLUB

 

In 1998 the club was revived once again and the name changed to Namaqualand Aero Sport Association (abbreviated NASA) to accommodate the microlight and radio-controlled enthusiasts as well. NASA is a social club with all the members actively taking part in social and flying activities.

 

During the week and over weekends you will always find a club member fixing, changing, modifying and/or looking at his/her airplane and/or hangar. The club is well known for its social events at the "Abco" hangar and all visiting pilots are always welcome!

 

The club's membership is currently at 40 and the club boasts a relatively wide selection of aircraft. The club is also proud about the fact that under the leadership of Johan Nortje two Whisper Motorgliders and at least one Bushbaby aircraft were built and completed. Johan Nortje is also a microlight instructor and at least two students are undergoing training at any one time.

 

Meetings take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the clubhouse. There is always some activity at the airfield on Saturday and Sunday mornings, which includes a cup of coffee and a chat. With the club now boasting a liquor license and improved club facilities it has a strong future: promoting flying in the area and growth in membership.

 

I personally experienced the friendliness and active side of the club when I was invited to join some of the club members on an early Sunday morning flight. I flew as passenger with Jannie de Kock (ZS-VLR) and Di Ellis (ZS-WPE). Johan Nortje (ZS-WLM) and Tinus van Schalkwyk (ZS-VYT) joined us on the leasurely and relaxing flight. The scenery was breathtaking and it was a tranquil experience. We landed on a road on the farm Silwerfontein and stayed for a short while before resuming the flight and returning to FASB.

 

An interesting fact is that many of the club members have more than one aircraft. Details of the aircraft of the club members can be found in the images as well as the captions.

 

ANNUAL FLY-IN

 

NASA hosted its annual fly-in from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 October 2007 at FASB. Aircraft arrived on the 19th and 20th and departed on the 20th and 21st. The main participants in the airshow, which took place on the 20th, were the South African Air Force (SAAF) and the South African Police Service (SAPS).

 

SAAF aircraft included an Oryx of 22 Squadron (bambi-bucket fire demonstration), the Astras of the Silver Falcons, two C-47TPs of 35 Squadron (one was used as support aircraft for the Silver Falcons and took part in the airshow and the other brought the Young Falcons) as well as a Cessna Grand Caravan of 41 Squadron (used as jump ship by the Golden Eagles). SAPS aircraft included a Turbo Porter (short takeoffs and landings) and an Aerospatiale Ecureuil (demonstrated how criminals are dealt with).

 

Civilian aircraft seen at FASB on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday included single-engine piston types (Cherokee Arrow ZS-FGT, Bonanza ZS-KZA, Decathlon ZS-NDS, Centurion ZS-PFU, Mooney ZS-ZAR, F1 Rocket ZU-DND and Sinus ZU-GJN), twin-engine piston types (Aztec ZS-JXL, P166S ZS-NJS and Twin Comanche ZU-EDW), a turboprop aircraft (the Red Cross PC-12), a single helicopter (Robinson R22 ZS-RCT) and a single jet (L-39 ZU-KIM). Local aircraft seen at the airfield during this period included a Beech Baron, Cessna FR172J, some microlights, a Jabiru and two Whispers. Some of the civilian aircraft gave flypasts on the 20th.

 

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