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Bethlehem Airshow and Fly-in, 7 May 2005


Introduction
 
Several airshows, fly-ins and other aviation events took place in 2005. The Bethlehem (ICAO code FABM) Airshow and Fly-in took place on 7 May 2005. In the week before the FABM show a competition for hot-air balloons took place in the town. During the morning of the airshow the balloons took off from a military base in the town, made a short flight and most of them landed at a farm with the name Kosbaar (literally translated as “precious”).


It was great fun chasing after these beautiful and gentle giants of the sky on the morning of 7 May 2005.


Some of the hot-air balloons landing and being recovered on 7 May 2005 on the farm Kosbaar. ZS-HYR (in the background) is almost deflated and ZS-HPG is in the process of being deflated.
 
Note
 
Please note that the information provided in this article pertains to the year 2005.
 
Description of FABM, aircraft positions, local operators and crop-spraying aircraft
 
Description of FABM
 
Bethlehem Airfield comprises a tar and a grass runway, hard aprons, various hangars and several grass areas. It is well-known as a crop-sprayer airfield. Various operators are based at the airfield.
 
Between the tar runway and the static area there was a fence that acted as separation. In the Orsmond area there were a main hangar and a smaller hangar as well as an open-shade hangar.
 
Aircraft positions
 
Local aircraft could be found all over the airfield, but the visiting aircraft were restricted to a grass parking area that is an extension of the grass runway. As far as airshow aircraft are concerned, the static aircraft occupied more than one area and the flying aircraft were on either side of the tar runway (some of the flying aircraft could also be found in the static area).
 
Local operators
 
Orsmond Aviation
 

Orsmond Aviation offers crop-spraying and fire-fighting services and has an ag school through which it offers training to would-be crop-spraying pilots. In addition it offers maintenance services, including engine conversions/modifications (e.g. with the Walter engine).


Orsmond Aviation operates and maintains crop sprayers. Air Tractor 301 (Walter M601D engine) ZS-KPC is one of at least ten crop sprayers in this shot. Note the large hangar behind the open-shade hangar and the smaller hangar between the open-shade hangar and the large hangar. Some of the airshow aircraft can be seen on the hard apron to the right of the large hangar and the grass area in the background.
 
South African Weather Service
 

One of the local operators is the SA Weather Service, which uses two Rockwell Commander 690 aircraft for atmospheric research such as weather modification experiments and atmospheric chemistry studies.
 
Crop-spraying aircraft
 
Turbo Kruk
 
Among the several crop sprayers present at the airfield on the day of the airshow were four PZL-106 Turbo Kruks (Kruk means “raven”), two of which had no registrations. On all four of them the constructor’s number was visible.
 
At least six PZL-106 BTs with the constructor’s numbers 10900239 to 10900244 were imported into South Africa. Here they received the registrations ZS-NVJ, ZS-NWX, ZS-NWY, ZS-OAP, ZS-NVI and ZS-NOL. Both ZS-NOL (registered 21 October 1994, last RSA owner Arctic Rose Aviation, constructor’s number 10900244, previous identity SP-WBP) and ZS-OAP (registered 17 January 1997, last RSA owner Arctic Rose Aviation, constructor’s number 10900242, previous identity SP-WBN) have apparently been exported. For details of the other four PZL-106 BTs see the list of aircraft in the tables section.
 
The predecessor of the Turbo Kruk is the PZL-106 Kruk, a piston-engine aircraft that had its first flight on 15 May 1981. The PZL-106 BT-601, which had its first flight on 18 September 1985, is powered by the Walter M601 turboprop engine. Another model is the PZL-106 BTU-34 Turbo Kruk, which is powered by a Pratt-Whitney PT6A-34 AG.
 
PZL actually comprises three factories and is derived from Państwowe Zakłady Lotnicze – “State Aviation Works”, which was founded in 1928. Since 1934 the main aircraft factory in Warsaw was named PZL WP-1 and located in the Okecie district of Warsaw. During World War Two all the factories were destroyed, but after WWII they were rebuilt. PZL WP-1 was renamed CSS (Central Aircraft Studies), thereafter WSK-4, then in 1956 WSK-Okecie (Wytwórnia Sprzętu Komunikacyjnego - Communication Equipment Factory). After 1989 the factory was again renamed, this time as PZL Warszawa-Okecie. The other two factories are PZL-Mielec and PZL-Swidnik.


Several PZL-106 BTs were still at the airfield. ZS-NVI is one of those with a reggie. The PZL logo and “Made in Poland” are visible behind the cockpit. “PZL-106 BT” can be distinguished on the tailfin. The constructor’s number (10900243) appears on the empennage (below the tailfin).
 
Gippsland Fatman
 

An interesting and unique crop sprayer at FABM on 7 May 2005 was Gippsland Aeronautics GA200C Fatman ZS-OPH. Gippsland Aeronautics started life as an aircraft maintenance and modification business at the Latrobe Regional Airport in Morwell, Australia, in the 1970s. The company’s first design was the GA200 light agricultural aircraft. In 1993 a new model, the GA200C, was recertified with the capability of lifting one tonne on 300 horse power, giving the aircraft a 30 to 50% better performance than any aircraft in its class. The other aircraft manufactured by Gippsland is the GA8 Airvan utility transport aircraft.
 
The Fatman is powered by the Lycoming IO540K-series engine and a Hartzell 2-bladed constant-speed propeller. The hopper’s capacity is 1050 litres. Due to the aircraft’s wide-body fuselage a permanent seat for a loader driver or maintenance engineer can be fitted and aerial viewing by the farmer is possible. There is a dual-control trainer version as well. Full certification of the GA200 was achieved on 1 March 1991. Apart from being used in Australia, the GA200 has been type-certified in countries such as New Zealand, China, the USA, Canada, South Africa and Brazil.
 
Another Fatman that was imported into the country is ZS-OLF. On 5 August 2003 it was destroyed in an accident. The aircraft was apparently on a pleasure flight from and to Ermelo Airfield.
 
Route to Bethlehem and other airfields visited
 
As it involves quite a bit of travelling to get to some of the airshow venues, the opportunity was used to visit other airfields as well. From Gauteng the basic route to Bethlehem is via Vereeniging, Heilbron, Petrus Steyn and Reitz. From Johannesburg one can follow the R59 to Vereeniging, take the offramp to Sasolburg/Koppies/Vanderbijlpark (R82) and turn right into the R82 and turn left to Heilbron. From here it is the R57 via Petrus Steyn and Reitz. Then one can take the R26 to Bethlehem.
 
At Reitz there are two airfields: one opposite the crossing to Reitz (crop-sprayer strip with runway and hangar) and the other (local town airfield) is on the way to the town.
 
At Heilbron all the hangars have been broken down. A few years ago there were six hangars, the last one of which was broken down recently. Only the taxiway, runway, wind sock and a watertank were to be seen on the day this ex-airfield was visited. One of the original hangars (the biggest) could accommodate three crop sprayers (during the season normally used by Orsmond Aviation as temporary base).
 
Airshow participants
 

Regular airshow participants are the Sasol Tigers. Here they perform a tight formation flypast with their Aero L-29s.


As usual, the South African Air Force (SAAF) was a very welcome participant. This is Cessna Caravan I number 3012 of 41 Squadron (badge below cockpit on forward fuselage), AFB Waterkloof. Note the South African flag on the tailfin and the new-style roundel (introduced in 2003) on the rear fuselage.


This Puma (serial number 175) of the SAAF Museum formed part of the security demonstration. The following logos are on the aircraft: Siyandiza (a programme aimed at making South Africa’s youth aware of aviation) on the cabin door and the rear fuselage and Denel Aviation on the sponson. Note the fence separating the crowd from the runway.


Rockwell Commander 690 ZS-JRA of the South African Weather Service, one of the local residents, gave a short flying display. The aircraft has the titles RESEARCH 1 on the wing tips.

Fly-in aircraft
 
The following selection of images represents the various aircraft that participated in the fly-in.


The Pipistrel Sinus UL is described as “the world's first ULM certified composite two seater motorglider”. The aircraft comes in the 503 and 912 (Rotax engine) models.


Piper Aerostar ZS-OLZ.


Cessna 172 ZS-PEK


One of the more interesting visiting fly-in aircraft was Super Falke SF25 ZS-UOX.


Homebuilt type Sonerai 2L ZS-WSW


Harvard IIA registration number ZU-AOZ of the Harvard Club of SA is seen at FABM on 2005-05-07 in target-tug colours. Harvard IIA serial number 7166 was one of a batch of 633 North American Harvard Mk IIAs/IIIs delivered between October 1942 and July 1944 direct to the SAAF from the USA as part of the Lend Lease Program. It has been the property of the Harvard Club of South Africa since 18 March 1999 as ZU-AOZ. The aim of the Harvard Club is to preserve examples of the Harvard. The colour scheme of the aircraft resembles that used by target-tug aircraft in the 1950s.
 
Other aircraft seen at FABM on 7 May 2005


This image depicts Let 410UVP-E20 registration number 5H-PAN of Precision Air being worked on in Orsmond Aviation’s main hangar. Up to now Precision Air of Tanzania has operated a fleet of ATR-42s, ATR-72s and Let 410s and served the Serengeti, Zanzibar and Mafia Island and offered charter services and scenic flights to Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Mount Kilimanjaro. Now the company also leases Boeing 737-3U8 constructor’s number 28746 5Y-KQA from Kenya Airways.


River Air Charters is a subsidiary of André Roebert Ministries and offers various types of charters from its base at East London Airport (FAEL). Its fleet comprises this Cessna Golden Eagle (ZS-JOP), a Beech Baron 58 and King Air 100 and a Hawker Siddeley HS125.
 
LIST OF HOT-AIR BALLOONS 7 MAY 2005
 
REGGIE TYPE CON NUMBER OPERATOR REMARKS
         
G-REAR LBL-69X 977 Lindstrand Balloons Picture of lady; Sloggi
ZS-HDE Thunder  & Colt AX8-90 1220   Colourful
ZS-HOR Flamboyant AX7-65 012   Land-Rover logo
ZS-HPB Ultraflight AX7-70 UFB-101   Mainly red
ZS-HPG Thunder AX7-77Z 396   Red and white = colours of Procolor
ZS-HPI Flamboyant AX8-85 023    
ZS-HYR Thunder  & Colt AX8-90 S2 2582   Bushdrifters
         
 
ZS-REGISTERED AIRCRAFT AT FABM ON 7 MAY 2005
 
SERIAL/
REGGIE
TYPE CON NUMBER OPERATOR REMARKS
         
ZS-CAN PA-30 30-1798 SA Weather Service LOCAL, Orsmond area, behind SA Weather Service dish; Cloud symbol on tailfin
ZS-CMT Cessna 175     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-CZM PA-28     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-EGO Baron 58 TH-1191   LOCAL, Orsmond area, behind SA Weather Service dish
ZS-ESU PA-28 28-22011   VISITOR, grass parking area; Malutiair.com
ZS-FJT Cessna 172     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-FJY Cessna 177     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-GYV Pipistrel Sinus UL 119S 912 10 03   VISITOR, grass parking area; motorglider
ZS-GZC Pipistrel Sinus UL 153SN9121004   VISITOR, grass parking area; motorglider; light a/c from Slovenia
ZS-HDW Bell 206     VISITOR, flips; First National Bank colour scheme
ZS-HGR Bell 206   Netstar VISITOR, between tar runway and fence separating static area from tar runway
ZS-IBG Bonanza V35     VISITOR, static area
ZS-IOI Cessna 172     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-ITL Bonanza V35B D-9526   VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-ITO Sundowner     LOCAL, hangar behind grass parking area
ZS-IXL Traveler     VISITOR, grass parking area; Afos on tail
ZS-JAH Tiger     LOCAL, hangar behind grass parking area
ZS-JGK PA-32-300     LOCAL, Orsmond area, area between hangar and open shade; STOL on tailfin
ZS-JOP Cessna 421   River Air OTHER, landed during afternoon; also see Aviation Tour, FAEL East London Airport visit
ZS-JRA Rockwell Commander 690A 11284 SA Weather Service flying display; new SA flag; “Research 1”
ZS-JZT Arrow III     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-KEL Cessna 177     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-KFM Arrow III     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-KJE Agwagon     LOCAL, Orsmond area, area between hangar and open shade; forward fuselage
ZS-KLY Bonanza     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-KPC Air Tractor 301     LOCAL, Orsmond area, area between hangar and open shade; Walter M601D
ZS-KWA Turbo Thrush   Orsmond Aviation LOCAL, Orsmond area
ZS-KYI Cessna 182     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-LCO PA-34     LOCAL, between grass runway and grass parking area
ZS-LEF Turbo Thrush   Orsmond Aviation LOCAL, Orsmond area, area between hangar and open shade
ZS-LEK Turbo Thrush   Orsmond Aviation LOCAL, Orsmond area, open shade
ZS-LLJ Cessna Ag Husky   Orsmond Aviation LOCAL, Orsmond area, open shade
ZS-LPK Pitts   Shurlok Team flying display
ZS-LRW Pitts   Shurlok Team flying display
ZS-LRY Thrush 600   Orsmond Aviation LOCAL, Orsmond area, in front of PZL-106s
ZS-MAL PA-34     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-MBW Zlin 50   Mazda ZOOM-ZOOM flying display
ZS-MCW Cessna 172     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-MMI P166S     flying display; Albatross Demonstration
ZS-MNJ PA-34     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-MYN Bonanza V35A D-8978   VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-NEN Zlin 142C 0543   VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-NNC S2R-T34 T34-208 Orsmond Aviation LOCAL, Orsmond area, hangar
ZS-NOA Turbo Thrush     LOCAL, Orsmond area, next to main hangar
ZS-NVI PZL-106 BT 10900243   LOCAL, Orsmond area; PZL-106 BT on tailfin; PZL, made in Poland; registered 1995-10-09, ex SP-WBO; EXPORTED, last RSA owner Arctic Rose Aviation
ZS-NVJ PZL-106 BT 10900239   LOCAL, Orsmond area; Turbo Javelin on engine cover; PZL-106 BT on tailfin; registered 1995-10-09, owner Arctic Rose Aviation; ex SP-WBK
ZS-NVK Aero Commander 680FL     LOCAL, Orsmond area, in front of PZL-106s; “inyoni” (= bird) both sides
ZS-NWX PZL-106 BT 10900240   LOCAL, Orsmond area; NO REGISTRATION; “Turbo Javelin” on engine cover; with prop; registered 1996-02-12, owner Arctic Rose Aviation; ex (SP-WBL)
ZS-NWY PZL-106 BT 10900241   LOCAL, Orsmond area; NO REGISTRATION; “Javelin” on engine cover; PZL-106 BT on tailfin; registered 1996-02-12, owner Arctic Rose Aviation; ex (SP-WBM)
 
ZS-OCP Ayers S2R-T65 T65-016DC Orsmond Aviation LOCAL, Orsmond area, open shade
ZS-ODK Cessna 401     LOCAL, Orsmond area, main hangar
ZS-OLZ Aerostar 600A 60-0598-7961192 RM Civil Construction VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-OPH Gippsland GA200C 200C0043   LOCAL; Orsmond area, open shade
ZS-ORS Ayers S2R-T65 T65-013DC Orsmond Aviation LOCAL, Orsmond area, open shade
ZS-OVZ Stearman     flying display; “Huffin Puffin”
ZS-OXO Ayres S2R-T660 T660-107   LOCAL, Orsmond area, open shade
ZS-OXS Reims Rocket     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-OZM Turbo Thrush     LOCAL, Orsmond area, area between hangar and open shade
ZS-OZN Turbo Thrush     LOCAL, Orsmond area, area between hangar and open shade
ZS-PAF Ayres S2R-T15 T15-043   LOCAL, Orsmond area, open shade
ZS-PBC Tiger Moth   Lekoa Lodge VISITOR, grass area in front of hangars
ZS-PEK Cessna 172   Bond Aerospace VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-PEP J3C-65   Shurlok Team truck-top landing
ZS-PFK PA-32R-301T 32R-8029082   VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-UOX Super Falke SF25     VISITOR, area between hangars and grass parking area
ZS-UTB Pitts     flying display; PM Tech Holdings
ZS-VZU Super Cruiser     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-WBG Pitts   Shurlok Team flying display
ZS-WCA Super Cruiser     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZS-WCU Stolp Starduster SA-300 TC-1   VISITOR, grass parking area; homebuilt aerobatic plane
ZS-WSW Sonerai 2L     VISITOR, area between hangars and grass parking area
ZS-WWJ Zlin 50   Mazda ZOOM-ZOOM flying display
ZS-WZI Cessna 185     LOCAL, Orsmond area, in front of open shade; “Pomp & Jive Air Force”
 
 
Note: Some aircraft reflected as local might actually be aircraft from elsewhere having been at the airport for maintenance.
 
LIST OF ZU-REGISTERED AIRCRAFT AT FABM ON 7 MAY 2005
 
REGGIE TYPE CON NUMBER OPERATOR REMARKS
         
ZU-ACI P166S     flying display; Albatross Demonstration
ZU-AOP Harvard   Harvard Club of South Africa VISITOR, grass area in front of hangars
ZU-AOZ Harvard   Harvard Club of South Africa VISITOR, grass area in front of hangars; Target Tug c/s
ZU-APJ Zlin 50   Mazda ZOOM-ZOOM flying display
ZU-AUX Aero L-29   Sasol Tigers flying display
ZU-AYS Harvard   Castrol Aviator Flying Lions flying display
ZU-BAL Harvard     flying display; Sukhoi and Harvard
ZU-BET Harvard   Castrol Aviator Flying Lions flying display
ZU-BEU Harvard   Castrol Aviator Flying Lions flying display
ZU-BLS Su-29     flying display; Sukhoi and Harvard; ex N129SU
ZU-BSK Yak 52     VISITOR, grass parking area; Rush’n bears; “Barney”
ZU-CFT Yak 18T     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZU-CGF Europa     LOCAL, Orsmond area, in front of open shade
ZU-CIL Titan     VISITOR, area between hangars and grass parking area
ZU-CIO Jabiru     VISITOR, area between hangars and grass parking area
ZU-COT Yak 55     flying display; ex RA-01357
ZU-CUH Cheetah     VISITOR, area between hangars and grass parking area; microlight
ZU-CWM Yak 52     flying display; ex RA-44551
ZU-CYH Aero L-29   Sasol Tigers flying display
ZU-CYI Aero L-29   Sasol Tigers flying display
ZU-DCZ Cheetah     VISITOR, area between hangars and grass parking area; microlight
ZU-DHV Aero L-29   Sasol Tigers flying display
ZU-DPJ Cheetah     VISITOR, area between hangars and grass parking area; microlight, tailwheel
ZU-DTH Sabre Aircraft JK05 Junior     VISITOR, area between hangars and grass parking area
ZU-EUR Europa Aircraft     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZU-IMP Atlas Impala I   Showdown Display Team flying display; ex SAAF 479; new flag; eagle castle; bluegrey fintop
ZU-MXL Samba XL     VISITOR, grass parking area
ZU-SXL Samba XL     VISITOR, static area
ZU-TEE Aero L-39   Aviation Dimension.com flying display
 
 
Note: Some aircraft reflected as local might actually be aircraft from elsewhere having been at the airport for maintenance.
 
 
LIST OF OTHER AIRCRAFT AT FABM ON 7 MAY 2005
 
SERIAL/
REGGIE
TYPE CON NUMBER OPERATOR REMARKS
         
175 Puma   SAAF Museum, Siyandiza mock battle, CASEVAC
727 Cessna 185   SAAF, 44 Squadron skyshout version; no markings, except serial and red spinner; flying display, solo
3012 Caravan I   SAAF, 41 Sqd parachutes and solo; standard C/S; flying display
No reggie PZL-106 BT     LOCAL, Orsmond area, main hangar; Walter M601 engine
N2088X Ayres S2R-T15     LOCAL, Orsmond area, open shade
N3096N Ayres S2R-T34 T34-166   LOCAL, Orsmond area, open shade; Agric Avn Board of Mississippi (comes from this area in the USA); “Precious Paul”
5H-PAN Let 410UVP-E20 871904 Precision Air OTHER, Orsmond area, main hangar; Tanzanian flag; ex 1904, OK-SDL, 5X-UAG; 2006-01-07 reregistered 5Y-BSV
 
 
Note: Some aircraft reflected as local might actually be aircraft from elsewhere having been at the airport for maintenance.
 
SOURCES
 
CAA website: details of Gippsland GA200C ZS-OPH’s accident and Gippsland GA200C ZS-OLF’s accident are available at www.caa.co.za.
 
PZL: various internet sources
 
The website of Gippsland Aeronautics
 
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