Republic of South Africa 2004

Realising how important it is to gain first-hand experience of flying in a certain geographic area it was not difficult to decide about visiting the Republic of South Africa in late March 2004.
Realising how important it is to gain first-hand experience of flying in a certain geographic area it was not difficult to decide about visiting the Republic of South Africa in late March 2004.
This time Ivo also invited a TV crew with us to make a documentary how Pipistrel delivers their aircraft all over the World. With a Sinus and a Virus already waiting at Stellenbosch, Ivo, Marjana, Tine of Pipistrel with Sandi and Darko from the national TV departed for Capetown.

One of many Cape's gorgeous beaches
 
We were all awaited at the airport by Kobus Nel and his lovely wife Heather who welcomed us and drove first to the hotel and than straight to Stelenbosch airport, where the aircraft were still in ‘packed’ shape. Unwrapping the protective covers and undoing the brackets we managed to assemble and prepare both the aircraft for flying by sunset. A taste of South African cuisine later at dinner was something special and a great experience as well. By then David Clark, who was the first private owner of Virus in RSA joined us. Bad weather was forecast for the following day so Kobus, Heather and David proposed a sightseeing tour around the Cape peninsula. Of course we agreed!
 
Indeed it rained in the morning but the weather cleared afterwards so we had a great time driving around the Cape and visiting landmarks such as Cape Point and Cape Hope.

 

Cape point and Cape Hope

The day after officials from the RSA CAA joined us at the airport for evaluation of aircraft and test flights. Even though we had to wait several hours for confirmation about the homologation for both aircraft to come from CAA headquarters from Pretoria this was a successful day.
 
We were allowed to do test flight after reassembly (local requirement) in the afternoon and started training flights with the CAA’s instructor and the owners in the evening. The weather stayed stable and we were able to conduct training lessons and demo flights as well as rides for members of press in the next three days.
It was time for us to go home too soon, but we left satisfied and knowing that both owners, Kobus (who is also the distributor for Pipistrel in RSA) and David by then knew how to handle their new aircraft safely and efficiently.

David's Virus over hills of Stellenbosch

We would like to thank sincerely Kobus Nel and his Heather for their hospitality, utmost dedication and warmth, David Clark for his patience and determination to learn to fly the Virus, although he was used to heavier machines, Sandi and Darko for their TV contribution and fun times, and to everybody else who took part in our RSA visit. Thank you all very much!
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