Sunday, May 29, 2011

Durban send-off for Comrades

We were up at 4am this morning to see our guests Zander, Richard, Matt and Gary off for the start of the Comrades Marathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.

There was a jubilant, excited atmosphere as the 15 000 runners jostled for position and a huge roar as the gun boomed at the Start on a slightly chilly, dark but clear Durban morning.

This was followed by a spectacular dawn break seen from the Berea with the Moses Mabhida Stadium breaking the shoreline and horizon.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Comrades Weekend in Durban

We're having a Comrades Weekend at the Guesthouse this weekend in support of the runners taking part in this year's uprun from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. We have runners from Johannesburg and New York including 2 guys who have run the Antarctic Marathon and are now up for the Comrades challenge. In the photos are Jaco, Kate, Debbie, Matt, Gary and Llewellyn. The New Yorkers didn't join us for customary pasta which we enjoyed at Mamas.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

First Flying Lesson

Brad (right) from Light Flight School took me on my first formal lesson today in the School's Foxbat.

The lesson was great and felt quite different with more resonsibility than when I went on my demo flight two years ago. We covered lessons/exercises 1-8 and at the end I was given the PPL Pilots' Manual which I spent the rest of the day wading through to bring me up to speed with the exercises we covered in the lesson.

I have chosen to do my National Pilots Licence (NPL) instead of PPL as Light Flight School seems the most cost-efficient and fun way to get my licence and the Sling Aircraft we have bought needs only an NPL Licence. So I'll be taking to the skies on a regular basis now to see if I can get my licence in the next few months.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Sling it is!

Today we bought an aeroplane... and the Sling it is. It will be a partnership venture with Llewellyn sharing ownership with me and we finalised the order from The Airplane Factory in South Africa today.

The Sling is a locally made plane with an imported Rotax 912uls engine with a cruising speed of 110 knots (200 kmh). The specs are impressive and the plane has proved itself on an around the world and a trans-Africa trip.

Exciting times ahead.!!! Thanks to Neville, Marc, Michel and Mike for the guidance and input in reaching this decision. Thanks also to the offers and flights from the other contenders... all are great planes and the choice was difficult.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dave does Battle

The Battlefields aircraft fly-in where we stayed Sat night

I flew this RV12

Kate-Lynn points out the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer battlesites

The Voortrekker monument at the Blood River battlesite

Dave and Kate-Lynn on the wagon

Kate-Lynn, Llewellyn and the kids with the Russian YAK aircraft

Our beautiful KZN countryside around Dundee
Kate-Lynn poses at the Battle of Blood River site
The Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal bring tourists from afar and we were tourists in our Province on Saturday when we took a drive up to the Battlefields area and stayed the night in Dundee.

Arriving at 8.30am after a 4-hour drive, we were just in time to see the start of droves of little aeroplanes flying in for the annual Fly-in at Battlefields Country Lodge. I took to the skies in an RV12 and we checked out the various planes with a view to possibly buying one and going for flying lessons.

In the afternoon we drove to the site of the Anglo-Boer Battle of Blood River which commemorates the victory of the Voortrekkers on Dec 16th 1838. We went on to Isandlwana, the scene of a Anglo-Zulu battle later that century and circled back to Dundee after a drive over dusty roads through beautiful countryside for our overnight stay.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Researching for flight

I passed my Aviation medical today which means that I am fit to fly. I have spent the last week on intensive research to find a suitable new or second hand aeroplane to buy.

There are plenty of magazines and websites out there and a whole community of friendly guys willing to give you their time and experience in negotiating the minefield of choices. Most are migrating to a "glass cockpit" and moving away from the analogue dials that made up the cockpit of old.

Here is a pic of what I would see as an optimal glass cockpit allowing the plane to be flown by either the pilot or passenger with equal instrumentation before him.

Have you checked out my new Flying blog - Do Eagles Dare?

Baking for the Guesthouse

Hey we've been trying some baking for the guesthouse. Here Llewellyn turns out some pineapple bran muffins and I baked an egg soufle' for breakfast. The guesthouse was full over the Indaba Tourism Show these past few days.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A few days in Johannesburg

Down a Gold Mine while Dave holds up the roof

Lauren and Dave on the Anaconda
We spent a great few days in Johannesburg using the Wednesday Freedom Day public holiday to break away. Here we are - Llewellyn and the kids and I - at Gold Reef City where we went down a gold mine for the first time and went on a few crazy rides... the Anaconda, my favourite. We also went to the Johannesburg Zoo, Rand Airport to check aeroplanes and a little shopping. Click here to see more pics.
Does this really hold up the roof? 3000 m mine shafts!
See more pics of the holiday break here.