Snooping around hangars

Stampe-Vertongen SV.4E

The beauty of travel is that you get to see a whole new world of aeries that may not exist in your own country or even on your own continent! This particular Stampe had me a bit stumped - I spotted this one at an airfield in Chatellrault, France and thought it must be...

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Jodel D11

I spotted this interesting tail-dragger a couple of weeks back, being lovingly brought to to flying condition by a father and son team. The wing form immediately rang a bell in my head, as it was very similar to the Robin which I was taken for a flight in, during a visit to France.

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Boeing Stearman

When it comes to radial engine aircraft this has got to be one of the nicest. Due to it’s American origins, it is hardly surprising that almost everything on this aircraft are of a grand scale. There is nothing more impressive than a huge, un-cowled radial engine…

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Beechcraft Travel Air

I have affectionately taken to calling it the ‘Bitchcraft’ Travel Air, because, as I am learning to fly her, it all seems rather challenging! Admittedly, I think this is a “mans” plane, simply because, if you are a lightweight like me, single-engine simulations require ALOT of single leg input on the rudder – be warned!

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Chipmunk

It has an odd name, which makes it sound a bit ‘cutesy’, but it is anything but! I thought they were quite scarce in South Africa, so I was rather excited to see this one, in especially good condition.

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Yak 52

Not uncommon in South African skies, this Russian beauty just happens to be one of my favourites, and flying in one is definitely on my bucket list! It doesn’t carry war time nostalgia like some of the older fighter trainers, but it stands tall and proud which makes it a simply unforgettable sight.

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Say what??? The unpronounceable CVJETKOVIC CA 61

There is nothing like discovering the hangar(s) belonging to a true aviator. You can be sure, that if the owner was already attempting to build his own aircraft at age twelve, that he is going to have an eye for interesting aircraft, and a hangar full of exciting projects, whether they be beautiful restorations, or bits and pieces all waiting for ‘something’…

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Rutan VariEze

I just love it when people send me photos of interesting aircraft they have spotted (so please send yours – info@essentialpilot.co.za), but this one really made me do a double take and want to clean my contact lenses! My first reaction to the sender was ‘What on earth is it??’. I could just not figure out which was the front end and which was the rear…

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Remember the Alouette III?

Prior to getting up close with the Alouette, my only contact with rotor blades was having watched episodes of the 1980s TV series Airwolf. I know little about helicopters, except that getting a licence to fly one does not come cheap, and getting the flying skills...

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Doting on the Dornier DO-27

I do love a good warbird. I am immediately attracted to military colours, allied and enemy insignia, simply because they represent a brave and romantic era. The Dornier DO-27 was not a product of World War Two, but rather a symbol of the re-emergence of German...

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Aero Commander

Never call an aircraft ugly, especially when the pilot adores her! I actually have to admit embarrassment at having passed a comment, without taking the time to actually understand the hidden beauty that is the Aero Commander, so here you have it – my apologies..

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Velocity

The first thing that you see, or actually don’t see, when you look at the Velocity, is the front prop, because it doesn’t have one! I cannot place it in either the ugly or pretty category, it is just disturbingly unusual…

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Patchen Explorer

I am sorry to the fans, but I have spent a week trying to find a way to like this aircraft – it is just ugly, and its appearance just makes you want to question how on earth (no pun) it stays in the air?

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Antonov – AN2 ‘Little Annie’

Although I have been flying IN aircraft a lot of my life, I have only been piloting them myself for a few short years, and as a result, almost every new aircraft I see sends me into a personal ground loop. A few weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting my first...

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Robin 401

Traveling abroad always broadens your horizons, especially when you s’hot left and check out the local airfields. If you are lucky enough, someone will entertain you, and be willing to take you for a flip if you persist with the smiles and desperate looks.

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