NELSPRUIT AIRFIELD INFORMATION

GPS Coordinates:

S25°30’08”   E030°54’42”

Deviation: W19,5°  |  Elevation: 2901ft

 

Runway: 04/22 Asphalt  |  1042 x 11m

 

Frequencies:

Nelspruit RD 125,20

 

Fuel availability:

AvGas 100LL  |  Jet A1

Fuel Attendants  |  Daily 08h00 till 17h00

Sam 082 087 6443

Andrew  082 094 6490

Sibu  062 427 4945

HISTORY OF LOWVELD

AERO CLUB

Nelspruit officially renamed Mbombela is a city in northeastern South Africa. Located on the Crocodile River, Nelspruit lies about 100 km west of the Mozambique border and 330 km east of Johannesburg.

Nelspruit was founded in 1895 by three brothers of the Nel family who grazed their cattle around the site of Nelspruit during the winter months. During the Boer War, Nelspruit served briefly as the seat of government for the South African Republic an independent Boer republic.

The city has two airports: Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport to the northeast and the general aviation Nelspruit Airport to the southwest. Kruger Mpumalanga is used for scheduled flights.

The Nelspruit Airport on the Kaapsehoop road is mainly used by private and charter flights. It has its own tower but is controlled from the KMI Airport.

Initially, an airstrip near Nelspruit did not exist and when Barlow’s needed to fly in contractors for the construction of their Headquarters at Nelspruit in 1949, HL HALL & SONS graded a strip on the farm Woodhouse for this purpose and this was the start of the Airport.

The ground for the Nelspruit Airport (previously known as the Lanion Hall Airport) was donated in 1952 by Wilfred Hall to the Town council of Nelspruit to develop an airport.

It was a condition that should the airport not be used for this purpose, the property would revert back to H L HALL & SONS.

In March 1953 a flying club was formed and Peter Manfred Cruse, was elected the first chairman. Cruse had Vinto Minerals provide many facilities for the club and in fact had one of Vinto’s trucks sent to Lyttleton, Pretoria, to have the first plane brought to Nelspruit. Norman Holford, manager of Barlows in Nelspruit, and Pat Egan were the prime movers in stimulating flying in Nelspruit.

The purchasing of a Tiger Moth lead to a private company being formed in 1953 by the name of Lowveld Aviation. This company owned two aircraft, a Tiger Moth and a Fairchild, which were available for hire.

A meeting was held on 5 July 1955 to discuss the merits of forming a flying club and thus getting flying onto an organized footing. The essential ingredients for establishing a flying club could be said to be that there must be people interested in flying, an aircraft and a flying instructor. The latter two were available in the form of aircraft owned by Lowveld Aviation and Pat Egan who had an instructor’s rating and was prepared to teach interested persons to fly.

It was now a question of whether there were sufficient people interested in flying. Twenty-nine people attended the meeting on 5 July 1955 and a proposal that a flying club be formed was carried unanimously with the first committee, consisting of ten members, being elected.

One of the first items to be handled was the name of the club. A proposal that this be decided on by the committee at a later date was rejected by Pat Egan, who explained that this was a matter of urgency as an Operator’s License had to be applied for immediately. The Lowveld Aero and Social club (LASC) was adopted. It is today the oldest continuously active aero club in the country.

In 1956 members built the Clubhouse mainly of wood, and it did not take long for the club to outgrow this facility. In 1965 the Municipality built the terminal building, of which the club had the use, but this was by no means a Clubhouse. Plans for a Club room were turned down in 1977 by the Department of Transport’s Division of Civil Aviation.

In 1979 the clubhouse, then situated at the top of the airfield, was damaged in a storm and it was then decided to move down to where the club is today. The Club was built with donations by members of the time.

In  1958 the design of a club Badge was put to the members and Rodger Murry’s design, which incorporated Mataffin Kop, a prominent landmark in the immediate surrounding of Nelspruit Aerodrome was selected.

The first year of operation was by no means a smooth one for the club. An Air Rally was organized and this turned out to be a financial disaster. A Chipmunk crashed during an aerobatic demonstration and the club assumed responsibility for this aircraft. In 1957 two aircraft were badly damaged in a hailstorm – the hailstones penetrated the flimsy hangar roof and ripped the fabric of the aircraft to shreds.

In the same year a second Tiger Moth, that had been purchased, crashed when its engine failed after take-off; Pat Eagan was lucky to survive this accident. In 1958 a Cessna 172 (ZS-CIP) was bought and in 1962 the Piper Cub was replaced as the trainer by a Piper Colt. By 1963 the LASC was the biggest shareholder in the company.

In 1979 the clubhouse, then situated at the top of the airfield, was damaged in a storm and it was then decided to move down to where the club is today. The Club was built with donations by members of the time.

The Cessna 172 (ZS-CIP) was replaced by another Cessna 172 (ZS-EDJ) and in 1966 the company obtained a Piper Cherokee 140 (ZS-EMN) which filled the gap created by the Piper Colt being written off after an accident. Later a second Piper Cherokee 140 (ZS-ESW) was bought, the company thus running three aircraft. Over the years the Flying club managed to get itself onto a stable footing, buying shares in the company until the company phased out. ZS-EGW, the icon of Lowveld Aero club, crashed on 9 June 2004 when taking off from Hoedspruit, and flew into the only tree near the grass airstrip. Both pilot and passenger walked away. A similar Cessna 150 was purchased from the USA and the club managed to retain the registration number ZS-EGW.

A Mirage CZ was donated to LASC by Hoedspruit Airforce Bace and now stands in front of the clubhouse. This aircraft was towed to the airport with a 4×4 vehicle!

1953

In March 1953 a flying club was formed and Peter Manfred Cruse, was elected the first chairman. Cruse had Vinto Minerals provide many facilities for the club and in fact had one of Vinto’s trucks sent to Lyttleton, Pretoria, to have the first plane brought to Nelspruit. Norman Holford, manager of Barlows in Nelspruit, and Pat Egan were the prime movers in stimulating flying in Nelspruit.

The purchasing of a Tiger Moth lead to a private company being formed in 1953 by the name of Lowveld Aviation. This company owned two aircraft, a Tiger Moth and a Fairchild, which were available for hire.

1955

A meeting was held on 5 July 1955 to discuss the merits of forming a flying club and thus getting flying onto an organized footing. The essential ingredients for establishing a flying club could be said to be that there must be people interested in flying, an aircraft and a flying instructor. The latter two were available in the form of aircraft owned by Lowveld Aviation and Pat Egan who had an instructor’s rating and was prepared to teach interested persons to fly.

It was now a question of whether there were sufficient people interested in flying. Twenty-nine people attended the meeting on 5 July 1955 and a proposal that a flying club be formed was carried unanimously with the first committee, consisting of ten members, being elected.

One of the first items to be handled was the name of the club. A proposal that this be decided on by the committee at a later date was rejected by Pat Egan, who explained that this was a matter of urgency as an Operator’s License had to be applied for immediately. The Lowveld Aero and Social club (LASC) was adopted. It is today the oldest continuously active aero club in the country.

1956

In 1956 members built the Clubhouse mainly of wood, and it did not take long for the club to outgrow this facility. In 1965 the Municipality built the terminal building, of which the club had the use, but this was by no means a Clubhouse. Plans for a Club room were turned down in 1977 by the Department of Transport’s Division of Civil Aviation.

In 1979 the clubhouse, then situated at the top of the airfield, was damaged in a storm and it was then decided to move down to where the club is today. The Club was built with donations by members of the time.

1958

In  1958 the design of a club Badge was put to the members and Rodger Murry’s design, which incorporated Mataffin Kop, a prominent landmark in the immediate surrounding of Nelspruit Aerodrome was selected.

The first year of operation was by no means a smooth one for the club. An Air Rally was organized and this turned out to be a financial disaster. A Chipmunk crashed during an aerobatic demonstration and the club assumed responsibility for this aircraft. In 1957 two aircraft were badly damaged in a hailstorm – the hailstones penetrated the flimsy hangar roof and ripped the fabric of the aircraft to shreds.

In the same year a second Tiger Moth, that had been purchased, crashed when its engine failed after take-off; Pat Eagan was lucky to survive this accident. In 1958 a Cessna 172 (ZS-CIP) was bought and in 1962 the Piper Cub was replaced as the trainer by a Piper Colt. By 1963 the LASC was the biggest shareholder in the company.

In 1979 the clubhouse, then situated at the top of the airfield, was damaged in a storm and it was then decided to move down to where the club is today. The Club was built with donations by members of the time.

The Cessna 172 (ZS-CIP) was replaced by another Cessna 172 (ZS-EDJ) and in 1966 the company obtained a Piper Cherokee 140 (ZS-EMN) which filled the gap created by the Piper Colt being written off after an accident. Later a second Piper Cherokee 140 (ZS-ESW) was bought, the company thus running three aircraft. Over the years the Flying club managed to get itself onto a stable footing, buying shares in the company until the company phased out. ZS-EGW, the icon of Lowveld Aero club, crashed on 9 June 2004 when taking off from Hoedspruit, and flew into the only tree near the grass airstrip. Both pilot and passenger walked away. A similar Cessna 150 was purchased from the USA and the club managed to retain the registration number ZS-EGW.

A Mirage CZ was donated to LASC by Hoedspruit Airforce Bace and now stands in front of the clubhouse. This aircraft was towed to the airport with a 4×4 vehicle!