“The wings are made of varnished material”, this was one of my first sentences that came out of my pilot’s mouth after I arrived at the Panorama Airfield in Joburg South, luckily I’m not a nervous flier and luckily the 1942 US Army Cub I was looking at was in pristine condition and has been taking people up in the air and back down again for quite some time.
Flying over a city is something I generally associate with Cape Town, I guess you just see it more there, and excuse my naivety but I had no idea you could do something like this in Joburg…and I’m supposed to be the ‘Joburg Girl’. I’ve been in a couple of small planes, one was a flight over Grootbos, which was INSANE, if you’re ever in the area it’s definitely worth doing.
I found the flight through a website called Experience Days, it’s basically the Superbalist of really really cool things to do in South Africa. Experience Days has a bunch of different flying option in Joburg from Hot Air Balloons to Microlighting, I thought the idea of flying in a vintage plane sounded way more romantic though. After a short, but necessary briefing on what to do and what not to do I hopped into the tiny cockpit with the pilot behind me and we took off along a dusty runway.
I could immediately see the incredible wetlands of the Klipriviersberg, we left the cockpit window open so the feeling of the wind on my face was incredible! The plane didn’t go to high, mostly because it’s not made for that but, also what’s the fun in flying over your city if you can’t actually see it. I grew up in the South of Joburg but I had no idea that the Klipriviersberg was so vast, I mean there were literally flocks of cranes flying underneath us not to mention the hundreds of nests we could see from the air. My pilot and the owner of the plane – Roy have both been flying for years so their idea of an afternoon walk is taking one of their planes up for a flight, pretty damn mind blowing if you ask me. While I’m on the subject both of them were true gentlemen, answered all the questions I had AND they both have about a million hours of flying hours so if you are a nervous flier…don’t be.
If you ask, Roy will also talk you through the history of the plane, I can’t even imagine all the things she’s seen.
You can choose between an hour flight or a twenty minute flight, we were up in the air for about thirty minutes…trust me it goes really fast so I’d go for the hour to give yourself time to settle in.