My experiences living in Cape Town and travelling in Africa

Why drive to lunch, when you can fly?

My friend Hilton called and said that he and a mate wanted to fly to the Black Oystercatcher for lunch and was I keen. Of course I was, not only because I love flying but because I had also visited the Black Oystercatcher before and know they have some great wines and a delicious lunch menu. While it would probably take around two hours to drive there from Cape Town, our flight time from Morningstar was going to be less than an hour.

Hilton and Sarah took off first as their Decathlon didn’t quite have the same cruising speed as the Paul’s RV 7 that I had the pleasure of flying in. We gave them about a 15 minute headstart before we powered down the runway and took to the skies on what was an absolutely perfect autumn day in Cape Town. After take-off Paul gave me the controls for a couple of minutes while he programmed the Black Oystercatcher GPS co-ordinates into the Easyplan App. Paul did quickly remember to point out that the controls of the RV 7 are much more sensitive and responsive than a lot of the other light aircraft I’ve flown, it was incredible, the lightest of touches and I turned us left to follow the N1 towards Franschhoek. Paul then took back controls and I got my camera out to capture some of the unique vistas.

We caught up with Hilton just after Caledon and then had one small mountain range to get over before descending to a gravel runway. 

BOC lunch-1235

Having never flown to, or landed on, this runway it was necessary for us to do an inspection to assess the condition of the landing strip. In the faster plane Paul and I arrived first and did a quick pass over the runway which didn’t look as good as we had hoped. Going round, we did a second slower pass and decided it didn’t look too bad, and also that it would be better to land on the dirt section at the beginning rather than the grass section where we couldn’t see how level the ground underneath was. So on our third approach, Paul was happy with our height and speed and went for it, with a gallery of people at the restaurant looking on.

Safely on the ground, planes parked, it was a short stroll over the road for lunch. Three of us had the mussels which were fresh and flavourful. Sarah loved her ginger chicken salad and she and I shared a bottle of their signature Sauvignon Blanc. So good was it that we bought a case, and would have bought more but for limited luggage space.

Agulhas -

With our bounty safely stowed away it was time head home. Because it was such a beautiful afternoon with almost no wind we decided to come back along the coast past Hermanus and then up and over Sir Lowry’s Pass. We even tried a few air-to-air shots before Paul left Hilton and I behind to enjoy the views at a leisurely pace in the Decathlon.

After crossing Sir Lowry’s Pass things got a little busier as we routed over Stellenbosch airfield with both of us looking out for other aircraft and monitoring the radio for traffic in the area. Safely through and changing over to the new radio frequency it was straight and level back to Morningstar Airfield where Hilton avoided the distraction of Table Mountain on the horizon, watching his airspeed on the descent and nailing the landing.

BOC lunch-1399

So apart from luggage restrictions, if you ever get the chance to fly to lunch – take it!


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