South African Fly Babies

I get so many pictures from Doug Reeves, I had to bring back the South African Fly Babies web page.  Some of this information is pretty old, but hopefully I'll get Matt Ford or Doug to pass along an update.

South African Fly Babies (at last report, anyway)

Renate Reeve restored ZS-VXA, which has a Lycoming O-235 with a starter.  This picture shows her in the 'Baby, followed by husband Doug in their Stinson.

Most Fly Baby pilots have faces like twelve miles of bad roads.  Renate is an exception.....

Here's Renate's plane in its previous iteration....

Lex Rinkle bought  John Ten Cate's ZS-UVV.  Unfortunately, he was killed in a crash of this airplane in 2002.

A couple of pictures of Peter Lastrucci's Fly Baby.   Here's what Peter has to say:
ZS-UFI was built in the late sixties by Tony Wills and has accumulated some 900 hours of flying.  It was covered with grade "A" cotton and as a result of over thirty years flying I decided it was time for a recover and thorough inspection. I had also fitted a zero time Continental O200 and wanted the rest of the aeroplane to match the beautiful new engine!

The airframe was found still be in excellent condition with a few minor bushes and recommended modifications to be carried out.
This is surely a tribute to Tony who has long retired and I thank him for the lovely little aeroplane he built all those years ago.

John Ten Cate back when he owned ZS-UVV


(From Matt Ford,  22 January 2002)
Some more news from "the other side of the world", to add to our bulging sub-page on your web site! ( Perhaps you can post it onto the flybabylist ?)

I have spent some 2 years trying to find the status and whereabouts of the remains of a Fly Baby ZS-UFJ that was registered to a Mr Gary Webb. 

Well, to cut a  loooong story short, by pure persistence, I located Gary, persuaded him to sell me the remains, and on Sunday, 20 January, 2002 drove 1200 km's, starting at 02h00 in the morning, with Ivo Rinkel (ZS-VXA's owner) we were back home at 20h00 with a VERY dusty, rat turd infested, but substantially complete airframe in my garage. It now sits alongside ZU-BAB, and my wife is totally bemused with why I "need" to have 2 non flying airframes of the same aeroplane!!

I must commend Ivo for coming all the way to collect the aircraft, as it was a looong, very hot and no doubt boring for him sitting in the car there and back. It goes to show that there are good friends in our Krugersdorp Flying Club  community, and that there is a strong bond beginning to build up between us Fly Baby owners/flyers that is really great. Hopefully, the fact that there will be a spare airframe that will probably be ZU-BAB, that the next owner can complete and make it 5 flying Fly Babies at Krugersdorp!!  This should make quite a story for the history books and flying type magazines. ( We also have a group of Navion owner/flyers ( X 3 , soon to be 4) and a group of 4 Pietenpols, which is great to have such passionate type owners! ) Perhaps we'll have to compete with them in their formation shows
that they give ??

ZS-UFJ was flying in the late 1970's behind a Lycoming 65 HP engine ( Approx 70 hours TT )  until a grass fire at the local airport (Estcourt - Natal Province, South Africa) burnt the hangar s down. This fire destroyed all the aircraft  and gliders onsite, except for ZS-UFJ and a Rallye 235, although both were damaged to some extent. What a day !

Basic status is as follows: (She has been stored with the wings folded in a farm barn ever since)

1. Complete fuselage from firewall to tail post, Vertical fin, rudder, stab and elevator halves all destroyed. Although metal fittings all still intact. Condition still to be inspected.
2. Fuel tank in place
3. Undercarriage, wheels and brakes ( R/H brake seized )
4. Standard instruments in panel, as per plans
5. Seat and fully aerobatic harness,
6. Rudder pedals with toe brakes, all control systems still intact, but need refurbishment,
7. Both wings unburnt, but some damage to 3 or 4 ribs and various places on the leading edges due to the removal activities during rescue from the burning hangar - status still to be confirmed
8. Most brackets and joiners were built 1 size up due to aerobatic intentions of builder, including the wire attach points etc.
9. Rear spar carry through modification in place in fuselage seat back bulkhead.
10. Cowlings included, but no engine, or engine mount.

So, when I can entice Lex and Peter Lastrucci out to "have a look", I will get some digital pics taken and forward them onto you.

We now have 5 airframes within the Krugersdorp community, and there is no doubt that both of the airframes that I have will be in the air sometime.

We also got an old but slim lead on the fact that ZS-UDP was also started and the builder - Tony Lewis, was the instigator of the building up of most of the initial batch of Fly Babies. Will keep you posted on any facts of its existence as and when located. ( Maybe we'll have 6 !!! )

I will keep in touch with you on our progress. Pic's to come soon.

Sincere regards,

Matthew Ford
Tel: (27) 11-235-6058


Leo von Moltke sent some pictures along of his father's Fly Baby.  Dr. Bernhardt von Moltke built ZS-UEA in the late 60s, and his son believes it was the first Fly Baby in South Africa.  The wingtip shape is modified somewhat...the Fly Baby uses a 13-foot spar, and sometimes only 12-foot blanks are available.  In these cases, builders often flatten the shape of the wingtip bow to gain a little wing area back.
This second photo is appears that the wings were converted to a strut-braced system and the landing gear switched to a Cessna-type spring-steel arrangement.
Mr. von Moltke also sent this picture along... it's the cover of a 1972 magazine, showing his father's aircraft at a Fly-In in South Africa.  It shows several other South African homebuilts of this era.

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