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Noel Otten - South Africa - My life in aviation.

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Noel Otten

New Member
Nov 4, 2008
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04 November 2008
Hi all!
I came across this forum yesterday and joined today! I paid and registered for the Skybolt Manual, but have not been able to access it; ( perhaps someone can assist ).

The forum is certainly a very interesting one. I am sure it is going to be very useful to me.

Personal (aviation) history, ( for those of you who are interested ):- Got my PPL in 1965at age17. Priviledged to fly many interesting types :- Cherokee140 to 235, C150, J3 CUB, Super Cub, Piel Super Emeraude, Druine Turbulent, DH82 Tiger Moth, Wittman Tailwind, Tipsey Nipper, EAA Biplane, Stampe, Chipmunk, Citabria, Stinson, etc., etc.

My Flying Instructor,Nick Turvey,was, at the time,the South African National Aerobatic Champion, ( a title he won 9 times between 1964 and 1978 ),and with his guidance got into aerobatics. Learnt most of my aerobatics in the Emeraude and Tiger Moths. I won the South African Sportsman Class title in my Tiger Moth, ( ZS-CDJ),in 1971. The Tiger was written off in an airshow crash in Aug 1972.

Between 1971 - 1975, I built a Pitts SIC which I converted myself into a Pitts S1S, ( own wing and aileron design ), Registration ZS-NJO. Completed the aircraft in Oct 1975. At the same time I built 2 extra sets of wings to my design, one for Nick Turvey's Pitts, ( ZS-ZAP )and another for a friend of mine, (ZS-MEL). ZS-MEL is still flying 33 years after its first flight.

With ZS-NJO, I won theIntermediate Class title in 1975 and placed 4th in Unlimited in 1976, 3rd in 1977 and 1978. The aircraft was damaged in 1979, ( in the hands of a "professional" airshow pilot),and with a borrowedPitts S1S ( ZS-SSA)won the Unlimited class in 1979 beating my friend and mentor, Nick Turvey into 2nd place; ( what a party we had that night!!!)

In 1980, I flew in the World Aerobatic Championshipsat Oskosh,USA. Upon my return to South Africa, I bought a share in Pitts ZS-SSA and spent 6 months stripping it down and rebuilding it to "Super" Pitts standards. The aircraft was later sold to a pilot in Argentina and is still flying to this day.

Shortly thereafter Idropped out of aviation for 18 years, ( business and family pressures ). Never went near an aeroplane!!!

InDecember1999,one of my daughters, then 19 years of age, expressed an interest in flying. I purchased a C150, (ZS-MAV),for training purposes and renewed my own licence. She has since gone on to bigger, faster and moreexpensive aircraft, (she flies for an airline), and I still have the C150 which I love.

I have sincebuilt an AVIAT Eagle 2, (which I use to get my regular "aerobatic fix"and to teach my daughter some aerobatics), and am now +/- 95% through the complete rebuild / restoration of my Tiger Moth ZS-CDJ; ( I never disposed of the wreck, it was stored in crates in my factory for 35 years). Structurally, it is complete! I am now busy with the engine rebuild. It is virtually a new aircraft. Only the fuselagetailcone and undercarriage of the original aircraft were usable. Everything else is new. The instruments have been completely rebuilt. It is a magnificent piece of work.

In April 2007, I took a trip to Vancouver Island, Canada to source Sitka Spruce for the rebuild. I bought so much that I started looking around for other aircraft to build / restore. I purchased a Firebolt which had been damaged in a landing accident, ( Charger type undercarriage!!!!???). Replaced the undercarriage with the conventional bungee system and converted the top wing into a 3 piece wing. The aircraft is now ready for recovering. I am waiting for a "cold air" induction system for it before I finish the engine installation.

A trip to Steen Aerolabs in Florida helped secure the agency for the company's products inSouthern Africa. I also have the agency for "SUPERFLIGHT" covering materials.

Since then, I have been commissioned to complete a Skybolt project which had been shelved for many years. I have also started work on another DH82 Tiger Moth. I also want to build an Emeraude ... loved that little aeroplane; and perhaps a Wittman Tailwind after that .... or maybe a Bakeng Duce .... or maybe all 3!!!

My retirement looks set to be verybusy! I do have someone to help me, Stefan Naude, a master craftsman.
And that's my aviation history! I do wish I had not stopped flying for those 18years. Too late for regrets! I am enjoying myself now.

Noel Otten


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