Pat Judson

Early in August, 1929, Pat Judson joined the Johannesburg Light ‘Plane Club at Baragwanath Aerodrome to undergo the flying and technical training necessary for the “B” commercial pilot’s licence which he would require for his new career and, on August 31st, the Bulawayo Chronicle reported that “a Rhodesian farmer, Mr. D S. Judson, is now learning to fly with the J.L.P.C. – he went solo on the 27th”.

The full article by J McAdam can be found here:

Dick Bentley – Pioneering Spirit

This is the story of one who preferred to live in the open, rather than within the confines of a London office, a condition
that has beset the lives of millions of worthy but less fortunate people.

The story of Richard Reid “Dick” Bentley and his flight from England to South Africa in de Havilland DH60X Moth G-EBSO (c/n 419). Bentley and the Moth, fitted with a Cirrus Mark II engine, left London on September 1, 1927. Dick landed at Baragwanath Aerodrome on Monday, 26 September 1927. He arrived in Cape Town on September 28, 1927 having flown a distance of approximately 7,250 miles, achieving the then record longest solo flight.

Some British Pathe newsreel footage of the Christening of G-EBSO “Dorys” here (Website)

Some photographs of de Havilland DH60X Moth c/n 419 G-EBSO “Dorys” here  (PDF)

Pictures: 1910 – 1919

Johannesburg’s first Airfield was at Baragwanath. The ex-military hangar and cluster of huts and aircraft packing cases that housed The South African Aerial Transports Ltd. can be seen. In 1919 air services were inaugurated in South Africa with the amalgamation of a London-based company, the South African Aerial Navigation Company and South African Aerial Transports Ltd, under the name of the latter.

Photograph: John Illsley, In Southern Skies
The South African Aerial Transports Ltd. office – a converted Avro Aircraft Company aircraft packing case. Left to right are: Captain Carl Ross, Major W Honnett and Lieutenant Cecil Robert “Tommy” Thompson. The South African Aerial Transports Ltd. was formed on the 13 of April 1919.

Photograph: John Illsley, In Southern Skies
Baragwanath aerodrome saw the departure, on November 15 1919 of an Avro biplane piloted by Major Allister Miller, on what was the first commercial charter flight in South Africa. The Star was the company which had hired the aircraft to fly a special edition of the newspaper to Durban. This picture was taken at 7 am by a photographer of The Star 45 minutes before take-off. The aircraft was an AVRO 504K, H2583, of The South African Aerial Transports Ltd.

Cecil Robert “Tommy” Thompson

Tommy was a founder member of the Johannesburg Light Plane Club at Baragwanath. He was involved with the South African Aerial Transports Ltd., using Avro 504K aircraft. He was the first pilot to “loop the loop” in South Africa.