THE 30th INTERNATIONAL OLDTIMER FLY/DRIVE-IN
The next edition of the International Old Timer Fly-In will take place 17 and 18 august. Since Diest Aero Club organized the first fly-in in 1979, our Fly-In itself has also become an 'old timer' with a tradition 30 years. History repeats itself at Schaffen airfield during this international meeting of Old Timer 'flying machines'. Once again we expect hundreds of old timer airplanes to arrive on the airfield of Schaffen-Diest. As usual, the main-day of the Fly-In will be on Saturday August 17th, when the majority of the airplanes arrive.
The first edition, in 1979, was looked upon with suspicion and disbelief. "Look at them, pilots and airplanes that barely can fly..." That first edition, 45 airplanes older than 25 years made it to Schaffen airfield. But year after year,the number of aircraft, vintage and modern alike, grew. New records were set, as the Fly-In of Schaffen became one of Europe's major light aviation events. In 1996, 405 aircraft landed at EBDT, and one year later, 449 aeroplanes set a record that still stands today.
Due to the tragic accident on the Ostend Airshow in 1997, Diest Aero Club was no longer authorised to organize the fly-ins of 1997 and 1998. Our unique event was broken-winged for two years. Everybody was relieved, when the authorities finally agreed that a fly-in could not be compared with a traditional airshow.
So, after 2 years of involuntary interruption, 1999 meant a new start for the Fly-In in Schaffen.
Where do they all come from? Belgium, of course, but also France, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, England etc. The International Old Timer Fly-in is not an airshow, but a pleasant meeting of historical airplanes and their pilots. Some pilots are barely older than their airplanes, while others are young and passioned about restoring these planes in their original condition.
Something you can't see on the fly-in is the amount of hours, days, weeks, months, yes even years, of dedicated work that passed before, the wreck they found, became an airworthy plane. But here they are, shiny as new. If these airplanes could speak, you could hear long stories on how John, Otto, Michel, Karel, and the others, kept on trying to straighten that wing, looking for that last missing bolt, fixing the canopy etc. etc. just to get them airborne again. This is not a challenge, it's a passion, a way of life. And they are happy to meet all the others once a year at Schaffen airfield.
So what is a Fly-In ?
An airshow can be defined as a public exhibition, on the ground or in the air, by one or more airplanes, during which these airplanes evolve. So called aerobatics or demonstrations are being performed. During such exhibition a tight schedule and timing is applied.
An old timer fly-in however is a free meeting of old airplanes. There's no timing, no schedule and no aerobatics. Though, simply because we take the safety aspect very serious, we will apply the same safety rules that are applied to airshows, without losing the specific characteristics of a fly-in
Diest Aero Club
Diest Aero Club, organizer of the International Old Timer Fly-in, is a gliding club with an indisputable reputation. Not only in Belgium but also abroad. In 2002 Diest Aero Club took the lead in a new approach to the sport of soaring, based on the "free flying" philosophy.
Besides competitivity, Diest Aero Club can also rely on a very safe past. During all our flights we're happy to say that never serious gliding accidents occured. Safety is our main concern. And this goes also for the International Old Timer Fly-In. When inviting the pilots, we highlight the safety aspect of this event. To us, it's obvious that we repeat this when they register after their arrival.
More than just cars
Over the years, old-timer cars joined the event, and took on an increasingly prominent role. In 2007, more than 800 shining, passionately restored pieces of mobility history, took part in the event. Their owners, through many hours of hard work, not only make sure the glory and fame of those old names like Minerva, Triumph and Plymouth will not be lost in the shadows of time, but to many visitors, they also brought back happy memories of those long-gone days.... .