Co-founder of Jets-R-Us
Adriaan Bakker, a great friend, model enthusiast, and affectionately known as “The Man Behind the Camera”. He co-founded Jets-R-Us and was the inspiration behind the Gariep Fly-in Trophy (now known as the Adriaan Bakker Memorial Trophy). His passion and dedication to his friends and fellow modelers, knew no bounds and you could always rely on him to assist in any capacity.
Adriaan completed his trade as a Tool and Die maker at Atlas Aviation. He was employed for a period of time at Lyttelton Engineering, where he was involved in manufacturing locally made firearms. His love for models was ignited when he began working as a CNC operator at Model Mechanics.
He was just learning to fly and one of our greatest memories is when he completely froze upon landing and flew the Stick into his own legs. This caused us great amusement and we never let him live this down.
Even though he was new to the hobby, he had a vision to expand and improve on all aspects. There wasn’t a day that went by that he wasn’t coming up with some new idea to fulfill this vision.
The model fraternity has lost a true visionary and friend and we miss him dearly.
George completed his trade at Atlas Aviation as a turbine technician. His love for model aircrafts began when he was employed by Model Mechanics in 2002 where he was hired to develop as well as manufacture a local Model turbine.
George became extensively involved with jet modellers and was always ready to help wherever he could. He was always ready to help with any jet motor, whatever make or size. In 2007 George accompanied the South African Jet World Masters team to Hungary, to assist Greg Casson who was taking part in the competition.
George’s wealth of knowledge will not only be missed in the model fraternity but also to the world at large.
It is with sorrow and regret that I communicate the news of James’ passing.
To anyone who had attended Jet-meets in South Africa or World Jet Masters, James would have been remembered as my helper, caller, mechanic and fellow SA Team member.
First meeting him thirty odd years ago – at a flying field – he became a staunch friend, always ready to help as we worked through R/C Aerobatics, Pylon Racing, Scale and eventually into Ducted Fan jets.
Although he did fly, he was always happier in a support role and the technicalities of Turbine aircraft appealed greatly to his mechanical mindset.
In the Jet scene we did our apprenticeship on BVM D/Fs, JPX propane-fuelled turbines, then onto manual-start kero fuelled motors and, eventually, the full Autostart / user-friendly turbines taken for granted today.
A very sociable person, especially with a J&B or two inside him, James made many friends here in SA, and at the seven Jet World Masters we attended – with him as Team Manager for several of them.
Heart surgery about five years ago, though successful, affected his health and he determined to gradually take a back seat in the Jet competition scene, with Dayton to be his last Masters. His failing health made this a tiring competition, not helped by being caught in the tornado that soaked us when the Model Storage tent blew away.
Over the last year or so, James withdrew from R/C flying almost totally and spent a lot of time renovating his home in Durban North. This kept his interest , with him doing the planning and contractors carrying out the work..
This was finalised back in February of this year when he had a slap-up 70th birthday party there, with his relatives visiting from overseas.
His failing health, and the onset of a lung infection, resulted in his being taken into hospital where he passed away on Monday , May 27th .
James, you will be greatly missed.
Kevin Skinner got his passion for aeromodelling from our dad, Bill in the late 1950’s, when we experimented with Jetex models. This developed further into control line flying and when we moved to Pietersburg in the mid-1960’s, we came into contact with early radio control. When our family relocated to Alberton in 1970, we continued with free-flight and Kevin was able to afford his first Sataba RC set in 1975. When he married Linda in 1977, aeromodelling took a back seat, since he was concentrating on his career as a production manager, and raising a family.
About ten years ago, Kevin returned, and found that he had not lost any of his skills, and quickly established himself as an administrator at the Henley Aeromodelers Club. Together with his son Michael, they embarked on a modernisation campaign, and with other leading personalities at HAM, the club grew in stature, presenting several very successful air shows, and becoming a leading club in the country.
Kevin was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident on 31 May 2012, through no actions of his own, when the driver of an SAPS vehicle erred. This brought an end to the life of a man of firmest oak, one with a steady resolve and utmost integrity, a hard worker and a visionary. Kevin was a practical person, whose hands were ready to tackle the most demanding of tasks. His most favourite position on the field, was on the park bench at the flight line where he would view the endless vistas, and the Suikerbosrand mountains in the backdrop, flying his model aircraft to his heart’s content.
Kevin, is sadly missed by his wife Linda, sons Michael and Shaun, four grand-children, family members, and many, many friends. May you rest in peace boet, and fly your aeries across Elysian fields from Heaven’s park bench.