The Coves Flying Carnival takes off!

This event is unfortunately NOT open to the public. It is for Coves residents and their invited guests. 

Our 2019 event will be the biggest Fly-in yet!

The annual “Coves Fly-In” has been a popular event on the aviation calendar since 2011. The Coves is a beautiful lifestyle estate on the Western shores of Hartbeespoort Dam.

This year promises to be particularly exciting. To reflect many enhancements to the event, The Coves community has renamed it “The Coves Flying Carnival”.


Aviation activities will start at sunrise, with a full programme for the day.

What will you see?

We are expecting more than 70 visiting aircraft, plus 30 that are resident at The Coves.

Several aviation activities not seen in previous years are confirmed. These include displays of powered paragliders, parachutists, radio-controlled aircraft – both powered and gliders, and formation flying. Highlights are several aerobatic displays by some of the most sought-after teams and individuals on the continent.

Helicopter flips will be available to visitors to the Carnival.

To complement the aviation, food stalls, shaded seating areas, ice cold drinks, proper sanitation will be provided. Local produce and crafts, as well as aviation toys and memorabilia will be for sale.

Team Extreme will be there!


Nigel Hopkins flying the
Extra 330SC 
Jason Beamish flying the
Extra 330LX

Jason Beamish

Day Job: Aircraft Engineer with Absolute Aviation, Southern Africa.
Total Flying hours: 3,000
Number of aircraft rated on: 65

Nigel Hopkins

Day Job: Training Captain for South African Airways (Airbus A320)
Total Flying hours: 19,000
Number of aircraft rated on: 125


Jason has been involved in flying most of his life. He grew up at the Toy Store (hangar at Rand airport), had his first flying lesson at the age of 9 in the family Piper J3 Cub and went solo on his 17th Birthday.

Jason worked with Pilatus PC12 Centre Southern Africa for 7 years. He then joined Absolute Aviation Group (South African Beechcraft and Cessna agents) as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer in 2015.

Jason started competition aerobatics in 2007 in the Extra 300 and then air shows in 2009 on DH Chipmunks, Extra 300′s and Yak 52′s. More recently flying the South African airshow circuit with T28’s, RV’s, Extra 300’s, DH Chipmunks, AN2, Pitts Specials, a Boeing Stearman and a few more types on occasion.

Jason is multi-engine rated, turbine rated and has a test pilot class 2 rating. He is also display rated for formation aerobatics and solo aerobatics. He is a SACAA licenced aircraft engineer. He is also FAA A&P IA Certified.

Jason is the team engineer and #3 wingman for Team Xtreme Airshows flying the XA42 Sbach in China and his Extra 330LX in South Africa.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:

  • Extra 300/330LX – Team Xtreme (SA) and Solo
  • XA-42 – Team Xtreme (China)
  • Pitts S2B – Good Year Pitts Specials
  • RV7 – Raptors Aerobatic team

Past Teams:

  • Father/Son act with Extra 300 and RV7.
  • Two ship with Nigel Hopkins (Extra 330SC and Extra 300)
  • Yak 52 formation
  • Aero commander formation
  • Firestars Formation Team China
  • Goodyear Eagles Pitts Specials
  • KingAir/Bonanza formation
  • Zoltan Veres Formation Dubai/Budapest
  • DH Chipmunk Formation
  • The Raptors RV Formation
  • Piper Cub Truck Top Landing
  • Absolute Aviation Sponsored Extra 300

Jason: “All this would not have been possible without my Dad, Larry Beamish, who has been my inspiration, my coach, my leader, my instructor, my role model and my friend. I owe it all to him. Thanks Dad!”


Nigel Hopkins was born in Port Elizabeth, attended school at Pretoria Boys High and currently resides in Centurion with his wife and three daughters. On the rare occasion that he’s not flying, you may find Nigel water skiing or playing golf. Nigel’s father is a pilot and aviation enthusiast, so Nigel grew up with aviation. His weekends were spent at parachute clubs and air shows. He officially started flight training in 1991 and obtained his PPL in 1992 while working as an Air Traffic Controller. In 1993, he completed his commercial licence with an instructors rating and began flight instruction full time. Whilst flying medical rescue and charter flights he attained his ATPL in 1994, and joined SA Express Airways in 1995. Shortly after that, in 1996, he joined SAA where he has flown a B737-200/800, B767, B747, A319/320 and an A340. Nigel is currently the Fleet Training Captain on the A320. Nigel was always in awe of the skill presented at the aerobatic displays at air shows when he was growing up, and in 1995 he took a basic aerobatic course with Scully Levin. That was the start of his aerobatic and display flying career. Since then he has flown for the L29 Sasol Tigers, Goodyear Pitts Specials, Northwest Extra 300 Team, Team Xtreme, Raptors RV Aerobatic Team and SAA Harvard aerobatic teams. Nigel owns an Extra 330SC and has a passion for aerobatics which he believes is the purest and the freest form of powered flight.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:

  • Extra 330SC – Solo Freestyle and Team Xtreme Airshows (SA)
  • XA-42 – Team Xtreme (China)
  • Pitts S2B – Good Year Pitts Specials
  • RV-7 – Raptors Aerobatic team

The Flying Lions Formation Team regularly grab headlines with their daring feats and magnificent aerial displays at air shows around South Africa. Sponsored by Puma Energy, the team consists of renowned pilots Scully Levin, Arnie Meneghelli, Ellis Levin and Sean Thackwray, and have been in operation for more than 14 years.

The Flying Lions use the world-renowned Harvard AT6 aircraft or ‘Texan’ in their shows. Don’t miss them at the flying Carnival!



The Flying Lions have been operating since 1999 and are regarded as an essential act at every major air show across the country, using the world-renowned Harvard AT6 aircraft or ‘Texan’ in their shows. The Harvard is one of the most successful pilot trainers ever built, with more than 17 000 constructed between 1940 and 1954 alone. With its inimitable magical sound and fitted smoke system to enhance the choreography of the display, the Harvard has huge spectator appeal and consistently draws massive crowds at aviation events around the country.

A close-knit team that eats, drinks, sleeps and thinks flying, the pilots are tremendously dedicated to what they do and derive great pleasure and satisfaction from formation and display flying.

Who can come to the event?

The Coves Flying Carnival is by invitation only.

Invited guests and registered aircraft are welcomed to experience a unique lifestyle estate. Visitors can enjoy a meal or drink at The Oaks Bistro and see the dam and the various Coves? we love to live in. Above all, the natural beauty and grandeur of living at the foot of the majestic Magaliesberg Mountain range provides an unforgettable experience.


I’m a pilot – can I land there?

Yes, if we have space in the schedule. Please follow the procedures in the drop down below and chat to our aviation director if you want more information.


Visiting aircraft will be welcomed for arrival up to 11:00, after which there will be sterile airspace for the various displays. The runway will reopen at 15:00 for departures. These timelines will be strictly enforced.

All aircraft types are welcomed to visit for the day, as long as they abide by the Coves Aero Club rules, approach procedures and the indemnity requirements laid out on this page (being uploaded shortly), or available from

All arriving aircraft must complete their arrival and indemnity forms by no later than  5 of April 2019, to gain access to our private airfield. Please email all forms confirming your understanding and possession of the rules of the day to The Coves Aero Club’s Chairman, JP Fourie, at

Pilots are required to register on arrival at The Coves’ Pilot Welcome Centre, adjacent to the Outside Broadcast unit, where we shall provide our visiting flying folk with a meal and coffee voucher, in appreciation of their aerial visit to The Coves Flying Carnival.

Download the Programme of Events

The programme of events is downloadable or viewable online.  We may be forced to make changes so stay connected to our Facebook page for up to date info on the day.


Follow us on social media 

We have a dedicated Facebook event page to keep you posted on events as they are confirmed.  

On the day there will be live broadcasts from the event so if you can’t make it – you will still get sneak peeks!

We will also keep you updated via the Facebook page on any changes to the schedule of events on the day.

Hashtag your social media posts and tag The Coves Estate on either Facebook or Instagram and we will give one Social Media Tagger / influencer a prize!  #TheCovesFlyingFestival2019

Follow the page below and make sure you know all the details.

Live broadcast on the day


Stay tuned to our radio broadcast at the event

The Voice of Aviation, Brian Emmenis and his Capital Radio broadcast team will guide, entertain and keep us all informed and safe during the day. 



The first Fly-In at The Coves was held on 3rd September 2011. It was the idea of George Brink and Jan Hanekom, but George, together with his father Wally sadly had a fatal accident competing in the President’s Cup Challenge that year.

The Fly-In was then arranged and managed by Jan Hanekom and as a tribute to George the RV’s flew in the missing man formation, bringing sadness to many hearts.

A breakfast was sponsored by the Developers and run and managed by Harcourts, from Jan Hanekom’s hangar (which was the only hangar at The Coves at that time). Already the trend was set – 140 breakfasts were served when the plans were for 100! Further celebrations took place at the waterfront, with a braai and live music as part of The Coves traditional Spring Day event. Some twenty planes flew in that day.

This was followed by another successful Fly-in in 2012 just outside Jan Hanekom’s stand in a tent. The 2013 Fly-in was also a big success and was the first one held at The Coves Club House. Jan continued to manage the event each year, with the help of Harcourts, the Social Committee and of later years the Clubhouse service providers. Rudi Greyling ran it in 2016.

The aviation team did not hold a Fly-In for 2017 and came back with a bang in 2018 – with 72 planes registering for the event. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather conditions only 50 flew in – but what a day it was. The Oaks (our very own restaurant) had their first day here, serving over 400 meals (they had been told to provide for 200!). They ran out of beer (no not the pilots I hope), but it was a fabulous day and all enjoyed it.

This year the game has been changed dramatically. JP Fourie and The Coves Aviators have planned a magnificent day. All weather permitting of course.

A full programme will be issued, with times nearer the event.

Diarise the 6 April 2019, as a must-attend event if you are an aviator. You don’t want to miss it.


This event is NOT open to the public

You will need to be a resident of The Coves or be an invited guest of a resident or The Coves management Team.  Nobody will be given access at the gate without a code.