Gudrun Roos Takes To The Skies
Updated: Jul 1
Saturday, 23 March 2019 dawned clear with barely a breath of wind in Stellenbosch. It marked an extraordinary day in History for Gudrun Roos and Stellenbosch Flying Club as an unassuming woman, someone loved by all who know her, became the first female to participate in the Stellenbosch Air Show.
It was almost two o’clock in the afternoon when she took to the skies in her father’s Christen Husky. The bubbly Gudrun, known to most people as Gudie took everything in her stride. Shortly after she had completed her pre-flight checks and just ten minutes before take-off, I had a very important question to ask her. I asked her whether she was nervous about her part in the Show and she replied that if a pilot wasn’t just a bit nervous before flying, then they shouldn’t be flying. It’s a healthy respect for the combination of the craft and a skilled pilot that ensures good concentration while flying.
Gudrun is a mother of four. She has a five year old daughter and eight month old spontaneous triplets. Yes, that in itself is an amazing feat for any woman. She is a Somerset West girl who attended De Hoop Primary School, Parel Vallei High School and then Stellenbosch University where she completed a degree in marketing. She knew from a very young age that she wanted to fly, having practically grown up at the flying club and enjoying flying weekends away with her parents and sisters.
The plane Gudrun flies is nippy and surprisingly agile. The Aviat Christen Husky, owned by Odin Knutsen, is powered by a 180 horsepower Lycoming engine. This is quite a powerful engine for the Husky’s weight and it is this power that allows the plane to do the amazing short take off and landing (STOL), which was witnessed at the airshow. The Husky is a tandem, high-wing utility light aircraft.
We were treated to a display of speed, which one expects after witnessing a 50 to 60 meter take off, but the slow fly by was the most incredible feat from a spectator perspective. For safety reasons the pilots at an Air Show fly solo.
When asked how she felt about being the only woman participating in the Air Show, she said she felt exhilarated and very proud to be the first female pilot at the Stellenbosch Air Show. She expressed a wish that in the future more women would participate in these events and that she was hoping her display would encourage other female pilots to do the same. She was approached towards the beginning of 2019 with an offer to fly in the show. This was at a time when her triplets were only four months old. Most mothers would be daunted by the very idea, but not this vibrant young lady. She had absolutely no hesitation in accepting the offer.
Respect to you Gudie, you serve as an inspiration and powerful female figure and you are a role model of your time. Triplets are a force to be reckoned with, yet you make it look easy to balance motherhood with a tough career. Young women will look up to you and aspire to your goals because you’ve paved the way by not allowing unnecessary obstacles to get in the way of your long term goals.