Tribute to FRANS DELY - South Africa's Top Aviation Photographer

24 November 2011

It has been 3 month since two Albatross aircraft crashed into the mountains near Tzaneen, Limpopo, South Africa. One of the people that died that day was Frans Dely. Frans was firstly my mate then my mentor in aviation photography. We go back a long way. I first met Frans at a local airshow but we got very friendly when we travelled to the UK for the airshows in that part of the world. We did several RIAT's and a couple of Farnboroughs together. I will never forget the time we had together in Fairford and Meysey Hampton - we spent many hours in the Mason's Arms downing beers after a long day at RIAT and talking about airshows, the people that make up airshows in SA, magazines and the possibility of doing a book on airshows - SA and of course including RIAT and Flying Legends. To say that Frans was passionate about aviation - well, he lived aviation photography. I learnt a lot from Frans. He taught me to take an average photo and turn it into a "masterpiece" - well as best as I could get anyway. Frans had been doing this sort of thing for years and was GOOD at what he did. Wrong, he was a master. He also had loads of contacts which he used extensively. I always marvelled at his expertise - both photographic and marketing.

Frans as I remember him.

Last time I saw Frans was at the Durban airshow 2011. I asked him why he wasn't at RIAT and Oshkosh as he was every year and he replied that he was busy launching a "magazine" that would be sold at airshows only. He asked me to contribute and I was considering it. Pity we never got that far.... That was the last time I saw Frans.......

Frans, I will never have another beer with you and Shaun at the Mason's Arms in Meysey Hampton in the UK. We will never be able to talk about photography again or shoot the breeze about "stuff". That saddens me immensely. One thing I regret is not doing the Mach Loop with you and Shaun - you would have loved that experience. We will meet again, I have no doubt. Till then, take care buddy. R.I.P.