On Saturday 14thJuly 2012 the KZN Winter Tour hosted the final airshow of the tour at Virginia Wings Club Airport in Durban. More than 8,500 spectators entered the gates to view the airshow and possibly another 5,000 viewed the show from various viewpoints around the Durban North area.
The weather held off until late afternoon when a SW brought a little rain which did not deter the crowds and the show continued until the Eqstra Harvard's had completed their night display at dusk.
The airshow commenced at 9:30 sharp with a Para drop from the Atlas Angel Kudu and went straight on to the parade of Harley Davidsons leading the security and safety vehicles down the runway just before the Decathlon flown by local boy Michel Leusch took to the blue skies to enthral the crowds with his aerobatic display.
Absolute Aviation then took to the skies in the Hawker Beechcraft B200GT King Air flown by Larry Beamish and the Hawker Beechcraft Bonaza G36 flown by his son Jason Beamish in a close formation display.
It was then the turn of the Gabriel Pitts with their polished performance followed directly thereafter by Meno Parsons awesome display in his 'Mustang Sally'.
Team Extreme flown by our very own National Aerobatic Champion Nigel Hopkins in his MX2 together with the Cirrus flown by Deon Wentzel once again had the crowds on the edge of their seats.
The Eqstra Harvard's led by retired SAA Senior Captain Skully Levine flew their effortless and well rehearsed display much to the crowds delight.
Adept Airmotive then had the opportunity to show off the Raven with their locally built all-South African designed and manufactured engine that can operate on lead-free fuels, bio-fuel and ethanol.
The Quest Kodiak flown by Francois Naude demonstrated its short take-off and landing capabilities suited for African conditions.
Larry Beamish then flew the L29 ZU-VLL with such grace and precision which I last witnessed many years ago when he flew with the Sasol Tigers aerobatic team.
The Good Year Eagles, Pitts display flown by Glen Warden, Neil Trollip and Nigel Hopkins enthralled the crowds to much applause.
The African Conservation Trust 'Sky Dive for Rhinos' hosted a mock Rhino poaching display by airlifting a Rhino to safety after it had been poached.
The Zoo York Zlins flown by Michel Leusch and Roger Deere then did a spectacular display demonstrating their skills in close formation flying.
Thereafter Dave Mandel in his L39 ZU-JET thrilled the spectators with his looping, rolling display.
Brad Bennett's and Ellis Levine in their Mazda Zoom Zooms once again excelled in their display.
Stuart Seward in his red and white chequered Pitts 1-11B all the way from Cape Town then took to the skies for his display followed by the Ecko Yaks flown by Stu Low, Martin Schultze and Willy O'Driscal who had their turn to enthral the crowd with their three ship display.
During the day the draw for the Dennis Jankelow 'Reach for a Dream' competition draw took place and the Cessna Cardinal with a PPL was won by Lynda Jewaskiewitz. A fundraiser was also held during the airshow for twenty World War 2 veterans that had fallen on hard times and a grand total of R50,000 was pledged on the day. Brian Emmenis was quoted as saying “Thanks to 43 Air School for your opening bid of R1,000. I have never seen such a huge outpouring of kindness in such a short time.”
Another impromptu event was a public announcement made by a Phoenix local Nishen Khedun who proposed to his girlfriend of five years Jacqueline Maduramuthu, who accepted much to the crowds approval.
The officials for the day were:
Fred Bebington - Safety Officer
John Neilon - Flight Director and Airshow coordinator
Peter Graham - Ramp Director
Stewart Weston - IGS Security
ATC's - Nancy Chibray, Lavish Naidoo, Kyle Pillay, Tony Sherman and Kevin Bloem
Commentary - Capital Sounds - Brian Emmenis and his team
A hearty congratulations to the organisers and sponsors of this year's 2012 KZN Winter Tour and I am looking forward to next years tour to be showcased to many more of the local citizens of KZN.