Barberton - Lowveld airshow & Fly-in Saturday 8 September
By Cheryl Smit
In CC Pocock's words; “This is the only genuine Bush Pilots event in Africa, the most exciting, action packed and exhilarating Airshow and Fly-In event in Africa!”
When arriving at the Barberton Airfield on Friday afternoon the 7th September 2012 it was clear that the planned weekend events by CC Pocock was going to be a resounding success. Not even the rainy conditions which had persisted during the week could put a damper on CC's enthusiasm.
Due to the bad weather not many aircraft could arrive as planned on the Friday afternoon. However, CC was optimistic that Saturday morning would bring sunny skies and more of the anticipated aircraft to the airfield.
I arrived back at the airfield on Saturday morning 'show day' only to be greeted by very muddy conditions and more rain. By 10h00 the first of the aircraft started arriving as the weather conditions began to change for the better. By 11h30 the sun came out and it was all systems go to host the much anticipated Barberton airshow. I walked to the end on the airfield to photograph the aircraft as they started to arrive and by the time of the Pilot's briefing I had counted 26 aircraft on the airfield including the 'Bosbok' of Sarel vd Merve.
Rikus Erasmus 'Flight Director' and Koos Kieck 'Safety Officer' held the Pilots briefing at 12h15 and the airshow commenced at 13h15 with the first display hosted by CC Pocock the 'Event Organiser' and sole sponsor of the airshow in his ZS-CSZ 'Bush Air 1' Cessna 172.
Graham Cooper, the commentator for the event did a sterling job in entertaining the crowds during the airshow with his accurate knowledge of the aircraft during their displays.
Denel and Creative Space Media entertained the school children with paper building aircraft and a healthy lunch.
Riaan Olivier all the way from George and DJ De Denysschen were the two competent ATC's for the airshow and under their watchful eye in the tower ensured that the show continued safely and without any incident.
Riaan Prinsloo then took to the skies to enthral the 1000 odd spectators in his YAK.
The displays continued with Chris Briers in both the PAC 750 and the 'Safari Airways' Embrao 120.
David Gous in his YAK 52 entertained the crowds with his 'evergreen' Gorilla act.
Simon Bennet displayed his US. ARMY Steerman perfectly.
Danie Terblanche in his ZS-RSO Raven11 R44 helicopter did a riveting display.
The highlight of the show and the most anticipated for me was the pyrotechnics display performed by CC Pocock in Bush Air 1. I had not seen CC doing this display for more than a year and I could not wait. Needless to say I was not disappointed.
The show ended with the 'torra torra' display performed by Riaan Prinsloo in his YAK and the pyrotechnics done by CC Pocock, which included CC blowing up an old Cortina vehicle much to the delight of every single person at the show.
'Working on Fire' then had their turn in dousing the blaze from the explosion in their Helicopter and Crop sprayer.
The after party in the 'Bush Air' hangar did not disappoint and after the awards and 'Gemmer Cookies' had taken place we all enjoyed the lovely dinner and evening together.
Thank you to CC and his team for hosting this awesome airshow. I really hope it is not the last one. I travelled all the way from Durban to be there and I was not disappointed at all. The laid back proceeding of the event and the fantastic people of the Lowveld made it all that worthwhile being there and I look forward to the next one.