SAA Pilot's Association Zebula Airshow 12- 14 April 2013

By Cheryl Smit

After contacting the Zebula Tower on 120.2 for joining and landing instructions, Trevor and I landed in his Savannah under the watchful eyes of the ATC's Riaan Olivier from George and his competent team on runway 26 on Saturday morning to a very busy airfield. This was my 4th Zebula Fly away and Airshow that I have attended over the past 5 years and my expectations were very high.

Chris Potgieter the Airshow co-ordinator informed me later in the day that 166 Fix wings, 5 Helicopters and over 4000 guests had congregated at the airfield for the day. What an achievement!

The safety briefing was held by Pierre Laubsher from RAASA and Pierre Gouws at 11h00 under the shaded tree next to the threshold on 08.

The airshow commenced at 11h30 with an awesome skydiving display by Mike Rumble who jumped from a Cessna 182 with the door removed. The airshow officially opened the Good Year Eagles, Dennis Spence flown by Neil Trollip, Johan van Sloms, Nigel Hopkins and Glen Warden in their new four ship formation (soon to a five ship) took to the skies followed by Pierre Gouws in the Bosbok. The Goodyear display was later joined by a 5th Pitts flown by Jason Beamish.

Then it was time for some rotor wing action with Buzz Bezuidenhout in the Robinson R66 showing that its not only the fixed wing guys that can thrill the crowds.

Menno Parsons's Mustang flown by George Pérez is always a crowd favourite and at Zebula it again showed why.

No airshow is complete without a car vs plane race and at Zebula Nigel in the MX2 took on a Bentley Continental GT.

Aerobatic aces Brad Bennetts in the Mazda Zoom Zoom Extra and Neville Ferriera in the Yak 55 the showed their skills. Bradd later on did an inverted ribbon cut much to the delight of the crowd.

Arguably the formation of the day was that of the Boeing Stearmans, Waco, Antonov and Yak 55 flypast. A Waco has not been seen for many years.

Next on the program was a three ship formation with a difference when three King Airs flown by Pierre Gouws, Larry Beamish and Nigel Hopkins took to the sky.

Cliff Pike in the Giles 202 thrilled with his performance, why we don't see Cliff at more shows is beyond me.

Nigel Hopkins in the MX2 was at it again this time doing a formation display with sponsor Cirrus in the new 5 seat Cirrus with Deon Wenzel at the controls.

One of SAA's Harvards followed, the other unfortunately had technical problems.

Another unique warbirds formation consisting of three T28's and the P51 Mustang flown by Pierre Gouws, Rob Beaumont, Larry Beamish and George Perez in the Mustang filled the sky with their distinctive sound.

Pierre Gouws, who hopped from one aircraft to another, flew the only Jet, the L39 of the day.

Catering was provided at the airfield throughout the day by Zebula's clubhouse staff who had the sole rights to sell food and beverages at the event. They also hosted African dancers with their beating drums to entertain the crowds.

Brian Emmenis and his team of professionals from Capital Sounds informed and entertained the crowd and Brian's easy banter, jokes and knowledge of aircraft and the participating pilots amazed and amused the crowd.

The SAA DC3 'Klapperkop' operated by SkyClass Aviation arrived with paying passengers earlier in the day and sold tickets at the airfield for a flip to the lucky few.

After the airshow we all gathered at the Zebula clubhouse for some welcoming refreshments and a skydiving display by Pierre Laubsher and Mike Rumble who landed right in front of us on the green. Later a wholesome dinner consisting of starters, a braai for mains with Zebula's famous prawns and delicious desserts was served in the Boma. I was a little disappointed to see that not many of the participating pilot's stayed over for the meal.

The organisers for the event were Paul Weich and Chris Potgieter who must be commended for their hard work and organisational skills. Pierre Gouws also did a superb job in planning the displays for the event. Thank you to Zebula Golf Estate and Spa, everything on the day was perfect. The weather turned overcast after lunch but did not hinder the flying displays. Trevor and I will most certainly be back next year.

Events 2013

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