Time Aviation SAAF Museum Airshow 2013.05.11

By Willie Bodenstein

A passion for aviation and for preserving our aviation heritage is the perfect recipe for organizing a show that again this year will be hard to beat. Colonel Mike O'Conner and his dedicated team at The SAAF Museum has despite very little financial support grew the museum into a world class facility with the biggest fleet of airworthy aircraft on the continent but also for the past two years staged what was judged by the Aero Club of South Africa the best airshow of the year.

The Museum this year celebrates its 40th birthday and the show despite intermittent rain, a bone chilling cold wind and threatening clouds again drew the crowds and had a line-up of acts and aircraft to please all aviation fanatics. Opening the show was the Golden Eagle Skydivers whose members represent most branches of the Defence Force.

The SAAF formation team the Silver Falcons who has thrilled the crowds at most airshows for years and who has now doubt contributed to many a youngster choosing aviation as a career presence at airshows has drastically been curtailed because of budget constraints and the Museum show we were told will be there last display in 2013.

Most of the regular aerobatic teams were represented with the Eqstra Flying Lions, Gabriel Pitts Specials and Goodyear Pitts Special doing their magic in the heavily overcast sky.

Two heavies, Fortune Air's Boing 727 and Mango's 737-800 had the crowd rushing to the barriers whilst the DC 3 of Springbok Classic Air, an airliner of years gone by flew a display that put many an aerobatic performer to shame.

Jets and noise is what draw most people and the Museum Airshow did not disappoint. The Cheetah D that unfortunately did only a low flypast.

Eastern Block Trainers the L29 and L39 where present and thrilled the estimated 30,000 plus visitors.

Two British classics, both in the colours of the Swiss Air Force, the Hawker Hunter with its unmistakeable blue note sound and Vampire with its ghostly whine celebrated the Museums 40th birthday.

The Impala South Africa's own legendary trainer is a regular at Airshows. It is the only one of more than 120 locally assembled or built in privately owned.

Classics where well represented with the Tiger Moth, Boeing Stearman and Fairchild that has not been seen for years at a show forming part of the program

On the propeller side the Harvards, Yak 52, Trojan T28 and P51 Mustang represented the golden age of propeller aircraft.

No show will be complete without aerobatics and three of South Africa's top performers showed their stuff at Zwartkop.

Nigel Hopkins

Johnnie Smith

Brad Bennets

The Rotorwing side were not neglected with the Museum's Puma, Allo II and III as well as an impressive lien up of civilian and ex-military helicopters owned by civilians on display. A MT-03 Gyro showed the amazing characteristics of this nimble little aircraft.

The Cirrus / MX 2 display is fast becoming a crowd favourite as is the car / plane race. This time a Bell 207 took on a Bentley Super Sport with the car beating the heli by the narrowest of margins.

SAAF assets that made a brief appearance were Rooivalk and the C130 whilst an Atlas Angel, an ex SAAF Kudu no with turbine power did a spirited display.

The Time Aviation SAAF Museum will be hard act to beat this year.

Events 2013

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