In the words of Brian Emmenis of Capital Sounds, “Brilliant! The goal to take aviation to the local people of ZwaZulu Natal has been achieved. More than 5000 scholars of Ulundi were introduced to aviation. We are most grateful to the Premier Dr. Zweli Mkhize who has pledged much bigger support going forward. The crowds came alive and it was electric. Brian then added that this is what a laid back country show should be, not high energy but the tempo was just right.”
Once again at Ulundi, with free entrance to the airshow the locals arrived in abundance to witness and experience for some their first airshow. Brian Emmenis of Capital Sounds and his co commentator Charmaine Gumede a local Zulu girl from Natal kept the crowds enthralled throughout the day from their mobile unit.
The Premier Dr. Zweli Mkhize opened the show with a parade down the airfield accompanied by the safety and emergency vehicles.
The Durban Skydive team in their yellow t-shirts led by Ian Douglas then took to the beautiful blue skies in the Antonov 2 ZU-FOO piloted by Hysteck Pretorius for the para drop. Ian brought the South African flag safely to the ground while the Anthem was played and when the team had safely landed he introduced them to the Premier.
Federal Air the official airline for the KZN Winter Air Tour then did a fly-past in their Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZS-OJC and the show was officially declared open. Charmaine Hickley of Federal Air organised that several of the local scholars were taken for a flight in the Cessna.
Michel Leusch was first up in the lineup to display his Super Decathlon in a breathtaking aerobatic display.
Second up into the skies was Mike Wyngaards in the Impala owned by Dawid Laas. Mike's father had actually helped assemble this Impala ZU-IMP 479 which was the last of the 20 Impala to be delivered to the SAAF on the 3rd June 1966. Now here all these years later was Mike flying this Impala. After the display the Premier went and sat in the Impala. His smile lasted the whole day.
The L29 Delfin flown by Martin Schultze in his second airshow of his career displayed his jet ZU-VLL. This Russian jet was first seen in the skies on the 5th April 1959.
Nigel Hopkins was next in the lineup in his MX2 with a riveting aerobatic display. This is certainly one act that sent the crowds into a frenzy. They loved it. Once again Nigel was on top form.
The Good Year Eagles Pitts led by Dennis Spence did their fantastic three ship display that had the crowds cheering in delight.
The show ended with a plane - car race between the Good Year Pitts and a RAV4 SUV from East Toyota Eshowe. The Pitts flown by Dennis Spence won the race.
As always special mention must go to Safety Director Fred Bebington who also celebrated his 70th birthday at the airshow, John Neilon Flight Director, Peter Graham trainee Safety Director, the IGS Security Team, ATNS Riaan Olivier and Sakkie De Lange for a well-run and safe airshow.
The after party for the KZN Winter Air Tour was organized by Dr. Clive Coetzee and held at Muzi Bush Camp. What a perfect way to end the day around the camp fire while watching rugby on the big screen and enjoying the Springboks defeat the Scottish.
The forth in the KZN Winter Air Tour will be held at Richards Bay on Saturday 22nd June. See you there.