Despite the gusting 30 knot winds at this the 4th Airshow of the KZN Winter Air Tour the participating pilots still performed at their optimum best to entertain the large crowds that arrived at the Richards Bay Airshow and the KZN Winter Air Tour has again fulfilled their mandate of bringing awesome aviation to the locals of KwaZulu Natal.
Federal Air the official airline for the KZN Winter Air Tour landed with the dignitaries in their Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZS-OJC.
The show was officially opened by the MEC Ina Cronje and a parade down the runway accompanied by the safety and emergency protection vehicles.
The Durban Skydive team in their yellow t-shirts led by Ian Douglas then took to the skies in the Antonov 2 ZU-FOO piloted by Hysteck Pretorius for the para drop while the National Anthem was played. Despite the gusting winds they all landed safely and were introduced to the MEC.
Nigel Hopkins was first up in his MX2 with a riveting aerobatic display despite the restrictions placed on him in the 40 knot gusting winds.
Michel Leusch was next up in the lineup to display his Super Decathlon in a nail-biting aerobatic display.
The 'Black Mamba' L29 Delfin flown by Martin Schultze was the first jet in the lineup to display his amazing Russian jet ZU-VLL.
The Good Year Eagles Pitts led by Dennis Spence did their fantastic three ship display that had the crowds cheering in delight. At this point Dennis reported winds of 60 knots in the skies.
Michel Leusch then displayed his red and white radio controlled jet to the crowds.
The second jet of the day was the Impala ZU-IMP 479 flown by was Mike Weingaards and owned by Dawid Laas. This was one display that the gusting winds did not have much impact on.
Nigel Hopkins was then up for his second aerobatic display in the MX2 battling against the now increased gusting winds. Nigel was followed by the Eqstra Flying Lions that because of the increased ended the show with a flat formation display in the Harvards.
Unfortunately restrictions were placed on RAASA accredited photographic journalists by the Media Director which unfortunately resulted them not being in the best position for photographs. I none the less look forward to the next and fifth Airshow in the KZN Winter Air Tour to be held at Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 29th. June.
As always special mention must go to Safety Director Fred Bebington, John Neilon Flight Director, Peter Graham Ramp Director, the IGS Security Team, ATNS Evette Knoetzen and Brian Emmenis of Capital Sounds for a safe airshow.