By Willie Bodenstein

For those visiting Air Shows and other events Brian Emmenis and Capital Sounds have become household names. However the amount of work that goes into getting the Capital Sounds team and all its equipment to Air Show is truly astounding.

I have been fortunate to travel with Capital Sounds to a number of Airshows held as far apart as Matsapa in Swaziland to TFDC at Overberg in the Cape and has always been amazed at the professionalism and military precision with which each deployment is executed. Planning for a show starts with the booking by the organisers. If needs be Brian Emmenis will visit the venue to plan the sound lay-out, assist with the planning and program, suggest participants and acts and help with sponsorship.

Brian, Leon du Plessis and Francois Hannekom

Back at base in Welkom in the Free State a detailed inventory is compiled of all equipment, transport and staff requirements. Provision is made for staff accommodation and meals. Staff members are issued with a set of uniform sporting the logos of the sponsors. A database is compiled of the technical specifications of all participating aircraft and relevant information about the pilots and owners. Besides this database Leon du Plessis, Technical advisor and researcher also have access to information on their Mercer computers about most types that may be visiting but not participate.

Music and advertising jingles are chosen and stored on computer. Most of the Airshow acts will supply their own soundtrack to be played during their display. Besides the well-known state of the art equipped Sprinter Mobile Studio satellite downlinks are used to patch through to acts so as to offer the spectators a running commentary by the pilots during their displays.

With days to go all vehicles and equipment is checked and the loading starts. The number of vehicles and staff needed will depend on the size of the event and might consists of the Mobile Studio, Brian, a producer and two other for smaller events or for the really big shows like AAD up to four vehicles plus two or more trailers and eighteen staff will be used. The team will usually arrive, after having sometimes travelled for up to 12 hours in convoy, a day or two early and the rigging will start. Rigging a small event can take a few hours, for the larger events, like AAD it may take a full day or more. Show day will see the team on site early, checking all equipment and setting up the final links to be ready for the start of the show' Besides Brian's commentary, interviews and banter during the day the lines are patrolled to ensure that all equipment is functioning and to adjust volumes to suite the crowd. At shows end and after every one else has departed Capital Sounds will still be busy, de-rigging, packing away and loading for the journey home, sometimes to repeat the whole procedure again and then depart for the next engagement.

Capital Sounds does not only do aviation events but has been involved in almost all other major sporting events, product launches and others. Brian can be contacted at: or on 057 388 2351

Aviation Personalities

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