Bethlehem Air Show 2014
By Ricky Fouchť
The 2014 Air show was held on the 19th July at the Bethlehem airport and was arranged by Stephan Fourie and the Bethlehem Aero Club. As a result of the new airshow regulations, the spectator area had to be revised and the grass runway 12/30 was used as the display area while the tar runway 11/29 was used for takeoff and landings.
Due to excellent weather the air show was well supported and many visitors streamed through the gates to be entertained by a full program of aerial acts.
An action packed program was presented to the visitors. Opening the day was the AN-2 with 8 Skydivers with Ralph Ridge flying the biggest South African flag.
Following them was an amazing display by JP Fourie in the NAC Quest Kodiak.
After JP, Mr "One man Air Show", Menno Parsons entertained the crowd with his first display in his Pilatus PC12. Menno also gave displays in his Mustang and one of his Bell 407's
The YAK Attack team, from Durban, crossed the border and for the first time displayed outside of KZN. The team, consisting of Leader Bruce Daniels (Nanchang), No 2 Michel Leusch (Yak 52), No 3 Martin Schulze(Yak 52) and no 4 Brendan Adams (Yak 18T) entertained the crowd with solo aerobatics by Michel in his Yak 52, Formation aerobatics by Michel and Martin in their two Yak 52's and then formation flying by the whole team.
Andre Coetzee displayed a Bell 222-UT to the theme song of Airwolf.
Helicopter legend Frank Peters-Hollenberg did a short display in a Bell UH-1 Huey. The "Working on Fire" team, consisting of a spotter and the Huey, did a bombing run with a Bambi Bucket and dropped right on target.
A newcomer to the South African Air Show Circuit, Justus Venter, did a high energy solo aerobatic display in his "Spitronics" Pitts S1-S.
Dave Mandel did the first of the "Warbird" Jet displays in his Aero L39 Albatross and was followed a while later by Mike Weingartz in the Dawid Laas owned Atlas Impala MK1.
The Gabriel Wings team as well as the Eqstra flying Lions made an appearance with Scully Levin leading both teams. The rest of the team was made up of Arnie Meneghelli, Sean Thackwray and Ellis Levin. Ellis, flying the solo spot in the Gabriel team in his Extra 300 and Sean flying the solo spot in the Eqstra team.
To me, the highlight of the show was the Boeing 737-200 flown by veteran Captain Dennis Spence and newly promoted Captain Greame Lloyd. The display consisted of, a Freestate first, the 737 in formation with the four Eqstra Harvards.
Capital Sounds, once again, ensured that the audience were kept informed on the displays. The presenters, consisting of Brian Emmenis, Christo van den Berg, Leon Du Plessis and on occasion Charlie Marais, kept the crowd informed and entertained with facts and some fun anecdotes. Also new to the air show circuit is the Salleys Yamaha sponsored Rhino all terrain vehicle. This is used, by Capital Sounds, for rapid response to any situation on the airfield.
The day was rounded off with a sheep braai and all pilots and support crew were invited. All in all a very safe and successful show. The weather, unlike last year, was outstanding and we all had a great time.
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