WESBANK - BOTSWANA INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW 2014
By Ricky Fouchť
The air show was held over the weekend of the 26th of July on the privately owned Matsieng air field. The De Wet Family must surely be the only family that owns their own airfield with cross runways, permanent ATC tower, VIP enclosure and tailor-made permanent air show fencing.
With great weather and many visiting aircraft and visitors it was a very busy weekend. A tent town was established and many of the "Fly-In" visitors chose to stay there. Friday and Saturday evenings saw all the display pilots and visitors spend time together at a very well organised braai.
Saturday morning was started off with the usual parade of organiser's and emergency service vehicles. The air show started with Andrew Pappas in a Bat Hawk LSA aircraft demonstrating the observation capabilities of the aircraft. Scania Botswana brought the Good Year Eagles team of Dennis Spence, Johan "Dingaan" von Solms and Paul "Cruiser" Coetzer to the show.
Skydivers were next on the programme. Seven skydivers jumped from the Air Team XSTOL P750 piloted by Ruan Schoeman. Skydivers from Skydive Botswana, Garm Makaya and Munyaka Makuyana were joined by Skydive Rustenburg and Arial FX skydivers Graham Field (Tandem), Patrick Loots, Anthony Amos, Danielle Pentz and Jason Els. A Total of three skydives were performed.
Next up was Danie Terblanche, with a lively display, in a Giant Transport sponsored Robinson R44. Danie also performed another spirited display in a Giant Transport sponsored Husky later in the afternoon.
Menno Parsons brought the beautiful Mustang Sally to the show. Also at the show was his T28 Trojan (Flown by Larry Beamish) and one of his Bell 407's.
One of three brand new aircraft, an Air Tractor 402 was displayed by Johan Foley. The other new aircraft was the NAC Quest Kodiak Displayed by Nigel Hopkins and the Absolute Aviation Beechcraft G36 displayed by Gert Ehlers.
Displaying the Fama Kiss 209MF two seat turbine powered helicopter was, Wonderboom based, Martin Jacobs that has the Robinson R22 to the Mil Mi8 on his logbook
A newcomer to the South African Air Show Circuit, Justus Venter, did a high energy solo aerobatic display in his "Spitronics" Pitts S1-S and Khan de Jager wowed the crowd with a very lively display in a Robinson R22.
James Pittman and the Airplane Factory Sling was there and so was Matthew Zalewski in his Autogyro.
The Eqstra flying Lions, Arnie Meneghelli, Sean Thackwray, Andrew Blackwood-Murray and Gavin Brown did formation flypasts with solo aerobatics by Sean. The RV7 Formation consisting of Rob Kenedy, Larry Beamish, Ryan Beeton and Ampie Steinberg also did formation flypasts and added formation aerobatics with Larry and Ryan. This was the first aerobatic show for Ryan Beeton.
The highlight of the show was, undoubtedly, the display by Nigel Hopkins in his MX2. The display caused the crowd to burst out in spontaneous applause during every manoeuvre. Menno Parsons and Nigel Hopkins presented an airplane / helicopter race to the crowd by racing the Bell 407, Menno, and MX2, Nigel, against each other in a fun race that was won by the helicopter.
The largest aircraft at the air show was the DC3 (Delaney) from Rovos Air and the Botswana Defence Force Casa 235
Capital Sounds, once again, ensured that the audience were kept informed on the displays. Brian Emmenis kept the crowd informed and entertained with facts and some fun anecdotes. The Salleys Yamaha sponsored Rhino all terrain vehicle was used to patrol the crowd line and also to recover skydivers that had a long walk home.
South African and Botswana ATC's teamed up to ensure that the air show ran smoothly and Chris Briers compiled the programe.
The day was rounded off with a sunset display by the Eqstra Flying Lions and a great get together at the Tent Town. With the runway and display line a mere 15 meters from the crowd line, the air show was up close and personal.
Thank you to all the sponsors that made the day possible. A special thank you, to Town Lodge, for the free accommodation.
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