WARBIRDS OVER ZWARTKOP 2014
By Garth Calitz
Anyone visiting AFB Zwartkop on Saturday 30 August would be forgiven if they thought they were at Flying Legends, as the sky was filled with warbirds from all every era in History. Unfortunately due to the cold gusty conditions the turnout was not as good as previous years. This the 15 annual Warbirds meeting was once again organised by Retired Lieutenant Colonel Gert de Klerk who started the meetings in 2000 and they have grown by the year.
As has become customary the certificates are issued to the best aircraft present on the day that meet the criteria. Only hand built scale replicas of actual Warbirds are considered, unfortunately no "ARF's" almost ready to fly are permitted.
The beautifully built Bucker Student was judged the best Monoplane, this stunning aircraft belongs to Alex Jones but unfortunately was too light to fly in the gusty conditions. Only twelve of these aircraft were seconded by the Luftwaffe as trainers and not much information about the paint schemes is available they finally found the info from a ex Luftwaffe pilot and completed the model.
Best jet award went to the Aeromachhi MB339 painted in the colours of the Italian airforce display team the Frecce Tricolori no 5. This wonderful replica was built and flown by Dieter Lettau. Dieter and fellow pilot Chris van Rensburg gave a demonstration in form flying, Chris flies No 1 in same color scheme.
The best overall model award went to Andre' Dethioux with his absolutely perfect scale model of a Bell Huey. The attention to detail on this model is extraordinary the interior is so perfect that even the maps in the map case are scale copies of real maps of Vietnam, and on top of the instrument panel are a scale copy of Playboy magazine and a pack of Texan cigarettes. Andre'spent almost two years to get this model where it is today and still planes to do more work on the interior of the chopper.
Pilots that take part in the meeting are issued with specially set of specially designed wings. Qualification for the Warbirds wings is simple, Takeoff fly a circuit land and the aircraft must be able to fly again without any repairs.
Retired General "Thack" Thackeray and Retired Colonel Eric Schmullian were the guests of honour and also helped with the judging which could not have been an easy task with so many brilliant aircraft on the flight line. A special word of thanks must go to Marthinus Pogieter for handling the flight line and LtCol Clive Sheppard for running the safety side of things on behalf of the SAAF Museum.
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