The show that was cancelled-Eagle Air Zebula Air Show
By Garth Calitz
Zebula pulled out all the stops for their 7th annual air show, which promised to be bigger and better than all the previous ones. The unpredictable Bushveld weather unfortunately had other plans, the opening display, a mass Piper formation, had barely got airborne and the heavens' opened reducing Zebula airfield to a mud bath. With a close eye on the weather radar a call was made to officially cancel the show after almost 3 hours of constant torrential rain.
Many of the loyal local crowd decided to stay and brave the weather and they were rewarded handsomely. When the rain eventually stopped conditions were perfect for flying. Display pilots scrambled to their aircraft led by Menno Parsons in the "Tiger" his pristine Bell UH-1 "Huye" , some of the locals were taken up for a quick flip over the field giving them a taste of what aviation is all about.
The passengers of "Klapperkop" the DC3 Dakota were all called to the aircraft and departed for Rand Airport while there was a break in the weather. As soon as the Dakota left the airspace above Zebula suddenly became very active with many of the display pilots taking advantage of the opportunity to practise their routines in a show environment.
Neville Ferreira displayed why he is racing through the ranks as one of the best upcoming aerobatic pilots in South Africa, performing a brilliant display in his beautiful Slick 540. Ryan Beaton and the relatively young RV aerobatics team took to the air in an awesome display of synchronized formation aerobatics, this seven ship formation is definitely destined to be a highlight on the future air show calendar.
Air-Wolf then took to the skies, This Bell 230 gave a brilliant display showing how versatile this amazing helicopter is.
Nigel Hopkins then wowed the small but enthusiastic crowd with a brilliant display of hi-impact aerobatics in his beautiful MX2, Nigel will be taking part in the world Aerobatics Championships, set to be held in France later in the year. Nigel later raced one of his new sponsors products, the all new Porsche Panamera.
Nigel briefly formatted on the only fighter jet at the show, flown by Pierre Gouws, before clearing the airspace for an entertaining display of Eastern Block Jet power. The L39 Albatross was widely used as a lead-in fighter trainer in years gone by and have found their way into the hands of many collectors around the world.
Menno Parsons and Chris Briers showed of true American Muscle with a display of two of the North American Aircraft favourites, the P51 Mustang and the T28 Trojan, the sound of these two aircraft in the sky together will cause any aviation enthusiast to break out in "Goose-bumps"
The airspace got a lot quieter with a graceful display of the luxurious Eclipse 500 private jet.
The day's entertainment was closed off with three stunning formation displays by the Wesbank Eagles, the SAA Havards and a very impressive display by the Cirrus SR22 and the popular Quest Kodiac and a fly past by the Boeing Stearman.
Those that braved the weather were rewarded by some seldom before seen displays. Zebula will officially be back next year and let's hope for better weather this time around.
Steve Allison also shared the following 2 stunning videos he compiled on the day: