Sky Grand Prix 2016 Impresses

By Paul Godwin-Photos by Willie Bodenstein

Saturday morning exploded with the second edition of the Sky Grand Prix of Aerobatics dazzling the skies, weaving and winding, pumping and grinding aviators performing death defying and seemingly unnatural manoeuvres while the crowds looked on awestruck and totally enthralled by the Men and one Women competing in their fantastic flying machines.





Greyville early on Saturday morning


All the action was streamed live to a huge strategically placed screen











The Durban weather did not disappoint as it was a beautiful cloudless and windless day at Greyville racecourse with approximately 4000 people filtering into the venue from sunrise. The event will leave an indelible imprint on the people of Durban who can know claim they witnessed history in the making and saw the World's best up close and personal.



Keeping the crowd entertained was Mike "Spanky" Galloway all the way from the USA. Mike, an accomplished aerobatic pilot in his own right, got his start in the world of aerobatics back in 1996. Since then he has travelled the globe as a pilot, judge and commentator in some of the sports largest venues

The action included impressive formation flying displays from the Flying Falcons and the RV Raptors.









Team 80 of the Flying Falcons at only their second public display thrilled the crowd




The Raptors RV Formation Team is now firmly established on the air show circuit.




Members of the Durban Skydiving Club landed with pinpoint precision in front of the grand stand


Michel Leusch amazed with his skilful display RC display


At in between all the high speed adrenalin pumping action a Kulula Boeing did a slow 'dirty configuration' fly-past


The Competition side of the event took the form of three heats of which the pilots competed against each other, the clock and the scrutinising judges.













The three heats comprised the Known sequence, Unknown sequence and the Freestyle section, points from each discipline were added together to decide an overall winner.









The top three pilots in the Known Sequence were first place Rob Holland (USA), second place Nigel Hopkins (PTA) and Patrick Davidson (PE).



Results of the Unknown sequence, in first place Patrick Davidson (PE), Aude Lemordant (France) in second place and in third place Rob Holland (USA)


In the Freestyle section the winner was Rob Holland (USA) Aude Lemordant (France) in second place and Nigel Hopkins (PTA) in third


The overall winner of this very closely contested event of was Patrick Davidson (PE) with 84.93%, followed by Rob Holland (USA)84.24% and in third place Nigel Hopkins (PTA) with 83.26%.

Patrick Davidson the overall winner "The event was a great success and at this moment I find the whole experience quite surreal. I had little problems with near perfect flying conditions, the sky was a little hazy due to the Durban heat of which I am not used to, It was an awesome day and I hope the public on the ground enjoyed the event as much as we did flying for them.




Comment from Roger Deare CEO Sky Grand Prix, "Thanks to all the people that supported the event from around the country and the great media response to the event and the Sky Grand Prix team. As a new concept event we would like to build on this edition and create a legacy event for Sky Grand Prix of Aerobatics in Durban. This year we had a fair crowd and we look forward to Durban embracing the event more robustly going forward."






All in all it was a beautiful day in Durban and the Sky Grand Prix Team enjoyed hosting this show for the people of Durban and the Pilots from all over the World were treated to great local hospitality and had the good fortune of seeing Durban at its best, warm weather, blue skies and " a lekker jol".

This Sky Grand Prix was held in conjunction with the Annual Daily News 2000 horse race and was supported by - Gold Circle, Royal Durban Golf Club and the Daily News, Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom and Caesarstone.

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