Rand Airport Airshow 2016-Good-But

By Willie Bodenstein

The Rand Airshow has always been consistently good but the organisers must guard against becoming to complacent. The same recipe can only work for so long before it becomes predictable and ultimately just another airshow.



That said the ground was packed to capacity. The catering and stalls as always catered for everybody. The apron resembled a flea market allowing those that are not really interested in what's taking place in the sky above to spend some hard earned money. A large number of aviation related companies also used the opportunity to display their wares and services.

Unfortunately there were also some noticeable gaps between displays and whereas Rand has always pride itself on not doing repeats this year they for some reason had repeats. In my opinion a show should end on high, keeping the crowd until the last. Graceful and expertly flown the Gulfstream display is not what one expected as the culmination of a day's action of aviation action.





One of the highlights of the show was no doubt the arrival and expert display of the Mark Shad's de Havilland Rapide. Expertly flown by Springbok Classic Air's Flippie Vermeulen the last time that a Rapide was seen in Gauteng was in 1987.





The Raptors has now become the most talked about formation display team on the airshow circuit. This year the team's display consisted of seven Vans RVs. The Raptors innovate, each display seems to be new or at least have a different twist. They filled the sky with a display that ranks with the best in the world.





The Goodyear Pitts Special's now feature an L-28 as part of their display, bringing something new and unique to the airshow circuit.





Gary Whitecross in the Pilatus Glider sponsored by Mutual Safes has now become a regular at shows and his graceful low level aerobatic display leaves the crowd in awe.







The Mass radial display has become a Rand tradition and the sound of round engines filling the sky is one of the crowd's favourites. Rand is also the home of probably the largest collection of Radial engine airworthy aircraft and most of them feature on the days program.



Based at Rand, Henley Air has been part of the Rand show from day one and their displays caters to the often neglected “fling wing” enthusiasts.



The Flying Lions has been part of the airshow scene for as long as most of us can remember. Now, for the first time in its history they are without a sponsor. Keeping the Harvard's, an integral part of our aviation history, flying and displaying them is an expensive undertaking and it would be a tragedy if they are withdrawn from the show scene.





Barrie Eels in the Sbach and Elton Bondi in the Extra danced in sky in a duet of high performance aerobatics.





No show is complete without skydivers and on Saturday a number jumped from Springbok Classic Air's Beech 18 to land with pinpoint precision in front of the packed crowd.



Springbok Classic air first flew as part of the mass radial display and then later in solo displays with their DC-3 and Beech-18.



It seems as the SAAF's Silver Falcons are again regulars on the airshow circuit. Their display of precision formation aerobatics in the Pilatus PC-7's were sorely missed when the SAAF, because of budgetary restrained, stopped supporting airshows. Much to the delight of the spectators the Falcons flew two displays during the day.



An airshow without Nigel Hopkins? Almost unthinkable. Nigel's high performance, gravity defying flying thrill the crowds wherever he performs



And so does Menno Parson in the North American P-51 Mustang. Nothing gets the crowd on their feet like the Mustang. Like the Falcons, Menno flew a second display and again the crowd again showed their appreciation.



A second Mustang has now joined the airshow circuit. Flown by Pierre Gouws the Thunder Mustang is a 0.75 scale replica of the P-51 Mustang. Thunder Mustangs have competed at the Reno Air Races where one has recorded lap speeds of more than 355 mph.



Veterans of the airshow the Team Torre Pitts Specials have thrilled the crowds for ages and still does to this day. The diminutive Pitts Specials bi plane has a magic all of its own and it will remain so for years to come.



Airliners have become an integral part of airshows. Not only does it offer the ordinary man, woman and child the opportunity to see these behemoths up close but it also create brand awareness for the Airline concerned. Mango displayed one of their fleet of Boeing 737s.



The de Havilland Chipmunks first flew in formation with the eight seat Rapide bi plane and later on showed why the Canadian made and designed Chipmunks are often referred to as the little Spitfire.



It might be a homebuilt but the RV7 has proven itself not only as a capable competition aerobatic aircraft but also as popular airshow display aircraft. On Suturday Frank King flew his extremely fast RV7 in a well-executed display.



Closing the show was Larry Beamish in the Gulfstream. Larry's display showed the full flight envelope of one the most popular corporate jets in the history of the type.

Sound and commentary was by Capital Sounds. Rickus Erasmus and Francois Hannekom ensured that the show was incident free. Marshalls were compliments of the Harvard club.

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