SAAF Museum Zwartkop Air Show 05 May 2018

By Russell Dixon-Paver

On Friday 04 May, a youth awareness day was hosted by the SAAF Museum. About 1000 children were bussed in from surrounding schools and they were taken in small groups around the Museum hangars and exhibits and finally through the aviation industry information stalls that offered information on careers in aviation and related fields, with some interesting activities in some stall, like Mango's paper plane building and distance flying competition.

On air show day on Saturday the weather was ideal for an air show - no cloud, hardly any wind and plenty of vendors and exhibitors to keep all members of the family interested and excited, quite apart from the really magnificent displays of aircraft capabilities on the live side of the very long crowd line.

There were some arrivals of participants which included a faithful supporter of this event the Rescue 911's helicopter-ambulance.

In a unique move for this air show the SAAF Band arrived in a C130!

As per normal the Military protocol the show was officially opened with the cavalcade of emergency vehicles, with parachutists from Special Forces arriving with the scroll just before that.

The Chief of the Air Force, Lt Gen Msimang, received the scroll from Special Forces and opened the air show with a short but powerful speech, calling on young people to take opportunities in the Aviation Industry and make a difference in the country. Lt Gen Msimang was flanked by the OC of the SAAF Museum, Lt Col Bruintjies and the Chaplain.

The Museum Historic Flight then did a fly-past of their helicopters, piston fixed wing aircraft, finally followed by the Vampire.

Col Keith Fryer, Air Boss and OC at SAAF Directorate of Aviation Safety, commentated on the Museum fly past. He had huge responsibilities balancing the requirements from SAAF HQ with the need for safety and scheduling the large number of military and civilian participants.

The Vampire closed off the Museum Historic Flight fly past.

Museum Historic Flight fixed-wing piston aircraft taxi down the crowd line, an impressive serviceability, considering the small complement of technical staff including permanent and reserve members.

One of Museum's C185 taxi's down the crowd line, showing a certain allegiance of the pilot.

Andrew Blackwood-Murray, sponsored by Nashua, performed an excellent aerobatic display. Andrew also flies for the Harvard Club of SA on most Saturdays, executing what we call "smile generation missions" for passengers - they always return smiling broadly!

Lt Col Jeff Earle displays his Tiger Moth, which would have been a common sight at this Air Force Base in the early days of the SAAF.

Brian Emmenis of Capital Sounds provided equipment, expertise and some of the commentary, while Leon du Plessis does the necessary research needed for commentary. Experienced commentator with good equipment is essential for the safety of the air show, especially if there is an incident requiring assistance with crowd control. Thankfully this was not necessary at this excellently run air show, with all the team members performing like a well-oiled machine.

The COWS Tailifts sponsored Pitts Special team does a crossover during their display, showing the expertise needed to fly precision formation aerobatics.

Patrick Davidson demonstrated why he is a worthy competitor in the Red Bull Air Races in his Sbach.

The SAAF Gripen demonstrated its capabilities, here showing the "dirty" configured roll. Maj Cooper was the pilot.

The SAAF Museum synchro pair of Lt Col's Martin Louw and Glen Warden put on an impressive two-ship display. The gents can REALLY fly!

Team Xtreme does the "caterpillar break" during their high-energy display - very close formation and accurate flying from these experts!

A Mango Boeing 737 with Captain Scully Levin in command did a missed approach to Zwartkop as part of its display sequence.

The Mini-war showed the inter-force co-operation.

Lt Col Glen Warden put the L29 through its paces.

Little Annie from Just Love Mission was flown impressively by Mark Hill and his son. They reach out to underprivileged children to give them the opportunity to experience flight.

Ivan vd Schaar demonstrated his immaculately restored 1941 Stearman biplane sponsored by Randolph Eyewear

Maj Gen (Ret) Des Barker demonstrated the Turbo Kudu, a conversion of the ex-military light transport aircraft.

The PC- 7 Astra was flown by Maj Bheki Shabangu. Team 82 of the Silver Falcons has to still have fly-offs for #2 and then they have to practice together as a new team.

The Puma Energy sponsored Flying Lions Harvard team, led by Scully Levine perform their break as part of their display sequence.

Young volunteers that have been trained as marshals by the Harvard Club of SA to the same competencies required by the SAAF marshaled the 12 Harvards of the Flying Lions, Harvard Club of SA and SAAF Museum in for a mass shutdown. This elicited a huge cheer from the large crowd. Some of the pilots waving to the crowd after the shutdown are also shown.

The SAAF Hawk Mk 120 piloted by Lt Col Graig Leeson, OC of 85 Combat School gave an impressive demonstration of the aircraft capabilities.

Team Xtreme, flying Extras and Sbachs gave a second display as the sun moved into a more favourable position for photography.

Rooivalk helicopter was displayed to perfection - you don't want to be a target with that capability! Maj Dempsey, fighter call sign, Suzie, recently soloed on the aircraft gave the commentary. We reported on her imminent qualification on this aircraft for the Langebaan airshow in December 2017, and now she has done it. The first Rooivalk lady!

Lt Col Glen Warden demonstrates the beautiful L39 ZU-TEE in her new paint scheme.

Gripen pilot, Maj Cooper, fighter call sign, Spartan, smiles after shutting down following another excellent display.

The best kept secret! Capt Mark Kelbrick of the PE SAAF Museum, who does excellent work each year managing the vendors and all the arrangements around them, makes a spectacular marriage proposal to Megan, who had no idea what was about to happen, when she was invited to look into the Gripen driver's office!

The Goodyear Pitts Team, led by Glen Warden again treated the crowd to poetry on motion, tracing a double overlapping heart in the clear sky with their smoke trails. Here half the team climbs in formation in the beautiful afternoon sunlight.

The crowd was perceptibly bigger than in recent years and people came from Johannesburg, leaving around 07:00 and were inside before 08:00, so the parking and gates were working well. This shows the crowd to the North and South at around 11:30. Food vendors sold most if not all their stock and cold drinks were finished by about 13:00.

An excellent air show once again! Complements to everyone involved. The indomitable spirit shone through.

Events 2018
SAAF Museum

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