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ICAD or the International Civil Aviation Day is a day chosen to showcase and celebrate advancements in the civil aviation sector. In a South African context, it is aimed at informing and empowering the youth with information about career opportunities in the aviation and other related fields.
Several keynote speakers made their way to the podium to address excited learners at Heidelberg's airfield on Saturday 3rd December. The airshow was combined with a career expo where learners could engage with role players in the civil aviation sector to learn about aviation and its' related sectors.
The airshow started with a paradrop by the Police Airwing and Police Task Force Skydivers.
After the paradrop, several key role players in the civil aviation sector made speeches in the nearby located marquee. The general message from all speakers were that the civil aviation industry is a diverse space where there are many opportunities. Emphasis was placed on the theme for ICAD this year, Advancing innovation for global aviation development. The world is changing at a rapid pace and technologies such as remotely piloted aerial systems.
The flying program began at about 1pm with Menno Parsons and his Bell UH1 painted in a beautiful tiger themed livery.
A firm favourite with every crowd, young or old, is the Puma Energy Flying Lions. It is always a wonderful sight to see these vintage machines flown so beautifully. Their first display for the day featured their full aerobatic routine.
The Goodyear Eagles flew in from Rand Airport under the leadership of Dennis Spence for their routine. Their close in and high energy routine never fails to amaze the expectant crowds.
The lightest aircraft on display at the airshow was the Magni Gyro flown by Andre' van Zyl. His son in law, Chappies, was doing the announcements during his display. I was quite surprised to learn from the commentary that Andre' learnt to fly gyrocopters twelve years ago. His routine always impresses!
The Van der Schaar name has become synonymous with South African airshows with Ivan demonstrating his Boeing Stearman at several occasions, this time, it was his son Jeandre' who entertained the crowd with a high energy display of his remote-controlled Extra.
Hired Gun, a new coffee brand has taken the local coffee scene by storm. Founded by Ellis Levin, they supply barista type coffee in two locations in Johannesburg at this time. This brand also sponsors the Pitts Special team lead by his father, Scully. They presented their close formation aerobatics to the delight of the crowd.
N72FT just a group of letters and numbers to most, but these are significant! They belong to the only airworthy P51 Mustang in South Africa. Difficult to believe that this aircraft is celebrating its' 78th birthday on the 17th of December 2022. It is a timeless piece of machinery kept in sublime condition by Menno Parsons and his team! It was beautifully flown on the Saturday afternoon by Menno himself against the beautiful backdrop of ever-growing thunderstorm clouds.
The SAPS Airwing and the SAPS Taskforce also did a short capability display to thrill the crowd. I must note that there is some kind of magic when it comes to parachutists at airshows, they always elicit a resounding response from any crowd.
As the skies drew darker and darker, the Flying Lions returned once more with their flat display. This was a spectacular sight against the looming highveld thunderstorm.
With thunderstorm approaching fast and lightning visible, most of the crowd started to head for cover for the impending deluge. Not a moment too soon a group of fellow photographers and other airshow staff, managed to retreat to the safety of the Heidelberg Flying Club lapa when the heavens finally opened and scuppered the balance of the airshow.
What a wonderful afternoon of flying and fun! I am sure that the learners (and possibly some other attendees) departed the ICAD Airshow inspired to seek out opportunities in aviation. Perhaps I was standing next to a future aircraft engineer, air hostess, avionics engineer, air traffic controller or pilot.
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