ABSA Lowveld Airshow 2019
Some of the Aviation Central media arrived Friday afternoon from Wonderboom National Airport in Pretoria and others on Saturday morning with some validations happening before the large crowds flocked to the airfield for an airshow that has won numerous airshow awards.
The skies over the old Nelspruit airfield were once again filled with aerobatic display teams, vintage aircraft, helicopters, jets and jet airliners to name a few. This years show had a different twist of the program with the theme fast and furious, the show started in the afternoon and had no repeats of display acts during the course of the afternoon with airboss Johan Heine keeping a watchful eye on display teams.
Capitals Sounds Brian Emmenis and his team provided commentary in between the battle of the DJs with Jacaranda who partnered up with airshow Organisers Kishugu and sponsor Absa for a different vibe to the Lowveld airshow during display acts. Before the airshow started, the Lowveld Model Aircraft Club (LOMAC) provided remote control (RC) aircraft displays with their different scales of aircraft in their club, For new photographers to Aviation, its a good learning curve to capture Rc aircraft.
The show opened with BMW Motorcycles revving down the runway, just before a paradrop with different member’s of the skydiving community on the airshow scene, their jump ship was ‘Little Annie’ an Antonov two flown by Jon-Marc Hill and Colonel Keith Fryer. The An2 also led the vintage formation and dropped a large amount of marshmallows for
children aspiring to be pilots one day. The Yak18T which was also flown in the formation by spotter pilot, Riaan Prinsloo. Comair Boeing 737 Captain Ivan van der Schaar flew his Randolph sponsored Boeing Stearman. Danie Terblanche flew the ‘crazy pilot display’ in the well known STOL capability Husky.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) as well as South African National Parks put together A mock battle with poachers and members of the SANDF coming into contact with each other a patrol. The put on act just shows what happens on a daily occurrence in the Kruger National Park and South Africa’s borders. The South African Airforce was unfortunately not present at this years show, due to the countries inauguration taking place on the 25th May later this month. Air Force Base Hoedspruit exhibited some of the SAAFs duties in the form of life boats, dummy bombs, etc in one of the hangers.
A total of five Extra 300 series aircraft were at the airshow, Nashua sponsored Andrew Blackwood Murray flew his solo display in his Extra 300LP. Arnie Meneghelli and Ellis Levin flew the first double inverted ribbon cut in the world at an airshow. Team Extreme had both Nigel Hopkins in his Extra 330 and Jason Beamish in his new Extra 330, they joined up with Mark Sampson in his newly painted Sbach and Mark Hensman in his MX2 for the full Team Extreme display. The Raptor RVs with the new number five Johan von Solms completing his first display.
Two Pitts Special display teams flew their usual routine,The Cows put up a threeship with Captain Scully Levins daughter Sally Bates flying one of the aircraft,not many women airshow display pilots on the airshow scene. Nigel Hopkins led the Goodyear Eagles sponsored Pitts Specials with Johan von Solms and Jason Beamish. A light aircraft display consisted of two Bathawks and two Kitfox’s showed the short takeoff capability’s and a asset in the bushveld area.
Jet display’s by a L39 ZU-IBN owned by Middelburg’s Richard Lovett and flown by Pierre Gouws joined up with Mike Weingartz in the Impala MK1 ZU-IMP. The Airlink Embraer E190, flew a beautiful tight display. Airlink have displayed at most Nelspruit airshows now, and the E190 is definitely a crowd favourite.
Helicopter displays included a Gazelle flown by Juba Jourbert who raced to Jaguar cars, he also joined up with a Airbus Helicopters H125,Bell Huey and a Enstrom. We don’t often see such choppers in a display like we did. It was like a licorice all sorts formation. Three Working on Fire Hueys flew a sunset display with the use of two bambi buckets throwing water in show centre. The Flying Lions ended the display flying with a sunset show mixed with pyrotechnics to end another safe airshow.
We would like to thanks Monica Fourie, Naranda Leeuwener and the rest of Kishugu for taking the time to keep the media up to date with the show months before. Also big thank you to StayEasy Emnotweni, Nelspruit for the wonderful accommodation!
Till next year, Thanks Nelspruit for the support!
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