From Soloist to Lead-Omphile Mutloane

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Omphile Mutloane who is currently the number 5 in the Silver Falcons Aerobatic  Team, known as the soloist in the team with the call sign “Biggy”.The team is the official aerobatic team of the South African Airforce, the team is 51 years old  in 2018. The team celebrated their 50th Anniversary last year with an airshow at their home base at AFB Langebaanweg on the Capes West Coast.Originally formed in 1946 as the Bumbling Bees and flying the T-6 Harvard and then the de Havilland Vampire. The Bumbling Bees flew a 4 ship formation and made a name for themselves by regularly taking part in South African airshows. The team disbanded in the late 1950s leaving a gap in South African aviation.The indroduction of the Pilatus PC7MKII in 1995 put the team back to a 4ship and then in 2008 the team went back to a 5 ship and painted in the Silver Falcons livery.

OG short for Omphile was born in a small village just outside the town of Zeerust in the North West Province. His interest  of flying started back in his Primary School days, when a SAAF Alouette three landed on the Soccer field. “It was so cool to see it so close up. All of the kids that’s day ran towards the chopper to get a better look, I still remember the pilot saw us and hovered at a medium height level just above our heads. The noise and dust from the down wash from the spinning rotors were awesome”. Says OG

 

 

Aircraft were  always flying high overhead the village Omphile stayed,but never did himself and the children around him at the time get the opportunity to get up close and personal with  the real thing. That one moment of the SAAF helicopter crew pretty much changed Omphiles life, from that time on he was determined not to have a plan B in his career. Plan A was to wear the green overalls and the well know green chopper helmet.

“I joined the SAAF in January 2005 and reported for basic military training at Air force Gymnasium in Valhalla Pretoria. I qualified three years later in December 2007 at AFB Langebaanweg on the Pc7mkII Astra.Completed Rotary Wings Course Starlight aviation under the guidance of Mr A.C. Hunter (best instructor I have ever flown with) in April 2008,From there I was sent to 87 Helicopter Flying School in Bloemspruit and from there onto 17 Squadron as a Oryx Helicopter co-pilot.”

I served as an Oryx co pilot at 17 squadron in Pretoria from Jan 2009 until November 2012. I did my command course on the Agusta A109LUH in 2013.In 2014 I was posted back to AFB Langebaanweg to become a instructor and subsequently did the famous falcon ‘fly-offs’. The fly offs are basically a selection of instructors who want to join the Silver Falcons and I was able to join the team in October 2015 as the number 3,then moved to the singleton as falcon 5″.

My flying hours are currently sitting at a total of 2200 of both fixed wing and helicopter hours:

750 hours on Oryx Helicopter
300 hours on A109LUH Helicopter
800+ hours on PC7MKII

Omphile will take command of leading the team from the 2018 SAAF Museum Airshow on the 5th May.This will be team 82,as we saw Mark’Katana’Gentles leave team once again after Armed Forces Week in Kimberly in the Northern Cape earlier this year as the former leader.

Some of falcon 5s hobbies interests include him being a serious book worm who loves history and a avid marathon runner. He will be competing in his second comrades Marathon in KZN in month or so time. Wish him all the best of luck!

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