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Middelburg Airweek & Airshow 2019

Middelburg Airshow 2019

The smell of Avgas, Mogas and Jet A1 filled the skies over Middelburg this past weekend with the first of two Mpumalanga Airshows to take place this year. The 2019 Middelburg Airshow returned this year after the planning phase taking place last year with the absence of the show. This year the organisers put together a major show with the Aero Club of South Africa having their Airweek and the highly anticipated Airshow.

Our team arrived at Middelburg on Thursday the 7th March, thanks to our aviation family Airshow friends “Just Love Mission” Little Annie the sole surving Antonov two on the Airshow circuit. We were extremely honored to be invited days before the show by Richard and Irene Lovett, organisers of past present and now future airshows at Middelburg Airfield. Our media liaison officer Mark Mansfield organized all our accommodation, once again treated to the hospitality of the Lovett Family. Mark also kept us up to date before and after the show with all necessary news updates.

Friday evening, we were treated to some early evening flying from Riaan Prinsloo, Ivan Van der Schaar and Juba Joubert in a Yak18T, Boeing Stearman and an Aerospatiale Gazelle in formation.

The Grasslands based Misasa Aerial Display Team-MAD microlights showed off their Led lights in close formation.

A number of aircraft flew in between Thursday and Saturday of the event.

Saturday morning the now exciting Speed Rally took place with some of the SAPFA members flying the speed navigation rally, which is similar to the fun rally’s we usually attend. Except that the rally is given a pre-determined handicap speed, based on a selected power setting to each aircraft.
Read more here on the Speed Rally

On show day, Hot Air balloons filled the morning sky above Middelburg. While some of the participating show aircraft made their way in from neighboring Gauteng airports and elsewhere.

A new plan at some of the airshows in South Africa this year is to have an afternoon show instead of the entire day having a full program with many repeats. This show had no repeats and a full program with no gaps in between.
A cavalcade of Trucks opened the show with Juba Joubert flying the Alouettes II above the line of trucks while Capital Sounds provided as always, the vibe to the Airshow circuits thanks to Brian Emmenis and his great team who put together sound and information on each act in the slot of the event.

The first of the processdings began with an Atlas Angel formally an Ex South Africa Airforce (SAAF) Kudu, used as a jump ship for the “Skydive Tandem Johannesburg” Delmas based parachute members and other members from neighboring parachute clubs.

Menno Parsons made a welcome back display in his P51 Mustang Sally, as the P51 had to have a major engine overhaul and was absent from airshows for a year. It was also a first to have a P51D at Middelburg Airshow.

The Just Love Mission Antonov 2 “Little Annie” with Jon-Marc Hill and Col Keith “Fulcrum” Fryer flew a fantastic display in the world’s biggest piston bi-plane. “Little Annie also raced a truck and decided to drop a number of marshmallows over the crowds of Middelburg. They’re surely know how to sweeten things up!

The Puma Flying Lions led by Scully Levin, Arnie Menageli and Sean Thakwray flew a three-ship display with the roar of the T6 Harvard. The Cows Pitts Specials had a synchro display with two aircraft displaying the colors of a good cause to the masses.
Captain Flippie Vermulen brought his Springbok Classic Air Beech 18, and showed off the classic early day propliner.

Dennis Spence had his team of the Goodyear Eagles with a full four ship display of all his Pitts S2Bs flown by Glen “Gringo” Warden, Nigel Hopkins, Johan Von Solms and Jason Beamish.

Nigel and Jason also flew the high energy aerobatic display of Team Extreme with Jason Beamish showing off his brand new Extra 330 at its first of many airshows to come. Pierre Gouws led the Raptor RVs with Nigel Hopkins, Trevor Warner and Ryan Beaton.

The main attraction of airshows has to always be the jets, this year we got to see Richard Lovetts L39ZU-IBN, David Laas Impala Mk1 ZU-IMP and Rand Airport based L29 ZU-AUX.

A new display was the hostage scenario where an Atlas Angel was taken hostage from terrorists and an Aerospatiale Gazelle came to the rescue with members of armed reaction forces. Juba Joubert also flew a solo display in an Aerospatiale Gazelle, his routine is very similar to some of the world’s present attack helicopter routines worldwide.


A gyrocopter and 2 Bathawks were put through their paces adding flavor to the ultralight aircraft on display.

The flying phase of the show was ended by a formation of the Puma Flying Lions led by the Springbok Classic Air Beech 18. A hot air balloon and fireworks ended the show, where all invited guests moved into the Lovetts Hanger for Gala evening and Price giving for the Speed Rally. The most scrumptious supper was awarded to us and many others. To all the sponsors, who made the show possible we thank you.

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But to the Middelburg Aero Club and to Irene and Richard Lovett we congratulate you on a fantastic event you have once again pulled off. Us as a team get highly emotional as your hospitality, your organization and there is so much more we can say. You guys are the best of the best. We thank you, we cannot wait for Aero Club 100 next year once again to be held at Middelburg Airfield. At what we have been told, it’s going to be massive.

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