Warbirds Over Swartkop 2019

Warbirds Over Swartkop 2019
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Warbirds Over Swartkop 2019

By Dian Townsend

This year’s annual Warbirds Over Swartkop was held at Air Force Base Swartkop. The event span two days with Saturday being the busier of the two. On Saturday we saw Warbirds like the P40 Warhawk, Corsair, Bell UH-1, Eurofighter Typhoon, T-6 Harvard, Pilatus PC-21 and many more. The day had very little breaks in flight and continued until about 16h00. Sunday was much quieter with only about 10 aircraft flying, but the pilots made sure to impress none the less.

Saturday was certainly a good day for the spectators with the Viper Jet, Eurofighter Typhoon and Pilatus PC-21 being the biggest crowd pleasers. Later in the afternoon the two T-6 Harvards joined forces to put on a good aerobatic formation display. Sunday started with the sound of a second Viper Jet firing up it’s engine, followed by a couple  more jets and some smaller aircraft. Arguably the main event for the day, the Extra 300 display. Exhilarating knife edge flybys, inverted passes and  very low hovers.

This event made for a great family outing. The Windsock Café was open for lunch on Saturday, once again serving tasty sandwiches at a very reasonable price and there were two pavilions right on the crowd line providing a good seating spot. Spectators are also allowed onto the actual apron/ taxiway. Something you don’t normally see at airshows. It is recommended that small children are always accompanied by an adult as there were some pretty expensive aircraft in attendance and there is no barrier dividing the apron and runway.

This event was a first for me, but definitely not a last. Photographing these small aircraft is no easy feat, but serves as great practice for bigger airshows. It was awesome talking to many more of the people in our wonderful aviation community here in South Africa. The pilots are very passionate about their aircraft and love talking to the younger crowd and showing them around their aircraft.

This weekend was a great success for the organisers and pilots who attended. There was no dull moment with talented pilots flying their hearts out and even the occasional spill on landing or take off.  There was a wide spread of aircraft ranging from jets to warbirds, aerobatic planes and even a couple of helicopters. This event has once again proven to be one for the 2020 calendar and we look forward to seeing what next year’s Warbirds Over Swartkop has in store for us!

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