Monthly Archives: June 2024

The 2024 Maputo Airshow: A Spectacle of Aerial Ballet and Thrills

The 2024 edition of the Maputo Airshow was an exhilarating experience, a dazzling display of aviation prowess and showmanship. If you are from Mozambique or the neighbouring countries, this is an event you cannot afford to miss. Hosted by the Aero Clube de Moçambique and run by show organizer Gavin Neil, this year’s airshow marked its return since the last shows in 2023 and 2019, captivating aviation enthusiasts with its breathtaking performances.

A Journey in the Iconic Huey

With a gracious invite for Aviation Central’s Flippe van Emmenis and fellow photographer Jaco Kotze, to travel with Menno Parson’s Master Power Technologies team for the weekend, our adventure began on Friday, June 14, 2024. We departed from Rand Airport at midday aboard Menno Parsons’ Tiger Huey UH-1D. The Huey’s powerful Lycoming engine had more than enough power to carry us at an average ground speed of 110 knots. We were 11 passengers, with 2 crew members, led by the legendary pilot Buzz Bezuidenhout, whose stories and vast experience made the journey both safe and captivating.

The flight from Rand to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMI) took approximately 2.5 hours. The excitement of flying low through mountains and valleys made the time fly by. As we handled customs formalities at KMI, Menno Parsons, flying his P-51D Mustang, performed a thrilling low-level flypast. We joined other airshow pilots and crews at KMI, sharing camaraderie and anticipation for the upcoming show.

After a quick meal and passports stamped, we departed for Maputo, Mozambique. The 45-minute flight over the lower Kruger National Park treated us to sightings of wildebeests and giraffes. We arrived at Aeroporto Internacional de Maputo just before sunset, greeted by the sight of majestic MiG-21s on the ground. Mozambique customs made special arrangement by meeting us at Aero Clube de Moçambique this saving is time by not passing through the terminal building. We had two taxis as shuttles from the airport to the Southern Sun Maputo, where we spent the two nights. To be honest, that traffic was frightening. At the hotel, the MPA team handled our check-in as we went to attend the pilots and safety briefing. We had dinner, went for a beer with a short social, and went for a good night’s rest.

The Airshow Experience

Saturday, June 15, 2024, dawned bright and early. After a hearty breakfast, we made our way to Maputo Bay, the airshow venue. The setup resembled a vibrant festival, with a well-arranged show box and media stand providing a panoramic view over Maputo Bay.

The airshow drew a crowd of over 25,000, who were full of enthusiasm, performing the Mexican wave and cheering the spectacular performances. The line-up featured a diverse array of aircraft and pilots:

Time

Display Name

Aircraft

Pilots

9:15

The Austrian Eagle

L29 Jet

Grant Timms

10:10

Tiger Huey

Bell UH-1 Helicopter

Menno Parsons

10:30

LMA (Cubs), Sling

Skydiving BD4RV-10

Andre Van Zyl

10:45

Master Power Extra 330

Extra 330

Jason Beamish

11:00

Gyrocopter Formo

Gyrocopter

 

11:05

BizJet Fly By

C601

Bombardier 601

11:20

Puma Flying Lions

Harvards (4)

Arnie Ellis, Sean Andrew

11:35

Mustang Sally

P51 Mustang

Menno Parsons

11:50

Chipmunks Classic

De Havilland Chipmunks

Grant Timms, Rodney Chin

12:05

Marksmen Aerobatic Team

MX2 and Extra 300 (2)

Marksmen

12:15

Gazelle (Black)

Helicopter

Juba Joubert

12:30

Good Year Pitts

Pitts (3)

Various

12:40

RV-10 Elephant Bets

RV-10

 

12:55

Ryan Navion Formation

North American (2)

Reyno Coetzer

13:10

Gyrocopter Formo

Gyrocopter

Andre Van Zyl

13:25

Chipmunks Classic

De Havilland Chipmunks

Grant Timms, Rodney Chin

13:40

Skydiving

Local Skydivers

Louis

13:55

Good Year Pitts

Pitts (4)

Jason, Gareth

14:15

Mass Formation

Harvards, Marksmen, Pitts, Navions

 

14:45

Puma Flying Lions

Harvards (4)

Arnie Ellis, Sean Andrew

15:00

Marksmen Aerobatic Team

MX2 and Extra 300 (2)

Marksmen

15:10

Tiger Huey

Bell UH-1 Helicopter

Menno Parsons

15:25

BizJet C601 and Goodyear

Bombardier 601/Pitts

 

15:40

The Austrian Eagle

L29 Jet

Grant Timms

15:55

Navion Classic

Solo Display

Reyno Coetzer

16:10

Gazelle (Camo)

Helicopter

Juba Joubert

16:30

Navion Formo + Mustang Sally Solo

P51 Mustang

Menno Parsons

16:45

Master Power Extra 330

Extra 330

Jason Beamish

17:05

Puma Flying Lions Sunset

Harvards (4)

Arnie Ellis, Sean Andrew

17:15

Marksmen Aerobatic Team Pyro

MX2 and Extra 300 (2)

Marksmen

Each display was executed with precision and flair.

The formations, including the Cub Formation, BizJet Challenger with the Good Year Eagle’s in Formation, Mustang and Navion Formation, Gyrocopter Formation, The Flying Lions, Chipmunks, Marksmen Aerobatic Team, Cub Formation and the Grand Mass Formation, were visually stunning, and showcased impressive teamwork and coordination.

The Puma Flying Lions delivered two remarkable performances, one in the morning and one at sunset, with breathtakingly low-level flying over water.

Menno Parsons thrilled the crowd with high-energy passes in his P-51D Mustang and later joined formations with Navions and Jason Beamish’s Extra 330. The Aero L29 “Austrian Eagle,” flown by Grant Timms, opened the show with a dynamic wake-up display and continued with an extended, high-G performance in the afternoon that must have been exhausting.
The BizJet Canadair CL-600-2A12 Challenger 601, flown down from Lanseria International Airport, was a standout with its sleek design and powerful performance. 3 Ship Gyrocopter Formation was led by Andre Van Zyl. After two Gyrocopters broke away Andre continued and delivered his solo display.

Chipmunks Classic, flown by Grant Timms, and Rodney Chin was well executed and loved by everyone from the ground. RV-10 Elephant Bets and a Sling did a few solo passes showing off its beauty and gracefulness. The Show had 3 Chopper displays, The Tiger Huey and two Gazelle choppers The Two Gazelle’s were displayed by Juba Joubert, one in the Morning and one in the Afternoon. Huey was displayed by a two-man team, consisting of Buzz and Menno. The Navion’s gave us a Formation and Solo displays, flown to perfection by Reyno Coetzer and Steve George. Skydiving was performed by local skydivers and was a crowd favourite and performed soft and safe landing behind the crowds. Master Power Extra 330 flown with high energy and precision was piloted by Jason Beamish. Good Year Pitts did a two-ship display and was flown by Jason Beamish and Gareth Gill.

A Grand Finale

The Marksmen Aerobatic Team, led by Mark Hensman, captivated the audience with two displays, including a spectacular pyrotechnics show at night that had pyrotechnics on the aircraft wings and from the ground.

The event was expertly managed by Colonel Keith Fryer, known for his work at major shows like the SAAF Museum Airshow. Commentary by Brian Emmenis from Capital Sounds and Edson Vilanculos kept the audience engaged, while young Cloey Spolander made her commentary debut during the Flying Lions display. The Music was well chosen and timed for each display, well done Team Capital sounds. Brian Emmenis is an asset to any Airshow worldwide.

The crowd’s enthusiasm remained high throughout the day, turning the event into a festive celebration. Even as we departed after 9 p.m., the majority of attendees continued to enjoy the festivities, dancing and celebrating the exhilarating day. 

Conclusion

The 2024 Maputo Airshow was a resounding success, thanks to the dedication of Gavin Neil, the Aero Clube de Moçambique, and all the sponsors and participants. This airshow not only showcased incredible aerial performances but also fostered a vibrant community spirit among aviation enthusiasts. We look forward to returning in 2025 for another unforgettable experience. Special thanks to Menno Parsons and Master Power Technologies for their support and hospitality.

A Personal Note

On Sunday morning, we were treated to a visit to one of the impressive Master Power Technologies data center nearing completion. This visit provided valuable insights into the innovative work being done by Menno and his team. Thank you, Menno, for your unwavering support of Aviation Central, the aviation community, and our future generations.

See you all at the next Maputo Airshow in 2025!

Click Below to enlarge photo’s 

Milkor announces new partnership for maritime version of the Milkor 380 UAV

Milkor has established a strategic partnership with Germany’s Aerodata AG to develop a new specialised platform for maritime surveillance, the AeroForce 380, based on the Milkor 380 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

At the Paris Air Show 2023, Aerodata and Milkor solidified its commitment to cooperation with a Memorandum of Understanding. Now, the AeroForce 380 will officially be launched during the ILA Berlin Air Show 2024, which runs from 5 to 9 June.

This Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV, tailored specifically for maritime surveillance and coast guard missions, is capable of reaching a service ceiling of 30 000 feet, with enhancements to the design made to effectively operate in the low altitude segment (below 10 000 feet) ideally suited for maritime surveillance operations. Additionally, the UAV boasts an endurance of up to 35 hours, ensuring extended mission coverage and increased operational efficiency, Milkor said. Payload is up to 250 kg, with sensors including AIS, side-looking airborne radar, and electro-optical/infrared gimbals.

“With a maximum take-off weight of 1 300 kg and the capability to carry mission-specific payloads, the AeroForce 380 has the potential to revolutionise surveillance aircraft fleets worldwide,” Aerodata said. “It’s worth noting that Aerodata’s contribution includes state-of-the-art mission system technology, complemented by maritime surveillance sensors from its subsidiary, Optimare Systems GmbH. This integrated approach guarantees optimal performance and support, ensuring the AeroForce 380 remains at the forefront of maritime surveillance technology.”

Harry Cassidy, Milkor’s head of Business Development in Europe, highlighted the importance of this partnership. “The Milkor 380 has garnered substantial interest from multiple entities looking to enhance their aerial surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. With the addition of Aerodata’s experience in maritime surveillance sensors, the development of the AeroForce 380 will set a new standard in global maritime by combining state of the art unmanned technologies with proven maritime surveillance sensors. The collaboration is one of the key explorations Milkor is undertaking to meet the growing demand for sophisticated UAV solutions and underscores Milkor’s role as a premier partner in the international defence sector.”

“The Milkor 380 has reached a stage where it is ready to be deployed for operations and we look forward to working with these entities to enhance their aerial surveillance capabilities. We are receiving positive feedback from many more interested parties and had to look at our production capabilities to meet their requirements. We expect that the Milkor 380 would be used for a variety of operations that will demonstrate its versatility,” said Ghaazim Rylands, CEO of Milkor Integrated Systems in Cape Town.

Milkor expects to deliver several units of the Milkor 380 within the next 12 months to undisclosed clients with manufacturing well underway of six units to be completed by end of 2024.

“This rapid production and deployment schedule underscores Milkor’s dedication to meeting market needs with cutting-edge UAV technology,” the company said, adding that “the Milkor 380 is considered one of the most versatile unmanned platforms suitable for intelligence gathering, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) operations.”

Potchefstroom Airshow 2024, Hosted by Smoke on Go

Potchefstroom, Founded in 1838 by the Voortrekkers, also known as Potch, is an academic city in the North West Province of South Africa NWU students are known as “Pukke”. It hosts the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University. Potchefstroom is on the Mooirivier (Afrikaans for “pretty river”), roughly 120 km west-southwest of Johannesburg. The Airport Coordinates -26.67062, 27.0843

Potchefstroom Airshow 2024 Sponsors
Smoke on Go
Master Power Technologies
Sandriver Crop Protection
SV Aviation

The preparations included a huge amount of grass cutting that needed to be done, while Capital Sounds set up their huge rigging of speakers and cabling needed to provide the crowd line with crisp clear sound.
Team Capital Sounds for the 2024 Potchefstroom Airshow…

Brian Emmenis: Presenter
Leon du Plessis: co presenter
Bevery Emmenis: research
Wesley van Zyl: producer
Elvis Manene: Satelite unit
Phillip Scott: Audio Left
Mike Rascher: Rhino patrol

5500+ people filled the flight line, with many vendors and a Beer Garden being available. The well-behaved crowd was well spread out and not all crowding the flight line, creating good spacing and everyone felt comfortable. Litter was to the absolute minimum. The Perfect crowd for any airshow.

HENLEY AIR provided helicopter flips for R300 Per Person. They were busy flipping till well after the show ended.

No doubt the star of the day belonged to Jason Beamish, He flew in most of the displays and almost got arrested! Well done Jason…

It was a cool start to the morning on 01 June 2024, warming up nicely later in the day. The Airshow director was Rikus Ermasus with Mark Kelbrick as safety officer. Commentating was done by no one other than Brain Emmenis and his Capital Sounds team. The show commenced at 10:00 am with the Potch Girl’s High Marjorette (aka Trompoppies). Jason Beamish followed the Girls in an Extra 300 with a well-timed flypast.

The Displays for the day were…
3 Skydivers from Johannesburg Skydive, Jumping from an Alouette 3 piloted by Juba Joubert. They had it tough in the Strong wind, yet they had a perfect display and amazing landings

Sandrivier Crop Protection and Castello Boerdery that consisted of a crop-spraying Bell 206 Long ranger, 9-cylinder radial engine air tractor AT301, an AT502XP, Air Tractor AT802, John Deere crop sprayer driven by Rijan Barnard, the aircraft and the heli were piloted by Petri van Rhyn, Henri van Niekerk, JD Heyns and Steve Viviers

Scully Levin, Arnie Meneghelli & Sean Thackwray flew the Flying Lions flat display. The radial engine sounds fill the sky with Smoke on Go! Once again the Wind made it difficult for even the well-experienced team, well done to the Team!

Magni Gyro, flewn by Andre van Zyl. Andrê always plans to attend and display as many shows as possible towing his Gyro by road on a trailer.

Andrew Blackwood-Murray, the gentleman himself in his Nashua Extra 300, Andrew is a well-experienced pilot in South Africa and the Crowd loves his aerobatic display. Once again he performed his trademark maneuver of going inverted just after take-off.

Jason Beamish & Gareth Gill Flew a two-ship Goodyear Eagles, Jason and Gareth will soon become family as Jason is set to marry Gareth’s sister.

Jonker Sailplanes JS-3 Rapture sailplane, gracefully flown by Oscar Goudrian. Oscar is based at Potchefstroom Glider Club, the factory of the Jonker Sailplanes.

The Heavy for the day was a Beech 18 flown by Captain Flippie Vermeulen giving an amazing, yet graceful display. Flippie owns the Springbok Group of Companies

Challenging windy flying conditions, Jason Beamish & Richard Nicholson displayed the LSA Aircraft in Formation.

Extreme Flight Extra 300 RC plane flown expertly by Joshua Twomey. My own (Flippie van Emmenis aviation career started with Radio Controlled Aircraft. For me, this was WoW to the extreme level, Joshua, Sponsored by his Dad can fly RC!

Then the madness started, a crazy flying act display. The display was set up as a drunk man steeling an Orion Cub Airplane. Not knowing it was a setup, one of the security personnel went running with all he had to Brain’s commentary stand wanting to help. The act included Jason Beamish being apprehended after the Orion Cub was back on the ground.

The new kids on the block, The Navion formation display flown by Steve George & Reyno Coetzer was well flown in the crosswinds. Later in the day we also saw a solo Navion Display. Navion, manufactured by North American Aviation, who also manufactured the P51 Mustang. Navion Manufacturing later moved to Ryan Aeronautical Company.

Bell 222, most well known for being “Airwolf” was displayed by Dr Andre Coetzee. This is the Skid version of the Bell 222. Henley Air has the most Bell 222 Aircraft in the world.

On the Move Extra 330 was Piloted by the Young Unlimited display pilot, Tristan Eales. Tristan’s commentary was done by his dad Barry Eales, also a well-known aerobatic pilot in South Africa. Tristan recently competed in the World Advanced Aerobatics Championships where he placed 24th overall held at Reno in the USA.

Click on Photos below to enlarge
Photos by Ruan du Rand, Marriane Eksteen, Jarryd Sinovich  and Flippie van Emmenis

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