Category Archives: Pilots and Aircraft

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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.

Ramp Controller Frank Smook

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.

BMW Motorcycles
Big South African Flag carried by Ralph Ridge
Vintage Aircraft Formation

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.

Double inverted Ribbon Cut
Nashua Extra 300LP
Team Extreme

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.

Cows Pitts S2C
Goodyear Eagles Pitts
Bathawk
Kitfox

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.

L39 & Impala MK1
Embraer 190

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.

Gazelle flown by Juba Jourbert
Airbus Helicopters H125,Bell Huey and a Enstrom.
Working on Fire Hueys

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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Mango Introduces Split Scimitar Winglets

We were kindly invited by Mango’s Grant Timms to witness the first test flight as Mango (One of South Africa’s low cost airline) introduced the first of eight aircraft that will have the Split Scimitar Winglets fitted to their fleet.

In what will be its first widespread commercial use, Split Scimitar Winglets have officially been giving the go-ahead to grace Boeing 737-800s all across the world. While winglets themselves are nothing new, this more aerodynamic incarnation should cut fuel costs by 2%—in other words, pushing their total winglet-related savings to $200 million.

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Training Captain Rodney Chinn &Training Captain Danie Jacobs before the test flight

Inspired by the scimitar, the new winglets retrofit a blended ventral fin to the plane’s wings, essentially making it look like two very thin (and presumably self-loathing) dolphins jammed themselves head first into either side of the plane. Because it makes use of both the split/ventral singlet design and the high-performance scimitar tips, United has managed a cruise performance gain of 30-40%. So how do these winglets manage to reduce so much drag?


Because winglets curve upward, the higher air pressure on the wing’s lower surface flows toward the tip and curls with the winglet. Since the air is pushed upward, this reduces the vortex and subsequent energy loss that is created by air flowing around the wingtip. The split design of the new ones, then, further reduce the vortices formed behind the wing, which in turn further reduces energy loss.

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Mercedes Day-Brakpan Airfield

A different type of fraternity, The Mercedes Benz club of South Africa, get together every year with the last event taking place at Brakpan Airfield. The same venue under the Brakpan Aero Club Members including organiser Hilton Wolff and many other role players put together a day which many visitors of the day wont forget for years to come.

Hilton Wolff, Marcus Goldring and other Mercedes Benz members.


The history of Mercedes-Benz in South Africa by far outstretches the history of the marque’s club here. Although the enthusiasm, interest and involvement of “fans” of the marque throughout its history, this cannot be denied and underplayed, it was not until the late 1970’s that this was harnessed and organised into the beginnings of the Mercedes-Benz Club.

Lucky Mercedes Benz club member with one of the prizes that were won on the day.

The purpose of the day, was to give members of the club, a taste of flight in small aircraft, and not just any aircraft but some unique and modern flying machines. With vintage era up to the modern Mercedes vehicles parked in the vicinity of the club house, both aircraft and car enthusiasts were in their element.

‘Little Annie’ AN2 Taking another load of happy passengers for a flight.
ZS-DFK

Grant Timms flew in a Rand Airport based Harvard ‘7526’ which belongs to John Wright, the aircraft was a major draw card as its not to often to see a Harvard at Brakpan Airfield. It made a excellent photo opportunity as some Mercedes Benz photo bombed the aircraft.

Grant Timms and his Happy Pax
Harvard ‘7526’

Very well known helicopter pilots at Brakpan airfield Rob Osner and Charles Fuller flew both an Alouette II and III. Nothing like flying in ex air force helicopters and flying over the once rich mining areas of the east rand of Johannesburg.

Alouette III Pilot Rob Osner and his ground crew Willie Schutte
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Alouette II and III
Charles Fuller’s Alouette II

Other aircraft that gave flips, namely the Cessna Grand Caravan flown by Frederick Kotzee, Dornier Do 27 flown by Rodney Benn,An2 ‘Little Annie’ flown by Jon-Marc Hill. A Piaggio Albatross,Cessna 210 and many more!

ZS-DFK
Cessna Grand Caravan
Dornier DO-27
AN2 ‘Little Annie’
Piaggio Albatross
ZS-MFI
Cessna 210

At non airshow type events its always crucial to have safety as your main priority, Both Colonel Keith Fryer and Colonel Keith Andrews from the South African Airforce kept all flights as well as the ramp safe and running smoothly during the course of the day.

Colonel Keith Fryer helping disembark passengers from Charles Fuller’s Alouette II.
Colonel Keith Andrews keeping an eye as Ramp Controller.
AN2 & Caravan Formation

The Brakpan Aero Club welcomed guests with muffins and coffee and provided boerewors rolls and Hamburgers for the rest. Local flight schools and Mercedes Benz dealership also provided excellent offerings of their latest deals on both pilots licences and car purchase deals.

Piper Colt getting airborne
Little Annie AN2 with some company.

Well done Hilton Wolff and the Mercedes Benz Club Members as well as all the pilots and ground crew who made the event possible and safe. We look forward to the 2020 edition of the event.

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Rasesa ready for takeoff- WesBank Botswana International Airshow

The WesBank Botswana International Airshow is almost ready for takeoff to give the people of Botswana and other international visitors a day of spectacular aerobatic sequences from both old and new aircraft.


Matsieng Airfield (ICAO: FBMA) is a new Airfield which has been around since 2011. The airfield is located near Rasesa, 44 kilometres north of Gaborone Botswana.

The highlight for some is definitely the fly-in experience where pilots fly-in for the weekend and camp under the wing of their aircraft or even camp in the set up tent area where ablution blocks are available as well as log fires, that are made available for braai packs and other needed necessities during the weekend.

Aircraft that will be making a welcome back appearance will be the only airworthy P51 Mustang in Southern Africa, owned and flown by Master Power Technologies Menno Parsons. He will also have his Bell 407.Other helicopters that will be displayed will be the NAC Bell 430 flown by Alister Brown. Team Extreme will be making their full team debut made up of Nigel Hopkins in his Extra 330,Jason Beamish in his brand new Extra 330,Mark Hensman in his MX2 and finally Mark Sampson in his Sbach. Other favourites will be the L29 and L39 Jet trainers, AN2 ‘Little Annie’ Harvard’s ,Pitts Special teams and many other aircraft. Program to be posted soon!

P51D Mustang
Bell 407
Bell 430
Team Extreme
Jason Beamish”s new Extra 330

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Entrance gates: Gate 1 (on site map)https://www.botswana-airshow.com/index.php/info/maps

Gates open: Saturday from 9:00 to 16:00
Air Show ends: 17:00

Entrance fees: P120 per adult; P60 per child (6-17 years); Under 6 years – free if accompanied by paying adults.

Tickets available at the following PUMA outlets

·         PILANE

·         PHAKALANE

·         BBS

·         RAILPARK

·         TLOKWENG

·         FAIRGROUNDS

·         PULA SPAR

·         GRAND PALM

·         KGALE VIEW

·         TLOKWENG EXPLOSION

·         FRANCISTOWN

·         MAHALAPYE

·         PALAPYE

·         MOLEPOLOLE

·         KANYE

·         Also available from PHARMA LULU @ Westgate Mall

IMPORTANT NOTICE

  • No food or beverages will be allowed through the gates.
  • Empty cooler bags will be allowed through the gates.
  • No picnic or recreation of any sort will be allowed in the parking area.
  • No buses exceeding 8 people seated.
  • No admission will be granted without a valid entry ticket or permit.
  • The public shall enter and use the parking area as well as the premises at their own risk and the organisers and the owners of the premises cannot accept liability for any loss or injury to any person or property.
  • Any form of misbehaviour or criminal activity will be handed over to the members of the Botswana Police Service.
  • The public may not enter any fenced off zone allocated to aeroplanes and other vehicles. Trespassers will be escorted off the premises immediately without refund of any kind.
  • Members of the public are strictly not allowed to access the Hospitality tent area.

Us at Aviation Central cant wait to share a fantastic day with the people of Botswana in the next couple of weeks, we sure are super excited. Keep an eye on our social media pages and website for more updates to follow!

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BOAC -It is 3 out of 3 for South Africa!

It is 3 out of 3 for South Africa!

TodMonday 29 April 2019 the third B747 painted in a retro livery, as part of BA’s 100th birthday, touched down with a puff of smoke in Johannesburg at 08:53. Cape Town have been spoilt by receiving two of these, the Negus and Landor liveries, but Johannesburg was the envy of aviation enthusiasts.

G-BYGC where scheduled to land in Johannesburg on Sunday but as things happen, this was changed to today. G-BYGC was went into the paint shop on 18 February 2019 and was unveiled to the world on the same day. She mostly visited the USA but as BA implemented their summer schedule, aviation enthusiasts became excited and hoping that G-BYGC appears on Johannesburg schedules.

G-BYGC is 20 old, is a B747-436 with serial number 25823. Our Negus arrival coverage can be seen here https://tinyurl.com/y2owgawt and our Landor arrival coverage can be seen here https://tinyurl.com/y6m5rwj2 It took some time for us to see the BOAC here in South Africa but it was worth the wait. Hoping for many more visits!

3 x Below Photo credit: Christopher R. Lourens

3 x Below Photo credit: Niel Swart

Click on Photos to enlarge

L29 ZU-VLL relocates to Tempe Bloemfontein

L29 ZU-VLL has now changed ownership, and will now grace the skies over Tempe Bloemfontein, where th former soviet jet trainer will now reside.We hope to see this particular L29 at airshows more often and hopefully even join in formation with Rand Airport based L29 ZU-AUX and Middelburg based L29 ZU-DNX at a future airshow. South Africa is definitely has the richest aviation heritage on the African continent

We been privileged enough to have seen some of these ex military jet trainers flying in our skies. It seems these sights and sounds are becoming fewer and fewer.

L29 ZU-VLL safe at Tempe Airfield after a ferry from Durban
(Picture by Flightdeck Instrument Systems CC)
L29 at here new home Tempe airfield Bloemfontein
(Picture by Flightdeck Instrument Systems CC)

The Aero L29 Delfin-The Soviet Trainer(English: Dolphin, NATO reporting name: Maya) is a military jet trainer developed and manufactured by Czechoslovakian aviation manufacturer Aero Vodochody. The jet trainer is a dual seat training aircraft. It is the country’s first locally designed and constructed jet aircraft, as well as likely being the biggest aircraft industrial programme to take place in any of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance  countries except the Soviet Union.

Larry Beamish takes off in ZU-VLL Newcastle Airshow 2013
L29 ZU-VLL Cockpit

Eagle Air-The Fly Away March 2019

Eagle Air-The Fly Away March 2019

By Marcelle Nienaber – Grade 2 Instructor at Eagle Air.

Its early morning Friday, the 27th of March.

There is a slight chill in the air as 20 pilots assemble with luggage, flight plans and positive attitudes around a fleet of 9 aircraft. Fueled and ready to take to the skies for eagle Air’s first Fly-Away for 2019.

“Cleared for take-off” echoed in all the headsets as we routed to Kruger International Airport. One hour into the flight we had to divert back to Wonderboom (FAWB) due to inclement weather at Kruger. Our fleet met up and re-fueled at FAWB.

With the weather keeping its head up high, our pilots took to the skies again. This time to Bloemfontein (FABL) on route, clear skies greeted us.

After a well-deserved rest at FABL, flight plans were filed for our route to Port Elizabeth via Beaufort West.

Spectacular views of the Indian Ocean ensured excitement among all. PE welcomed Eagle Air with signature windy conditions.

With great anticipation on day 3 of the Fly-Away, the fleet departed for Cape Town via George. Touching down in George revealed adverse conditions and aircraft were secured for the night.

The skies cleared for day 4 as or journey continued on to Cape Town. More spectacular views of the mountains and sea stunned the Eagle Air fleet. We descended into Cape Town International Airport slotting seamlessly between commercial carriers. With a few hours of daylight left, the Eagle Air squad explored the streets of Cape Town, taking in all it has to offer.

Energized by the scenes of the Mother City we set off to Bloemfontein (FABL) to settle in for the final night before heading back to the Eagle Nest.

Midday on the 3rd of April, the Eagle Air fleet safely arrived back at home base.

“Six days, a dozen cities, thousands of nautical miles and immeasurable memories and experience gained” quoted by Percy Rudman.

Photo credits: Eagle Air

Click to enlarge photos

Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team Ready for the first Airshow of 2019

The skies over Stellenbosch are getting Busy with the Big airshow this coming Saturday, 23 March at Stellenbosch Flying Club in the Western Cape.

Stellenbosch hasn’t hosted an airshow since 2015,the Cape aviation enthusiast’s are sure hungry for an airshow.

Silver Falcons

The Silver Falcons will be displaying at their first airshow for 2019 at Stellenbosch this coming Saturday under the leadership of Major Omphile Matloane.

Major Omphile Matloane receives his golden wings from Major Sivu Tangana September 2018

The team recently displayed at the past Armed Forces Week in Cape Town in February 2019.

Falcon 1 Background
Falcon 2 Tiaan Stander
Falcon 3 Corne van Deventer
Falcon 4 Bheki Shabangu
Falcon 5 Sivu Tangana
Silver Falcons over Cape Town during Armed Forces Week February 2019
Silver Falcons

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2019 Airshow Aircraft and Teams

Every year we see Airshows across Southern Africa. Some teams we see at every show and others we don’t see that often. Aircraft we get L29 & 39’s to Gripen and Cheetah, From Harvard’s and Pitts Specials to Little Annie. The Military aircraft is always a winner at any airshow.

Every 2nd Year with AAD, we all hold thumbs and our breath in hope for some international aircraft, however due to South Africa being on the most southern tip of Africa the cost to bring aircraft to SA is very costly and not always feasible. We are hoping for something spectacular in 2019, however our, Aviation Central’s hope is on 2020.

2020 is a big year for Aviation in South Africa. The Aero Club of South Africa and South African Air force will be turning 100 years old. At this stage only the Aero club indicated interest in Centenary celebrations and planning is already in progress. We will Keep you updated on any Centenary celebration planning!

2021 Swartkop AFB will be 100 years old. Lets hope 2021 we will see a BIG Swartkop / SAAF Museum airshow.

The list below contains Aircraft and Teams listed per Airshow for 2019. We will be running a list for every year from as from 2018!


Popular Display teams, Puma Energy Flying Lions, The Cows Aerobatic team, GoodYear Eagles Aerobatic team, The Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team and the High Energy Team Xtreme are some of the popular display teams on our Airshow circuit

Southern Africa also has some Farther’s and Son’s flying in Airshows, Larry and Jason Beamish, Mark and Jon-Marc, Scully and Ellis Levin, Derick and Nigel Hopkins.

Also see our Airshows and other Aviation Events Calendar

If you feel we missed any Airshow, Team, Pilot or Aircraft, please let us know, Flippie@aviationcentral.co.za or Jarryd@aviationcentral.co.za

Important Notice:

We will only add Aircraft as we get conformation to the buildup of an show, this the listing my not be complete when its added prior to show date! Where Aircraft is added prior to an Event, does not guarantee that all aircraft is added nor that all Added aircraft will be flying!


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Teams & Aircraft

Aircraft / TeamsMiddelburg Stellenbosch LowveldMatsiengNewcastleRand ArishowBethlehemSwartkopTotal 2019  
Raptors RVs44513
Team Extreme2349
Flying Lions347
Goodyear Eagles437
Fying Cows235
Extra 3301225
Kishugu Huey235
Silver Falcons55
Boeing Stearman1113
Hot Air Balloon33
L391113
Aerospatiale Gazelle213
Extra 300112
Little Annie An2112
Gyrocopter112
Pilatus PC11112
Air-Tractor11
Kishugu AT8211
Harvard Solo11
L2911
AerospatialeAlouette II11
Boeing 73711
Embraer 19011
Impala MK1 ZU-IMP11
Tiger Moth11
Beech 1811
P51 Mustang11
Bell 40711
Piper PA-4611
AM3-C Bosbok11
JS1-C Glider11
Howard DGA-1511
Piper Aerostar 600A11
Christen A-1 Husky11
Cessna 19511
Cessna 21011
Airbus Helicopters H14511
Shock Cub11

British Airways and the B747 BOAC Liveries

By Niel Swart

We all have our special airplane, the one that makes you stop and look when you here the rumbling of an engine but there is only one that is truly the queen of the skies… the Boeing 747.

The month of February will be a special one as the 9th will see the 50th birthday of the queen. She appeared in movies, series, printed media, social media, toys, puzzles, balloons, birthday/retirement cakes and many will remember the 1995 Ruby World Cup final, Ndizani, 3 Boeing 747’s over the Union Buildings, their first Boeing 747 flight or the first time ever they saw a Boeing 747. She is basically everywhere and this shows the impact she made on everyday life as we know it. To make things more special, every now and then, we as aviation lovers are treated to a special livery Boeing 747.

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Not only is February the birthday of the Boeing 747 but also the birthday of an icon. A nation’s pride, an airline… British Airways. Yes, they will be celebrating their 100th birthday this year. Of course, the British will celebrate like only the British can with special uniforms, official celebrations and the cherry on top for us, a special livery Boeing 747. Not just any special livery… an BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) livery. Yes, you read it correctly… an BOAC livery. This means that G-BYGC will be gracing the skies in BOAC colours as of 18 February when she will leave Dublin as a newly painted Boeing 747 to return to scheduled service as of 19 February until she retires in 2023. As if this is not enough celebrating, G-BYGC will be 20 years with British Airways. At present she mostly does the transatlantic legs but British Airways did hint at the fact that she will be sent on scheduled flights to as many as possible destinations. So there is a chance we may see here either at Johannesburg or Cape Town.


One of BOAC’s original 747-100s in the 1970s
BOAC Retro Liveries

If you thought that was the end, guess again. British Airways announces new 100 year related bits of information often and it is said that at least another 2 Boeing 747’s are to receive retro liveries until they retire. This has not been confirmed as yet but the grapevine is suggesting G-BNLY and G-CIVB will also receive retro liveries until their retirement. G-CIVB being a frequent visitor to the Cape.

So definitely set alerts on your favourite live flight tracking app for these airplanes as you do not want to miss them if they visit and they have a retro livery.

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