Langebaanweg Airshow 2017

Langebaanweg Airshow 2017

See it, Hear it and feel it was the theme of the 2017 Langebaanweg Airshow, When talk started of the beginning of the year about the Silver Falcons 50th Anniversary, This was a show not to be missed at all. For those who don’t know this is where most pilots start their basic flying training and is home to the Central Flying School and The Silver Falcons Aerobatic team. The base is situated a few kilometers outside the windy town of Langebaan and windy it was, which was set to be on the program for most of the day.

The morning of the 9th December was D-day for the long awaited Langebaanweg Airshow, we were blessed with clear skies but unfortunately the wind was one up with the organisers. Brigadier General Mac Mathanda and his team made sure that this show was not to be missed with a lot of the public attending the show from far and wide would not be disappointed. The layout of the base made easy access to and from the crowd lines and  to static displays but also made sure one did not make contact with one of the resident Cape Cobras on the day!

The show opened with the SAAF fire and rescue services cavalcade, while a heritage formation made up of the Puma Flying Lions, followed by a single Impala and lastly a fly-past by team 81 in the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team. As the crowds starting filling up the show continued with the Puma Flying Lions led by Captain Scully Levin, the sound of a radial engine brought back many memories to the base as the Harvard was once the basic trainer before the introductory of the Swiss Pilatus Pc7mk11.Scully then flew onto Cape Town International Airport to fetch the Mango 737-800 which was later flanked by the Silver Falcons Aerobatic team led by Major Mark’Katana’Gentles.

SAA Captain Pierre Gouws led the Raptors RVs from the home base in Kitty Hawk in the east of Pretoria with tight formation aerobatics been put to use. Nigel Hopkins in his Extra 330 led Team Extreme, with two Sbachs flown by Jason Beamish and Mark ‘Sammy’ Sampson and the slot pilot Mark ‘Bugs’ Hensman in his Mx2.Andrew Blackwood Murray show off his colorful Nashua Extra 300 from his home base at Rand Airport.

With the long crowd line the Capital Sounds team provided excellent sound and commentary, which was made up by Brian Emmenis, Leon Du Plessis and Col Keith Fryer. This gave a heads up before displays and made you feel like you were sitting in the cockpit with the pilots during the time of their displays. Col Keith Fryer was also air boss for the day and Col Keith Andrews, them and the SAAF ATC made sure the show was safe and display ran on time.

21 Pc7mkii formed a formation in a 50 representing the 50th anniversary of the Silver Falcons flown by the instructors of the Central Flying School. Radio Controlled aircraft were still flown despite the strong wind.

Helicopter displays saw a 15 Squadron A109LUH and a 22 Squadron Oryx performed an aerial ballet for the public, The A109 then put on a solo display flown by Diaan Grobbelaar. A single 16 Squadron Rooivalk from AFB Bloemspruit showed off why its such a great assest in the DRC, Paul’Raccoon Kempie’Kempthorn.A brand new Ec145 operated by AMS at Cape Town International Airport gave a hoisting demo.

Former Falcon 5 Shaun’Dexter’Constable flew a solo Pilatus Pc7mkii display, while the fighters from AFB Makhado with high speed paces from the 85 Combat Flying School Hawk Mk120 flown by Craig’Shark’Lesson and Major Geoffrey ‘Spartan’Cooper making 2 Squadron proud in his ever popular Gripen display.

Another Former leader of the Silver Falcons Major Scott Ternent displayed the C47TP from 35 Squadron AFB Ysterplaat and not to be outdone by the 28 Squadron C130BZ.Civilain jets saw the Wonderboom based Impala Mk1 and now based PE L39 ZU-TEE painted in the same colour scheme as Middelburg based L39 ZU-IBN.

The breaking of the sound barrier close to 34000 feet by Rehan ‘Kaine’ Venter in the Gripen was what everyone came to hear,they’re weren’t disappointed.This particular show was the first airshow since 1995,this was our first visit to the base. We hope that the organizers wont be shy to have another show soon. The work and effort put in was great you did the SAAF proud.





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