Tag Archives: Agusta a109

Newcastle Airshow KZN 2022

What now is the longest running airshow in South Africa, for the last 10 years the KwaZulu-Natal town of Newcastle has managed to have a decade of successful airshow. Obviously with the pandemic the show would be on its twelve year but got interrupted by hard lock downs and other reasons delaying the show in 2020 and 2021.

With the theme “I Can Dream” Champ Group Johan Pieters, Christo van Zyl and Romano Raghoo organisers of the last ten shows did it again. The only airshow in the entire KwaZulu-Natal, attracted many aviation enthusiasts and first timers at an airshow on 4th June 2022.

Airshow South Africa put together a great programme with a variety of display aircraft including the South African Airforce, a major contributor to a number of previous shows in the past as well.

Rikus Erasmus, who is Airshow South Africa Chairperson, was Flight Director. Louise Hofmeyr handled the media accreditation and placed the photographers in a great area for getting the shot of the day!

Keith Fryer former South African Airforce Cheetah pilot was safety director. Lieutenant Colonel Levi Mogosti former 22 Squadron Lynx flight engineer was the South African Airforce safety Liaison officer. Brent Waren was ramp controller who is a familiar face at Stellenbosch Airfield.

ATNS Ricardo Alfonso and his team of ATCs were kept busy from the Friday with arrivals through to the last departure on Saturday after the show.

Capital Sounds Brian Emmenis arrived the Friday before the show to set up sound equipment. Brian recently worked with Hollywood actor Tom Cruise in various South African provinces on a new movie that will be out in the near future. Brian himself, Leon Du Plessis provided excellent commentary on all aircraft and letting the crowd hear radio chatter between pilots.

The Chief of the South African Airforce Lieutenant General Wiseman Simo Mbambo flew in late Friday afternoon in a 17 Squadron Agusta A109LUH.Lieutenant General Mbambo grew up in Northern KwaZulu-Natal in a small village called Louwsburg (e-Ngoje).

The show started at 11am by then the crowds had arrived. A Cessna 206 was the jump ship for the massive South African Flag flown by Ralph Ridge and others including members from the South African National Defence.

It was then time for the fast movers in the form of Hawk MK120s from 85 Combat Flying School two-ship capability demonstration led by Major Kgosimang “Cipher” Seeco flanked on the wing by newly qualified wingmen at 85 Combat Flying School. The morning display was Captain Tiisetso “Lego” Legodi and then Major Mikhail “Spectre” Petersen in the afternoon.

The South African Airforce also had a 19 Squadron A109LUH on static display for the public to view as well as information for the youth to join the air force.

The Amajuba district municipality invited learners from a number of schools to listen to key addresses including the Chief of the South African Airforce and many others. The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs of KwaZulu-Natal and KwaZulu- Natal Tourism are part of the driving force of the show.

Next was the Goodyear Eagle Pitts S2Bs owned by Aerobatics Unlimited and retired SAA Captain Dennis Spence. The two ship was flown by Flysafair pilot Johan von Solms also a former Cheetah pilot. His lead was Trevor Warner, the new member of the team!

The Magni Gyrocopter was excellently flown by Andre van Zyl, who provided two displays for the day after flying in from Gauteng. Henley Air’s Andre Coetzee flew the Bell 222 helicopter display. Henley Air is the biggest operator of the Bell 222 in Africa and if not the world.

Juba Joubert flew a Alouette II display, probably the best helicopter display pilot flying the older generation of helicopters in the world.

The Puma Flying Lions flew a three-ship display flown by Scully Levin, Arnie Meneghelli and Sean Thackeray. The Harvard’s also did a missing man formation for the late Mark “Sammy” Sampson who tragically lost his life in a airshow accident in Zimbabwe a few days before the show.

A rare visitor to Newcastle was Dave Mandel in his Aero L39 ZU-Jet which is based in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) . Was great to see the camouflage of this particular L39 and very photogenic.

Unfortunately the L39 had a tyre blow out on landing and Dave did a great job handling the aircraft, as well as both flight director and safety officer brining it to a complete stop on the opposite side of the runway. Emergency services were dispatched as a precaution and were at the scene in seconds.

The show carried on at lunch with Ivan van Der Schaar in his Boeing Stearman, being the only other radial aircraft at the show. It’s a real classic to the public eye.

The Raptor RV two ship flown again by Trevor Warner and Johan von Solms provided close formation aerobatics.

The airshow closed with the pair of Hawk MK120s. Some the visiting aircraft departed back to their home bases. And another safe and successful airshow in Newcastle was done and dusted. And we now start the count down to next year’s show once again.

Please Browse through our gallery below!

Chief of The SAAF Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang Retreat Parade

A rather sad day to be at Air force Base Swartkop on the afternoon of the last day of September 2020,cuddled around a number of cumulonimbus clouds kept their distance as a final retreat parade could take place with a magnificent background as the Chief of the South African Air Force retired.  


Lieutenant General Fabian “BlackHawk” Zimpande (Zakes) Msimang,a former operational helicopter pilots on various types of SAAF Helicopters he flew during his time,including MI8,MI25,Alouette III and Oryx Helicopters just to name a few.

On 28 September 2012,Msimang was appointed the new Chief of the South African Airforce as Lieutenant-General Carlo Gagiano retired from the SAAF.


As we all know,Covid-19 has all hit us all hard,this cancelling a number of events such as airshows in the aviation industry and most important celebrating the SAAFs centenary,with the cancellation of Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD2020),we could not have a 100 year celebration airshow taking into consideration of being the world’s second oldest air force after the Royal Airforce (RAF).And yes the Chief and the Deputy Chief Major General Innocent Buthelezi mentioned we are the second oldest air force in the world!

By 5pm a number of SAAF aircraft including helicopters and fixed wing assets took to the skies around the Pretoria area.Before the outgoing Chief opened the flypasts flying the Alouette III part of the South African Air force Museum.

The next elements of the flypast columns included the De Havilland Vampire T55,flown by Rama “Dynamite”Iyer and Vladimir “Spoetnik” Schultz.The Museums Aerospatiale Puma SA330 and Alouette II closely followed behind.

SAAF Museum De Havilland Vampire T55
SAAF Museum De Havilland Vampire T55
SAAF Museum Aerospatiale Puma & Alouette II

The big chopper formation was soon over Snake Valley led by a 16 Squadron Rooivalk Attack Helicopter,flanked by various helicopters from squadrons across South Africa,including two Lynx Mk 64 Helicopters all the way from AFB Ysterplaat in Cape Town,A number of Agusta A109LUHs and Oryx Helicopters also formed part of the formation.
The former school master of the sky the Harvard formation including Two Museum Harvards and two Harvard Club aircraft were next over the podium.

Mass Helicopter Formation
Rooivalk,Lynx MK 64,Oryx & Agusta A109LUH
Mass Helicopter Formation
SAAF Museum & Harvard Club (Harvard Formation)
SAAF Museum & Harvard Club (Harvard Formation)

The Lycoming formation were next with a Cessna C185,a Kudu and a Bosbok making up for the taildragger aircraft in the museum fleet.41 Squadron put on a tight formation with a leading Pilatus PC12,Two KingAirs and five Cessna 208A Caravans.

SAAF Museum Cessna C185,Kudu & Bosbok
41 Squadron Pilatus PC12
41 Squadron Formation
41 Squadron Formation

Pelican Formation was next with a 35 Squadron C47TP Turbo Dakota,while a 44 Squadron Casa 212 kept tightly behind the Daks 6 o’clock position.Open the gates its 28 Squadron with Two C130BZ Hercules Transport aircraft in formation with four Central Flying School Pilatus PC-7 MKII ab initio trainers.

35 Squadron C47TP & 44 Squadron Casa 212
35 Squadron C47TP
C130BZs & Pilatus PC7MKIIs
C130BZs & Pilatus PC7MKIIs

The last flypast was the combat formation consisting of two 2 Squadron JAS39 Gripens and four Hawks from 85 Combat Flying School.The formation was led by Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper.
As the parade continued with a change of command tradition,a flag setting.

Gripen & Hawk Formation
Gripen & Hawk Formation

The South African Air Force band entertained the VIP Guests and members of the SAAF and Media. The surprise flypast of a Gripen from, behind the seated guests pitched up into the dark sky while releasing flares.Surely presented the chief with a final loud and spectacular goodbye.

Gripen Flare drop

Attending the after function,where we were kindly invited by the outgoing chief,it came time to give one final speech with tears in his eyes “he mentioned to be in an Air Force that Inspires Confidence we need to be confident in ourselves.Since I started here,I have always believed that you,each of you,are more capable.I believed and still do that you have the capacity to make this organisation into something bigger than what it was.”

We were treated to a delicious dinner and cold beverages before leaving the base,well done to all involved in making the final event for the chief a success.


We would like to wish the former chief of the South African Air force all the best for his future and a restful retirement,we’d like to take the time to thank you for making the time for us and giving us the opportunities that some didn’t have.
We thank you sir.

Video Below

Click on photo below to enlarge

SAAF Museum Flying Day 1 February 2020

The First flight training day for the year 2020 at Airforce Base Swartkop was different this year, it was the South African Airforce’s birthday, which was founded on the 1 February 1920.

Museum Alouette III

With the Prestige Day parade held the day before at Airforce Base Swartkop, many of the aircraft that took part in the mass flypast were present and gave the visiting public a glance at both static and departing aircraft returing to their home bases across South Africa.

22 Squadron Super Lynx

The Usual museum aircraft such as the many Museum Harvards, Patchen Explorer, Cessna C185, Kudu and Alouette II, III as well as the Puma continued with currency flights in between display slots.

SAAF Museum Harvard’s
SAAF Museum Cessna C185

Friends of the SAAF Museum sold Boere Wors Rolls, Refreshments and held guided tours of the airforce heritage displays located on the base premises.The windsock Café was also open for cool and hot refrements throughout the day.

The days proceedings started with a short display by a 35 Squadron C47TP Martime Dakota from AFB Ysterplaat in Cape Town. Major Paul “Raccoon” Kempthorn flew one of the best Rooivalk displays that we have witnessed in a long time.

35 Squadron C47TP
16 Squadron Rooivalk
16 Squadron Rooivalk

The Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team 84 led by new team lead Major Sivu Tangana showed off the tight formation aerobatics of four Pilatus PC7MKIIs.

Silver Falcons
Pilatus PC7MKII

Two Cessna C208A Caravans from 41 Squadron, who operates out of neighbouring Airforce Base Waterkloof, gave a short formation display. Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter flew his second airshow display as he is now the new Hawk display pilot for 85 Combat Flying School.

41 Squadron Cessna C208A Caravans
85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120
85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120
2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen

Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper flew a great display in the JAS39C Gripen before heading back to Airforce Base Makhado in the Limpopo Province.

2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen

The Museum Helicopter assets including the Alouettes II and IIIs closed the flying day with their helicopter display, with a big chance of seeing them do it again on 9th May 2020 at The SAAF Museum Airshow.

SAAF Museum Puma & Alouette III
SAAF Museum Alouette III

Well done to the Museum staff and AFB Swartkop on providing a different flying day as a gift to the public on the South African Airforce Birthday!

Please Browse through our Gallery Below!

South African Airforce Airlifts Citizens Trapped by Flash Floods in Pretoria

  On Monday, 09 December 2019 at approximately 12:30, the National Joint Operational Centre (NATJOC) activated two (2) South African Air Force (SAAF) helicopters to assist citizens stranded in Centurion and Mamelodi following flash floods as a result of the continuing torrential downpour currently experienced in the Gauteng Province.


A SAAF Atlas Oryx helicopter and an Agusta A-109 Light Utility (A-109 LUH) Helicopter were able to airlift 79 stranded people at the Centurion Lake Hotel to safety. A total of three (3) people airlifted from the hotel were taken to Unitas Medical Centre for medical assistance. 

The two (2) helicopters proceeded to Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, and successfully airlifted five (5) people who were trapped by flash floods to safety. No injuries were reported in Mamelodi. The two (2) helicopters completed the two (2) air rescues at approximately 17:00. There were no fatalities reported during both rescues.   

Ladysmith Aviation Career Expo & Airshow 2019

Kwa-Zulu Natal got to see their second airshow in the province this year after Newcastle Airshow during the early period of the South African Airshow calendar . Ladysmith was the chosen airport to host the Aviation Career expo and airshow on the 25th and 26th October 2019,with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) supporting the whole event.

The Ladysmith Airfield goes back many years and with the Ladysmith Hotel in close proximity, the actual hotel was the airfields old terminal building which was opened by Brigadier C.G Ross,C.BE.,D.F.C on the 26th October 1950. The airfield is home to a small flight school and hangers other small aircraft for private use.

Friday 25th October youth from surrounding school in Ladysmith and the Kwa-Zulu Natal Province got to know more about the aviation industry through the help of Civil Aviation Authority providing an Awareness drive to the children with talks by pilots, engineers and getting to network with display pilots in preparation for the following days airshow.

Free to the public was this years Ladysmith airshow, with the South African Airforce Silver Falcons Aerobatic team 83 in formation with Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper in a JAS39D Gripen. Major Omphile Matloane possibly completing his last airshow display as Falcon one as he will be moving on to instruct on helicopters at 87 Helicopter Flying School in Bloemfontein next year.

The Silver Falcons completed their display with two training livery aircraft from, Central Flying School at Airforce Base Langebaanweg in the Western Cape.Falcon 8 Capital Sounds Brian Emmenis produced the commentary for their show and all other display acts of the day.

The three jet display were part of the exciting program with the roar of the might 2 Squadron Gripen in which we saw two different gripens during the course of the day. In the morning we had ‘3905’ JAS39D dual seater and in the afternoon the solo display with ‘3916’ which was again put through its paces by Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper. The Gripen operated out of Airforce Base Waterkloof in Pretoria as made it to Ladysmith within 20 minutes of flight time!

Glen Warden flew the L29 Delphin, an ex eastern block jet trainer and Airlink displayed one of their Embraer E190s which made brilliant photo opportunities as one doesn’t see a airliner fly in Ladysmith everyday .

The Goodyear Eagles Pitts display team flew their four ship display, Team Extreme was present with 3 aircraft and once again showed off their famous knife edge passes before heading back to Rand Airport as large thunder storms closed the show off.

The South African Airforce also had a 17 Squadron Agusta A109LUH on static display. A 44 Squadron Casa 212 flew some of the lucky youth on Saturday morning before the show by Major Nick Green, Major Ashley Naxhe and Flight Saregent Jaques De Kock.

“Little Annie” an Antonov An2 flown by Jon-Marc Hill and Ryan Smith were the jump ship for this show and dropped some of the Adventure Skydiving members, with Ralph Ridge flying South Africa’s biggest flag.

André van Zyl flew his Magni Gyrocopter display and most probably the best Gyrocopter display. André has now displayed both in South Africa,Botswana and recently Mozambique!

Flying Display Director from Airshow South Africa “ASSA” Rickus Erasmus,Safety director Colonel Francois “Hose” Hanekom, Ramp Controller Cliff Lotter and Louise Hofmeyr as airshow programme director.

Well done to Ms Poppy Khoza and her team at the South African Civil Aviation Authority on providing a great variety of aircraft for a CAA Airshow. We look forward to the last show of the year at Polokwane as part of International Civil Aviation Day ‘ICAD’,which will also form part of an airshow.

Bethlehem Airshow 2019

Noted as one of the coldest airshows on the South African Airshow circuit, this years Bethlehem Airshow was definitely the hottest. The Eastern Free State town of Bethlehem hosted their annual airshow and this year was most probably the best they have ever had, with a large variety of aircraft including the South African Airforce making a welcome return.

The Friday before the show, Little Annie an Antonov 2 took local school kids for some of them their first flight in an aircraft around the town of Bethlehem. At the same time many aircraft arrivals and validations took place to be suitable for the following day.

“Little Annie” AN2

Saturday morning we arrived at the airfield to get some sunrise shots of parked aircraft, not long after that we attended the pilots briefing with Dihlabeng Municipal Mayor Lindiwe Makhalema thanking the pilots and wishing them well during the course of the day. Stephen Fourie was the organiser once again of the fantastic show who also briefed the pilots on the days proceedings in conjunction with Lieutenant Colonel Keith “Fulcrum” Fryer as airboss for the show. Lieutenant Colonel Francois “Hosepipe” Hanekom was Flight safety director and Lieutenant Colonel Keith Andrew was ramp director.

The show opened up with the South African Airforce Golden Eagles Parachute Display team, their jump ship was a 44 Squadron Casa 212 with Lieutenant Colonel Sammy “Guru” Mabidikama, Major Ashley “Sensei” Naxhe and loadmaster Flight Sergeant Manny Ramajela at the controls.

44 Squadron Casa 212

The Cows Pitts Specials added an Extra 300 to their display led by Scully Levin, The Goodyear Eagles performed both a four-ship pitts display in the morning show and the afternoon show with a three-ship. A solo aerobatic display by Andrew Blackwood Murray in his Nashua Extra 300 and a Pilatus B4 Glider was flown by Gary Whitecross.Orsmond Aviation provided a Turbo Thrush for aerial spaying demo. A provincial EMS Bell 222 demonstrated a car accident scene showing off the emergency services and the every day call out scenes around South Africa. Another Bell 222 from Henley Air at Rand Airport flown by Andre Coetzee showed off the helicopter skilfully.

Cows Pitts and Extra formation
Goodyear Eagles
Nashua Extra 300
Pilatus B4
Glider Tug Lambada flown by Derek Hopkins
Free state EMS Bell 222
Free state EMS Bell 222
Henley Air Bell 222

The South African Airforce (SAAF) provide the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team flying Pilatus PC7MKIIs with Major Omphile Matolane as lead ,Major Tian Stander at number two, Major Sivu Tangana at three and the soloist Major Bheki Shabungu.

Silver Falcons Team 82
Major Bheki Shabungu does a dirty roll in the Pilatus PC7MKII
Lieutenant Charlene Brown and Captain Xander Albasni made sure the Bethlehem crowds could get their Silver Falcons memorabilia

A 2 Squadron Gripen JAS39D flown all the way from Airforce Base Makhado in the Limpopo province, the squadron demonstrated a flat display by Major Mohau “Dobaman” Vundla and Major Kevin “Safron” Chetty as his navigator. This was the first appearance of a Gripen in Bethlehem. An Agusta A109LUH from 87 Helicopter Flying School in Bloemfontein, which was on static display among some of the other visiting civilian static aircraft. Adding to the jet action Pierre Gouws flew Richard Lovett’s Aero L39 and also led the Raptor RVs.

2 Squadron JAS39D Gripen
2 Squadron JAS39D Gripen
Agusta A109LUH
Aero L39 Albatross
Raptors RVs

Andre Van Zyl displayed the Magni Gyrocopter to its full potential Radials were a common sound at this years show with Little Annie An2 flown by Jon Marc-Hill and Juba Jourbert dropping skydivers and later joining up with Ivan Van der Schaar in his Boeing Stearman for a formation display and both their singleton displays. The Puma Flying Lions led once again by Scully Levin flew their three-ship routine .Menno Parson’s Douglas Dc3 gave a brief display flown by Derek Hopkins and Ivan van der Schaar. Menno displayed his popular and only flying P51D Mustang in South Africa. SAA Pilot Trevor Warner also gave a Solo Rv7 display, this being the most homebuilt aircraft in the world.

Magni Gyro
Radial Formation An2 & Boeing Stearman
Douglas DC3
Puma Flying Lions
P51D “Mustang Sally”
P51D “Mustang Sally”
RV7

Capital Sounds provided commentary to both the display line in front of the crowd line, behind the crowd line and by the aircraft parking area across the tar runway at Bethlehem. Brian Emmenis, Leon Du Plessis and Elvis Manene kept the crowds posted on each display on the day.

Menno Parsons & Capital Sounds Brian Emmenis
Silver Falcon Major Sivu Tangana & Capital Sounds Elvis Manene

Bethlehem Airshow well done on a fantastic show this year, to all the organisers, display pilots and ground crews on making the show safe and successful. Looking forward to next years show already.

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