Tag Archives: Andrew Blackwood-Murray

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

Virginia Airshow in Durban Returns: A Spectacular Aviation Extravaganza

After a decade-long hiatus since its last thrilling edition in July 2013, the Virginia Airshow in Durban made an electrifying comeback that left aviation enthusiasts on the edge of their seats. The highly anticipated event, meticulously organized by the Smoke on Go Foundation, delivered a day filled with awe-inspiring aerial displays and aviation excellence.

Educational Outreach by the South African Air Force

Leading up to the airshow, the South African Air Force took the initiative to enlighten the youth by hosting an informative workshop for local schools on the Friday before the show. The program aimed to educate eager learners about various facets of the South African Air Force and potential career opportunities in the military, setting the stage for an inspiring weekend of aviation exploration.

A Dazzling Start with Skydiving Thrills

The eagerly awaited airshow commenced with a breathtaking spectacle as daring skydivers from the Durban Skydive Centre leaped from an Aerospatiale SA-341G Gazelle helicopter. Durban’s favorable summer weather conditions, coupled with a stiff breeze, added an extra layer of excitement to their high-speed landings. The team of skydivers, including Vernon Kloppers, Bob Simpson, Michael Nyman, and Dave Ladell, captivated the audience with their fearless jumps.

Marksmen Aerobatic Team Sets the Bar High

The first aerobatic performance of the day was brought to the audience by the exceptional Marksmen Aerobatic Team. Led by Mark Hensman (in an Extra 300 borrowed from Elton Bondi) and featuring Eugene du Preez and Johnie Smith (both in Extra 330’s) , the team displayed impeccable precision with their tight formations and a mind-boggling “koeksister” routine that left spectators in awe.

Diverse Displays and Thrilling Acts

The action-packed program continued with a diverse lineup of aircraft and pilots, showcasing the rich tapestry of aviation talent. Notable performances included Dave Mandel’s captivating display of the Aero L-39 Albatros, the historic 3-ship De Havilland Chipmunk formation, and Andrew Blackwood-Murray’s mesmerizing aerobatics in the Nashua-sponsored Extra 300LP.

Juba Joubert’s Helicopter Mastery

Juba Joubert, with his distinguished military flying background, took to the skies in an Aerospatiale SA-341G Gazelle, defying gravity with breathtaking helicopter maneuvers that earned him thunderous applause from the mesmerized crowd.

Scully Levin’s Graceful Cirrus SR-22

Scully Levin, at the controls of the beautiful blue Cirrus SR-22, demonstrated the remarkable capabilities of this small aircraft, adding a touch of elegance to the day’s festivities.

Raptors Display Team and the Van’s RV-7 Duo

The Raptors Display Team, led by Trevor Warner and featuring Ryan Beeton, wowed the audience with their two-ship display of Van’s RV-7 aircraft. Their agility and precision in the skies were truly impressive.

South African Air Force’s Spectacular Operations Demonstration

One of the highlights of the day was the South African Air Force’s operations demonstration of the MBB/Kawasaki BK-117. Piloted by Major Jared “Gizmo” Oliver, an experienced pilot with a distinguished track record, and assisted by Flight Sergeant Coert Steynberg, this dynamic duo showcased the BK117’s versatility and prowess.

Their demonstration included daring hoisting capabilities, where they lowered two individuals from the helicopter before smoothly lifting around 400 kilograms of barrels as cargo, maneuvering it skillfully in a circuit under the helicopter. The BK117 then transitioned to a search and rescue scenario, efficiently loading a “patient” using the rear cargo doors. A breathtaking moment occurred when they executed a ground-skidding maneuver, ensuring rapid and secure deployment of soldiers or medics in challenging situations where landing is not an option.

The display concluded with a thrilling game of hide and seek, as the helicopter “popped up” behind the hedges and disappeared rapidly—a testament to the crew’s precision and mastery of their aircraft.

Participating in this extraordinary demonstration was Captain Matthew “Sabre” Allan, who earlier this year showed exemplary bravery and skill by taking control of an Oryx helicopter after the Commander was wounded and the Flight Engineer killed by a sniper, whilst on operations in the DRC, ultimately flying them back to safety.

Patrick Davidson’s Heart-Pounding Performance

Red Bull-sponsored Patrick Davidson took center stage once more, piloting the Game Composites GB1 Gamebird. His high-energy aerobatic maneuvers left spectators breathless, showcasing his exceptional skills.

Roger Deare’s Spectacular Flight in the Hollywood Bets Activation

The excitement continued as Roger Deare took to the skies in his Extra 300L (ZS-OLR), beautifully adorned in Hollywood Bets colors to promote the online Aviator Game. Engaging the audience even further, selected spectators were invited to participate by guessing the altitudes at which Roger was flying, with exciting prizes awaiting the lucky winners.

Once the guessing game concluded, Roger Deare treated the crowd to a captivating aerobatic sequence, leaving everyone in awe of his piloting skills and the sheer power of the aircraft.

Airlink’s Remarkable Showcase of the Embraer 195

Airlink took center stage with an impressive demonstration featuring the Embraer 195AR (ZS-YDE). Piloted by the skilled duo of Jaco Henning and Dean Nicholas, this performance stood out as one of the most outstanding displays of a commercial airliner at an airshow. The aircraft, adorned in a striking black livery to promote Airlink’s Skybucks program, executed a series of thrilling low flypasts that elicited thunderous applause and enthusiastic cheers from the captivated crowd.

L-39C Jet Trainer

The sleek and high-performance L-39C jet trainer from Czechoslovakia graced the skies once again, delighting spectators with its impressive capabilities.

Andrew Blackwood-Murray’s Aerial Artistry

Andrew Blackwood-Murray took to the skies in his Extra 300, delivering a mesmerizing aerobatic routine that left the crowd in awe.

Beech 18 Graceful Performance

The Beech 18 (ZS-OIJ) from Beech Aircraft Corporation, skillfully flown by Flippie Vermeulen and his son Ben, showcased the aircraft’s graceful and agile flight characteristics.

Marksmen Aerobatic Team Thrills

The Marksmen Aerobatic Team returned to the stage, wowing the audience with their spectacular and precise maneuvers.

South African Air Force’s BK117 Display

The South African Air Force demonstrated the remarkable capabilities of the BK117, piloted by Major Corrie “Serrano” Oberholzer and Flight Sergeant Coert Steynberg, in a high-energy display that left the crowd spellbound.

The Flying Lions’ Harvard Extravaganza

The Flying Lions, featuring Scully Levin, Arnie Meneghelli, Ellis Levin, and Sean Thackwray, took to the skies in their Harvard aircraft, delivering a graceful and thrilling aerobatic display.

Durban Skydive Centre Parachute Demonstration

Adding another dimension of excitement, the Durban Skydivers Center staged another thrilling parachute demonstration. Performers Roy Steemson, Michael Nyman, Alan Hosmer (in the Capital Sounds canopy), and Dave Ladell descended gracefully from the skies, their ascent provided by none other than the Gazelle helicopter.

Raptors Display Team’s Agile Maneuvers

The Raptors Display Team returned with their Van’s RV-7 aircraft (ZU-FLV and ZU-EYP), led by the expert hand of Trevor Warner, a B737 training captain with FlySafair. The second aircraft was skillfully flown by Ryan Beeton. Their agile aircraft executed a series of exhilarating aerobatic maneuvers that held the audience in rapt attention.

Patrick Davidson’s Heart-Pounding Performance

Red Bull-sponsored Patrick Davidson once again took center stage, piloting the Game Composites GB1 Gamebird. With the same high-energy enthusiasm, he continued to thrill the crowd with his breathtaking aerobatic maneuvers, leaving spectators both thrilled and amazed. Patrick’s skills at handling the aircraft were on full display, with maneuvers so dizzying that they left onlookers in awe of his precision and control.

The Flying Lions’ Grand Finale

As the sun began to set, the Flying Lions graced the skies with their signature “flat” display sequence, famously known as the sunset display. The team, comprising Scully Levin, Arnie Meneghelli, Ellis Levin, and Sean Thackwray, maneuvered their Harvards with precision and flair, reminding everyone of the golden era of aviation.

Engaging Commentary and Gratitude

Throughout the event, excellent and entertaining commentary was provided by Brian Emmenis and his team from Capital Sounds, enhancing the spectator experience.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to the organizers, Smoke on Go, and the dedicated teams that ensured the safety and well-being of all attendees. This included Durban Fire, Durban Metro, Durban SAPS, NSRI, SAP Divers, SAP Rescue, Netcare 911, SA Navy Divers, SAAF, Creative Media, Capital Sounds, ATNS, ASSA, IPS Security Company, all the Marshalls, and of course the Vendors for keeping everyone supplied with food and refreshments.

With this triumphant return, the Virginia Airshow in Durban is poised to become a staple in the airshow circuit once again, promising even greater spectacles in the years to come. Aviation enthusiasts and the local community alike eagerly await the next thrilling edition of this spectacular event.

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