Tag Archives: Beech 18

Spectacular Skies: SAAF Museum Airshow 2024 Thrills and Amazes!

The recent SAAF Museum Airshow 2024 proved to be an exceptional event, showcasing a seamless blend of meticulous organization, diverse and outstanding displays, and continuous entertainment, making it one of the finest airshows the museum has ever presented.

People lined up from very early in the morning, and as they entered the gates at the Mobile Deployment Wing Swartkop (Old Air Force Base Swartkop), they were greeted by an early morning sky dotted with powered paragliders, with keen aviation enthusiast’s spotting an Ilyushin IL-76 taking off from Waterkloof Airforce Base in the background.

The day commenced with the traditional parade of emergency services down the main taxiway, setting the stage for the event. Brigadier General Donavan Chetty officially welcomed the Chief of the Air Force, Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo. Following a scripture reading and prayer, Lt. Gen. Mbambo emphasized the need for the SAAF to embrace the “Space Age.” His speech was complemented by a dramatic skydiving display from the Police Task Force, who landed skillfully behind the podium, adding to the moment.

The airshow officially opened with a thrilling display by the SAAF Museum. A SAAF Museum Bosbok, Cessna C185, and two Harvards crossing over a Puma, two Alouette IIIs, and an Alouette II, showcased exceptional piloting skills, setting a high standard for the rest of the event.

The Harvards, piloted by Martin “Marlow” Louw and Daan “Spur” Conradie, continued with an impressive display.

This was followed by Lieutenant Colonel Scott “Prowler” Logie in the BAE Hawk Mk.120 from 85 Combat Flying School, who delivered a stunning performance demonstrating the jet’s capabilities.

Andre van Zyl in his Magni M16C Gyro and Johann “Juba” Joubert in a privately-owned Alouette III displayed their remarkable skills, further adding to the day’s highlights.

Andrew Blackwood-Murray’s high-energy performance in his Nashua-sponsored Extra 300LP captivated the audience.

A standout was the unusual three-ship formation of two Alouette IIIs flanking a Cessna 185 by the SAAF Museum, demonstrating a remarkable blend of rotor and fixed-wing aircraft in formation flight.

The solo display by Major Morolong in the Silver Falcons Pilatus PC-7 and the agility of the Agusta A-109 from 17 Squadron at AFB Swartkops highlighted the SAAF’s versatile fleet.

The Classic Flying Collection’s de Havilland DH82 Tiger Moths, flown by Grant Timms and Ryan Briggs, delivered a graceful formation display, celebrating SAAF’s rich history.

The SAAF Museum’s dynamic formation of two Harvards and a Puma, the North American Navions’ display by Mike George and Reyno Coetzer, and Tristan Eeles’ high-energy aerobatics in the Extra 330SC were all crowd favorites.

The Hired Gun Pitts Specials, piloted by Ellis Levin, Arnie Meneghelli, and Sean Thackwray, showcased exceptional aerobatics and formation flying. Captain Flippie Vermeulen’s Beechcraft Model 18 display brought nostalgia from the golden age of flying

The “Mini War” display was a dramatic re-enactment of SAAF and SAPS capabilities, including a simulated cargo drop, enemy engagement, and rescue operations, all narrated by Capt Jacques de Vries, Capt Richard “Omega” Dixon, and Capt Jean-Pierre “Nitro” Poisat.

The scenario commenced with a SAAF Casa 212 executing a vital cargo drop, only to face hostile fire from enemy forces that brought down the aircraft. Swiftly, an Agusta A-109 was deployed as a strategic coordination platform, orchestrating the response. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the crew summoned the SAPS Special Task Force to parachute in and support the downed pilot, yet the adversary remained formidable.

In a decisive move, the Hawks were mobilized, unleashing a barrage of cannon fire and strategically placed simulated bombs by the adept SA Army engineers, effectively suppressing the hostile threat. The pivotal moment arrived when a pair of MBB-Kawasaki BK-117s from 15 Squadron Charlie Flight, piloted by the skilled Maj Bertie “Beetle” Fourie with Flight Sgt Letladi Mahlakwana and Maj Ross “Pacer” Cameron with Sgt Carl van Dalen, swooped in to airlift the pilot to safety.

The audience, deeply engaged by the intense and dynamic sequence of events, responded with fervor, their excitement heightened by the resounding explosions that punctuated the display. Such gripping scenarios not only showcase the exceptional skill and coordination of our forces but also captivate and thrill spectators, leaving a lasting impression of the prowess and precision of our armed services.

Following the intense action, the pace eased as a three-ship de Havilland Chipmunk display took to the skies. Piloted by Rodney Chinn, Ryan Briggs, and Grant Timms, these meticulously restored Chipmunks delivered a mesmerizing demonstration of formation flying. The graceful and seamless maneuvers of these vintage aircraft offered a serene contrast, captivating the audience with their elegance and precision.

The SAAF Museum astounded spectators with a display of unparalleled precision and coordination as they executed a breathtaking aerial ballet featuring a Puma and two Alouette III helicopters. The sight of these helicopters operating in such close proximity is a rare spectacle, making the synchronized performance all the more remarkable and captivating. Spectators were treated to a display of skill and mastery rarely seen, leaving them in awe of the pilots’ expertise and the helicopters’ graceful maneuvers.

The South African Air Force has a rich history of active participation in numerous conflicts, including the Korean War, during which SAAF 2 Squadron famously deployed the North American P51 in combat. Menno Parsons paid homage to this historic period with a captivating display of his P-51 “Mustang Sally”. Despite never having seen combat, this iconic aircraft, which celebrates its 80th anniversary later this year, gained fame for its role in the movie “Patton” and its participation in the prestigious Reno Air Races during the early 1980s.

Next up, Paramount’s Mwari showcased the ongoing spirit of innovation within the South African aviation industry. This two-seat, tandem cockpit aircraft features a high-wing design and twin-boom configuration, hinting at its considerable potential for the future. The aircraft was expertly maneuvered, demonstrating its impressive agility and versatility to the enthralled crowd.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) delivered an impressive showcase of their response capabilities. A Pilatus PC-6 Porter executed a flawless drop of three Special Task Force members, who executed pinpoint accurate landings amidst the smoke and action on the ground. They were then skillfully picked up by Tillanie Neethling, expertly piloting one of the brand new Airbus H125 Squirrel Helicopters. The thrilling display, featuring task force members hanging onto the side of the helicopter as it weaved through smoke and stun grenades, was undoubtedly a crowd pleaser!

The following display, featuring two SAAF MBB BK-117 helicopters from 15 Squadron Charlie Flight, left the crowd in awe. Piloted by Maj Corrie “Serrano” Oberholzer with Maj Bertie “Beetle” Fourie, and Lt Col Jared “Gizmo” Oliver with Sgt Carl van Dalen, their performance was nothing short of unforgettable. From their synchronized spiral climb and daring vertical handstands to maneuvers that seemed to defy gravity, the skill and precision required to execute such maneuvers are truly remarkable. A commendable performance by 15 Squadron Charlie Flight!

Nigel Hopkins and Jason Beamish, supported by their new sponsor Master Power Technologies, elevated the excitement with their performance in the Extra 300s. Their breathtaking maneuvers, incredibly tight formation flying, and high-energy aerobatics thrilled the crowd, showcasing not only the capabilities of these exceptional aerobatic aircraft but also the extraordinary skill of the pilots.

The SAAF Museum’s hoisting demonstration with the Puma, followed by Juba Joubert’s skilled display in the Aerospatiale SA-341 “Gazelle” continued to keep the crowd captivated.

Grant Timms took to the skies in the Aero L-29 Delfín, a Soviet-era trainer, delivering a beautiful and graceful display of this remarkable jet. Owned by Richardt Lovett, the aircraft is adorned with a stunning livery depicting an American Bald Eagle. The striking contrast of this amazing livery against the clear blue skies created a truly breathtaking sight.

The Goodyear Eagles have long been a familiar sight on the South African aviation scene. Piloted by Nigel Hopkins, Jason Beamish, Trevor Warner, and Johan von Solms, they continue to deliver a fast-paced performance that has captured the hearts of the crowd. Their high-energy display, featuring close formations and aerobatics, ensures that the audience is thoroughly entertained from start to finish.

The crowd was treated to the distinctive sound of the Bell Huey UH-1, as Menno Parsons showcased the agility of his Tiger Bell UH-1. With a series of maneuvers, he highlighted the capabilities of this fantastic aircraft. The Huey is renowned for its pivotal role in the Vietnam War, immortalized in numerous movies that captured the iconic sounds and sights of this helicopter.

Next up was the breathtaking formation flying of the RV Raptors team. Pierre Gouws, the team’s founder and former leader, provided commentary, captivating the crowd throughout the display. Led by Nigel Hopkins and accompanied by Dion Raath, Trevor Warner, and Johan von Solms, the team executed an incredible routine of exceptionally close formation flying.

As the sun began its descent, the Puma Energy Flying Lions took to the skies for their sunset display. With several pilots lined up for takeoff before darkness fell, they had to wait on the taxiway, enveloped in the dense smoke from the preceding Harvard display. The Harvards delivered a stunning performance, the gleaming aircraft in the setting sun creating a truly magnificent sight.

Major Morolong continued to impress with his second display in the Silver Falcons Pilatus PC-7 as the sun dipped toward the horizon. The aircraft gleamed in the sunset, enhancing the beauty of the graceful maneuvers and creating a fantastic spectacle for the audience.

As night fell, Brian Emmenis and Captain Charlene “Artemis” Buitenhuis rallied the crowd to gather close for the final display. Three Hawk Mk.120s took off into the twilight, their roaring engines reigniting the crowd’s excitement for the grand finale. The spectators were treated to a mesmerizing display by Lieutenant Colonel Scott “Prowler” Logie, who performed gracefully against the backdrop of the darkening sky, concluding with a spectacular flare display.

Prowler was soon joined by the other two Hawk Mk.120s, forming the “Hawk Formation” of three jets. They executed a dramatic break in front of the crowd, releasing flares as a massive wall of fire illuminated the night sky, bringing the show to a thrilling conclusion.

The SAAF Museum Airshow 2024 was a resounding success, thanks to the efforts of all participants, organizers, and supporting services. Special thanks to Brian Emmenis and Capital Sounds for their engaging commentary and to the SAAF Museum and Mobile Deployment Wing Swartkop for hosting a memorable day. The event showcased the skill, dedication, and excellence of the SAAF, leaving the audience with unforgettable memories.

Please enjoy the photos below, taken throughout the show and show validation days.

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.

COVID Aviation Trips – Rand Airport

By now most of us have been absolutely deprived of aviation. Unfortunately all airshows for 2020 have been either postponed or cancelled. This leaves us with almost no aviation action, or does it?

In the coming weeks, we will be looking at different smaller aviation spots that can help scratch that aviation itch that has been annoying us all during this lockdown.

In the third installment in this series we are looking at yet another smaller airport in Gauteng. Rand Airport is a great spot to feel the wind coming off aircraft and smell the turbine exhaust.

What makes Rand great is the fact that it has more than one great spots. The first of these being the SAA Museum located at the Eastern side of the airport.

The museum has many historic SAA aircraft like 737s, DC-4s and 747s where one can get the opportunity to not only admire them from the outside, but also from within.

At the museum one can also find the Dakotas Pub and Grill. From the restaurant one has a nice view of Runway 29 takeoffs and landings as well as some taxiway action.

The second spot at Rand Airport is another Harvard Cafe. Just like the one at Grand Central, this restaurant offers a nice view of the apron, with great food and a play area for children.

Rand Airport is home to many beautiful aircraft like the Flying Lions, Cows Pitts, Goodyear Eagles, Menno Parsons’ collection and many more.

P51D Mustang
Springbok Classic Beech 18
Cessna 208A Caravan ZS-NKG
SAPS Airwing Airbus H125 ZS-RNR
Boeing Stearman
Bell 222 ZS-HDK
Bell UH-1H Iroquois Serial 11162 ZS-HLZ 

This airport makes for another great outing during these times where aviation seems to be a scarcity. With the SAA Museum and Harvard Cafe one can easily get two unique trips out of this one spot.

2019 Air Show Aircraft attendance list

2019 Air Show Aircraft attendance list

2019 is not a big year for airshows in Southern Africa as some got cancelled as well as the economic situation in Southern Africa not looking positive.
However we will see the Stellenbosch, Mafeking and Maputo air shows which are not regular shows. Regarding the availability of aircraft we have not seen any slowdown with most Pilots and Aircraft eager to get in the sky and wow the crowds. We at Aviation Central are extremely positive and hopeful that we will see more shows and Aircraft in 2020 with both the AERO Club of South Africa and SAAF celebrating their centenary birthdays.
We will try to keep this list updated as best as possible, but please contact us if you feel we missed any aircraft.

Aircraft list 2019

2019 Airshow Aircraft List

Aircraft list 2018

Aircraft list 2018
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial