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Kumbululuka Kwa Bafana – Zambian Children’s Flight 2023

Felix Gosher is an Airline Transport Pilot Licence holder and charter pilot residing in Zambia Lusaka. Felix has been organizing the annual children’s flight for underprivileged children that have never flown in an aircraft before in South Africa, which started at Grand Central Airport in Midrand, South Africa and now taking place at the Magalies gliding club, Magaliesburg.

Five hundred Children who had never flown before now had a chance to leave the ground and feel for themselves what flight feels like over the past weekend at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport which is located in Chongwe District.

Kumbululuka Kwa Bafana – Zambian Children’s Flight 2023 organiser Felix Gosher.

Felix also recently hosted the Elders flight which took a number of Elderly South African citizens for their first flight in an aircraft at Brakpan Airfield in the east rand of Johannesburg. Five hundred Children who had never flown before now had a chance to leave the ground and feel for themselves what flight feels likes!

After a successful Children’s Flight in Zambia last year on the flight line of the Zambia Airforce base in Lusaka. 2023 was surely another triumphant event with together with Belinda Gosher (Felix’s Wife) together with sponsors aircraft and pilots and the Zambia Airforce (ZAF), an event worthwhile seeing kids’ faces of excitement before and after their flight in an aircraft for the first time.

The South African media generously sponsored a flight ticket to attend the event on behalf of Aviation Central. Our flight took us from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on a local flight operator in Zambia, Proflight on a CRJ on a two-hour journey to Zambia Lusaka. The Southern Sun Ridgway Hotel kindly sponsored the South African Media team for two nights of accommodation.

On arrival, we were greeted by Felix and Belinda at the Airforce side of Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. Of course, the day before the event, set up is key, as making sure all is in order for the following day with vendors and helping hands busy with their assigned tasks. Without sponsors, this event would not take place.

We arrived at the airport awaiting the arrival of the children from a number of homes and orphanages through the approval of the Zambia ministry to fly an aircraft and enjoy a day with food and entertainment. The first of the morning’s proceedings started off with the lord’s prayer to kick start a safe and give an assurance that the children would remember endlessly.

The arrival of the Chief of the Zambia Air Force Lieutenant General Colin Barry, with the air force band relaying the Zambia National Anthem, while a Y12 dropped skydivers from the Zambia Airforce. One of the skydiving members also flew the Zambian flag on his return to the ground.

Zambia Air Force (ZAF) Band

Alpha & Bravo Flight was up first with a Proflight Boeing 737-5Y0 and a Zambia Airforce MA60 transport aircraft to take the first load of children for their flight.

ProFlight Boeing 737-500
ZAF Xian MA60


During the speeches, “ZAF Commander, Lieutenant General Colin Barry said the event was important as it was centered around inclusivity, awakening innovation and the pursuit of knowledge among vulnerable children.”

“Let’s challenge everyone to think bigger and reach higher. Through these activities we are giving the underprivileged children a glimpse of the future that is full of possibilities,” Lieutenant General Barry said.

This was followed by Charlie’s flight with more Zambia Airforce assets including a Beechcraft 1900, Cessna 208B Caravan, Y12, MA60, and a civilian King Air and a lonesome Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander.

It was then the start of the flying festivities with the Zambia Airforce Golden Eagles. The Hongdu JL-8 (K8) display team is made up of five Karakorum-8. This was a first for Aviation Central to see this jet display team in action and all we could say is WOW…

Zambia Airforce Golden Eagles Karakorum-8s
ZAF Golden Eagles K8 solo display

On the completion of the K8s, South African airshow display pilot Jason Beamish took to the air with his high-energy aerobatic display in his Extra 330LX. This was the first civilian aerobatic display in 50 years of independence. Jason was surely a favorite of the day with the crowd as well as the Zambia air force pilots.

Jason Beamish in the Extra 330The first civilian aerobatic display in 50 years of independence.

On completion, it was the first of the smaller aircraft to take to the air with a combination of the Zambia Airforce. Including Cessna 206s, Beechcraft Barons, Cessna C185s, Cessna C210s, and Piper Cherokee just to name a few. The Zambia Airforce L15s were then next to do a few low-level fly-past. Being at an International airport, onlookers are able to see a number of airlines arriving, an added treat being so close to the runway on the flight line at ZAF Lusaka Airforce Base.

 Cessna 210C Centurion flown by Richard Jnr Nicholson
ZAF Hongdu JL-10, also known as Hongdu L-15 Falcon
Air Tanzania Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The ZAF hangar that was provided for utilization for the event, had a number of arrangements of seating and tables for the little ones to enjoy their meal and provide an aviation party with DJ Switcher on the turn table. Goodie bags with hats, sunglasses, and snacks were also provided.

After each of the displays, the children were able to meet and greet the display pilots and a boost of encouragement for them to become pilots in the ZAF or in the aviation industry, with that said another successful children’s flight came to an end.

Well done Felix and all that made the 2023 Zambia Children’s Flight takeoff! Thanks to everyone who made it possible to get Aviation Central to this year’s Zambia Children’s Flight.

FLY FEED LOVE INSPIRE

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SAAF Museum Airshow 2023- “Taking off to new frontiers”

The first airshow of the seeing started with a bang at the Mobile Deployment Wing Swartkop (MDW) previously Air force base Swartkop.

The show build at Swartkop is always exciting at military airshows in South Africa. The Wednesday morning with the Gautrain Alouette II race where Aviation Central was kindly invited to be in the Alouette III follow chopper to get air to air shots of the race where we joined News Room Africa. The show also included a youth development program for a number of learners who spent the day considering a career in aviation the Friday before the show.

Also catching all the arrivals of aircraft and seeing them validate surely get the people of Pretoria excited for the show! This years theme for the show was “Taking off to new frontiers” The South African Airforce Museum ,South African air force and a number of civilian teams had a number of aircraft on flying and static displays.

The reason for this airshow is to generate funds to keep the South African Airforce museum flying and static exhibits in order and to look after military aviation history in the country.

The show was big this year with a large program as follows below with Colonel Keith Fryer as air boss and putting together a awesome show with a different variety of aircraft in the mix. Colonel Keith Andrew’s (Retired) was ramp boss with Major Heinrich “Skippie” Scheepers. Taskings of aircraft and over flight clearance were under taken by Captain Ryan Mitton ,Captain Andre Roets and Lieutenant Richard Dixon.

Capital Sounds Brian Emmenis and his team provided excellent commentary on aircraft and aircrew.

The morning show started with the arrival of Paramotors from the near Grasslands airfield with a brief display by helicopter formation fly-pasts by Rob Osner in his Alouette III “Rudi”, Charles Fuller in his Alouette II and Juba Jourbert in the Aerospatiale Gazelle.

The emergency vehicles made up of the ECC with a cavalcade and three helicopter types showing their presence in case of an emergency on the day which was luckily not needed. A 15 Squadron Agusta A109,17 Squadron Oryx and a Netcare Bell 430 helicopter. The flying display started with a lonesome Museum Harvard “7111” flown by Martin Louw. Followed by civilian aerobatic competitor Andrew Blackwood Murray in his Extra 300L.

Grant Timms in Richard Lovetts L29 flew a graceful display with a beautiful paint scheme added to this particular Middelburg based former jet trainer. The Museum Helicopter display of two Alouette IIs, Alouette IIIs and Puma as well as a solo Cessna C185 flown by Colonel Gerrie “Smokey” Pretorius.

Andre van Zyl flew his Magni Gyrocopter Display, one of the best Gyrocopter displays you can see in the world. Ivan and Jeandre van der Schaar flew the father and son team, Boeing Stearman and RC Extra 330 demo. The only of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

15 Squadron “Charlie” Flight brought one of their BK-117 Helicopters to the show flown by display pilot Major Corrie Oberholzer and Flight Sargent Coert Steynberg.85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120 flown by Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter was the first of the fast jet displays of the day. Captain JP “Nitro” Poisat provided commentary during his display.

Steve Brown flew a rare display in the Classic Flying Collection Auster, a display tribute to his late father Gavin Brown. Central Flying School provided a solo Pilatus PC7MKII display flown by Rooivalk pilot Major Ronald Moroole. The Raptor RVs were next flown by Nigel Hopkins, Dion Raath, Ryan Beaton, Trevor Warner and Johan von Solms.

Juba Jourbert flew a Aerospatiale Gazelle display showing off the lines of the aircraft. The hired gun pitts specials were next led by Scullly Levin. Scullly also led the Puma flying lions Harvard’s in their display and during their sunset display before returning to Rand Airport.

The ever favorite 2 Squadron Gripen flown by Musa “Midnite” Mbhokota had the crowds on their feet to see South Africa’s front line fighter. Rodney Chinn, Grant Timms and Steve Brown were up next in the Classic Flying Collection De Haviland Chipmunks.

The SAAF Museum put most of their assets in the air with Combat Search and rescue as well as many formations displays including their Aerospatiale Puma in formation with two Harvard’s. The Cessna C185 with two Alouette IIIs. Team Extra 330 flown by Jason Beamish and Nigel Hopkins flew a high energy aerobatic display. Nigel also led the Goodyear Eagles Pitts Specials.

Menno Parsons flew both his beautifully bright Tiger Huey and the only flying P51D Mustang in Africa. The Tiger Moth Duo flown again by Grant Timms and Steve Brown making up the contingent of aircraft from the Classic Flying Collection based at Springs Airfield.

The Boeing 737-300 flown by Captain Dennis Spence and First Officer Melissa with the compliments of Africa Air Charter. A great sight to see a airliner display at Swartkop once again.

16 Squadron provided a mighty Rooivalk display flown by Major Paul “Raccoon” Kempthorn. With a spectacular flare drop at the end of his show.Midnite flew the last display of the day with the Gripen also ending his spectacular loud show with a flare drop.

A huge well done to Lieutenant Colonel Stefan van Zyl, acting officer commanding of Mobile Deployment Wing Swartkop and his team for making this show happen. Lieutenant Colonel Gaelejwe. Also a word of thanks to many of the sponsors and stakeholders in their effort to the Museum Airshow. The show was also dedicated to the former acting OC of The SAAF Museum Major Ntshangase who unfortunately lost his life a few weeks ago. We look forward to seeing more Museum aircraft coming back online and more static exhibits getting their finishing touches. A word of thanks to Captain Mpama for looking after the media and getting them to the designate photography spots on the day.
Till then, “Keep the up where they belong”!

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Africa Aerospace and Defence 2022

The Africa Aerospace and Defence Exhibition Trade show and Airshow made a welcome return to Air Force Base Waterkloof in the City of Tshwane from 21-25 September 2022. The show hosted three trade days and two airshow days where the public could witness Africa’s biggest airshow.

With the obvious pandemic that we should all be aware of. Africa Aerospace and Defence was not allowed to take place during 2020, as it also formed part of the South African Airforce centenary year.

The first trade show was opened by the minister of defence Thandi Modise. She mentioned

“This eleventh edition of AAD will bring together the largest gathering of aerospace and defence industry decision makers and buyers from around the world, including many from Africa.”

“The defence industry plays a key role in assisting the SANDF to discharge its
constitutional mandate of defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of
South Africa and to secure our nation. By ensuring security and stability, the
SANDF, in turn, helps to create an enabling environment for economic growth
and development. “

” Through our peacekeeping missions, we are similarly contributing to peace, stability, and prosperity on our continent.”

Before we move on the show, the show would not have happened without the Department of Defence, stakeholders and sponsors, the AAD team, and especially the Airboss Colonel Keith Fryer, Colonel Keith Andrews, and Colonel Keith Wilkinson, Airforce Base Waterkloof for putting such a great show together with your team of ramp controllers, ATCs, pilots and ground crew.

As most of the hangar space was used up by local and foreign exhibitors. The apron had a number of static aircraft from both the South African Air Force and the United States Airforce and Civilian aircraft both fixed wing and helicopters.

Capital Sounds and Brian Emmenis proved a kilometer and more of the audio cable to provide commentary to this year’s AAD.
The sound of Mr airshow brings back all the memories of big airshows at Waterkloof during our youth.

The airshow featured a cavalcade of emergency vehicles that were lucky not needed during the duration of the two airshow days.

Hangar 51 provided a flying display from their Aero L29 Delphin flown by Grant Timms, this was Grant’s first L29 display on the highveld. The L39 Albatross was also displayed as part of the civilian jet contingent by Pierre Gouws.

Andrew Blackwood-Murray flew a solo aerobatic display in his Nashua Extra 300L.

Pierre Gouws also flew the first FlySafair Boeing 737-800 display together with SAFAIRs outgoing Lockheed L100-30.
The Raptor RVs were also led by Pierre Gouws as there provided tight formation aerobatics in form of the kit-built aircraft.

The South African Airforce provided a number of assets to this year’s Africa Aerospace and Defence. 2 Squadron had three Gripens with a flying display by Colonel Musa “Midnite” Mbhokota. Six Hawks, a solo display by Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter.

The Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team with a four-ship route with team 84 flying their first display led by new team leader Major Lucky Malloks. A solo display from Central Flying School Langebaanweg by Falcon 5 Major Diaan Grobbelaar. Major Grobbelaar used to be the Agusta A109LUH display pilot before moving on to Central Flying School to become an instructor.

41 Squadron with the “Pointer formation” consisting of four Cesena C208A Caravans flew a diamond formation before breaking off for singleton flypasts during their show.

A skydive drop made up of members from the Pretoria Military Skydiving club and other units in the SANDF used a 44 Squadron Casa 212 “8011” as their jumpship for their skydive drop.

From the rotary assets, we had 15 Squadron Charlie Flight BK117 display flown by Major Corrie Oberholzer with flight engineer Sargent VD van Dalen, together with Major Paul “Raccoon” Kempthorn in the 16 Squadron Rooivalk.

The highlight of any AAD airshow is the mini-war, in which you get to see a number of helicopters, Transport aircraft, Jets, and armored vehicles.

Three Oryx Helicopters, Two Agusta A109s, Two BK117s, One Rooivalk from various helicopter squadrons from across South Africa, Casa 212-300, C130BZ, and four Hawk MK120 made up of the aerial assets in that slot of the program.

The South African Police Airwing also put on a threat-type scenario of a hijacked Cessna Sovereign that got escorted by two 85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120s. Once on the ground SAPS task force and bomb squad members were brought in by SAPS Airwing Airbus H125 and 15 Squadron BK117s helicopters.

The United States Airforce brought two Boeing C17 Globemasters, a KC46 Pegasus Tanker, HC130 Combat King Hercules, and an HH-60 Pavehawk Helicopter. The HC130 and Pavehawk provided a flying display of aerial refueling.

The Airforce of Zimbabwe was present with a Casa 212 and two K8s. The K8 display was flown by display pilots wing commander Lizwe Mahlangu and squadron leader Norman Taurai Marodza.

The South African Airforce Museum flew most of its flying exhibits, two Alouette IIs, two Alouette IIIs, Aerospatiale Puma, and two Cessna C185s, and a solo display included. Solo Aerobatics from Harvard “Nelson” 7111 display by Martin “Marlow” Louw. A Kudu was also a jump ship for a few Pretoria Military Skydive members.

Juba Joubert flew an Alouette II display and Andre van Zyl flew the Magni Gyrocopter display. Henley Air also displayed two of their Bell 222s.

Menno Parsons was welcomed back at AAD with the only flying type of its kind on African soil the P51D “Mustang Sally”.

High-energy aerobatics were performed by the Iveco Extra 330s flown by Nigel Hopkins and Jason Beamish. The two also flew in the Goodyear Eagles Pitts Specials team joined by Johan von Solms and Trevor Warner.

Ivan and Jeandre van der Schaar performed their first display at AAD with the Classic radial Boeing Stearman and RC Extra aircraft duo or better known as the father and son duo.

Excujet provided a display of their Challenger business jet that was seen flying on Saturday and a brief appearance of a Learjet 45 on Friday’s validations.

The Hired Gun Pitts specials also flew their four Pitts specials on the afternoon slot of the show on Saturday.

Flare drops were probably the highlight for any camera user from 28 Squadron on their Lockheed C130BZ, 85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120, and 16 Squadron Rooivalk during the later part of the program of the show on both days.

The Puma Flying Lions Harvards led by Scully Levin performed a sunset show on both Saturday and Sunday bringing a fittingly spectacular end to AAD 2022.

Well done to everyone involved. We were proud to be the official media partner during the duration of the trade and Airshow and build up to the event
We look forward to the ninth edition of AAD in 2024. Join the #AAD2024 event page by clicking on the banner below!

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