Tag Archives: Flying Lions

Flying Lions Charity Day – 17 Nov ’19

This was the 18th anniversary of the annual Flying Lions Charity Day, which happens mid-November. The Puma Flying Lions Aerobatic Team treated orphans to flights in Harvards, lunch at the Harvard Café, awesome goodie bags and a whole lot more to lift their spirits during the festive season. This year, over 60 children from Nkosi’s Haven, iKhaya da Luz Children’s Home and Children of the Dawn experienced a once in a lifetime flight.  Puma Energy was the major sponsor of the day, with other brands contributing gifts, such as Mango Airlines who provided caps and pens. The day ended on a cheery note as Father Christmas made an appearance at the Christmas party that was held after all the flights. Santa handed over all the gifts to the children. The Children were also treated to an all-time favourite Hamburgers and chips with soda drinks.
Aircraft at Rand Airport

Aircraft used
Cessna 140,  Cessna 210, Beechcraft Baron,  2 x Pitts Special from the Cows Aerobatic Team, 3 x Harvards from the Flying Lions

To witness events like this is extremely heart-warming and we at Aviation Central witness few of these events yearly!
Well-done to Puma Energy, Flying Lions, Cows Aerobatic Team, Andrew Blackwood-Murray who also joined the team and provided flips in a Cessna.

Pilots for the day :

Arnie Meneghelli

Andrew Blackwood-Murray

Rodney Chinn

Sean Thackwray

Hayden Tunmer

Sally Bates Levin

Mark Fleck

Dylan van der Merwe

Ground Crew for the day :

Chloe Spolander

Aubyn-Shaye Paul

Brad Wood

Keagan Foley

Margo Venter

Rozz

William

Retania Mahabeer

Lee Naidoo

Click to enlarge photos below

10 Years – Aviation Central 2009 to 2019

Aviation Central celebrates 10 Years

10 Years Long

Adrenaline Show

Adrenaline Show – Wonderboom National Airport

Aviation Central was founded in September 2009, just days before the 2009 Swartkop Airshow.

The drive behind the team that makes up Aviation Central, the time and effort spent in taking photographs, traveling across multiple countries to report on events, is all about the love and passion that the team has for aviation.

We have managed to see and witness some incredible moments in aviation in Southern Africa, and even witnessed some incidents we wouldn’t want to see again.

From the ups and the downs of regional air shows, to the fantastic Africa Aerospace and Defence show we eagerly attend every second year,

Race for Rhinos at Sua Pan in Botswana, The Botswana International Airshow and other neighbouring countries airshows around Southern Africa.

Gaborone International Airshow 2017

To flying in some exotic aircraft with friends we have made in the industry, to all the people behind the airshow scenes and fans we have met along the way.

We can’t thank you, all our fans and supporters, enough for all the positive feedback we have received on all our social media sites and our webpage, which was introduced in 2017.

Our team has all visited shows in their youth, but it started at the Wings N’ Wheels Airshow that was held at Airforce Base Swartkop in 2009, where we got to see a number of fighter aircraft display including

The SAAF Museums Mirage IIICZ ‘Black Widow’ and Aerosud Mirage F1AZ. To see those aircraft in formation at the end of the day, will stay in our memories for years to come.

It was also an opportunity to see the New Gripen and Hawk Fighter jets display as they were put through their paces for the Pretoria crowds for the first time.

Aviation Central’s mission is to bring as much information to the public about upcoming airshows and aviation related events that take place in Southern Africa.

We get messages from all over the world when it comes to airshows and people want to know more about the event before attending.

As a non-profit organisation, our purpose is not to make money, but rather to bring the joy of aviation pictures and stories to the public to their mobile phones, PCs and now even on YouTube. We will now be

posting aviation videos from airshow MOs and events so you can also witness the sights and sounds of the magnificent aircraft.

We look forward to continue providing everyone with up to date news on all aviation events in Southern Africa, for many, many years to come.

Aviation Central Timeline

  1. Formed 13 September 2009 by Elan Hoffman
  2. June 2011, Flippie van Emmenis joined as a Follower to Aviation Central
  3. March 2012 Flippie van Emmenis was granted admin right to help run Aviation Central
  4. Sep 2012 John James joined Team Aviation Central, John is currently inactive.
  5. Dec 2013 Aviation Central had it 1st 1000 likes
  6. Dec 2013 Lettie van Emmenis  Joined Aviation Central  (Admin) 
  7. March 2014 Trevor Viljoen Joined Aviation Central
  8. May 2015 Jarryd Sinovich joined Aviation Central, Jarryd has become one of the most active members of the team.
  9. Feb 2016 Aviation Central passed all other Aviation Media related pages with followers on Facebook
  10. September 2018 Alan Richert joined Aviation Central
  11. March 2019 Niel Swart Joined Aviation CentralJuly 2019 Aviation Central reached the 30 000 likes mark on Facebook

The Team

Team AC AAD2018

Team Aviation Central AAD2018

Elan Hoffman
I love flying. I love watching the aeries soar, the smell of jet fuel in the morning, the feel of the throttle in my hand.

I remember the internet boom and wanting to catch into that. Long ago, in a land down under, I built a website that could connect flyers, enthusiasts, aviation businesses. I left that land back home to South Africa and started that idea again.

And then Facebook happened and with it came a fast moving need that I could not manage on my own.

Fortune brought a good man to Aviation Central who had assembled a great team. They have taken Aviation Central to heights I only dreamed of. Their photographic prowess on display, their service given to this idea now showing in an Aviation Central Calendar on as many digital channels I know.

May an idea taken from humble beginnings keep on ascending!

Alan Richert

Since as a young lad watching Vampire’s, Hawker Hunter’s and Alouette III’s of the then Rhodesian Air Force flying over Lake Kyle returning from their missions, I have always been fascinated by aircraft.

However, it was only in the 1990’s that I got to experience air shows, and then trying to photograph them with my trusty old 35mm film point and shoot automatic camera! It was around 2012 I decided to do something about my interest in taking photographs, got myself a proper DSLR and dived head first into the world of photography. It was a natural progression to then bring the two passions together.

With a stressful day job in the Information Technology world, the relief of getting out and doing photography is very rewarding and helps keep me focused.

My passion is aviation photography, but I do enjoy shooting most types of action sports. To keep sane and when I want some me time, I indulge in a bit of landscape photography.

Having joined the Aviation Central team late 2018 I am still learning the ropes of all the behind-the-scenes activities, but I thoroughly enjoy the privilege of being able to share with you my photographs of these magnificent flying machines.

Niel Swart

Niel has been a member of Aviation Central since March 2019. He is based in the Cape but travels to events when and where possible and has actively been taking photos since 2007.
Niel has covered events like AAD and air shows at Swartkops, Stellenbosch and Rand. Some of his other work cover the Coca Cola World Cup B737 visiting South Africa as well as the first landings of the three British Airways reto B747’s.
He also has a fond love for trains, both big and small. His fondest memory is of chasing a train in a 1953 Chipmunk as a passenger by taking air to ground photos with the cockpit filling with the amazing smell of burning coal while banking and experiencing the sensation of flying.

Jarryd Sinovich

From the day my father brought home a toy 747 from his business trip to Cape Town,i have been devoted to aviation in South Africa. I attend my first ever airshow at the tender age of 3 that being DEXSA that was held at Airforce Base Waterkloof in 1998.To this day I remember sitting in the then Shurlock  Sponsored Pitts Special Aerobatic aircraft and the R=roar of thundering jets from above as my ears took a beating. I was hooked!

As the years went on I attend airshows all over the country from Cape Town to Polokwane, but one of my favourite shows I attended was the only and lets hope not the last fighter meet at Airforce Base Makhado in the Limpopo province. It was where I got to see a number of fighter jets fly as well as hear the then cheetah fighter jet break the sound barrier. I also got to witness Ivan “Viking” Pentz display the new Hawk Mk120 for the first time.

Since then I got my PPL in 2013 and continue to travel and enjoy the South African Airshow circuit. I look forward to a big celebration in 2020 with the South African Airforce 100th anniversary  and the Aero Clubs 100th too.

Flippie van Emmenis

Flippie Van Emmenis

Aviation Central’s Flippie Van Emmenis receiving an Honorary Membership Certificate from Eagle Air

I use to be the guy attending air shows sitting on my camping chair form the start of the show until the end of the show, without moving from myspot even if it caused dehydration as I did not want to miss a thing. At first I did not own a camera, nor did I ever consider getting one as it was about my love for air shows, the aircraft, the fuel and smell from the vendors all while listening to Brian doing commentary.  Facebook started to gain popularity in 2009 and in order to find out more about upcoming air shows, I started following aviation pages to.

I joined Aviation Central as a normal follower which had about 140 likes at that stage. Soon afterward following, I started commenting and asking many questions. Elan Hoffman, the creator of Aviation Central, asked me if I would like to help him with the admin the page. This totally caught me off guard as I never expected myself to be doing something like this. I thought that my writing skills were not up to standard for this but this will not stop me! About one year later the page had grown to over 1300 likes. Elan phoned me and offered me to take over the ownership of the page, once again shocked, but I accepted. So yes, I never planned something like this let alone dreamt about it. Now, my love for air shows has also grown into a passion that my wife and I as well as the rest of my team can share with all air show lovers all over Southern Africa and abroad.

Trevor Viljoen

My passion for Aviation started as a young boy going to the Virginia Airshows and from there it was just aviation that was in my head and all I could think about and still up to today, Flippie ( Boss Man) and I got to meet each other for the first time in 2014 after being chatting to each other and sharing our passion and love for Aviation on Facebook for sometime. My first post for Aviation Central was the first Sky GO held at North Beach in Durban and from then it has been one Fantastic ride with this team!

To be apart of this team is something that I never ever thought would happen but when Flippie asked me to join the Team I was not sure if i was good enough to be apart of Aviation Central but just took it by the horns and said yes for the love of Aviation and I have never looked back, it’s hard work but it’s an Honour and I am truly greatful and blessed to have been given the opportunity to share my passion for Aviation!

Lettie van Emmenis (Admin)
Since I met Flippie he took me to the first Air show. I saw the Vampire flying and the Silver Falcons I could not wait for the next airshow just to see them flying again. My love for Aviation was triggered by Flippie and I enjoy it a lot.

Thank you!

We would also like to Thank all the Guys and Gals that helped us with phots and stories over the last ten years, below is a list of Some of them!
Dries Beetge, Pieter Cronje, Ryno Albrecht, Koos Smit, Andre Nel, Andre Venter, Michael Combrink, Mark Mansfield, Annette Visage Nel, Russell Dixon-Paver, Ben van der Walt, Bennie Henning, Justin de Reuck, Brent Best, Ruan Du Rand, Dian Townsend and Charmaine Oliver.

We Would also like to send out a BIG thank you to Mr Brian Emmenis form Capital Sounds that was always willing to guide us and advise were we can improve, Brian, Thank you and please continue with your valuable input.

Mark Mansfield, Your guidance and Support to the Team is also very much appreciated, You opened many doors to Team Aviation Central and always supported us!

Thank you to all our Fans and Followers out there. To Our Critics, Thank you for showing us where we can Improve

Some Birthday Messages

Air Show South Africa – ASSA

Many happy returns to all our friends at Aviation Central on their 10th anniversary – Congratulations on the huge success and we look forward to continuing relationship for another 10 years at least

Trevor Cohen

Congratulations Aviation Central on achieving your first 10 years. You guys have provided the greater flying community with awesome up to date info pertaining to flying and flying events. Flippie you have guided this ship expertly and you should be proud of your achievement. Keep up the good work and loads of respect.

DJA Aviation

DJA uses Aviation Central to ensure that it stays up to date with all industry events and happenings.

DJA applauds Aviation Central on the availability and accuracy of information on their platform.

Simone Helen Stoop Lekker FM

Happy 10th birthday Aviation Central. This community has given me a platform to get updates about airshows, aviation news and to be part of a community that share my love for avaition. Thank you for your hard work and sharing your passion with all of us. Here is to another 100years of Aviation Central

Puma Energy – Flying Lions

Congratulations to Aviation Central on a decade of authentic aerobatic news. Although I have not worked with Flippie van Emmenis and his flaring team for the longest time, I am truly impressed by their dedication to the flying scene. Self-funding excursions to capture the greatest airborne photographs and creating emotional stories about our beloved pilots http://bit.ly/ArniesLoveStory. Aviation Central is our loyal Airshow support, without them, fans wouldn’t know about Airshows happening across our African skies. We are sincerely grateful to the Aviation Central team for collaborating on events to ensure we all experience the love for flying with the Puma Energy Flying Lions! We continue to praise you for your amazing work and together we bring you the roaring action from above.

Brian Emmenis Capital Sounds

What started out as a dream has now become an essential part of our everyday life. Congratulations FLIPPIE, you and your team are doing sterling work to promote aviation in South Africa. We at Capital Sounds are proud to be associated with your on-line forum.

Omphile Mutloane, Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team Leader

In an ocean of negativity, AC is a glimpse of what we can be in the professional world of aviation in SA, their professional approach to all that involves the saaf ,GA and corporate is highly appreciated! Carefully over the years you guys chose to highlight and promote the saaf and the Silver Falcons aerobatic team to the general public Cheers 🥂 to the next 10 years . Thank you so much for y’all professionalism.

Elvis Manene Capital Sounds

Well am proud of Aviation Central as the online magazine, they keep us updated with what’s happening in the aviation circle and they always accurate with the news they give us, one can rest assured when reading the news you guys give to the people that those news a correct as you get your story straight you don’t just head the bush, as for me am over the moon the be associated with Aviation Central.

Justin du Reuck

Wishing Flippie and the team at Aviation Central a very happy 10 year anniversary. Love what you guys do for aviation in SA. Keep up the good work.

Dian Townsend

Wishing Flippie and the team at Aviation Central a very happy 10 year anniversary. Love what you guys do for aviation in SA. Keep up the good work.

Team AC and Falcons

Team Aviation Central and Silver Falcons – Wonderboom 2016

Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team 82
Wishing Flippie and the team at Aviation Central a very happy 10 year anniversary. Love what you guys do for aviation in SA. Keep up the good work.

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