Blue skies for only airshow in KZN
Beautiful weather and a great atmosphere reigned supreme at the 6 th Annual Newcastle Airshow on Sunday, 4 June.
Take six promised to be an action-packed, edge of your seat show – and it did not disappoint.
The airshow this year also welcomed some VIP’s from the South African Air Force in the form of Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang and chief of operations, Major General Wiseman Mbambo.
The Generals were also joined by 5 500 other guests who flooded in.
Aside from the main stage (the skies above Newcastle), lots was happening on the ground.
According to Managing Director of organisers Champ Marketing, Johan Pieters, the day was tailored for the entire family to enjoy.
“Back by popular demand, the playpark for the young ones was a huge success,” said Pieters.
“A little more than 800 Garde 11 maths and science pupils spent the day being treated like VIP’s under the Denel Ubuntu Aviation programme.”
“They were hosted inside the Ni-Da Hanger where the Civil Aviation Authority, South African Air Force, Denel Aviation and Major General Mbambo took to the stage, hoping to inspire our next great pilots.”
It was a full day of aerial action:
The aerial displays started off with Gary Whitecross doing a glider display while Derek Hopkins flew the Lambada as the tow-plane.The AN2 ZU-FOO then took off alongside the paraglider and skydivers while the Torre Industries Pitts were next with their three ship aerobatic display.
Pierre Gouws, Nigel Hopkins, Trevor Warner and Hayden Tunner piloted the Raptors four ship display giving the crowds their first taste of adrenaline fuelled flying.
Ivan van der Schaar in his KFC branded Pitts was next, while Matthew Zalewski who has flown 4000 hours and 3000 of them on his beloved gyrocopter warmed up.
The Legendary Flying Lions with their newly branded Adrenaline Show T6 Harvards took off after, showing off some of their daring feats.
Nigel Hopkins flew a riveting solo aerobatic display in his Extra 330 SC while the cream of the crop got their engines running.
Team 80 - The Silver Falcons in their Pilatus PC7 Mark 2's flown by Mark Gentles, James Wilcox, Omphile Mutloane and Wendy Badenhorst displayed their premier formation and aerobatic manoeuvres with precision and skill reserved for military trained pilots.
The SAAF C130 Hercules broke the ice and speed when its four huge propellers spun it through some low and slow flying manoeuvres.
Menno Parsons, who never fails to disappoint the crowds, took his legendary Mustang Sally P-51 to high speeds, causing the crowd to go wild and the photographers to shake their fists.
The next display was no only sentimental and special, but also kept true aviation fans glued to their binoculars.
Mike Wyngaard flew up in an Impala owned by Dawid Laas.
“Mike's father was a General in the SAAF and had actually helped assemble this Impala ZU-IMP 479, which was the last of the 20 Impala to be delivered to the SAAF on 3 June 1966,’ said Pieters.
Formation flying was the name of the next game with the L39's ZU-IBN flown by Pierre Gouws and a ZU-ROL flown by Glen Warden.
Neville Ferreira in his Slick 540 took on an AMG Mercedes sponsored by Stucky Motors next.
“The atmosphere was thick with tension, as it is every year when this part of the show comes on,” said Pieters.
Peter Graham, Ramp Controller, waved the flag and the two beasts were off.
“It was a pleasant surprise to see the Mercedes cross over the finish line first while Neville showed off a very slick aerobatic display to the great amusement of everyone down below.”
“We wish to thank all and sundry for their support and for coming out to enjoy this festival of aerial magic,’ said Pieters.
“While the dust settles and the fumes dissipate, the heart-stopping sight of a plane defying gravity with a man in control does not quickly fade.
“With that said, come on down to the Newcastle Airshow next year. The date has been booked. See you on 3 June 2017!”