On Sunday 4th September, Gautengers were treated to an aerial extravaganza when Rand Airport hosted their first airshow after a three-year absence.
Images: Rian Bester
Smoke On Go! was there in force placing a display where the public could buy the ‘Smoke On…Go! 2022’ aerobatics showcase book.
Menno Parsons of Master Power Technologies provided his striking tigerstripe coloured Bell UH-1 ‘Huey’ for displays and as the jump ship for the skydivers for the opening of the airshow.
The Puma Flying Lions did a missing man formation for the South African Police Air Wing Pilatus Porter that crashed a few days before the show, unfortunately losing five people. The sound of a radial T-6 Harvard is a must for any airshow and Scully Levin with his team did us all proud trailing smoke through the sky.
For WWII fans, Menno Parsons of Master Power Technologies displayed his beautiful P-51D Mustang.
Another brilliant act was a helicopter duo, joined by Nigel Hopkins in the Iveco sponsored Extra 330SC as he hovered his aircraft just like a helicopter. Alister Brown from NAC and Menno also flew a dual helicopter Bell 407 display.
The ‘Hired Gun Coffee’ Pitts display was led by Scully Levin. Pitts Specials are the norm at any airshow, and the Goodyear Pitts Specials also flew their routine four-ship display.
Around midday, well-known Red Bull pilot and SA Aerobatics champion, Patrick Davidson flew his G1 Gamebird in a spirited display. Patrick came all the way from his hometown of Port Elizabeth to show us why he is considered one of the best.
Grant Timms and Steve Brown flew a two display in yellow De Havilland Tiger Moths. Many pilots flew a variety of aircraft in the show, with Grant and Steve also flying together with Rodney Chinn in three De Havilland Chipmunks. Jason Beamish also flew a Chipmunk in his solo ‘Blast from the Past’ display.
Another crowd pleaser was the Henley Air Bell 230/222 six-ship display, an airshow first for South Africa. Of course, no airshow is complete without our favourites of Nigel Hopkins and Jason Beamish in their Extra 330 and Extra 300 aerobatic aircraft.
Barrie Eels and Elton Bondi also flew competition aerobatics in two Extra 330SCs in a mirror L- display on either end of the crowd lines. Something different and unique. One of the highlights was the Formula A1 car vs helicopter, with the helicopter once again flown by Menno.
The blue and silver L- 39 ZU-IBN was flown by Pierre Gouws to the delight of the jet fans. Backing up the jet field was the first ever Airlink display in an Embraer E190. Pierre also led the Raptors RV Team in a six-ship formation display.
A first for South African Airshows was the rather unique Boeing Stearman and RC Extra 300 display by Ivan van der Schaar and his son Jeandre.
Mr Airshow South Africa. Brian Emmenis of Capital Sounds provided the music and commentary for the show. No airshow is complete without Brian, and his vast knowledge of aviation is appreciated by all.
Air Show South Africa (ASSA) was present, with Rikus Erasmus as airshow director, and Colonel ‘Hose’ Hanekom acting as safety director.
According to Celeste from Rand Airport, overall crowd numbers were down with around 21 000 spectators compared to from previous years numbers, and although the 148 vendors reported less earnings, the show was a great success with some truly unique firsts.
Well done Rand Airport and we look forward to next year.