Eight time Strongman Champion pulls SAAF Museum C-160

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“I am relieved that I did it, actually,” said Ettiene Smit, a 40 year old car sales manager at Volvo in Hatfield and Strongman champion, who pulled a 30 ton C-160 transport aircraft at the Swartkop Air Force Base not once but twice.

Smit has been competing in Strongman competitions for the last 14 years. Although he has eight championship titles under his belt and has pulled cars, planes and trains, he admitted that he was concerned about successfully managing his latest stunt. “I was a little bit worried. There was lot at stake. Usually in competitions if I lose, I only let myself down so I needed to make this happen.” He said the most challenging thing he had ever pulled before the C-160 was a steam locomotive, last year, but he was still nervous about pulling the South African Air Force Museum’s retired C-160.

Smit was challenged by the SAAF Museum and newly launched Polish energy drink XL to pull the C-160 Transall on 12 June.

Smit moved the huge 30 ton aircraft forward using a harness and pulling on a rope to stabilise himself. After successfully completing the performance the first time, he repeated the stunt, but without the rope. He managed to pull the C-160 a total distance of 28 metres.

Lt Col Mike O’Connor, Officer Commanding the South African Air Force Museum, said: “This has never been attempted before. Ettiene requested permission to pull the aircraft. To prove how heavy it was, it took my crew of 12 people to get it to move slightly.”
“It takes consistency to maintain this kind of strength,” Smit said. He maintains his weight with a daily 6 meal regiment. He wakes each day to a cup of coffee and rusks followed by two slices of toast and four eggs. He snacks on sandwiches, fruit and yogurt. For lunch he has meals stacked with protein and carbohydrates and he ends his day with a heavy dinner.

Smit said that all his workouts are heavy. He trains four to six times a week. He also does four gym sessions and two sports specific training called Strongman sessions.