Falcons to fly at Rand

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The SA Air Force’s (SAAF) crack aerobatics team – the Silver Falcons – will take to the skies for only their second public display of the year on Saturday at the Rand Airshow.

Their only other appearance was in May at the SAAF Museum airshow.

The team said in a statement on their website earlier this year they had been informed by their superiors there would be no participation in airshows for the current financial year. This decision was made in the light of budget constraints facing not only the airborne arm of the SA National Defence Force, but its other arms of service as well.

There has, as yet, been no official confirmation of the Falcons’ presence at Rand Airport on Saturday but aviation chatrooms are humming.

Team leader Major Beau Skarda (callsign “Dusky) responded on one site, writing: “I don’t think it matters how or why, we are just glad to be back doing what we are passionate about doing – promoting the SAAF and uplifting the public image”.

This will be the first time Skarda leads Silver Falcons team 73 following the resignation of Major Roy Sproul (callsign “Cougar”).

The Silver Falcons officially came into being on November 22, 1967 as successors to the Bumbling Bees, the SAAF’s first aerobatic team that first flew De Havilland Vampires in 1953. This team was temporarily disbanded in 1958 and replaced in 1966 by the then newly acquired SAAF jet trainer the MB-326 Impala Mk 1.

The first Silver Falcons display in the Pilatus PC-7 Mk 11 was flown by Team 52 led by Lieutenant Colonel Dave Knoesen in October 1999.

Flying is scheduled to start at 10.30 am on Sunday at Rand Airport.