The South African Air Force is hosting an “air show spectacular” at the Swartkop Airfield in Valhalla, Pretoria all day Saturday. The force expects an estimated 30 000 viewers.
The theme of this year’s air show is “90 years on golden wings” a salute to the flying service’s 90th birthday earlier this year. The show will also salute the 75th anniversary of the first flight of the C47 Dakota, in service ith the SAAF since 1943, the 60th birthday of the De Havilland Vampire T55, he SAAF’s first jet trainer, and, perhaps, the 50th birthday of the Sud Aviation Alouette helicopter. In adition, 2010 marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in August and September 1940 and the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950.
“This is a historical year and the Museum will show people what they want to see and also educate youngsters on aviation” says Lt Col Willie Nel at a recent media briefing. The aim is to demonstrate the heritage of the SAAF and to raise money for the service and maintenance of the SAAF Museum’s aircraft, Nel added.
The event promises a day full of entertainment with exhibitions, flying displays, food and beer gardens. The SAAF also promises security and medical assistance throughout the day that starts at 7am and will end at approximately 6pm.
The air display will include a Saab Gripen advanced light fighter aircraft from 2 Squadron (Sqn), a BAE Systems Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighter trainer from 85 Combat Flying School, a Denel M1 Oryx medium utility helicopter, a Lockhead Martin C130BZ Hercules and three Cessna C208 Caravan from 41 Sqn. The Silver Falcons air display team from the Central Flying School in Langebaanweg will put their Pilatus Pc7 MkII Astra trainers throuh their paces.
The SAAF Museum will show the Aerospatiale Puma, Aerospatiale Alouette II and III helicopters as well the Atlas CM4 Kudu, a Vampire, North American Harvard, C47 Dakota and Piaggio P166 Albatros aircraft. Civilian-flown aircraft will include more Harvards, an Aermacchi Impala MkI fighter jet, a Hawker Hunter, Pitt Specials, a DE Haviland DH82A Tiger Moth and motorised para gliders.
Nel says the participation of the aircraft will be relative to serviceability and other circumstances but SAAF Museum’s hangars and display halls will also be open for the public to view all day.