SAAF Museum to hold air show on May 12


The South African Air Force will be hosting a major air show at Zwartkop Air Force Base on Saturday, which promises to be one of the biggest of the year with around 250 aircraft participating.

At least 45 000 people are expected to attend the show, which will have a wide lineup of aircraft and activities, as well as several ‘surprises’, according to the Officer Commanding of the South African Air Force Museum, Lieutenant Colonel Mike O’ Connor.

He told defenceWeb that “we will have a fantastic air show” that will arguably be the best in South Africa this year, partly due to the uniqueness of the exhibits.

South African Air Force (SAAF) aircraft will include the Gripen, Hawk, Rooivalk, Oryx, C-208 Caravan, C-212, C-47TP, and of course the Silver Falcons aerobatic display team.

This year’s air show theme is “Warbird Centenary” and will feature warbirds from early years to modern South African military machines. Some of the lineup includes an Impala, three Kudu, one L-39, one L-29, two Extra 300s, 70 microlights, a P-51D, eight Yak-52s and one T-2 Buckeye. The 70 microlights and ultralights will perform a mass flypast, after taking off from nearby Waterkloof Air Force Base at around 9:00.

Other aircraft will include three Albatrosses, 13 Alouette IIs, two Alouette IIIs, two Austers, a Bell 47, eight Bosbok, one Cheetah, three Chipmuks, a DC-3, two Gazelles and 14 Harvards, as well as the Museum’s Vampire jet fighter.

Several display teams will be flying during the course of the day, include two Pitts display teams and two Harvard display teams.

Other attractions will include a pyrotechnics display, aircraft flares display (including from the Gripen), a race between a Bentley and a helicopter and a demonstration by the Golden Eagles parachute team.

The SAAF Museum will unveil a spitfire during the course of the morning as part of its fundraising effort for aircraft shelters and aircraft servicing.

The air show will not solely be about aircraft, however, with several other branches of the South African National Defence Force in attendance. There will be an armour formation with static displays and the South African Military Health Service will also be showcasing its capabilities.

In the way of facilities and exhibitions, there will be a beauty pageant, approximately 100 food vendors, 45 exhibitors, two children’s playparks, and a bar facility (with rugby screens).

Several bands will warm up proceedings between 8:30 and 9:30 in the morning, including bands from the South African Police Service, the SA Military Health Service and the Air Force.

With regard to transport, buses will travel from the Centurion Gautrain station directly to Zwartkop.

Gates open at 7:00. Tickets can be bought online at or at R50 for adults, while under 16s get in free.