Silver Falcons 50th anniversary getting ever closer


Silver Falcon number one, Commandant (Colonel) Chris Prins, is no longer alive and sadly, cannot be part of the SA Air Force (SAAF) aerobatic team’s 50th anniversary at AFB Langebaanweg on November 24.

But two other members of the first Falcon team – retired major general Fred du Toit and retired colonel Theuns Prinsloo – Falcons two and three will be in attendance.

Current Falcon 4 in team 81, Major Wendy Badenhorst, said this week attendance for the event over three days at the Western Cape air force base that is home to the Silver Falcons team was “good”.
“Fifty-six Falcons, out of the 106 still alive, will be attending the Saturday function with Friday’s event looking to be around the 200 number. This is because it includes aircrew, ground crew, invited guests and spouses.”

Among the many notables who will be present is retired lieutenant general Roelf Beukes, a former SAAF Chief, who was Falcon 12.

The Prins family will not be forgotten and will be represented by the son, also Chris.

Other names jumping out from the Silver Falcons list include (they are all retired or have left the SAAF and ranks are not given) “Blondie” Celliers, Martin Rutsch, Neil Hamman, Bob King, Peter Cooke, “Speedie” de Wet, Des Barker, Rynier Keet, Giel van den Berg, Mike Weingartz, Clive Turner, Roly Jones, Ollie Holmes, Pierre du Plessis, Geoff Garrett, Peter Ray, Johan Rankin, Etienne Potgieter, Martin Louw, Duncan Melville, Johan du Plessis, Neil Thomas, Barney Fourie, Trompie Nel, John Bayne, David Kleynhans, Frans Vermaak, Nelis Genis, Rudi Mes, Leon Bath, Charl Coetzee, Gerrit le Roux, Jaco Steynberg, Kevin Ogden, Roy Sproul, Jan Agenbach, Rod King, Scott Ternent, Heybrecht van Niekerk, Buti Tsebe, Beau Skarda, Werner Vermaak, Mark Gentles, Shaun Constable and James Wilcox. This is not a complete list and names have been chosen at random. No offence is intended if a specific Falcon’s name is not included.

The reunion will kick off with a display by the current Silver Falcons team – 81 – at AFB Langebaanweg on Friday, November 24 followed by an informal gathering at the officer’s mess on the base – “an opportunity for old friends to catch up”.

The official reunion is set for Saturday in the form of a dinner at the Langebaanweg Country Estate clubhouse. Badenhorst points out Silver Falcons aircrew and invited guests will attend what is planned to be an unforgettable occasion with each guest receiving a special gift to commemorate the half century anniversary.

The reunion ends on Sunday with an informal breakfast at the same venue – another chance for team members to spend time with each other.

The airshow on December 9 at AFB Langebaanweg is the first at the base for 22 years and will feature the complete stock of Silver Falcons displays backed by both military and civilian aircraft displays.