Silver Falcons 50th promises to be an anniversary of note


The “cockpit ambassadors” of the SA Air Force – the Silver Falcons – will this year mark the 50th anniversary of the aerobatic team with a reunion and airshow at AFB Langebaanweg, the team’s home base.

Planning has been done down to such detail that the 50th anniversary reunion will take place on November 24 – the actual day the Falcons turn 50, Major Wendy Badenhorst, Falcon 4 in Team 81, said.

The airshow will be staged at the Western Cape base on December 9 and will serve as a further reminder of the contribution made by the Silver Falcons to military aviation in South Africa.
“The reunion will be a closed function with only past and present Silver Falcons as well as invited guests present,” Badenhorst said adding “invited guests will include SA Air Force dignitaries as well as representatives of the team’s primary sponsor, National Airways Corporation (NAC)”.
“These reunions are fantastic events as they bring together people, who despite possibly never having met before, share a unique and distinguished connection – having flown formation aerobatics in a Silver Falcons aerobatic display team. Only members who have had this honour will understand the significance of this brotherhood, forged through many hours of briefings, practices and displays and many days of deployments spent together.”

At present the programme for the reunion includes a display by the current Silver Falcons, team 81, at AFB Langebaanweg for all past team members, including ground crew, and their spouses on Friday, November 24. This will be followed by an informal gathering at the Langebaanweg officers’ mess – “an opportunity for many old friends to catch up”.

The following day sees the official reunion 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, planned for December 9 at AFB Langebaanweg, will be the first airshow staged at the base for 22 years.
“It will be a significant one with a programme allowing the current team to perform its full range of displays backed by displays by other military and civilian aircraft,” she said.

When not in the air Silver Falcons team 81 will be on hand at their team tent for autographs and photos.
“There will also be exclusive team memorabilia available,” she noted.

The Silver Falcons have had a busy year, performing during Armed Forces Week in Durban in February, at the Navy Festival in Simon’s Town in March, the opening weekend of the Rand Show in April, at Richards Bay on April 27 for Freedom Day and at the AirFest and Zwartkop air shows in East London and Pretoria in May. June was a busy month, with performances at the Lowveld, Newcastle and Airlink Adrenaline air shows in Nelspruit, Newcaslte and Pretoria respectively.

One of the team’s upcoming engagements is The Children’s Flight on September 1 at Grand Central Airport, which will allow 400 orphaned children to experience flying for the first time.