Saturday 22 June 2019 saw the culmination of the South African National Aerobatics Championships at the PC Pelser Airport in Klerksdorp. The organisers saw it fit to combine the last day of the competition with an airshow program. The general public had the rare opportunity of seeing some pilots and machines in action that one would not normally see in the airshow circuit. This made for spectacular viewing!
Added to this was the opportunity for visiting pilots to fly and enjoy the action.
With the competition continuing while the airshow crowd arrived, the competitor apron was likely one of the most valuable parking areas in the whole of South Africa.
The local municipality also ensured the required emergency services were on hand for any eventuality that could occur.
With the competition sequences completed, it was time for the airshow to start under the careful supervision of air-boss for the day Lt. Col Francois Hanekom.
Team Extreme in the form of Nigel Hopkins, Jason Beamish, Mark Hensman and Mark Sampson were first on the schedule with their carefully choreographed high energy display.
Ivan van der Schaar followed in the program with his 1941 Boeing Stearman.
Keeping with vehicles from yesteryear, the Western Transvaal Classic Car club had several carefully restored cars on display.
In other flying displays, the local aeromodelling club demonstrated some very powerful and very agile remote controlled aircraft.
Back to the full size aircraft, the Puma Energy Flying Lions under the leadership of Capt. Scully Levin with Arnie Meneghelli and Sean Thackwray on either wing took to the skies for a display filled with the distinctive Harvard rumble and lots of smoke!
Freestyle sequences were incorporated to give the growing Klerksdorp crowd a taste of what unlimited aerobatics is all about.
The Raptors aerobatic team also made an appearance at the airshow. The capabilities of this team and their aircraft never fail to impress!
A very unique aircraft made a visit to the show, a jet powered glider. It was incredible to see how its wings flexed as it cut through the air. It had the entire crowd completely enthralled!
Menno Parsons conducted three displays during the airshow, the first was with the well known and loved P51 Mustang, Mustang Sally. His second display was in his PC12 which demonstrated the wide flight envelope of this versatile aircraft.
Through the day Henley Air from Rand Airport operated a helicopter in an adjacent car park in order for the general public to obtain an aerial view of the immediate surroundings of the airport.
Capt. Dennis Spence brought the Goodyear Eagles to the airshow to display the only Pitts special formation display for the day.
Andrew Blackwood-Murray also performed a solo aerobatics routine in his Extra 300. Its metallic blue paintwork glinted in the late winter afternoon sunshine.
At the end of the day the results of the SA National Aerobatics Championships were announced:
Freestyle Overall Results:
1. Nigel Hopkins
2. Barrie Eeles
1. Eugene du Preez
2. Gary Glasson
3. Mark Sampson
1. Nigel Hopkins
2. Patrick Davidson
3. Barrie Eeles
1. Steve Brown
2. Glen Warden
3. Jason Beamish
1. Chris Joubert
2. Johan von Solms
3. Machiel du Plessis
The airshow and the aerobatics championships combined into one event certainly was an excellent initiative! We will be back next year!
Some of the participants: