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Review of the 2018 Airshow Season

As we reach the end of the year it seemed like a great time to take a journey through the 2018 Airshow season for those of you who missed some of the shows.

Ermelo Airshow-7 April 2018

The 2018 Airshow circuit was kicked off in grand style by the Ermelo Aeronautical Society with a wonderful show, Ermelo last hosted an airshow in 2011 and they more than made up for lost time putting together a top-notch spectacle and setting a mean pace for other organisers to follow. Having SAAF participation at a “small town” airshow is always great to see.

SAAF Museum Airshow-5 May 2018

From Ermelo the SA Airshow machine moved to Swartkop AFB for the annual SAAF Museum Airshow. The SAAF Museum has over the last few years managed to deliver a very enthralling show and 2018 was no exception. The jam packed programme kept the large crowd entertained the whole day. The SAAF Museum Airshow always draws a large SAAF contingent and this in-turn pulls large crowds of spectators.

Kishugu Lowveld Airshow-12 May 2018

Nelspruit was the next stop of the circuit for 2018, The Kishugu Lowveld Airshow themed “Rock the Runway” did exactly that. With displays by SA Airlink, the SAAF and all the regulars on the airshow circuit this will go down as one of the best show I have had the privilege of attending in the last few years.

WesBank Botswana International-26 May 2018

After all the local action it was time for the SA Airshow Machine to make the annual pilgrimage across the border to Matsieng Airfield in Botswana. The WesBank Botswana international air show has become a “not to be missed” event for many South African Aviation Enthusiasts. The airshow is incorporated in a very well attended fly-in weekend; the Botswana government really go out of their way to accommodate foreign aviators by setting up a customs point at the remote airfield. The action is up close and personal at Matsieng adding to the appeal of this great show

Total Air Newcastle Airshow-2 June 2018

The next stop on the circuit was Newcastle and this being the only KZN province show people travelled from all over the province to see what they had to offer, I don’t believe anyone was disappointed. One major attraction was the display flown by the Dakota not many airshow can claim to have had a DC3 on the programme.

Race for Rhinos-28 June -1 July

Although not strictly an Airshow no list of this kind would be complete without mentioning “Race for Rhinos” this annual race has become known for its wonderful displays at sunset over Sua Pan. Many of the South African display teams make their way the Makgadikgadi salt pans in Botswana to take part in what was a record breaking aviation festival.

Grand Rand Airshow-19 August 2018

The Grand Rand Airshow was next on the cards; Rand Airport is the home of most of the display teams in South Africa and always promises to be a great show. 2018 kept to tradition wowing the very large crowed with its unique 270° display line that offers views of the display aircraft not normally seen at other airshows. The de Havilland Dragon Rapide display by itself made the show more than worthwhile for avid aviation enthusiasts.

Bethlehem Airshow-25th of August 2018

Bethlehem in the Free State was the next stop for the airshow machine as this was the only show being held in province this year the organising team went all out to make it something special. One of the highlights of the day was the Motorcycle jump over Nigel Hopkins’ Extra 330Sc, this stunt was only performed once before in South Africa by this team and that was at the Adrenaline Show two years ago.

Africa Aerospace and Defence-19-23 September

Finally the day dawned for what was probably the most anticipated airshow of the year Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD). For months before there was speculation on what foreign military hardware would be taking part if the spectacle, disappointingly the Zimbabwe Airforce ended up being the only foreign display in the airshow. The show however was brilliant with the SAAF making a monumental effort to get as many of their fleet as possible to take part in the show. The two ship formation of the locally produced AHRLAC was a massive hit with the record number crowd.

After a shortened but never-the-less a great airshow season we must thank all the organisers, display teams, pilots and above all Airshow South Africa, without these wonderful people we would have no airshows in South Africa.


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