Airshows numbers have been dwindling over the last few years this can be accredited to both the economy and the “new” rules and regulations that have put a massive burden on the organiser of these events and have also disqualified some airfields from hosting airshows as the infrastructure just won’t allow for legal compliance.
Fortunately for all the airshow lovers, that I’m sure are suffering from withdrawal after the long peak summer hiatus, the airshow machine will be starting its journey around Southern Africa on the 22nd of March in Stellenbosch.
Stellenbosch Airshow made a welcome return to the circuit in 2019 after not hosting an airshow for many years, in fact it was such a great airshow that it was adjudged to be the “Airshow of the Year”. It will be interesting to see what they can conjure up to top the previous years show, one advantage they have is that the Stellenbosch area is probably the most picturesque of all airshow venues in South Africa.
After a few weeks break the display teams will make their way up the coast to Uitenhage for the BLG Wings and Wheels Festival on the 4th April. The Wings and Wheels Festival leans very much to the community festival side but the airshow fan will definitely get their fix even if the airshow is only planned for two hours.
The next port of call for the airshow machine is the Garden Route Airshow on the 25th April, for the first time in 25 years, the sky's above George will be filled with the sound of high performance aircraft and display teams from around the country. After the terrible fires that cost so many lives and caused such destruction to this beautiful area the need for more firefighters, equipment and training has become a priority and to this end, funds raised by this event will be donated to the Southern Cape Fire Prevention Association, who will use funds in forming and training further teams as well as providing support, training and equipment to the numerous Fire Prevention Units and Volunteer Groups in the Southern Cape.
The Aero Club of South Africa will be hosting their annual Air Week in Middelburg form the 30th April to the 3rd May. The weeks activities will be concluded with an airshow, if past Middelburg airshows are anything to go by, this will be a cracker of an event. The Air Week will form part of the Aero Clubs Centenary celebrations.
The first of the highly anticipated SAAF 100 celebration airshows will take place at AFB Swartkop on the 9th May. The annual SAAF Museum Airshow is always a major crowd puller and is often the only opportunity the military aviation enthusiasts get to see the SAAF aircraft up close and personal. We are expecting a massive SAAF participation this year to celebrate the centenary.
The next stop will be a week later in the beautiful city of Nelspruit, every year the Lowveld Airshow organisers take airshows to a new level with amazingly innovative themes. All aviation enthusiasts will have to diarise 16th May for the annual pilgrimage to the Lowveld.
On the 30th May it’s time to cross the border for my personal favourite The Wasbank Botswana International Air Show at Matsieng airfield just North of Gaborone. The Botswana international Airshow is more than just a run of the mill airshow, pilots from all over Southern Africa make their way there for a very enjoyable camping fly-in in true African spirt.
On the 6th June Newcastle Airshow will be celebrating their tenth anniversary this year, every year they seem to improve so we can expect great things from the 2020. Newcastle Airport were adjudged the second best airshow in the country last year and I’m sure they will be gunning for the top spot this year. Once again this seems to be the only airshow in Kwazulu Natal in 2020 and as a result the SAAF participation will be amazing.
The Maputo Airshow will be back for their second edition on 13th June. The Maputo airshow is held over the Baía de Maputo (Bay of Maputo) which makes for a wonderful backdrop for the aviation photographers. A visit to our eastern neighbour is always a pleasure and with an airshow thrown in it is definitely next level.
The Eswatini (Swaziland) Airshow will be held at the Matsapha International airport on the 8th August, this is a perfect opportunity to see some of the Southern African nation’s military hardware in action as many of our neighbouring states will be invited to attend.
The Bethlehem Airshow will be drawing the Free State crowds once again this year, this spectacle will take place on the 22nd August. In the past The Bethlehem Airshow has always delivered and 2020 will be no exception with all the regular airshow acts being joined by the SAAF as this is the only Airshow planned for the Free State Province.
Africa Aerospace and Defence 2020, probably the most anticipated airshow of the year will take place on the 20th and 21st September. The SAAF are expected to use this as their main Centenary Celebration so everyone can look forward to an amazing show, they will be joined by the regular airshow acts as well as some foreign military displays, the detail of these will only be confirmed closer to the date.
Capital Sounds will be there to keep everyone entertained and informed at all the airshows listed above, Brian Emmenis and his team of professionals always elevate an airshow to a higher plane, simply put an airshow without Capital Sounds just isn't an airshow.
Aviation Enthusiasts are set for a good years entertainment and we at Flightline Weekly will do our best to attend all of the airshows in 2020 and we will put together comprehensive reports and plenty photographs of each and every show for those that cant make it.