(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)

User Rating: 0 / 5

Please rate this article:
0 of 5 - 0 votes
Thank You for rating this article.

AAD 2014 - Africa Aerospace and Defence
Where? Waterkloof AB, South Africa
When? 17-21/09/2014

African Aerospace and Defence (AAD) is cited as being Africa’s premier air, sea and land defence exhibition. The 2014 edition was set to be the biggest in its 14 year history, when it opened its doors from 17 – 21 September at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria. Irrespectively of what has been announced, AAD it is a great opportunity to see the South African Air Force (SAAF) live and in action.

The bi-annual event in Pretoria, which is just some kilometers North of Johannesburg, is a combined trade exhibition and air show with around 300 local and international companies, including India, Russia, Brazil and China. The exhibition has settled itself strong in the African market as a big showcase of defense and security products that should solve every ‘problem’ you might encounter in your every-day-life. It doesn’t matter in this case if you are a rich guy, state government or warlord, the possibilities and gadgets that have been advertised were manifold...

The ‘projection of power’ on the ground power was the top focus at AAD, with aerial power playing only a small part in the exhibition. Aerial displays were thus only a kind of accessory parts during the official trade days, but used in a big scale to entertain a large audience during the week-end.

The big airshow, which is open to the public, was held during the week-end and attracted more than 10.000 tickets visitors. On these two days the Saturday was by far the better choice with more flying and great weather. Contrary to this Sunday morning started very different with a very cold wind and freezing temperatures. Hard to believe that after a sunburn the day before five layers of cloths were barely enough to keep warm! Due to these conditions flying was restrained, especially for the SAAF museum’s vintage aircraft in the morning. But luckily got better in the afternoon for the main part of the airshow. It featured South African civil and military displays, while unfortunately foreign flying display acts were not present during this edition of AAD.

The main attraction of the flying display at Waterkloof was the SAAF “Mini War”, which simulated an intervention in a neighboring African country, overwhelming the leader and freeing hostages. It involved al of the flying assets of the SAAF, with the Gripen and Hawk doing airspace protection and air to ground attacks and the C-130 Hercules landing in to load of troops and armored vehicles. The main working load though was on the helicopters, with the Rooivalks, Bk117, Lynx and Oryx (Pumas) in heavy use while an A109 served as a command post hovering in the background.

The action was even so close that the helicopters landing in covered the public completely into dust. Leaving your bags closed and not changing any camera lenses was a good idea at this point of time!

Furthermore the Silver Falcons aerobatic Team on the Pilatus PC-7 Mk.II provided a spectacular display, which can also be said about the Hawk 120 formation flight. The Hawk is used as an advanced trainer and air-ground aircraft by the SAAF, but this routine made good use of its aerobatic capabilities during tight formations mixed with solo routines.

Last but not least the greatest gadget on the flightline was the Atlas Cheetah D. It is not anymore within active SAAF service, but is used by the industry as a testbed. In the colours of South African flag this twin-seater example was a sight to behold and just great to see in front of the blue African sky! It even arrived at the show in formation with a single seat Cheetah E, but this escort did not land at Waterkloof and was never seen again.

Vintage and veteran warbirds from the South African Air Force (SAAF) Museum flew in directly from their homebase AFB Swartkop, which is only a stone's throw away from Waterkloof. The flying branch of the museum arrived in the morning and showed amongst others in flight a Harvard formation, a formation of a Albatross and Bosbok, the venerable De Havilland DH-82A Tiger Moth and a “helicopter ballet” featuring several helicopters that have already been put out of service in the SAAF.

Other aerial displays featured aerobatic flying by monoplanes, biplanes or helicopters, firefighting with a helicopter, or a demonstration to show the use of helicopters in the war against Rhino poachers.

Also the Paramount Group put their "Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft" (AHRLAC) in the air, even if it was only twice during the whole show:

The static display was ok, but nothing special. Many business jets and helicopters were dispersed around the apron, and nearly every aircraft type of the SAAF was present. But apart from a USAF C-17 and C-130 no other Air Forces were present, showing off maybe the somehow still strong division of African countries, or just the lack of money to participate in these kind of events. But for a round-up of the current status of the SAAF and their flying assets AAD 2014 was – as it promised to be - a great opportunity!

 

recently published

Oshkosh EAA Airventure 2017

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Oshkosh EAA Airventure 2017 airshow report and photos
Where? Oshkosh WI, USA
When? 24-30/07/2017

The EAA Airventure 2017 was announced to be the bomber year! And it really became bombastic. 590.000 people attended the event in Oshkosh, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid and also saw for the first time in more than 60 years two B-29 Superfortresses flying in formation. Apart from that once again more than 10.000 aircraft flew to Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, making it at that time the busiest airport in the world with approximately 123 aircraft movements per hour. For the pilots it was once again the great fly-in, and the highlight for the airshow this year were the US Navy Blue Angels.

Read more ...

more Airshows

Hatzerim Airshow

(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)

Hatzerim Graduation Ceremony #162 / 2011

Where? Hatzerim AB, Israel
When? June 2011

Once again there was the chance in 2011 to visit the graduation ceremony of the Israeli Air Force's (IAF) Pilot Training Course in Hatzerim. This year it was course #162 and the aerial performers did change a bit compared to the last visit in 2009.

Read more ...

more Air-Air

NH90 Delivery Flight

(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)

NH90 Delivery Flight

Where? Donauwörth, Eurocopter site
When? 15/12/2006

The first three next-generation NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopters (TTH) were handed over to the German Army at Eurocopter’s Donauwörth facility in the presence of a large group of guests from the German Federal Ministry of Defence, the Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement, NAHEMA (NATO HElicopter Management Agency) as well as the German Army on December 13th, 2006.

Read more ...

Twitter feed

My Warbird Book

photos on www.airfighters.com