Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Swaziland Jet Airshow -- Rodger and Francis Dunn

In South Africa it is a mission to obtain permission to host a flying event on a disused military air field. The model air show that was organized by Rodger Dunn from Randburg, his wife Frances and a very small group of helpers was held on Matsapa International Airport. An invitation from the organizers was extended to some pilots from JHB, Pretoria, Nelspruit and surrounding areas to be part of the second Swaziland model air show.

The majority of pilots traveled on Friday to Swaziland where they were met by the organizers and were settled into some first class accommodation. Friday evening all were treated to a supper served in a hangar alongside the airfield. This was a perfect opportunity for all to get to meet one another. Danie and Neville soon had all amused by their flying skills with their 3D Electric planes inside the hangar.

On Saturday morning all congregated bright and early at the airfield with the mammoth task of unpacking and assembling of aircrafts. Some struggled a bit due to the Friday evening festivities.

The weather over the weekend was great as well as the flying. There was a large variety of aircraft from large scale aerobatics, jets, scale models, fun fly's, 3D Electrics, down to trainers. All the pilots through out the weekend did exactly what they were invited to do and that was to keep the crowd amused at all times. The whole weekend went off with only one incident of a crashed Delta.

Saturday evening was back to the hangar for yet another great evening with 2 sheep on a spit, liquid refreshments and a lot to talk about. Danie Potgieter and Shaun Russell put on a night flying display, which was watched by all in amazement. Danie flew a Shot Gun decorated with glow sticks used by the military and divers. Shaun used special designed rotor blades with built in batteries and lights in the tips as well as some glow sticks on the tail. The helicopter blades when rotating forms a red circle with a second circle about 100mm to the inside of that. With the tail of the chopper lit up you can see the attitude of the helicopter clearly. The attitude of the helicopter in the sky while performing aerobatics is by far more visible at night than in the day. At the end of the night's activities the hangar was used to store all the aircraft.

The great atmosphere and party mood then moved over to our hotel where some groups partied till the early hours of Sunday morning. Loud singing noises could be heard all over the hotel by one particular group singing (or trying to) "I'm so lonely". I don't know if they were actually lonely or could only remember those few words to one song.

Early on Sunday after packing up our rooms and having a breakfast it was off to the airfield to enjoy yet another good flying day with good weather.

Bob Skinner did commentary on both days with the host Rodger Dunn relieving him from time to time. Flying ceased at about 14h00. After packing up all aircrafts we were once again treated to a meal in the hangar, which was followed, by greetings and a big thanks to our hosts for a great weekend of flying and enjoyment.

A few local Swazi businesses as well as some from SA sponsored the weekend. Swazi Bank and Mr Bread were some of the Swazi sponsors, with Sign Link from Randburg being the main sponsor. Henley Air charters supplied a helicopter, which was sponsored by Mr Bread and was used to take people for flips over both days. During lunch the helicopter was used for an emergency evacuation of a lady who was stung by a bee and is highly allergic to bee stings. Thanks to Henley Airs crew she was stabilized and later released from hospital. Some pilots collected a donation, which was handed over to the Local Lions Club. All the money made over the weekend was handed to the Lions club who distributes it to the local charities.

A big thank you to all the pilots, sponsors, helpers and supporters for making the second Swaziland Air show a resounding success. Once again a special thanks to Rodger and Frances for all their hard work and we look forward to next year.

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