The South African Air Force’s (SAAF’s) Silver Falcons aerobatic display team will be performing at the Rand Show on its opening weekend, as the team celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The Silver Falcons public relations officer Major Wendy Badenhorst, who flies in the number four position, confirmed to defenceWeb that the team will be flying a five-ship formation on the show’s opening weekend between Good Friday on 14 April and Monday 17 April. She said the displays will probably be slightly shortened in order to adapt to the large amount of air traffic in the area.
The team returns to their home base at Air Force Base Langebaanweg on 18 April.
As the team is usually only notified that it will be taking part in events a week or so before they happen, Badenhorst could not confirm which other shows the Silver Falcons would be taking part in this year, but she said the team hopes to attend the Zwartkop air show at the SAAF Museum on 6 May, the Lowveld air show in Nelspruit on 13 May, the Middleburg air show on 24 June in Mpumalanga and maybe the Newcastle air show on 3 June. The SAAF usually supports the Newcastle air show and has displayed the C-130 Hercules transport along with the Silver Falcons during past events.
Badenhorst told defenceWeb that the team enjoys attending air shows and if it were up to them they would go to all local air events.
The Silver Falcons has already performed at two major events this year – armed forces week in Durban in February and the Navy Festival in Simon’s Town in March, although the bad weather in Durban did restrict flying somewhat.
The current team, number 80, will have a few changes this year as number two (Major James Wilcox) is being transferred to 28 Squadron at AFB Waterkloof mid-year where he will fly C-130s, and replaced by Major Bheki Shabangu, currently the Ground Liaison Officer (GLO). The new GLO will be Major Corne Van Deventer. Other team members are Major Sivu Tangana (number three), Major Omphile Mutloane (number five) and team leader Major Mark Gentles.
Originally called the Bumbling Bees, the team first flew as the Silver Falcons during the opening of the Atlas Aircraft Corporation (now part of Denel) on 24 November 1967. They are busy planning their birthday celebrations and will likely involve former Silver Falcons members to participate.
Meanwhile, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will have a major presence at the Rand Show, which runs from 14 to 23 April, and is one of the main show partners this year. Once again the SANDF will hold capability demonstrations in the main arena over the Easter Weekend and the four arms of service are also coming together to put on a massive joint exhibition of military equipment covering over 10 000 square metres complete with a massive lookout bridge from which to view the exhibition from on high, plus the Rooivalk and Oryx, a dive tank, and much more.
A career village will highlight career options in the SANDF while different units and services will showcase their equipment, including the SA Military Health Service, Special Forces, Army Intelligence Formation, Engineer Formation, Armour Formation, Air Defence Artillery, Navy, Infantry Formation and Air Force.