Air show thrills the Durban crowds

Published Jul 14, 2013


BREATHTAKING displays of showmanship and aerobatics, performed by some of the country’s leading pilots, took place at Durban Air Show at Virginia Airport yesterday – watched by 10 000 aeronautics enthusiasts.

Glorious sunshine and windless conditions added to the enjoyment of the show, the seventh leg of the 2013 KZN Winter Air Tour.

Dropping from the sky at about 240km/h, skydivers set the day’s proceedings in motion with their acrobatic feats.

An endless stream of planes took to the sky, with the pilots performing intricate aerobatic manoeuvres.

The four Pitts Special Goodyear Eagles, flying in formation, performed a smoke-filled series of “roll-arounds”, “barrel rolls” and “punch troughs”.

The pilots capped their performance by drawing “double hearts” in the sky, a feat seen for the first time at an airshow.

A South African-built wide-winged glider, with a wing span of 21m, performed in sync with pennywhistle tunes.

On the ground, spectators, some whole families, most of whom were seated on deck chairs, craned their necks as the aircraft.

Mingling among them were politicians and beauty queens.

Provincial MECs Mike Mabuyakhulu and Ina Cronje were spotted in the crowd as were the US Consul-General Taylor Ruggles, Miss South Africa Marilyn Ramos and Miss Hooters Worldwide Kirsten Martins.

Veteran commentator and tour organiser, Brian Emmenis, held his audience captive throughout the show, describing events as these unfolded.

“I’ve been doing this for 28 years and still love every moment of these shows,” said Emmenis.

“The vibe, amazing aerobatics and sounds still get my adrenalin pumping.

“When describing the action, I try to make the spectators feel as if they are in the cockpit and I also try to bring in the human interest to make my commentary appealing.”

The only anti-climax of the day was the lucky draw o win an aircraft worth R800 000, a fund-raising initiative of the Reach for a Dream Foundation.

The winner of the prize, which included a full pilot’s licence course, was not at the show. -Sunday Tribune

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