TFDC Fly-In 2012Date: 21 April 2012
By Graham Roughton
The TFDC Fly-in took place on 20 April 2012 at its usual place on AFB Overberg. Each year the dedicated organisation team go one step further to make the day better than the previous show and this year was no exception.
In addition, pay channel MNET KYKNET was signed up as the media sponsor for the show thus opening the way for national TV coverage both before and during the show to really put TFDC on the map. The weekend started off with
the regular enthusiasts flying in to Overberg (hence the name "fly-in") by the Friday afternoon. In total 105 aircraft landed at the base.
On the Friday, following a twilight show with the Agusta 109 LUH showing its manoeuvrability and shooting of flares against the dark clouds in the background, and the SAAB Gripen, the regular charity wine auction commenced accompanied with wine tasting and a meal. 13 wine farms presented at the evening which saw 225 guests enjoying good company, drinking equally good wine and bidding for the lots on offer. In total, more than R34 000,00 was raised which in accordance with normal practice, will be ploughed back into the Overberg community.
The Saturday started with gates opening at 0900 for the show to commence at 10h00. Unfortunately the rain did not play its part in the morning with passing showers preventing the timeous start of the show. At approximately 1100, the helicopters were scrambled to save the show for the 5,000 strong crowd that had travelled to share the day. After the LUH and ORYX display a fire bomber and Huey combined forces in a mock fire fighting demonstration to extinguish a smoke bomb that had been detonated in front of the crowd. Then the last shower for the day passed through causing the Silver Falcons to turn back on the runway and postpone the show further. By 1200, the clouds started clearing and continued to clear progressively during the day allowing all displays to be completed successfully. Unfortunately due to time constraints with the late start in the morning, the helicopters were jettisoned from the afternoon programme.
Displays from the latest fighters of Hawk and Gripen, to the good old faithful C47 DC3 TP filled the skies. The Silver Falcons never hide from a good show and once again made the SAAF proud. On the private side, the return of Thunder City after the fatal accident at the November 09 show with Dave Stock and the Lightning, came with the Buccaneer and the Hunter. Amongst the many aerobatic display pilots taking aircraft to parts of the envelope where decades ago their instructors warned them never to go to, a L39 and a Glider also complimented the itinerary.
But despite all these spectacular displays, what makes the Overberg Fly-in different from any other air show and causes the crowds to drive 2 hours from Cape Town, is the live weapon deliveries not witnessed by the public anywhere else in the country. Apart from the flares from the LUH, Hawk and Gripen throughout the day, two Hawks, the ORYX and the LUH combined forces with the ground forces, to partake in a full capability demonstration. During this time, bombs were released from the Hawk as well as cannon fire. With the Hawks then performing a CAP role above, the ground forces demonstrated a mini war with both land and air CASEVAC using the helicopters with close air support. Great choreography.
Hats off to TFDC for the organisation as well as the last minute changes to keep the show moving with the prevailing weather conditions. Lets not wait so long for the next fly-in.
Reproduced with permission from the newsletter of the Flight Test Society of South Africa.