Ysterplaat AirshowDate: 3 December 2005
The 2005 Ysterplaat Airshow was held on Saturday 3 December 2005. The day dawned warm, with a beautiful clear blue sky and a light breeze. What a great day for an airshow in the Mother City!
The Ysterplaat show has built a reputation amongst both local and foreign aviation enthusiasts for the variety of modern and classic aircraft that attend. This is understandable as Thunder City and others are located in Cape Town and this year certainly did not disappoint, with the aerobatic displays adding to the enjoyment.
Although the participation of SAAF aircraft was less than in previous years, the display by a Cheetah D (845) of the Test flight and Development Centre was greatly enjoyed by the spectators. Other SAAF aircraft that were put through their paces included an Oryx deploying soldiers via a rope, an Alouette III providing top cover and a flypast by a C-47 TP. The hoped for appearance of the new A109 LUH and BAE systems Hawk did not materialise. The Oryx also played a prank on the crowd by pretending to remove an illegally parked car, which was then summary jettisoned to the ground in front of the spectators due to an onboard ‘emergency'!
Althoughy the SAAF Museum Harvard flew, it was sad to see the Shackleton taxi back to the ramp after suffering a magneto drop while waiting for take-off clearance. Fortunately, I was able to take photos of the Shackleton during the practice display on the Friday.
The balance of the display program consisted of civilian warbirds and aerobatic teams.
Classic British aircraft enthusiasts were delighted to see two Lightnings, a Buccaneer (ZU-NIP) and a Hunter (ZU-AUJ) fly. Lightning F6 ZU-BEW, flown by Mike Beachy-Head, performed numerous aerobatic displays which greatly enthralled the approximately 30 000 crowd in attendance. A feature of this year's airshow was the attempt to claim the world ‘time to 30 000ft' record. The lightened Lightning T5 ZU-BEX landed at Ysterplaat on Friday evening. The record attempt was flown by Dave Stock, together with a passenger who paid £9,000 for the privilege. The aircraft took off with minimal fuel and proceeded to streak towards the sky. However, a problem with one of the afterburners slowed the aircraft, but it did break the South African (and African?) record to 60 000 ft with a time of 1 minute, 43 seconds. There was drama on landing back on the relatively short Ysterplaat runway when the braking parachute failed, forcing the Lightning to abort it's landing and proceed directly to Cape Town IAP where it landed safely.
Other classic aircraft participating included L-39's ZU-TEE and ZU-KIM, Impala MkI ZU-IMP, the three L-29 Delfins of the Sasol Tigers and Sea Fury ZU-WOW. The wind picked up throughout the day and all the aerobatic teams performed tremendously well in the increasingly gusty conditions, which reached 35 knots at times. The spectators were treated to a varied display of aerobatic aircraft which included the Silver Falcons flying four Astra (plus a solo), the Sasol Tigers flying three L-29 Delfins, the two Pitts Specials of the Wesbank team and a lovely formation display by the L-29 ZU-TEE and Impala MkI ZU-IMP. Impressive solo displays were flown by two Extra 300's (Glenn Dell and Patrick Davidson) and the Faros Yak18T.
A Mi-8 MTV of the Working on Fire team demonstrated the Bambi bucket system before being called out to deal with a real fire in the neighboring suburb. Another interesting event was that of the Jet Car which roared down the runway, slightly late for the Impala, which zoomed over it. The new CS 42 Icarus gave a magnificent demonstation of its slow speed capabilities, almost hanging motionless in the wind.
The ex-Zaire airforce Super Frelon ZS-HTN made an unexpected arrival on Friday afternoon, hover-taxiing behind a Base4 JetRanger along the crowd-line, where the tremendous downdraft was felt by all those present. The helicopter was then towed into a hanger. The crew was then flown into the Base on UH-1H Huey ZU-CVC the next day. Both helicopters then departed together, but did not display for the public.
The final highlight of the day was a formation flypast by the Cheetah D and the Lightning F6.
As in previous years, various SAAF displays inside the hangers provided a glimpse of the vast maintenance and support structures that keep the aircraft in the air. These included maintenance, engineering, life support, armaments, instruments, clothing and more. Civilian flying schools, helicopter and charter operators, vehicle and boat companies occupied the other hangers, with a funfair for the kids. Commentary was by Brian Emmanis and the Capital Sounds team, who did not play music during many of the classic aircraft displays.
Although with a smaller SAAF presence than in previous years, the show was enjoyed by all. Many thanks to the SAAF and Major Gerrie Everts for making this report possible.