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Africa Aerospace & Defence 2002 Air Show (Video)

Reviewed By: Greg Pullin

Africa Aerospace & Defence 2002 (AAD 2002), an international air, ground and sea trade show, was held at AFB Waterkloof, South Africa, from 18 to 22 September 2002.

Right from the start, this video means business. A few crisp flying scenes is followed by a formal introduction of the AAD 2002 exhibition and air show. There is a brief explanation of what AAD 2002 is all about with footage of some of the exhibits and displays in the hangers, then on to the flying display. The main emphasis is on the flying display.

The video commentary is from the air show commentator, with many "from the cockpit" commentary sequences and specialist commentary for some of the display sequences, such as the Gripen display. This was a nice balance with the sound levels being reasonable throughout.

Aircraft were identified, leaving the viewer informed of what aircraft was being displayed. Background music was edited on and did not interfere too much with the aircraft engine noise, which is what most enthusiasts want to hear.

The video was a multi-camera / multi-viewpoint production, with the advantages of different viewpoints . One of the frustrations of photography at AFB Waterkloof, is that as the sun moves, aircraft photographed or video footage taken from the press enclosure / commentary area, places the aircraft in silhouette, in the afternoon. The second camera positioned on the other side of the runway eliminated this problem. A few bits were in silhouette, but this was particularly effective in one sequence with the smoke from the Harvard Flying Lions display sequence being backlit.

In summary, I will list what I consider to be the "plus factors" and the "constructive criticisms":

Plus factors:

  1. Hearing the engine noise of the aircraft. (This cannot be overemphasized!)
  2. Air to air footage of the Gripen and Hawk.
  3. Spectacular take off sequences of the B-1B Lancer, Gripen and Hawk and the low fly pasts by the SAA 747 and Kulula 727.
  4. Cockpit footage of the USAF KC-135R.
  5. A real highlight is the air-to-air refueling sequences of the F-15 Eagle by the KC-135.
  6. Excellent close up footage of the slow roll of the "flag" Cheetah and the switchblade manoeuvre of the 3 Shurlock Pitts Specials.
  7. Commentary from the cockpit during the SAA 747, Pilatus Astras, Shurlock Pitts Specials and other displays.
  8. Identification of the aircraft being displayed.
  9. Some (brief) coverage of the USAF static display and exhibition area.
  10. Multi-camera production with tight editing, cropping and different viewpoints.
  11. A decent length production.
  12. Reasonable price.

 Constructive criticisms:

  1. Obvious blatant omissions of some of the displays, such as:

        -  the 3 Cheetah formation take off
        -  the "Super" Mirage F1
        -  the Nationwide 737 fly past
        - the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy take off and fly past
        - the DC3 / DC4 formation fly past
        - the "Gannet" Impala.

  1. Too long continuous sequences, such as the "flag" Cheetah display (10 minutes) and the Pilatus Astras (8 minutes). This changes the "fast and furious" intention to a more pedestrian impression and precludes other footage from being used.
  2. Everything cannot be shown in 60 minutes, but rather brief footage of most, rather than volumous footage of only a part of what was on display.
  3. Lack of air to ground footage of the static display area.
  4. A few glitches with the soundtrack with cell phone- like signal interference.
  5. Complete lack of footage of most of the amazing line up of static aircraft, which ranged from the SAAF aircraft and displays; the SAAF Museum aircraft; the many civilian aircraft, business jets and helicopters, the French Air Force C-160 Transall, etc.
  6. Lack of close ups of interesting features of various aircraft.
  7. Lack of pilot interviews.

Overall impression: I was a bit disappointed in the video because of the omissions. What was shown was done well, with tight editing, cropping and good camera angles. I am pleased that the time and effort was made to produce the video.

Would I spend R175.00 on buying this video? After all the constructive criticisms, yes.

(My qualifications to crit the video? I was at the show all of the trade and public days and know what was on display.) 

PAL 60 minutes

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