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Posted by on in Falcons News Updates
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Before sunrise on Friday 24 August 2012, two Pilatus PC7 MkII aircraft got airborne from AFB Langebaanweg en-route to the Test Flight and Development Centre (TFDC) near Bredasdorp. The purpose of the mission, to surprise and collect the Chief of the South African Air Force, Lt Gen C. Gagiano for the final portion of his farewell road show of the Western Cape Air Force Bases.

Due to the discreet and efficient planning of the mission by the staff of DBFT, upon arrival at TFDC, the crew of the PC7’s were met with tremendous surprise by the staff of TFDC who were due to welcome the Chief to their base only moments later.

The two PC7’s were initially parked well away from the TFDC movement centre where CAF was to address the base personnel. After CAF’s address to the TFDC staff, he was flown by Oryx helicopter for a brief visit to Skipskop whereupon the two PC7’s were taxied across to the movement area in anticipation of his return. Whilst away from the unit, the lead PC7, Falcon 1, was ceremoniously prepared and positioned with a red carpet and ceremonial guard comprising members of TFDC for CAF’s final farewell from the unit.

After returning from Skipskop, CAF was informed of the plans and provided with a g-suit and helmet which were generously provided by the TFDC personnel for his final PC7 flight. After a unique ‘Generals Salute’ and address by CAF dressed in a flying overall, Lt Gen Gagiano strapped himself into the aircraft without hesitation displaying his great professionalism as an aviator having not flown in the PC7 for a number of years.

Lt Gen Gagiano was paired with Maj Roy Sproul for the flight with the backup PC7 flown by Capt Mark Gentles. After take-off, CAF was handed control of the aircraft and flew the entire route back to Langebaan himself. Passing the town of Darling, CAF’s aircraft was intercepted by the rest of the Silver Falcon Team flying two red and white PC7’s representing the Central Flying School and two aircraft in the Falcon colours.

The now 6-ship formation then completed a scenic flight of the West Coast before positioning over the Langebaan Lagoon for a 5min Silver Falcon aerobatic sequence before routing to AFB Langebaanweg to meet up with the rest of CAF’s delegation.

After disembarking from an Oryx at AFB Langebaanweg’s VIP movements section, Mrs Gagiano along with Maj Gen Msimang and his wife were treated to a final loop and break by the Falcons with their very special guest! After landing, Lt Gen Gagiano made the time to personally thank each of the Falcons crew for their contribution representing CFS and AFB Langebaanweg on his final flight.

A final word from Maj Roy Sproul (Falcon Lead): “On behalf of the Silver Falcons who are charged with the responsibility of publicly showcasing the professionalism and skills of ALL past and current serving members of the South African Air Force, it was a great privilege and honour to be able to serve under Lt Gen Gagiano and partake in his farewell. We hope that he and Mrs Gagiano will enjoy a well deserved retirement and I once again take the opportunity to thank CAF for all his years of service, serving us, the men and women of the SAAF”CAF and Team 73

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