As proud South Africans, we all adore the fact that our Autumns and Winters are far warmer and pleasurable than that of our European and American friends’, and this precise reality is especially more relevant to our air show circuit during this period. With multiple air shows in short succession, it is a demanding, yet exciting an exhilarating time for all organizers, administrators, safety personnel and participants, all for one cause: To warm the hearts, minds and souls of all aviation enthusiasts and children (our future aviators). In the run-up to the Airshow season, many teams and individuals have been hard at work, preparing for a great year ahead. This airshow season sees the Silver Falcons, with its seven dedicated officers and eighteen ground crew members evolve from Team 72 to Team 73, celebrate its most experienced leader in the team’s existence, and the 45th Anniversary of one of South Africa’s most iconic and well known formation aerobatic teams.
As the proud representatives of the South African Air Force, the Silver Falcons not only prides itself in being the only 5-ship aerobatics team on the airshow circuit, but far beyond that, we aim to represent the hearts and minds of all the aspiring and admiring aviators in South Africa, all those who looks up into the blue sky and dreams to fly. This airshow season, the team is diversifying its reach by performing at some of the smaller airshows and visiting neighboring towns and townships in the process, awakening the spirit of Ubuntu (a spirit of kinship across both race and creed which unites mankind to a common purpose) and further enhancing the passion to fly among the youth of our smaller communities.
As one of the participants at many of our country’s air shows, the Silver Falcons have been on the move since February, opening Parliament in Cape Town, performing at the Navy Festival in Simonstown and displaying at Overberg, Swartkop and Newcastle Airshows. Apart from the aforementioned events, the Silver Falcons also performed at the Nedbank Disabled Golf Challenge and SANDF Golf Championships at the Langebaan Country Estate and supported our Republic with displays overhead the Union Buildings in Pretoria in support of the Freedom Day Parade and overhead the FNB Stadium in Soweto for the Nebank Cup Final.
“Busy? Absolutely! “
“Worth it? More than its weight in GOLD!”
In between the preparation for all the respective airshows and fly-pasts, the Silver Falcons were also hard at work training a new member, made positional changes in its current line-up, and diversified its show with some subtle changes to its existing show. As a part time display team and full time instructors at AFB Langebaanweg’s Central Flying School, training, diversification and regeneration of the Silver Falcons as an entity is and always will be a difficult task, but one which is always met with excitement.
During the KykNet Overberg Airshow, Major Roy Sproul (Falcon Nr1) became the most capped leader of the Silver Falcons with 134 airshow to his name, taking the record of his former team leader and friend Major Scott Ternent. During this airshow, Major Gerhard Lourens also became the most capped Nr 4 in the Team history. Major Lourens also celebrated his time in the Silver Falcons, and the end of a chapter at the Swartkop Airshow, finishing with 93 shows to his name. Major Lourens’ replacement at Nr 4 became Captain Heybrech van Niekerk, Team 72’s Nr 2, with Major Werner Vermaak becoming the 97th Silver Falcon of all time and the new Nr 2 for Team 73. The rejuvenation of the Team was celebrated at the Newcastle Airshow, with the Silver Falcon’s official commentator, Lieutenant Colonel Brian Emmenis officially awarding Major Vermaak with his Silver Falcon Badge after completion of his second show.
The Silver Falcons are aiming to reach as many South Africans across as many provinces as time and funding would allow. The upcoming airshows ranges from small towns to large cities, impoveraged to affluent communities, crossing all social, economic and racial barriers. The Silver Falcon display, its motto and message stretches far beyond being a promotional tool for the South African Air Force; it signifies unity, strength and hope! The Silver Lining in the sky!
PER ASPERA AD ASTRA (THROUGH ADVERSITY TO THE STARS)