Silver Falcons: Our journey to Polokwane, the city of stars
By Capt. Buti Tsebe
I couldn't wait, I couldn't wait. After arriving 2 weeks prior in Pretoria on leave, Gerhard and I were going to reunite with the rest of our team and very tired ground crew who drove all the way from Langebaanweg in preparation for the Polokwane Airshow.
1400B: Wednesday, 27th April 2011- As I drove through the security gates of AFB Swartkops, 3 astras were executing the break onto downwind as Roy; Heybrech & Beau announced their arrival. I was driving in to meet up with my teammates when my passenger said to me, beaming and shouting in excitement, "Look! Look! There they are! Look at that! A true portrait of precision yeah! Look at the spacing! Man! You see what we see and feel looking at you guys from the ground? Man!" And so my heart raced and I had a moment of quiet to process what I was being reminded of. Flying for the Silver Falcons has become part of me & when I think that I'll be leaving the team soon I am faced with much uncertainty & sadness :'( A part of me wants to stay a little longer, but the other part reminds me that I have a career to build up and so I will be eternally grateful to my Silver Falcons family for engraving in my heart and mind so many memorable, sentimental moments. This, I will miss for sure. And....... "HAPPY FREEDOM DAY South Africa"
And so, here we are at our 2nd airshow for the year & it is my turn to share our Polokwane experience with you. Thank you for being a part of our journey-you make us who we are!
1000B: Thursday, 28th April 2011- After a zippy 1 hour flight, we arrived to a beautiful, warm Polokwane; the team went out for a practice in the Polokwane area and overhead the airfield. BUT WAIT!!!!!! The display was interrupted by an" uncooperative fellow aviator" (tut,tut,tut) who insisted on executing an approach to the airfield whilst the display was in progress. So, as safety is one of our main core disciplines & maintaining high safety standards is what we strive for, we had to abort the practice display & being the gentlemen & lady we are opted to address the issue on the ground (Friends? Nope!).
0800B: Friday, 29th April 2011- Validation day!!!!!!!!!!!!
You know the song by Crowded House,"Weather with you"?( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dlt9GkD_oI)
Yep, that one, well, we sure did. Cos' right here in Polokwane we woke up to more of a Langebaanweg in winter weather. You know, grey skies, chill in the air, the threat of rain. So, practice & validation wasn't going to happen as scheduled until later in the afternoon.
A perfect opportunity for fans of the Royal Wedding I guess (not me ) to catch a glimpse on the TV while we waited for the weather to clear. (Blues skies & sunshine please, just for a 0.8hr sortie so that I can reach my 2000 Astra total hours!) At last, the skies opened and........ Silver Falcons Validation, check! Bring on the Polokwane Air show days 00
0745B: Saturday, 30th April 2011- Show day #1: With an awesome crowd from Polokwane, nothing was more exhilarating than displaying in good weather with my awesome team. And so, here we were with another fantastic 2 displays achieved! Love your work Team 71 & Beau for entertaining the crowd with a brilliant solo display in the afternoon. Unfortunately though, he was fined by Lt. Jesse Ramaisa, our GLO for spicing up his display with one or two extra manoeuvres. Come on Jezzman we enjoyed it, especially the last salute flypast from a chopper pilot- the REAL MAKOYA!
0745B: Sunday, 01st May 2011- Show day #2: Happy Worker's Day workers With a few spectators (another "Weather with you" day,sigh) the crowd was treated to a bad weather display. Whoop! Whoop! Nog n' enetjie. Another 2 successful displays by the Silver Falcons Team ! Thanks to our awesome ground crew & aircrew. What better way to end a fantastic airshow weekend than with a great Sunday evening braai together with our ground crew, being entertained by our very own one man stand-up comedian, Sgt. Booysen.
0830B: Monday, 02nd May 2011- *singing* "Time to say goodbye (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbN0g8-zbdY )Well Polokwane, thank you for the wonderful experiences and opportunities. You have been great. We will miss you :'(
And so our journey ends as we fly to Pretoria for one more air display at the Rand Easter Show at the Nasrec Showground's followed by a photo shoot with the marvellous Frans Dely! Awesome skies, fantastic crew from 41 Squadron (thank you guys!) and chaotic air traffic in the skies of Pretoria! Oh what a trip.
Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team 71: You have done it yet again. The portrait of precision lives on, as:
Falcon #1: Capt. Roy Sproul led team 71 to their 10th display
Falcon #2: Capt. Heybrech Van Niekerk reached 1000 astra hours & performed her 10th air display
Falcon #3: Capt. Buti Tsebe reached 2000 astra hours & performed his 70th air display
Falcon #4: Capt. Gerhard Lourens performed his 60th air display
Falcon #5: Maj. Beau Skarda performed his 10th air display, and
We have added new friends to our Silver Falcon's friends list
Polokwane: Naturally progressive! Re a leboga, ke a leboga!
"Never let go of a dream until you are ready to wake up & make it happen"