Not only was Rand Airshow a spectacular event for all the participants and spectators, it was also a day for the aviation history books. That sunny Sunday on the 19th August, an aviation family made history, as did the Harvard aircraft and the De Havillands.
the family history-moment happened when airshow supremo Scully Levin’s daughter Sally joined her brother Ellis in the Tailift Cows Aerobatic team. Sally is a senior first officer on Airbus A340s at SAA, but had avoided the demands of air show flying while raising her son, Benjamin.
The weather was good, there were over 30,000 spectators, and the flying displays kept the skies above Rand Airport filled with smoke and non-stop action. The Rand Airshow 2018 edition will be remembered as the show with the most aircraft formations. These included the mass radial formation made up of nine Harvards with a Beech 18 and a T-28 Trojan, and another formation with the de Havilland Rapide and three Chipmunks. Yet another notable formation was the Henley Air formation of five Bell 222 helicopters.
Adding to the highlights of the day were the Puma Energy Flying Lions Harvards, and it was gratifying to see an aircraft celebrating its 80th anniversary still capable of enthralling spectators.
The action continued with non-stop excitement as the airshow regulars turned up the heat with their jaw-dropping aerial acts that had the spectators on their feet calling for more.
Aerobatic action began with the Raptors four RV aircraft, followed by an airshow debut, a display flown by Barrie Eeles in the game-changing Extra 330C and Elton Bondi, in an Extra 300L. The two flew a tandem display which left the crowd in no doubt as to the superb level of skill needed for competition aerobatics.
Additional excitement was provided to the already knocked-for-six crowds by the Goodyear Eagles, making their four-ship debut and Team Extreme who flew an assortment of Extra aircraft. Solo displays were flown by the de Havilland Dragon Rapide, which had been flown all the way from Fort Beaufort, the Antonov AN2, Little Annie, Red Bull hero Patrick Davidson, Jason Beamish who returned in the T-28 Trojan, Nigel Hopkins in his Extra 330SC, a Gyrocopter, and the Boeing Stearman owned and flown by Ivan van der Schaar. Jet action was flown by Glen Warden in the Goodyear L29, as well as a show-stopping display by a Mango Airlines 737.
By the close of day, the spectators had been amazed and thrilled, the participants had enjoyed themselves and history had been made. That’s why the Rand Airshow is special.