ABSA Kishugu Award Winning Lowveld Airshow 2019

By Jaco Pitout

Autumn in the Lowveld only means one thing and that is that it is time for this award winning airshow. Being my first visit to Nelspruit for the airshow I was interested as to why this airshow won awards previously. I was soon to learn exactly why!

Arriving at Nelspruit Airport on the Friday, I was greeted by the energetic Naranda and her team of busy bees at Kishugu. Monica handled the required accreditations and in no time I was completely sorted with all the required tickets and passes. In an interesting departure from the norm, the organizers of the airshow decided to start the show at 14:00 on Saturday.

Saturday greeted us with bright blue skies and near windless condition which bode well for the show. I arrived in time to see members of LOMAC (Lowveld Model Aircraft Club) demonstrating their machines.

Next a group of motorcyclists took a short drag on the pristine runway.

With only 4 hours of daylight, the flying program was jam packed with action from start to finish with minimal delays between the displays.

In the time that the motorcyclists displayed their skills, the much loved Antonov 2 - Little Annie climbed to altitude ready to dispatch a group of skydivers. The largest South African Flag to be used in parachute jumping also made an appearance.

With the parachutists safely on the ground, the flying program started in all earnest. The first gaggle of aircraft featured the Antonov, the Boeing Stearman, the Yak 18T and an Aviat Husky.

The Goodyear Eagles wowed the crowd with their close-in and high energy displays.

Very few aircraft stir emotions as much as the classic Harvard. The Puma Energy Team put these impressive aircraft through their paces. Their smoke hung in the wonderfully mild Lowveld air!

In an impressive collaboration, The Raptors and Team Extreme did a 9 ship loop combining the two teams.

The Raptors team then continued into their routine with their RV aircraft.

Team Extreme was next to perform. I am not exaggerating when I say that I heard the crowd around me gasp at the maneuvers of these highly skilled aviators. During the sequence I tried to capture the hair raising “SwitchBlade”. Extreme precision by Team Extreme!

The next action filled act was the Team Torre Pitts Specials.

The only commercial airliner to make an appearance at the show was this beautiful Embraer ERJ-190 which was a treat to watch in the fading autumn light.

The Jet displays continued with the Impala and the L39 which danced through the air at high speed.

The Puma Flying Lions closed out the flying program with their unique dusk display. At the end of the display they also added some fireworks, which was a beautiful touch!

The day ended with a fireworks display that lit up the Lowveld sky.

The festivities continued well into the night with the Jacaranda FM DJ's Mack Rapapadi, DJ Lalie and DJ Jazzy D battling it out on the decks.

What an event this was! Certainly one of the best local airshows I have ever attended! I will be back next year!

Events 2019

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