Thursday, October 02, 2014

Waterkloof air-force base Aerospace airshow 2014

Pitt special
Airshow on the 20th at Waterkloof Airforce base Gauteng. And a great time was had by all, about one hundred thousand spectators. whew!
As you know by now, I really do enjoy taking pictures but these aircraft are quick and finding them in the view finder takes a little skill and lots of luck. I was using a Canon 18 to 200mm lens, quite heavy and without a tripod a bit shaky but what beautiful pictures. There are a few things I would do differently next time, slow the shutter speed from 1/4000 second to about 1/ 1000 second so that the propellers would be a bit blurry. These pictures look like they have been photo-shopped in, otherwise they are pretty good in my opinion.
Rhino anti-poaching unit with dogs on skids.

 Oh how my heart longed to be in any one of these spectacular craft. Having flown airplanes and helicopters in the past, very distant past in fact, I watched their antics with glee but must admit, most of my time was spent looking through the lens.
One of the thoughts that kept bouncing around in my head was how terrorized people living around a hundred years ago would have been by this incredibly noisy aerial display, can you imagine?
One of the exercises performed was the Rhino anti-poaching unit display using helicopters and dogs. It was very impressive. What happened was they came in with the choppers and the soldiers rappelled to the ground with a German Sheppard harnessed to them. Once on the ground the dogs were released, taking about 15 seconds to release, and off they went after the poachers. Two dogs and two poachers in full dog training padding. Unfortunately for one of the poachers, the dogs saw only him so he had two dogs attacking him at the same time, very scary indeed. Those of us in the group I was with had a good laugh watching him trying to get away, very funny to watch. He was not injured in any way, just in case you were wondering.
Harvards in formation fly by.
   I'm an old fashioned type of person, I like old. South Africa has some very old planes still in use, like these Harvards. I remember, while living near Pretoria in my late teens, watching these beautiful little trainers doing exercises over the hills where we lived. They have a very distinct engine noise ( not very noisy)and were always painted the same, just like these two. Ah, good memories. Unfortunately the shots I have are from underneath, because of the display they were putting on, but that is pretty much how I've always seen them anyway. Lovely. And then came the extremely noisy and unbelievably (1370 miles per hour) fast Gripen fighter jet. This is apparently one of the arms purchases made by the new South African government in the 2005 arms scandal. Although 26 were purchased and paid for, only one is in flight ready use today, another twelve have been put in mothballs. I live in Africa, oh well.
Saab Gripen fighter aircraft
The noise from this aircraft is amazing, and it was only flying by at about 600 miles per hour. Getting a shot of this aircraft was my greatest challenge for the day. Unfortunately every time it flew by it turned away from the crowd, which makes safety sense, so all the shots I did get were from underneath. Sorry about that.
There were commentators telling the crowd what to expect next with the pilots radio communications also audible, very interesting. Lots of stunt flying, Pitt specials flying in formation and then breaking away with, of course, the obligatory smoke trails. Hearts in smoke with smoke arrows, oh how the girls in the crowd cheered when they saw that.
We left the show at about 2pm in an effort to get out before the grand exodus, 100 000 people take up a lot of car space, lots of traffic. It still took us over an hour to get away. On the way home we stopped at a little nursery in Irene for something to eat and a cold drink. A lovely end to an absolutely exhilarating day out with Shelley and Toni.
So what do you think of my photographs so far?
And on a final note, I am so amazed that God invented flying so long ago, no need to be terrorized, just amazed will do.
Blessings to all, Geoff.


  1. Yay for you! Glad to see a post and great photos, I can tell you had a wonderful time with your daughter and sister--see, I remember who they are. Maybe we can see some photos of where you are living now? A girl can hope! I had never heard of the Rhino anti-poaching unit with dogs! Interesting. I think that perhaps the coolest airplane ever is the Stealth Bomber... not pictured here, I know.

  2. What great pictures of the planes, and it appears that you had a great time on holiday with your family. Good for you.