Heroes of the Sky

Click here to View the Pilots Click here to View the Teams

Click the pilot's name on the left to view his info!

Andre Coetzee

Name: André Coetzee
Date of birth: 1972/04/28
Day Job: Co-owner and CEO of Henley Air
Total Flying hours: 13,300
Number of aircraft rated on: 35 helicopter types
Age when he started flying: 15

Flying achievements:
Completed ATPL(H) and Grade I Instructor's Rating in 2007. DFE I on helicopters. Completed PhD in Aviation Management in 2014.

Hobbies:
I am extremely blessed that my hobby is my day job.

Background:
Studied Mechanical Engineering at RAU after school and completed PPL in 1994. Qualified as Mechanical Engineer in 1995 and as Aircraft Maintenance Engineer in 1997. Worked as an apprentice at NAC Helicopters. I have been lucky enough in my life to be afforded incredible opportunities. Not only in an aviation sense, but more so in meeting a variety of different people, visiting new places and being able to fly many helicopter types and missions. I don't believe that there is something like a 'perfect job', but being a helicopter pilot must the closest thing possible to that notion.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Depends on aircraft Flown.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Various types of helicopters including Bell 222 and Bell 407.

Display Highlights:
Displaying the maximum capabilities of the helicopter.

Brian Stableford

Name: Brian Stableford
Date of birth: 1943/01/29
Day Job: Retired
Total Flying hours: 24,600
Number of aircraft rated on: 100 plus
Age when he started flying: 19

Flying achievements:
Battle of Britain Aerobatic Trophy. Retired to fly DC 3 - DC 4 - DC 6 - Convair 440. I will fly any old aircraft.

Hobbies:
Flying.

Background:
RAF Cranwell 1962-1964. Posted to fly Argosies on105 Squadron in Aden - to RAF Benson on 114 Squadron - retired from RAF in 1970 - SAA from 1971 to 2002.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Various according to aircraft flown.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Various Vintage aircraft but mostly the De Haviland Chipmunk.

Display Highlights:
Formation display of vintage Chipmunk aircraft. The grace and nostalgia of vintage aircraft.

Elton Bondi

Name: Elton Bondi
Date of birth: 1969/03/21
Day Job: Director of an I.T. Company
Total Flying hours: 2,500
Number of aircraft rated on: over 30
Age when he started flying: 17

Flying achievements:
2015 National Advanced Aerobatic Champion
International display in Harare Zimbabwe in 2014 and part of the 15 aircraft formation over Harare.

Hobbies:
Running Marathons.

Background:
I learnt to fly in Zimbabwe, instructed there for a short while, have flown mainly tail draggers either high performance aerobatic types, or vintage Warbirds. I have also been involved with the Zimbabwe Big African Airshow at Charles Prins Airport Harare in September 2014.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Various depending on the aircraft flown.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
De Haviland Chipmunk, Pitts Special and Walter Extra 300.

Display Highlights:
My displays compliments the relevant aircraft that I fly in. From Vintage aircraft to the high performance Extra 300L.

Mike Weingartz

Name: Mike Weingartz
Date of birth: 1950/07/21
Day Job: Senior maintenance test pilot at Denel Aviation

Flying achievements:
Harvard Low Level Aerobatics Trophy (1977)
SAAF Impala Weapons Competition Top Gun Trophy (1979)
SAAF Formation Aerobatics Team the Silver Falcons (1980)
Mirage Course Top Gun Trophy (1983)
Aerobatics Display Pilot for 85 Combat Flying School (Impala 1987 - 1988)
Low Level Aerobatics Display Pilot for Denel Aviation (Cheetah)
World record: +5000 Flying Hours on Aermacchi 326 aircraft (Impala 2002)
Ecuador, Atahualpa Decoration for Merit, Grand Cross (2014)
Denel Group CEO Excellence award (2014)

Background:
Served in the SAAF for 22 + years and flew Harvard, Impala, Mirage III, Mirage F1 CZ and Cheetah. I Joined Denel Aviation Flight Test Department in January 1994. I have been involved in maintenance test flying since 1975 and production test flying since 1994. I have flown the Hawk and fly a DC4 part time at Sky Class. I have also flown Hawker Siddeley HS 748 and Fokker F28 passenger aircraft.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Various depending on aircraft flown.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Harvard, L29, L39, Impala, Cheetah and DC4.

Display Highlights:
Display flying gives one a sense of accomplishment in that one must achieve the correct balance of aggression and self-discipline to produce an exciting yet safe show.

Andrew Blackwood-Murray

Name: Andrew Blackwood-Murray
Date of birth: 1964/02/10
Day Job: Senior Check Captain at SAA on Boeing 737 Freighter
Total Flying hours: 14,000
Number of aircraft rated on: 30
Age when he started flying: 19

Flying achievements:
I have flown the Boeing 747-400, Boeing 767, 737-200,300 & 800, Airbus 340-200,300 & 600. I own a Zlin 50LA ( ZS-WSZ ) which is sponsored by NASHUA and I compete in the Intermediate Aerobatic Category.

Hobbies:
My hobbies include trail running, golf and tennis but happiest inverted in the sky.

Background:
I spent 7 years in the SAAF flying Harvards, Bosbok, Cessna Caravan, and Impala Mk1 & 2. I also fly Harvards with the Flying Lions and the Harvard Club of SA. I Live in Cape Town with my wife Kyla and son Matthew.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Various call signs used.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Nashua Sponsored Zlin 50LA.

Display Highlights:
High energy aerobatics.

Dave Mandel

Name: Dave Mandel
Date of Birth: 1956/06/15
Day Job: Property Developer
Total Flying Hours: Approx 6,000
Number of Aircraft Rated on: 12
Age when started Flying: 18

Flying achievements / Highlights:
Aerobatic displays at air shows in my ex. Military Fighter Jet.

Hobbies:
Mountain biking and Ice skating.

Background:
Private person that values the balance between recreation and family life.

Call sign used at air shows:
ZU-JET.

Aircraft Types Flown at Air Shows:
L39 - ALBATROS.

Display Highlights:
Look out for my smooth low level Knife-Edge passes along the crowd line.

Mark Sampson

Name: Mark Sampson (Sammy)
Date of birth: 24 July 1968
Day Job: Captain B744 / B748F Cathay Pacific Airways
Total Flying hours: +10,000
Number of aircraft rated on: 23 Aircraft + 5 helicopters
Age when he started flying: 20

Flying achievements:
Advanced World Aerobatics 2010 Poland - 11th place overall, silver medal for Team South Africa. Represented South Africa at Unlimited World Aerobatics 2011 in Italy.

Hobbies:
When not flying, he's probably kite surfing in Big Bay, Cape Town.

Background:
Mark grew up in Cape Town, attended boarding school in Grahamstown, then A-Levels in the UK. His flying career started with a PPL in 1990 before joining the South African Airforce (SAAF) in 1993 where he trained on the Harvard T6 and flew Alouette and Oryx helicopters for 22 Squadron in Cape Town. He joined the Airlines in 1997 to fly the DC9 & MD80 for Sun Air, followed by B737-200 for Nationwide. In 2001 he moved to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific where he flew the B744 & B777 as First Officer, and is now a Captain on B744 & B748F. Mark's first experience of aerobatics was briefly in the SAAF on T6 Harvards. He did an Extra 300 course and advanced spin training in Los Angeles, and in 2006 he bought a share in a MX2 with Mark Hensman, who has coached and mentored him onto the South African Aerobatic Team, now flying in the Unlimited class.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Various depending on the aircraft flown.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
MX-2 and XA42 Sbach.

Display Highlights:
"Formation aerobatics is the ultimate flying as it includes teamwork, precision flying, aerobatic maneuvers, public entertainment and a huge amount of enjoyment."

Trevor Warner

Name: Trevor Warner
Date of birth: 1965/07/08
Day Job: A320 Training Captain at SAA
Total Flying hours: 15,000
Number of aircraft rated on: ± 55
Age when he started flying: 19

Flying achievements:
Competed in a number of Gliding National Competitions during the 1990's
Began Flying Sport Aerobatics in 2009
Won the RV title in 2009 Aerobatic Nationals.
Started airline flying in 1997 with SA Express and moved on to SAA in 2000.
Built my own RV7. The project began in Jan 2006 and test flew in 2011
To date my RV has flown just over 300 hours
First Airshow in 2012

Hobbies:
Flying.

Background:
Started Flying Gliders in 1984 at Howick Airfield
Completed a PPL in 1986 at the PMB Aeroclub in Pietermaritzburg
Pursued gliding for many years and owned a share in a Slingsby Dart as well as an LS4
I am married to a wonderful woman, Linda, who is very supportive and understanding of my passion for aviation. I have 3 beautiful daughters who love to share the joy of flying with me.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Kitty Hawks.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Vans RV-7.

Display Highlights:
Close formation aerobatics in the Kitty Hawk team flying my own, home built, RV-7.

Flippie Vermeulen

Name: Flippie Vermeulen
Date of birth: 31 October 1948
Day Job: Pilot / Businessman / Farmer
Total Flying hours: 26,000
Number of aircraft rated on: 80+
Age when he started flying: 18

Flying achievements:
SAA Training Captain, Historic Aircraft Involvement, Display Flying.

Hobbies:
Flying.

Background:
Matriculated in Lichtenburg 1966, SAAF 1967 -1969, South African Airways 1970 -2011, Hong Kong Jet 2012 -, CEO of Springbok Classic Air, Springbok Aviation Services, Springbok Air Academy, Dakota Lodge Businesses.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
"DC-3" or "Beech 18".

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Douglas DC-3 or Beech 18.

Display Highlights:
8 minute flat display, showing different profiles of aircraft.

Facebook Link:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Springbok-Classic-Air/120860011323175?ref=hl

Koos Kieck

Name: Koos Kieck
Date of birth: 09/06/1949
Day Job: Fire bomber pilot and Aviation Safety Manager for FFA
Total Flying hours: 6,200
Number of aircraft rated on: 52
Age when he started flying: 18

Flying achievements:
SAAF 1968 Impala course 2/68 then Harvard instructor Dunnotar 1000 hrs. Did OTC &PAI then Mirage III 2 sqn Bush war. Instructor 85 Combat F.S. Retired from SAAF 2009 joined FFA/WOF as bomber pilot flying the Airtractor 802. ASSA safety officer and Flight director (Airboss), Aerobatic instructor, Air warfare instructor, Aerial Firefighting instructor and Display pilot and instructor. Displayed the Harvard at P.E.Airshow 1970/71 Dunnottar 1972 Cape Town 1971, did Formation aeros Hoedspruit 2007 in an Impala, displayed the Yak 52 at Durban 2007,8 and 2009 and displayed the L29 at AAD / Swartkops / Nelspruit / Hoedspruit /Zandspruit / Pietermaritzburg.

Hobbies:
Golf & Flying.

Background:
Started with SAAF 1968 Impala course 2/68 then Harvard instructor Dunnotar 1000 hrs. Did OTC & PAI then Mirage III. Flew at 2 sqn during the Bush war. Instructor 85 Combat Flying School. Retired from SAAF 2009 joined FFA/WOF as bomber pilot flying the Airtractor 802 and is the aviation safety manager for the company and I am also an accident investigator.

Live in the town of Hoedspruit Married to Linda for 42 years 2 sons aged 36 and 33.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Used to be Rapier in the SAAF.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Harvard, Impala, Yak52 and L29.

Display Highlights:
The whole display is a highlight for me.

Facebook Link:
https://www.facebook.com/koos.kieck?fref=ts

Barrie Eeles

Name: Barrie Eeles
Date of birth: 21-04-1967
Day Job: Businessman
Total Flying hours: 1,200
Number of aircraft rated on: 20+
Age when he started flying: 17

Flying achievements:
Start flying age 17, 1st solo at 11hrs, achieve PPL 1986, Started Flying Aerobatics April 2005, Sportsman National Champion 2007, Advanced National Champion 2012, Represented SA at World Advanced Aerobatic Championships 2010, 2012, 2014. Currently Flying Unlimited Class.

Hobbies:
Working on Aircraft, coaching aerobatics, riding Off Road Bikes, Water Skiing & Barefoot Waterskiing.

Background:
Worked for Atlas Aircraft as an AME & Flight Test Observer, Built the very 1st Rooivalk and was involved in the flight testing of the Rooivalk and various other military aircraft. Left the industry in 1991, started my own business 1991, changed trades to Plumbing, Had the Plumbing business for 25 years, added various businesses along the way, now a group of 4 Companies.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Various depending on aircraft flown.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Sbach 342 (XtremeAir), Extra 300l and Zlin 50.

Display Highlights:
Flying Unlimited Aerobatics in an Unlimited Machine, Displaying the full Flight envelope from slow flight to high speed, and extreme accuracy aerobatics.

Facebook Link:
https://www.facebook.com/barrie.eeles?fref=ts

Warren Haslam

Name: Warren Haslam
Date of birth: 17-04-1975
Day Job: Systems Engineer
Total Flying hours: 1,000
Number of aircraft rated on: 19
Age when he started flying: 22

Flying achievements:
South African Colours Aerobatics, Commercial IR.

Hobbies:
Flying, Travel, Outdoors.

Background:
I have always been attracted to aerobatics from a young age after attending my first airshow. I enjoy the accuracy that aerobatic competition demands and the thrill of display flying in front of an eager crowd.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Sukhoi.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Sukhoi SU-29.

Display Highlights:
High energy display emphasising the outstanding capabilities of the Russian built Sukhoi SU29.

Menno Parsons

Name: Menno Parsons
Date of birth: 1973-04-05
Day Job: Owner of Master Power Technologies
Total Flying hours: 1359.5 Fixed wing and 879.8 Helicopter
Number of aircraft rated on: 20
Age when he started flying: 33

Flying achievements:
Every flying experience is a highlight for me.

Hobbies:
Flying

Background:
Menno Parsons started flying in 2006, 9 years later and he is a master in aviation! His passion for warbirds and helicopters has driven him to obtain many ratings as well as being the proud owner of beautiful aircraft. Nothing gives Menno more pleasure than to share his interest with others, especially awakening an interest in young children, giving them a reason to dream big!

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Mustang or Ice-Pack

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
North American P-51 Mustang, Bell 407 Helicopter, Bell UH-1H Helicopter, North American T-28 Trojan, Pilatus PC-12

Display Highlights:
Each display is a highlight and I enjoy every one of them.

Oscar Goudriaan

Name: Oscar Goudriaan
Date of birth: 31st March 1966
Day Job: Managing Director at Oranje Mynbou en Vervoer
Total Flying hours: 5,000 gliding & 3,500 power
Number of aircraft rated on: Open rating - gliding. Single & Multi eng < 5,700 kg
Age when he started flying: 14

Flying achievements:
World Gliding Champion Open Class 2001.

Hobbies:
Gliding.

Background:
First Solo 1982 at Goldfields Gliding Club, Represented SA in World Gliding Championships since 1991.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Glider.

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Jonker Sailplanes JS1.

Display Highlights:
The grace and silence of glider aerobatics.

Neville Ferreira

Name: Neville Ferreira
Date of birth: 27-05-1968
Day Job: Consumer electronics specialist
Total Flying hours: 1,400
Number of aircraft rated on: 25
Age when he started flying: 30

Flying achievements:
World Aerobatic championship 2012 ranked 14th
World Aerobatic Championship 2014 ranked 3rd
Unlimited Aerobatic Pilot qualified 2015

Hobbies:
Flying + Motorbikes

Background:
Started with competition aerobatics 2010.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Various depending on Aircraft

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Yak 52, Yak 55 and Slick 540

Display Highlights:
Flying my Sandown Commercial Vehicles sponsored Slick 540 at air shows in high energy aerobatics.

Facebook Link:
https://www.facebook.com/neville.ferreira.92

Justus Venter

Name: Justus Venter
Date of birth: 1972-04-23
Day Job: CEO / Owner of Slick Aircraft Company
Total Flying hours: 400
Number of aircraft rated on: 12
Age when he started flying: 29

Flying achievements:
Red Bull Air Race - Team Manager for Glen Dell
Awarded Provincial Colours in the first year of flying competition aerobatics.
Solo Aerobatic Pilot

Hobbies:
Flying, Off-roading, Sport

Background:
Justus obtained his PPL in 2001 and is living his dream. He is better known for his involvement with Glen Dell as the Team Coordinator for the South African Red Bull Air Race Team.

He has qualifications in electronics, information technology and project management and in 2008 he swapped his corporate career to live his passion.

During the Red Bull Air Race 2009 season he was appointed as the CEO for Slick Aircraft Company and started worked alongside Glen to improve the already successful aerobatic aircraft.

He was also instrumental in the development of an electronic engine management system that has now been implemented into the experimental aviation industry.

Justus started flying competition aerobatics in 2012 and flew his first airshow in his Pitts S1S in 2014.

He is now the owner of Slick Aircraft Company and will soon be seen on the airshow circuit with the newly sponsored and improved Slick 360 aerobatic aircraft.

He resides in the garden city of Pretoria, and other than flying, he enjoys sport, off-roading, wildlife and nature.

According to Justus, all the credit and respect goes to the late Glen Dell, for his friendship, trust, mentorship, and inspiration to persevere and follow and fulfill his own dreams.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Depends on aircraft flown

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Pitts S1S and Slick 360

Display Highlights:
High impact aerobatics and the honor of displaying at the Swartkops Air Show

Patrick Davidson

Name: Patrick Davidson
Date of birth: 07/06/1982
Day Job: Director at Stu Davidson and Sons
Total Flying hours: 1600
Number of aircraft rated on: 16
Age when he started flying: 12

Flying achievements:
2014 3rd place at World Aerobatic Championships, Aeroclub South Africa Pilot of the year 2014, South African Unlimited Aerobatic champion 2014.

Hobbies:
Patrick's biggest passion is his flying and his family, to keep fit he enjoys playing squash and he is a keen fisherman.

Background:
Patrick comes from a family of aviators with his grandfather Doug Davidson and his father Stu Davidson both being well known in the aviation community. He has been involved in flying from a very young age and officially got his PPL on his 16th birthday in a Harvard T6. He runs their demolition and excavation business along with his brother Nicholas in Port Elizabeth and whenever there is free time you will find him in the sky.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Various depending on aircraft flown

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
North American P-51 Mustang, Sukhoi SU-31 and Walter Extra 300

Display Highlights:
To display a vintage war bird such as the P-51 Mustang is a highlight in itself. Flying the SU-31 and the Extra 300, which are both high performance aerobatic aircraft, gives one a serious work out and you feel exhilarated after completing a high energy display.

Gary Whitecross

Name: Gary Whitecross
Date of birth: 1 November 1957
Day Job: Flight Instructor - Recreational Aviation
Total Flying hours: 4000
Age when he started flying: 17

Flying achievements:
Represented South Africa in Glider World Championships Finland 2014, World XC Paragliding champs Spain 2006, 2007, Winner numerous Regional and National Championships both Gliding and Paragliding. Retired Commercial pilot.

Hobbies:
Flying, Aerobatics, Cycling

Background:
Started flying model planes at the age of 7, discovered gliding at Baragwanath (old) and was hooked, but had to wait till 1975 due to parents objection to dangers, 1981 moved to Power flying PPL and Commercial License, fixed wing and later helicopters. Retired in 2001 and got so bored came back as Glider instructor in 2006. Currently Head of Training for the Soaring Society of South Africa. Runs own commercial Flight School at Springs dedicated to accelerated Glider, TMG and LSA training.

Call sign used at Air Shows:
Biggles - Glider

Aircraft Flown at Air Shows:
Pilatus PC11-B4

Display Highlights:
Full Aerobatics routine displaying that a glider can do almost all that its big noisy brothers can do, low downwind flypast demonstrating retention of energy in ground effect with a pull up turn and spot landing in front of crowd where possible.