Ever since I was a young boy and watched the Silver Falcons display at airshows the country over I never in my wildest dreams thought that one day I would get to be in the cockpit with them as their photographer.
The shoot took months of planning, mostly from logistical and getting the right permissions point of view. So in November last year (2013) it all came together. The shoot was for an article for SA Flyer Magazine. The two day shoot dates were set and Guy Leitch, editor of SA Flyer, and myself headed up to AFB Langebaanweg, Home of The Silver Falcons, to begin this epic journey.
Being well looked after by the base, dining in the Officers Mess and staying in their VIP accommodation was already an experience. The next morning after breakfast, we briefed and then it was off to Survival to collect our flight suits, G-Suits, boots, helmet and gloves. After being kitted out I then had to report Central Flying School’s flight simulator section to learn my way around the cockpit, from the correct way to strap in, connect the G-suit, PLP, radio procedures, getting my oxygen flow set and get my ejection seat training to make sure that if for any reason I had to leave the aircraft in less than a second I would be capable of doing that :)…
Then after a briefing my first hop was to fly in the spotter aircraft in a 15 ship formation.
Then came the time to fly in the formation with the Silver Falcons, hop no.1 was me flying with Captain Jacques Poolman in Falcon 5…an aerobatic sortie of note and a new appreciation for thew skill and professionalism of this team.
Hop No.2 was me in a sixth ship able to shoot all five of the Falcons in formation.