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Wednesday, 29 January 2014 22:27

South Africa debuts aerobatics with Durban Land, Sea & Air Festival

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Logo Durban Sky Grand Prix

The beaches of Durban –the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal- host the Durban Land, Sea & Air Festival, the first event of its kind to happen in that country. The festivals main event is the Sky Grand Prix of Aerobatics, from 21 to 23 March. There will be the best South African and international pilots will perform heady aerial moves and races over the ocean to see who are the finest and fastest.

Ten South African pilots will compete with five world and national champions from France, Russia, USA, Great Britain and Germany. A ranking system using the National Championships score and a regional contest was conducted to choose the South African participants. So far the top six confirmed South African pilots are Nigel Hopkins, Patrick Davidson, Mark Hensman, Barrie Eales, Bertus Du Preez and Johnnie Smith. The last four positions will be filled after the final contest in Parys on the 2nd March.

The internationally recognized aerobatic event, sanctioned by the International Aero Sports Federation (FAI), International Aerobatic Commission (CIVA) and South African Aerobatics (SAC), will be judged by a world class judging panel with live commentary featuring instantaneous scoring and dramatic big screen coverage.

The full three days of entertainment will be free to the public. Festival goers can enjoy activities on land, other water sports competitions, a demonstration Navy submarine warfare, the promenade are transformed into event zones where the public will be able to meet pilots, learn about aviation or be part of other fun activities to keep them entertained outdoors, for example. There will also be live music, movies and other air themed land activities until evening.

Festival organizer, Brian Emmenis from Capital Sounds, says, “We have been planning the festival since mid-2013 and are very excited to bring this event to Durban. Nowhere else in the country are people able to watch so many exhilarating displays over and in the sea. The Sky Grand Prix of Aerobatics alone will feature world champion pilots who compete against each other regularly on the international airshow stage.  It’s going to be electric!”

Dr Clive Coetzee, general manager of Infrastructure Management and Economic Services, adds “This is going to be a great event for KwaZulu-Natal and Durban. KwaZulu-Natal Treasury has been focused on delivering on its vision to take aviation to the people and this event is the culmination of all the hard work we’ve put into the KwaZulu-Natal Winter Air Tour and the Zululand Race of Champions – getting the team ready to host this world class beach event. We have taken aviation to the far reaches of the province and now we are bringing an extraordinary show to the country’s favorite beach right here in Durban.”

This city is the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa afterJohannesburg and is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa and Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centers of tourism because of the city's warmsubtropicalclimate and extensive beaches. The Durban Land, Sea & Air Festival will be precisely on the main North Beach. The municipality, which includes neighboring towns, has a population of almost 3.5 million,making the combined municipality the biggest city on the east coast of the African continent.

Mock-up of the beach where the event is held
Mock-up of the beach 






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Ingrid Font

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"Aerobatics is the hidden rythm of our soul..."