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Air Adventures -- Aerobatics
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Aerobatics: 2 listings
Sky Raiders
East Rand, GAU
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Garden Route Gliding
Garden Route, WC
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: An Awesome Aerobatic display
Glen Dell at Virginia:
An Awesome Aerobatic display
Feel the need for Speed? Enjoyed your last trip on the Rollercoaster?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Aerobatics is the demonstration of flying maneuvers for recreation or entertainment. It is an entirely unique experience and is considered to be a sport, an art and a skill, all bundled up in one exciting and unique package.

Aerobatic maneuvers involve a complex combination of rolling, pitching and yawing. These maneuvers can be combined together to form an aerobatic routine and the result is often referred to as aerial ballet. Pilots require tremendous skills, experience and spatial awareness to execute these routines and the pursuit of perfection is one of the main reasons why these pilots enjoy their sport so much.

We are lucky to have some of the finest aerobatic pilots based in South Africa and a variety of fantastic aerobatic packages available in most major centres. Whether you are looking at a wild ride in the back of a High Performance Aerobatic Plane, a team outing with a Professional Formation Aerobatic Team or advanced aerobatic training, we have all the info you need right here.
A word on Aerobatics:
  The exhilaration of flying is too keen, the pleasure too great, for it to be neglected as a sport. — Orville Wright  


Aerobatic aircraft usually fall into two categories - specialist aerobatic, and aerobatic capable. Specialist designs such as the Pitts Special, the Extra 200 and 300, and the Sukhoi Su-29 aim for ultimate aerobatic performance. These aircraft can have two seats (one behind the other) and have a very high power-to-weight ratio, as well as a specially designed wing. This allows the aircraft to accelerate and climb extremely quickly and gives it superior handling capabilities, but comes at the expense of general purpose use such as touring, or ease of non aerobatic handling such as landing.

At a more basic level, aerobatic capable aircraft, such as the RV4 and the Citabria, can be dual purpose - equipped to carry passengers and luggage, easy to land, as well as being capable of basic aerobatic figures.

There has recently been a large influx of local and foreign ex-military planes and there are various venues throughout South Africa that offer specialist aerobatic packages in these aircraft, which include Harvards, Vampires, Lightnings and the L29.
Aerobatics - Red Bull Air Races


As with all aviation related activities, your safety is of paramount concern to all operators. Whilst you may see an experienced airshow pilot do aerobatic manouevers within a whisker of the ground, your aerobatic experience will take place at a safe height above the ground. You will be in the capable hands of a licensed pilot who will tailor the experience to your needs and G-force tolerances, and will constantly monitor you for any signs that you are not enjoying the ride. He will not do anything that you don’t want him to do and will explain each manouver to you in detail, before beginning the sequence.

All aircraft are regularly serviced according to strict legislation, which is implemented and monitored by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). As an added precaution, you will be required to wear a parachute, in the unlikely event that the aircraft develops structural damage.

Some operators may require you to provide a letter from your GP stating that you are in Good Health. If you suffer from a heart condition or have any back problems, this activity may not be for you as the G-forces that you sustain during the aerobatic experience, may aggravate your condition. If you are unsure, simply visit your local GP who will be equipped to answer any questions you may have.

Interesting Facts:

  • Glen Dell was the first South African to win the coveted Advanced Aerobatic World Championship in 2004.
  • The Zivko Edge 540, one of the best aerobatic aircraft in the world, weighs in at just over 500kg and has a 327 HP motor. It can climb at almost 4000ft/min and has a roll rate of 420 degrees per second.
  • The World Record for the most number of consecutive turns in a single spin is ….
  • Pilots experience up to +10g’s and –6g’s in advanced aerobatic manouvers.
  • Aerobatics - Red Bull Air Races 2


    In the early days of flying, some pilots began using their aircraft as part of a flying circus. These ‘gypseys of the sky’, were referred to as Barnstormers and flew from village to village, entertaining the locals with graceful aerobatic displays. This put food on the table and fuel in the tank, which enabled these entrepid aviation pioneers to pursue their dreams.

    In due course some of these aerobatic maneuvers were found to allow fighter aircraft to gain tactical advantage during dogfights (aerial combat). These maneuvers were changed and perfected over time, and although close aerial combat is very rare today, most airforces around the world still train their pilots in the art of aerobatics. The top pilots are then selected to fly in elite formation aerobatic teams, which perform at airshows around the world.

    Today, most aerobatic pilots fly solely for recreation, although there are a select few, who compete in aerobatic competitions. Competitions start at Primary, or Graduate level and proceed in complexity through Sportsman, Intermediate and Advanced, with Unlimited being the top competition level. Unlimited pilots perform much more complex routines and sustain higher g levels (+/-10g's).

    The Red Bull Air Races, held annually at landmark locations around the world, have gone a long way towards raising awareness of this activity. Some of these events have had over 1 million spectators watching the cream of the aerobatic crop duel for the top spot. Each event is also televised and beamed out to millions of people around the world.


    • The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) – FAI is the world air sports federation, founded in 1905. It is a non-governmental and non-profit making international organisation with the basic aim of furthering aeronautical and astronautical activities worldwide.
    • Red Bull Copilot – This is a must-see site if you are an aviation nut, adrenalin junkie or lover of extreme sports. The site is geared towards browsers with a broadband connection and is one of the best flash websites we have ever come across.
    • International Aerobatic Club (IAC) – The IAC is the world’s largest aerobatic organisation, promoting and enhancing the safety and enjoyment of aerobatics. The site features an impressive gallery and comprehensive information on the world of aerobatics.
    • Sport Aerobatic Club of South Africa – The official website of the Aerobatic section of the Aero Club of South Africa, filled with news, profiles and galleries.
    • Air Shows South Africa (ASSA) – Looking for the next Airshow in South Africa? ASSA features a calendar of events, as well as an interesting breakdown on the teams and individuals on the local Airshow ciruit.
    • Glen Dell Aerobatics – Meet South Africa’s first Advanced World Aerobatic Champion (2004). The site features a wealth of information about this remarkable gentleman and has some brilliant pictures, which can be downloaded as backgrounds for your PC. For more information visit his site.

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    Aerobatics - Red Bull Air Races 3
    Aerobatics - Red Bull Air Races 3
    Aerobatics - Red Bull Air Races 4
    Aerobatics - Red Bull Air Races 4
    Aerobatics: RV6 over Gariep Dam
    RV6 over Gariep Dam
    Aerobatics - Red Bull Air Races 6
    Aerobatics - Red Bull Air Races 6
    Aerobatics - Red Bull Air Races 7
    Aerobatics - Red Bull Air Races 7
    Aerobatics - Red Bull Air Races 8
    Aerobatics - Red Bull Air Races 8
    Inverted...: Slick inverted in blue sky.
    Slick inverted in blue sky.
    Going Vertical...: Climbing over the Highveld.
    Going Vertical...
    Climbing over the Highveld.
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