‘Black Widow’ to add bang to Durban Airshow

2009-06-30 00:00

IF you happen to hear a big double bang next Saturday afternoon, don’t fret — the city will not be under attack. On the contrary, a fighter jet known as “the Black Widow” will be putting on quite a show.

Durban residents will be treated to “a supersonic act”, said Ray de Vries, a spokesman for the Durban Airshow being held next weekend.

The sound barrier has not been broken at the airshow since 1964 when the jets were first delivered to South Africa, he added.

Veteran Mirage display pilot Lieutent-Colonel Glen Warden, who is a presidential pilot, has agreed to break the sound barrier in the Mirage III CZ.

The jet will be flown about 15 kilometres out to sea at an altitude of over 6 000 metres. De Vries said this is because the last time the feat was attempted, “all the windows in Durban North were shattered”.

On the day, Warden will accelerate from Mach 0,97 to Mach 1,1. The sonic boom will sound like a loud double bang and will be heard from as far away as Van Reenen’s Pass.

The “Black Widow” will fly from Pretoria in only take 16 minutes. It will be one of more than 100 aircraft taking part in the airshow.


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