Sounding off: Mixed reactions as fighter jet flies over PMB airspace

2009-10-29 00:00

CITY residents can be forgiven for thinking that Top Gun had rolled into town after a Gripen fighter jet was spotted in local airspace. One excited caller to The Witness claimed that they spotted the jet making a touch-and-go landing at Oribi Airport, but this was denied by airport management as well as Airforce personnel in Pretoria.

“That definitely could not be true. Those fighters require a very long runway and they need barrier nets to stop them,” said a colonel, who preferred to remain unnamed, slightly amused at the suggestion. He did confirm that both Gripen and Hawk fighter jets were in KZN as part of exercise “Shield”, a preparatory exercise in air defence ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. “As far as I am aware, those jets were flying from Durban so it is quite possible that they ended up in your neighbourhood,” said the colonel.

Some residents were not impressed.

“It’s not right. We have small children at home and they are terrified. This guy is flying 150 metres from the ground and the noise is unbearable. Our windows rattle every time he flies over,” said a Scottsville resident.

A university employee also phoned The Witness to find out what was going on, complaining that it was almost impossible to work with the noise. Attempts to get comment from Airforce personnel at the Durban Airfield were unsuccessful.

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