Yikes! Get set for another Yak attack over Durban

2008-06-20 00:00

Brace for another “Yak attack”.

Last year, the Virginia Airshow featured a spectacular fly-past from nine noisy Russian “war birds”.

Following their successful 2007 debut, those magnificent flying machines are back this year.

The Ecko Unltd Yak Formation Week, held in association with the Durban Wings Club, takes place from July 4 to 9, a tempting “teaser” to the House of Paint Virginia Airshow on July 12 and 13.

“What makes the Yak Formation Team so unique is that it consists of civilian private pilots,” said Roger Deare, sponsor of the team and an early member of the SA Yak movement.

Spectators can expect to see aerial fireworks this year with a record 10 Yak pilots taking part in the gruelling training week, which will be conducted by former and current SAAF instructors — all on a mission to get the team in shape for another impressive public display.

And if you’re still wondering what all the fuss is about, the only female participant, Annie Boon, puts it like this: “The beauty of the Yak-52 is that it growls. You can’t sneak up on anyone in a Yak-52. It’s a big, noisy, robust airplane. It’s beautiful.”

The Yakovlev Yak-52 is a Soviet-made aircraft designed originally as an aerobatic trainer for military and civilian sport pilots. Since the early 1990s and the fall of the Soviet Union, many Yak 52s have been exported to the West. Of the approximately 1 800 produced to date, most now fly in the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia — and South Africa.

The Ecko Unltd Yak Open Day will be held at Virginia Airport from 9 am on June 28.

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