Silver Falcons History

Silver Falcons MB-326 Impala logo

In 1966, the Central Flying School received the new Aermacchi MB326 Mk. I Impala training jets, built by the South African Atlas Aircraft Corporation under license from Aermacchi. Then the commandment of the School decided to establish a display team flying with the new jet planes. The first public demonstration of the new team was at the opening ceremony of Atlas Aircraft Corporation on November 24, 1967. They received the name "Silver Falcons". The leader of the team was once again, Chris Prins. The planes were painted in silver aluminum and were equipped with white smoke generators.

In 1985, the team received a new color scheme of silver, white, orange and blue with yellow numbers from 1 to 4. In 1988, a fifth (solo) aircraft was added to the team.

On October 2, 1993, during an airshow at the Lanseria airport, the team's #5 aircraft crashed after a structural failure. The pilot ejected seconds before the impact, but his parachute was enveloped by the fireball killing the pilot.

In 1994, the "Silver Falcon's" Impala aircraft color scheme changed but retained silver, blue, white and light blue colors. After receiving its sixth aircraft, the team performed on May 6, 1994 at the Nelson Mandela presidential induction ceremony in six-ship formation.

In 1995, the SAAF celebrated its 75th anniversary and the team was relocated to the 85th Combat Flying School at Hoedspruit Air Base. At the end of that year, the "Silver Falcons" team was disbanded.

In 1999, however, the team was reborn under pressure from Col. Dave Knoesen of the Central Flying School at Langebaanweg. This time the team was flying with four PC-7 Mk.2 Astra trainers (built in South Africa under license from Pilatus). The color scheme was the standard trainer red and white but with tail numbers. The aircraft were also equipped with white smoke generators. All the pilots and ground crew were drawn from the Central Flying School.

On 16 September 2008, the team's planes received a new special color scheme. A fifth demonstration aircraft was also added to the team. The "Silver Falcons" performed in this new paint scheme at the Cape Town Air Show from September 17-21, 2008.

On October 28, 2009, a civilian passenger who flew with the team at Langebaanweg Air Force Base, was accidentally ejected from the back seat of one of the team's PC-7 Mk. II Astras. He probably inadvertently grabbed and pulled the black and yellow striped handle between his legs during a high-G maneuver executed by the pilot, Captain Gerhard Lourens. The passenger was ejected safely and was later brought back to base by a helicopter without a scratch. The aircraft also landed safety.

From 2012, the team’s cargo plane C-47TP Dakota was paint in the Silver Falcons colors nicknamed “Gooney Bird”. Until then the plane flew in standard 35 Squadron livery. Unfortunately, on Dec 5 same year, the "Gooney Bird" crashed in Drakensberg Mountains near Ladysmith killing 11 team members onboard. The plane took off from Waterkloof Air Base, Pretoria in the morning en route to Mthatha.

Silver Falcons MB-326 Impala. First paint scheme from 1967 to 1985 Silver Falcons MB-326 Impala. Second paint scheme from 1985 to 1994 Silver Falcons MB-326 Impala. #5 crash on 2 Oct 1993 Silver Falcons MB-326 Impala. Third paint scheme from 1994 to 1995 Silver Falcons MB-326 Impala. Third paint scheme from 1994 to 1995 Selver Falcons PC-7 first paint scheme from 1999 to 2008 Selver Falcons PC-7 present paint scheme from 2008


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