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All set for Kenya’s largest airshow on 14 – 15 December

UPDATE: The Tusker Air Show Festival will be held on 21 – 22 December 2013 instead of the dates announced below. The air show has been postponed due to heavy rains at Wilson Airport.

All is set for the Tusker Air Show Festival, a two-day event of aerial performances, static displays of aircraft and music concerts. The show begins on Saturday 14 December 2013 at the Wilson Airport in Nairobi.

File photo showing Kenya Air Force personnel preparing a two-seater F5 fighter jet for flight at an undisclosed location. KAF will participate in the Tusker Air Show Festival.

File photo showing Kenya Air Force personnel at an undisclosed location preparing a two-seater F-5 fighter jet for flight. KAF will participate in the Tusker Air Show Festival.

Kenya’s aviation industry, security forces and regulators are putting the final touches on what will be the air show of the decade. The last major air show in Nairobi took place in 2002.

The Kenya Air Force, Kenya Army, commercial air transport operators from JKIA and Wilson Airports, Kenya Police Air Wing, the Kenya Wildlife Service among others will participate in this weekend’s air show. This has been confirmed by the Chairman of the Aero Club of East Africa, Rob Linck.

“There are going to be 47 different acts for the flying displays,” says Linck. The Aero Club of East Africa is a key organizer of the air show.

There will be a flying display every 15 minutes between 10am and 5pm on both days of the air show. The flights will include performances by fighter jets, commercial aircraft, helicopters and gyro-copters. Most of these aerial stunts will be done by Kenyan pilots. Crop dusting aircraft will also be at the air show. Sky divers will be jumping from a height of tens of thousands of feet to land at the grounds.

“The military is sending their F-5s, Buffalo transport and Mi-17 helicopters,” adds Linck.

One of Kenya Airways' Embraer E-jets will perform low flypasts during the air show.

One of Kenya Airways’ Embraer E-jets will perform low flypasts during the air show.

There will be races between aircraft and motor vehicles to see which can beat the other on the runway. Rally driver Quintin Michel is already practicing for his performance.

There will be a festival village with concerts and music entertainment on both Saturday and Sunday evening. The Sunday evening concert will be capped by a fireworks display.

Last month, Kenya Breweries gave the Aero Club of East Africa Kshs10 million (US$116,618) as sponsorship for the air show. The sponsorship is through the company’s Tusker lager, which explains the official title of the air show as the ‘Tusker Air Show Festival.’

This French-built Max Holste MH.1521 Broussard will be part of the static display. The Broussard was designed in the 1950s and is powered by one radial engine.

This French-built Max Holste MH.1521 Broussard will be part of the static display. The Broussard was designed in the 1950s and is powered by one radial engine.

Unfortunately the South African aerobatics team will not be participating due to the period of official mourning following the death of Nelson Mandela. Mandela’s funeral takes place on 15 December, the second day of the air show. For that reason, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta will also not be at the Tusker air show as he is expected to attend Mandela’s funeral in South Africa.

The Tusker Air Show is part of the official calendar of events commemorating 50 years of Kenya’s Independence (Kenya @50).

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