The sky over Nairobi has cleared up as Kenya’s aviation industry prepares for the biggest air show in a decade. The air show will be held at Wilson Airport on 21 – 22 December, a week after it was postponed due to heavy rain.
A large variety of events are lined up for the two day air show, dubbed the Tusker Air Show Festival. There will be flight performances by Kenya’s security forces, the South African Air Force, commercial air transport operators and private pilots. Sky divers will also be doing what they do best.
Flight performances have been scheduled for one every 15 minutes between 10am and 5pm on both days. There will be static displays of modern and classic aircraft.
On both evenings, there will be music concerts featuring well-known Kenyan artists including Sauti Sol, Them Mushrooms, 5 Alive, J.B Maina, Just A Band and Juma Toto. There will be a huge fireworks display just before the Sunday evening concert.
Joyrides will be available, with prices starting at Kshs2,500 (US$29) for a 20 minute flight.
The Tusker Air Show Festival is part of the Kenya @ 50 Independence celebrations. It is hosted by the Aero Club of East Africa through its sports wing, Aerosports. The air show’s main sponsor is Kenya Breweries through the company’s flagship brand, Tusker Lager. The Kenya Airports Authority is another key sponsor.
Kenya Air Force, Kenya Police Air Wing and Kenya Wildlife Service are taking part in the air show. The F-5 fighter jet, Mi-17 helicopters and DHC-5 Buffalo are expected to make appearances.
National carrier Kenya Airways is participating as well, with at least one of it’s Embraer E190 jets doing a low level flypast. The airline is providing a model of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the static display area.
Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni said that the Tusker Air Show is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements that the airline has made so far. “As we mark Kenya’s 50th anniversary, we are also celebrating our achievements which includes growth in our fleet and network of destinations,” said Dr Naikuni.
Rally driver Quentin Mitchell is one of the star attractions as he prepares to race head to head with a helicopter. Mitchell, who finished third in the 2013 Safari Rally, is driving a Subaru Impreza and will test himself against former Safari Rally driver Marco Brighetti who will be flying the helicopter.
“I’m looking forward to it. I enjoy doing different things with my rally car and this race with the chopper is just one of them,” said Mitchell after a practice run at Wilson Airport.
The Pitts Special aerobatics aircraft will be another highlight at the show. The Pitts, to be flown by Mark Ross, is a light aerobatic biplane that has dominated world aerobatic competitions since the 1960s and 70s.
Other attractions include a gyrocopter to be flown by Bruce Field, a drone helicam to be manned by Graham Ray and a parachute drop by the Kenya Skydivers.
The future of Kenya’s aviation will also be on display courtesy of the Kenya School of Flying and Pegasus Flying School.