DESPITE Saturday's gloomy, overcast weather, the Port Elizabeth Air Show was sold out and is in the running to be voted the best air show in South Africa – for the third time.
Event organisers said after 5000 tickets were sold, another 1000 tickets needed to be printed to accommodate visitors at the gates. About 7000 people attended the event, including VIP guests and members of the SA Air Force.
The event was held at the Algoa Flying Club at the airport.
Bay pilot Patrick Davidson said while organisers still needed to have a closing meeting to conclude final numbers, they had already been advised that a committee had voted for the event to be in the running for South Africa's best air show.
"We have already won this title twice so it will be great to get it for the third time because no other air show has won three times. This air show was the best one we have had by far," he said.
Davidson said organisers had worked hard to get a wide range of acts and displays to please the crowds.
"It was very well attended because we got some international acts that are amazing but not as well known as a lot of the others. It was the first time the S-Bach with Philipp Steinbach from Germany was in South Africa and that got a standing ovation from the crowd," he said.
Davidson said other main attractions which thrilled the crowds included the various aerobatic displays, the Mustang fighter planes and the drag race where he raced his Japanese aerobatic Sukhoi against – and beat – celebrity daredevil Stuart Smith who was on his Kawasaki motorbike.
"The veteran pilots were all reduced to tears when the Mustangs were up in the air. It was very emotional for them. All in all, it was a well-run and well-flown air show."
All proceeds from the air show will go towards the MTR Smit Children's Haven. Haven director Dr Crystal Watson will attend the awards event next month.