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 Exciting Developments for Team 66

By CO M. Lynn

Even though Mother Nature was taking her toll on wind-blown family, friends, colleagues, ex- and aspiring Silver Falcons, Air Force Base Langebaanweg proudly continued the tradition of handing over the lead of the Silver Falcons at a ceremony on 12 March 2008.

The outgoing team leader, Maj Alex van Oostveen, led Team 65 in his final display before handing over the Leader’s trophy to Capt Scott Ternent. Out of a total of 532 Silver Falcon displays over the past 40 years, Maj van Oostveen has flown 110 of them – more than any Silver Falcon to date.

Maj Van Oostveen started his Silver Falcon career at the Saldanha Mossel Fees on 28 February 2004 as part of Team 61. He flew 60 displays in the number three position in teams 61, 62 and 63, after which he took up the lead for Team 64 on 22 April 2006 at an Air Show in Ermelo. Maj Van Oostveen has a total of 2700 flying hours of which 2100 have been on the Astra. Previously Maj Van Oostveen flew Alouettes and Oryx’s in the helicopter line, to which he is due to return shortly.

Coincidently, Capt Scott Ternent began his Silver Falcon career as number four on the day Maj Van Oostveen took the lead for the first time. After 50 displays in teams 64 and 65, Capt Ternent became the 17th leader of the Silver Falcons and said that he is honoured to take the helm of such an established world-class aerobatic team.

Capt Ternent is looking forward to the development of an exciting new display sequence, which entails the introduction of a fifth aircraft to the team, and a new paint scheme which is more representative of the name of the team.

As is tradition, Maj Van Oostveen handed Capt Du Toit Deetlefs his helmet, which is unique to the Silver Falcons, and congratulated him on his achievement in becoming the newest member of Team 66.

It is now up to Capt Deetlefs, the 90th pilot to represent the Silver Falcons in its 40 years of existence, to slot in and together with his teammates, continue to amaze crowds with the absolute precision that is the Silver Falcons.

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