Huge boom-boom to shake Durbanites up

VETERAN display pilot Lieutenant-Colonel Glen Warden will break the sound barrier in a Mirage III CZ at the Durban Airshow next week.

Show spokesperson Ray de Vries said the show would take place on July 11 and 12 and had attracted more than 100 aircraft of various shapes and sizes.

"Breaking the sound barrier is a major coup for the show since it is the first time in over 45 years that spectators and Durban residents will be treated to this supersonic act.

The sound barrier has not been broken at the Durban Airshow since 1964, when the Mirages were first delivered to South Africa."

About 15km out to sea - at an altitude of about 20000ft - Warden will accelerate from Mach .97 to Mach 1.1 to break the sound barrier.

The sonic boom will sound like a double bang and will be heard as far away as Van Reenen's Pass - 250km inland.

Breaking the sound barrier is a major crowd puller at airshows around the world and is bound to be one of the highlights come July 11 and 12.

For Warden it will be just another day at the office.

As one of the pilots who flies South Africa's presidential jet, he will fly in from Italy on the Friday before the show to bring the Mirage "Black Widow" down to Durban.

Interestingly, it will take him only "16 minutes" to fly the fighter jet from Pretoria to Durban.

The Durban Wings Club, hosts of the show, expect more than 100 aircraft to arrive in Durban over the next two weeks. Durban is the new title sponsor of the event.

More than 95 participants at the show are set to wow the more than 15000 spectators and 250000 more who will be watching from beaches, hotels, restaurants and homes - from Umhlanga to downtown Durban.

The impact of the airshow on the regional economy will be worth up to R25million.

"We urge the public to buy tickets from as soon as possible to avoid disappointment," De Vries said.

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