24 May 2014
Jacob Zuma’s presidential inauguration in Pretoria on Saturday was followed by a stunning aerial display – including a formation flypast in the shape of “20”, marking South Africa’s 20 years of democracy – that left the massive crowd at the Union Buildings breathless.
The salute flypast, followed Zuma’s swearing-in for a second term as President of South Africa, drew cheering, ululation and vuvuzela blasts from the thousands of people gathered on the Southern Lawns of the Union Buildings.
The crowd was treated to a series of formation flypasts featuring the Gripen, the front-line fighter aircraft of the South African Air Force; a Hawk fighter jet formation including a lead aircraft painted in the colours of the national flag; and flag-bearing helicopters from squadrons around the country.
South Africa’s VIP transport aircraft, comprising the Presidential Jet, a Falcon 50 and a Falcon 900, also flew overhead, escorted by two Gripen fighters, followed by a South African Airways Airbus.
But the largest and most spectacular formation of the day was made of 19 aircraft, including the Silver Falcons, the aerobatic display team of the South African Air Force, forming the shape of a “20” to mark the country’s 20 years of democracy.