2 Jul 2019
Johan von Solms
The Goodyear Eagles Aerobatics Team has been in the forefront of bringing aerobatics excitement to the public for the past 29 years. Over this period the team has had several major sponsors, but Goodyear Aviation became the official team sponsor at the beginning of the 2009 season and they are both proud and honoured to be associated with this great company that have been in the forefront of Aviation Tyre technology since the very beginning of manned flight.
On 29 June 2019, the Goodyear Eagles celebrated 10 years of Good Year sponsorship with an event held at their home base at Rand Airport.
The event was also used to introduce HI-Q as their new co-sponsor for the future. Some of the Good Year and Hi-Q dignitaries were spoilt with a 30 minute sortie introducing them to some formation aerobatics and general formation flying as a treat from the team.
The team then took off solo and treated everyone to a 12 minute display overhead Rand airport. At the function Good Year represented by Mr Paul de Villiers presented the owner of the team, Dennis Spence with an Eagle Trophy to signify the gratitude that Good Year and Hi-Q had towards the Goodyear Eagles team for their commitment and loyalty during the past sponsorship years. Each team member received some great new kit for the coming seasons.
Dennis Spence thanked past team members including Paul Coetser, Neil Trollip and Ian Billing for their support in growing the team. He also used the occasion to welcome new members, Simon Cowie, Kieran Bell and Gareth Gill. They will be trained in the wings to be the future of the team.
Since inception the team has been a regular, sought after performer on the South African airshow circuit, as well as having the honour of being the first ever South African team to perform across our borders, being invited to perform in Kenya in Central Africa in 1993 and are privileged to have been invited back to Kenya on another nine occasions.
The team has also been a regular performer at air shows in Botswana,Swaziland, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and in 2008 were privileged to be invited to perform at the Al Ain International Aerobatic Show in the United Arab Emirate where they performed as “The Wizards” and their display included 2 Extra ES300’s, becoming, possibly, the first team to perform with not only two different types of aircraft, but also incorporating two skydivers into the aerobatic display.
The Goodyear Eagles are extremely proud and fortunate to have been invited back to the United Arab Emirates to perform once again at the 2010 Al Ain International Aerobatics Show and to proudly fly the South African flag at this prestigious International event.
During the late 1980’s the team performed a first, in South African Aerobatic display history by performing an inverted parachute drop as part of the display. In the display the parachutist exits the aircraft midway through a loop and parachutes to the ground. This awe-inspiring act was performed at many airshows across the length and breadth of South Africa.
Then in early 2000 the team executed the FIRST ever dual inverted parachute drop ever performed on the African Continent at the Virginia Airshow with two skydivers exiting two aircraft simultaneously whilst the aircraft are performing a loop. From the crowd response, it obviously a winner!
Since then the team has performed this display on a vast number of occasions and the crowd response continues to uplift the team and with this in mind they continually to strive improve.
The team performed a world first, a triple inverted parachute drop, which was seen for the first time in public, and on CNN, at the 2010 Al Ain International Aerobatics Show, in the United Arab Emirates.
The Goodyear Eagles Aerobatic Team continually strive to enrich and improve our displays, not only to entertain but also to educate the airshow public of the full capabilities and manoverability of the wonderful aircraft they fly, namely the Pitts Special S2B and they strive to keep the skies full of thrills for the entire duration of our display.
The current team is led by Glen Warden and team members include Johan von Solms, Jason Beamish and Nigel Hopkins.