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Wesbank Botswana International Airshow organizers ease public safety concerns

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RORISANG MOGOJWE

Following the recent tragic incident that occurred at Matsieng Flying Club, in which a South African pilot crashed a plane into the private venue, organizers of the 8th annual Wesbank Botswana International Airshow say the show must go on. The biggest airshow in the country is scheduled for Saturday May 25th at the Matsieng Flying Club – an event that caters for the whole family.

Speaking at the press conference held last week, Organising committee member and experienced Air Boss Chris Briers addressed public safety concerns, saying the airshow has always been run to the highest international standards. He said the airshow undergoes a rigorous risk assessment and meets, or exceeds all of the CAAB requirements for flying displays. “These rules and regulations are based on international standards, to ensure the complete safety of pilots and spectators alike.” Briers further pointed out that the recent crash was a deliberate event and the probability of a display pilot committing such an act was zero.

More than 200 aircraft are expected to participate at the airshow, assisted by Air Traffic Controllers from the CAAB to ensure the smooth and safe movement of aircraft.

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has been invited to participate, though organizers are not too optimistic about the force’s Air Wing presence due to “hesitancy on the government’s part to spend tax money on what is effectively a private event”. They are, however, hopeful of the BDF’s return in future as this would attract the public in numbers.

Charity

The airshow was conceived from a conversation by a group of friends, who decided that Botswana needed an airshow that would also raise money for good causes. The event, through sponsorships, has raised considerable funds for charity. The main recipients over the years have been the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation, the Lady Khama Charitable Trust and the Motswedi Rehabilitation Centre.

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