Posted on: September 1, 2009 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 2

Pilots protect airspace, cloud boys violate airspace. The expensive noise of the air force over Pretoria on 11 September reminded the capital that South Africa had jet fighters, support the international arms racket, and that some soldiers disrespect civil society.

A Centurion resident wrote to local newspapers that jet noise ‘downgrades public safety and health considerations’. The letter continues: “The air force had apparently commemorated the Iraqi-USA terror attacks of 11 September, and demonstrated its control of scenic no-fly zones, in solidarity with an imagined axis of non-evil.

“The air force incidentally also demonstrated that it is capable of using imported arms against the local population.

“Aviators practice airmanship. Defence pilots strategise and practice control of entry into airspace. Cloud boys, like some Gripen pilots, instructors, commanders and generals, prefer propaganda and dominance display.

“Bereft of an enemy, they do what boys with bling toys do. Subject to the thrill of the semblance of power, public safety and health are downgraded, far beneath supposed public security and supposed international law and order.

“Defence cloud boys are no different from boys who buzz their girlfriend’s house and crash land, or car freaks who watch car movies, race on public roads, and post the names of civilian casualties in pubs, or the arsehole with the unbaffled motorcycle who reminds a whole suburb of his immaturity.

“Avgas, already in short supply and secured only at great diplomacy, expense, and loss of life, should be sold only to responsible defence units, with larger organs or personalities, and smaller egos.”

From a family, Centurion, Pretoria

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2 People reacted on this

  1. “Jet noise by cloud boys” by “Centurion family” is a classic example of what the French refers to as “resentiment”, and too typical of what South Africans have become experts at, i.e. dragging their fellow countrymen and -women down whenever the opportunity arises.

    Instead of criticising the SAAF from the comfort of their lounge, Centurion family should have shown their support to our Air Force by going to the flying day instead. It’s much more fun than being sour about life in general, and they may even discover (God forbid!) some patriotism deep inside, reaching beyond the cynicism.

    I have long wanted the SAAF to re-erect the billboards on Hans Strydom Drive that used to read: “Jet thunder – the sound of freedom”. We are not hearing nearly enough of it lately and may be found wanting in the face of an external threat. Unless Centurion family thinks the human species has unexpectedly adopted “make love not war” as its slogan.

    At least they should be consistent in their democratic right to free speech by marking their house as being “contracted out” of protection, should a military threat ever arise. But they should also remind themselves that they are probably part of the first generation of South Africans in the country’s history not to have experienced war first-hand. Such Utopia is unlikely to persist forever.

    In the meantime the second oldest Air Force in the world, and in particular its “cloud boys” probably deserves a fairer treatment by the citizens it has vowed to protect with no regard to their own safety and comfort, should they ever be called upon to do so.

    Pieter Roux
    Centurion

  2. Hi Christelle,

    I’ve mailed your article “Jet Noise by Cloud Boys” on your website to the pilots in my Squadron, for their perusal. The following response from one of them, not anonymous like the family who posted the orginal letter.

    Keep up the good work,
    Ben Esterhuizen

    ——————

    “Jet noise by cloud boys” by “Centurion family” is a classic example of what the French refer to as “resentiment”, and too typical of what South Africans have become experts at, i.e. dragging their fellow countrymen and -women down whenever the opportunity arises.

    Instead of criticising the South African Air Force from the comfort of their lounge, Centurion family should have shown their support to our Air Force by going to the flying day instead. It’s much more fun than being sour about life in general, and they may even discover (God forbid!) some patriotism deep inside, reaching beyond the cynicism.

    I have long wanted the SAAF to re-erect the billboards on Hans Strydom Drive that used to read: “Jet thunder – the sound of freedom”. We are not hearing nearly enough of it lately and may be found wanting in the face of an external threat. Unless Centurion family thinks the human species has unexpectedly adopted “make love not war” as its slogan.

    At least they should be consistent in their democratic right to free speech by marking their house as being “contracted out” of protection, should a military threat ever arise. But they should also remind themselves that they are probably part of the first generation of South Africans in the country’s history not to have experienced war first-hand. Such Utopia is unlikely to persist forever.

    In the meantime the second oldest Air Force in the world, and in particular its “cloud boys”, probably deserve a fairer treatment by the citizens they have vowed to protect with no regard to their own safety and comfort, should they ever be called upon to do so.

    Pieter Roux
    Centurion

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