SCULLY LEVIN – Gabriel Wings
Scully is a senior captain with South African Airways and has logged about 25000 hours flying everything from lights singles to the largest airliners such as the Boeing 747 and Airbus A340. His actual air show career spans over 25 years and he has flown over 1500 displays in a wide variety of aircraft ranging from the Pitts Specials, Harvards, other World War II Warbirds to the Boeing 737, 747 and Airbus A340-600 at these shows.Gabriel Wings flight team leader Scully Levin is by far the best known aerobatic pilot in South Africa. He was instrumental in the late 1970s and early 1980s in getting the first aerobatic teams sponsored in South Africa.
Scully and his team have enthralled hundreds of Control Instruments customers at several customer days held at the Rand Airport in 2008 and 2009. He regales some lovely stories about his flying experiences, including his favorite tip for those who have won a flip in the Pitts Special: bananas are a wonderful food. You should eat them before you go flying, because they taste the same going down as they do coming up!”
ELLIS LEVIN – Gabriel Wings
“My old man taught me to fly right from the beginning and I have learnt just about everything from him. He’s always placed great emphasis on handling an aeroplane with precision and smoothness at all times. No exceptions!” says Ellis.Ellis Levin first started his aerobatic career at the age of 17 in a Pitts Special. Unsurprisingly he learnt how to fly from his dad.
Ellis has 11,000 flying hours to his name and rates the 2001 Nissan Coastal Tour as one of the highlights of his career. The tour entailed flying between three to four displays a day, for a week with his dad along the Natal coast.
Evidently the family’s aerobatic passion is genetic, as his own son Ethan has also taken a keen interest. Gabriel Wings’ fans should also look out for the team’s latest addition – namely Ellis’s sister, Sally. Sally reckons Ellis shares many aerobatic characteristics with their father. The team is now a four ship display and according to Ellis is “busier and faster than before and definitely something to look out for.”
ARNIE MENEGHELLI – Gabriel Wings
Arnie, who became involved in the air show industry at a late age, has 4,500 flying hours under his belt. His team mate Ellis Levin says, “It has taken a great deal of hard work, dedication, passion and commitment on Arnie’s behalf to fly at this level. I don’t know anybody else who has accomplished what he has in such a short period of time.”Arnie Meneghelli flies with both the Gabriel Wings and Flying Lions formation teams. He began his aerobatic career in a Harvard and has subsequently flown numerous other types including the Pitts, Zlin, Extra and Baron amongst others – all of which are “phenomenal performers,” he says.
Arnie is close friends of the Levin family and has witnessed Sally Levin follow in the footsteps of her father and brother. She now also flies with the Gabriel Wings. “It’s fantastic to see Sally progress and share in the aerobatic culture and ideals and we have high expectations of her. Likewise it’s been an honor flying with her father who never ceases to encourage and inspire. He is a professional in all spheres and never takes anything for granted,” says Arnie.
An investment in the greater community
Gabriel is actively involved in the greater community through its corporate social investment initiatives – from the high flying antics of the amazing Gabriel Wings aerobatic team to the on-the-ground efforts of the Central African Republic expedition team. Gabriel gives its time, resources and dedication to the success of these initiatives.
There are few sights as breathtaking as seeing the Gabriel Wings Aerobatic Team in action. This troupe of fearless fliers take to the skies in four Pitts Specials at air shows across the country, performing daring maneuvers such as the inverted ribbon cut and knife-edge pass. Gabriel has kept these beautiful Pitts Specials flying for many years.
Here’s where you can see the Gabriel Wings team in action this year:
5 March 2011 Swellendam Air show
12 March 2011 Bultfontein Air Show
19 March 2011 EAA Mile High Festival
19 March 2011 EAA Sun ‘n Fun, Volksrust
1 April 2011 SA Navy Festival, Simonstown
10 April 2011 Ermelo Air Show
23 & 24 April 2011 Margate Air Show
30 April 2011 Polokwane Air Show
1 May 2011 EAA Parade of Planes,Tedderfield
7 May 2011 FASH Air Show
7 May 2011 Warbirds at Tempe
15 May 2011 Heidelberg Air Show
22 May 2011 Grand Rand Air Show
28 May 2011 Kimberley Air Show
3, 4 & 5 June 2011 Newcastle Air Show
26 June 2011 Kittyhawk Mini Air Show
9 July 2011 Durban Air Show
6 August 2011 EAA Convention, East London
26 & 27 August 2011 Bethlehem Air Show
10 September 2011 Vereeniging Air Show
24 September 2011 Swaziland Air Show
12 November 2011 TFDC Fly In
El-O-Him Shelter for Abused Women and Children
The El-O-Him shelter, situated in Tafelsig, Mitchell’s Plain, provides a 24/7 sanctuary for women and children in need. As well as providing short-term shelter, food and clothing, El-O-Him runs a variety of programmers covering childcare, safety, support groups, education and animal assisted intervention therapy. El-O-Him also facilitates school enrollment, tutoring and transport. Gabriel has assisted El-O-Him in keeping their vehicle safely on the road by providing shocks.
Gabriel Humanitarian Expedition into Africa
Gabriel partnered with United Against Malaria (UAM), the Jane Goodall Institute, esteemed explorer Kingsley Holgate, and a number of other organizations, to launch an expedition into the Central African Republic.
The Central African Republic Expeditionary Force (CAREF) delivered 2000 malaria nets to pregnant mothers, children in schools, clinics and orphanages across the Central African Republic and also rescued four chimps in need.
There are approximately one million malaria deaths in Africa each year, 85% of these are children under five. Funding for the essential malaria nets has been provided through a UAM initiative selling bracelets made at a senior citizens centre in Khayelitsha.
The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) has been instrumental in rescuing chimpanzees in numerous African countries. They are brought to the JGI Chimpanzee Eden in Umhloti Nature Reserve and given a new lease on life.