Eight Times Strongman Champion pulls a C130 Aircraft

By Thuli Ntuli Intern at SA Soldier

“I am relieved that I did it, actually,” said a man who had just managed to drag an aircraft 14 metres far. Mr Ettiene Smit is 158 kilograms of top-to-bottom muscles. The 40 year-old car sales manager at Volvo in Hatfield, pulled a C130 aircraft at the Swartkop Air Force base not once but twice.

Mr Smit has been competing in Strongman competitions for the last 14 years. Although, he has eight championship titles under his belt for pulling cars, planes and trains, he admitted that he was concerned about successfully managing this stunt. Mr Smit said: “I was a little bit worried. There was lot at stake. Usually in competitions if I lose, I only let myself down so I needed to make this happen.”

 He also added: “The most challenging thing I ever pulled before the C130 was a steam locomotive last year. But I was still nervous about pulling this big plane.”

Mr Smit wheeled the huge 30 ton (30 000 kilogram) aircraft forward with simply a rope tied around his waist. After successfully completing the performance the first time, He repeated the stunt. He managed to pull the C130 aircraft to a total distance of 28 metres.

Lt Col Mike O’Connor, Officer Commander of the South African Air Force Museum, said: “This has never been attempted before. Ettiene requested permission to pull the aircraft. To prove how heavy it was, it took my crew of 12 people to get it to move a slightly.”

 During his introductory announcement, Lt Col Mike O’Connor said that the aircraft, known as the Flossie, was flown from 28 Squadron Waterkloof years back. He added: “The undercarriage is made to land on gravel. It is not an aircraft to be moved.”

The hobby that has made Mr Smit travel the world is not an easy one to maintain. He said: “It takes consistency to maintain this kind of strength.” He maintains his weight with a daily 6 meal regiment. He wakes each day to a cup of coffee and rusks followed by two toasts and four eggs. He snacks on sandwiches, fruit and yogurt. For lunch he has meals stacked with protein and carbohydrates and he ends his day with a heavy dinner.

 Mr Smit said that all his workouts are heavy. He trains four to six times a week. He also does four gym sessions and two sports specific training called Strongman sessions. The host of the event was television personality, Mr Garth Collins, a fellow strongman competitor.

Photos: Themba Mntyali intern at SA Soldier

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