Tag Archives: Avgeek

South African Airforce Airlifts Citizens Trapped by Flash Floods in Pretoria

  On Monday, 09 December 2019 at approximately 12:30, the National Joint Operational Centre (NATJOC) activated two (2) South African Air Force (SAAF) helicopters to assist citizens stranded in Centurion and Mamelodi following flash floods as a result of the continuing torrential downpour currently experienced in the Gauteng Province.


A SAAF Atlas Oryx helicopter and an Agusta A-109 Light Utility (A-109 LUH) Helicopter were able to airlift 79 stranded people at the Centurion Lake Hotel to safety. A total of three (3) people airlifted from the hotel were taken to Unitas Medical Centre for medical assistance. 

The two (2) helicopters proceeded to Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, and successfully airlifted five (5) people who were trapped by flash floods to safety. No injuries were reported in Mamelodi. The two (2) helicopters completed the two (2) air rescues at approximately 17:00. There were no fatalities reported during both rescues.   

Denel Cheetah B “Bandit” Flies again!

What was a very common sight over the skies of the Limpopo Province at Airforce Base Makhado was the Denel Cheetah variant’s from both the C model which was the single- seat interceptor and the dual version with pilot and instructor or pilot and strike navigator.

Denel Cheetah B on final approach

After the retirement of the Cheetah from South African Airforce service a lot of examples were sent back to denel and some sold to Equador and now recently a North American company by the name of Draken,which uses ex military fighter aircraft as aggressors to US Airforce fighter types.

Famous dogtooth on the nose of Cheetah b 861

The 3rd December saw “Bandit” Cheetah B 861 take to the skies over OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton parking routing out towards Airforce Base Waterkloof for two tests flights and more to come as we get to the end of year 2019.

The aircraft has not flown for some months now,but it is great to see an ex SAAF Aircraft back in the skies again.We hope to see her at airshows as we near the 2020 airshow season and SAAF 100th Birthday Celebrations!

Cheetah B Former 2 Squadron Aircraft

The aircraft was flown by Denel Chief Test Pilot, Ivan “Viking’ Pentz, Ivan is no stranger to flying fighters as he has flown the Impala MK1,Impala MKII,HawkMK120,Cheetah C, Cheetah D,Mirage F1,AHRLAC,C130 and many more!

This particular Cheetahs Colour Scheme was unveiled and displayed at the SAAF Museum Airshow in 2003.Bandit was also used during the 2V1 Dogfight demo between two Cheetah Cs.

Springs Grand Prix Navigation Rally – 23 November 2019

As an extension to the Speed Rally being held on the same day, the South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) decided to look at Grand Prix version of the Speed Rally, with the view to have more spectator value in two mediums, one being visual, and the other watching it on a live tracking screen. As a concept it was master minded by Jonty Esser to try out.

Thank you to Adelaar BlueStar and Sapphirus BlueStar from Sanlam Financial Advisory Services Sanlam Grand Prix Girls chaperoned our Elite selected Grand Prix Pilots and Navigators, making sure
they were well looked after and kept covered in the shade at all times with the Sanlam umbrellas.

The circuit is akin to a grand prix circuit in the sky, and of course easy to make one as the sky is the
limit…. The format remains exactly the same as the speed rally, any type of aircraft can take part, and is handicapped with the intent to look at a simultaneous finish over the finish line.

The course is around 60 nm long and consists of three laps of 20 nm each, so that at each lap you can
start to see how the competitors are closing up. The track is in fact a corridor, similar as is done in the Air

Navigation Race (ANR), and the idea is to keep within that corridor which if you go out of bounds then the
idea is to give an instant penalty – that is if the live tracking is working sufficiently well enough. Every
corridor infringement will result in a 15 second “close the throttle” penalty.

A track was laid out, and Jonty and a number of selected teams started to practice the concept, this kind of navigation is one that it is no longer looking for an intersection or a dam wall, now the resolution has to be such to be able to fly through a needle, looking for the red carport next to the green house roof. The track is 0.8 nm in width, this providing manoeuvring room in the sometimes constant turns and chicanes.

The way to win is as with a Formula 1 race, keep to the inside of the track to obtain the shortest route, as the handicap is based on the centre of the course, thus the objective is to fly a route shorter that the
median by hugging the inside track and keeping far enough away for not corridor infringements. The handicapping speeds were provide by Rob Jonkers who looked at the circuit, the turns and overall
distance to make an educated calculation.

The way to win is as with a Formula 1 race, keep to the inside of the track to obtain the shortest route, as the handicap is based on the centre of the course, thus the objective is to fly a route shorter that the
median by hugging the inside track and keeping far enough away for not corridor infringements. The handicapping speeds were provide by Rob Jonkers who looked at the circuit, the turns and overall distance to make an educated calculation.

After the main Speed Rally event, and a 2 nd briefing of the selected 7 competitors for the GP, all of them having practiced the route, the teams were set off by Jacques Jacobs as the flag man at the allocated
time, with the teams off into the course, and as they came around you could see them all getting closer to each other, up to the point of the last lap where Jonty’s Cessna 150 came over the line 45 seconds before
the remainder who came over the line very closely, with Nigel Hopkins & Mary de Klerk came in second and Johan van Eeden & Cor Esterhuizen in 3 rd place. After touch down, a Champagne cork popping
podium winners circle was held with trophies handed over, just like F1.

As a concept, this is still in its infancy, the Sport Aerobatics Club (SAC) has expressed great interest in being part of this new format, as have Airshows South Africa, as it will be great to have more sections of
the Aero Club be part of inter section support. The handicapping will still require some work, but with sufficient data, this can be developed, as does the live tracking system, which is still an elusive
mechanism not being robust enough and costly, and possibly our networks may have insufficient bandwidth, but am sure will converge onto a solution.

What was very visible at this Speed Rally weekend, was the enthusiasm of the aviation youth that were
present, and working on making the format of our events to be more exciting should bring in the youth to
take part more.

Pilot Insure 7th Speed Rally-Season 2 Springs 23 November 2019

Season 2 of the Pilots Insure Speed Rally in already upon us for the second edition of the growing flying sport which is becoming an exciting aviation event around South Africa, with 2020 close it was decided for the first of the speed rally proceedings to start earlier then usual.

The last Speed Rally held at Secunda on the 10th August was the finale of the 2018/19 season, and the 6th in the series, where it had returned to the birth of the Speed Rally concept in 2018. This new Season as Season 2 should prove to elevate this event to the next level, and since the completion of the 1st Season an extensive Season debrief was held with the officials and a number of competitors to review the rules and workings of the Speed Rally concept to look at improvements and changes, a number of which have been brought into the competition. One of the major changes was to extend the overall distance from 125 nm to 150 nm, to make the legs a little longer to accommodate the faster aircraft, most of the other
changes facilitating the crew with better cockpit paperwork.

Furthermore a GPS category was brought into play, which would allow novices to be introduced to the event without the stress of knowing or not knowing where to go, with the intent to get themselves
upgraded to Championship status after having gained sufficient experience.

Entries were already open after Season 1, and many already confirmed their entries which quickly went over 40, with an eventual count at 40 on Friday, with 3 withdrawing on the day. This event is attracting
many father & son teams, and many more of the younger generation. It was decided for this event that the Mach 1 Flight School would be the hosts on the airfield, they have as a school been involved from the first
rally and have increased their participation with their instructors, and seeing from the results over time they have become more experienced and moving up in the placings.

With a view of bringing in more excitement to this event, a shortened course of 60 nm with 3 laps in the
style of a Grand Prix circuit was also designed by Race Master Jonty Esser for a small field as a try out
event.

This event is one that is flown at full speed under handicap conditions, the course is now around 150 nm long, has 11 or so turning points, with each turning point identified with a correct photograph. This is also
an event where no GPS aids are allowed in the Championship league, these are all sealed up, and courtesy of Century Avionics on-board devices are also covered up, although not disabled. In the GPS league, competitors can utilize any technology, although it seems that this did not help much, a number of the GPS enabled competitors also went walk about…

The route was mostly to the east of the airfield, not in the most scenic part of the country, which is mostly dotted with power stations and coal mines, but then the competitors would have been more concerned
about keeping track than looking at scenery.

The weather on Friday started out real well, the forecast giving late afternoon thundershowers which were lurking towards the west. Test flights commenced with many new entries requiring test flights and some
old entries wanting to retest to re-confirm their handicaps. The EAA came in to help with this, with Sean Cronin & Karl Jensen supporting SAPFA’s test flight designate Mark Clulow, and got through all the test
flights just after 3 PM. Mary de Klerk also breezed in to provide the newbies with some dedicated training.

Thereafter at 18h30, Jonty Esser as the Race Master introduced Rob Jonkers who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turn points,
distance, departure and arrivals protocol, and also how the scoring system worked in terms of penalties as well as the expected weather conditions, which looked like some early cloud, then a clear day expected
with late afternoon thundershowers.

All the competitors were then treated to a briefing on Steroids with Race Master Jonty Esser having set up a show for the teams, with a real life lights, camera, action sequence, where each team were introduced
with their team theme song, handed their race numbers, thereafter everybody was treated to a buffet meal before retiring for the evening.

Saturday morning dawned with perfect flying conditions, a clear day with virtually no wind, with the briefing
starting a little earlier at 7.30 am as the intent was to finish the rally at 11.30 to be able to fit in the Grand Prix in the early afternoon.

The briefing was shorter than the previous evening, and focused on the procedures for scrutineering, the handing out of papers, starting line, and finish protocol. The aircraft were to be parked in order of slowest
to fastest, with a 15 second gap as a minimum between them, with the idea to have all the aircraft cross the finish line as close to 11h30 as possible, given that everybody needs to achieve a perfect route around
the course. There was a plan to also to live track the event under the events section of Livetrack 24, and for this purpose a number of live trackers were loaned and set up, although this proved to be very finicky,
it had marginal success, although

Scrutineers Chareen, Lizelle, Karen, Conrad, Johan and Alex were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices, and also handing out papers at the allotted time, and also checking the fuel tanks were
full. To assist the teams at getting their take-off roll accurate, a starting colour panel was used, which was set up next to the start line on the runway by Chief Marshal Jacques Jacobs and Mark Clulow, who would
release them at their allotted time slot.

Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers at their 20 minutes prior take-off time, and then taxi to the starting line within 10 minutes of take-off time. 1st take-off was at 09h40 for the slowest aircraft
and last take-off at 10h40, with planned arrival at 11h30. This was the first time two helicopters also tookpart, one an Alouette 2 and the other a Robinson R66, the Alouette 2 being the slowest and was the first
to depart.

With all the competitors off towards the east, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turn points. In general the competitors found the course a little more difficult than the last one, especially around
turn point 4, where is seems the rail and road crossing was difficult to spot, attesting to the increased difficulty that there were only 13 clear round aircraft, out of 40. Just before 11h30 the first aircraft over the
line was a Cessna 172 ZS-OET, follow by a Sling 4 ZU-IOK, and closely after that the R66 ZS-HRS, and from there within the next 2 minutes or so 20 aircraft with stragglers coming up the rear. The landing
sequence was fairly easy to do with everybody joining crosswind, then downwind onto 03 with good spacing.

After all teams having returned and safe on the ground, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, with the tracks for a number being quite accurate, although some had wobbles, but a few got a bit
lost, the Alouette 2 flying at full speed being very thirsty in fuel consumption decided to carry out a precautionary landing in Nigel to refuel before resuming the course.

The results were completed by around 14h30, and prize giving  was schedule for 15h30, and first up on the prize giving programme was to show some of the interesting tracks, some excellent and some not so good getting the audience in fits of laughter. Jonty first handed over the GPS league competitor trophies, and then the host club trophy went to the Mach 1 Flight Training School owner Lee Petersen, and then the placings for the best handicap speed and thereafter the most accurate / shortest route flown.  Winners of the GPS league were the team of Ray Wilford and Bernard Jansen in a Sabre ZU-DIY.

Winners of the GPS league were the team of Ray Wilford and Bernard Jansen in a Sabre ZU-DIY.

The overall winners in the best handicap speed were the team of Munaf Sayyed & Ricardo Baruffa in a C172 ZS-OET, in second place was Joshua & Mark Dethian in their PA28-180 ZS-ELL, and in third place Apie & Frederick Kotzee in their R66 ZS-HRS.

Munaf Sayyed & Ricardo Baruffa in a C172 ZS-OET
Joshua & Mark Dethian in their PA28-180 ZS-ELL
Apie & Frederick Kotzee 3rd Handicap ZS-HRS

The most accurate / shortest route flown winners were the team of David Ross & James Braid in a Sling 2 ZU-JAR, in second place was Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK, and in third place was Quinten Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their PA28-235 ZS-FVV.

David Ross & James Braid in a Sling 2 ZU-JAR
Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK
Quinten Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their PA28-235 ZS-FVV.

Many thanks to the Mach 1 Flight School for hosting this fantastic event, the SAPFA team of Jacques Jacobs with the ground marshals, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk and Louna de Vos and Mark
Clulow doing the scoring, Chester Chandler assisting with the handicapping on Friday, David le Roux from Pilot Insure at the registration desk, Marc Robinson with his team from Century Avionics for Scrutineering,
Chareen Shillaw, Lizelle Kruger handing out competition papers to the crews as well as Scrutineering with their team, Jonty & Lizelle & Sandy for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event. Thanks
also extended to Santjie White of the ARCC who always watches over us, and the ATNS team for managing the ATC for the weekend.

Also to the sponsors Pilot Insure, who was the main sponsor of the event, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring
the race numbers, team sponsors Excel E&I – Leon Bouttell and Martin Meyer, The Airplane Factory –
David Ross and James Braid, Pilots Post – Nigel Hopkins and Mary De Klerk, Fast Flame Laser Cutting –Oops – We went to Nigel instead

Hendrik & Jandre Loots, Beegle Micro Trackers – Quintin Kruger and Johan Whiteman, Prompt Roofing –
Leon Joubert and Sandi Goddard.
Our next Speed Rally event will be in Witbank in the 1 st of February 2020.

TU-160 Strategic Bombers Land at AFB Waterkloof

A pair of TU-150 Blackjack variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bombers landed at Airforce Base Waterkloof yesterday afternoon after a 13 hour flight from Engels Air Force Base which is strategic bomber military airbase in Russia located 14 kilometres east of Saratov.

TU-160 Blackjack on final approach into Waterkloof Airforce Base

The aircraft were originally scheduled to arrive in South Africa on 22 October but were delayed by 24 hours due to technical issues. The aircraft finally departed for a 11 000 kilometres non-stop to journey to South Africa.

The aircraft routed down the East coast of Africa, with the help of some Aerial Refueling from a Russian Airforce IL78 Tanker over the Caspian Sea. The historical visit if the bombers landing at Waterkloof South Africa is part of developing bilateral military cooperation and work out issues of interaction between the Russian Aerospace Forces and the South African Airforce.

The Bombers were escorted from Durban with 3 Hawk Mk120s from 85 Combat Flying School while two 2 Squadron Gripens conducted a Combat Air patrol during the flight into Airforce Base Waterkloof.

85 Combat Flying School Hawk Mk120s escorting one of two TU160s
85 Combat Flying School Hawk Mk120s
2 Squadron JAS39D Gripen

The SAAF’s deputy chief, Major General Innocent Buthelezi, said on Wednesday it was a privilege to host the Russian aircraft especially as it was the first time such bombers have landed in Africa. He said the visit was part of military-to-military cooperation between Russia and South Africa and looked forward to strengthening relations between the two defence forces.

Siphiwe Dlamini, Department of Defence head of communications, said the Russian visit had been planned long ago and is part of the bilateral defence ties between South Africa and the Russian Federation. He added that South Africa has had exercises with the Russian Navy and competed in Russia’s Army Games, whilst South Africa has military personnel training in Russia. In late November, Russia, China and South Africa will take part in a joint naval exercise in South Africa. Dlamini said the Russian Air Force visit has been in the making for the last five to eight years.

Department of Defence head of communications, Siphiwe Dlamini

The aircraft are due to depart back to Russia on Monday 28th October 2019.Please feel free to keep an eye out on our Facebook page for updates of the aircrafts movements.

Click to enlarge photos

Pegasus Universal Aerospace Signs MoU With Callen-Lenz Group

Pegasus Universal Aerospace signs MoU with Callen-Lenz Group as partner for flight control systems development.

Veteran aviator Captain Andrew Dietrich appointed as Chief Pilot

South Africa’s Pegasus Universal Aerospace, pioneer of the Vertical Business Jet (VBJ®) Pegasus One, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UK-based, technical aviation consultancy, Callen-Lenz Group. The agreement brings the two companies together to exclusively collaborate on the design and development of the flight control systems for the Pegasus One aircraft.

The flight control systems are integral to supporting the aircraft operations in all phases of flight, including transition from vertical take-off and hover, to forward horizontal flight. The merging of these functions, into one unique system, will be a key technology, enabling Pegasus One to deliver its powerful performance capabilities. Pegasus selected Callen-Lenz as its development partner owing to the team’s reputation for creating innovative solutions, required core competencies and experience, in realising complex technologies in the aerospace sector.

Dr Reza Mia, Pegasus founder and Chairman said, “We believe that Callen-Lenz is the ideal partner for Pegasus. Their inventive approach to aerospace challenges, their expertise, and their willingness to embark on this exciting journey with us to deliver a unique proposition determined our selection process. We are excited to be working on this game changing project with them.”  

“We have been invited to work with a number of new aircraft programmes, but were extremely impressed by the ambition, vision and quality of the Pegasus VBJ project. As the race hots up to deliver new aircraft technologies, we are pleased to join forces with one of the most exciting airframes in development,” said Jonathan Webber, CEO, Callen-Lenz.

The Pegasus team has already made great strides over the past year in developing multiple scale models, completing comprehensive studies into the drivetrain and thrust fan systems to support a true hybrid-electric propulsion power source. Pegasus is in ongoing discussions with two leading powerplant OEM’s to ensure the best performance capability is achieved.

The signing of the MOU with Callen-Lenz Group ushers in the next significant phase in the programme. Under the terms of the MOU the Callen-Lenz team will work closely with the Pegasus executive team, engineers and newly appointed chief pilot Captain Andrew Dietrich, whose appointment was also confirmed in August. Captain Dietrich joins the expanding Pegasus team with some 16,000 hours flying time spanning a 26-year career operating ultra-long-range commercial airliners and corporate jets. Familiar with numerous flight-decks, working with a variety of avionics systems and aircraft simulators, Captain Dietrich brings valuable knowledge to Pegasus. Reporting directly to the executive team, his hands-on experience will deliver vital input to the aircraft operational capability, performance and safety requirements.

As an integral part of the Pegasus technical team he will work alongside Callen-Lenz and Pegasus Chief Engineer Matthew Buttle and be responsible for overseeing compliance, safety procedures and the co-ordination of test pilots during the official test flight phase.

“We want to build an aircraft that pilots know is responsive, safe, reliable, efficient and above all fun and straight forward to fly. Captain Dietrich will help us achieve these goals and more. We are excited to add his extensive skills and enthusiasm to our team,” commented Dr Reza Mia.  

“I’m aware there are many eVTOL projects in development, but I wanted to work with the dynamic Pegasus team. The concept is brilliant, the team is solid, and I believe it will make a dramatic difference to the way executives and high-net-worth individuals think about flight in the future. There is also huge potential in the oil and gas platform, (OGP) sector. Being involved with the Pegasus project allows me to use all my accumulated experience on one of the most exciting new and innovative aircraft programmes on the market, it’s a superb opportunity,” added Captain Dietrich.

Construction of a full-scale VTOL demonstrator to show in Europe in 2020 has already begun and a series of investor evenings in South Africa starts this month.

The MoU with the Callen-Lenz Group and the appointment of Captain Dietrich will ensure Pegasus development continues on the right trajectory.

Please click on Advertisement below to help keep us going!

SAAF Museum Airshow Media Briefing 2019

The morning of Tuesday 3rd September 2019,corrospondents from different media houses were invited for a media briefing presented by the South African Airforce Museum Officer Commanding Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Bruinjies and Major Ntokozo Ntshangase at Swartkop Air Base West Auditorium.

Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Bruinjies

The Theme for this years show as mentioned in the briefing is “Our Collective Heritage” this meaning all types of Airwings during the Liberation movement, Homelands Venda, Ciskei ,Bophuthatswana and past SAAF Aircraft celebrating their former centenary over the years.

Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Bruinjies addressing the media

Colonel Bruinjies mentioned that full SAAF Museum Aircraft inventory including Harvard’s, Cessna C185, Puma, Alouette II & III, Bosbok, Kudu and much more would take to the skies on Saturday, including a number civilian types and as well as a number of current SAAF Aircraft.

SAAF Museum Alouette II & III validated on 2019-09-03

Gates will open at 7am on Saturday morning for the public and paring will be made available around the Bases surroundings. There are 90 vendors that will be at the show, which will range from food stalls to memorabilia etc.

SAAF Museum Alouette III

Tickets available at Computicket , Click here

R80 Adults

R30 Children between the ages 12-16

Please click on Advertisement below to help keep us going!

Brakpan Aero Club Celebrates Women in Aviation

Saturday the 17th August 2019,Brakpan Aero Club celebrated women in Aviation at the East Rand Airfield this past weekend. Women as pilots, groundcrew, cabin crew and Air traffic controllers congregated at the airfields club house for cake and tea. Some of the lucky ladies were awarded with a bouquet of flowers for their contribution in the South African Aviation Community.

Newly paved runway at Brakpan Airfield as seen from a Alouette III

Santjie White provided a short talk on Search and Rescue in South Africa as she explained more in detail as the Chief of Aeronautical Search and Rescue coordination centre.

Santjie White

Santjie started at the Aeronautical Search and Rescue coordination centre in April 2008 and received The Director civil aviation special industry award for exceptional individual contribution to the Aviation industry. Santjie White is responsible to Establish a Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC) to co-ordinate all participating search and rescue unit’s facilities within her area of responsibility. Ensuring effective and efficient co ordination of SAR processes and operations.

SkyRaider work in progress in full swing

Amelia Mary Earhart one of many women in aviation ,who was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots.

Brakpan Aero Club House

The rest of the day, saw some of Brakpan’s local aircraft take to the skies, an Alouette III owned and flown by Rob Osner ,A Mushask MF17 flown by Hilton Wolff, Boeing Stearman flown by Ivan van der Schaar and a visiting Yak 52 flown by Wim Kotze were some of the favourites seen during the afternoon period.

Alouette III
Savannah
Cessna 152
Sling 4
Piper J3 Cub

Please click on Advertisement below to help keep us going!

A Moment Time Stood Still-Air Force Base Swartkop

Wherever one wonders around aviation museums around the world, you wonder and think how aviation has come this far as we speak in 2019,expecially in South Africa .The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Imperial war museum at Duxford and many more.Airforce Base Swartkop in Pretoria is also part of the elite museums to visit as an aviation enthusiast touring South Africa.

The Past..

The SAAF claims Swartkop is the second oldest air station in the world and the oldest operational air station in the world.Over the years many distinguished Squadrons have been based at Swartkop. This includes 26 Squadron which was formed there on 24 August 1942.

* Photos by Adrian Munro, Stefan Bouwer, Team Aviation Central and SAAF Museum archives

Photo of Swartkop taken 1935

The Chief of the South African Air Force opened the relocated at AFB Swartkop in 1993. The Air Force Base reverted to Air Force Station status in 1999. This decision was made by the South African Air Force to vacate the base and leave behind the Museum located there and to keep the Airfield as an extension of Airforce Base Waterkloof. The SAAF Museum Historic Flight had also moved to Hanger 14 at the end of the Southern part of the base to this present day.

As of December 2013 the South African Air Force still hasn’t vacated all operational units on the base. The South African Airforce Museum currently occupies the northern side of the base while active SAAF units occupy the southern side of the base.

One of the oldest ATC Towers In South Africa

Air Force Base Swartkops over watches the residents of Valhalla, Centurion in Pretoria and most air force officers that outlasted their selection phase of pupes course and other forms of duties in the South African Airforce were boundless.

Still to this very day Harvard’s and other museum assets fly at the base
Former 44 Squadron C47 Dakota part of the Museum Historic Flight

The famous SAAF memorial is located on Bays Hill in Swartkop outside overlooks the entire Airbase. Its familiar in pictures of SAAF fighters passing behind it as they brought the sound of freedom amongst visitors of many airshows held over the years. The memorial was unveiled 1 September 1963 by the then State President of South Africa Charles Robberts Swart. The unveiling ceremony was attended by 5000 people.

SAAF Memorial Bays Hill

The history of the SAAF dates back after a visit to observe the 1912 military manoeuvres in Europe, Brig. Gen. C.F Beyers (who was then Commandant-General of the Defence Force) gave an extremely positive report on the future use of aircraft for military purposes to General Jan Smuts initiated an arrangement with private fliers in the Cape and established a flying school at Alexandersfontein near Kimberley, known as the Paterson Aviation Syndicate School, to train pilots for the proposed South African Aviation Corporation.. The first South African military pilot qualified on 2 June 1914.

de Havilland DH.9
New and old trainers T6 Harvard & Pilatus PC7MKII

On the 1 February 1920 Colonel Pierre van Ryneveld was appointed as the Director Air Service with the task of forming an air force, the date is used to mark the founding of the South African Air Force. In December 1920 the South African National insignia was added to aircraft for the first time.

SAAF Insignia 1921–1927
SAAF Insignia 2004-Present

4 Squadron was reformed in January 1951 at AFB Waterkloof as the Active Citizen Force element of 1 Squadron with Harvards and Spitfires until once again disbanded in October 1958. On 1 November 1961, it was reformed at Swartkop, flying Harvards and in August 1972 the first Impala Jets were received.

Swartkop in the late 1940s
Swartkop in the late 1940s Photo credit http://www.spitfire-restoration.co.za

The squadron moved from Swartkop to Waterkloof and then to Lanseria Airport where it received Impala Mk IIs. It saw numerous deployments to South West Africa and Mpacha and Rundu airfields in southern Angola. Its home base remained at Lanseria until it was disbanded in September 1991.

The Museums Spitfire in her former glory days

Airshows at AFB Swartkop over the years..

For years many of Aviation Centrals followers have been to some of the many historical airshows at Airforce Base Swartkop in Pretoria. The shows have had a big impact in promoting aviation in South Africa and more military aviation.

Yester year youngsters watching former fast movers shadowing “Bays Hill” in the foreground in the form of Mirage IIIs,Mirage F1s and Cheetahs and today the Gripen as the countries 4.5 generation fighter aircraft. The echo of the sound of freedom is what draws the “vlamgat” lovers to these shows!

Swartkop has had a number of airshows over the years which were mainly known as flying days from when the museum had a big fleet of ex air force aircraft that were part of the shows program.This also saw many fighter aircraft from the then current and past SAAF from various fast mover squadrons,including Impalas, Mirages, Cheetahs and up till now to the current SAAF fighters Gripen and Hawk. Warbirds that have attended included PBY Catilina, DC3, DC4, DC6, JU52, Spitfires, Mustangs, Sea Fury’s, Yaks and the list goes on.

Ex Eastern block jet trainers such as the L39 and L29, Vampires, Hawker Hunters and a T2 Buckeye have touched down on Swartkops sloped runway on many occasions. Many airliners have taken part in shows and have landed at the base included MD80s, Airbus A319s, Boeing 707s, 727s and 737 series.

Photos below by Adrian Munro, Stefan Bouwer, Team Aviation Central and SAAF Museum archives.

Since 2012, the Chief of the South African Air Force, Lt Gen FZ Msimang, has initiated a programme to preserve and promote our Air Force history, which includes former TBVC states and the Armed Wings of Former Liberation Movements in relation to the corresponding political, social and economic dispensation of the country under the theme “embracing our collective heritage”. One of the fundamental elements in nation-building and cultivating a cohesive society is the reconfiguration of the heritage landscape to ensure that it reflects the diversity and the incredible efforts of the unity of our society.

Please click on Advertisement below to help keep us going!

SAAF Museum Training Day 2019-08-03

This past weekend the SAAF Museum once again held their monthly flying day. Being busy with other aviation events this past couple of months, we really enjoyed being back for a great museum event. This flying day was very busy in particular with three Allouette helicopters, five Harvards, a bosbok, Cessna 185, Patchen Explorer and Puma all flying. The Friends Of The SAAF Museum sold very tasty boerewors rolls and the Windsock café also had a wide selection of toasted sandwiches and drinks to satisfy all tastes on the day.

The visitors had plenty of flying to enjoy, starting out with the Aerospatiale SA 330 Puma starting up right in front of the crowd line. The Puma pilots ensured that everyone nearby left with a funky hairstyle. As the Puma taxied past, it was able to blow over my tripod  with my secondary camera doing video recording. Luckily the only thing that was damaged was my ego with my fellow photographer friends getting a good laugh out of the tumbling Canon.

With this being the final flying day before the big airshow in September, some of the Harvard pilots lead by Glen Warden flew a nice formation flight at the end of the day. The three Harvards participating in the flyby were Siyandiza, 7231 and 7480. The trio flew a tight formation coming from the rear over the main tower, making a wingover to the left, passing over Bay’s Hill and then passed in front of the crowd again.

This year’s airshow was delayed due to the elections taking place in May. The official date has now been set as 7 September 2019. The show organisers are hard at work with the planning and the theme for this year’s show is “Collective Heritage”. The Gautrain will once again be aiding with transport and Computicket will be the ticket sellers. The prices are as follow: R80 for over the age of 16, R30 for 12-16 and under 12 is free. NB: Ticket sales are not open at the time of writing. Keep an eye on the event Facebook page for more info regarding the show.

Please click on Advertisement below to help keep us going!

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial