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The Chief of the South African Airforce Opens the SAAF Museum Airshow 2019

Address by Lieutenant General Fabian ‘Zakes’ Msimang at the opening of the South African Air Force (SAAF) Museum at Air Force Base Swartkop on 7 September 2019.

Lieutenant General Fabian ‘Zakes’ Msimang flies in one of the SAAF Museums Alouette IIIs

It is with great pleasure that I open the SAAF Museum Air Show during this Heritage Month. I would first like to extend a big thank you to you all for your presence.

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.

Our interventions are guided by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the supreme law of the land, whose preamble partly reads as follows: “We, the people of South Africa, Recognise the injustices of our past; Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.”

In line with these constitutional imperatives, the SAAF is committed to the preservation and promotion of our Air Force heritage.

Let us take a moment to remember and analyse the father of Zimbabwean liberation, Tata Robert Mugabe on his passing away. Some may hold various views on him, but again this is all part of our African heritage – in its entirety.

Let us take a moment to also reflect upon the rise of femicide in our country and ask ourselves as parents how are we raising our sons. What example are we setting in our homes. Where are we going wrong? A brave man treats women with respect and appreciation. A coward abuses women emotionally and physically. I do hope that no SAAF member will ever stoop that low, if anything I expect us to be more conscious and exemplary. I call upon the men and boys of our motherland to be human, to find Ubuntu, to show compassion for the girls, for the sisters, friends, mothers and grannies. Please let us do better as a nation. Let us not squander the fruits of our hard earned liberation.

The purpose of the Museum Air Show is primarily to celebrate our collective heritage, as well as a build up towards the Aerospace and Defence Expo in September 2020.

The history of the South African Air Force goes back to 1920, and our democratic and all-inclusive Air Force is 25 years old. So, next year we will be recognising the centennial history of the SAAF, through a post apartheid outlook. The theme of the SAAF on the 1st of February 2020 shall be “100 years of Air Power, through 25 years of Democracy”.

Beyond the display of our air power and expertise, what marks this event today, is the need to begin to embrace our collective history with an element of sincerity and compassion. For a very long time, the SAAF history has been one dimensional, told from the perspective of our erstwhile predecessors. Such an approach of our history has managed to diminish and undermine the cold weight of oppression and humiliation that was felt by the majority.

The roots of our collective story spread far wider and much deeper than we can imagine. We all have an obligation to better understand ourselves and each other if our nation is to heal. We have to embrace and be accountable for our collective heritage, if our children are to be more forgiving, more understanding and compassionate.

A maturing democratic nation should not embellish the truth of its past. A true reflection of our history shall make us understand the mistakes and violations we have made. Yes, it can make us uncomfortable, but the discomfort is meant to make us learn, grow and help us mature. The discomfort is meant to help us begin to respond with integrity to the causes of poverty, femicide, crime, grime and greed, to be able to look holistically at the main challenges that face us.

We have to be at ease speaking about our history of suffering and victory. Our history of fear and faith. Our history of triumph against all odds. Our history of a desired deep sense of unity in the face of deliberate divisions.

It is in the ability to embrace and to celebrate our collective heritage where the power of real patriotism lies. To speak of collective heritage is indeed an act of patriotism.

So compatriots, as you enjoy the air show today, please do make time to visit our modest museum. It is yours to learn from, it is yours to reflect upon and also please do make further suggestions on how our museum can be one of the best military museums in the southern hemisphere.

We all have an obligation to foster social cohesion, nation-building and economic development as an engaged and committed citizenry. Let us stop complaining, let us turn the litany of excuses into nation-building results. This is our country. This is your Air Force – “An Air Force that Inspires Confidence”.

Have a fantastic day – the weather a bit chilly for now. The children look happy. As always, under-18s enjoyed free entrance – which makes this the perfect day out for aviation enthusiasts and families alike.

Thank you all and be blessed. Wishing you all a Heritage Month of self-reflection and self-awareness and your best contribution to our nation-building efforts.

Thank you.

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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.

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Aero South Africa 2019

The General Aviation Global show of the world which has been taking place in Lake Constance in Germany for the last 40 years and now the show has made its way to South Africa. This is due to the close partnership between Messe Friedrichshafen and Messe Frankfurt.

The much anticipated Aero South Africa finally arrived on South African shores at the Wonderboom National Airport in the city of Tshwane. This was the first of its kind in South Africa to introduce this type of expo to the General Aviation Industry. The purpose of the event was to see an interactive trade show with demonstration flights of the different aircraft, aviation exhibitors, flight schools and other products in the industry that were showcased, a fly-inn was also part of the proceedings during the entire duration of the event.

4000 square meters of space was provided for exhibition space, consisting of indoor, outdoor, park and sell plus and aircraft display area. This included general aviation most of all types seen in South Africa, a couple of warbird aircraft that also flew in for the event, such as the P51D Mustang, De Havilland Tiger Moth and also part of the De Havilland family the Wonderboom based De Havilland T55 Vampire, a number of helicopters were on static display and in the park and sell area.

Swiss Vampire T55 & Wonderboom National Airport Terminal

The Saturday saw the entire apron full of aircraft both that flew in and that of who were present from day 1.Lieutenant Colonel Keith Andrews from the South African Airforce was Ramp Controller and made sure he could accommodate any type of aircraft for parking purposes for all three days of the event.

Bell 407-Dian Townsend

The Park and Sell area was pointed out as a new attraction to any aviation event in South Africa sponsored by the well know Auto Trader which made a perfect opportunity to sell previously owned aircraft. A total of 80+ exhibitor’s were present. The new Cirrus vision jet of CDC aviation was a favourite for us to see south Africa’s first of its type face to face for the first time. Absolute’s Aviation Citation XLS+ was also one of the bizjets on static display shadowed by a Cessna Grand Caravan EX.

Cessna 210-Dian Townsend
Cessna Citation XLS+
Absolute Aviation showing the youth a Cessna Grand Caravan

Team Extreme’s Jason Beamish and Nigel Hopkins in their Extra 330 Aerobatic Aircraft closed day 1 of Aero South Africa with a short aerobatic display, while day 2 and 3 were closed off with Jason in his Extra 330 and Mark Sampson in his Sbach 341.They also met up with Menno Parsons on the final day of Aero in his P51D ‘Mustang Sally’ with some formation flying before the day concluded.

Team Extreme Extra 330s
P51D ‘Mustang Sally’

Century Avionics was many of the many exhibitors of the event, their products were put to show were the static display of both Team Extremes MX2 owned and flown by Mark Hensman’s and Mark Sampson’s Sbach 341 with GPSs and other avionics the aircraft are fitted with.

MX2

Villa San Giovanni’s Restaurant made sure pure business visitors and the general public didn’t go hungry with excellent Italian cuisine during the three days of the show, as well as accommodation on the airports premises.

Little Annie the well known Airshow Antonov 2 owned by the Hill Family, was on static display and visitors were able to look and interact with. They also had a raffle for a new set of Bose Headsets with R20 000 which is available with Wings n Things from Lanseria International Airpor.Wings ‘n Things is a pilot supplies store established in 1990. We are authorised dealers of the world’s leading aviation brands such as Jeppesen, David Clark and Bose, as well as a reseller of many other aviation products.

‘Little Annie’ AN2

A huge well done to all the organisers of the event both local and overseas officials. Lets hope this becomes and annual event with the next Aero South Africa even bigger.


Saturday was the busiest day of the AERO SA trade show weekend. The morning started out quiet but picked up speed after 10h00. The fly-in was a great success. Anything and everything that flies was seen at Wonderboom. Vans RVs, Cessna, Bat hawks and many Robinson Helicopters. Absolute Aviation Group with Jason Beamish took photos with fans and they printed them on customized frames. The day played out beautifully and there was entertainment for the whole family. Definitely one for the 2020 calendar!-Dian Townsend SAAFMPC Member

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SAAF Museum Flying Day 2019-07-06

The first Saturday of July 2019 saw the annual SAAF Museum flying training day take place at Airforce Base Swartkop in Pretoria. Known as the second oldest operational air force base in the world saw a number of museum assets take to the skies above Pretoria.

AFB Swartkop Tower

The day started with a pilots briefing, where Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Bruintjies Officer commanding the SAAF Museum Lieutenant Colonel ,Trish Schoeman Officer Commanding AFB Swartkop and Major Iwan Robbertse (Oryx Helicopter Commander) briefed the pilots on movements and safety for the days flying programme.

Major Iwan Robbertse, Safety officer for the day

A walk through the hangers and some of the aircraft shelters on the bases premises bring back memories of the past aircraft that roamed the skies in South Africa and been able to see the flying exhibits such as the Museums Harvard’s and Harvard Clubs possessions, one of two Cessna C185s,Bosbok,Patchen Explorer, Alouette II, Alouette III and Aerospatiale Puma, which was also the SAAF Golden Eagles Parachute Display Team jump ship for the mornings processing’s.

T6 Harvard
Cessna C185
Alouette III
Aerospatiale Puma
Skydiver
Golden Eagles Parachuting team
Golden Eagles Parachuting team
Golden Eagles Parachuting team
Golden Eagles Parachuting team
Golden Eagles Parachuting team
Golden Eagles Parachuting team

Skydiving photos credit Wimpie Gerber

The Windsock Café fed hungry pilots and visitors with the friendly and helpful Johnathan Taylor behind the counter, The Spitfire Restoration Team also were present with the shadow of ‘Spotty’ the Cheetah hangered in one of the exhibit shelters. The Friends of the Museum also doing their part of giving back to the SAAF Museum.

Mirage F1AZ
Alouette III
Aerospatiale Puma

With the now confirmed date for the SAAF Museum Airshow on the 7th September, the anticipation for a great airshow is around the corner, keep your eyes on our website and Facebook page for the upcoming airshow for more information. Until then keep them up where they’re belong!

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