Tag Archives: Rooivalk

First Rooivalk Flight 11th February 1990-30 Years On!

The Denel Rooivalk is an attack helicopter manufactured by Denel Aviation of South Africa. Rooivalk is Afrikaans for “Red Falcon”

16 Squadron Rooivalk SAAF Museum Flying Day 1 February 2020

The Rooivalk attack helicopter First Flight Rooivalk XDM was 30 years ago on the 11th February 1990,back in the days of the then Atlas Aircraft Coporation now known today as Denel Aeronautics.

Fitting the gearboxes to the Rooivalk XDM

Development of the type began in 1984 by Atlas Aircraft Coporation its development is closely connected to the Denel Oryx medium transport helicopter, both aircraft being based on the Aerospatiale SA330 Puma Helicopter and having started development at the same time on both projects.

Denel Oryx

Development of the Rooivalk was protracted due to the impact of limited budgets during the 1990s, and a desire to produce a highly advanced attack helicopter.

Being towed out for the first test flight from the Atlas Aircraft Coporation

Developing an entirely new helicopter from scratch would have involved designing and developing many accompanying subsystems and components, such as the turboshaft engines and the dynamic systems, such as the main and tail rotor systems and the gearboxes.

Rooivalk XDM during a test flight

Due to the great difficulty posed by the prospects of designing and manufacturing a clean-design helicopter, which would have substantially increased the cost and timescale of the project, it was decided to base the attack helicopter upon an existing design. At the time, the SAAF operated two principal helicopter types – the Alouette III and the SA330 Puma.

SAAF Museum SA330 Puma & Alouette III

 The Alouette III was a small helicopter which originated from the 1960s; due to the age of the design and a lack of engine power, it was not considered a favourable candidate for further development work.

The Puma was substantially larger and was equipped with more powerful engines; both factors provided a broader basis for the accommodation of additional equipment and for potential growth.

Another key factor for its selection was the parallel development of a localised and improvement model of the Puma in South Africa, known as the Atlas AS32 Oryx. The Oryx possessed an increased power-to-weight ratio and had improved performance in the high temperature climate that the type was typically being operated in; development of the Oryx was far quicker than what would become the Rooivalk as it was a more straightforward program.

 Other potential sources were mooted, such as the use of propulsion elements of the Aerospatiale Daulphin ; the adoption of these components has been speculated to have likely resulted in a smaller and potentially more economic rotorcraft.

Ultimately, it was decided to adopt both the powerplant and dynamic systems of the Oryx—which bore significant similarities to their Puma and now Airbus Helicopters AS332 Super Puma ancestors—as the basis for the planned attack helicopter;

Commonality with the Oryx systems would simplify logistics and reduce maintenance costs. This meant that the attack helicopter would have a significantly large airframe, giving it long range and the capability to carry many sensors and armaments.

During the 1980s, the defence budgets of South Africa were relatively generous, especially in contrast to later decades, thus Denel sought to provide a rotorcraft that would be amongst, even potentially superior to, the best attack helicopters in the world.

The helicopter, later named the Rooivalk, was envisioned as an agile, highly sophisticated gunship, especially suited to the threats of the Angolan conflict and countering vehicles such as the T-55 battle tank.

Rooivalk on display in Farnbrough International Airshow, United Kingdom

Three Rooivalk attack helicopters have been deployed with the United Nations to support of the stabilization in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2013.

16 Squadron Rooivalk & SAAF Museum Alouette II

There has been more occasions where the Rooivalks have seen action with the support of fire power in the DRC on a number of peace support missions since 2013.

UN painted Rooivalk AFD2019 Cape Town

The Rooivalk attack helicopter is based at Airforce Base Bloemspruit in the Central Free state province, flying for 16 Squadron, also home to 87 Helicopter Flying School, flying Agusta A109LUH and Oryx helicopters. The South African Airforce have just under a dozen on strength flying to date.

General Fabian “Zakes” Msimang stated:”The continued operation and future sustainability of the hardest working air assets of the SAAF being the Oryx, Rooivalk and C130, rely on an efficient and effective Original Equipment Manufacturer and Technical Design Authority of the Rotary Wing assets” during the recent Prestige day parade held at AFB Swartkop on January 31.

16 Squadron Rooivalk AAD2018

South African Airforce Prestige Day 2020

The South African Airforce Prestige Day was held at Airforce Base Swartkop, the second oldest operational Airforce Base in the world to date, in Pretoria on Friday 31 January 2020.

AFB Swartkop

The South African Air Force was established on 1 February 1920. The Air Force has seen service in World War II and the Korean War. This years theme of celebrating the South African Airforce, is “embracing our collective heritage”.

The parade was opened by a paradrop from two 44 Squadron Casa 212s with a number of skydivers from the Golden Eagles Parachute display team and the Pretoria Military Skydiving Members, including the big South African flag.

22 Squadron Lynx Helicopter

Part of General Fabian Msimang’s speech he mentioned:

“Formation of the Union of South Africa’s Air Force
In 1917 sent by Prime Minister General Louis Botha to London to attend the Imperial Conference, General Jan Smuts presented a report to the British Parliament which became known as the ‘Smuts Report’ stated, inter alia;”


“Air Service on the contrary, can be used as an independent means of war operations far from and independently of, both Army and Navy.”
General Jan Smuts soon summoned Sir Pierre van Ryneveld to London and was told:

Chief of the South African Airforce General Fabian Msimang
Chaplin Smit reads a beautful testimony


“I want you to go back out to South Africa and start an air force”. 
Subsequently, South Africa received an Imperial Gift that comprised of 113 aircraft and included steel frames for 20 hangars and everything else required to start and operate an air force. The consignment was sent here to where we currently stand, an airfield that was named Swartkop, the oldest active military airfield in the world today.  Some of the Imperial Gift Hangars are still in daily use as you can see.

Prestige Day 2020 Mass Flypasts

During the parade we got to wintness some spectacular flypasts from both ex and current South African Airforce aircraft, a mass helicopter formation led by a 16 squadron Rooivalk attack helicopter. Other types of helicopters included Oryx, Lynx, Agusta A109s from various chopper squadron across South Africa. The SAAF Museum also were a part of the formation with a Puma, two Alouette IIs and Alouette IIIs.

SAAF Helicopter Formation
A pair of 16 Squadron Rooivalk, Museum Puma, Agusta A109LUH & Oryx Helicopter
Agusta A109LUH
Oryx Helicopter
16 Squadron Rooivalk & Museum Alouette II

The next formation included two museum aircraft assests, a Kudu and Cessna C185, followed by a formation of Harvards.The Transport formation was up next led by a 35 Squadron C47TP Dakota, with three 41 Squadron Cessna 208A Caravans and two 44 Squadron Casa 212s making up the formation.

Museum C4.M Kudu & Cessna C185
Museum Harvard’s
35 Squadron C47TP Dakota, Leads a trio of 41 Squadron Cessna C208A Caravans & 44 Squadron Casa 212s
35 Squadron C47TP Dakota

The sound of freedom was then up next with the roar of the Hawk and Gripen formation as they buzzed overhead the parade made up of 85 Combat School and 2 Squadron assets. The Final flypast was led by a 21 Squadron Boeing 737BBJ, A Dassault Falcon 50 and the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team.

Fighter Formation 2 Squadron Gripens & 85 Combat Flying School Hawk Mk120s
Fighter Formation 2 Squadron Gripens & 85 Combat Flying School Hawk Mk120s
21 Squadron Boeing 737BBJ,A Dassault Falcon 50 and the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team.

The prestige unit of the year for the South African Airforce from 2019 was presented to AFB Ysterplaat as part of the Prestige Unit award.

AFB Ysterplaat awarded the Prestige unit trophy.

The parade concluded with Fledglings releasing doves and balloons while the SAAF announcer read out, “We will keep whirling and twirling from the sky. White doves fly into our hearts, embracing our Air Force heritage. Carrying messages of goodwill. We will sing forever young and free. We will be an Air Force that inspires confidence.”

Releasing doves and balloons with future Airforce Members

SAAF Museum Flying Day 1 February 2020

The First flight training day for the year 2020 at Airforce Base Swartkop was different this year, it was the South African Airforce’s birthday, which was founded on the 1 February 1920.

Museum Alouette III

With the Prestige Day parade held the day before at Airforce Base Swartkop, many of the aircraft that took part in the mass flypast were present and gave the visiting public a glance at both static and departing aircraft returing to their home bases across South Africa.

22 Squadron Super Lynx

The Usual museum aircraft such as the many Museum Harvards, Patchen Explorer, Cessna C185, Kudu and Alouette II, III as well as the Puma continued with currency flights in between display slots.

SAAF Museum Harvard’s
SAAF Museum Cessna C185

Friends of the SAAF Museum sold Boere Wors Rolls, Refreshments and held guided tours of the airforce heritage displays located on the base premises.The windsock Café was also open for cool and hot refrements throughout the day.

The days proceedings started with a short display by a 35 Squadron C47TP Martime Dakota from AFB Ysterplaat in Cape Town. Major Paul “Raccoon” Kempthorn flew one of the best Rooivalk displays that we have witnessed in a long time.

35 Squadron C47TP
16 Squadron Rooivalk
16 Squadron Rooivalk

The Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team 84 led by new team lead Major Sivu Tangana showed off the tight formation aerobatics of four Pilatus PC7MKIIs.

Silver Falcons
Pilatus PC7MKII

Two Cessna C208A Caravans from 41 Squadron, who operates out of neighbouring Airforce Base Waterkloof, gave a short formation display. Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter flew his second airshow display as he is now the new Hawk display pilot for 85 Combat Flying School.

41 Squadron Cessna C208A Caravans
85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120
85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120
2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen

Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper flew a great display in the JAS39C Gripen before heading back to Airforce Base Makhado in the Limpopo Province.

2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen

The Museum Helicopter assets including the Alouettes II and IIIs closed the flying day with their helicopter display, with a big chance of seeing them do it again on 9th May 2020 at The SAAF Museum Airshow.

SAAF Museum Puma & Alouette III
SAAF Museum Alouette III

Well done to the Museum staff and AFB Swartkop on providing a different flying day as a gift to the public on the South African Airforce Birthday!

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SAAF Prestige Day Parade

The South African Airforce celebrated 99 years of its historic air force.
The SAAF was established on 1 February 1920. The Air Force has seen service in World War II, Korean War and the Angola Border War.

SAAF Band

The parade held on the 1 February 2019,started with a flypast by two Agusta A109LUHs,one from 19 Squadron and 15 Squadron. Shortly After we had the mass flypast by most current SAAF types. From the helicopters we had 3 Agusta A109LUHs,4 Oryx Helicopters,2 Museum Alouette IIIs and one 16 Squadron Rooivalk. The Museum flew a Cessna 185,A Bosbok and 3 Harvard’s. Two 41 Squadron Kings Airs flew overhead before the start of the jets howling overhead with two 85 Combat Flying School Hawk Mk120 jet trainers and the final flypast was by four 2 Squadron Gripens.

Agusta A109LUH Flag Flypast
SAAF Helicopter Flypast
SAAF Museum Harvards
41 Squadron King Airs
Silver Falcons
85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120s
2 Squadron Gripens

Air Force Base Ysterplaat in the Western Cape was named as the prestige unit of 2018.Airforce Base Ysterplaat is home to 35 Squadron,22 Squadron and part of the SAAF Museum.


Colonel Carl Moatshe receiving the prestige unit Trophy for 2018

Lt General Msimang mentioned “The South African National Defence Force remains mandate driven to deliver safety and security to its people and to strengthen regional, continental and international peace and stability.”


Lt General Msimang

“I salute each and every women and man of the South African Airforce,uniformed and civilian, permanent force and reserve force, who through their commitment and passion to serve, ably met the challenges of 2018 with a high level of purpose.”

“Our successful outreach programs, namely: Siyandiza, Young Falcon and the winter and summer camps, continue to ignite young peoples passion in aviation through science and Mathematics. This year we shall introduce cyber awareness and robotics in our programs.

“As an Airforce we remain committed to the full integration and deployments of the A-Darter Missile whilst the future of the Rooivalk remains positive with possible upgrade continuing to be addressed and drawing interest from various partners. The relationship between ourselves and our industry remains a firm footing and we have no doubt that as part of South Africa’s “New Dawn” we will emerge even stronger. Through the National defence Industry Council, plans are afoot to implement significant interventions that will ensure the continued sustainability and survivability of our defence industry.”

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SAAF Prestige Evening Awards

The South African Airforce held a Prestige evening awards ceremony at Airforce Base Swartkop on the 31 January 2019.The following day the Airforce was to celebrate 99 years of air power excellence.

85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120 “Gannet” on static display.

The aim of the Prestige Evening is to showcase the service excellence by bestowing honours and eminence to the sterling work the done by the different SAAF entities and individuals in their varied stations.

Invited guests were treated to a mini flying display by various aircraft in the South African Airforce inventory, that being the Silver Falcons led by Major Omphile Matloane ,an Oryx helicopter and the SAAF Museums De Haviland Vampire flown by Lt Col Glen ‘Gringo’ Warden.

Silver Falcons
Silver Falcons
De Havilland Vampire T55
De Havilland Vampire T55
17 Squadron Oryx Helicopter

Unfortunately there was no Rooivalk display due to the helicopter picking up a snag during its validation flight earlier in the afternoon. The Weather gods also didn’t agree with the evenings proceeding’s and rather made everyone move into Hanger 5 where supper and speeches took place due to the heavy rain downpour.

16 Squadron Rooivalk flown by Major Paul “Racoon” Kempthorn

Once everyone had run for shelter due to the rain in hangar five “The Centre of Aviation Awareness Hanger ” where the to the choir entertained us until the awards ceremony began.

The Chief of the South African Airforce and MCs for the evening congratulated each of the following units for the outstanding contribution to making the organisation a successful team in their different roles they’re play in the SAAF.

For the rest of the evening we got to listen to the South African Airforce Band, with a special musician who joined us for the evening, Mr
Jonas Gwangwa. He has been an important figure in South African jazz for over 40 years.


Mr Jonas Gwangwa

We would like to say thank you to the South African Airforce for their hospitality and to the Chief of the SAAF for welcoming us to the event personally.We wish the SAAF a great and safe year ahead. The evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display.

The Chief of the SAAF Lieutenant general Fabian Zimpande Msimang and his wife Ms Afrika Msimang enjoying their copy of their 2019 edition of Aviation Centrals Calendar.

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Africa Aerospace and Defence Airshow 2018

Africa Aerospace and Defence Airshow 2018

The 10th edition of the Africa Aerospace and Defence trade and airshow has come and gone, what was definitely the most exciting show we all looked forward to panned out to be a great success once again. The event took place over the 19th-23 September 2018 at Air force Base Waterkloof, Centurion, City of Tshwane.

AAD2018 Crowd

Static Park

The apron was full of aircraft and most of the hangers were full of all different companies showing off their technology to the world. The crowds were kept busy with all the walking through the halls and interacting with aircraft and pilots.

Crowds flocked to the gates around the base from the 22-23 September to get the best seat along the crowd line,this to insure they don’t miss any part of the exiting program Colonel Keith Fryer(flight director)  and Keith Andrews and their team put together to excite and show off air capabilities of the South African Airforce (SAAF). The Saturday show started off with the Sound of Freedom, that been the sound of jets, six Gripens from 2 Squadron and 3 Hawks from 85 Combat Flying School took to the skies and put a formation flypast over the crowds.What a way to start a airshow!

AAD2018 Crowd

With Airforce Base Swartkop down the road from Airforce Base Waterkloof, Swartkop was used as a second base for aircraft including the new microlight display team known as the Misasa Aerial Display-MAD Team. The team is made up of Adrienne Visser as lead, Pieter Kriel at the number two, Gary Heyenreich at number three, Gavin Van Der Berg at four and number five Marius Nel. It was great to see a microlight display team after the absence at airshows for some years now,we hope to see them on the regular airshow circuit in the future. There was a Airplane Factory Sling 4 and a Raven 500 formation Flypast.A mass Bathawk display was put on show, and is shown why its a great aircraft for Anti-Poaching missions.A light sky jeep was also thrown into the formation as well as the wagtail gyrocopter, all aircraft not shy to the African bush!

Raven 500

Wagtail

Capital Sounds once again had their ever hard working team at the event and this has to be the longest line of speakers that Capital has at a airshow in South Africa. Brian Emmenis and Leon Du Plessis informed the crowd of each aircraft taking to the skies and brought a lot of the airshow vibe to Waterkloof.

Capital Sounds Team AAD2018

Capital Sounds

Lieutenant colonel Craig “Shark” Lesson once again did 85 Combat Flying School proud,as he put the Hawk Mk120 through its paces.The Officer Commanding 85 Combat Flying School displayed both one of the Flag Hawks’271′ and one of the grey aircraft during the course of AAD2018.Andrew Blackwood Murray flew his Nashua Extra 300 and Neville Ferriria flew his Slick 540 with a combined aerobatic sequence with high energy aerobatics and low knife edge passes so the crowd could capture the sleek lines on both aircraft. Neville Ferreria had just returned from Hungry where he is flying the Geneavation Aerobatic aircraft for the country. He is surely doing South Africa proud!

Hawk MK120 ‘Vlaggie’

Hawk MK120 ‘262’

Andrew Blackwood Murray Extra 300

Slick 540 Neville Ferreira

Paramount Groups AHRLAC aircraft did some tight formation flying and was defiantly a way to show it off to the worlds market of defence. Staying with the locally manufactured aircraft the 16 Squadron Rooivalk was put through its paces in the UN white livery by Major Paul ‘Raccoon’ Kempthorn, at the end of his display he released a large amount of flares,a great end to a display!

Paramount Group AHRLACs

Paramount Group AHRLACs

16 Squadron Rooivalk

16 Squadron Rooivalk

The Rand Airport based Puma Flying Lions  Harvards and Taillifts Cows Pitts Specials flew their usual display infront of the 45 000+ crowds.The SAAF Museum and Harvard Club Harvards and a single Douglas DC4 did a couple of formation Flypasts over the crowd and brought back many memory’s of the former SAAF trainer before the Harvard was replaced by the Pilatus PC7MKII. The DC4 then went onto doing a solo display flown by Captain Bill Good.

Puma Flying Lions Harvards

Taillifts Cows Aerobatic Pitts Team

Mass Radial Display

Harvard Club

Harvard Club

Douglas DC4

Douglas DC4

The cockpit ambassadors of the South African Airforce The Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team 82,put on a great display led by Major Omphile Matloane who received his Golden Wings  a couple of days before the start of AAD2018.Lt Colonel Glen Wraden flew the Aero L29 from AFB Swartkop, The Airforce of Zimbabwe K8 was also flown with a support CASA 212 on static display.

Silver Falcons

Silver Falcons PC7MKIIs

Falcon 5 Sivu Tangana

L29

L29

K8

K8

There were two mini-wars on the day of the show,both from the SAAF Museum and from the current SAAF inventory of aircraft.A vast amount of pyrotechnics and armored vehicles were used during the show.

SAAF Museum Bosbok and Cessna C185

Ratels

Oryx Helicopters

Top Cover Rooivalk and Hawks

Ivan van Der Schaar and Jon-Marc Hill, Juba Jourbet flew the Bi-plane formation that being a Boeing Stearman and Antonov 2 ‘Little Annie’.Later in the day Little Annie escorted by the Stearman dropped a large amount of Manhattan Marshmellows for the crowds.

AN2 and Boeing Stearman

AN2 ‘Little Annie’

Annie Drop AAD2018

AN2 marshmallow drop

2 Squadron was well represented at the show once again,we were able to see six Gripens in formation,two Gripens in the mini-war and a solo gripen display flown by Major Geoffrey ‘Spartan’ Cooper and a 2v1 combat routine.

2 Squadron Gripens

Gripen JAS39D flown by ‘Midnite’ and ‘Bluebird’

Gripens being flown by ‘Cipher’ and ‘Doberman’

28 Squadron was busy during the mini-war delivering troops into the simulated battle-zone, Lt Col Clint Hawtrey also gave one of the best C130BZ displays to date. What a display it was to witness!

C130BZ

C130BZ dropping flares

C130BZ during the mini-war

A huge of congrats must go to the organisers of AAD2018

Florence Musengi-AAD Chairperson

Simphiwe Hamilton-Excutive Director

Leon Dillman-CEO CAASA

Leona Redelinghuys-Exhibition Director

Marketing and Public Relations-Nakedi Phasha

Youth Development Program-Kholisile Khumalo

General Fabian Zimpande “Zakes” Msimang-Chief of the South African Airforce

The 11th Edition of Africa Aerospace and Defence, AAD2020, will take place 16 – 20 September 2020. 2020 SAAF and the Aero Club of South Africa will be celebrating their centenary birthdays and this creating lots of expectations among young and old to see a Super Show. All we can do is wait and see what they deliver and how many Countries except the invite to join South Africa on this centenary celebrations.

 

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Africa Aerospace and Defence Airshow programme

Africa Aerospace and Defence Airshow programme

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AAD Airshow Programme 22 Sept 2018

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AAD Airshow Programme 23 Sept 2018

 

 

AAD2018 Day 1

AAD2018 Day 1

The Africa Aerospace and Defence day one of the trade day finally arrived, visitors from across the world have made their way to Africa’s largest trade and airshow in South Africa. This is the 10th annual AAD trade and Airshow taking place of its kind.

The official opening of the event took place near the movements terminal building at AFB Waterkloof, where President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed invited guests and media.

He mentioned “In support of the industry, he outlined the many initiatives to maximise the value of the defence industry, notably the Defence Industry Strategy developed by the National Defence Industry Council, a Defence Sector Charter developed to open space for private participation by small and medium black enterprises and a defence industry fund that was launched in June this year as a funding mechanism for industry.”

Aircraft arrivals continued from Gripen to Hawk and SAAF Helicopters. The cockpit ambassadors of the South African Air Force, The Silver Falcons were busy throughout the day from a 9ship flypast of PC7MKIIs and a validation of their display. The Airforce of Zimbabwe K8 also flew its validation display during the course of the day.

2 Squadron Gripen

2 Squadron Gripen

2 Squadron Gripens

Silver Falcons

85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120s

16 Squadron Rooivalk

Airbus H125

We look forward to tomorrow, keep a look out on our Facebook page for updates.

Air Power Capability Demonstration 2018

Air Power Capability demonstration  2018 

One of the more exciting events the SAAF invites media and VIP guests to is the Air Power Capability demonstration, this year the event was in conjunction with the Africa Aerospace and Defence show which is currently been held at Airforce Base Waterkloof in Pretoria.The purpose of the exercise is to invigorate the SAAF’s combat readiness and its role in peace support operations.

Media and guests were once again flown up to Polokwane Gateway International Airport before been transported by bus to the Roodewal Bombing Range around 40 minutes drive from Polokwane.On a arrival SAAF Fire and Rescue Services had already been fighting ranging fires in the area as well as some Oryx helicopters who were working hard with the assist of the choppers capabilities of using a “babi’ bucket to put the fires out.

A safety briefing was followed by the Chief of the South African Airforce General Fabian Zimpande “Zakes” Msimang and other military personnel,the demo started off with pathfinders who excited an Oryx Helicopter and landed in the simulated battle zone.A recce run was then carried out by a Gripen and Hawk,the Gripen continued to orbit before exciting the battle area.Two Oryx Helicopters then came in for a water drop again assisted with their bambi bucket.

Path finders exciting the Oryx

Pathfinders

Hawk and Gripen Recce run

2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen

Two Oryx Helicopters with Bambi Buckets

The sound of thunder was then echoing the skies of Roodewal with a mock dog fight between a enemy hawk and two friendly Gripens. The fighters then joined up for a friendly flypast. A single C130BZ and a CASA 212 performed a cargo drop before the return of the helicopters followed by a single A109LUH and a BK117 landed in the battle zone bringing in the first of the troops. At the same time two 16 Squadron Rooivalks provided top cover.It was unfortunately not long after that a Oryx had a hard landing resulting to the end of the exercise.The crew and troops were lucky to have light injuries from the landing.

Gripen and Hawk Formation

C130BZ Cargo drop

Agusta A109LUH

15 Squadron ‘C’ Flight BK117

16 Squadron Rooivalk

Oryx Helicopter

“The crash landing happened in front of invited guests, foreign diplomats and the media. As the aircraft hit the ground part of the tail rotor and wheel collapsed. When the helicopter came to a stop quick thinking by the crew saw the engines cut,” he said.

Colonel Eugene Motati of SAAF Corporate Communication said: “The unfortunate incident occurred and as you all know details are not clear. We can confirm the pilot was Lieutenant Colonel King, we are thankful there were no fatalities or major injuries, just a minor ankle injury to one person. You witnessed this occurrence during the trooping manoeuvre, at the moment we do not suspect mechanical failure and we don’t want to speculate further. We hope the board of enquiry will give more details and the cause of the accident.

“I want to emphasise we are happy with the reaction of the aircrew controlling the aircraft without any further damage. It could have been worse if not correctly handled. So we are proud of the performance of our airmen, they displayed excellent airmanship in that space of time, because it happened so quickly.“The crew and troops were able to extract safely from the aircraft.”

The event ended by a c130BZ dropping flares and a single Gripen passing overhead the guests going into a vertical at the same time dropping flares.A quick supper and we were off back to Polokwane and a 40 minutes flight back to Waterkloof.

C130BZ Flare drop

2 Squadron Gripen

SAAF Museum Airshow 2018

SAAF Museum Airshow 2018

The long awaited annual SAAF Museum Airshow was held on the 5th May 2018,on some what perfect airshow weather.The show was conducted under the theme:Our Indomitable Spirit,both Civilian and Military aircraft and pilots showed off to the thousands of people that arrived early on Saturday morning at Air force Base Swartkop along side old Johannesburg Road in Valhalla, Pretoria. The SAAF Museum Airshow is designed to offer aviation enthusiasts, aviation institutions and publications ,the general public and as well as former and current SAAF an opportunity to reflect and or reminisce on the memories and presentations on history.

Youth exhibition Friday 2018-05-04

The day before the SAAF Museum and the SAAF hosted a career expo for learners around the Gauteng area. 14 different schools and a total of 1000 learners were invited to Hanger 4A to interact with some of the exhibiters including the south African Air Force.


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The Airshow Saturday 2018-05-05

The show started with paragliders who filled the skies with much colour to their bright chutes they were using as well as a single gyrocopter all operating out of the Grasslands field not to far from Swartkops. Next up the 28 Squadron C130BZ from AFB Waterkloof landed with a special surprise in being the SAAF Band that entertained the crowds until the show was officially opened, This has never been done at a airshow before in South Africa. The C130 then took off from the base to  climb to altitude to drop the several  parachutists from both the Golden Eagles Parachute team and member’s of the special forces.The landed just in time to meet and greet the Chief of the South African Air force Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande Msimang and Officer Commanding Airforce Museum Swartkops Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Bruintjies.


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Capital Sounds provided sound equipment for the large crowd line, excellent commentary from Brian Emmenis,L eon Du Plessis and Elvis Manene. SAAF commentators that provided information for the ever eager public was Colonel Lance ‘Lancelot’ Mathebula who also provided commentary from one of the Hawk Mk120s during simulated top cover during the mini war.A first for a airshow. He was also joined by two new hawk pilots Captain ‘Comet’ Mfeka and Tiisetso ‘Lego’ Legodi.

Airboss for the show was Colonel Keith Fryer and also commentated during some of the display slots, Colonel Keith Andrews was ramp Boss and some of the best SAAF ATC’s were present keeping the airspace safe for display routines.

The show was opened by the Hawk Mk120 ‘Gannet’ flown by officer commanding of 85 Combat Flying School Craig ‘Shark’ Leeson,showing what the lead in fighter trainer is capable of and training the new generation fighter pilots on the type. The SAAF Museum heritage flight were straight after the Hawk landed,first up the helicopters consisting of the Alouettes II and III and Aerospatiale Puma.The Cessna 185s were soon over head the field followed by the formidable sound of the Atlas C4.M Kudu and Bosbok and Harvards.Glen ‘Gringo’ Warden flew a gentle solo display in the De Havilland T55 Vampire.


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The Rand Based Pitts Special teams flew their high energy display being the new Cows Aerobatic Team and the Goodyear Eagles Aerobatic Team led by Glen Warden, Johan Von Solms both ex fighter pilots joined Nigel Hopkins and Jason Beamish.  Team Extreme performed their first airshow as a four ship led by Nigel Hopkins,Mark ‘Sammy’ Sampson,Mark ‘Bugs’ Hensman and Jason Beamish. The Mango 737-800 was flown out of Lanseria International Airport to display  at the show by Captain Scully Levin and Captain Rodney Chinn.The Puma Flying Lions also flew a great display and were part of the 12 Harvard mass shutdown towards the end of the day!


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Andrew Blackwood Murray Displayed the Nashua Extra 300L and other aerobatic  slots saw Patrick Davidson who flew up from Port Elizabeth in his Red Bull Sponsored Sbach 342, it was great to see Patrick at a airshow on the Highveld, he was joined by unlimited aerobatic class pilot Barrie Eels in his new Extra 330sc in a dual display of intense aerobatics.


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Ex Russian Jet trainers that flew at the show was Ex Sasol Tiger L29 ZU-AUX and L39 ZU-TEE in its new colour scheme,both flown by  Glen ‘Gringo’ Warden.He definitely kept the photographers happy with his display passes.

The mini war that the crowd got to witness was a absolute treat to see the new and the old from the choppers,that being the Puma and the Oryx helicopters. The gunships saw the Alouette III and Rooivalk and two Agusta A109LUHs.The bosbok was also flown in the demonstration simulating airstrikes as well as two Hawk MK120s flown by Simon ‘Seraph’ Theunissen and Jabulani ‘Cyrax’ Mabona. The C130 was  used to drop parabats on the far side of the field and the 44 Squadron Casa 212 was utilized for a supply drop, while the army engineers provided pyrotechnics in the background.


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Major Geoffrey ‘Spartan’ Cooper showed off the JAS39C Gripen from 2 Squadron, he definitely  shows the aircraft well and in its limits. The crowds were on their feet during his famous dump and burn. The Pilatus PC7MKII was put through its paces by Major Bheki ‘Swaziboy’ Shabungu. 15 Squadron pilot Major Diaan Grobbelaar flew a awesome display in the Agusta A109LUH as well as Paul ‘Raccoon’ Kempthorn in the 16 squadron Rooivalk,great display from the chopper boys.


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The youngest airshow participant on the day was Ger-Drie de Beer flew his RC MX2,what a great display he did for the thousands of people he displayed for. Retired Gen. Des Barker few the first airshow display in the Atlas Angel, which is a upgraded Kudu with a Pt6 turbine engine, Gerrie ‘Sparkie’Pretorius flew a brilliant tight display in the Museum Cessna C185.

‘Little Annie’ an Antonov 2 showed why its the worlds largest Bi-Plane piloted by father and son team Mark and Jon-marc Hill. Jeff Earle flew his Vereeniging based De Havilland DH. 82 Tiger Moth.The Randolph  sponsored Boeing Stearman flown by Comair Boeing Captain Ivan van der Schaar.28 Squadron flew their usual low-level routine in the C130Bz from 28 Squadron flown by Clint Hawtrey and Caro Duven.


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The SAAF Museum Puma dropped a car that apparently parked where it shouldn’t of been ,the public made sure it wasn’t their vehicle at the end of the day.At the end of the last act being the Gripen,Captain Mark Kelbrick proposed to his wife to be in front of of a large crowd who waited until the last slot of the day had been flown.

Gripen stopping in-front of the crowd at the end of the show… all for one reason…

Photo credit Niel Swart

Big congratulations to Mark and Megan that stole the show when as went down on one knee and proposed to her before the whole of the crowd in front of Gripen

Photo credit Niel Swart

This Museums show was definitely a winner, to Colonel Trish Schoeman, Colonel Melvin Bruintjies, Col. Keith Fryer and their team, we salute you on a great show and to all the spectators who attended the Airshow, till next year

Keep them Up where they’re belong

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