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SAAF Museum Airshow Date set for 9th May 2020

Swartkop Airshow 2020
SAAF Museum Airshow Date set for 9th May 2020

Note, This is not the official poster for the 2020 SAAF museum Airshow

And so a century is made with the South African Airforce (SAAF) turning 100 years old. “Through hardships to the stars” of gracing the skies over South Africa, the latin motto explains the Per Aspera Ad Astra phrase.

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 as well as the Bush War.

The date is set for the annual SAAF Museum Airshow with a Theme not 100% confirmed yet, but sources has it as “Embracing our Collective Heritage” and “100 years of Air Power, through 25 years of Democracy” on the 9th May 2020 at Airforce Base Swartkop in the City of Tshwane.

The Centenary of this magnificent milestone will start from the 31st January 2020, as Airforce Day will be the first of the glimpses of the 100 years of Air Power celebrations with an invited guests and media parade which will also be held at AFB Swartkop.

Note to the public that the SAAF Museum Airshow 2020 will only see local aircraft and another show will be held later in the year at another base which should see potential international participation.

Pay attention to our social media platforms for more information on the show closer to the time!

Photos below is from the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow

Excitement is building for the SAAF Museum Airshow

Excitement is building for the South African Air Force YOUTH EXHIBITION day and the SAAF Museum annual Airshow!

The the South African Air Force (SAAF) YOUTH EXHIBITION day and the SAAF Museum annual Airshow will be held on 06 and 07 September 2019 from 07h30 to 16:00 and 09h00 to 17h00, respectively. These events will take place at Air Force Base (AFB) Swartkop, Old Johannesburg road in Valhalla, Tshwane.

The theme for this year is “Collective Heritage”. The theme appreciates and recognizes the collective and individual sacrifices of the members in pursuit and realisation of the SAAF’s mandate. As the historical aviation hub of the SAAF, the SAAF Museum continues in its efforts by collecting, restoring, preserving and exhibiting the heritage and traditions of the SAAF and military aviation.

The Chief of the SAAF, Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande Msimang initiated the Project “Embracing our collective heritage” in order to present a holistic history of the Air Force. These records of history include former TBVC (Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei) states and the Armed Wings of former Liberation Movements in relation to the corresponding political, social and economic dispensation of the country. 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, the unity of society and the triumph of a human spirit.

Youth Exhibition is scheduled for 06 September 2019 at 08:00 in Hangar 4. A total of 1000 learners will attend from different schools around Gauteng and other provinces. The following companies are among those that will exhibit on the day:

1. Standard Bank

2. Armscor

3. Mango

4. Aviation Academy (Cabin Crew)

5. South African Air Force

6. Unisa Robotic Department

The SAAF Museum Airshow (07 September 2019) is designed to attract aviation enthusiasts, the general public as well as current and former members of the SAAF, providing an opportunity to celebrate military aviation in both static and flying conditions.

Aircraft: Members of the public can expect to see the following aircraft on the day:

Operational aircraft: Gripen, Hawk, Lockheed C130, Oryx, Agusta 109, Pilatus 12, Rooivalk

Museum aircraft: Allouette II, Allouette III, SA 330L Puma, Harvard, Atlas C4M Kudu, Aermacchi AM 3C Bosbok, Vampire, Cessna 185 and Explora

Also read Mustang Sally’s Return to SAAF museum Airshow

Tickets: Tickets are available at Computicket at R80.00 for adults and R30.00 for children between 12 – 16 years. Whilst tickets will be available at the gate, members of the public are encouraged to buy tickets before coming to the event.

Gates: Gates will open from 07:00 till 17:30. The Air Show starts at 09:00.

Parking: Parking for people with disabilities will be at the North Gate (Corner Old Johannesburg road & Snake Valley Road). The general public will also park alongside Old Johannesburg Road & Snake Valley Road. Although there will be car guards, members of the public are informed that parking will be at own risk.

Traffic congestion & Noise: There will be traffic congestion and significant aircraft noise. We therefore appeal for tolerance and understanding from the public, especially residents of Valhalla, Centurion and other surrounding areas.

Bus Shuttle: Gautrain buses will be available to shuttle people from Centurion and Pretoria stations to the venue. Gautrain cards are required for the use of this service.

Vendors: There will be food stalls and a beer garden. Alcohol will be served at a designated area. Controlled substances are not allowed.

Also read Do’s and Don’ts attending an Airshow

Prohibited items: Drones and UHF/VHF transmitters.

Also remember to read our air show dos and don’ts for general things to remember. The article can be found here.

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.

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