Tag Archives: 41Squadron

46 Years Ago-The Atlas C4M Kudu took to the skies!

This past February this year 46 years ago, on 16 February 1974, the prototype Atlas AL60-C4M Kudu flew for the first time. The aircraft was registered ZS-IZF and had the Manufacturers Serial Number 001.

Atlas C4M Kudu Lanseria during the 1970s

It took to the air shortly after 09.30 from Jan Smuts Airport, having been built at the Atlas Aircraft Corporation complex, the home of the fledgling South African Aircraft Industry at the time. The pilot was the Atlas Chief Test Pilot Mr.A.J.(Butch) Bester with the Flight Observer Mr.R.A.J.Steel. The flight lasted an hour and twenty minutes.

Atlas Aircraft Coporation

The aircraft was powered by a 340hp Avco-Lycoming-Piaggio GSO-480-B1B3 piston engine, though this was not the engine of choice for the SAAF. They had requested either a 425hp Lycoming engine or a 435hp Teledyne-Continental engine but altering the aircraft to accept the more powerful engine would have delayed the delivery of the aircraft quite considerably. Turbine engines were not considered, the feeling being that maintenance in the field would be difficult.

The impression also existed that a piston engine was more robust and therefore better suited for military operations. As the programme was already significantly behind schedule, the Chief of the Air Force accepted the specifications of the aircraft without alteration on 21 March 1972.

Although ZS-IZF was the first Kudu to fly, the first aircraft delivered to the Air Force was SAAF Serial 960 which initially flew as ZS-IZG. It was to fulfil the role of Military Prototype. The SAAF acceptance flight of this aircraft took place on 21 August 1974. Its delivery flight to the SAAF took place on 24 February 1975.

Atlas Kudu ZS-IZF
SAAF Kudu ‘994’

The last Kudu handed over to the SAAF was officially recorded as 997 on 31 August 1979. It flew to its new home unit on 4 September 1979. ZS-IZF continued to serve as a developmental aircraft flying with both Atlas Aircraft Corporation and the Test Flight and Development Centre of the SAAF. It was allocated the SAAF serial 999.

Both ZS-IZF and 999 were used in documentation during the 1980s. The registration ZS-IZF was eventually cancelled on 4 November 1985, the aircraft being listed in the CAA records as having been donated to the SAAF.

Atlas Kudu ZU-BSV
SAAF Museum Atlas C4M Kudu

It is interesting to note that although ZS-IZF was the first Kudu to fly, it was the last Kudu to be received by the SAAF.

When the Kudus were withdrawn from SAAF service, 999 was returned to its civilian lifestyle as ZS-WXF, registered as such on 15 October 1991. Years later ZS-WXF was drawn into the Angels Way Trust turboprop conversion programme and proudly flew again for the first time on 22 October 2009 as ZS-WXF Atlas Angel “Gabriel”, the original airframe that flew for the first time today 37 years ago.

Atlas Angel at Sua Pan Botswana 2019
Atlas Angel ZU-BTN

The first of the Atlas Angels to fly however was ZU-BSV “Michael” which took to the skies on 23 May 2009.

Kudu ZS-WWO
Kudu ZS-WYA

Long may Atlas Angels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael and Daniel continue spreading their wings for the skydiving fraternity in South Africa with the power plants they always deserved – 726shp Walter M601D Turbines (flat rated to 550shp).

Today as the now Turbine powered Atlas Nagel can been seen at various Skydiving clubs around South Africa.

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!

Please Browse through our Gallery Below!

“Our Collective Heritage” SAAF Museum Airshow 2019

D-Day for the annual South African Airforce Museum Airshow 2019 had finally arrived at the worlds second oldest operational airbase in the world, Airforce Base Swartkop which is home to the South African Airforce Museum and 17 Squadron a operational helicopter unit also active at the base. The Theme for this years show was “Our Collective Heritage” this is to celebrate and recognise the procurement of our past and present in the SAAF.

Both Umkhonto we Sizwe ( MK ) and Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (AMPLA) sent their pilots abroad to train on aircraft including Cessna 150s and L39s.Helicopter Pilots were sent to Russia for their rotary wings course flying both the MI24 Hind and Mil Mi8 Helicopters.

Former homelands in South Africa known as the TBVC Sates, which were the Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and the Ciskei had their very own Airwings which operated light transport aircraft, helicopter and turbo prop trainers including Pilatus PC7 MKIs just some of the few of their air assets. This was also a perfect occasion to celebrate the theme our collective heritage as mentioned above.

The SAAF Museum Airshow was opened by the Chief of the South African Airforce Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande “Zakes” Msimang. Who flew in one of the Museum Alouette III, General Msimang a former helicopter pilot mentioned in his speech “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 South African Airforce Band, choreographed some beautiful sets of instrumental music for the opening of the show and kept the public entertained during the course of the day with sights and sounds of military men and women putting together their talent of music.

With the low cloud base in the morning of the show, the Golden Eagles Parachute display team were unfortunate not allowed to jump out of the 44 Squadron Casa 212 based at Airforce Base Waterkloof.

Air boss for this years show was Lieutenant Colonel Rodney King a former leader of the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Display team. Capital Sounds Brian Emmenis had a huge deployment with at least a kilometre of speakers, so that the strong 30 000 plus crowd could hear commentary from both Brian Emmenis, Leon Du Plessis, Colonel Lance “Lancelot” Mathebula,Colonol Catherine “Siren” Constable, Major Dale Naddison,Lieutenant Colonel Iwan Robbertse, Captain Tiisetso “Lego” Legodi and Major Mandisa “Comet” Mfeka.

The Silver Aerobatic Display team opened he show with their flat display with Major Omphile “Biggy” Matloane at the lead. The Museums Helicopter’s were next with a aerial ballet from both the Alouette II and Alouette III.A solo display by the Puma, flown by General John Church.

The First jet display for the day was the Museums Vampire T55 flown by Colonel Glen “Gringo” Warden. Glen also flew the Rand Airport Based L29 and L39 adding to the eastern block jet age.

South African Airforce Displays consisted of a Hawk MK120 flown by Lieutenant Colonel Craig “Shark” Leeson, as he gave his last display as 85 Combat Flying Schools display pilot. Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter will be taking over as the Hawk display pilot. Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper put the Gripen JAS39C through its paces with a flare drop at the end of his display.41 Squadron provide a formation display of a Pilatus PC12 and two Cessna 208A Caravans.17 Squadron provided a Oryx Capability demonstration with fast roping and troop extracting. A combat air routine was also carried out by two Hawk MK120s and a JAS39D Gripen fully loaded with ammunition was surly a favourite to see flying in that configuration.

The South African Airforce Museum put on a mini war re -enactment with two Alouette IIIs, Puma,two Cessna C185s,A Kudu and Bosbok. The Museum and Harvard Club T6 Harvard’s flew a mass radial display with a mass shutdown at the end of their slot.

Team Extreme were also present on the day as they have delighted more than hundreds of thousands of people at airshows in Southern Africa this year already. Other Aerobatic teams that were present were the Goodyear Eagles Pitts, The Cows Pitts Specials and the Puma Flying Lions. The MAD Microlight display team also closed the show with LED lights and smoke added to their trikes.

Singleton displays consisted of a Magni Gyro Copter flown by Andre van Zyl, The Nashua Extra 300 flown by Andrew Blackwood Murry. Menno Parsons made a welcome return to Swartkop this year with his P51D Mustang.The radial formation made up of ‘Little Annie’ an Antonov 2 flown by Jon-Marc and Mark Hill as well as a Boeing Stearman flown by Ivan van der Schaar and Riaan Prinsloo in his Yak 18T.Each of the radials then provided a solo display. The Classic Formation made up of a De Havilland Tiger Moth and two Chipmunks added to the De Havilland Aircraft heritage. Anton von Willich flew a display in his Aerospatiale Gazelle. General Des Barker flew a demo flight in the Wonderboom based Atlas Angel.

As the Gripen closed off the show with a sunset display, ending off with flares into the dark blue skies. Another successful and safe Swartkop Airshow had come to an end. With the short amount of time the SAAF Museum and the SAAF had to pull off a great show with a variety of aircraft on display, a big well done to all involved from Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande “Zakes” Msimang Chief of the SAAF, Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Bruintjies Officer commanding SAAF Museum, Lieutenant Colonel Trish Schoeman Officer Commanding Airforce Base Swartkop, Lieutenant Colonel Rodney King Flight Director for the show, Major Ntokozo Ntshangase as the media liaison for the SAAF Museum, Capital Sounds and to all display pilots, ground crews ATCs and all other role players behind the scenes that made the show a success.

Until we all meet again at the 2020 SAAF Museum Airshow and celebrate 100 years of the South African Airforce “As the SAAF Museum like to say Keep them up where they’re belong!”

Watch some of the highlights below from this years SAAF Museum Airshow 2019!

https://youtu.be/dN8xcu63kLc

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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