Tag Archives: Alouette III

The Elders Flight – Brakpan Airfield 2023

Many people across the world have never had the opportunity to fly in an aircraft let alone even set foot inside one.

The 22nd April, a cool autumn breeze swept along the Brakpan airfield for the 2023 edition of the elders flight. A day many South African elderly from communities around Gauteng,this including a handful of ex South African Air force pilots once again sitting up in their former office.

Excitement was definitely on ones mind for some of the 300+ elderly members joining for their day of flying for the first time and a day dedicated to them.

Felix Gosher, the event organiser, put together a huge program of sponsors to pull off the event. With a large safety team, beverages, fuel and aircraft just to name a few.

Felix Gosher a Air Line Transport Pilot license holder and a newly qualified Beechcraft 1900 rated pilot. Felix who also organisers the annual Children’s Flight at Orient airfield. Felix is supported by his wife Belinda at these events which sleepless nights make these events a success with a large amount of hard work from behind the scenes.

The day without a doubt was planned to the last full stop landing of each aircraft and every last passenger receiving their wings from South African Air Force Major General Lance “Lancelot” Mathebula who is director of force preparation at SAAF Headquarters. He arrived in a 17 Squadron Agusta A109LUH.

A bit of a different ride for a fighterjock, Lance has flown the Pilatus PC7MKII,Impala Mk1 and Impala MKII, Hawk Mk120 and Gripen. The Major General who is also a qualified weapons attack instructor, former 2v1 display pilot and foreign exchange pilot to name some of his achievements!

Brian Emmenis from Capital Sounds, provided commentary throughout the day, also during the Puma Energy Flying Lions Harvard’s display. A flat show was provided by Scully Levin and the team, with some height restrictions, with Brakpan airfield being so close to OR Tambo International Airport airspace.

The final flights that took place were for many ex South African Airforce Pilots flying in some extraordinary aircraft. This included aircraft types members flew or had the opportunity to fly for the first time, one being retired Lieutenant Piet Visser in his P-51 Mustang almost 70 years after he flew the P51 in the Korean War. Former Chief, retired Lieutenant General Fabian ‘Zakes’ Msimang, flew in a alouette II with owner Charles Fuller.

Some of the aircraft that were present at this years elders flight most probably the biggest fleet committed ever.

We a number of fixed wing aircraft including a Antonov An2 ZU-FOO, Cessna C208 Grand Caravans, Cessna C182,C210s,C150s.A large continent of taildraggers, chipmunks, austers, bosboks, Kudu, tiger moths and even a P51D Mustang owned and flown by veteran elders flight partner Menno Parsons.

Helicopters that were present had a bell 407s,Brakpan based Alouette II and Alouette III flown by Charles Fuller and Rob Osner. Bell B206 Jet Rangers, Hughes 369 and a Bell 205

Please browse through our gallery!

SAAF Museum Flying Day April 2023

There was no time for jokes on the April edition of the SAAF Museum Flying day at Mobile Deployment Wing Swartkop.The now Mobile Deployment Wing known as MDW, was the old Snake Valley, then Swartkop Airfield which then fell under AFB Waterkloof after the base was disbanded.

Cessna C185 “748”

This was the final flying day to be held before the SAAF Museum Airshow on 6th May 2023,where the public will be able to see both current and museum aircraft of the South African Air force, as well as civilian display teams!

Bosbok “959”

The friends of the South African Air force museum had refreshments on sale as well as as giving guided tours to visitors. The SAAF Museum Spitfire restoration also had memorabilia on sale and were able to show you the restoration progress on the museum spitfire and newly built hangar. The team at the Buccaneer 421 restoration also allowed visitors to sit in the cockpit of the buccaneer.

Harvard “Siyandiza” with hangar 14 in the background

From the flying exhibits we saw the Museums Cessna C185,Bosbok and brighly coloured Siyandiza Harvard from the fixed wings.

Harvard “Siyandiza”

Rotary Museum flying exhibits had the Aerospatiale Puma Helicopter, Alouette II and Alouette III. One of the other Museum Alouette III departed for Nasrec near Johannesburg, where it will be on static display during the duration of the Rand Easter show from Thursday, April 6th, 2023 – Monday, April 10, 2023.We also had a surprise fly-past by a Aerospatiale SA 315B Lama a French single-engine helicopter developed to meet hot and high operational requirements.

Aerospatiale SA 315B Lama
Colonel Billy Port and Captain Ryan Mitton in the Alouette II
Aerospatiale Puma “175”

We look forward to seeing you all at the SAAF Museum Airshow 6th May 2023.
For now keep them up where they belong

The Childrens Flight 2022

Dawn broke on the foot hills of the Magaliesburg mountains, as is it was time for the 2022 edition of the Children’s Flight that was held at Orient Airfield this past Friday. This being the field of dreams for many aspiring and current aviators!

The Children’s Flight’s origins lie in a music video called ‘Paper Plane’, which is essentially about a child with a Dream to fly, but on a deeper level it’s about anyone with a dream.

Aviation is traditionally about defying great odds and overcoming the laws of nature, the politics of man, the limitations of economy, and technological development…..for so long aviation was  an exclusive privilege to supreme military, selected individuals or the super wealthy…

We wanted to bring home aviation to the children, to promote the idea that anyone can be what ever they dream of being… That you can literally ‘take that paper plane to your destiny’…. one day if even one of these kids goes for their dream, then this day may have played a role in that.

500 kids from underprivileged backgrounds got to fly in a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft for the first time in their lives. They were treated to a splendid day out where they were spoilt in the aviation fraternity.

Skydivers opened the Children’s flight from their jump ship an Antonov An2 ZU-FOO, once landed a rather large Van’s RV formation flew over the field.

It was then time for the rotary types to take children up in a Bell Huey, Bell 407, Alouette II and Alouette III just to name a few.

The fixed with aircraft comprised of a Bat Hawk to a Cessna 208 Caravan. Hot 102.7 Radio Station were also present on the day doing a live radio broadcast of the days proceedings. Brian Emmenis provided commentary of the afternoons airshow as he was also scheduled to be at the Grand Rand Airshow in a few days after the Children’s Flight.

An airshow display was then provided by Airshow South Africa, with the Puma Flying Lions led by Scully Levin, Menno Parsons in his Tiger Bell UH-1 Huey.

Andre van Zyl in his Magni Gyrocopter, Ivan and Jeandre van der Schaar debuting the Boeing Stearman and RC Extra 300 display. As well as the Goodyear Eagles Pitts Specials and Iveco Extra 330s flown by Nigel Hopkins and Jason Beamish.

Pictures by Anton Wannenburg,Lettie van Emmenis & Jarryd Sinovich

We’ll done to Felix Gosher, all major role players and Sponsors for giving the children the time of their life.

SAAF Chopper Reunion 2022

The 27th August 2022, hovering into Airforce Base Swartkop, home to 104 Squadron, 17 Squadron, Airspace Control Unit, and the South African Airforce Museum Historic Flight.After a couple years absence due to Covid 19.

The chopper boys were welcomed back to the base to reminisce about their helicopter flying tasks from days gone by and present during their time in the South African Air Force.

SAAF Museum Puma Helicopter

A chopper reunion wouldn’t be the same with out the sounds of helicopter blades twirling through the crisp August day with a 17 Squadron Flypast and the Museum Puma flown by General (Ret) John Church and Piet Burger. And not to forget their flight engineers and ground crew that keep these helicopters serviceable.

Oryx Helicopter ‘1221’
Oryx Helicopter ‘1221’

Memrobilla of all sorts were on sale during the course of the day from 17 Squadron, Air Force Museum Swartkop and a number of others.

Picture by Karl Spangenberg

The SAAF Museum ground crew also placed some of the museum static exhibits including Alouette IIs, Alouette IIIs, Puma, Prototype Rooivalk and a Super Frelon.

With many friends meeting up with one another after the absence and sharing their flying stories as if they were back in their once flying office together again. And not forgetting the famous chopper boys song being sung jutting out loud.

We look forward to attending next year’s event.

Chief of The SAAF Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang Retreat Parade

A rather sad day to be at Air force Base Swartkop on the afternoon of the last day of September 2020,cuddled around a number of cumulonimbus clouds kept their distance as a final retreat parade could take place with a magnificent background as the Chief of the South African Air Force retired.  


Lieutenant General Fabian “BlackHawk” Zimpande (Zakes) Msimang,a former operational helicopter pilots on various types of SAAF Helicopters he flew during his time,including MI8,MI25,Alouette III and Oryx Helicopters just to name a few.

On 28 September 2012,Msimang was appointed the new Chief of the South African Airforce as Lieutenant-General Carlo Gagiano retired from the SAAF.


As we all know,Covid-19 has all hit us all hard,this cancelling a number of events such as airshows in the aviation industry and most important celebrating the SAAFs centenary,with the cancellation of Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD2020),we could not have a 100 year celebration airshow taking into consideration of being the world’s second oldest air force after the Royal Airforce (RAF).And yes the Chief and the Deputy Chief Major General Innocent Buthelezi mentioned we are the second oldest air force in the world!

By 5pm a number of SAAF aircraft including helicopters and fixed wing assets took to the skies around the Pretoria area.Before the outgoing Chief opened the flypasts flying the Alouette III part of the South African Air force Museum.

The next elements of the flypast columns included the De Havilland Vampire T55,flown by Rama “Dynamite”Iyer and Vladimir “Spoetnik” Schultz.The Museums Aerospatiale Puma SA330 and Alouette II closely followed behind.

SAAF Museum De Havilland Vampire T55
SAAF Museum De Havilland Vampire T55
SAAF Museum Aerospatiale Puma & Alouette II

The big chopper formation was soon over Snake Valley led by a 16 Squadron Rooivalk Attack Helicopter,flanked by various helicopters from squadrons across South Africa,including two Lynx Mk 64 Helicopters all the way from AFB Ysterplaat in Cape Town,A number of Agusta A109LUHs and Oryx Helicopters also formed part of the formation.
The former school master of the sky the Harvard formation including Two Museum Harvards and two Harvard Club aircraft were next over the podium.

Mass Helicopter Formation
Rooivalk,Lynx MK 64,Oryx & Agusta A109LUH
Mass Helicopter Formation
SAAF Museum & Harvard Club (Harvard Formation)
SAAF Museum & Harvard Club (Harvard Formation)

The Lycoming formation were next with a Cessna C185,a Kudu and a Bosbok making up for the taildragger aircraft in the museum fleet.41 Squadron put on a tight formation with a leading Pilatus PC12,Two KingAirs and five Cessna 208A Caravans.

SAAF Museum Cessna C185,Kudu & Bosbok
41 Squadron Pilatus PC12
41 Squadron Formation
41 Squadron Formation

Pelican Formation was next with a 35 Squadron C47TP Turbo Dakota,while a 44 Squadron Casa 212 kept tightly behind the Daks 6 o’clock position.Open the gates its 28 Squadron with Two C130BZ Hercules Transport aircraft in formation with four Central Flying School Pilatus PC-7 MKII ab initio trainers.

35 Squadron C47TP & 44 Squadron Casa 212
35 Squadron C47TP
C130BZs & Pilatus PC7MKIIs
C130BZs & Pilatus PC7MKIIs

The last flypast was the combat formation consisting of two 2 Squadron JAS39 Gripens and four Hawks from 85 Combat Flying School.The formation was led by Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper.
As the parade continued with a change of command tradition,a flag setting.

Gripen & Hawk Formation
Gripen & Hawk Formation

The South African Air Force band entertained the VIP Guests and members of the SAAF and Media. The surprise flypast of a Gripen from, behind the seated guests pitched up into the dark sky while releasing flares.Surely presented the chief with a final loud and spectacular goodbye.

Gripen Flare drop

Attending the after function,where we were kindly invited by the outgoing chief,it came time to give one final speech with tears in his eyes “he mentioned to be in an Air Force that Inspires Confidence we need to be confident in ourselves.Since I started here,I have always believed that you,each of you,are more capable.I believed and still do that you have the capacity to make this organisation into something bigger than what it was.”

We were treated to a delicious dinner and cold beverages before leaving the base,well done to all involved in making the final event for the chief a success.


We would like to wish the former chief of the South African Air force all the best for his future and a restful retirement,we’d like to take the time to thank you for making the time for us and giving us the opportunities that some didn’t have.
We thank you sir.

Video Below

Click on photo below to enlarge

The Elders Flight 2019-Rand Airport

The second edition of The Elders Flight ,saw 120 elders took to the skies above Johannesburg on the 30th November.

Some of the elders have flown in a commercial aircraft before while some that have never before even stood close to an aircraft at all, but this event gave the incredible chance to tick off their bucket list at Rand Airport on a hot early morning to join many others that would all experience a day to remember.

Rand Airport ATC Tower

The brain child of the event Felix Gosher a contract Pilot from Zambia,gathered the aviation community and other business to put together a day for our precious eldery South African Citizens.

Felix Gosher
Menno Parsons & Felix Gosher

A pilots briefing was held in Rands former customs hall by Lieutenant Colonel Francois ‘Hose’ Hanekom from the South African Airforce who was Safety Director for the day.Both Netcare 911 and Rand Airports Emergency Services were on Standby for the event if any situation had to occur.

Lieutenant Colonel Francois ‘Hose’ Hanekom

The excited passengers who met up at Harvard Café in Rand Airports Terminal building for breakfast before heading out for a flight, were firstly treated to gift bags and entertained by the Trinity House High School music department while not to be outdone by the Abrue Band.

Former Mirage F1CZ pilot Arthur Douglas Piercy was also present as well as Tony Smith former Officer Commanding of the South African Airforce Museum.

Trinity House High School

The Fleet

Both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters provided short circuits ,from the likes of an Alouette II and III ,flown by Rob Osner and Charles Fuller.

Two Robinson R44s flown by Ross McTaggart and Mischel Frlijack. The striking Colour Scheme of Menno Parsons Huey was also part of the helicopter contingency.

Brakpan based Alouette II and III Helicopters
R44s
Huey

The fixed wing aircraft consisted of a Piaggio Albatross,Cessna C172,Cessna210,Cessna 140,De Havilland Tiger Moth, Mooney M20J,MF17 Mushak, Bush Baby and much more!

Piaggio Albatross
Cessna 210
Cessna 140
Tiger Moth
MF17 Mushak

Flying Display by the Puma Flying Lions

Once all elders had their flights for the days proceedings, the guests were treated to a short display by the Puma Flying Lions flown by Scully Levin and Arnie Meneghelli.

Puma Flying Lions
Puma Flying Lions

The final flight of the day was to see Menno Parsons Mustang Sally take to the skies with Retired Captain Alister Sinclair Rae who was a former P51D pilot who served the South African Airforce in the Korean War.

As the Jeppe High School for Boys and Girls Pipe band created an arch as the former 2 Squadron Pilot walked out to fly in a Mustang once again!

Retired Captain Alister Sinclair Rae & Menno Parsons
Jeppe Pipe Band
The only airworthy P51D Mustang left in South Africa, such an honour to see this aircraft at Airshow around Southern Africa!
P51D Mustang

A big well done to Felix Gosher,Menno Parsons all sponsors and helping hands in a safe and great event.

Thanks to all on giving back to the community, to all the pilots and behind the scenes personnel in making dreams a reality and pilots making their aircraft available for the day at this year’s Elders Fight.

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