Tag Archives: Alouettes II

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.

“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 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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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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Mercedes Day-Brakpan Airfield

A different type of fraternity, The Mercedes Benz club of South Africa, get together every year with the last event taking place at Brakpan Airfield. The same venue under the Brakpan Aero Club Members including organiser Hilton Wolff and many other role players put together a day which many visitors of the day wont forget for years to come.

Hilton Wolff, Marcus Goldring and other Mercedes Benz members.


The history of Mercedes-Benz in South Africa by far outstretches the history of the marque’s club here. Although the enthusiasm, interest and involvement of “fans” of the marque throughout its history, this cannot be denied and underplayed, it was not until the late 1970’s that this was harnessed and organised into the beginnings of the Mercedes-Benz Club.

Lucky Mercedes Benz club member with one of the prizes that were won on the day.

The purpose of the day, was to give members of the club, a taste of flight in small aircraft, and not just any aircraft but some unique and modern flying machines. With vintage era up to the modern Mercedes vehicles parked in the vicinity of the club house, both aircraft and car enthusiasts were in their element.

‘Little Annie’ AN2 Taking another load of happy passengers for a flight.
ZS-DFK

Grant Timms flew in a Rand Airport based Harvard ‘7526’ which belongs to John Wright, the aircraft was a major draw card as its not to often to see a Harvard at Brakpan Airfield. It made a excellent photo opportunity as some Mercedes Benz photo bombed the aircraft.

Grant Timms and his Happy Pax
Harvard ‘7526’

Very well known helicopter pilots at Brakpan airfield Rob Osner and Charles Fuller flew both an Alouette II and III. Nothing like flying in ex air force helicopters and flying over the once rich mining areas of the east rand of Johannesburg.

Alouette III Pilot Rob Osner and his ground crew Willie Schutte
zu-rec
Alouette II and III
Charles Fuller’s Alouette II

Other aircraft that gave flips, namely the Cessna Grand Caravan flown by Frederick Kotzee, Dornier Do 27 flown by Rodney Benn,An2 ‘Little Annie’ flown by Jon-Marc Hill. A Piaggio Albatross,Cessna 210 and many more!

ZS-DFK
Cessna Grand Caravan
Dornier DO-27
AN2 ‘Little Annie’
Piaggio Albatross
ZS-MFI
Cessna 210

At non airshow type events its always crucial to have safety as your main priority, Both Colonel Keith Fryer and Colonel Keith Andrews from the South African Airforce kept all flights as well as the ramp safe and running smoothly during the course of the day.

Colonel Keith Fryer helping disembark passengers from Charles Fuller’s Alouette II.
Colonel Keith Andrews keeping an eye as Ramp Controller.
AN2 & Caravan Formation

The Brakpan Aero Club welcomed guests with muffins and coffee and provided boerewors rolls and Hamburgers for the rest. Local flight schools and Mercedes Benz dealership also provided excellent offerings of their latest deals on both pilots licences and car purchase deals.

Piper Colt getting airborne
Little Annie AN2 with some company.

Well done Hilton Wolff and the Mercedes Benz Club Members as well as all the pilots and ground crew who made the event possible and safe. We look forward to the 2020 edition of the event.

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