Tag Archives: C47TP

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

Heritage Day Celebrations at AFB Ysterplaat

By Rayno Snyman

There was a buzz in the air, excitement of the unknown. We had no idea what was in store for us and what a Heritage Day it was on Thursday 24 September 2020.

We were then greeted by officer commanding Airforce Base Ysterplaat Colonel C. Moatshe. Later in the day the out going chief of the Airforce Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang, who earlier had a flight in a Pilatus PC7MkII not far up the road at AFB Langebaanweg, home of the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team.

Westland Wasp
Alouette III
T6 Harvard
C47 Dakota
Piaggio Albatross

Airforce base Ysterplaat, which hasn’t seen an Airshow since 2011.Members of the South African Air Force, Media and friends of the South African Air Force Museum Cape Town Branch got to see some of the pristine Museum aircraft on static display as well as flying units based at Ysterplaat, such as 22 Squadron a helicopter unit and 35 Sqaudron a Maritime Patrol aircraft unit.

Visiting CASA 212 from 44 Squadron

It was a privilege to witness the amazing aircraft that have crossed paths in our Airforce as 2020 the SAAF celebrated their Centenary. From fast jets to helicopters and the mighty Shackleton. What a treat it was. The Shackleton was the highlight of the day for us, those Griffon engines sent vibrations right to our cores, not to mention the fly by the C-47TP to perfectly commemorate the Shackleton’s own heritage.

Avro Shackleton
Avro Shackleton
Avro Shackleton
35 Squadron C4TP

Heritage Day was perfectly celebrated at AFB Ysterplaat as it was fantastic to see our servicemen and women, young and old, active and retired from all different backgrounds, heritages and cultures coming together to celebrate this special day.  We had the honour to receive a narrated tour of the Shackleton by Mr Ashbury a former 35 Squadron unit member, who could not share the history of this aircraft and his experience with more passion, even if he tried.

Super Frelon
Avro Shackleton
Avro Shackleton Cockpit
F86 Sabre
Buccaneer
Impala MKI
Mirage F1CZ
Mirage IIIRZ

Many familar faces were seen and much was learned to appreciate the effort and training of everyone at SAAF, not only pilots but the engineers, ground crew, specialists and all involved who all play a vital role in keeping us safe.

22 Squadron Oryx Helicopters
22 squadron Lynx Mk 64

We cannot wait for next year and hope to see more of the Shackleton ground runs and maybe even a Airshow again.

22 squadron Lynx Mk 64 flypast

SAAF C-47 77 years and counting!

Originally written by Dean Wingrin in 2015 for the 80th celebration. Edited by Ryno Joubert in 2020 for the 85th anniversary!

Known by such names as the Dakota, Dak, Gooney Bird, TurboDak and even Vomit Comet, 2020 commemorates the 85th anniversary of the first flight of the venerable Douglas DC-3 / C-47 forbearer, the Douglas Sleeper Transport (DST) passenger airliner which evolved into the 21-seater DC-3, on 17 December 1935.

35 Squadron Badge “SHAYA AMANZI”- STRIKE THE WATER

According to The Dakota Association of South Africa, the DC-3, as the DST was to become known, was the first commercial transport aircraft capable of making a profit from carrying passengers only. Most aeroplanes of its vintage were being subsidised by the carriage of mail and freight, whilst air-travel was only for the daring and the affluent.

With the war clouds of World War Two looming on the horizon, the civilian DC-3 was developed into the military C-47 Dakota, powered by two Pratt and Whitney radial engines, with an enlarged cargo door and strengthened fuselage. Along with the Jeep and the Bazooka, General Patton announced it to be one of the major contributors to the victory in the Second World War.

The C-47 was capable of transporting 10,000 lbs (4 536 kg) of cargo or 27 passengers in permanent seats or configured for 28 paratroopers. By the time the last Dakota left the assembly line in 1946, a total of 10 655 DC-3, C-47 and associated variants has been produced.

The Dakota has seen over 77 years of military service in South Africa. The aircraft entered SAAF service in 1943 when the RAF passed a number of their fleet onto the SAAF. By the end of World War Two, a total of 84 Lend-Lease Dakotas had been transferred to the SAAF.

At the cessation of hostilities in 1945, a large number of surplus Dakotas were disposed of, including transferring some to South African Airways. The survivors of the SAA fleet later found their way back to the SAAF in 1971.

When sanctions were imposed on South Africa in the mid-70s, a number of Dakotas were purchased from various sources to supplement those still in SAAF service. In total 16 were added to the SAAF strength. At one stage, the SAAF had the distinction of operating the largest remaining fleet of Dakotas in the world.

The Dakota performed yeoman service during the Border War from the 1960’s through to the end of hostilities in 1988, performing such roles as troop transport, resupply, medical evacuation, Para -trooping and other ancillary activities. Her toughness stood her in good stead.

During one particular mission near the South West African/Angolan border on 1 May 1986, a Dakota of 44 Squadron, commanded by Captain Colin Green, was hit by a SAM-7 surface-to-air missile while transporting high-ranking officials. The missile strike resulted in the loss of most of the rudder and a large proportion of the elevators. The pilot managed to keep the aircraft in the air and on course to AFB Ondangwa, where it was landed safely with no injuries to its crew or passengers.

Following the end of the Border War, the number of squadrons operating the Dakota was reduced, along with the disposal of airframes.

SAAF Museum C47 & AFB Swartkop resident!


The early 1990s saw a large number of Dakotas upgraded to ‘TurboDak’ configuration under Project Felstone. This conversion involved replacing the piston engines of the classic Dakota with two Pratt and Whitney PT6A 65R turboprop engines, lengthening of the fuselage and the installation of modern avionics. Thereafter, the aircraft were re-designated as the C-47TP TurboDak. Between 1989 and 1994, twelve aircraft were converted to C-47TP standard.

35 Squadron C47TP “6884” at AFB Swartkop
The Newly upgraded SAAF C47TP

35 Squadron has been associated with the Dakota since 1985, when several C-47s were acquired to replace the recently retired Avro Shackleton MR3 in the maritime surveillance role.

When 25 and 27 Squadrons were amalgamated with 35 Squadron on 31 December 1990, additional Dakotas were utilised for air transport, leaving the Squadron responsible for both the Maritime and Transport roles. The classic piston-engine workhorses were finally withdrawn in September 1994 and replaced with the modified turbine engine C47TP Dakota.

Apart from the Squadron’s maritime role and transport role (consisting of Para- trooping, target towing, scheduled passenger services, aero medical evacuation and logistical support), the Squadron also performs other support functions. These include electronic intelligent gathering, tactical image (photo) reconnaissance and numerous training functions, such as navigator and telecommunication operator training.

Langebaanweg Airshow 2017-Picture by Jarryd Sinovich
35 Squadron C47TP “6887” at the 50th Anniversary of the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team at a Airshow at AFB Langebaanweg December 2017
35 Squadron C47TP “6825”
Airforce Day 2020, AFB Swartkop
35 Squadron C47TP “6825”
Airforce Day 2020, AFB Swartkop

As a result of rationalisation that has taken place over the last few years, only eight C-47TPs remain in SAAF service, where they serve with 35 Squadron in Cape Town in a variety of roles. The variants operated are: five maritime surveillance configured aircraft, two in transport configuration and one as an Electronic Warfare (EW) training platform.

C47TP leads the light transport formation making up of 41 Squadron Cessna 208As and 44 Squadron Casa 212s.

The SAAF has the distinction of operating the largest remaining fleet of Dakotas used by the military in the world:

Colombia: 6 (FAC1654, FAC1658, FAC1667, FAC1681, FAC1683, FAC1686)
Guatemala: 2 (FAG530, FAG590)
Mauritania: 1 (5T-MAH)
Thailand: 7 (RTAF46151, RTAF46153, RTAF46154, RTAF46156, RTAF46157, RTAF46158, RTAF46159)
South Africa 35 Squadron: 8 (6814, 6825, 6828, 6839, 6852, 6854, 6885, 6887)

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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