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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!

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

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