Tag Archives: Oryx Helicopter

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

The first 15 does it again!

At 14h43, Friday, 14 August, the SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron, NSRI Durban rescue swimmers and Netcare 911 rescue paramedics were activated to prepare to patient evacuate a 36 year old Indian crewman, suffering a serious injury, off a 330 meter crude oil tanker near to Port Elizabeth. A SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, accompanied by two NSRI Durban rescue swimmers and 2 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, departed Durban Air Force Base and arrangements were made for refuelling to take place at East London and at Port Elizabeth.

After refuelling was completed in East London, on arrival at the ship, off-shore of Algoa Bay, 2 NSRI rescue swimmers and a Netcare 911 rescue paramedic were hoisted onto the vessel accompanied by a rescue stretcher. The patient, in a serious condition, suffering a compound fracture to a leg, reportedly sustained in a fall, was taken into their care from the ships medical crew.

The patient was airlifted to a Port Elizabeth hospital in a stable but serious condition where he is recovering post operation. The SAAF Oryx helicopter refuelled at Port Elizabeth 15 Squadron, Charlie Flight and on the return route to Durban refueling took place at East London. The operation completed at 02h39 on Saturday morning.

The crew involved in the rescue was Lieutenant Colonel Zungu (Commander), Major Sandi (Co-pilot) and Flight Sergeant Vumazonke(Flight Engineer).

15 Squadron is one of the coastal helicopter squadrons based at Air Force Base Durban. It is currently a transport/utility helicopter squadron, utilizing the Oryx and A109LUH Helicopters.Their sister based Squadron “Charlie” Flight at Air force Station Port Elizabeth flying the BK117.

Another Rescue for 15 Squadron and the Mountain Club of SA


The Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) section rescue team was called out on this past Saturday morning to a woman who had sustained a broken leg in the southern Drakensberg. She was stretchered out to a private ambulance by the Underberg MCSA rescue team.

Pictures courtesy of MCSA

Then near mid night on Sunday the South African National Defence Force requested help with a soldier who had sustained serious injuries in a fall in Leslie’s Pass in the Injasuthi area. At first light on Monday an Oryx helicopter from 15 Squadron , AFB Durban was dispatched, which then picked up 3 Mountain Club members at Pietermaritzburg. A rescue then took place high in Leslie’s Pass, before bringing the patient to a hospital in Pietermaritzburg.

Pictures courtesy of MCSA

Thanks to Gavin Raubenheimer for the story!
KZN Search & Rescue Convener

Pictures courtesy of MCSA

15 Squadron is one of the helicopter squadrons based at the still Air force Base Durban. It is currently a transport/utility helicopter Squadron flying the Oryx medium transport helicopter as well as the Agusta A109LUH . 15 Squadron “Charlie” flight is based at Air force Station Port Elizabeth flying the BK117 helicopter.

Another Successful rescue for 15 Squadron

Jonathan Kellerman, NSRI Durban station commander, said:

At 11h57, Wednesday, 06th May, NSRI Durban duty crew and Netcare 911 ambulance services were placed on alert for a pending mission to patient evacuate an ill sailor suffering a medical condition (not Covid-19 related) off a bulk carrier motor vessel approaching Durban.8

At 12h45 an SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, a ShipsMed doctor, Netcare 911 rescue paramedics and NSRI Durban rescue swimmers were activated and preparations, including Port Health Authority authorisations, were set in motion.

The SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, carrying 2 SAAF pilots, a SAAF flight engineer, 2 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, a ShipsMed doctor and 2 NSRI rescue swimmers rendezvoused with the ship 7 nautical miles off-shore of Park Rynie, KZN South Coast.

A rescue swimmer, the doctor and a rescue paramedic were winch hoisted from the helicopter onto the ship and the doctor and the rescue paramedic took over medical care of the patient, a 43 year old Filipino sailor, from the ships medical crew.

A second rescue paramedic was winch hoisted onto the ship with a Stokes basket stretcher and the patient, in a serious but stable condition, was secured into the stretcher and winch hoisted with one of the rescue paramedics into the helicopter.

The remaining rescue crew were winch hoisted into the helicopter and in the care of the doctor and the 2 rescue paramedics, who continued with medical treatment to the patient in the helicopter, the patient was airlifted directly to a Durban hospital and he has been taken into the care of hospital staff.

All Covid-19 precautions and protocols were observed during the operation.

NSRI Emergency Operations Centre, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, WC Government Health EMS, Netcare 911 ambulance services, ShipsMed, Transnet National Ports Authority and Port Health Authorities assisted Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in communications, coordination and logistics during the operation.

The operation completed at 17h20.

15 Squadron Extract Patient Off The Queen Mary Two!

Jonathan Kellerman, NSRI Durban station commander, said:
At 17h10, Thursday, 02 April, NSRI Port Elizabeth, NSRI East London and NSRI Durban were placed on alert following reports from MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) of a 58 year old British man requiring medical evacuation off the Queen Mary 2 following a medical emergency (not Covid19 related) with the patient suffering a medical condition.

A WC Government Health EMS duty doctor had spoken to the ships medical team and it was deemed necessary for a patient evacuation to a hospital as soon as possible.

At that stage the ship was approximately 20 nautical miles off-shore of Morgans Bay, on the Transkei coastline, and after investigating options MRCC re-routed the ship to head in a direction towards Durban and an SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, NSRI Durban rescue swimmers and a Netcare 911 ambulance services rescue paramedical team were activated to prepare for the rescue operation 216 nautical miles South West of Durban.

NSRI bases along the East Coast, NSRI Durban, NSRI Shelly Beach, NSRI Port Edward and NSRI East London were placed on high alert to be on stand-by during the helicopter patient evacuation operation.

At 19h00 the SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, carrying 4 SAAF crew, 2 NSRI rescue swimmers and 3 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics departed Durban.

On arrival at the ship, at 21h36, in challenging conditions with 25 knot North Easterly winds gusting to 34 knots and 2 meter swells, an NSRI rescue swimmer and 2 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics were hoisted onto the Queen Mary 2 and they received the patient from the ships medical crew and the patient was secured into a Stokes basket stretcher and hoisted into the helicopter, and he was airlifted, in a stable condition and in the care of the Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, to a hospital in Durban, arriving at the hospital at 23h38, for further medical care.

NSRI Emergency Operations Centre, NSRI Durban Station 5 duty controllers, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, WC Government Health EMS, Transnet Port Health Authorities and TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority) assisted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in the coordination, communication and logistics during the operation.

The operation completed at 00h04.

-ENDS-

TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE

Released by:

15 Squadron Extract Sick Crewman Off Durban Coast

15 Squadron received  a call saying there’s a male person on a ship with cerebral malaria. With the ongoing spread of Coronavirus the risk of the Ships being allowed to dock in the nearby Durban Harbour was a no go.

The vessel CONRAD  is a Bulk Carrier built in 2017 (3 years old) and currently sailing under the flag of Liberia.

Bulk Carrier Vessel CONRAD

A SAAF Oryx Helicopter part of the 15 Squadron helicopter asset was to the Rescue as a need  to get the patient off the ship. Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Fraser Officer Commanding  15 Squadron, Major Altaaf Sheik and Flight Sargent Ryan Naidoo together with three members from Netcare 911 flew out to the ship 12nm from the coast and hoisted members of the Netcare personnel onto the vessel (called the “Conrad”). The man was  stabilized, ventilated and other  other necessary precautions were put in place  while the Oryx Helicopter remained in the holding position in the versinity of the ship.

20 minutes had passed and the Oryx was called back from a NSRI vessel which was also on scene to to communicate with both the Oryx crews, the ship and the NSRI. On the ship the patient was ready for extrication. The Oryx proceeded into the hover over the helipad again and hoisted the medics and the patient onboard and flew him to St Augustines hospital in Durban.

Once again 15 Squadron pulled off a successful sea extraction and saved a life. 15 Squadron is based at the old Durban International Airport and is home to Agusta A109LUHs and Oryx Helicopters, with their sister base in Airforce Station Port Elizabeth home to 15 Squadron “Charlie” Flight flying BK117s.

As 15 Squadron says
“The first 15 the rest are reserves “

The South African Airforce Involved in a Joint Sea Rescue Mission In Cape Town

The South African Air Force (SAAF) received a request for sea rescue assistance from the South African Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) to rescue 13 people who were on-board a rubber duck boat that capsized between Clifton beach and Oudekraal in Cape Town.

The Chief of the SAAF, Lieutenant General Zimpande Msimang has since authorised 22 Squadron, based at Air Force Base (AFB) Ysterplaat to join other sea rescue entities involved in the joint sea rescue efforts.  

A SAAF Oryx helicopter crew (Major Juan-Pierrie du Preez – pilot, Major Tebogo Selepe – Co-pilot and Warrant Officer Gerard Usher – Flight engineer), managed to rescue two (2) survivors and brought them to safety. The remaining people who were on-board the ill-fated inflatable boat are still unaccounted for and a joint sea and land rescue mission is ongoing to locate them. 

SAAF Oryx Helicopter in the Big Apple

The year was 1996,it was a combined exercise with the North Atlantic Fleet, held in the Caribbean, there after a visit to Northfolk, New York and Newport R.I.

Who would ever think the SAAF would have an oryx flying over the statue of liberty. Well that is now one of the memories of the crew of Oryx 1238 can remember for times to come!

22 Squadron Oryx

In 1996, Drakensberg became the first SAN vessel in over 20 years to visit the United States, when it called at the ports of Norfolk, Newport and New York City, which followed a naval exercise with over 25 other vessels at the US Navy’s base at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.

SAS DRAKENSBERG

In 1996 the Navy’s most respected grey diplomat, SAS Drakensberg would return to the USA.

The Drakensberg left Simon’s Town on 14 June 1996 and participated with approximately 25 other warships from seventeen countries in naval manoeuvres, referred to as “Operation Unitas”, the ship visited the large US naval base at Norfolk, Virginia, as well as New York and Newport. Here she is seen alongside Staten Island in 1996.

Oryx 1238 was onboard SAS Drakensberg as she sailed the seas and played a vital role in the combined exercise with other navy vessals.

22 Squadron is a helicopter Squadron based at Airforce Base Ysterplaat in the Western Cape. The squadron has operated the Oryx Helicopter for many years now, and recently took delivery of the four Westland Super Lynx Mk64s helicopters for use aboard the South African Navy’s new Valour Class Frigates that were delivered on 13 July 2007. 

The squadron was formed in Durban on 1 July 1942 by renaming 31 Flight to 22 (Torpedo-Bomber-Reconnaissance) Squadron. It was equipped with ex-SAA Ju52 Junkers as well as a number of Avro Ansons and was assigned to anti-submarine, coastal reconnaissance and convoy support duties

22 Squadron insignia

Armed Forces Day 2020 Capability Demonstration |Night Shoot- Roodewal Bombing Range

The most anticipated event of the Armed Forces Week taking place in Polokwane had to be the capability demonstration at the Roodewal Bombing Range a few kilometres outside the Limpopo capital Polokwane.

Guests were flown up to Polokwane by a charted aircraft,where they were then bused to the bombing range,to witness some of the different assets the South African National Defence Forces Firepower!

The display of arms started with various vehicles showing their fire power, that being the Ratel 90,Olifant MK2 battle tanks are just to name a few.Pathfinders were then dropped into the battle zone as that was the beginning of the mechanised attack from different mechanised armored vehicles, air assets and other ground forces.

Ratel 90
Olifant mk2

The South African Airforce are big favourites at Roodewal as this is the home to 2 Squadron and 85 Combat Flying School as their weapons training grounds. An Oryx Helicopter simulated a fire fighting task, with a Bambi bucket equipped underneath the helicopter.

Oryx Helicopter

The fighters assets provided a recce run, with a single gripen and hawk. A 2v1 combat routine was then shown by two friendly JAS39C Gripens and a enemy Hawk Mk120.

Hawk & Gripen Formation
2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen

Trooping was tasked to a pair of Oryx helicopters with fast ropping, followed by two Agusta A109 helicopters providing a mock hoisting operation from a downed pilot scenario.

Agusta A109LUH

From the transport line including 44 Squadron with a single Casa 212 simulated a tactical cargo supply drop. A 41 Squadron Cessna 208A Caravan was the eye in the sky providing top cover footage to both the spectators and playing a vital role during the entire period of the demonstration with aerial visuals to the coordinators of the simulated battle zone.

44 Squadron Casa 212
41 Squadron Cessna 208A Caravan

The invited guests were treated to see 2 different 16 Squadron Rooivalks in camo and in white, the proudly south African made helicopter provided both cannon and rocket fire gun runs during the demo.

16 Squadron Rooivalk rocket strike!
16 Squadron Rooivalk

Bombing runs were then up next ,with Hawks and Gripens and then followed by a 30mm Aden cannon strike from four Hawks on Charlie Coke known to the pilots as the famous weapons strike zone!

Hawk Bomb Run
The Aftermath
Hawk 30mm Cannon

The night shoot was made up of all arms of ground forces fire power at Roodewal,as well as a cannon and rocket strike from a Rooivalk Helicopter. A single gripen flew directly over the crowd with full afterburner as it reached for the Limpopo night skies filled with dropping flares,a oryx helicopter following next with a flare drop to close off this years Armed Forces Day Capability demonstration.

Oryx Helicopter Flares

A very big well done to all members of the South African National Defence Force that made the event possible and abling the media to attend these exciting demo’s!

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