Tag Archives: SAAF

Airborne patient evacuation at sea with 15 Squadron SAAF

Jonathan Kellerman, NSRI Durban station commander, said:

At 11h32, Sunday, 11 July, 2 NSRI Durban rescue swimmers, 2 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics and a SA Air Force (SAAF) ,15 Squadron, flight crew, departed Durban Air Force Base aboard a SAAF Oryx helicopter to rendezvous with an oil tanker motor vessel approaching Durban from deep-sea to patient evacuate a 27 year old Filipino crewman suffering a medical complaint.

The crews had been placed on alert by MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) on Saturday after a WC Government Health EMS duty doctor evaluated the patients condition in communications with the ships medical crew and it was deemed necessary for the patient to be evacuated to hospital as soon as possible.

Telkom Maritime Radio Services assisted with the VHF marine radio communications.

On arrival at the motor vessel, 50 nautical miles off-shore of Durban, in calm sea conditions, an NSRI rescue swimmer and the 2 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics were hoisted onto the helicopters deck.

The patient, in a stable conditions, was secured into a vacuum mattress and specialised stretcher and hoisted into the helicopter with one of the rescue paramedics.

The NSRI rescue swimmer and the remaining rescue paramedic were hoisted into the helicopter.

The patient, in the care of the Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, was airlifted directly to a Durban hospital landing zone and then transported to a Durban hospital by Netcare 911 ambulance where he is receiving emergency medical care in hospital and he is expected to make a full recovery.

The patient evacuation operation completed at 13h04.

NSRI Emergency Operations Centre, NSRI Durban duty controllers, Netcare 911 duty controllers, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, WC Government Health EMS, SA Air Force Command, Transnet National Ports Authority and Transnet National Ports Health Authority assisted Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in operational logistics and coordination of the airborne patient evacuation operation.

Outgoing SANDF General Solly Shoke Parade

The 28th May 2021,saw the outgoing chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) General Solly Zacharia Shoke during a retreat parade at Thaba Tshwane, known to many as the military town of Pretoria.

Just to mention just some of his curriculum vitae In 1998, Shoke commanded the South African Development Community forces during Operation Boleas in Lesotho. He was the Director Personnel Acquisition from January 1999 to October 2000, when he was promoted to the rank of major general as the Chief Director Human Resources Support. He was promoted to Chief of the Army in 2004, and became Chief of the South African National Defence Force in May 2011.Solly Shoke was the longest serving Chief of the SANDF to date.

President Cyril Ramaphosa attened the parade during the hand over the command of the SANDF to Lieutenant-General Rhudzani Maphwanya as new chief of the South African National Defence Force.

A flag fly-past started proceedings by two Oryx Helicopters carrying both the South African National Flag and SANDF flag, a single 44 Squadron Casa 212 dropped skydivers from 44 Parachute Regiment. Different marching columns made their way onto the sports.

First of the Mass Fly pasts included a helicopter fly-past consisting of a Agusta A109LUH from 19 Squadron, four Oryx Helicopters and a 15 Squadron ‘Charlie’ Flight BK117.

Next was the Pelican Formation made up of a 35 Squadron C47TP Dakota and a 44 Squadron Casa 212.Followed then by the pointer formation of four Cessna 208As Caravans from 41 Squadron. It was then the return of 28 Squadron with two C130BZs.Major Sivu Tangana led a 9-ship formation of Pilatus PC7MKIIs from the Central Flying School, AFB Langebaanweg.

The final formation was the combat formation led by Colonel “Boerboel” Mashaba with two Gripens from 2 Squadron and three Hawks from 85 Combat Flying School. It was then time for Major Mohau “Dobaman” Vundla’s first Gripen solo display in Gauteng skies as he comes in as 2 Squadrons new Gripen display pilot!

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Major-General Wiseman Simo Mbambo is appointed as Chief of the South African Air Force

From the President’s media release: Major-General Mbambo began his military career in Umkhonto we Sizwe, where, among other things, he served as a training instructor in the Kibaxe Camp in Angola and was Commander in Charge of the former MK Military Aviation Group that underwent training in the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991.

He has served in several positions in the South African Air Force, including General Officer Commanding Air Force Base Waterkloof and Chief of Staff Air Operations Major-General Mbambo is currently Deputy Chief of Staff of the SANDF.”

New York Air National Guard Capt. Patrick Gillen leads South African Maj Gen Wiseman Simo Mbambo on a tour of a US Airforce C-5M Super Galaxy cargo bay undergoing refurbishment at the base during 2015

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also announced that from 1 June 2021, Lieutenant-General Rudzani Maphwanya will take over as chief of the South African National Defense force SANDF from General Solly Shoke, who has been chief of the SANDF since 2011.

SAAF Helicopters from various squadrons ,Lynx,Oryx,Rooivalk and A109s

Hercules C130 aka “Flossie”

Hercules C130 Flossie aka “Flossie

C130 Flossie

A while back, whilst we were running a series on SAAF aircraft, the question arose as to how the Hercules C130 got the nickname ‘Flossie’. Well, here we have it courtesy of Jan Marais from Who’s Who in the SAAF.

Here is the story of where the name “FLOSSIE” came from.

Not many years after the arrival of the C130B’s onto the SAAF register, South Africa became embroiled in a Border War along the South West African/Angolan border. There has been much good and bad written about that conflict and I am not going to add further to that issue, other than to point out that the C130’s were used on a daily basis to convey troops and material to and from the border, and in later years SAFAIR, operating L100’s, were contracted to assist in the air transport effort. To the casual observer the C130 and L100 look so much alike that one could be forgiven for thinking they were the same. Having said the above I can now get on with story.

At 28 Squadron, the operators of the SAAF C130’s, was a Flight Engineer named Phil or “Flippie”. He was a most dedicated man who ate, slept and dreamed C130. In his private life he was a most disciplined man (real old school, soldier), who never did a half job of anything. You all know the type, “if its worth doing, do it properly or don’t do it at all”

Phil was married to a lady with the real old English name of Florence. In her family she was called Flo, and among her siblings she was called Flossie. (by now you can see where this is going)

Presidential Inauguration 2019

Photo: Johan Stephens

Being the consummate professional Phil would ALWAYS walk out, long before the rest of the crew, to the aircraft he was scheduled to fly in and do a proper pre-flight inspection. A few of his fellow flight engineers would pull his leg and tell him the aircraft was only due for a major technical inspection at a future date. His standard reply was “Chaps, if you treat and look after your aircraft like you look after your wife, she will never let you down” This comment always gave all of his Squadron mates a smile. Over the months, whenever his crew were due to walk out to the aircraft they would ask “where is Flippie, is he at Flossie? or Come guys we shouldn’t keep Flossie waiting” or comments along those lines.

In time the reference to Flossie was made more often at the movement control section at Air Force Base Waterkloof and more and more people became attuned to this reference and this then morphed into all troop transport, becoming known as “FLOSSIE”

You may ask how I know this bit of history. The simple answer is that Phil was my Father and “FLOSSIE: was my Mother.

Flying the BDF C130

Joe Ford joins Draken International as Chief Executive Officer

Las Vegas, NV – The Board of Directors of Draken International, LLC has elected Joseph “Joe”Ford as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Ford will also serve as a member of the company’s Board of Directors.


Ford previously served as President, DynAviation at DynCorp International. At DynAviation, Ford was responsible for all aspects of the segment’s profit and loss performance with functions including operations, supply chain management, finance, quality assurance, human resources, contracts and internal and external business development.


Ford will succeed Jared Isaacman who has served as Draken’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer since 2011. Isaacman will become the non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors and will assist Ford through the transition.

Mirage F1B


“During a period of tremendous growth for our company and the commercial adversary air industry, there is no better person to lead Draken International,” stated Isaacman. “After serving
his country with distinction for 25 years and growing defense companies that support the U.S. military, Joe has the leadership, strategic vision and record of execution to fly Draken to new heights. His insight for how to apply modernization to our comprehensive fleet of fighters will prove beneficial and is exactly what Draken needs as the company enters its next
chapter of expanded growth.”


“I am beyond thrilled to join the Draken family,” stated Ford. “I understand the need to provide the U.S. military aviation community with the readiness it needs while making every taxpayer dollar go further. Draken is the best in the business and I am honored to have Jared and the Board’s support as we remain focused on supporting our nation’s military aviators every day.”
Before his career in the private sector, Ford had a distinguished military career, retiring from the U.S. Air Force as a Colonel in January of 2007 as the commander of the 401st Air Expeditionary Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

Other roles during his military career include commander of the
18th Operations Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan and commander of the 35th Fighter Squadron at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. Mr. Ford is a combat veteran with four fighter deployments to
the Middle East. His aviation career includes over 4,000 hours in aircraft including the F-4C/D,A-7D, F- 117, F-16A/B/C/D, F-15C/D, HH-60, E-3 and KC-135R.

Aero L159s


“Draken is the kind of mission driven company with which we like to partner,” said Todd Hirsch, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone Tactical Opportunities and a member of the company’s board. “A decade ago, Draken was an idea – that commercial adversary air support
can improve readiness and reduce sustainment and training costs for the U.S. Armed Forces.


Today, Draken is the industry’s leading provider of military aviation readiness training,completing over 20,000 flight hours with a fleet of more than 100 mission capable aircraft.

Ex South African Air force 2 Squadron Cheetah C (375) recently took to the skies after 18 years on the ground 2 weeks ago at Denel Aeronautics base at OR Tambo International Airport,South Africa.This will also be one of Drakens assets!Picture by Casper van Zyl

Under Joe’s leadership, it will continue to set the standard in airborne adversary support, flight training, threat simulation, electronic warfare support, research, testing, as well as other missions
uniquely suited to their fleet of aircraft.” Hirsch continued: “On behalf of the rest of the board and all our employees, we thank Jared for

creating this industry leading firm and guiding it so well. We are grateful to continue to have him as a partner.”

Mirage F1M


The board also elected Bill “Sweet” Tart as Chief Operating Officer. Sweet joins Draken from DynAviation where he was Senior Vice President, Business Development. Prior to his private sector career, Sweet served in the United States Air Force for 25 years, retiring in 2014 as the Director of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Division at the Pentagon. He previously served as the commander of the 432nd Operations/Expeditionary Operations Group at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada and the senior military assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. Sweet is a Risner Trophy winner for outstanding performance at USAF Weapons
School.

Ex South African Air force Cheetah C serial (370) “Vlaggie” one of twelve Cheetahs that have been sold to Draken International from Denel Aeronautics.
Dassualt Mirage F1B, recently Draken got a handful of ex Mirage F1s from various air forces around the world that recently retired them for use.

Draken International is the world’s largest operator of ex-military aircraft. With over 100 tactical fighter aircraft incorporating modern 4th generation capabilities, the company is the partner of choice to support the growing global demand for commercial air services. Draken
employs world class, military trained fighter pilots including USAF Weapons School Instructors,Fighter Weapons School Graduates, TOP GUN Instructors, Air Liaison Officers, and FAC-A Instructors. In 2019, funds affiliated with Blackstone Tactical Opportunities completed a strategic investment into Draken International to facilitate the next phase of modernization and growth. 

SAAF 75 best Airshow in Southern Africa to date?

Pictures by Stefaan Bouwer

The flightline at Airforce Base Waterkloof in Pretoria during the early week of October 1995 saw a number of visiting military air arms from across the world, attended what was South Africa’s biggest military Airshow to date!

SAAF 75 Display Program

This was also the the 75th Birthday celebrations of the South African Air Force. A number of aircraft were painted up in special paint schemes for the celebration, including the SAAF Museums Mirage IIICZ “Black Widow”.

SAAF Museum Mirage IIICZ “Black Widow”

From the biggest Antonov A124 which brought a number of Russian Fighter jets in the back of the hold, including a Mig 29 and SU35. Both flying and on static display!

Russian Airforce Su35
Russian Airforce Mig29

The Americans brought out all their bells and whistles including an F16, F15, KC135R Stratotanker, C130s, Lockheed C-141 Starlifter and many more!

USAF F16

Australia brought out a P-3 Orion and the Canadian Airforce attended with a Boeing 707.The Royal Airforce were here with the famous Red Arrows, C130, and a E-3 Sentry.

Red Arrows

The South African Air Force put on a excellent variety of both new and old, including the Mirage F1AZ flown by Chris “Piranha” Pretorius, which he got struck by lightning during one of his solo displays during the show. It was one of the last shows the Impala MK1s being the Silver Falcons before being replaced by the then new Pilatus PC7 MkII “Astra”.

1 Squadron Mirage F1AZ
2 Squadron Cheetah Cs

One has to ask will we ever see a show as big as this one day again?

Red Arrows
Russian Airforce SU30

Denel Cheetah C “375” flies again after 18 years!

October 9th 2020,after sitting on the ground for 18 years, Cheetah C “375” took to the skies again over OR Tambo international Airport in Kempton- Park this past week.

The aircraft was flown by Denel fixed wing test pilot Ivan “Viking” Pentz,who has a number of flying hours on both the Cheetah B,D,D2 and C models.He has also flown the Hawk MK120,Mirage F1,The AHRLAC and many more!

Denel Cheetah B “Bandit”

Extremely high quality restoration to flight work by Denel. After a few test flights, it’ll be boxed up and sent to Draken International in Florida as said by African Defence Review Darren Olivier.

DRAKEN INTERNATIONAL HAS CREATED A NEW STANDARD IN AVIATION SERVICE CAPABILITIES FOR ALL BRANCHES OF THE UNITED STATES MILITARY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND ALLIED MILITARIES GLOBALLY. WITH A FLEET OF 150 TACTICAL FIGHTER AIRCRAFT, DRAKEN OWNS AND OPERATES THE WORLD’S LARGEST COMMERCIAL FLEET OF TACTICAL EX-MILITARY AIRCRAFT.

DRAKEN SUPPORTS MILITARY TRAINING OBJECTIVES AROUND THE GLOBE, PROVIDING TREMENDOUS COST SAVINGS OVER THE USE OF TRADITIONAL MILITARY FIGHTER ASSETS. AS AN ORGANIZATION, WE ARE UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO ANSWER THE GROWING DEMAND FOR CONTRACT AIR SUPPORT.

The Atlas Cheetah was a South African fighter aircraft designed and produced by the aviation company Atlas Aircraft Corporation now known as Denel Aeronautics. It was developed at the behest of, and principally operated by, the South African Air Force until the aircraft were retired from SAAF service to be replaced by the SAAB Gripen in 2008.

Pictures by Casper van Zyl

Retirement Of SAAF Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang

On Wednesday 30 September,members of the South African Air force and members of the media got to witness a series of beautiful flypasts from a number of aircraft of squadrons based across South Africa.A fitting tribute and thank you to the former Chief of the South African Air force!

Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande (Zakes) Msimang integrated into the South African National Defence Force in 1994 after the first Democratic Elections as a qualified helicopter pilot.He received his flying training at Frunze 1 Central Officers Training Center – Kirghistan, in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics between 1986 to 1991.

He graduated from the institution with a diploma in Command and Tactics of Military Aviation.During Msimang’s Career he has flown the Mi8, Mi25 ,Alouette III and Oryx Helicopters.He also completed a factory conversion onto the Agusta A109E Helicopter at Agusta/Westland now known at Leonardo in Italy.

Mil Mi8
MIL MI25
Alouette III
Agusta A109LUH

He was a member of the Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK),the military wing of the African National Congress.He engaged in combat in Angola in 1986.In 1994,he completed the Air force Junior Staff Course in Zimbabwe before returning to the South African National Defence Force.Post 1994,he served as an operational pilot in both maritime and inland operations.

In 2000,Msimang was appointed the assistant project officer on the acquisition programme of the Agusta A109LUH in Italy.He went onto successfully complete the Senior Staff Course at the Italian Air force War School.On his return in 2003 from Italy,he was appointed the Officer Commanding of 87 Helicopter Flying School at Air force Base Bloemspruit. The Following year he successfully completed the Joint Senior Command and Staff Programme at the South African National War College.

First South African Air force Agusta A109 In Italy
Oryx Helicopter

In 2005,he was appointed officer commander of Air force Base Bloemspruit and promoted to the rank of Colonel.In 2006,he completed the Executive National Security Programme at the South African National Defence College.In 2007,Msimang,after a two and half year tour as OC at Air force Base Bloemspruit,he was appointed Director Helicopter Systems and Promoted to the rank of Brigadier General at Air Command.

Eldorado Park Aviation Expo 2017 with Gripen display Pilot Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper

In November 2010,he was appointed Chief Director Air Policy and Plans and then promoted to the rank of Major General,responsible for Air force Strategy,policies,capabilities and resource allocation.On 28 September 2012 he was accepted command as the Chief of the South African Air force from Lieutenant-General Carlo Gagiano.

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
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