Tag Archives: SANDF

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.

Africa Aerospace and Defence postponed till 2022

Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD), Africa’s premier aerospace and defence exhibition and airshow, scheduled to take place 16-20 September 2020, has been deferred to 21 -25 September 2022 as a result of the current global COVID-19 pandemic. This decision follows a series of events which included the close monitoring of the pandemic’s global roll-out as well
as its prevalence in South Africa.

The organisers announced the deferment to September
2022 following consultations with the Department of Defence (DOD) and other key stakeholders associated with the biennial flagship event.
The Show organisers advised that several factors were taken into consideration in arriving at
the decision, which include – amongst others:


● The absolute need to ensure the battle against the Covid-19 virus is won and to further
safeguard human lives,
● The severity that the pandemic has imposed on the global aviation and defence
exhibition sector
● A decision by the DOD to put a hold on all foreign activities and events (inbound and
outbound missions)
● South African borders remaining closed with no travelling anticipated to take place by
September 2020.

The announcement also comes at the time when South Africa is currently under level 3 lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which restrictions include the prohibition of any public gatherings, a trend also seen around the world during lockdown phases.
“We are aware that the deferment of AAD 2020 comes as an additional setback to the international defence and aerospace industries, and in particular the South African industry, given that AAD Expo is identified and diarised as a platform to showcase the latest advances and technological innovations that the world’s best in aviation and defence has to offering. .

However, everyone’s health, safety and security come first; we can and will only proceed with giving you the best of AAD when it is absolutely safe to do so. We can assure you though that we are already working and planning on delivering an enhanced AAD 2022”, said Exhibition
Director, Leona Redelinghuys.

The organisers will engage directly with all exhibitors whose participation had been confirmed
for AAD2020 on various options available to them, as a result of the deferment.

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.

SAAF Silver Falcons will be Back Soon!

It is not the end of the Silver Falcons. The Silver Falcons based at Air Force Base Langebaanweg is currently not participating at any Airshows due to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, which include Airshows.

The main purpose of the Silver Falcons aerobatic team is to enhance the image of the South African Air Force (SAAF), encourage recruitment and instill National Pride.
In accordance with the amended Regulations on Disaster Management the SAAF have cancelled all events until further notice.

At present the SAAF members are under continuous staff and instructors training.
The Silver Falcons will resume training as per the training schedule of Central Flying School at Air Force Base Langebaanweg.

We at Aviation Central are looking forward to seeing the pride of the nation back in the skies and thrilling the crowds at a Airshow soon!

2 Squadron Gains Two New Gripen Pilots

Air force Base Makhado situated in the shadows of the Soutpansberg mountain range,is home to fighter town South Africa.Where the South African Airforces elite fighter squadrons are based,85 Combat Flying School flying the lead in fighter trainer the Hawk MK120.2 Squadron which is the sharp end of the SAAF,flying the smart fighter,The JAS39 Gripen!

Early May 2020 saw two new Gripen pilots going solo,Major Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona and Captain Klyde “Ronin” Ross Naidoo. Their story below will show the hard work one has to take to get to Gripen and living the fast jet life dream.

Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona

Major Jabulani Mabona was born in a township called Mamelodi West, Pretoria East. He attended Primary school at Ndima PrimarySchool (year) and matriculated at Vukani Mawethu Secondary School in 2004.
Major Mabona became interested in being a pilot when he was 9 years old. “There was no other career that I considered pursuing apart from becoming a pilot, specifically a fighter pilot.” He started applying when he was doing grade 11 and only got an acceptance letter to do the selection process in 2006.

The selection process included psychometric tests, psychomotor tests, flight medicals followed by interviews. His military career began when he was accepted to commence his Basic Military training in January 2007 and right after a successful completion commenced with Officers Forming Course in July the same year.

In 2008 he enrolled at the SA Military Academy in Saldanha, he spent a year studying Technology and Defence Mangement, which included modules in Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, English, Management, Aerodynamics and Economics. In 2009 January he had to go through Land and Sea Survival Training followed by Ground School Training for flying. In 2010 he started with his basic Ab initio Training in Cessna 172, followed by Astra stationed at AFB Langebaanweg. He was then selected to complete his pilot training in the United States of America where he flew the Texan T6 and qualified as a military pilot giving him the opportunity to be selected to fly Jets.

Jabulani was trained by former United States Air force F16 Viper Demonstration pilot Captain John “Rain” Waters.

Babcock Flight School Cessna C172
Babcock Flight School Cessna C172
Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII
Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII
US Airforce T6 Texan II
US Airforce T6 Texan II
Former United States Airforce F16 Viper display Demo Pilot Captain
John “Rain” Waters who was Major Mabona’s Instructor!
United States Airforce F16 Viper

In 2012 he went back to Military Academy to complete his degree in Defence and Technology Management which he successfully completed in 2015. In 2016 he was transferred to 85 Combat Flying School where he began to train as a fighter pilot in Hawk MK120 and a year later successfully completed the course. He served as a Flight Commander and was selected to do Flight Leaders Course which he completed in December 2019. He was then transferred to 2 Squadron in January 2020 where he began Operational Conversion Course in the SAAB JAS 39 where he currently serves as a Survival officer”.

Jabulani Flying the Hawk MK120 during a capability demo at the 2017 Rand Easter Show,Nasrec Johannesburg.
“Seraph” & “Cyrax” airborne out of AFB Swartkop during the 2018 SAAF Museum Airshow!
Lieutenant Colonel Craig “Shark” Leeson & Jabulani “Cyrax” Mabona during the 2018 SAAF Museum Airshow.

The challenges he encountered were being far from his family and being able to successfully complete each and every phase towards achieving his goal.He has served in the South African Air Force for 13 years has never looked back. While he was stationed at 85 Combat Flying School had the opportunity to serve as a Survival Officer and a Flight Commander.
He says; “my solo flight in a Gripen was such an astounding feeling, a feeling out of this world, especially the supersonic part of the flight.”

SAAB JAS39C Gripen
Gripen Solo Flight
Jabulani after his Gripen solo with Lieutenant Colonel Jaco “Weasel” Labuschagne

Major Mabona is 32 years old and married to Nomsa and together they have a beautiful daughter Njabulo. He says flying high speed jets is such an honor and comes with lots of responsibilities because you fly with live weapons onboard and also fly in close proximity with other jets. He says his family always supported him and they are the ones that are always boosting his confidence level when it comes to his career.
To further on his career, the next step will be Instructor’s Course so that he can also give back to the young men and women which are aspiring to become fighter pilots.

Fighter Formation over AFB Swartkop during the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow.

Lastly he says “all the instructors that were part of my development for me to become a fighter pilot are my mentors. Before every flight, preparation is key, you go through your procedures, you play the scenarios in your head and most importantly you prepare for all the possible emergencies that you might experience.

Klyde “Ronin” Ross Naidoo

Captain Klyde Ross Naidoo approaches with a plan of crafting an aviation legacy that the South African Air Force (SAAF) and this country can be proud of. When asked to introduce himself Captain Naidoo call sign Ronin said “Born: 17/06/1992 at Westville hospital, residing in Reservoir Hills initially, turn 5 and started school at Resmount Primary School.

We moved to Pinetown and I moved to Atholl Heights Primary School for grade 1 and 2, my dad then moved to Johannesburg for work and we followed, staying in Centurion and completing primary school in Laerskool Uitsig, moved to Hoerskool Uitsig followed by Pro Arte Alphen Park and finally completing my high school career at Reservoir Hills Secondary School in 2009.

In my childhood we spent a lot of time moving to new places and schools due to my dad’s, Kuban Naidoo, work in telecommunications. My mum, Ron Naidoo, is now a retired hairdresser and in my unbiased opinion is the best hairdresser in the world. I have two older sisters, Kelly and Robyn, who are great support, throughout my childhood and adult life, although the role of my super fan falls to my mum.

Growing up I spent a lot of time playing sports for schools, such as swimming, played competitively in rugby, cricket and softball. Presently I spend a lot of time at the gym and try to keep fit by running. The scariest thing I’ve done was the big swing at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, I consider bungee jumping from Bloukrans Bridge in Tsitsikama rainforest to have been easier. The most exciting thing I’ve done professionally thus far is when I took up a Gripen solo and broke the sound barrier sending down a bone rattling sonic boom over my awaiting wife.”

From an avid nomadic, together with his family, his military career is a gift that he does not take for granted. “At the end of my schooling career I sought out bursaries in order to study further in the fields of engineering or medicine as well as applying for pilot training in the SAAF. In 2010 upon receiving the call for pilots’ selections in the SAAF I had declined the bursaries I was offered for the other fields of studies, not realising that it was just a selection week and not actually accepted.

The SAAF selection is a four tier selection process, each eliminating potential candidates as you progress through. The first part is the paper selection, wherein you either download the form from the internet, or cut it out the newspaper it appears in early every year. Submitting the required information in the leaflet with all matric/ grade 11 results all the applications go to SAAF HQ and are scrutinized to select the best candidates for the job, once that process is completed, the successful candidates are contacted by to make arrangements to attend a week long selection camp.
At the second-tier process, all members are split into groups and go through a process of psychometric and psychomotor testing.
In the third process, a full flight medical examination is required.
The final step is a panel interview in front of high-ranking specialists at the SAAF HQ.

Although a long process, it is to allow only the best candidates to make it through to the training, from initial paper selection of thousands to only about 20 people being selected and finally only 9 qualifying from pilots’ wings course.” He said.

In January 2011, his humble beginnings in the ranks and military industry proved, thus far to be a firm foundation for the amazing military aviation. “I was called up for Basic Military Training at the SAAF Gym in Hoedspruit. It was a gruelling 6 months – taking a civilian and making a soldier. In June 2011, I started officers forming course at the SAAF College in Pretoria, this involved 6 months of cramming policy and standards expected from an Officer and a gentleman.

SAAF Gymnasium

In 2012, I enrolled at the Military Academy in Saldanha. I spent a year studying Technology and Defence Management, which include modules in Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, English, Management, Aerodynamics and Economics, achieving a certificate of higher education.
Before advancing to Langebaanweg for further training, two weeks of gruelling basic survival training was required, this included sea survival, coastal survival and land survival. The most daunting part of the experience involved the escape and evasion component of land survival training.

In 2013, I started ground school at Langebaanweg and later that year began flying the SAAF PC7 MK2, well known for being the aircraft flown by the Aerobatic Display Team of the SAAF, The Silver Falcons. The course consisted of ground school theoretical training in the following fields:

Pilatus PC7MKII

Aerodynamics (including high speed, rotary wing and multi engine aerodynamics)

Aviation law

Medicine

Aircraft technical

General aspects related to flying and aviation.

The flying training consisted of basic general flying, basic instrument flying, advanced general flying, advanced instrument flying, navigation, close formation and a “Wings Phase” which incorporated aspects from all the preceding ones.

Central Flying School Pilatus PC7MKII

Once all phases were over and all test results were tallied up another selection board is held to stream pilots into one of the three lines in the air force: Maritime and Transport, Helicopter systems or Combat Systems. The directors of the three lines would there decide on the path that each pilot would then follow, taking into consideration the members preference, but ultimately selecting you on your course performance, attitude and perceived potential. I graduated as a pilot in the Air Force in December 2014 and was streamed to the fighter line.” He opined.

While expanding on his career path, formal education was still his goal. He relates that he has a massive respect for education as the SAAF does, and through education and the SAAF he has had fun serving with the most brilliant of minds and continually travels the world. “In 2015, and early 2016, I continued studies toward my degree at the military academy and flying at Langebaanweg whilst waiting to be transferred to 85 Combat Flying School at Air Force Base Makhado.

I, together with 3 other members, moved to Makhado in April 2016 to begin training to become fighter pilots. Which upon arrival was met by another week of survival training exercise in Port Saint Johns, after which we have yearly survival training due to the nature of our job.

Our fighter training was done on the BAE Systems Hawk LIFT Mk120 and the courses consisted of Hawk Conversion Course, a condensed version of what I had done on the PC7 MK2, followed by Operational Training Course. With the ability to fly the aircrafts, we were taught how to use it as a weapon by delivering various ammunitions and being trained in various aspects of Air and Surface warfare, so we could be utilised in operational roles in the SAAF. After a year of consolidation flying, two candidates were selected to complete Flight Leaders Course, Major Jabulani Jerry Mabona and myself. FLC was completed in November 2019.

85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120 “Gannet”
Armed Forces Day Capability Demonstration De Brug Weapons Range Bloemfontein February 2018
Fighter Formation over AFB Swartkop during the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow.
SAAF Museum Airshow 2019

As Flight Leaders we were then eligible to be transferred to 2 Squadron and begin Operational Conversion Course on the SAAB JAS39C/D Gripen. I completed my first solo flight in the Gripen on May 5th, 2020, a first for an Indian South African Fighter Pilot.

SAAB JAS39D Gripen

In 2010, I met my wife, Marcia Naidoo, but had only really started speaking too her in 2012, being in the western cape and her in KZN it wasn’t often I got a chance to see her, unless it was a trip home to see the family. We started dating in 2013 and even though had such distance between us the relationship grew to me finally proposing in 2017 and tying the knot in September 2018. Throughout my flying career she’s been a keystone to my support, from not being able to fly a thing to taking to the skies in a modern fighter jet, with all the good and the bad she would be there, either the most excited or ready to throw down with anyone that may have gotten me upset. Although I’m the soldier she’s the tougher of the two of us.

As a youngster I’d always been fascinated by flying, from as early as my second birthday it was evident that I wanted to be a pilot, my parents had gotten me an aircraft cake and dressed me up in a white suit. Being from Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) I didn’t know it was a possibility for me to be an air force fighter pilot, as there’s not much publicity for the defence force in the KZN community. It was by chance that I happened across a leaflet in the newspaper and my mum had made further inquiries. It was only then that I had decided that I was going to be a fighter pilot in the SAAF. Hard work and perseverance will always pay off.”

He was sure adamant to wear the SAAF uniform and inspire confidence, thus he hastens to say that he keeps himself busy with researching on everything that has to do with the latest aviation technology while mastering the art of being a proud fighter pilot. “There’s still a long road ahead of me to complete Operational Conversion Course on the Gripen and becoming the best Fighter pilot at the SAAF. At some stage in the distant future I will go down to Langebaanweg once again and do pilot Instructors’ Course and give training to the future pilots of the SAAF. Thereafter returning to 85 Combat Flying School for pilot attack instructors’ course on the hawk and move over to give instruction to aspiring fighter pilots in training on the Gripen as well.

Hawk MK120 MK82 Bombing run,Roodewal bombing range Limpopo

What I’d like to say to aspiring SAAF pilots is that nothing comes easy, but nothing is impossible, follow the procedures laid out and don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s often said on courses that individuals don’t pass the course, those who work together, find motivation in themselves and their peers to complete the course together. Work hard in school in physics and maths, be a good person and never stop trying.

Through this journey I’ve seen it doesn’t matter where you come from, what your skin colour is or what school you went to, what matter is the work you put in. I have come from many places but now I am Captain Klyde Ross Naidoo, a fighter pilot in the SAAF.” He concluded

Ice cold bath after Klydes Gripen Solo

Well done to Ronin and Cyrax,we wish you many more happy and safe flying hours,from all of us at Aviation Central.

Completion of Gripen solo and traditional ice cold bath at 2 Squadron

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.

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)

SAAF Casa 212s keeping busy during SA Covid-19 lockdown!

The South African Airforce as well as the South African National Defence Force, South African Police Service and other Private Security firms have been deployed to carry out a task of directing citizens of South Africa to stay at home during the countries lockdown and a further two week extended lockdown to clamp down on the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus with a number of people testing positive for the disease and a major loss of human life across the world.

44 Squadron Casa 212

44 Squadron based at Airforce Base Waterkloof, have been keeping the skies above South Africa with the transportation of essential goods including medical equipment.

Parts of the country the light transport aircraft has been tasked to help transport these goods, have been Kwa-Zulu Natal, The Eastern Cape, The Western Cape and other Provinces dealing with high risk area’s with COVid-19 patients.

Airforce Station Port Elizabeth
Picture by Captain Mark Kelbrick
Picture by Captain Mark Kelbrick
King Shaka International Airport Durban
Picture by SANDF
Airforce Base Ysterplaat, Cape Town
SAAF Crew and Personnel

44 Squadron SAAF is a squadron of the South African Air Force. It is currently a light transport squadron. First formed: 12 March 1944. The Squadron has a total of 3 Casa 212s, Two 200s and One 300 as part of their light transport assets.

SAAF Casa 212 & Airforce of Zimbabwe Casa 212
Eswatini Airshow 2019

OG heads for Bloem!

Major Omphile “Biggy” Matloane former leader, soloist and slot pilot for the South African Airforce Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team bids farewell to Central Flying School at Airforce Base Langebaanweg and heads to Airforce Base Bloemspruit to continue instruction on helicopters, his message below as he leaves the team!

Falcons & Gripen
Falcons & Gripen

“Gentlemen, with a bit of luck and sheer guts tomorrow will be my last day as an official member of the Central Flying School. Goodness me, where does the time go ? Change is the only constant and inevitable. It’s been one heck of a tour ! 6 years flew past like nothing! Iv made friends and enemies alike! “

A great team

“But to tell you the truth , to say I’ve made enemies is a waste of the queens language! It doesn’t matter. What matters is the work we’ve all accomplished. I deeply believe when I meet all you after tomorrow, somewhere out there in the bigger saaf it will be a meeting of smiles and laughs.So , after all it’s said, done and dusted all that’s left is gratitude and total humility. I thank you so much for all the years !

Nine PC7MKIIs from Central Flying School Langebaanweg

“50 years from now , my grandkids will hear all the stories of my tour at Central Flying School ‘CFS’. And it will be a fascinating narration. Whatever happened was supposed to happen exactly how it happened. That means I have little to no regrets ! Which puts me at peace.”

Silver Falcons PC7MKIIs

“From the deepest part of my heart I wish you all the very best . Don’t worry much about the current situation! It too shall pass . Very soon the team will be tearing up the South African skies doing loops and barrels! And it will feel like there was never a pause ! Remember to find the joy in it or else it’s futile but remember you are the only team in SA which covers the length and breadth of our landscape. “

The moments not to forget

“Somehow I think the saaf will come out stronger through this crazy unpredictable period the entire world finds itself in . What am I saying? You guys are in the right place to dictate the future. “

Silver Falcons at AAD2018

“Every emotion I felt , every time I was uncertain or certain I was taking the right action, every time I was afraid, or unsure was the right emotion. It all led to this moment. Newcastle airshow 2018 and in hindsight Swartkops airshow 2019 will forever be etched in my blue print.”

Major Omphile Matloane receives his golden wings from Major Sivu Tangana September 2018

“Impossible is man made and not a representation of life . So all thatnis left is to say thank you . In my native tongue it goes like this ‘ ke a leboga. Ke leboga go menagane”

“We take and we give”- Memories of 60 Squadron

60 Squadron SAAF is a squadron of the South African Air Force. It is a transport, aerial refuelling and EW/ELINT squadron. It was first formed at Nairobi in December 1940. During its first years the squadron flew the British Aircraft Double Eagle, Martin Maryland, de Havilland Mosquito, and the Lockheed Ventura.

The South African Airforces 60 Squadron came into existence upon thr renumbering of 62 survey Squadron on 29 December 1940.Completion of the survey around Garissa in Kenya started by its prescessor was the units first priority,then tasking being completed shortly before the BA Double Eagle was grounded for a major overhaul.With Both Ansons the aircraft had on strength were also grounded for maintaince and the need for spares in South Africa at the time.

BA Double Eagle

60 Squadrons lamentable state was to be reminded with the arrival of a third Anson to the Squadron from the Union on 17 January when serial number 1107 touched down in Kenya Nairobi.

Avro Anson

In June 1946 the unit was designated to a Medium Bomber Squadron and re-established at Airforce Station Zwartkop on the 21 August, known today as Airforce Base Swartkop, home to 17 Squadron a helicopter unit and the South African Airforce Museum Heritage Flight.

This was the time the Squadron were operating under the control of number 3 Bomber Wing with Lockheed B-34 Ventura’s on their strength. At least six of the De Havilland Mosquitoes are known to have been passed onto the bombing command.

Lockheed B-34 Ventura
De Havilland Mosquitoe

Tasks under taken included survey work in the Eastern Cape, by a C47 Dakota detachment at Port Alfred in 1949 and a similar exercise in Cape Town during the time’s of the 1950s.

C47 Dakota

The acquisition of three Boeing 707s in March 1982 was the culmination of a ten year project undertaken to provide the SAAF with a dedicated air-to-air refueling and electronic warfare capability and it fell to 60 Squadron to assume the mantle of responsibility for this function when the unit was reformed at Airforce Base Waterkloof in Pretoria on July 16 1986 following the aircraft’s modernisation and modification programme.

Boeing 707

A further two Boeing 707s were subsequently acquired while the task of maintaining the SAAFs electronic warfare and early warning capabilities were added to the units primary responsibility.

Boeing 707

The Squadron provided highly effective ‘force multiplayer’ to 1 Squadron Mirage F1AZs until the F1AZ retirement in in November 1997.The squadron was still a vital asset to 2 Squadrons Cheetah C and D variants until 60 Squadron was disbanded and the retirement of the 707 from SAAF use in 2007.

2 Squadron Cheetah D Refuelling

The Squadrons contribution was rewarded with its colours during a parade at Airforce Base Waterkloof on 7 October1994.The following year the squadron record another first for the SAAF when it displayed a Boeing 707 at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom.

Swedish Gripens tank on the then newly painted 60 Squadron Boeing 707

Today a Retired 60 Squadron Boeing 707 tail number 1419 can be viewed at Airforce Base Swartkop on monthly flying days and airshows.

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