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The South African Airforce Museum once again hosted their monthly flying training day on Saturday 4 November. The monthly flying day saw a number of flying and static exhibits for the public to view. It also was a day for pilots to keep current on various aircraft types.

It’s not every day you can see a De Havilland Vampire flying especially in South Africa. This is all thanks to the experience of the museums technical ground crew who keep all the flying exhibits airworthy.

The sound of radial and Lycoming engines is familiar to the surrounding area of Zwartkop, that being Bosbok, Kudu, Cessna 185's and to the many Harvard's based there.

The Museum helicopters were also present including the Puma, Alouette II and the Alouette III, which was a familiar sight in the skies above South Africa until they were retired and replaced by the Agusta A109 LUH, which are based at Zwartkop under the 17 Squadron banner.

AFS Zwartkop was established in April 1921 and was South Africa's first Air Force Base. Late in 1920 a private farm called Zwartkop was expropriated by the Government of the day. This farm had itself been named after a nearby prominent hill. The Dutch spelling of Zwartkop was retained for the Air Station that was subsequently developed. On April 1, 1949, the Dutch spelling was dropped in favour of the English and resulted in Air Force Station Swartkop. On February 1, 1968, the AFS was upgraded to a fully-fledged Air Force Base.

The Base was re-proclaimed an Air Force Station on 1 March 1999. The SAAF commenced vacating the base in 1999, with the intention of leaving only the SAAF Museum behind and the base being known as 'Swartkop', an extension of AFB Waterkloof.

The SAA Historic Flight moved to the airfield and airfield has been proclaimed a heritage site. However, the SAAF then changed its mind and it is not known when the SAAF will eventually vacate all its operational units. The SAAF Museum occupies the northern side of the base, while the active SAAF units occupy the southern end of the base.

The name of the base reverted to the original "Zwartkop" in 2012.

The friends of the museum were present with the Spitfire restoration, which we can hopefully see the Museum Spitfire flying in the near future. The project requires funds and technical staff to rebuild the aircraft which is not an easy task to take on.

We would like to thank everyone involved at the Museum and Air force Base Zwartkop for keeping the museum going, and to the public for their donations without them there would be no aircraft or museum.

The Museum has saying They live by.



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