The SAAF Museum based at Air force Base Zwartkop in Pretoria is home to many static and flying exhibits where the public can get up close and personal with the history of the South African air force. Once a month, normally on the first Saturday, all the airworthy aircraft are flown to keep the pilots current and display these magnificent machines off to the public.
This particular flying day was the last flying day for 2017, which saw most of the flying exhibits out and about during the course of the day. The day started with a Para drop by .C.4m Kudu above the filed with likes of the Golden Eagles Parachute team aboard.
The public never go hungry at these events with the Windsock and friends of the Museum preparing great meals to purchase. The Friends of the museum took shelter in the 2 Squadron Hanger where the famous "Spotty" Cheetah C is on static display. The visiting public had the chance to buy some goodies from the spitfire restoration fund, all proceeds go to the rebuild of the Supermarine Spitfire to its flying glory.
The museum had a total of four Harvard's flying on the day including 'Nelson' probably the SAAFs most famous Harvard, while the Harvard Club had its aircraft taking people for flights around the Pretoria region.
It was also a very special privilege to see the de Havilland T55 Vampire flown By Glen 'Gringo' Warden and Vladimir Shultz, once again it’s not often you see early jet fighters flying in South Africa today, this is something you take to heart as you don't know how long it will be till this aircraft can still fly for, we can only be grateful to the Museum Technical ground crew and the public who keep this rare aircraft flying.
Before the days flying ended it was a sad farewell to Major General Hugh Paine who was leaving the SAAF Museum sure there are a lot of you out there who have witnessed General Paine flying a great helicopter display over the year’s airshows at Swartkop.
His accomplishments during his career in the SAAF, the General flew many types of aircraft including Harvard's, Impalas, and many helicopters such as Alouette II’s and II’s, Pumas, MBB BK117s, Gazelles and more, whilst holding the positions of Officer Commanding 87 Heli-copter Flying School, Chief Project Officer Rooivalk Helicopter Project, Chief Director Force Preparation, Director Air Capability Plan and Director Helicopter Systems.
The final salute saw a formation of 5 Museum Choppers consisting of a Puma, two Alouettes twos and two Alouette III’s and 4 Harvard's who did a formation break once General Paine landed in front of two Air force fire trucks.
If you have never attended a SAAFM flying day please make an effort to join one next year, it is a wonderful outing for the whole family.
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