I visited the SAAF Museum on Saturday 3 August for their monthly Flying /Training day in the hope that it would be a bumper day of flying, considering it’s the last one before the annual airshow. Unfortunately, it was everything but what was expected, it was very disappointing to see so few Museum aircraft flying. Hopefully this was an attempt to save fuel for the airshow and not a representation of the serviceability of the aircraft. Another reason may be that the runway is currently closed due to maintenance of the runway lights and all the aircraft that did fly used the taxiway, this may have been deemed dangerous for aircraft such as the Vampire.
The flying programme was kicked off by the Museum Puma taking off for a flight to the north of Swartkops. One of the Museum Bosbok aircraft was next to get airborne, the Bosbok was used as a spotter aircraft in the Angolan Bush War it is everything but quiet. It was often jokingly referred to as a converter, “coverts good fuel to noise”.
The Alouette III was next on the cards followed by the Alouette II, both of these helicopters served the SAAF with distinction in the Angolan Bush War. The first of many Harvard’s to fly took to the air with its unmistakable roar.
Sticking with the taildraggers it was time for one of the Museums Cessna 185 to be put through its paces, or more accurately the pilot under instruction. The Cessna 185 was flown by 42 Squadron and was always known to be a handful on landing.
The odd looking Patchen Explorer was also taken out for a few circuits, this is a one of a kind aircraft. The SAAF received this machine from the Thurston Aircraft Corporation to evaluate with the aim of the aircraft being produced for, and used by, the SAAF as a spotter. Unfortunately for Dave Thurston, the Patchen Explorer’s designer the SAAF decided to rather go with the Aermacchi AM-3 “Bosbok” instead.
The only practise for the airshow I saw was a formation of three SAAF Museum Harvards, and a brilliant solo aerobatics display by Glen Warden. Hopefully many more museum aircraft will be serviceable by the time the airshow comes around.
We have been told that the SAAF will be displaying many of their current aircraft including the Gripen, Hawk, C-130, Casa 212, Oryx and Agusta A109 at the airshow. The civilian participation list is also rather impressive with a welcome return to Swartkops of Meno Parsons in his P51 Mustang.
The date for the SAAF Museum Airshow has been set for 7 September, the Airshow was originally planned for May but due to the National Elections it could not take place as planned. “Collective Heritage” is the theme of this years show and I believe members are hard at work to have a Cessna 150, used by Umkhonto we Sizwe, on display as well as some other aircraft used by the liberation forces.
Tickets will be on sale from Computicket at a price of R80 for adults , R30 for ages 12 to 16 and under the age of 12 will have free entrance. Ticket sales have not opened yet but they will soon be available at all Computicket outlets.
Once again Gautrain will be partnering with the SAAF Museum to make getting to and from AFB Swartkop a breeze, Gautrain buses will be traveling from Centurion Gautrain Station to AFB Swartkop and back throughout the day.
Prospective Vendors for the day of the show can contact Captain Mark Kelbrick at firstname.lastname@example.org , he can advise you on prices and availability of vendor space.
Please Browse our Gallery of this Event