Every month on the first Saturday of the month the South African Airforce Museum entertain the locals with a flying display from years gone by. February 1st however was slightly different, being the official birthday of the SAAF not just any birthday but the big 100.
Many of the Aircraft that had taken part in the Prestige Day Parade the day before were still at AFB Swartkop and the crews, although forbidden to mention the Centenary were eager to put on a show for the modest crowd.
Aviation Enthusiasts and especially SAAF aircraft enthusiast that are based inland very rarely get the opportunity to see the aircraft now used for maritime patrols, the Douglas C47TP. Many years ago, the then Chief of the Airforce was asked what can replace a Dakota and he responded, “Another Dakota” and as a result the C47’s were upgraded with Turbo Prop engines and given a new lease on life.
Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper dropped in on his way out of AFB Waterkloof and performed a stunning display in the Gripen before departing for AFB Makhado, not to be outdone by 2 Squadron Maj Regan “Kaine” Venter from 85 Combat Flying School put the BAE MK120 Hawk through its paces.
Two Cessna Caravans from 41 Squadron based at Waterkloof joined in the fun with a very impressive display of this very versatile light transport aircraft. Major Sivu Tangana, the newly chosen Silver Falcons Leader, and his team validated their display as they get ready for busy 2020 airshow season.
A 16 Squadron Rooivalk flown by “Raccoon”, is possibly the best helicopter display one can see from South Africa's locally built attack helicopter. This particular display was heralded by many airshow veterans as “the best they have ever seen”, and that is a massive compliment as 16 Squadron pilots are renowned for delivering amazing displays.
The SAAF museum were not going to be left out of the festivities and delivered wonderful displays with all their airworthy aircraft from the Cessna 185 to the mighty Puma Helicopter. The SAAF museum went above and beyond to make the 100 birthday of the SAAF something to remember well done to everyone involved in this memorable day.