By Dian Townsend
Saturday the 1st of April the skies over Centurion filled with the all too familiar sound of air force birds from a bygone era. It was once again time for the monthly flight training day at the SAAF Museum.
The morning started off with circuit flying in the Cessna 185, which was soon followed by the yellow T-6 Harvard, known as Siyandiza. Although not visible to the spectators, the Harvard did some aerobatics flying over Speskop. This is undoubtedly practice for the airshow that is planned for next month. The Bosbok was also seen, although mostly heard, putting in the circuit work.
The usual Alouette II, III and SA-330 Puma also made their appearance. A very special treat, however, was the SA-315B Lama that came to stop by. Although a whole story on its own, the Lama is a special helicopter built for high-altitude operations where a light airframe and high power are needed.
As per usual, the Friends Of The SAAF Museum were on duty, ready to assist with any questions on the various museum exhibits. As lunchtime rolled by, the smell of boerewors rolls filled the air, being braaied on site by the Friends.
Although these flight training days are not a full airshow by a long shot, they are still a nice opportunity for the public to visit the museum and see some older SAAF aircraft flying around. The museum's main source of income is always the big airshow that used to be held annually, but with the last one being held in 2019, the public's support at these monthly flight training days has become essential.
With the airshow being planned for the first Saturday in May, we should see the return of some nice flying at Swartkop again. And of course, apart from the airshow, these flight training days will be held on each first Saturday of the month this year. As always, entrance to these days is free, but donations at the gate go a long way towards helping to preserve our aviation heritage.