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SAAF Museum Flying Training Day

By Dian Townsend

A person would normally tell you that you can't possibly hear a photo, at least not as long as all those little gears up top are well oiled and turning smoothly, but show someone from Centurion a photo of a Harvard or an Allouette and they would probably tell you otherwise. The SAAF Museum at Swartkop and its surroundings were once again treated to the all too familiar sound of Alouettes and more this past weekend. It was once again time for the monthly flight training day!

With the last of these training days being held in December of last year, the aviation lovers were in need of some proper flying. This was proven by the huge turnout on the day, people came out in their masses to enjoy a morning in the sun. The parking area in front of the museum hangars was filled with cars as far as the eye could see.

The museum's primary source of income is from the annual airshow, as well as donations made by the public when visiting the museum and attending training days like this one. Seeing people come out in their masses like we did, for this reason, made for a wonderful sight!

Those who visited would all testify to the great atmosphere we had. Music throughout the day included something for everyone with modern hits to golden oldies being played. Roaring choppers started up right in front of the crowds, leaving the smell of turbine exhaust in their wake. A smell almost any aviator would enjoy. If the smell of spent jet fuel wasn't to your liking, the smell of boerewors rolls on the Friends Of The SAAF Museum's braai would have definitely been.

Various projects of the Friends were on display with the Spitfire Restoration Project, as well as the Pirates from the Buccaneer 421 restoration project being found at hangar number 3.

In hangar number 2, a project done by the younger of the volunteers could be found. The Sabre 361 Project is one tackled by a group of students who have been doing a brilliant job of polishing, repainting and even manufacturing new parts to restore the machine to its former glory for a static display.

The Harvard club also had a stand with one of their Harvards on display.

The flying program consisted of an Alouette II, Alouette III, SA-330 Puma and two Cessna 185's. The flying was, as to be expected, world-class and rightfully enjoyed.

The planning for the airshow in May is in full swing and from what we've heard, is something to look forward to! Ticket sales opened up last week and you can get your own at the link below.

The museum will be hosting another flying day in April and it will be the final one before the airshow in May. With this in mind, it should be even bigger and even better than the one we had this month. This will be another one to add to the calendar!

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