Category Archives: Contributors

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SAAF Sabre in War Eagles Museum New Mexico

Wilfred Teper visited the War Eagles Air Museum in New Mexico and found a SAAF Sabre #365 on Display.

 

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It seems that this aircraft was one of around 10 sold to Flight Systems of California to be used as target drones, but is in a flying condition at the War Eagles Museum.

 

(Civil registration revised, NX106JB (F-86E MK.6, 23684), indicating ownership by War Eagles Air Museum, Santa Teresa, NM.)

 

 

 

 


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SAAF Boats

Article by

Willie (Buskruit) Burger

Velddrif   Dec 2014

SAAF Boats – Short History

THE NOW ALMOST INVISIBLE BOND BETWEEN THE NAVY AND THE AIR FORCE

shack1

By 1940, when the first South African forces were deployed in East Africa, the Mediterranean Sea was under German and Italian control. The Suez Canal was thus an ambush, just waiting to happen. The Cape sea-route was the longest but safest route to East Africa and Egypt. By the middle of 1941, Japanese forces had overrun so much of the Eastern Indian Ocean territory that it was obvious that Australia would fall next. Japan made contact with the Vichy-France government in Madagascar and Japanese aircraft deployed to this “permanent aircraft carrier”. It is a fact that Japanese reconnaissance aircraft flew over Durban on two occasions.

 

Under these circumstances, it became necessary for the Royal Navy, British ground forces and the South African Air Force to invade Madagascar. The campaign did not last long, but few people realise how close the War came to South African shores. But, German U-boats and surface raiders still sank 153 Allied ships within 1 600 km of the South African coast.

 

In 1939/40, the patrolling of the sea-route was carried out with commandeered SAA Junkers Ju-86 airliners. When these aircraft were needed in East Africa as bombers, the reconnaissance and patrolling of the long coastline was taken over by Avro Ansons of 32 Flight at Brooklyn Air Station, (now Air Force Base Ysterplaat – Cape Town). The Anson was made mainly of wood and canvas, it had a range of 1 050 km and could carry 4 X 40 kg anti-submarine bombs.

 

A commandeered Junkers Ju-86

A commandeered Junkers Ju-86

 

Avro Anson

Avro Anson

In December 1939 a unit was formed at Youngsfield, to operate a 40 foot (12 metre) armoured target boat in False Bay. The MALGAS was used as a target on the bombing and gunnery range at Strandfontein. Seven tonnes of armoured steel were fitted to the deck and sides to protect the crew and engines. A second armoured boat (MALGAS II) and a high speed rescue launch (MALMOK) arrived at Cape Town in March 1940. The unit was visited by General Pierre van Ryneveld, Chief of the Air Force, who gave the order that the unit should be known as the SAAF Motorboat Wing. The first military craft of this type, to operate on our coast, was thus under the control of the Air Force, and would remain so for almost 30 years.

 

The Motorboat Wing received 19 “Crash Boats” between May 1941 and May 1944. They were built in Florida, USA, and were 63 feet (19 m) long. They could maintain a speed of 40 knots (74 km/h) for 15 minutes, but their cruising speed was 22 to 25 knots (41-46 km/h). They had a range of 500 nautical miles (926 km), and they were all equipped to handle six casualties/patients. They were numbered R1 to R20. (Superstition regarding the number 13 caused the number to be omitted). The nineteen boats were distributed between Durban, Port Elizabeth, Gordons Bay, Cape Town and Donkergat (opposite Langebaan).

 

(In 1961 and 1962, two German built, Krogerwerft (29,3 metre) Crash Boats – R30 and R31 were delivered . These were the forerunners of the T-craft, now used by the Navy in the air-sea rescue role.

 

Air Force Crash Boat R 20

Air Force Crash Boat R 20

In 1942, the war in North Africa was at its peak, and the front moved backwards and forwards, as Allied and Axis forces attacked and counter-attacked. All supplies to the Allied forces in Egypt had to pass round the Cape by sea. The antiquated Ansons could not cope with the defence of the sea route any more, and a Royal Air Force Squadron, number 262, started operating from Durban’s Congella Base, using Catalina flying boats for the long flights, to assist shipping against the U-boat threat. Langebaan lagoon was used regularly by the Catalinas, and in 1943 a detachment of Dutch Navy Catalinas was also active in Saldanha Bay. Congella Air Station (Langebaan Detachment) was built in this period, where Langebaanweg is situated today.

Consolidated Catalina

Consolidated Catalina

The Catalina flying boats needed support boats during daily operations. At Lake St Lucia, Richards Bay and Langebaan, the motorboat squadrons had to operate five other boat-types, to support the flying boats, viz, Seaplane Tenders, (for towing the Catalinas and later the Sunderlands), Safety boats, Refuelling boats, Fire Tenders and Marine Tenders, which were also used as bomb-scows, for the transport and loading of bombs and depth charges.

 

For the sake of continuity, the term “flying boat” is used throughout this narrative. The British preferred the term “sea-plane”, but the SAAF used “flying boat – vliegboot” in daily conversation. By the American definition, an aircraft with a boat shaped lower fuselage was termed a flying-boat, and an aircraft with added-on floats was regarded as a “float-plane.”

Seaplane Tender ST 433 at Langebaanweg in 2002

Seaplane Tender ST 433 at Langebaanweg in 2002

 

The loss of life in South African waters, as a result of enemy action, was very high. The NOVA SCOTIA was 34 km off St Lucia, when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat. 750 people, mostly Italian prisoners of war, went down with the ship. But on the positive side, it is a fact that the crash boats were able to rescue almost 500 lives during the war.

 

To supplement the search and rescue ability, the Air Force acquired Lockheed Ventura Mark 1& 2 bombers. The first arrived at Brooklyn Air Station in 1942. The Ventura had a range of 3 100 km at a speed of 450 km/h.

 

Lockheed B-34 Ventura Mark 2

Lockheed B-34 Ventura Mark 2

Lockheed manufactured a maritime version of the Ventura; the PV-1 patrol bomber. Except for the American forces, the SAAF operated more Venturas than any other country. Between 1942 and 1960, the SA Air Force operated 130 B-34 bombers and 134 PV-1 maritime patrol bombers.

 

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura

PV1-3 ventura

 

After the war, the number of crash boats was decreased, but the Motorboat Squadron at Donkergat and Langebaan survived. The boats remained under Air Force command and control until November 1969. With the bombing range at Tooth Rock (Jacobsbaai) in daily use, it was necessary to have a crash boat on constant stand-by just outside the danger area. There were accidents and incidents and the crews were seldom bored. The Navy took over the crash boats in 1969, and got rid of all but two of them. This was not because the sea-rescue ability was no longer necessary, but the arrival of the helicopter drastically changed the whole perspective.

 

The maritime role of the SA Air Force did not change or end after the Second World War. Remember that 262 Squadron (RAF) and the Dutch Navy, patrolled the territorial waters and coastline with Catalina flying boats. As the RAF crews returned home after their tours of duty, more and more South Africans were absorbed into 262 Squadron. Number 35 Squadron (SAAF) was born out of 262 Squadron, (in February 1945) before the end of the War. The new squadron’s 8 Catalinas were supplemented, and eventually replaced by 15 Sunderland flying boats, and anti-submarine warfare remained a priority until the end of the War. The emblem of 35 Squadron was a Pelican standing on the map of Africa. The Motto then was SHIYA AMANZI; which was Zulu for “Rise from the Water”.

 

After the War, 35 Squadron remained at Congella. The boats which served the Sunderlands, Catalinas and Anson, were Air Force boats, and remained in service until the Sunderlands were withdrawn in the mid–fifties. Yes, the Squadron also had an Anson float-plane. This Anson with floats, was the only one in the world.

Sunderland Flying Boat taking off from Congella in Durban Harbour

Sunderland Flying Boat taking off from Congella in Durban Harbour

The Squadron moved to Ysterplaat (Cape Town), and from there continued its tasks – coastal patrols and search and rescue, using PV-1 Venturas. In 1957/58, the Avro Shackleton MR-3 long range, maritime reconnaissance bomber replaced the Ventura. The Squadron Motto then changed to SHAYA AMANZI; which was Zulu for “Strike the Water”.

 

ENTER THE SHACKLETON

Shack 1717

Eight Shackletons were acquired by the SAAF in 1957/58. Not long after they arrived, they made headline news when one of the aircraft flew non-stop, right around South Africa in 14 hours. In 1958, one of the Shackletons remained in the air for 21 hours and 10 minutes. The Shackleton had a take-off mass of almost fifty tonnes, of which just over 14 tonnes was fuel. The total fuel capacity of a Shackleton was 17 802 litres.

 

The sight and sound of an approaching Shackleton, must have been the most beautiful thing on earth, to many a shipwrecked sailor. With the bomb-bay doors closed, the Shackleton could carry a SARO 3 airborne lifeboat. The metal boat could be dropped by parachute and it had an inboard engine, mast and sail, supplies and emergency equipment. However, the airborne lifeboat was never used in an actual rescue mission. The drag limited the aircraft’s range drastically, and Lindolm-gear was carried instead. The Lindolm-gear consisted of three rope-linked canisters, each with its own parachute. One canister contained a ten-man dinghy, and the other two contained water, provisions, food and blankets.

 

In later years, when the Cold War (between East and West), had the World in its grip, no ships, of any country, sailed round the Cape without being observed, photographed and documented by Shackleton or Albatross crews. The twin-engined Albatross was acquired to supplement the Shackleton. The “Trossies” were used for close, inshore work, leaving the Shacks to take care of the long distance calls for surveillance and help.

 

Avro Shackleton Mark 3

Avro Shackleton Mark 3

SARO 3 Airborne Lifeboat

SARO 3 Airborne Lifeboat

lifeboat 1

lifeboat2

Article by

Willie (Buskruit) Burger

Velddrif   Dec 2014


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Thank You, CS Auto Body

Category : Contributors , News , Sponsors

csauito

The SAAF Museum extends its thanks to Lionel Barnard and CS AUTO BODY, Vehicle Specialists of note for their kind donation of CIC anti-corrosion products.

These products will be used to preserve & protect the Museum aircraft at the Ysterplaat & PE Museums.

 

 


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Shortfinal TV

Category : Contributors , Sponsors

shortfinal

A huge thank you to Hilton Mundy of Shortfinal for giving us access to his videos.


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The story of Colonel “Oom Vuil” Fred Potgieter.

The story of Colonel “Oom Vuil” Fred Potgieter.

 

When the SAAF bought the farm at Ondangwa to establish an air force base there was pretty much nothing but an open expanse of savanna grasslands. When the Mobile Radar Unit moved in to establish themselves, this convoy of trucks drove into the new base and stopped. There was pretty much naught but a huge big single Camel thorn tree. A grand daddy of all Camel thorn trees. It provided the only shade for miles around and there was no way it was getting cut down so, with the shady shadow it cast, it became the center point of the base. A place where the guys could hang out when they took a break in the middle of the day. It became the social center of the base to be and would remain the social center from that point on.

In fact it stands there to this day 17.8887136S, 15.947131E, despite attempts, accidental and deliberate, to inflict injury on it … it still stands.

The tree became a favorite place and so, it became a home to a bar counter that was erected in its shadow. And behind the counter, one needs a bar man. It was my lifetime mate Victor Frewen, that was the barman at Ondangwa. We grew up together. Were in school together, were in the SAAF together, Rode for the same bike club, shared the same adventures … and not out of choice or design, but because fate always seemed to let us gravitate towards each other.

The barman needed fridges and shelves behind him so those were brought in and tents were erected, to the north.

To the opposite side was the lounge with easy bush chairs in clusters around tables made of tree stumps. The bar and the counter and the lounge were open to the sky.

To the south was the kitchen, to the east was the officers mess, and to the west was the noncom mess. A plan that is retained to this day if you look at it from above, though the cross is now made of brick and metal and offset a bit so as not to interfere with the tree, for the tree is sacred to all. And if you look real close, you can just see the wall of the social circle peeping out to the side.

But back then, the cross was made of tents, and the tree was smack bang dead center of the cross.

X marked the spot. It was not called pub tree for nothing.

In the evening we would come and hang out in the bar and drink and sing and tell stories. The ranking order began at the left with the lowest ranks and ended on the right at the highest ranks, an unwritten rule that was strictly enforced. You always stood to the left of a senior officer and to the right of a junior when facing the bar. The barman’s priority of service always began on the right and he would work his way down, privates were served last, that was if he got to them before any of the seniors finished their drinks. Then he would start up at the right, again, and a private was lucky if he got served at all.

The result was that the bar always gravitated towards a natural balance of more senior base personnel and troepe went straight to B stores to collect their dop and go back to their tents when the bar reached a certain number. If there were less senior officers, the place would fill with more junior personnel but never more people in a bar than a single barman could serve in the time it took to down a round.

There were fixtures in the bar. The ATC (Air traffic controller) was one of them. He would sit there every night with his portable 2 way radio on the counter in front of him and in amongst the singing and the shouting and the laughing, the moment that radio came to life, there was immediate silence.

And I do not ever recall a single aggressive incident in the bar at Ondangwa ever. Yes there were the verbal disagreements over this or that but never anything physical ever. A senior could never strike a junior nor could a junior ever strike a senior and no one used first names. Everyone addressed each other by rank during socials. First names were reserved for when there was work to be done.

Sometimes if there were 4 majors in the lapa, a surname would creep in, but never a first name. Familiarity bred contempt.

It was Sir or rank upwards and rank downwards. ‘Could you pass us the Ice please Captain’ … ‘Here you are corporal’ … ‘Thank you sir.’ You minded your manners and you knew your place, and you did not socialize upwards or downwards unless it was with your immediate crew. Physical contact or gestures of familiarity were not tolerated ever, nor was any form of disrespectful talk. But we sang along, and told our stories, and drank together like the best of mates as long as you knew your place. And no-one was ever banned or shouted at or anything like that ever. No one had to prove anything to anyone … we did that all day long and we knew exactly what the pecking order was.

Sometimes, very late at night, the last few diehards might shuffle closer together or sit in a circle, but the rules remained … and no matter where, whether it was a seat at the table or a seat at the bar or a seat in the circle or at one of the lounge tables, you always asked before taking up a perch. It was a social sin to just come and sit uninvited, even if it was a senior officer joining a group of lower ranks … he still asked. Not that anyone ever refused, but you always asked.

And so, this fateful evening, it is about 7 or 8, just after sunset, the bar is in full swing. Singalongs and drinking. Recorded music was forbidden in the bar. No hi-fi’s no speakers, no tapes, no players. Because, no matter what was played, someone always wanted to listen to something else, so canned music was banned from the start. You drank along, and chatted along and you sang along or else you got lost. You could listen to your own canned music in your own tent.

Then suddenly the ATC’s portable comes to life. A squadron of choppers is inbound from the operational area. No problems, no cassevacs, no body bags, just a routine patrol coming home from somewhere up north.

‘Look up to the south guys, and we’ll give you a show.’ says the squadron leader.

So, everyone in the bar is up on the tables and bar counter looking out to the south for this squadron of Puma’s to give us a fly over.

‘There they are …’ says someone, and a line of brilliant stars approaches from the south. The choppers have their searchlights on, and are shining them straight at us from 2 or 3 kilometers out as they circle the base on their circuit.

Then they turn towards us and each gunner turns his spotlight onto the chopper next to him and this squadron of brilliantly illuminated choppers, line abreast like a string of pearls approaches us growing larger and larger in the night sky.

Then, so low, we can see the grinning faces of the pilots and the gunners they are upon us and over us, and gone and the whole bar and the tents shudder with the noise and the downdraught and the chachachacha bass of the chopper blades … I even felt the ground shudder under my feet. … and a sudden violent mini dust storm is blown up in the bar and loose light things like sheets of paper and hats go flying around.

We rush out of the bar to watch them pull up to the north, and peel off to come in for a single file landing while they now keep the spotlights aimed at us around the bar.

I tell you, there is nothing more intimidating than having a squadron of Puma gunships focus their spotlights on you, when you know that there is a gunner with a 50 cal behind each spotlight.

So they land, and we drift back into the bar babbling excitedly about what a brilliant shoot up that was and how that was the lowest flyby we had ever seen and so on and on and on.

Now, I mentioned that there were certain fixtures in the bar. Permanent residents, night after night after night, like clockwork they were there, and one was an old colonel, who was regarded by the SAAF as being to old to fly combat, and maybe it was because he was mates with his other senor staffers that dated back to the second world war, and maybe they didn’t want to loose him in a combat mission, even though he wanted to keep on flying … so they gave him a Dakota and the daily milk run from Ondangwa to Katima Mulilo and pretty much let him do whatever he wanted to as he got the job done without stuffing anything up.

He was actually a great old man, and many nights we would sit around at the end of the evening, listening to his stories of how he took on Rommel and his fighters and bombers and how he got shot down and how he escaped across the desert through enemy lines, by burying himself till the tanks and trucks had gone past, till the battle line had moved over him. Of how his squadron, low on everything including ammo and planes, built the biggest home made cannon ever made and blew half the bloody Luftwaffe out of the sky with it…

Us youngsters, then 18,19,20, were his captive audience, we loved his stories and he loved his audience, and we would hang on every word of his virtually till the light of dawn. And then, after breakfast, after about a gallon of coffee, he would send a runner for his co-pilot, and then he would instruct us …

‘Carry me to my plane!’

And arm in arm, the old colonel and us would take a stroll up to his plane, no we did not carry him, but we steadied him if he wobbled a bit. And off he would go on the milk run, to return that afternoon late, to once again take up his spot in the bar, and god help anyone if they were on his perch on the right hand end of the counter when he waked in.

And you could see how he would sit an listen in envy as the new young chopper pilots told their tales of action and he would almost challenge them as to the hairiness factor of having a gunner shoot a gook for you from hundreds of meters away if he was carrying an AK 47, as opposed to taking on 4 Messerschmitt’s with a Spitfire.

‘You young wippersnappers dont know shit … You wait till I chase your arse all over the sky with 8 Browning’s and then, if you get away from me matey, then you can come and brag in the bar … but don’t talk to be about a hairy day when a gook takes on your kite with an AK47 and your gunner takes him out while all you need to do is fly straight and level so as not to upset the aim of your gunner. Balderdash.’

So, the banter flew back and forth … and it was good for a laugh … it was good natured … and he put one or two uppity chopper pilots in their places … but you could tell that it cut a bit when he got chirped right back again with remarks like ‘save your war stories for the young’uns Colonel, they’ll believe anything you say!’ … ‘ you just stick to your milk run and leave the real work to us real pilots that go out to get the job done’ and such like. And so the banter would fly back and forth, sometimes very funny, and sometimes very very bitchy.

It was therefore quite obvious that when the chopper pilots walked into the bar they were the center of attraction and the old Colonel, sitting right at the end of the bar, on his unassailable perch, looking down at his whiskey, did not say anything as all. He conceded them their 15 minutes of fame, their moment in the sun so to speak.

And it might just have remained so, had some YDFC chopper pilot, carried away in the exuberance of the moment, not slapped the Colonel on the back and said, ‘How was that for some low flying Old Man’ The bar came to an absolute standstill and the chopper pilot, realizing he had committed several cardinal sins in one stupid move stood back. He had physically struck a senior officer, he had encroached into an area of the bar that his rank did not belong, he had socialized upwards without invitation, and he had addressed a senior officer with a level of familiarity that did not become his status or relationship with that officer.

It was so quiet you could hear the tree growing, and that in itself is a fairly quiet process.

And it was early evening, it was still many hours away before the Colonel hit his stride … He was to all intents and purposes, as sober as a judge. he looked at the chopper pilot and stood up in front of him, straight and tall, and it was actually a surprise to note how tall he actually was when he stood up straight like that … and he said …

‘Young man, I will pardon you your social faux pax and put it down to the exuberance of the moment, but that, you little prick was not low flying … if you want to see some night time, low flying … I will show you some low flying you and your squadron will never forget. …’ he turned to his one pip loot co-pilot, the only officer that sat out of sequence at the bar in his permanent position next to his chief pilot … ‘KOBUS … escort me to my aeroplane!’

He stalked out of the bar with his co-pilot in tow, as the bar remained in deathly silence … The chopper pilot turned to his other squadron members,

‘Sorry mates, I stuffed up there’
‘Damn right, but don’t worry, buy him a whiskey when he gets back and you will all be best of mates by the end of the evening …’

And so, life in the bar returned to normal.

It was about 15 minutes later when we heard the Dakota motors fire up. and the bar became quiet …

‘Ondangwa Tower this is Mike One’ came his voice on the 2 way radio in the bar.
‘Go ahead Mike One.’
‘Fuck the takeoff clearance … you guys want a show … I will give you a show …’ And we all poured out of the bar onto the open ground outside as the Dakotas motors went to full power at the start of the runway .

He held it there for about a minute or so … and then released the brakes.

The empty Dak surged forward down the long runway

About a quarter of the way, the tail came up, and then up a bit more

About half way, the Dak had long passed takeoff speed and was running balls to the wall full tilt tail high down the runway

Three quarters down, and the tail came down a bit

And as it reached the end of the runway, people were expecting the biggest prang they ever saw, the tail went down, the nose came up and the Dak went vertical, straight up, through an almost vertical barrel roll, and leveled out as it approached the stall, then it joined the same holding pattern that the choppers had an hour or so earlier … and it descended through the turn and then with all lights on, came straight for the pub, lower and lower and lower …

‘He’s too fucking low …’ shouted one of the pilots
‘The tree … he is going to hit the tree ..’
‘YOU ARE GOING TO HIT THE TREE!’ shouted the ATC into the mic.

 

‘Now wont that be low flying …’ came the reply.
‘Brush!’ said another
‘Brush!’ shouted the ATC into the mic
‘What about it?’ said the colonel
‘Watch the masts at BRUSH!!!!’
‘Fuck yes’ came the reply … ‘Just you watch them!’
‘Oh my god, he is going to hit the masts!’ I was standing on the earthen embankment next to the road, which was maybe the height of a single story house when he went over the embankment with very damned little margin for error. I watched the guys in the bar scatter in all directions … Some of the brave chopper pilots had reckoned bullshit … This was just going to be another low showoff flyby … They did not know how low till it was too late … and then it was too late.

The Dak scraped over the top of the tree, both blades trimming the top … it was into the tree, through the tree, and out the other side … and then, dead ahead there was BRUSH, ‘Bush Recon Unit Signals Headquarters’ with its array of some 10 to 15 masts … all lit up with hazard lights … and the Dak went right wing down in a snap roll, faster than I had ever see a plane do a snap roll in my life before … it went right wing down and full left rudder and arse end down and it crabbed nose high, tail down, straight through the middle of the mast farm at BRUSH, with wingtip feet off the ground, he flew straight through BRUSH and out the other side and leveled out and once more did a climbing victory roll before joining the circuit and coming in for a perfect three pointer landing.

As the Dak taxied back to the apron, we ran out to meet it. It was an absolute mess. The antennas had been ripped away under the belly. There was camel thorn in the motors, in the cowlings, in the gear, in the tail wheel … there were thorns in the cockpit and even in the closed toilet in the back of the plane.

Most interesting of all were the several lines of antenna wire wrapped around the wing, which had till a few short minutes before, been strung between the masts at BRUSH.

We went back to the bar, and the Colonel walked in to a standing ovation from all the chopper pilots who were still picking leaves and thorns out of their flight suits and hair … and choruses of ‘And he’s a jolly good fellow’

The Colonel waked up to the chopper pilot that started it all, put his arm around his shoulder and said …

‘So, what do you think sonny, how’s that for some low flying … reckon the old dog as still got a bit of a bite left in him or what ?’

The chopper pilot handed the Colonel the whiskey and ice he had been holding pending the Colonels return.

‘To your very good health SIR!’ he said snapping to attention.
‘And yours as well lieutenant’ said the Colonel raising the glass and holding it till all the glasses in the bar were raised.

After that, when the Colonel gave a chirp to any chopper pilot that got too big for his boots, and the chirp was returned … his mates would stop him right there … with comments like …
‘No no no lieutenant … don’t go there … its been tried before and it did not end well … ‘

I guess that was what the old Colonel needed, was just a chance to prove that he still had it … and he seemed changed after that.

But we still hung out with him in the pub into the late hours of many a night and listened to his stories. He was a bit of a hero figure to us, and he was our connection … when we needed transport, anywhere, any time, we could hop on board with him and he would even make small detours for us. Weekends saw us hopping over to Rundu to park on the beach for 2 days, or over to Katima to the Zambezi lodge and so on.

One day, his ground crew, and don’t ask me how they fucked up, but they did, had loaded his Dak with a double load of cargo. They loaded it once … and then somehow, a duplicate load was loaded on board.

He always used to pull this stunt of holding the Dak down to the last minute, and the hauling it hard up into the sky … only this time it did not haul up, it barely lifted … but it did lift , and barely made it over the perimeter fence and he flew it all the way to Katima … trying to figure out why the old bird was not performing like her usual self.

When he landed in Katima, they offloaded the cargo intended for them, and found the plane still half full. The investigation found that he was something like 1.7 times overloaded and the plane should never have gotten off the ground, let alone flown … but his stunt of revving the plane down the full length of the runway till the last moment, something he loved to do is what pulled it off.

‘I always knew that trick would come in handy one day, I never figured that it would save me and my plane the way it did.’ He was a cool guy and a great pilot. I remember him and the stunts he pulled and the stories he told.

But that is a story of Colonel ‘Oom Vuil (Uncle Dirty)’ Fred Potgieter, as best remembered. ends:

 

 


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Tinus Le Roux Interviews Lt Bryan Jones

Tinus Le Roux Interviews Lt Bryan Jones


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Warswaw Airlift 69th Anniversary

By Kind Permission – Tinus Le Roux

Commemoration of Warsaw Airlift 1944 SAAF flights 69th anniversary.

I attended this function at the Katyn Memorial in Jhb last Saturday 7 Sept.

[scrollGallery id=25]

Thanks to the Polish embassy for a memorable and pleasant event.

The only surviving SAAF airman who participated in the 1944 Warsaw supply drops is navigator Lt Bryan Jones.

See Tinus Le Roux’s interview with Lt Bryan Jones, survivor of the Warsaw Missions


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Building the 1:48 scale 35 Sqn C47TP Falcon

Category : Aircraft , Contributors , Features

Building the 1:48 scale 35 Sqn C47TP Falcon
My name is Stewart Moon and I am an ex-SAAF member now living in the United Kingdom. I served from 1986 to 2001 and was based at Air Force Base Durban and Forward Air Command Post Durban (FACP DBN).

On 24th February 2013 I purchased myself a Revell 1:48 scale C47 Skytrain model. I wanted to build myself a C47TP but to do that, I would have to do a conversion from the original DC3 piston engine, 3 blade propeller, to an extended Turbo Prop engine cowling and a 5 blade propeller. I thought it would be quite easy. Oh how wrong I would be. If I had known how difficult it was, I would have stuck to the standard DC3/C47.

I first started on the Internet and eBay looking for a C47TP conversion kit. Hours of surfing the internet turned into weeks and I was coming up empty handed. There was nothing in a 1:48 scale. So I contacted Red Bear Resin who was selling the conversion kit for the 1:48 scale Basler BT67, similar to the C47TP. I also contacted The SAAF Museum.

There was a conversion kit for a C47TP but only in a 1:72 scale and not in a 1:48 scale. So I continued to surf the Internet and came across a company in Thailand who built wooden desktop models. They agreed to make the engines and the 5 blade props from wood if I could supply them with pictures and dimensions. Everything was going well. The work on making the 2 engines plus the 5 blade propellers would take approximately 2 weeks and 4 weeks to arrive in the UK.

Then disaster struck, the company decided there was too much of a risk, worried that their representation would be on the line if the engines did not work out. So it was back to the drawing board, sending out loads of emails to companies asking if there was anyone out there that could make my two engines. No luck. The only way around this, was to build the two engines myself from scratch. This is my story on How I Overcame The Odds And Built The First Ever 1:48 Scale 35 Squadron C47TP Falcon.

STATISTICS

1.  All hand painted
2.  Both engines were handmade
3.  218 hours to build and paint
4.  345 hours on the Internet
5.  £145.00 to make (approximately R2100.00)
6.  Started on 27 February 2013
Finished on 28 May 2013

THE BUILD

The model came moulded in a light grey colour.

Photo 1

After deciding what colour scheme, I spray painted the fuselage, wings, rudders, tail and flaps in a dark blue paint.

Then I marked out the wings and flaps with masking tape to represent the white markings.

Photo 2

Hand painted with 3 layers of white model paint.

I then built and painted inside the cockpit.

Photo 3

Then started on the South African Flag on the tail. This took quite some time to complete as each colour was individually painted with 3 coats of model paint.

Photo 4

During this time, I was working on a few drawings for the two turbo prop engines.

Photo 5

I then started to make stencil cut outs of the falcon that would later be hand painted with 3 coats of paint onto each side of the fuselage. This took a great deal of time, patients and a very steady hand.

Photo 6

Spent approximately 3 weeks on the falcon but well worth the effort as it looks great on the aircraft. I was still trying to find a company to make my two engines. I did consider the Basler BT67 conversion kit but opted out.
It would be down to making the engines myself from scratch. I sketched up a few more drawing with dimensions. The best way to build the two engine cowling’s would be out of Balsa wood.

Photo 7

So I purchased a block of balsa 50mm x 50mm x 250mm.Measured out each engine then slowly carved and sanded down until the engines came into shape. I left a section at the back to allow the engine to fit snug into the wing section by the wheel bay.

Photo 8

The engines would later be resined with 3 coats and painted. The next stage was to drill holes on both sides of the engines to allow for the exhausts which I made out of spare piping from the kit, cut, heated up and bent into shape.

Photo 9

They were then pushed into place and secured with resin. I was unable to find them on the internet. The astrodome was removed, filled in, sanded down and spray painted dark blue. Once the engines were shaped and sized, I started coating them with three layers of resin. Each coat having to dry before applying the next coat. Final stage was to spray paint both engines.

Photo 10

Again 3 coats were applied.

THE 5 BLADE PROPELLERS

The 5 blade turbo propellers was the combination of a 1:48 scale 5 blade Spitfire XIV and the spinner the 1:72 scale Spitfire XIV. The holes on the spinner had to be drilled bigger to allow for the 1:48 scale blades to fit comfortably. The blades were then fixed and glued into place making up the 5 bladed C47TP.

Photo 11

They were later painted in the correct colour scheme.

THE UNDERCARRIAGE

I bought the metal 1:48 scale undercarriage/landing gear from America to fit Revell models. They were later glued and resin onto the wing mounts. The wheels were painted and fixed into place.

Photo 12

The rear tail drag wheel snapped into place.

INSTALLING THE TAXI LIGHTS

An additional feature to my C47TP was to put taxi lights into the wings, so they could work like real thing when turned on. Using the wing support strut, I glued an extra piece of wood. I then drilled 2 holes into the wood (making sure they lined up with the holes in the wing) Then placed 2 micro light bulbs into the holes. Wired up the lights to a switch and battery underneath the main wing.

Photo 13

Once switched on they looked like the real thing.

THE FINAL ASSEMBLY

After almost 3 months of building, carving and painting it was time to put everything together.

Photo 14

I first attached the 2 engines to the wings.

Photo 15

I then attached the wings to the fuselage.

Photo 16

Photo 17

Once everything was dried, I attached the two 5 blade turbo propellers, given me my almost finished 1:48 scale 35 Squadron C47TP Falcon.

Photo 18 Lights off

All that remained now was to glue on the three antennas and place decals onto the fuselage.

Photo 19 Lights on

              Photo 20

The completed 1:48 scale C47TP taken on 28 May 2013 (My 50th Birthday)
I am assuming this is a one of a kind in the world in this scale and colours?

So……..
You ask, why did I made this model?

I heard on the news about the C47TP that cashed in the Drakensberg on 6 December 2012 and all SANDF members were killed.

Well……..

I made this model to remember those poor souls that lost their lives that day. R.I.P. Guys. You will always be remembered, as I have something to remember you all by.

It was a pleasure and an honour to build this model.

GOD BLESS.

Stewart Moon


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SAS President Kruger

F150Krugerss

pp-tribute

Today, 31 years ago on the 18th February 1982 the SAS President Kruger and 16 of my crewmates were lost at sea.

http://www.saspresidentkruger.com/


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SAAF Museum PTA -100 Hours for Charity

Category : Aircraft , Contributors , Features , News

By Garth Calitz

The South African Air Force Museum in conjunction with the a group of dedicated volunteers will be hosting a social responsibility project to raise funds for PinkDrive, charity of choice of the SAAF Museum, by hosting a 100 hour marathon sit-in in various fighter jets and a team of ladies that will be living in the gracious old Shackleton bomber.

The “static pilots” will enter their aircraft on Tuesday 26 February at 8:00 and that’s where they will stay until noon on the 2nd of March for a total of 100 hours. A fifteen minute break outside the aircraft is allowed every four hours. Johann Schmidt, a volunteer at the SAAF museum, hatched the idea and successfully made the long sit in March 2012 along with four other somewhat crazy volunteers.

Lt Col Mike O’Connor , Officer Commanding the SAAF Museum, has Joined forces with the organizing team and several significant sponsors to make this the biggest non-airshow event to be held at the SAAF Museum this year. The aim is to supply “Pink Drive” with a new clinical examination vehicle and as you can imagine, this won’t come cheap.

Pink Drive is a community based project driven by Cause Marketing Fundraisers (CMF), a non-profit organization. The Pink Drive campaign is committed to increasing breast cancer awareness and education by providing services to women across South Africa, particularly to those who do not have access to information on breast health. They currently have two mobile breast units, an education unit working in approximately 103 community health centres in Gauteng and a mammography unit which operates at 3 community hospitals.

Throughout the 4 days the public will be treated to various exiting activities and competitions with some exciting prizes. A number of sponsors such as Canon SA, Hirsch Centurion, Mica Valhalla and many others donated these awesome prizes. The Vintage DC4 Skymaster passenger Aircraft will be converted into a “movie house” where historic SAAF footage will be shown with some music matching the theme by the “Ducktails in Disguse”.

Learn more about the SAAF Museum by taking part in “Discover the Museum” and “Night at the Museum” competitions, which will take the form of a treasure hunt where the participants will be given a range of cryptic clues and the answer be found in the exhibits at the Museum.


The SAAF skydiving team the “Golden Eagles” will be doing various jumps. Makers will be sold as part of the fundraising and will be placed in a demarcated area where members of the team will drop weighted streamers into the area. If the streamer lands on your target, you may win a “tandem skydive” or many other prizes.

A Mirage III fighter jet will also be set aside as a celebrity plane where various local celebrities will be spending a few hours. Members of the public can interact with their favourite celeb’s as they get a taste of what the “static pilots” will be going through.

The Eqestra Flying Lions aerobatics team will be entertaining the public to a magnificent sunset display at approximately 18:00 on Friday 1st March. The final day will coincide with the monthly Flying training day of all the SAAF Museums airworthy aircraft which include Harvards, The Albatross, Bosbok, Kudu, Alouette II, Alouette III and Puma helicopters. At the 100th hour the Pilots will be disembarking during a display by the Garbriel Wings Pitt Special aerobatic team ending with a pyrotechnics display by the South Africa Army Engineering Core.

Pink ribbons will be on sale at a nominal fee which will be linked to a lucky number draw with wonderful prizes including flights in historic aircraft and all proceeds from this project will be going to “Pink Drive”.

The SAAF Museum is dedicated to raising the level of Aviation awareness amongst the youth in South Africa, and preserving our aviation heritage. Through drives like this and the upcoming Air Show on the 11th and 12th of May, they wish to expose as many people as possible to the joys of aviation. The Museum relies on the public for its existence, please support them!!!

 


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