Pelican 16

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Pelican 16

pelican16

On the morning of July 13th 1994, the headline news read “SAAF Plane Down in Desert”.

Avro Shackleton, number 1716 was one of eight four-engined maritime patrol aircraft commissioned by the South African Air Force in 1957.

1993 saw an ambitious plan to restore one of these decommissioned aircraft and turn it into a flying museum. The name of this aircraft: Pelican-16.

July1994, after ten years on the ground and two years of restoration work this magnificent aircraft flew again. Following an invitation to take part in the 1994 summer air-show circuit in the UK, Pelican-16 and its crew of 19 took off from Cape Town and headed north.

But then in the dead of the blackest night, high over the Western Sahara the unthinkable happened; two engines on the starboard side failed within a period of just ten minutes. The aircraft and its crew went down.

DPC1716desert

Image by Brig-Gen Derrick Page

Flight commander Eric Pienaar and his crew performed a miraculous crash landing from which all walked away unaided.

 

 

 


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