Author Archives: Christopher Szabo

South Africa’s oldest paratrooper

Bloemfontein- The oldest still-serving member of South Africa’s elite paratroops, Major Hans Human, has been a paratrooper all his life, whether as a National Serviceman or a member of the Reserve Force. He’s been jumping out of aeroplanes for more than 47 years.

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SAAF Air Capability Demonstration, 01 September 2011

On the first of September the SAAF held its second bi-annual air capability demonstration at Roodewal bombing range.  After an early morning welcome briefing at AFB Waterkloof, invited VIP’s and guests were flown to Polokwane International Airport, and then driven by bus the further half hour to the site in the Limpopo province.

Further comprehensive briefings were held, covering recent SANDF operations, including simulated joint exercises involving members of the Executive National Security Programme (ENSP), the Army, Navy and Medical services.  The slide shows and accompanying talks were extremely interesting and well presented, even covering the unexpected event of a Rooivalk having to be “rescued” from being snowed-in during a huminitarian exercise.

The Chief of the SAAF, Lieutenant-General Carlo Gagiano, gave the opening address and stated that the event was an ideal opportunity for the Air Force to promote itself, even in times of limited financial resources.

The display included SAAF’s fighter jets, the Gripen and Hawk, a selection of helicopters including the Rooivalk attack helicopters firing live rounds, BK 117 and Oryx and the spectacular dropping of 120 kg and 250kg bombs onto a target site called Charlie Coke.

Colonel Rama Iyer (Director Basic Flying Training SAAF) gave commentary on the bombing sequence, informing how increased technology has greatly increased accuracy in hitting a target.

To end the hour-long event, spectators were treated to tight 8-ship formation fly-pasts from both the Gripens and Hawks, as well as a sky-full of helicopters stretched across the horizon coming in in a most spectacular display.

After a well-organised lunch, guests were again returned by bus to the Polokwane airport for connecting flights to AFB Waterkloof.  Indeed, everything ran very smoothly and professionally with excellent hospitality provided and it was an enormous privilege to attend this impressive “show of strength” event.


For more images click here.

Wings Parade, AFB Langebaanweg, 24th March 2011

Wings Parade, AFB Langebaanweg

24th March 2011

Irene McCullagh attended the Wings Parade held at AFB Langebaanweg on 21st March for the student pilots, course 114/11 (13 in total).

It was also the official introduction of the Silver Falcons Team 71

Outgoing leader Maj Scott Ternent handed over to new Number 1 Capt Roy Sproul and the two incoming members were welcomed to the team : Major Beau Skarda – No 5 and soloist, and the first female ever to be part of the Silver Falcons, Captain Heybrech van Niekerk (Falcon 2 – Right Wing).

In his speech, Lt Gen C Gagiano ended by saying:

“To the recipients I wish to say: “Never give up your endeavours to do better today than you did yesterday, so that you may continue contributing towards keeping the South African Air Force the professional organisation it is.”

To see more of the images, go to the Wings Parade Album.

Museum Volunteers attend Fire Briefing

The volunteers at the AFB Ysterplaat branch of the museum attended a full morning’s briefing by WO2 Mark Howell.

The Museum Volunteers were divided into two groups, and the briefings will be repeated on the last Saturday of each month. The session started at the Fire and Rescue Section’s briefing room, where WO2 Mark Howell provided an enjoyable presentation.

An old storage tank previously used to store Jet A-1 fuel was then the venue for the next session on operating in a smoke-filled building.

Our thanks to WO2 Mark Howell.

You too can become a volunteer. Join the Friends of the SAAF Museum.


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