All systems go for 2016 SAAF Museum air show


In just over a month the SA Air Force (SAAF) Museum will stage its annual air show at AFB Zwartkop with a new Officer Commanding in charge of the flight deck.

Lieutenant Colonel Thor Fredericks took over command of the SAAF’s military aviation heritage at Zwartkop in March and the May 7 air show will be his first. It is the museum’s major fundraising effort. He replaced Lieutenant Colonel Mike O’Connor who headed the museum for four years.

The 2016 Museum air show is going to be a celebration of aviation through the ages under the theme “Wings over Zwartkop” and will have the majority of the Museum’s airworthy aircraft in action.

Last year’s major sponsor, the Paramount Group, has again come forward to ensure the SAAF Museum air show takes its rightful place on the South African air show calendar.

In recent years the air show has twice taken top honours as the South African air show of the year and has also earned a second place.

Captain Kobus Kapp of the Museum said a full complement of Museum aircraft will take to the sky above the air force base in Valhalla on May 7 and while he could not, at this stage, commit to visiting aircraft he did indicate “some surprises” could be in the offing.

A lot of interest is expected to be generated around the Cessna 150, the only example of a training aircraft used by Apla (Azanian People’s Liberation Army) and acquired by the Museum as part of its drive to become fully representative of what all combined to make the air force of today.

The other Cessna acquired by the Museum last year – a silver 185 bearing the legend SA Army – is also expected to take part in the flying display.

Albatross, Alouette II, Alouette III, Patchen Explorer, Harvards, Kudu, Puma and Vampire aircraft will also fly. Indications are, as usual, the three rotary-wing aircraft will as usual be a “generals’ flight” with retired SAAF brigadier generals Hugh Paine, John Church and Piet Burger at the controls.

The day before the air show has again been set aside as a careers day with Mango the major backer and supported by the National Youth Development Programme and the SAAF’s in-house youth awareness programme Siyandiza.