The latest addition to the SAAF Museum flight – a Cessna 150 – is expected to take part in the September flying training day.
The aircraft type was used as an initial flying trainer by Apla and its arrival at AFB Zwartkop earlier this year is part of an initiative led by SAAF Chief Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang to showcase the non-statutory forces (NSF).
Museum OC Lieutenant Colonel Mike O’Connor said the single-engined aircraft was airworthy when it arrived at the base in May but “our technical guys gave it another once over just to make sure”.
Plans are for it to be test flown within the next week or so by either Neil Thomas, himself a former Museum OC, or Darryl Wright.
“We are not expecting any problems and I pretty sure the aircraft will fly on September 5,” O’Connor said.
The project to show the activities of non-statutory forces involved in the liberation struggle is headed by retired major general Lucky Ngema.
Of his job to incorporate the “irregular” forces’ history into the museum he said it could be called Project Counter Balance.
Some exhibits are already in place highlighting parts of the history of the MK and Apla air wings but there is still a lot to be done.
One of the problem areas for Ngema is the former SA Defence Force was a regular force with full documentation of members, ranks, units, movements and aircraft while the “irregulars” did not always keep proper documentation.
“We didn’t really have a bona fide air force. A lot of aviators were trained with the idea of forming an air force, but many countries came to the table to train pilots, to train engineers, even the anti-aircraft (component),” he said in an interview with defenceWeb earlier this year.
As an example Apla’s main “springboard” was Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania but training was not always done there. Some Apla members trained in Nigeria, others in Canada and the United Kingdom. Most of that was not documented