SAAF Museum Patchen Explorer in fatal crash

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A Patchen Explorer belonging to the South African Air Force (SAAF) Museum crashed near Air Force Base Swartkop this morning, killing two senior retired Air Force members.

An eyewitness stated that the aircraft flew over his house “sputtering badly,” possibly from carb icing and went in short of runway 02.

Flames engulfed the wreckage and unconfirmed reports state that the two crew on board were killed.

defenceWeb understands that the deceased pilots were well-known former SAAF pilots Des Barker and Rama Iyer.

The Explorer was developed for pipeline patrol operation, aerial photography and law enforcement agencies. The prototype was shipped to South Africa and evaluated by the SAAF’s Test Flight and Development Centre for use as a light recon forward air control aircraft, but was not quite what was required. As a result it languished in a hangar for many years before being donated to the SAAF Museum.



The Explorer, serial 2000, was part of the SAAF Museum Historic Flight.