The South African Air Force (SAAF) is pulling out all the stops for Prestige Day on Friday, with well over a dozen aircraft set to take part in celebrations in addition to aircraft from the SAAF Museum.
The Prestige Day parade will take place on 31 January at Air Force Base Swartkop and is open to the public.
Chief of the SAAF, Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang, will review a Ceremonial Wing Review Parade, which the Air Force describes as the highlight of its calendar whereby the Chief presents awards to acknowledge the performance of high standards by Directorates, Bases, Units and Squadrons. The Chief of the Air Force (CAF) also utilises this event to thank all members of the Air Force for their dedication, loyal support as well as work performed during the previous year.
This event will kickstart the SAAF’s 2020 commemoration in promoting the year’s theme: Embracing Our Collective Heritage.
The SAAF is planning to use all its aircraft in the inventory for a mass fly past and those that are active in the Air Force Museum. The aircraft that will participate include the Rooivalk and A109 helicopters, CASA C212, Caravan, C-47TP and C-130 Hercules transports, PC-7 trainers and Hawk and Gripen combat jets. Museum aircraft will include Alouette II and III helicopters and Harvards, amongst others.
The Parade will see the attendance of high profile individuals from the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Defence and aviation enthusiasts. The public is welcome to witness the parade. Gates open at 07:45am and close at 09:30, with the parade starting at 10:00.
The 2020 Prestige Day parade will be larger than usual as the SAAF, the second oldest independent air force in the world, turns 100 on the first of February. It is also celebrating 25 years of a democratic Air Force.