On Wednesday 23 September, various events were staged at Air Bases throughout the country ahead of Heritage Day celebrations on 24 September, with Air Force Base Ysterplaat in Cape Town partnering with the residential SAAF Museum branch to allow units, sections and squadrons to adopt Museum aircraft and celebrate the SAAF’s heritage.
Officer commanding of AFB Ysterplaat, Colonel Carl Moatshe, noted with appreciation that “in the midst of the COVID-19 battle, members found the time to fix, clean and replace tyres on their adopted aircraft for this day.”
Planned to “unite Heritage with the future,” younger members of all the lodger units on the Base were invited to clean and prepare their chosen SAAF Museum aircraft for display on the flight line and in so doing research the history of that particular aircraft for presentation to invited guests.
Moatshe explained that AFB Ysterplaat is the only dedicated maritime air base in the country.
“The pressure of the required maritime surveillance and patrol does not get any lesser,” Moatshe said, “Air Force Base Ysterplaat must be the centre of maritime excellence and capabilities because of the growing interest in maritime economy and attempts to demarcate new maritime boundaries.”
Moatshe was even more proud of the members of AFB Ysterplaat as the Base won the SAAF’s Prestige Base of the Year for the second year in a row.
After a short parade during which certificates were handed to members of the base for their hard work and dedication over the past year, guests were treated to the thrill of experiencing the sound and vibrations of an Avro Shackleton maritime patrol aircraft of the SAAF Museum undergoing a ground run, whilst a C-47TP Dakota of 35 Squadron flew low overhead.
Thereafter, guests were invited to view the eleven SAAF Museum aircraft displayed on the flight line whilst an Oryx helicopter and two Super Lynx helicopters conducted training nearby.
Afterwards, all members and guests participated in an impromptu Jerusalema Dance on the flight line.
Chief of the Air Force, Lieutenant General Zimpande Msimang, who celebrates his 60th birthday this September, arrived shortly after the Jerusalema Dance. However, he did not miss out as he had participated in the Jerusalema Dance performed by Air Force Base Langebaanweg that morning. He subsequently flew around Cape Town in an Oryx the next day – ahead of his expected retirement, he has been flying most South African Air Force types, including the Lynx, Rooivalk, C-47TP and C-130 Hercules.
AFB Ysterplaat celebrated Heritage Day and the collective heritage of the South African Air Force in a fun filled day.
“This is the Prestige Base and it is made of prestige members,” Moatshe remarked, “You make this base tick!”