Following hot on the heels of the successful Aviators Evening hosted by Air Force Base Ysterplaat on 8 October, the next day the Cape air force base played host to underprivileged school children.
About 400 disadvantaged Grade 10 to 12 school children from schools in the surrounding community were invited to visit the Base. With a strong theme encompassing STEM education (referring to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the students were able to see and interact with the many professional and interactive exhibits on display.
These included seeing technicians and aircraft fitters of 2 Air Servicing Unit (ASU) (Detached) working on and maintaining the C-47TP Turbo Dakotas of 35 Squadron, static displays of the Oryx and Super Lynx helicopters operated by 22 Squadron, exhibits by 80 Air Navigation School and the Base Survival Section and visits to the various workshops and classrooms.
All present were thrilled to watch a midday air display by the South African Air Force Silver Falcons aerobatic team.
The highlight of the visit for 40 pupils was the opportunity to take their first flight in an aeroplane, courtesy of AIFA (AVIC – International Flight Training Academy). This flight training institution, sponsors of the Aviator’s Evening, flew just under ten of their training aircraft from their bases at George and Oudtshoorn airports to Ysterplaat so that the school children could get their first taste of flight.
Col AJ de Castro, Officer Commanding of AFB Ysterplaat, was delighted with the response of the students, many of whom had never been near an aircraft before. de Castro told defenceWeb that Ysterplaat was proud to be able to host such an event and that the visit would be an overwhelming success even if only a few students were motivated to follow a career path in one of the STEM subjects.
Also on display were historical aircraft from the SAAF Museum collection.