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WELCOME


Welcome to Gabriel le Roux's pages about aviation in South Africa. I trust you will enjoy reading the articles and looking at the images in this website!

I lived in the Cape Peninsula until 1979, lived in Durban for two years and then moved to the Witwatersrand (now part of Gauteng). From January 1974 to August 1979 I spent most of my time at DF Malan Airport (ICAO code FACT) and visited Rand Airport (ICAO code FAGM), Lanseria Airport (ICAO code FALA) and Jan Smuts Airport (ICAO code FAJS) on a few occasions. I did very little aviation photography during July 1974 to June 1975, when I did my National Service in the South African Defence Force.
 
Before I had my own car, I used to travel by train to Cape Town and by South African Airways bus to FACT. (In those days SAA provided its own bus service to transport passengers between Cape Town and the airport.) Generally, I would spend some time at the domestic-terminal building and then walk to the general-aviation area and return to the terminal building. I bought a car in the same year that I moved to Durban.
 
Like most of my contemporaries, I started taking photographs with an Instamatic camera. As I used an 8-mm movie camera before switching over to 35-mm SLR equipment on 3 October 1976, I do not have my own slides and negatives of the numerous South African Air Force open days and Aviation Africa International exhibition that took place in 1975.
 
My first visit to DF Malan Airport was on 26 January 1974. An interesting aircraft I saw on that day was Beagle B121 Pup 150 construction number 055. The aircraft had its first flight on 14 May 1969 and was delivered on 6 June 1969 to Swedair as SE-FGT. It became ZS-IZO in August 1974.
WHAT THIS WEBSITE IS ABOUT
 
On this website the South African aviation scene is covered in historical articles about airliners, airshows, aviation events, airport and airfield visits as well as aviation activities in specific geographical areas. There are also articles about the aircraft of different manufacturers. There is a gallery section with images as well. Civil as well as military aviation is featured.
CONTENTS OF ARTICLES DIVIDED INTO CATEGORIES AND HEADINGS
 
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION SCENE
 
The South African aviation scene during 1974
 
In this article the aviation scene at DF Malan Airport, Rand Airport and Jan Smuts Airport as well as events of historical interest for the period January to December 1974 are covered. In addition, the infrastructure at FACT during the period 1974 to 1979 is described. The ex-Autair Sikorsky S-51 registration number ZS-HBT was a familiar site at the Barnetts scrapyard in Salt River near Cape Town.
One of the McDonnell Douglas DC-8s operated by Union de Transportes Aerians was F-BOLI (construction number 45754). The aircraft was bought by UTA on 25 August 1970. The DC-8-55F is seen at Jan Smuts Airport (ICAO code FAJS) on 2 September 1974 (at the freight centre).
The South African aviation scene during 1975
 
The year 1975 was characterised by open days at SAAF bases, the first of the biennial airshows at Lanseria as well as the SAAF’s first Mirage F1CZ and F1AZ at Le Bourget. DF Malan and Oudtshoorn Airports as well as important aviation events are covered in this article. The first Mirage F1CZ (serial number 200, but marked as an F1C) of the South African Air Force was displayed with a variety of armaments at Le Bourget in July 1975. No national markings were carried by the aircraft.
Cessna 337A registration number ZS-EJV and construction number 33700463 was seen at DF Malan Airport on 9 August 1975. The machine was registered in May 1966.
 
Visiting aircraft at the Flying Training School Langebaanweg open day on 1 November 1975 included a 3 Squadron Mirage F1CZ, 85 Advanced Flying School Canadair Sabre and three Mirage IIID2Zs from the same unit as well as a 35 Squadron Shackleton and 86 Advanced Flying School Dakota.
Aviation at DF Malan Airport from 1976 to 1977
 
The infrastructure at FACT and foreign, domestic and regional movements as well as local airlines and residents are described and illustrated. There is also a selection of images that illustrate typical private and other aircraft seen at DF Malan.
AIRLINES
 
The Hawker Siddeley HS-748 in service with South African Airways
 
South African Airways operated the Hawker Siddeley HS-748. Two examples were leased for different periods from May 1970 to February 1971 from Hawker Siddeley Aviation. Three machines were owned by SAA. The first two were delivered in February 1971 and the last one was delivered in May 1971. Construction number 1691 was initially leased by Air Botswana as A2-ZFT before being registered ZS-SBW in May 1971.

AIRSHOWS, FLY-INS AND EXHIBITIONS
 
Air Africa International 1975
 
Air Africa International 1975, the first of the biennial series of aviation exhibitions that became a regular feature of the South African aviation scene, was held at Lanseria Airport from 30 September to 5 October 1975. More than 100 manufacturers provided a selection of products from the USA, Canada, England, France and several other European countries as well as Australia. More than 100 000 people visited the show.
Aviation Africa 1977
 
Aviation Africa 1977 was held from 6 to 10 October 1977 at FALA. The participation by the South African Air Force was said to be the largest at a civilian venue in two decades.
SAAF 80 International Airshow and Africa Aerospace and Defence 2000
 
In 2000 the South African Air Force was 80 years old. Birthday celebrations took place at various venues throughout South Africa. Among others, the SAAF 80 International Airshow took place at AFB Waterkloof (near Pretoria) in Gauteng from 8 to 9 September 2000. This show coincided with Africa Aerospace and Defence 2000, which was held from 5 to 7 September 2000. Visiting aircraft converged on South Africa from Africa (Algeria, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe), South America (Argentina), North America (the USA), Asia (Singapore) and Europe (Belgium, Germany, Sweden and the UK). Aircraft started arriving on 30 August 2000, with the last one being here by 7 September 2000. Seen from left to right on 2 September 2000 are two BAE Hawks of the Zimbabwean Air Force, a K-8 Karakorum of the Zambian Air Force, three F-16 Fighting falcons of the Belgium Air Force and two Mirage IIIs of the South African Air Force.
Africa Aerospace and Defence 2006
 
Africa Aerospace and Defence 2006 (AAD 2006) took place from 20 to 24 September 2006 at Air Force Base Ysterplaat near Cape Town in the Western Cape. AAD occurs every two years and is a partnership initiative between the military and the civilian sector. It is the largest exhibition of its kind on the African continent and it provides an opportunity for industries from the international defence and civil sectors to demonstrate their latest products and technologies to visitors and delegations from around the world. Four English Electric Lightnings of Thunder City at Cape Town International Airport took part in a spectacular formation flying display.
A summary of 1970s, 1980s and 1990s biennial airshows, Dexsa 1994 and Dexsa 1998 as well as an overview of Africa Aerospace and Defence
 
Since 1975 various biennial events have been held during which aviation products and services have been exhibited. These initially comprised mainly civilian events (from 1975 to 1996) and then separate military events in the 1990s. However, in 1995 a combined civilian and military event was held. This led to the realisation that there was a need for a combined civilian and military exhibition. From 1998 to the present day such an event has occurred, albeit under different names. There are separate articles for Air Africa International 1975, Aviation Africa 1977, AAD 2000 and AAD 2006. There are also images in the gallery under Aviation Africa 1977, 1990 and 1992; Dexsa ’94; and AAD 2000, 2004 and 2006. During 1994 a mainly civilian exhibition took place at Johannesburg International Airport during April. In this image the following aircraft can be distinguished: Ayres S2R-T34 Turbo Thrush registration number N3094H, Canadair 601-3A Challenger registration number ZS-NKD, two orange tails of SAA aircraft, the nose of Douglas C-47TP serial number 6892, Tupolev Tu-204 registration number RA-64007 and PZL-Swidnik W3W Sokol registration number ZU-AGP. The original colour photograph was taken on 21 April 1994.
FEATURE ARTICLES
 

Aviation in Springbok
 
Joseph Jowell started Jowells Transport and played an important role in the establishment of aviation and the stimulation of an interest in flying in Namaqualand. Namakwaland Lugdiens (the English titles were Namaqualand Airservice) was formed in 1961 as a subsidiary company of Jowells Transport to provide a scheduled air service between Springbok and Cape Town and to provide a charter air service with Springbok as base. When services commenced in January 1961, the fleet consisted of a Piper Aztec as well as a Beechcraft Bonanza. An increase in passenger traffic resulted in the company acquiring a Piper Navajo in 1969. After initially having used Youngsfield as base Namakwaland Lugdiens moved to DF Malan Airport early in 1969. At FACT the flights departed from the main domestic terminal. Some of the aircraft in the fleet were based in Springbok. In 1974 the company had Piper Apache ZS-NLA, Cessna 310 ZS-NLB2, Piper Aztec ZS-NLC2, Piper Navajo ZS-NLD, Piper Aztec ZS-NLE, Piper Twin Comanche ZS-NLF, Piper Navajo ZS-NLG, Piper Twin Comanche ZS-NLH and Piper Navajo ZS-NLI in its fleet. Piper Twin Comanche C/R constructor’s number 39-59 was registered ZS-NLF in March 1972 and was previously registered N8904Y, then ZS-IKG and after that ZS-MRH2.
The flying fraternity in South Africa was alive and well during the 1970s. This was during the time when the diamond trade was flourishing in Namaqualand. Most people involved in the diamond trade learnt to fly and bought aircraft for private and business use. A Cessna Skymaster and quite a few Piper Aztecs, Navajos and Chieftains were regular sights in Springbok. In the late seventies more hangars were built at Springbok Airfield and with the strong rand Springbok saw a new Cessna Cardinal (ZS-JKI), Cessna Centurion (Pressurized) and Cessna 206 (ZS-OCC) also operating from the field. Instruction was given in a Cessna 172 (ZS-JCK) by instructors flying for Namakwaland Lugdiens. Private aircraft based at Springbok Airfield (ICAO code FASB) included Cessna T210F registration number ZS-EJB (first registered in December 1965 to DJ Schultz; constructor’s number T210-0080 and previously N6180R).
In October 2007 I experienced the friendliness and active side of the Namaqualand Aero Sport Association (abbreviated NASA) at FASB. The club can trace its history to the Koperberg Flying Club that was established in the early sixties. In the late-1970s the rand was strong and the club experienced a boom period. However, the weakening of the rand and rising fuel prices caused a slow decline in flying activities and the club membership declined to zero. The club was revived in the late 1980s under a new name, Namaventures. Club activities now included flying, 4x4 excursions, parachuting, offroad racing, mountaineering, hiking and river-rafting. Under new management and a very active club secretary the membership boomed again and many successful excursions followed. With the departure of the active club secretary another dormant period unfortunately followed. Fortunately the situation was reversed in 1998, when NASA was formed. Microlight and radio-controlled enthusiasts were now accommodated as well. During October 2007 club membership stood at 40. I joined some of the club members as passenger on a leisurely and relaxing flight on 27 October 2007.
We landed on a road on the farm Silwerfontein and stayed for a short while before resuming the flight and returning to FASB.
The Namaqualand Aero Sport Association hosted its annual fly-in from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 October 2007 at FASB. Aircraft arrived on the 19th and 20th and departed on the 20th and 21st. The main participants in the airshow, which took place on the 20th, were the South African Air Force (SAAF) and the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Silver Falcons numbers 1 (Astra number 2023), 2 (Astra number 2024), 3 (Astra number 2020) and 4 (Astra number 2025) can be seen in this image (taken on 20 October 2007). In the background Oryx number 1238 (on the right) of 22 Squadron and C-47TP number 6887 (on the left) of 35 Squadron are visible.
Aerospatiale AS350B3 constructor’s number 3456 registration number ZS-RPK of the SAPS formed part of the flying display.
MANUFACTURERS
 
An introduction to Beechcraft models
 
Information is given about Walter Hershel Beech and the birth and aim of the company. Details are provided of various events in the company’s history, the introduction of various Beechcraft models and the models that were produced during specific periods and illustrations are provided of different models. The article also contains definitions for the terms monoplane, cantilever wing and monocoque and details about changes in the name and structure of the company. The Queen Air 65-B80 was in production during the period 1968 to 1969. It was a six-/11-seat business aircraft and commuter airliner and was powered by two 380-horsepower Lycoming IGSO-540-AID six-cylinder horizontally opposed air-cooled geared and supercharged engines.
Production of the Bonanza V35B commenced during 1973 to 1974 and continued. The machine is a four-/six-seat light cabin monoplane with cantilever low wings and has a conventional aluminium alloy semimonocoque fuselage structure. The tail unit of the aircraft is of the “butterfly” type, consisting of a tailplane and elevators set at a 33-degree dihedral angle, and has a semimonocoque construction.
Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing
 
Information is given about the designers of the Beech Model 17. The variants of the Staggerwing are identified by engine type and model number. Production details (such as the year and number built, construction numbers, wartime construction, military designations, Japanese production as well as construction after the Second World War) are also provided. In addition, details about and illustrations for two South African aircraft are supplied. Construction number 4885 was manufactured in 1942 and is one of 270 UC-43-BHs designed by Beechcraft for the American military. It is also known as a Beech D17S Staggerwing. The machine has the following identity record: 43-10837, CR-LBF, NC60004, N1591V, ZS-CLM, ZS-AJT2 (owned by AJ Torr), G-LAJT and N17GL.
de Havilland DH89 Dragon Rapide
 
Geoffrey de Havilland and his brothers formed the de Havilland Aircraft Company on 25 September 1920. A large field was rented at the end of Stag Lane, which was located in Edgware in Middlesex in England. Aeroplanes for the almost non-existent civilian market were designed and manufactured. Various individuals made different types of investments into the company. Many notable de Havilland models first took to the sky from Stag Lane. Subsequently, purpose-built factory premises at Hatfield in Hertfordshire saw de Havilland’s producing its renowned models in greater numbers than ever before. The DH89 was developed from the DH84 Dragon and the name Dragon Rapide was adopted in February 1934. Numerous examples of the DH89 were delivered to civil and military customers in Britain and throughout the world. The DH89 remained in production for more than 10 years and over 700 were built. The development and technical specifications and civil and military versions of the DH89 are discussed. Production details include construction numbers. Short histories of individual South African aircraft are provided. Various parts of the structure of the DH89 and construction numbers 6773 and 6831 are illustrated. Construction number 6831 carried military serial number NR743 before being registered as VP-KEF in the civilian market. Subsequently the machine was reregistered 5H-AAN before becoming ZS-JGV.
MILITARY AVIATION
 
Boeing EC-135N 61-0329 at DF Malan Airport (ICAO code FACT) on 15 February 1975
 
Cape Town was one of the staging bases used by Boeing EC-135Ns during the Apollo space program and other test programs. Consequently some of these aircraft were occasionally seen at DF Malan Airport. An overview of the Boeing EC-135N and the missions in which it was involved and a history of Boeing EC-135N serial number 61-0329 are featured. Also see the Gallery section (Airfields, airports and heliports WESTERN CAPE; DF Malan Airport) for an image of EC-135N 61-0329.
Air Force Base Potchefstroom
 
Aviation activities in the Potchefstroom area of the North-western Province of South Africa can be traced back to before World War II. Various units and aircraft were based at South African Air Force Base Potchefstroom until it was closed. A short history of the base is provided. This is followed by the chronological sequence of units based there. Individual units (6 Air School, 10 Squadron, 11 Squadron, 40 Squadron, 41 Squadron, 42 Squadron, 84 Light Aircraft Flying School and 103 Commando Squadron) are then discussed. Airshows and open days were held on various dates. The AFB Potchefstroom 50 Years Open Day on 22 June 1991 included the first public display of the SAAF’s then new Oryx helicopter. Details and images of aircraft seen on 22 June 1991 are provided. Atlas Bosbok serial number 921 of 42 Squadron is depicted on 22 June 1991. The new control tower (left) and old control tower (right) of the base can be seen in the background.
MOVEMENTS AND VISITS
 
Commemoration of Joint Air Training Scheme 2 May 1987
 
On 2 May 1987 the creation of the Joint Air Training Scheme during the Second World War was commemorated at Air Force Base Waterkloof (ICAO code FAWK) near Pretoria in the Gauteng province of South Africa. Under the scheme flying training schools for the training of both Royal Air Force and South African Air Force pilots and aircrew were established. These consisted of elementary flying training schools, service flying training schools, combined observer navigation and gunnery schools, a general-reconnaissance school, a station for the assembly and testing of aircraft and other infrastructure. Details and images of aircraft seen on 2 May 1987 at FAWK are provided. Harvard number 7569 is finished in a JATS colour scheme, which consists of silver and yellow overall. Markings comprise type B roundels, type A roundels, the serial number, the orange-white-and-blue flag and type A1 roundels.
REGISTRATIONS
 
A short history of Consolidated PBY-5A BU number 46633
 
The Catalina with the Bureau number 46633 was built as a Consolidated model 28-5A PBY-5A in late 1944. It was delivered to the United States Navy in January 1945. After being withdrawn from use it was sold and received the registration N10023. In 1957 it was registered in Canada as CF-MIR and subsequently it was converted to a model 28-5ACF Super Canso 1000. In July 1967 the machine was registered N608FF. The year 1970 saw the aircraft again registered as CF-MIR to Geoterrex of Ottawa in Canada and fitted with a MAD boom for use in survey operations in Europe and South Africa. Subsequently the aircraft was registered as G-BLSC. On 4 February 1994 the UK registration was cancelled and the machine was transferred to Bermuda, where it became VR-BPS. In 1996 it was reregistered VP-BPS. The aircraft is illustrated with the registration style CF-MIR as well as C-FMIR.
DH-89A Dragon Rapide ZS-JGV
 
This article deals with construction 6831. Salient details about the aircraft are provided and the aircraft is illustrated with five images taken on 16 May 1985 at Margate Airport, 2 May 1987 at AFB Waterkloof, 17 March 1989 at AFB Ysterplaat and 21 November 2005 at Progress Airport. In three of the images the machine is wearing a silver scheme and in two a camouflage scheme.
The SA Red Cross Air Mercy Service and the registration ZS-RCS
 
The registration ZS-RCS is derived from the initial letters of Red Cross Society. So far these letters have been worn by four aircraft. These comprise a Cessna U206B, Piper PA-23 Aztec, a Cessna 550 Citation II and an Aerospatiale Ecureuil. All four aircraft are illustrated with images. Historical highlights of the SA Red Cross Air Mercy Service are given in the form of a time line from 1966 to 2009. Piper PA-23-250E construction number 27-4519 and registration number ZS-RCS2 are seen at DF Malan Airport on 25 June 1986. The aircraft wore the names The Spirit of Rotary/Die Gees van Rotary while it served with the society.
On 22 November 2018 an article with the title Recognising certain variants of the Boeing 737 was added under the category MANUFACTURERS to the website. In this article certain variants of the Boeing are described. The Boeing 737-200, 737-300, 737-400, 737-500, 737-700 and 737-800 have unique features that help one to distinguish them. For instance, the Boeing 737-200 has a Pratt & Whitney JT8D engine in an underslung engine pod.
The CFM56 engine was selected to power the Boeing Model 737-300, 737-400, 737-500, 737-700 and 737-800. This necessitated a different installation. In those models the engine pods have been moved entirely ahead of the wing and raised so that the tops of the nacelles are even with the upper surfaces of the wings.
The increased length of the Boeing 737-300 fuselage required an extension of the lower portion of the vertical fin into a noticeable dorsal fin.
Because the Boeing 737-400 is longer than the Boeing 737-200, a tail bumper was fitted to protect the underside of the fuselage should the rear part of the aircraft come into contact with the runway in case of overrotation.
The Boeing 737-200, 737-300, 737-500 and 737-700 have one overwing exit. The Model 737-500 is illustrated.
However, the Model 737-400 and 737-800 have two overwing exits. The Boeing 737-800 is illustrated.
The number of windows on the different models of the Boeing 737 also differs. The Boeing 737-300 can have thirty-five windows, the Boeing 737-400 thirty-six windows, the Boeing 737-500 twenty-nine windows, the Boeing 737-700 thirty-three windows and the Boeing 737-800 forty-one windows. The groupings of the windows differ in that the windows can have various spaces between them. The Model 737-700 is illustrated.

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