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The South African aviation scene during 1974



In this article movements at DF Malan Airport (ICAO code FACT; several visits), Rand Airport (ICAO code FAGM) and Jan Smuts Airport (ICAO code FAJS) and visits to the Salt River scrapyard as well as events of historical interest for the period January to December 1974 are covered. In addition the aviation scene at FACT from 1974 to 1979 is briefly described.

The aviation scene in South Africa from January 1974 to December 1974: Atlas Kudu, Atlas Impala Mk II, Air Nova Falcon, Boeing 727-44 ZS-SBD, DF Malan Airport (ICAO code FACT), Rand Airport (ICAO code FAGM), Jan Smuts Airport (ICAO code FAJS)

DF Malan Airport during the period 1974 to 1979


Personal views/observations


Before I had my own car (I got my first car in 1979) I travelled by train to Cape Town and used the South African Airways (SAA) bus to go to FACT (in those days SAA provided its own bus service between the Mother City and FACT). Generally I would spend some time at the terminal building and then walk to the general-aviation area and return to the terminal building.


Unrestricted photography


Those were the good old days without any glazing on the viewing balconies of the terminal building to make photography difficult and with a more tolerable attitude towards photography. As terrorism was not yet the major problem it has since become, people could afford to be more relaxed.




The terminal building had a domestic, international and freight section and there were viewing balconies. There were also the SAA technical area (used by for instance Aerolineas Argentinas aircraft between flights) and the general-aviation area, where all the local private aircraft and operators could be found. Private aircraft also used the apron to the side of the freight section or the apron to the side of the domestic terminal.

For reference purposes regarding movements I have divided FACT into the following sections: 

  • The main apron is the whole area in the vicinity of the domestic and international terminals used by airliners, large visiting aircraft and smaller visiting aircraft.
  • The general-aviation area is subdivided into:

1 Air Cape area (Air Cape hangars and aprons close to the taxiway)
2 Cape Aero Services area
3 Court area
4 Cape Aero Club area (the apron in front of the clubhouse)
5 Grass area (between the taxiway and the SAA technical area)


Overseas, domestic and regional movements


Some of the interesting overseas movements at DF Malan Airport (note that it has since been renamed Cape Town International Airport) during this period include visits by a Boeing EC135N and by Lockheed C141 Starlifters of the United States Air Force (USAF) and scheduled flights by Boeing 707s of Aerolineas Argentinas, Pan American Airlines and Varig. Although the domestic scene was dominated by SAA, local airlines included Air Cape and Namaqualand Airservice. Other airlines visiting FACT included South West Airways, which undertook regular regional flights to Cape Town. Many visiting aircraft from other provinces in South Africa as well as elsewhere in Africa were regularly seen at FACT. These included aircraft from Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe) and Zambia. The Hercules freighters of Safair and the Dakotas of 25 Squadron (located at AFB Ysterplaat) of the South African Air Force (SAAF) also regularly visited FACT. In 1974 Beagle Pup SE-FGT was seen at FACT several times before it became ZS-IZO.


Local residents


Both Air Cape (own hangars) and Namaqualand Airservices (accommodated in Cape Aero Services hangars) used FACT as base. Local residents also included Court Helicopters, the ambulance aircraft of the SA Red Cross Society, the Good Hope Flying Club and numerous private aircraft. Air Force Base DF Malan (35 Squadron's Shackletons and 27 Squadron's Albatrosses) of the South African Air Force (SAAF) was situated opposite the terminal building. Rembrandt Tobacco's Swazi-registered Falcon 10 lived at FACT; other interesting local aircraft included Tiger Moth ZS-JVZ, Ryan Navion ZS-BSZ and Piper Cub ZS-BCV.




B Flight 42 Squadron of the SAAF was redesignated as 11 Squadron, which was reformed as an Army co-operation unit at Air Force Station Potchefstroom on 2 January 1974. The unit was equipped with Cessna 185s. See McLean 2005 and Potgieter and Steenkamp 1980.




My first-ever photography visit to an airport took place on 26 January 1974, when I visited FACT. Interesting aircraft seen at the airport included the following (see Photographs):


SE-FGT Beagle B.121 Pup 150 construction number 055 became ZS-IZO in August 1974.

ZS-CFF North American 4 Navion ZS-CFF has the construction number NAV-4-832 and the previous identities ZS-CAF and N8832H (see Air-Britain 1981).

ZS-FAE is a North American 4 Navion with the construction number NAV-4-852 and the former identities ZS-CAE and N8852H (see Air-Britain 1981).

ZS-IJC This Rennies Britten-Norman BN-2A-3 Islander received the construction number 253, previous identities G-AYPL and G-51-253 and was registered as ZS-IJC in March 1971. Subsequently it reverted to G-AYPL (in June 1977). See Air-Britain 1981.

ZS-NLF Registered ZS-NLF in March 1972, this Piper PA-39 Twin Comanche C/R (construction number 39-59; ex ZS-MRH2, ZS-IKG, N8904Y) was registered to Jowells Transport of Springbok in Namaqualand (Joe Jowell operated Namaqualand Airservice). I am not sure if it was wearing Namaqualand Airservice titles at this stage. Also see Air-Britain 1981.


For subsequent visits I also include only the interesting movements, but repeat movements for the same aircraft are not included.




41 Squadron of the SAAF was re-equipped with Atlas Bosbok aircraft in January/February 1974. See McLean 2005 and Potgieter and Steenkamp 1980.




(For these movements see Photographs.)


ZS-BSZ is also a North American 4 Navion (construction number NAV-4-651; ex NC8651H) and was registered in June 1947. See Air-Britain 1981 and Simpson 2005.

ZS-CLP This Piper PA-23 Apache 160, with the construction number 23-1417, was registered in April 1959, crashed at FACT on 18 June 1974, was scrapped in 1976 and was cancelled in April 1976. See Air-Britain 1981.

ZS-EDX When C-47A-30-DL (Long Beach production) of Air Cape (construction number 9452) started life, it was allocated the US serial number 42-23590. Other identities before being registered ZS-EDX on 24 June 1965 comprised VH-INE, CF-JIP and CF-CAR. See Gradidge 1984 and Pearcy 1988.

ZS-FVP This Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche 160C has the construction number 30-1824 and is ex N8680Y. I was registered in 1969 and carried am Air Cape logo during this period. See Taylor 1995 and Air-Britain 1981.

ZS-GSK A Lockheed L100-20 382E-25C Hercules, the machine was allotted the construction number 4385 and was operated by Safair (named "Boland"). See Olausson 1979.

ZS-NLA Piper PA-23 Apache 160 construction number 23-1701 (ex ZS-CLO) of Namaqualand Airservice was originally registered ZS-NLA in July 1970. See Air-Britain 1981.

ZS-NLB2 Namaqualand Airservice Cessna 310N (1968 model) was registered in February 1972, had the construction number 0052 and was previously registered ZS-FFG and N4152Q. See Air-Britain 1981 and Simpson 2005.

ZS-NLG This Piper PA-31 Navajo (construction number 31-303; ex ZS-FNA, N9235Y) was registered in October 1973. Namaqualand Airservice operated the aircraft. See Simpson 2005, Taylor 1995 and Air-Britain 1981.

ZS-NLH Built as a Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche 160 with the construction number 30-736, ZS-NLH had the former identities ZS-FZR, CR-AJR, ZS-EIU, VQ-ZIS and N7658Y. As the machine had no titles at the time, I am not sure if it was already with Namaqualand Airservice. See Taylor 1995 and Air-Britain 1981.

ZS-RCS2 The SA Red Cross used this Piper PA-23 Aztec 250D (construction number 27-4519; ex ZS-IKF, N13935; registered in February 1971). See Taylor 1995 and Air-Britain 1981.

ZS-SAM South African Airways operated several Boeing 747-244Bs, including construction number 20238, line number 158. ZS-SAM had its first flight on 1971-12-05 and was delivered to SAA on 1971-12-13, where it was named "Drakensberg". The aircraft was retired on 1988-08-13. See Eastwood and Roach 1997 and Air-Britain 1981.




The prototype of the Atlas C4M Kudu (ZS-IZF) flew for the first time on 16 February 1974 (see Jane's 1975/1976 and 1976/1977).




(For these movements see Photographs.)


F-BRLI One of the foreign aircraft seen at FACT was this SOCATA GY-80 Horizon 180 with the construction number 259. It was registered in April 1969. See Taylor 1995 and Air-Britain 1977.

ZS-CYX Sporting an Air Cape logo, Beechcraft D50E Twin Bonanza ZS-CYX has the construction number DH-343 and was one of the last Twin Bonanzas built. The Twin Bonanza was registered in November 1962. See Simpson 2005, Taylor 1995 and Air-Britain 1981.

ZS-EYN This venerable Dakota, a C-47B-35-DK (Oklahoma City production), was given the construction number 33211 and had the identities USAF 44-76879, KN581, VP-KJS, 5X-AAR and 7Q-YKN before becoming ZS-EYN in 1970. The machine is adorned with Air Cape colours and titles. See Gradidge 1984 and Pearcy 1988.

ZS-FPV Cessna 310 ZS-FPV is a 1969 model (the P version), has the construction number 310P0139, is ex N5839M, was registered in September 1969 and has an Air Cape logo. See Simpson 2005 and Air-Britain 1981.

ZS-SAO Construction number 20556 (line number 194) had its first flight on 1972-07-14 and was delivered on 1972-08-07 to SAA (in whose service it was known as a Boeing 747-244, later uprated to the B-version, and was named "Magaliesberg"). See Eastwood and Roach 1997.

ZS-SBC Boeing 727-44 construction number 18894 (line number 168) was registered as ZS-DYO in March 1965 and as ZS-SBC in February 1969 and had the name "Vaal", flew for the first time on 25 June 1965 and was delivered to SAA on 8 July 1965. Deutsche Aviation Corporation bought the 727 in January 1984, and the machine was reregistered N727CR.


COMMENTS: 27 Squadron SAAF hangars were still being constructed.




(For these movements see Photographs.)


ZS-CHH2 If I remember correctly, this Beechcraft 99A (with a Clifford Harris logo) was sometimes used by Air Cape. It was alotted the construction number U-93, was registered in April 1969 and sold as N502TF in February 1979. See Simpson 1995 and 2005, Taylor 1995 and Air-Britain 1981.

ZS-EYO Like other Dakotas, C-47B-30-DK (Oklahoma City production) construction number 32935 had various identities before becoming ZS-EYO in 1970. These were 44-76603, KN462, G-AMPT, VP-YKM and 7Q-YKM. As the aircraft was an Air Cape

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