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The South African aviation scene during1975: SAAF open days, movements at FACT from January to December and at FAOH on 1975-09-21, Air Africa Internat


INTRODUCTION
 
1975 was characterised by open days (part of the “Know your Air Force” campaign) at South African Air Force (SAAF) bases, the first of the biennial airshows at Lanseria as well as the display of the SAAF’s first Mirage F1CZ and F1AZ at Le Bourget. Visits to various airports as well as various important aviation events are also covered in this article.
 
OPEN DAY AT AIR FORCE STATION PIETERSBURG ON 25 JANUARY 1975
 
A socalled good-neighbours day was held at Pietersburg on 25 January 1975. A normal, routine day was observed at the base. The instructors and pupils of 1 Squadron (Sabres) and 85 Advanced Flying School (Mirage III EZs and D2Zs) carried out their usual training programmes.
 
Static displays included a Buccaneer (24 Squadron, Waterkloof), Sabre, Mirage III EZ, Canberra (12 Squadron, Waterkloof) and Impala. The flying display also featured a solo display by a Sabre.
 
Visiting aircraft included a Mercurius (21 Squadron, Swartkop; brought the acting Chief of the Air Force, Lieutenant-General RH Rogers) and a Mirage III BZ (2 Squadron, Waterkloof; used by Brigadier J Blaauw of Strike Command). A Super Frelon helicopter (303) was also seen at the base.
 
BOEING EC-135N 61-0329 AT DF MALAN AIRPORT (ICAO CODE FACT) ON 15 FEBRUARY 1975
 
The Boeing EC-135N with the serial number 61-0329 was one of eight C-135As that were converted to EC-135N standard. The machine had its first flight on 1 December 1961 and was delivered to the USAF on 2 January 1962. This particular aircraft was one of four ARIAs that were configured to carry the Northrop Airborne Lightweight Optical Tracking System (ALOTS) pod (the others included serial numbers 61-0326 and 61-0327).
 
Beginning in 1966, Douglas modified the first of eight Boeing C-135As into EC-135N Apollo Range Instrumented Aircraft (abbreviated ARIA). EC-135Ns played an important role supporting the Apollo space missions in the 1960s and early 1970s. After the termination of the Apollo programme, the Boeing EC-135N ARIAs were renamed Advanced Range Instrumented Aircraft (but retained the ARIA abbreviation) and were dedicated to a variety of space and atmospheric test operations.

 
See separate article under MILITARY AVIATION for more details.
 
DF MALAN 15 AND 16 FEBRUARY 1975
 
61-0329 EC-135N United States Air Force
ZS-CPL Cessna 172B Construction number 47981; registered in November 1960; ex-N7481X
ZS-CYJ Piper PA-23-250B Construction number 27-2243, 1963 model; registered in November 1962
ZS-EEO Cessna 210E Construction number 58711, 1965 model; registered in June 1965; ex-N1811F
ZS-KBJ Piper PA-32-300 Construction number 32-7440004, 1974 model; registered in February 1974
ZS-NLB2 Cessna 310N Namaqualand Airservice; construction number 0052, 1968 model; registered in February 1972; ex-ZS-FFG, ex-N4152Q
 
OPEN DAY AT AIR FORCE STATION PORT ELIZABETH ON 2 JUNE 1975
 
At the time of the open day the resident units at Port Elizabeth were 16 Squadron B Flight (Alouette IIIs) and 6 (Active Citizen Force, ACF) Squadron (Impala Mk Is). The crowds were entertained by the Alouettes and Impalas throughout the day.
 
Visitors included Mirages (Mirage III CZs 806, 808 and 810 and Mirage III RZ 837 of 2 Squadron at AFB Waterkloof) and a Transall (338 of 28 Squadron at AFB Waterkloof) and a Shackleton (1719 of 35 Squadron at Cape Town).
 
A static display in one of the hangars included the first public display of the Impala Mk II (number 1007). Other aircraft seen at the air force station included Mercurius 04 (21 Squadron at AFB Waterkloof), Albatross 894 of 27 Squadron (which made a few low passes, but did not land) and Douglas Dakota 6848. A magnificent flying display was also given by Mirage III CZ 810 and the Shackleton.
 
 
04 Mercurius (HS-125) 21 Squadron, Swartkop
338 C-160Z 28 Squadron, Waterkloof
806 Mirage III CZ 2 Squadron, Waterkloof
808 Mirage III CZ 2 Squadron, Waterkloof
810 Mirage III CZ 2 Squadron, Waterkloof
837 Mirage III RZ 2 Squadron, Waterkloof
894 P166S 27 Squadron, Ysterplaat
1007 Impala Mk II First public display
1719 L Shackleton 35 Squadron, Ysterplaat
6848 Douglas C-47 25 Squadron, Ysterplaat
 
SAAF MIRAGE F1s DISPLAYED AT LE BOURGET DURING JULY 1975
 
Two SAAF Mirage F1s (F1CZ number 200 and F1AZ number 216) were displayed at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget in July 1975. The F1CZ, which was destined for 3 Squadron, had no markings, was marked as an F1C and had a camouflage scheme. Mirage F1AZ number 216 was finished in silver and also had no markings. It was marked as an F1A and it was destined for 1 Squadron.

  
200 Mirage F1CZ No national markings; marked as an F1C; camouflage scheme; destined for 3 Squadron




This image of Mirage F1CZ (but marked as an F1C) 200 illustrates it at Le Bourget in July 1975. The scheme of the aircraft comprises a black nose, camouflage with blue undersides, the aircraft type below the cockpit and the last two digits of the serial number on the nose-wheel door. No national markings are carried. It is displayed with a variety of armaments.
216 Mirage F1AZ No national markings; marked as an F1A; silver scheme; destined for 1 Squadron




This view of Mirage F1AZ (but marked as an F1A) 216 was taken at Le Bourget in July 1975. The scheme of the aircraft consists of the aircraft type in black below cockpit, silver, the serial number on the rear fuselage (but not on the nose-wheel door). No national markings are carried. It is displayed with a variety of armaments.
 
OPEN DAY AT AIR FORCE STATION POTCHEFSTROOM ON 2 AUGUST 1975
 




Units residing at the base at the time of the open day were 11 Squadron (Cessna 185s), 42 Squadron (Atlas AM3C Bosboks, the first SAAF unit to be equipped with the type) and 103 Commando Squadron.
 
Mirage III CZ 800 made a brief appearance at the show. The second prototype (number 961) of the Atlas Kudu, which was shown in public for the first time, also attended the open day. The Kudu gave a spirited flying display.
 
The Bosbok was also on show to the public for the first time. 42 and 11 Squadrons demonstrated their Bosboks and Cessna 185s respectively. Four Impala Mk Is as well as Mirage III CZ appeared briefly for flying displays, but did not land.
 
 
11 Merlin 21 Squadron, Swartkop; SAAF’s latest acquisition
113 Alouette III Camouflaged; no SAAF insignia and serial number
122 Puma 19 Squadron A Flight, Swartkop; no SAAF insignia and serial number
313 Super Frelon 15 Squadron
331 C-160Z 28 Squadron, Waterkloof
730 Cessna 185 11 Squadron


 
752 Cessna 185 11 Squadron
800 Mirage III CZ 2 Squadron, Waterkloof
928 Bosbok 42 Squadron
961 Kudu Flying display
6843 Douglas C-47 86 Advance Flying School, Bloemspruit; unit marking red flash on tailfin

 
DF MALAN 9 AUGUST 1975
 
ZS-CLL2 Cessna 182P Construction number 63380; registered in January 1975; ex-ZS-IYV (not taken up), ex-N9176G
ZS-EJV Cessna 337A Construction number 0463, 1966 model; registered in May 1966; ex-N5363S
 
OPEN DAY AT AIR FORCE BASE WATERKLOOF ON 6 SEPTEMBER 1975
 
More than 150 000 visitors were attracted to the base. The Waterkloof Open Day was arranged in conjunction with Air Force Station Swartkop and the School of Technical Training. Several SAAF units, including two ACF squadrons and the local Air Commando unit, displayed their hardware on the day.
 
The day’s flying programme opened with flying training by by 4 (ACF) Squadron in their Impalas, followed by demonstrations by 17 Squadron in its Alouette IIIs and a Bosbok of 41 (ACF) Squadron. The civilian-crewed 101 Air Commando Squadron took part in the show in their own light aircraft, preceded by the uplifting of troops in a Super Frelon of 15 Squadron. A Canberra of 12 Squadron was intercepted by two Mirage III CZs of 2 Squadron.
 
There were static displays of helicopters, Mirages, Impalas Canberras, a Mercurius and Viscount 21 Squadron and Buccaneers. The highlight of the day was inflight refuelling by 24 Squadron Buccaneers. The skilled pilots of 2 Squadron held crowd awed as they went through various scrambles and formation and aerobatic exercises with their Mirages. Much excitement rose among the crowd as troops landed by Puma and Aloutte helicopters, to stage a mock battle, overran the “terrorists”.
 
 
07 Mercurius 21 Squadron,Swartkop
124 Puma 19 Squadron
141 Puma 19 Squadron
150 Viscount 21 Squadron, Swartkop; Casteel
303 Super Frelon 15 Squadron
310 Super Frelon 15 Squadron
402 Hercules 28 Squadron, Waterkloof; camouflage
425 Buccaneer 24 Squadron, Waterkloof
455 Canberra 12 Squadron, Waterkloof
459 Canberra 12 Squadron, Waterkloof
804 Mirage III CZ 2 Squadron, Waterkloof; flying; painted nose
828 Mirage III EZ 3 Squadron, Waterkloof; static
934 Bosbok 41 Squadron, Swartkop
6868 Dakota Rustig
6902 Skymaster 44 Squadron, Swartkop
 
OPEN DAY AT AIR FORCE BASE BLOEMSPRUIT ON 20 SEPTEMBER 1975







At the time of the open day the local units were 8 Squadron (Impala Is), 15 Squadron (Super Frelons), 16 Squadron B Flight (Alouette IIIs) and 86 Advanced Flying School (Dakotas).
 
Various visiting aircraft were seen at the base. These included Mirages from 2 and 3 Squadrons, a Puma of 19 Squadron, a Dakota from 25 Squadron, an Albatross of 27 Squadron, a Hercules and Transall of 28 Squadron and Dakotas of 44 Squadron.
 
Three different types of Mirage IIIs performed formation flying, namely a Mirage III CZ interceptor, a Mirage III R2Z reconnaissance aircraft with cameras in the nose and a III BZ two-seat conversion trainer. The Mirage III R2Z was used for converting pilots to the Mirage F1.
 
The SAAF unveiled one of its newest acquisitions, the Albatross at this open day. Although this rarely seen coastal surveillance pusher of 27 Squadron made some striking flypasts at Swellendam some time ago and again at this year’s open day at Port Elizabeth, it was only at Bloemfontein that it was shown to the public as a static display as well.
 
A Mirage F1CZ performed at the show as well. (It was announced on 17 March 1975 that the SAAF has placed the Mirage F1 in squadron service.)
 
 
2 Squadron Mirage III CZ VISITORS: 800 (flying); extra national marking on fin, indicating that it is the squadron commander’s personal aircraft; 807 (static)
  Mirage III BZ VISITOR: 818 (flying)
  Mirage III R2Z VISITOR: 855 (flying); gloss buff/green camouflage
3 Squadron Mirage F1CZ VISITOR: 206 (flying)
8 Squadron Impala Mk I LOCAL: 474 (flying), 478, 481, 487 (flying), 521, 535 (static; fire guns), 542, 543 (hangar), 550 (static), 555 (flying), 557 (hangar), 561 (static), 562 (static), 583 (flying)
15 Squadron Super Frelon LOCAL: 302 (flying), 306 (flying), 307 (flying), 310 (static)
16 Squadron B Flight Alouette III LOCAL: 69 (“Y” in white paper on cockpit window), 106  (flying), 107 (flying), 116, 117, 120 (“Z” in white paper on cockpit window), 612
19 Squadron Puma VISITOR: 129 (static) (flying)
25 Squadron Dakota VISITOR: 6832
27 Squadron Albatross VISITOR: 897 (static) (flying)
28 Squadron Hercules VISITOR: 401 (static)
  Transall VISITOR: 337 (static) (flying)
44 Squadron Dakota VISITORS: 6844, 6851
86 Advanced Flying School Dakota LOCAL: 6811 (static), 6837, 6843, 6844, 6845, 6851, 6882, 6884 (flying), 6885 (static)
 
 
MOVEMENTS AT FAOH ON 21 SEPTEMBER 1975
 
Aircraft seen at Oudtshoorn Airport (ICAO code FAOH) on 21 September 1975 included the following.
 
6848 Douglas C-47 SAAF, 25 Squadron; VIP
ZS-EYO Douglas C-47 Air Cape
 
AIR AFRICA INTERNATIONAL 1975
 



Grumman AA-5B Tiger construction number 0013; registered in April 1975; ex-N1513R.

Air Africa International 1975 (AAI ’75), 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 (ICAO code FALA) from 30 September to 5 October 1975.
 
In my personal opinion the highlights of AAI ’75 were the maiden appearance of Spitfire IX Evelyn and the superb display of flying skills by Bob Hoover (ace test pilot of Rockwell; African debut) in the Shrike Commander. I recall that I stood in awe while watching him manoeuvring the aircraft around the sky. The American aerobatic champion, Tom Poberezny, also gave a superb aerobatic display in a Pitts Special. The Lake LA4 Buccaneer amphibian was seen for the first time in South Africa. The Silver Falcons gave a superb display of formation aerobatics.
 
The first four days of AAI ’75 were trade days, and the last two public days. 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.
 
Various exhibitors agreed that Africa’s first international aviation trade fare was an “outstanding success”. Officially orders to the value of R5 million were placed. The biggest seller was the Scorpion Too minicopter. Twenty-eight of these DIY helicopters were sold during the first three days.
 
Air Africa International 1975 proved that there was a need for a biennial African trade fare of worldclass quality.
 
30 September 1975
 
124 Puma Brought minister PW Botha
127 Puma SAAF
257 Vampire SAAF
301 Super Frelon Flying
339 Transall 28 Squadron SAAF
404 Hercules 28 Squadron SAAF
412 Buccaneer 24 Squadron SAAF; flying
452 Canberra 12 Squadron SAAF
489 Impala Mk I Silver Falcons SAAF
491 Impala Mk I Silver Falcons SAAF
507 Impala Mk I Silver Falcons SAAF
525 Impala Mk I Silver Falcons SAAF
566 Impala Mk I SAAF
613 Alouette III SAAF
614 Alouette III SAAF
883 Albatross 27 Squadron SAAF
934 Bosbok SAAF, 41 Squadron
938 Bosbok SAAF
1467 DH82A  
PT672 Spitfire IX Code WR/RR
ZS-IZF Atlas C4M Atlas Aircraft Corporation
 
Also flying:    Five Mirage III CZs
                        One Super Frelon
                        One Alouette III
 
2 October 1975
 
PT672 Spitfire IX Code WR/RR
 
4 October 1975
 
26 Alouette III SAAF
133 Puma 19 Squadron; construction number 1089
257 Vampire SAAF
301 Super Frelon Flying
339 Transall 28 Squadron SAAF
404 Hercules 28 Squadron SAAF
412 Buccaneer 24 Squadron SAAF; flying
413 Buccaneer 24 Squadron SAAF
452 Canberra 12 Squadron SAAF
489 Impala Mk I Silver Falcons SAAF
491 Impala Mk I Silver Falcons SAAF
507 Impala Mk I Silver Falcons SAAF
525 Impala Mk I Silver Falcons SAAF
566 Impala Mk I 4 Squadron SAAF
800 Mirage III CZ 2 Squadron SAAF; solo flying
807 Mirage III CZ 2 Squadron SAAF; formation flying
808 Mirage III CZ 2 Squadron SAAF; formation flying
810 Mirage III CZ 2 Squadron SAAF; formation flying
813 Mirage III CZ 2 Squadron SAAF; formation flying
883 Albatross 27 Squadron SAAF
938 Bosbok SAAF
1467 DH82A  
PT672 Spitfire IX Code WR/RR
ZS-IZF Atlas C4M Atlas Aircraft Corporation
 
 
OPEN DAY AT AIR FORCE BASE YSTERPLAAT ON 18 OCTOBER 1975


Units based at Ysterplaat included 7 (CF) Squadron (Harvards), 22 Flight (Wasps), 25 Squadron (Dakotas), 27 Squadron (Albatrosses) and 87 Advanced Flying School (Alouette IIIs).
 
Visiting aircraft comprised a Mirage III CZ (2 Squadron), a Mirage F1CZ (3 Squadron), two Canberras (12 Squadron), two Pumas (19 Squadron), one Mercurius (21 Squadron), two Buccaneers (24 Squadron), a Hercules and a Transall (28 Squadron), three Shackletons (35 Squadron), five Bosboks (41 Squadron), a Dakota (86 Advanced Flying School) and Impalas of the Silver Falcons.
 
2 Squadron Mirage III CZ VISITOR: 810 (static)
3 Squadron Mirage F1CZ VISITOR: 212 (static)
7 (CF) Squadron Harvard LOCAL: 7028, 7037, 7072, 7082 (flying), 7289, 7306, 7357, 7385, 7458, 7705
  Impala Mk I 486, 507
12 Squadron Canberra VISITORS: 452 (static), 458 (flying)
19 Squadron Puma VISITORS: 122 (flying), 132 (static)
21 Squadron Mercurius VISITOR: 07 (static)
22 Flight Wasp LOCAL: 82, 84, 85 (flying), 88 (flying), 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96
24 Squadron Buccaneer VISITORS: 412 (flying), 413 (static)
25 Squadron Dakota LOCAL: 6816 (static), 6820 (nav trainer), 6832, 6843, 6848, 6862, 6867, 6873, 6877
27 Squadron Albatross LOCAL: 884, 885, 888, 891 (flying), 892 (flying), 894, 897, 899 (flying)
28 Squadron Hercules VISITOR: 407 (static)
  Transall VISITOR: 338 (flying)
35 Squadron Shackleton VISITORS: 1716 N, 1717 O, 1719 L, 1720 M, 1723 Q (static)
41 Squadron Bosbok VISITORS: 920, 921 (flying), 929 (flying), 931 (static), 944 (flying)
86 Advanced Flying School Dakota VISITOR: 6843
87 Advanced Flying School Alouette III LOCAL: 27, 32, 38, 41, 42, 46 (flying), 51, 52, 53 (static), 54 (static), 58, 60
Langebaanweg Dakota VISITOR
Silver Falcons Impala I VISITORS: 484 (flying), 487 (flying), 488 (flying), fourth one (flying)
 
OPEN DAY AT FLYING TRAINING SCHOOL LANGEBAANWEG ON 1 NOVEMBER 1975








 
Thousands of people flocked to the open day at Flying Training School (FTS) Langebaanweg. It was the aircraft in the air that thrilled the crowds most. A Mirage making a “gentle” curve, breaking the sound barrier and mock dog fights between Impala jets were the highlights of the day. The stars of the day were Captain “Speedy” de Wet and his Silver Falcons. They gave a thrilling display of precision flying.
 
205 Mirage F1CZ VISITOR: 3 Squadron
235 Vampire On plinth
380 Sabre VISITOR: 85 Advanced Flying School
412, 413 Buccaneer VISITORS: 24 Squadron
498, 602, 606 Impala I FTS Langebaanweg
849, 851, 852 Mirage III D2Z VISITORS: 85 Advanced Flying School



 
1722 P Shackleton VISITOR: 35 Squadron
6879 Dakota LOCAL
6884 Dakota VISITOR: 86 Advanced Flying School
 
 
BIBLIOGRAPHY
 
The data appears in the following sequence: title, author(s), published by, date
 
Aeronews, August 1975

Air-Britain Aircraft Registers of Africa 1981
 
Aviation Society of Africa newsletters, including: October 1975, November 1975
 
Boeing Aircraft since 1916 Peter M Bowers; Putnam 1989
 
Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker Robert F Dorr; Ian Allan Ltd 1987
 
Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, “More than just a tanker” Robert S Hopkins III; Aerofax 1997
 
Internet sources for the EC-135N
 
Flyaria.com
 
http://www.flyaria.com/61-2664.html
 
http://www.flyaria.com/ariaworldtour-1.html
 
http://www.ariahistory.com/4950thindex.html
 
http://www.ariahistory.com/4952nd.html
 
http://www.ariahistory.com/Images/4952nd/4952ND-TEST-WING-ARIA-SQUADRON-E..jpg
 
http://www.ariacontrol.com/61-0329.html
 
http://www.bfec.us/bfecpho14d.htm
 
http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?regsearch=61-0329&distinct_entry=true
 
http://www.aerotransport.org/php/go.php
 
http://www.aero-web.org/specs/boeing/ec-135e.htm
 
http://www.abcdlist.nl/boeing_seattle_02.html
 
http://www.melodylosey.com/theheritagehistoryreunionvideo.html
 
http://www.museumstuff.com/learn/topics/Boeing_EC-135E
 
Civil Aircraft Registers of Africa 1975, Air-Britain
 
Civil Aircraft Registers of Africa 1981, Air-Britain
 
Civil Aircraft Registers of Africa 1988, Air-Britain
 
KC-135 Stratotanker in action CM Reed, Don Greer and Joe Sewell; Squadron/Signal publications 1991
 
Movements: The information about movements was compiled from my own notes as well as photographs and slides taken by others and from newspaper and magazine articles as well as brochures published by the various SAAF bases.
 
Paratus; various issues, including the following: July 1975, September 1975, January 1976
 
SAAF open days: the information for Bloemspruit and Ysterplaat was mostly compiled from my own notes as well as other sources while the information for the other open days was compiled from various sources.
 
SAAF unit publications: Air Force Base Bloemspruit, Air Force Station Potchefstroom, Flying Training School Langebaanweg
 
South African Panorama, December 1975
 
Squadrons of the South African Air Force and their aircraft 1920 – 2005; Steve McLean; Interpak Books; 2005
 
The USAF Today Chris Pocock and Colin Smith; West London Aviation Group 1975
 
Wings/Aeronews, October 1975
 
Wings, November 1975, May 1976
 
Wings over Africa; various issues, including the following: March 1975
 
World Airnews, February 1975, August 1975, October 1975, November 1975
 
 
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