SAAF Museum Air show - Swartkops 2012

By Juri Keyter & Deon Prins

On the 12th of May 2012 the South African Air Force Museum hosted their annual air show and right from the start we all knew that this event was going to be bigger than ever before. The idea was to have as many aircraft possible participating provided that these aircraft played a role in the military in South Africa and foreign and the event was once again well attended.



85 years of aviation history was captured on a single day ranging from 1930s Tiger Moths to today's modern Gripen fighter jets. What an awesome sight to see aircraft almost a century apart flying through the same skies.






Who would have thought that we will ever see a formation of western and eastern jets flying together? Well, we did as three L-39 and a Buckeye T-2 graced the skies on the day.



But a favourite at any event, locally and abroad is the P-51 Mustang, the American designed and built fighter that is believed to be one of the most significant creations turning WWII in the favour of the allied forces.



For those who served in the South African Armed forces, who will ever forget the Atlas Impala and the Atlas Cheetah? This was the pride of our country a few years ago and brings good (and bad) memories back to us all.




Helicopters also played a part in war since its invention and we also saw a few fine examples of these during the day. Who can remember the TV series “Mash” where the Bell 47 helicopters were used to transport CASEVACs? Don't answer!!! You will give away your age!!



The expression on their faces says it all. Col. Mike O'Connor, OC of the SAAF Museum is enjoying the spectacle but the pressure is still on. Col. Francois Hanekom, the safety director of the day worked for weeks on end to get this display arranged, structured & safe and I am sure that he was both sad and glad at the end of the day.



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