The legacy of Captain Flippie Vermeulen, CEO, Springbok Classic Air will continue in Europe as his DC-3 will be leaving SA shores soon. He has sold ZS-NTE to Mr Peter Adrian. He is a German businessman based in Trier. In addition to Mr Adrian's professional activities, he is a keen aviation enthusiast specializing in vintage aircraft preservation and is an owner of, amongst others, a T28 and Beech 18. After a lengthy search for a DC-3, Peter expressed his delight in finding (as he expressed) "this beautiful example of a well-kept classic".
Even before her final test flight in 2010 after being fully refurbished, she was used in the movie "Machine Gun Preacher". Since then she has been doing from the 10 minute flips at airshows, scenic flights over JHB, showed passengers the water gushing through the Gariep Dam sluices, what Hartebeespoort Dam looks like from the air, to passing over landscapes in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique. Now it's time to fly over the African continent to Europe. This "Nile to the Mediterranean" trip is expected to be covered in 11 Days!
The route for the delivery flight will be as follows: departing Rand Airport, clearing customs at Lanseria, to Mfuwe. The crew will stay over in Mfuwe before flying over the South Luangwa National Park in the East of Zambia over the Tanganyika and Victoria Lakes to Entebbe. The crew will layover for one day in Entebbe before the next leg, flying along the Nile to Khartoum in the Sudan and then onto Luxor in Egypt for the next stop. From Luxor they fly to Iraklion on the island of Krete. Here they will stay a day, and then depart for Pula in Kroasia, where the aircraft will be prepared for the last leg to Luxemborg.
"This was a sudden decision, but this offer to let her fly in Europe was just too good to resist!", says Flippie. I know she will give her new owners and all those who fly on her as passengers just as much pleasure and fun, as all of us who flew her as crew or as passengers. Peter will be joined, for both the training and the planned ferry flight by two colleagues, namely Captain Ulrich Spielmann and Captain Noel Flynn who both serve as TRE's for Cargolux Airlines based in Luxembourg. The ferry flight is scheduled for end May, early June and after transiting Africa the aircraft will find its home at one of two bases being Zweibrücken EDRZ and Luxembourg ELLX.
Captain Flynn is well known amongst SAA pilots. He flew on 747-400's with Captain Vermeulen, before leaving SAA to join the Cargolux crew. He is the son of a retired Snr Manager of SAA Technical, now living in Cape Town.
As Peter's company owns Zweibrücken Airport, hangarage and considerable care planning is already in place. After a period of pilot familiarization and consolidation the DC-3 will enter services which are planned to mirror the footprint of what NTE was doing out of Rand.
The last flights for ZS-NTE to the public will be the 20 minute scenic flights on 25 April and the Swartkops Airshow, 09 May. This will be the last time that she will be doing a display flight for aviation fans in South Africa.
Quick history of ZS-NTE
On 24 September 1943, Douglas C47A (DC-3) Serial no 42-92157, rolled off the production line in Oklahoma City and was delivered to the United States Army Airforce. It was then delivered to the Royal Airforce under the "lendlease" program and transferred to 28 Squadron, South African Airforce in January 1944 as 6873. It served in various SAAF Squadrons until being decommissioned and sold to Mr. Wally Gale, of Aero Rebuilders at Rand Airport in 1995.
Capt. Flippie Vermeulen bought the aircraft from them in 2002, placed it into storage for the next seven years. In 2009, after selling DC-3 ZS GPL, he started an extensive rebuilt of the aircraft into its present pristine condition.
For more information on Springbok Classic Air contact Contact: Ronell Myburgh Tel 011 824 2142 or Info@springbokclassicair.co.za