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Early in the week weather predictions did not look good, but a beautiful day for flying dawned on Saturday. The dedicated Museum technical crew, once again, ensured that there was a great line-up of serviceable aircraft.
C185 #718 greeting a great flying day.
Alouette III #624 and Alouette II #15 await their turn to head for the flight-line.
C185 #718 heads for the flight-line, with Warrant Geddes, while Mirage F1-CZ #211 stands guard.
The Friends of the Museum had their various food and project stalls in full swing, while other members were guiding in the hangars.
Friends' braai group cooking the wors for the rolls and Phil Scallan and Robert Cathro sport their Friends crew shirts in front of the Spitfire restoration project gazebo.
Museum technical staff ensure their popcorn machine is up and running.
Ex 24 Squadron members ready with their memorabilia and “sit in the Buccaneer” experience in Hangar 3, to raise funds for the Buccaneer #421 restoration work as an educational exhibit.
A good crowd of visitors gathered with Hangars 1, 2 & 3 were open for public viewing.
Then it was time to “commit aviation” as the historic aircraft took to the sky, attracting spectators and the photographers present to track their every move. More aircrew are being brought in as there are normally more serviceable aircraft than aircrew for them, so there were various check-rides and solos. In particular, there were a few chopper flight engineers short, so some of the pilots stepped-in to assist.
First away was C185 #718 with Col Potgieter and Capt Bollweg for a solo check. Capt Bollweg later went solo.
Cols Wright and Pretorius first did a solo check in Harvard Siyandsa #7675 and then Col Pretorius went solo, so we have one more Harvard pilot.
The Harvard Club of SA had a currency flight and then brought Harvard #7306 into the crowd area so people could have a closer look.
Puma #175 was flown in various sorties by Generals Church and Burger, co-piloted by Majors Traut and Church with Warrant Groenewald as Flight Engineer in each case.
Alouette III #624 was flown in various sorties by Col Port, General Burger and Major Church with Warrant Beukes as Flight Engineer in each case.
Alouette II #15 was flown by General Burger, with Col Keijer as FE and Col Keijer, with Col Port as FE.
Col Potgieter and Maj Albasini had some dual time in Bosbok #959, as did Col Wright and Lt Mahlakwana - here in an informal debrief after flight.
C185 #718 was also used for a dual sortie with Adrian Tomaz and Lt Dixon, who is currently seconded to the Museum as Ops Officer.
Likewise Col Pretorius and Capt Pratley performed a dual sortie in C185 #748.
Col Louw gets those 550 Pratt & Whitney horses galloping before his sortie with Maj Albasini, doing some aerobatics over the runway.
At the end of the flying day, Col Potgieter was practicing some touch and goes, with Maj Albasini on board Bosbok #959, but eventually the cross-wind from the West became too strong and the landings became more and more interesting.
Some refueling was necessary, and aircraft and equipment had to be returned to Hangar 14 after the day's flying - excellent work and dedication to the technical and ground crew!
A final flying training day for 2022 is planned for the first Saturday in December and the weather will hopefully be suitable for flying, so the year can end off on a good note. A Museum Air Show is also planned for 2023 and aircraft maintenance planning is in full swing leading up to that anticipated event. Watch Pilot's Post for details and planning as it is finalised!
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