(“Custodian of traditions”)
1973 - 2013

No interest was initially shown towards the preservation of aircraft during the early years of the South African Air Force and it was only during the Second World War that interest was shown towards the conservation of military equipment when the official historian of the Union Defence Force put forward the idea of a War Museum in July 1941. The South African War Museum in Johannesburg was established in 1942. The suggestion to establish a separate SAAF Museum appears to have been ignored.

On Saturday the 4th of December 2010, a classic Douglas airliner “the Empress of Suva” took to the sky over the city for a brief but memorable ferry flight to its new owners north of Pretoria. The Douglas DC-6B, which first flew with Canadian Pacific Airlines in August 1957, had languished at Swartkop airfield for the past eleven years and was destined to be scrapped, unwanted.

Armistice, as related to warfare, is defined a “a mutually-agreed suspension of hostilities between two Powers engaged in warfare”. During World War One, it became apparent towards the end of 1918, that the state of the German Armed Forces, rendered futile any continuation of the terrible carnage which had characterised trench warfare in particular, and on 6 November 1918, a delegation, headed by the notorious Herr Erzberger, the German Secretary of State, left Berlin to seek terms for an Armistice.

The coveted Victoria Cross is the highest British military decoration that is awarded for: “Most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or per-eminent single act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy." The prestigious award was instituted on the 29 January 1856 and gazetted on the 5 February 1856, being made retrospective in order to include recipients in the Crimean War (1854-1856).

The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III, 1944

South African Air Force Prisoner of War Executed by Gestapo after the Mass Escape at Stalag Luft Three at Sagan, 23/24 March 1944

Allied aircrew members who were shot down and subsequently captured during World War Two were first interrogated before being incarcerated in Air Force Prisoner of War Camps run and administered by the Luftwaffe. These camps were called Stalag Luft, short for Stammlager Luft. Unlike their army counterparts who had separate camps for officers (Oflag, short for Offizier Lager) and NCO’s (Stalag, short for Stammlager),

On the morning of December 20 1988, a pair of FAPA (Angolan Air Force) MiG-21 MF’s took off from Lubango, "intending" to make a high level transit flight to Luena (Luso) Air Base.  Twenty five year old Ovimbundo (Gen Savimbi's tribe) Lt Domingos Vinez was the pilot of MiG-21 C340.  Instead of flying to Luena, he flew south east at about 36 000 ft over thick cloud cover.  After being airborne for 70 minutes,

When units are closed down or squadrons disbanded, their memorabilia often ends up in a remote and forgotten store-room.  In other cases it even becomes the "property" of its former members, decorating the pub at home.  The South African Museum has specifically been established to preserve and display the heritage of the South African Air Force through all these years and this is where such items need to go.

The South African Air Force and the Royal Air Force share a proud and long-standing relationship. During the First World War South Africans served with the British Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. In fact, 26 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps consisted almost entirely of South African personnel that previously served with the former South African Aviation Corps during the German South West African campaign of 1915.

The Douglas DC-6 represented the pinnacle of piston propliner technology during the 1950's. First flown on 15 February 1946, the DC-6 followed the very successful DC-3 Dakota and DC-4 Skymaster that Douglas developed. It secured a large segment of passenger aircraft sales of the time in which Lockheed, with its sleek and elegant Constellation, was the main rival of the era. The two companies competed throughout the 1950's,

Airspeed AS.57 Ambassador
Second prototype G-AKRD
13 March 1950
During a simulated take-off engine-failure demonstration at Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, the aircraft sank back on a rising runway. All doors and emergency hatches opened normally and only the port propellers were damaged.  The aircraft was repaired and continued to be used as a prototype in the development of the Ambassador.