An extract from “South Africa’s Flying Cheetahs in Korea” by Dermot Moore and Peter Bagshawe.

“During this difficult period in mid-1951 a high level of morale was maintained by the regular arrival of mail from home and such thoughtful gestures as individually addressed parcels from the Gift and Comfort Fund. The losses and narrow escapes had placed the pilots of the Cheetah Squadron under considerable strain, and something extra was needed to relieve the tension. That something was the inspiration of a young officer from the Eastern Cape, Micky Rorke, who felt that although the American Officer’s Club was comfortable and friendly, it lacked atmosphere, so, with the help of Flight Sergeant Bob Monroe, he decided to do something about it. In a borrowed jeep Mickey drove to Pusan and bought ten dollars’ worth of drinks at the British NAAFI.

Vickers Valiant B(K).1 XD861
214 Squadron RAF The SAAF Museum recently received these faded old negatives from a benefactor. It records the historic flight in 1959 of a Vickers Valiant, which undertook the first non-stop flight from the England to Cape Town and back, non-stop in each direction, being refueled by two Valiant tankers over Kano, Nigeria on both flights.

This year sees the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain during the Second World War. The South African Air Force Museum recently participated and provided a Bosbok aircraft in the flypast that preceded the commemoration service that was held in Johannesburg on Sunday the 12th of September 2010.

The Air Force Museum at Swartkop will be sending its C-47 Dakota down to Cape Town to participate in the bi-annual AAD expo and airshow hosted at AFB Ysterplaat from the 20th to the 25th of September 2010. The well known camouflaged aircraft will be departing Swartkop airfield on Wednesday morning for its flight down to the Cape.

The French manufactured Alouette III helicopter was first delivered to the South African Air Force in 1962 and served with distinction until its final retirement from service in September 2007. Affectionately known as the “Draadkar” is was replaced by the Augusta 109, although many SAAF aircrew regretfully alluded to the fact that no other chopper will ever replace the Alo III. Its uncomplicated operation and ease of maintenance will sorely be missed by most.

SHORT HISTORY OF THE AIR DEFENCE ARTILLERY GROUP IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN AIRFORCE

250 Air Defence Artillery Group was formed on 1 December 1973. Initial training was undertaken at Air Defense School (AFB Waterkloof) where a Cactus Wing was established. Initially a French team from the company Thomson CSF provided support and training. By January 1985 such training was amalgamated at Air Space Control School (AFB Waterkloof).

THE SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE IN THE LATE 1950’S

The late 1950’s saw the delivery and retirement of many familiar aircraft types that served the SAAF.

The Spitfires were retired in 1954 and the Sunderlands in 1957. Two Herons were delivered in 1955, but like the Devons, did not prove entirely satisfactory and were withdrawn in 1962. Further batches of Austers were delivered in 1957. Despite trials with two Dornier Do 27’s from 1958 onwards, the Cessna 185 was adopted for Army co-operation duties to replace the Austers of 42 AOP Flight.

The first Douglas C-47 Dakota was delivered to 44 Squadron in Cairo on 27 April 1944 and served with the squadron until 1992 when they were replaced by converted C-47TP versions. The first Douglas DC-4 Skymaster; which previously served with South African Airways; was delivered to the squadron at AFB Swartkop on 14 January 1966.

Three different and unique display items were recently added to the Air Force Museum’s collection at Swartkop. And to top it off, all three were delivered on the same day! Tuesday the 9th of November 2010 proved to be a productive day at the museum with the arrival of a Pilatus Astra aircraft, a World War II guard tower and an experimental APA gas turbine engine.

The South African Air Force founder and aviation pioneer, Sir Pierre van Ryneveld was the object of much historical attention at the Air Force Museum Swartkop recently. DSTV’s Kyknet channel recently commissioned a documentary series featuring the life and times of many famous South Africans, now deceased. The documentary series entitled “Wie lê daar…” is presented by the “undertaker” and musician Piet Botha of Jack Hammer fame and produced and directed by Gustav Kuhn, who also produced the film “Die ongelooflike avonture van Hanna Hoekom” recently. For three months the film crew trekked across the country to find and film the abodes and sacred last resting places of many famous (and infamous) South Africans, including Shaka Zulu, Mahatma Gandhi, Ingrid Jonker, André Stander, Bles Bridges, Tolla van der Merwe, Hansie Cronje and many others.