On 17 December 2010 the world of aviation celebrated the first flight of the legendary Douglas DC-3 Dakota, seventy-five years ago. The local aviation fraternity congregated at Rand Airport on Saturday the 18th near Johannesburg for a big birthday bash, organised and hosted by Flippie Vermeulen of Springbok Classic Air.

Capt L. Steyn Historical Research Officer

The end of the Second World War led to the disbandment of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, the last women’s camp at Valhalla being closed on 1 April 1947. The majority of women returned to civilian life, but a nucleus of former members stayed on and were accommodated in the Women’s Auxiliary Defence Corps and utilized in the Air Force.

The Women’s Defence Corps was established on 28 November 1947. Regulations however made severe distinctions between members of the WDC and male members of the Permanent Force, the most demeaning regulation was one concerning seniority – “Precedence: – Male members of the Force take precedence over those of the WDC of the same rank, irrespective of the date of appointment or promotion to the rank.” By early 1949 the Air Force had four officers and thirty other ranks in the WDC. On the 9th of May 1949 the decision was made that the recruiting of women for the WDC Permanent Force is to cease.

Written by Johan Smidt (Friends of the Museum)

Most probably the most produced fighter aircraft in the world since the Korean War with the longest production run from 1959 – 1985. The characteristic layout with the shock cone and front air intake did not see widespread outside the USSR and proved to have limited development potential because of very limited space for radar.

Leon Steyn, Historian Air Force Museum

The Patchen Explorer was conceived by the former Thurston Aircraft Corporation in the USA as a landplane version of its TSC-1 Teal amphibian. The development of both designs was financed by Marvin Patchen Inc, which retained the rights to the TSC-2 Explorer.

The SAAF Museum now owns the one and only example of the Patchen Explorer in the world.

A memorial service of special significance was held on Saturday 19 February 2011 at the South African Air Force Memorial at Bays Hill. The beautiful and tranquil surroundings of the Wall of Remembrance painted the backdrop to the occasion, during which the casket containing the ashes of the late Sir Pierre and Lady Betty van Ryneveld were placed to a newly dedicated niche inside the Wall of Remembrance.

Name change of Heritage Site – Swartkop Air Field

The original site selected for military aerodrome was the eastern portion of the farm Zwartkop. Farm number 476, Pretoria District, and was owned by the property magnate, Mr Dale Lace of Johannesburg. The Farm was named Zwartkop after the prominent hill of the same name in the area.

The Rooivalk helicopter that had its maiden flight on the day Mr Nelson Mandela’s was released from prison in 1990 will be handed over to the SA Air Force Museum on his 94th birthday.

 Mike Kgobe, the CEO of Denel Aviation says the Rooivalk combat support helicopter represents the best in South African design and manufacturing, demonstrating the country’s ability to produce a world-class, home-grown aircraft.


The badges of rank for Commissioned Officers, known in military terminology as the "pip" had an exceptionally strong Christian background. These badges of rank were worn by officers in the South African Air Force from its inception in 1920 until South Africa became a Republic on 31 May 1961.


At 30A Marshall Drive, Mount Edgecombe stands a small church that is more that 100 years old. The church was built to service the community who used to live and work for the old Tongaat – Hulett Sugar Mill. The church now stands in the industrial area of Mount Edgecombe and over the years, has been vandalised and completely stripped of all its

The SAAF was formed in 1920 and originally used the ensign of the British Royal Air Force until a distinctive SAAF ensign was adopted in December 1940. The SAAF adopted an Air Force ensign which retained the sky blue background of the RAF ensign but exchanged the Union Flag for the South African flag and placed the orange, white and blue roundel of the SAAF in the fly.