After many years seeking out vintage transports in North America, I found the predominant political climate in the USA less hospital towards those who practise this hobby. So I concluded it was time for a change of culture and went South instead of West....|
April is a lovely time for a visit to South Africa, with the summer heat gone. And though aeroplanes were not "the main course" of this trip this time, I found some good old fashioned hospitality on my way. Please enjoy what I have to share !
A visit to Executive Aerospace kicked of my reconnaissance around Johannesburg. This company is located on 'the other side' of Johannesburg Int'l Airport, next to Safair. Indicating a visit to this company was enough to gain access through the guarded gate and what better way then to start with ZS-NWW (c/n 1786), a Hs.748-378 Srs 2B in excellent shape and form !
Its history seems to read like this: D-AHSC Lufthansa Cityline, to G-HDBC British Airways, a sale or lease to Goa Way Aviation seems to have fallen through, to Executive Aerospace as ZS-NWW and later leased to Air Excellence (Gabon, 2002), SA Alliance Air Express and Zimbabwe Express Airlines (all as ZS-NWW). I would welcome dates of deliveries and transfers.
Executive Aerospace kindly provided the following HS.748 layout of the interior.
Executive's website is www.aerospace.co.za (dead link, 7-2013)
9N-ACP (cn1667, Srs.2A/256) still with Nepalese Necon Air titles, is seen here in maintenance for, I was told, Mike Hornblower. Mr Hornblower got into 748s at one time and used to own Peregrine Air Services at Aberdeen,UK. He bought Air Ecosse off Malcolm Fillmore and dabbled a bit with a few other Scottish airlines. (Thanks Malcolm !).|
Richard J. Church completed the history of this airframe with the following dates: first flight on 09Dec69 as 7Q-YKB, delivery to Air Malawi on 10Jan70 (stored Nov91), on 27Nov92 ferried to Southend (incorrectly painted as G-BPNK !) shortly afterwards (14Dec92) registered as G-BURJ to Clewer Aviation Ltd and redecorated in full Necon Air c/s on 04May93. Eight days later G-BURJ registration was cancelled.
On 12May93 it was delivered ex Southend via Brindisi for lease to Necon Air and arrived in Kathmandu on 15May93. Next sighting is reported on 13May02 at Muscat during a ferry flight; on 17May02 9N-ACP arrived at Johannesburg-JNB for storage for Clewer Aviation.
And now in preparation for Mr Hornblower, who is presently involved in Clewer Aviation. This company has specialised itself in leasing Hs.748s worldwide, though of late with dwindling success. He has one aircraft at Blackpool which is currently being used as a spares source for Emerald Airways active 748 fleet.
Clewer Avtn leased other types, e.g. ATR.42s, so they are not limited to Hs.748s apparently.
Let us hope this Hs.748 is being prepared for another customer and will soon take to the skies again.
I have the people of Executive Aerospace to thank for identifying ZS-XGY (thanks BB !), as it no longer wears its registration. It is a Hs.748-344 Srs 2A with construction number 1764 and last flew with Intensive Air until that company folded. The airframe is presently owned by Airquarius Air Charter, which used it for supply of spare parts. So in time I expect it to be scrapped.|
Richard Church kindly provided the following detailed history: First flew as C6-BEE (C6-BED having been originally allocated) on 25Jul79 and was delivered shortly afterward (24Aug79) to Bahamasair. On 03Apr90 it was ferried ex Nassau via Charlotte to Barr River (in Bahamasair c/s but no titles). Then on 10May90 it was painted as F-ODTX and the next day ferried via Sault Ste Marie to Halifax.
It was reregistered on 21May90 to SAEMI Aero des Iles-St-Pierre, for operation by Air St. Pierre (named 'Ile de Miquelon'); it enjoyed a lease with Bradley Air Services during the summer of 1994 (with First Air titles). On 30Sep95 it commenced a ferry flight from St Pierre to Goose Bay, continueing via Sondre Stromfjord and Keflavik, arriving at East Midlands on 03Oct95; three days later F-ODTX departed for Nice and Malta on sale to Ibis Air/Executive Outcomes. The registration was cancelled on 13Oct95.
On 23Nov95 a lease to Simba Air Cargo, as 5Y-SAL, started and on 25Nov95 it arrived at Nairobi, Kenya. On 17Mar97 it was sighted at Lanseria, repainted as HR-AQV. By May97 it had become TN-AFI (noted as such Lanseria 30Aug97). This was again changed on 20Oct97, reregistering it as ZS-XGY to Dr. J.W.K. Louw.
Later that month (23Oct97), it was delivered to Johannesburg-Rand, for operation by Intensive Air Ltd (later named 'Muffin'). Tragedy hit on 20May98 when it became wedged under the rear fuselage of an Iberia A340-313 (EC-GJT) at Johannesburg, following a hydraulic failure. There was severe damage to the port propeller and engine and write off of fin and rudder. Fortunately it was repaired, returning to service on 11Sep98 and reported on 20Jan00 flying with Air Malawi. But on 08Apr02 Intensive Air ceased operations. On 24Jan03 it became registered to AirQuarius Contracts (Pty) Ltd after sale to International Air Parts Pty Ltd of Australia and was stored at Johannesburg IAP.
Richard added: "The other two ex Intensive Air 748s (ZS-XGE and ZS-XGZ, cn 1740) should have been at Lanseria when you visited, in basic Horizon Air blue/white colours without titles, in the area of the AirQuarius hangar behind the Rovos Air hangar. Both have been converted to pure freighters at Lanseria and are offered for lease/sale by International Air Parts of Australia and looked in first class condition when I saw them last November. " Indeed, 'XGE was present, so here is one more Hs.748:|
Hs.748-351 Series 2A ZS-XGE (cn1770)
Life started with registration as G-BGPR for Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd on 04Apr79. First flight was made on 29Jun79 and delivery to Transkei Airways Corporation (as G-BGPR) took place on 30Aug79, arriving at Johannesburg on 02Sep79. It was repainted as ZS-XGE, named "Ulundi", on 11Sep79. It was sold to Care Airlines (Pty) Ltd during Jul93, quickly to be sold again toIntensive Air Ltd (14Nov93), but initially operated on behalf of Care Airlines (Pty) Ltd.
It was reported wearing the name "Pudding" during late 1997. Intensive Air ceased operations on 08Apr02. ZS-XGE was bought by International Air Parts Pty Ltd of Australia during Aug02 and converted to a pure freighter at Lanseria. The photo shows ZS-XGE with its present owner, AirQuarius Contracts (Pty) Ltd (since 22Jan03) and is presently advertised for sale with its records showing a total of 17.856 flight hrs and 11.604 landings.
These details on its history were again kindly provided by Richard J Church.
My flight landed at JNB on a fridaynight and unsuspecting I drove my car the next day to Johannesburg-Rand. Unfortunately, people required to obtain ramp access (well, most people for that matter) were at home enjoying their weekend. I could not get behind the fence, bummer !
Eva Claire van der Ben sent me a photographic update in March 2012, see Photos by Friends & Guests, page 32
Next Sunday, again with exquisite weather, I toured to Lanseria and was surprised by its modern infrastructure and terminal. Unfortunately it seemed that was all that I was going to enjoy: no passes were issued during the weekend !|
Fortunately this time "no" was less drastic and I got a quick walk on the ramp. I did find all hangars closed, though.
ZS-MFY is a turbo-converted Douglas C-47A-1-DK (c/n 12073) which started its life as 42-92289 upon its delivery to the USAAF on 29Nov43 and its transfer 05Jan44 to the RAF as FL645. That same month, on January 31st, it was delivered to the South African Air Force (SAAF) as 6823. Upon commencing a civilian life it remained in S.Africa: it was registered as ZS-DEO for Kiersley Airways on 08Nov50.
And here is ZS-MFY again....! This was on my visit 11 days later (29Apr04) and meanwhile this C-47TP had seen various decals been applied.|
In more recent years it has been registered to Speed Air Services (1998), but since 2001 it has been operating in relief operations and was seen wearing titles "United Nations Humanitarian Air Services" in Dec01. Cn12073 returned to Rossair's maintenance base at Lanseria during Dec02; due windshear somewhere in the Sudan it ended up off the runway with damage to engines and lower parts of the wings and fuselage.
It seems fully repaired now and ready for more relief operations.Apparently it is registered to Turbine DC-3 Partnership and/or Rossair Contracts P/L (Subsidiary of Rossair Holdings P/L).
Spot the difference ! I counted myself lucky to return to Lanseria at the end of my holidays as before I had not been able to find out which one this is. A visit to the offices of Rossair solved that mystery: ZS-MAP. And on 29/4 they had added a nosecone with "82" on it.
It is a turbo-conversion of a Douglas C-47B-25-DK with c/n 15896/32644 and its previous identities were: USAAF 44-76313, RAF KN334 and SAAF 6882. It seems to have been registered to the National Test Pilot School, but ownership by Rossair was confirmed to me when I visited their office.
Rovos Air operate some really immaculate propliners !
During Oct.2008 both Convair Metropolitans were offered for sale on the internet, asking price $ 450.000 each. Hopefully Rohan Vos will remain true to the vintage propliner, though signals are not good: DC-3 ZS-CRV 'Delaney' was sold to NCA of Windhoek,Namibia around the same time.
This Convair CV340-67 came of the production line as a VC-131D (c/n 228) initially as N8453H for General Dynamics Corporation, but transferred to the USAF as 54-2820 on 17Feb55; its service life ended upon storage at Davis Monthan AFB in Arizona. A buyer registered it as N43895 in July 1992 but it probably never wore that registration. It flew south as CP-2237 for Lineas Aereas Canedo upon it spurchase in Jul92. It wore tailnumber YV-914C for Caribbean Flights during a lease which started in Jul96, ending in Jun97 upon its return to LAC (CP-2237).|
Rovos Rail Tours (dba Rovos Air) bought it in Aug01 (LAC had published a price of USD 250.000) and briefly registered it as ZS-OTE (not taken up), it was reported at Pietersburg in Oct01 as ZS-BRV, which was quickly altered into ZS-ARV.
Originally manufactured as 14993, it was re-issued msn 26438 because of duplications. USAAF serial 43-49177 entered the books, with delivery on 26Oct44, while transferred as KJ999 to the RAF (Nassau) 3 days later, on 29Oct44, and assigned to the South African Air Force (SAAF) as 6848 on 21Nov44. It was assigned for VIP duties and flew with 5th Wing in 1945, while assigned to 15th AD (?) in 1954. Records show it served with 25 Squadron on 19Oct68 until (at least) March 1974. By the end of the 1980s it flew with 35 sqdn.|
My records show a sale by SAAF on 11May95 to Aero Air and registration as ZS-NTD. Was she named "Southern Belle" at that time ? The name is still there behind the cockpit.
Next, on 28jan98, ZS-NTD operated for Eyethu Air Cargo. On 02jul99 it was seen at Lanseria with Air Zambezi titles. Registered on 08jul99 to Keljet CC it was reported ZS-NTD had 10.746 flight hrs in the log book. It flew tourists to Victoria Falls and was reported at Lanseria on 10Mar00 and 30Apr01. Then Keljet CC sold both their DC-3s (incl ZS-KIV cn33257) to an operator in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). ZS-NTD and ZS-KIV were removed from the register on 23Jan03.
And so it sits at Lanseria; I noticed it had no tailnumber on the rh-side of the aircraft but it was present on the lh-side together with small "People First"-titles.
Returning to Johannesburg-Rand at Germiston first thing monday morning, formalities were efficiently taken care of by the ravishing Sam Mendoza and under kind escort of the Fire Service I finally stepped onto this tarmac, an event I had been looking forward for some years. A pity I was late by only a few months as quite recently 2 Sixes (9Q-CJX and EL-WIL) had been axed here and passed on to propliner heaven. |
Douglas C-47A-1-DK with msn (=c/n) 12026 was delivered to the USAAF on 31Oct43 as 42-92247 and passed on to the Royal Canadian Air Force as FL615 on 05Jan44; one month later it was transferred to the RAF (served with an Operational Transition Unit in Canada, 32 OTU) and struck off charge on 19Feb46. Thus it entered the the War Assets Corporation (Canada) Ltd.
Looking for a civilian carreer it got a quick start with Trans Canada Air Lines as CF-TDO on 01Mar46. Much later it was picked up by a less well-known operator: Matane Air Services Ltd (11May59). On 21Aug63 it was issued its present tailnumber, ZS-DRJ, for Commercial Air Services and served a lease with Lesotho Air Lines while seeing operations by Comair in 1976, which sold it as its last DC-3. Magnum Airlines enjoyed a lease in 1979.
ZS-DRJ was also operated by Oriole Express and seen as such on 18Oct96 at Jo'burg-Rand, wearing "Lady Victoria" -titles. On 02jun99 it was reported at Rand for Africa Charter Airlines, but was soon after found stored at Rand, where it still sits awaiting better times.
One plane both 9Q-CGZ and 5H-264: identity crisis ? No, not really, read on....
Douglas C-118A has c/n 43573/272 and was delivered on 08Oct52 as 51-3826 to the USAF. After many years of steerling service it became N203GB for the US Dept of Agriculture on 19aug75. Florida Aircraft Leasing Corp. bought it in Apr81 and first customer appeared to be HTT Inc, but not on a lease but a sale, in Mar82.
Tailnumber 6Y-JKM was apparently its new identity, but the owner remains unknown (1982). It did not last long as TG-SAS was its tailnumber for Lineas Aereas Mayas, buying it during Jun82. In Dec89 it was entered in the US Registry as N54G for Rubi Inc, but it was reported stored at Miami,FL. It was seen at MIA on 21Apr93 and Mar96, the owner then reported as Gentry Inc. It was "moving or scrapping" in 1996 when socalled "Corrosion Corner" had to make way for a new airport expansion at Miami.
Service Air bought it in Dec96 and the now familiar 9Q-CGZ entered the books, only to see it parked idle at Rand for a number of years now. The tailnumber 5H-264 on the lh-side of the plane was put there for filming purposes at some point.
This DC-6B (cn45319, line number 907) was delivered on 05Dec57 as N578 to Northwest Orient. Hardly oriental but still quite exotic, it went to United
Arab Airlines, having bought it on 18Oct64 and registered it as SU-ANN. It returned to the European theatre for Sterling Airways of Denmark and upon its purchase 04Mar68 was registered as OY-STR. After years of service, it found itself discarded and stored at Copenhagen-Kastrup in Apr72.|
It was entered in the US Registry as N515TR for Concare Aircraft Leasing Corp in Apr73. It was converted to a freighter, a DC-6B(F). Zantop Int'l Airlines leased it in Sep73, but Bellomy-Lawson Aviation had more faith in it and bought it in Mar82. It "transferred" (whatever that have meant) to Hemisphere Aviation Services 3 months later and was leased that month to Guyana Airways. N515TR returned to Bellomy-Lawson Avtn in Aug83 and was reregistered as N91BL in Apr84. Those were the days in Florida !
Anyway, Gentry Inc bought N91BL in Apr89 and had it registered as N34C in Oct90. Without much success as it was parked and stored at Miami,FL.
A new future appeared on the horizon in South Africa but while registered as 9Q-CYO for Service Air after having been bought in Dec96 it has now been stored for years at Rand. The registration has been removed from the aircraft
Douglas C-47A-30-DL (c/n 9581) was delivered as 42-23719 on 22May45 and remained in the USA. It was transferred to the Reconstruction Finance
Corporation (RFC) on 26Aug46. A buyer presented itself: General Airways Inc, of Portland,OR had it registered as NC47573. In 1966 North
American Aviation Inc, of Los Angeles,CA became the new owner and ownership was amended to N.American Rockwell in Nov67. Three years later,
in Dec70, Elbee Company of Los Angeles purchased the ownership.|
This C-47A changed continents in Mar71 when it was registered as ZS-GPL for Grinaker Ltd (dba Grinair), nicknamed "Mosadi Mogolo". Sandriver Safaris (trading as United Air Services) became the new owner in Mar76. The 1984 edition of the DC-3 reference book by Air-Britain claimed this DC-3 became nicknamed "Delaney" but this has been proven not to be true. Alexander Avrane supported this: "I checked my slides of ZS-GPL with Grinair (1976), United Air Services (1977), Avia Air Charter (1992), and no trace of "Delaney".".
The next owner became Air Services Botswana (Pty) Ltd, registering it in Feb80 as A2-ACH.
ZS-GPL again became the tailnumber and again for UAS, in Mar80. United Air Services was taken over by Wonderair and at some point ZS-GPL was sold to Avia Air Charter at Wonderboom. Oriole Express registered ZS-GPL on 13Mar80 and in early 2001 Capt Flippie Vermeulen bought it for his company Springbok Flying Safaris.
Karl Jensen, who gets to fly DC-3s in S.Africa regularly, wrote me: "ZS-GPL belonged to a traditional healer in KZN before Springbok Classic Air acquired it."
ZS-AUA here at Rand was actually delivered to South African Airways as ZS-AUA, on March 25th 1946 ! In 1966 it was transferred to the South African Air Force as "6901" and flew with No. 44 squadron. It was leased again by SAA later as ZS-AUA, but retired from active service in 1970.|
Later it flew with Aero Air (also as ZS-AUA), but I have little on its history until 1995 when it was registered as ZS-NUR, preparing for a new lease on life. That same year it was bought by the Dutch Dakota Association and arrived at Amsterdam Int'l Airport-Schiphol on May 05th 1996. It was reregistered PH-DDS in December and was expected to join the airshow circuit in Europe. Changing regulations by the Dutch Government prevented success in this endeavour.
The extra (costly !) provisions needed for the restorations of the DC-3s and this DC-4 plus the restricted commercial use as result of the new rules by the Dutch RLD (CAA), forced the DDA to get rid of PH-DDS. It was removed from the Dutch Register on 14 Mar02 and was ferried by Springbok Flying Safaris, as ZS-AUA, to Germany and later all the way to South Africa.
For more on that parting date, 03Nov02, have a look at DDA's DC-4 Departure !
Actually, ZS-AUA is on a lease from DDA Classic Airlines, with a monthly leaseprice of 2500 euro (as was revealed in an interview by Gerard van Putten of Anne Cor Groeneveld, chairman of DDA Classic Airlines, on the occasion of 25th anniversary of the DDA in March 2007).
During 2005 I received an email from someone who wants to remain anonymous; he offered the following additional info:
Meanwhile, ZS-AUA continues its career in South Africa. During 2006 Rovos Air leased the DC-4 from the DDA, but this ended in Nov.2006 and was not renewned. In Feb.2007 a lease was taken up by the South African Airways Historical Flight, the 3rd operator for this aircraft in S.Africa since its arrival here in 2002.
PBY-5A C-FPQO (CV-427) has been for sale for a number of years now; present owner seems to be a mr Kiki LeMaire of South Africa.
David Legg, well known for his commitment to Catalina's wrote: "The following is an extract that will appear in the World Catalina
News section of our next edition of The Catalina News.
Steve Hamilton posted on the CV-Canso (Yahoo) forum in July 2009: "I purchased this PBY a few years ago in Johannesburg and it is all rebuilt and will fly soon. My partner in it is John Seibold who flies a Ford Trimotor. I fly a Mallard and a Widgeon and we plan to fly it around South Africa for a while and then back to the USA via Brazil. Always wanted a truly expeditionary airplane."
After years of restoration it left South Africa and arrived in San Diego during jan.2013.
One-time 9J-RDR is seen preserved like this,protruding from the Phoebus Apollo building, a nice touch but I don't think I could persuade my wife to do something similar....|
Douglas C-47B (cn14483/25928) was issued USAAF serial 43-48667 for delivery on 07Sep44 and it was transferred to the RAF as KJ897 on 18Sep44. It was deployed to India in 1946.It returned to Field's in the UK during 1951 and became G-AMKE for BEA Pionair (named "Sir Frederick Lanchester") on 23Nov51. It was later registered to Air Links Ltd (04Jul61) and leased to SPANZ from 15Dec61 to 23Feb62.
A move to Africa was made when it was registered as VP-YUU for Rhodesian Air Services (Pvt) Ltd on 16Oct62; the company changed its name to Air Rhodesia at some point. It may have been registered to Rhodesian's CAA during 1966. That year this Dak moved to Zambia Airways as 9J-RDR. And in 1970 its state of affairs was as such that it was destined to be preserved, being no longer airworthy.
During July 1994 it was reported lying derelict in Lusaka. And in Nov99 it was reported at Rand, merely a fuselage without a cockpit. I think they did a nice thing with it at Phoebus Apollo.
Gil White wrote an excellent history on this aircraft.
Life started unsuspecting with a delivery as a C-54E-5-DO (c/n 27314) with USAAF serial 44-9088 on 07Apr45. It was handed over to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in 1945 and registered N88881 while awaiting customers. Douglas bought it back on 14Nov45 and converted it to a DC-4 (conversion no.13). On 23Dec45 Pan American World Airways bought it and named it "Clipper Kit Carson", which was changed to "Clipper Golden West" and later on to "Clipper Red Rover".|
It turned exotic when registered JA6015 for Japan Air Lines (named "Amagi"), a purchase registered on 15Feb58. The next owner was Ansett-ANA (VH-INM) on 18Mar65. Then came the identity change...
Registered as VH-INM to Aviation Traders (Engineering) Ltd, it was delivered to Ansett-ANA on 19Jul68, ready for a new life !
The name "Kasby II" reportedly came after being purchased (01Jan74) by Australian Aircraft Sales for on sale/lease (as VH-INM) to Seulawah Air Services (17Jul75 - 16Aug76, subsequently stored at Singapore-Seletar), as kindly pointed out to me by Gil White (researcher of Ansett's history).
N54596 became its tailnumber when James A Cunningham bought it in Mar78. It was briefly registered as ZK-EKZ Nationwide Air, but this was never taken up. Next step meant becoming ZK-NWB for Nationwide Air in Nov78. Pacific Aero Lift was noted as a new operator (even naming it "Ruth 2") but never took effect. Instead it was stored at Hamilton,NZ !
Talking exotic: it became N5459M for Hawaii Pacific Air upon its purchase in May90, but it was again reported stored at Honolulu,Hawaii. Air Cargo Hawaii bought N5459M during Mar92. Next year, during Sep93, Roberts Hawaii Inc became the new owner. Airline Marketing Consultants Inc bought it on 29Jul96 (it was seen stored at Griffin,GA during 1996) and Wonderair brought it to South Africa on a lease during Nov96. Only to store it at Wonderboom (arriving 13Nov96) near Pretoria ! So it was returned to Airline Marketing Consultants Inc during Sep97 (seen parked at Wonderboom May98 and at Pieterburg 18Jan02) and finally Phoebus Apollo Investments bought it in Mar02 and registered it as 9J-PAA (Phoebus Apollo Aviation) on 20May02. But again standing idle was its main activity and it was put up for sale during 2003 for USD 250.000,-.
During Feb.2008 news came about indicating 9J-PAA was to be scrapped, but this was denied by Phoebus Apollo when I made inquiries. I hope a buyer will come along!
This Carvair Video on YouTube.
Gil White wrote an excellent history on this aircraft.
Douglas C-54D-15-DC (cn22192/644) ZS-PAJ 'Helios'
Douglas C-54D-15-DC started its career as 43-17242 with the USAAF on 21Sep45. It moved to Europe, to join the Royal Danish Air Force as N-242 with 721Sqdn on 12Oct59. It was released from the military and returned to the USA as N4988V for STS Enterprises Inc, being bought in Jul78. But that same year, on 20Dec78, it was bought by Millardair and was registered as C-GRYY. Apparently it was stored at Davis Monthan AFB, but why a civilian plane was stored there I do not know.
During Mar91 it changed continents, moving to Africa and changing to C9-ATS for Interocean Airways in Mar91; the tailnumber was changed to EL-AWX for Interocean Aws during Jun97, but ended up being stored. Fortunately Phoebus Apollo Aviation came to the rescue in Jan00 and thus it obtained tailnumber ZS-PAJ.
Skyliner magazine wrote in its Nov/Dec.2006 issue that ZS-PAJ had been donated to the neighbouring SAA Museum.
Douglas DC-3-197 ZS-PAA is the 'pet' restoration project of Hennie Delport, owner of Phoebus Apollo. It has been undergoing a slow but thorough rebuild since arriving at Rand from Mozambique in 1997, but is only worked when personnel can be spared from keeping the company's other aircraft in the air (that explains the procrastination !). Mr Delport's long-term plan is to equip the Dak with a luxurious 20-seat interior.
Maybe the oldest DC-3 around if they ever get it back in the air !!
N99210 has a brief appearance in a YouTube video (02:00 mins in the segment)
In July 2006 I received following email:
"UL Drew was an American WW2 Fighter Ace. He was the owner of Caprivi Airways - so the move from Sudan to Caprivi was not a "real" change of owner. Furthermore (this is where it gets really interesting) Drew was an "open" (i.e. not secret) agent of the CIA and Caprivi Airways was an official CIA operation similar to the more famous "Air America" of Vietnam. CIA involvement in the early stages of the Angolan war is well documented."
On Sunday afternoon I found the South African Air Force Museum closed, in spite of what I had read on the internet; I returned the next day at 14:30 only to find the museum closing at 15:00. I was allowed until 15:30 on the ramp and took my photos; unfortunately it was too short to meet anyone and explore the museum beyond its static display.|
Through email I was informed about the identity of some of the planes and hope to do better on a next visit.
This proud DC-4-1009 (c/n 43155) once carried no.6902, during its service life with the S.African Air Force.
Lockheed L-18-08 "Lodestar" ZS-ASN "Andries Pretorius" c/n 2026.
Delivered to SAA in 1940 as ZS-ASN. Commandeered by the South African Airforce and impressed into service in North Africa as "1372" Returned to SAA circa 1944, remaining on internal services until 1955. Sold to Aircraft Operating Company, Johannesburg and used for photo survey until approx March 1973. Restored by SAA to static display in 1979. ZS-ASN arrived at Swartkop Air Force base in Pretoria in 1999.
(Brendan Odell and John Austin-Williams).
During Jan.2005 I received word from John Austin-Williams (Chairman: South African Airways Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa www.saamuseum.co.za) that ZS-ASN had relocated to Rand-Germiston.
M.Cassel wrote me in Mar.2006: "I was very interested to read Lockheed Lodestar ZS-ASN among your photos and a summary of its life.
Back in 1970 I flew out to S.Africa to start my flying career, it did not materialize as planned , but I did not want to return to the UK and I managed to get a job as trainee camera operator. In this capacity I flew up to SWA or Namibia to survey an area of the coast well north of Swakopmund.
ZS-ASN was based at a military airfield east of Walvis Bay; we stayed at Swakopmund to watch the local weather. It took a month to complete the job.
As a junior I was tasked with looking after the aircraft (grubby jobs), which included frequent topping up of oil to the port engine if we had flown. All this was with Capt Smithers whom, if I recall correctly, was ex RAF bomber skipper and a test pilot for Rolls Royce....A very nice guy to have known.
I only worked for A.O.S. for about 18 months, but it was very much a part of rebuilding my life. A wonderful experience for a young man: I feel very very lucky and privileged to have those memories.
Lockheed L-18-08 "Lodestar" ZS-ATL "Jan van Riebeeck" c/n 2058.|
Delivered to SAA in 1940 as ZS-ATL. Withheld for official use by the South African Railways Administration. Retained civil registration. Returned to SAA and withdrawn from service in 1955. Sold to Commercial Airways Ltd. Donated to SAAF Museum and restored to a non-authentic camouflage scheme (The camouflage itself is accurate to depict a SAAF Lodestar in North Africa circa 1941, but ZS-ATL never served with the SAAF and therefore never wore that paint scheme in service). She carries no markings, but gives her name to the adjacent "Lodestar Tea Room". (Brendan Odell).
Lockheed 37 PV-1 Ventura GR-5 "6498" c/n 6290.|
Built for US Navy 1944, serial Bu 49474, to RAF under lend lease, to SAAF as 6498 (radio call sign MFSMR), to 29 Sqn. To 17 Sqn postwar, converted to transport. To Ysterplaat Station Flight. Sold to South African Airways Apprentice Training School and named "Jane". To SAAF Museum. Restored in circa 1955 Maritime (grey) paint scheme. Displayed at SAAF Museum with Avro Shackleton.(Brendan Odell).
Avro 716 Shackleton MR3 1721/N (c/n 1531) was built during 1957 and flew with No. 35 Sqdn in the SAAF, being delivered during Feb58. Interestingly enough the bombdoors she was then fitted with (as well as the nose-wheel doors) were marked "1956" - before she was even built - so apparently she was repaired from a pre-production parts stockpile.|
She was to become one of the last 3 flying Shackleton MR3's in the world. 1721/N participated in a 3-ship formation flypast at the official retirement ceremony at Cape Town IAP (then D.F. Malan) on 23Nov84. The spareparts situation had become so tricky that after only a few hours of general flying major component changes were needed. During Dec84, 1721/N was ferried to Swartkop AFB for the SAAF Museum.
Parts of this Shackleton were used in restoration of SAAF 1716/J and to add insult after injury: a shelter-type structure fell on 1721/N during a storm in 1996 and caused significant damage. It was patched up, but a static display is all that this Shackleton can hope for.
I found the state of historic aviation rather confusing but Mr.Brendan Odell kindly clearified matters for me:|
To clear up any confusion about organisations, it works as follows-
1. The museum where there are various South African Air Force aircraft and the two SAA aircraft (Dove and Lodestar) is the South African Airforce Museum.
2. The Dove (ZS-BCC), Lodestar (ZS-ASN), a Lockheed Starliner (ZS-DVJ), a Vickers Viking Mk1 (ZS-DKH) and a Boeing 747-200 (ZS-SAN) all belong to the South African Airways Museum. They are an enthusiasts club, the chairman is John Austin Williams.
3. South African Historic Flight is a charter airline, previously SAA Historic Flight. We are owned by the government (see below) and are part of the Heritage branch of the government transport company, Transnet. This is called the Transnet Heritage Foundation. I am the Manager of the Technical section (Aircraft and Maintenance) of this little airline. We are also based at AFB Swartkop and are very closely connected with the South African Airways Museum. We operate 2 Douglas DC-4's (ZS-AUB (42984) and ZS-BMH (43157)). We also have 2 DC-3's (ZS-BXF (12107) and ZS-BXJ(12413)). ZS-BXF is under repair after an unfortunate take-off accident last year, but should be flying by early September again. ZS-BXJ is still under restoration. Our pride and joy is our JU-52 or actually a CASA 352 L ( ZS-AFA), which we are trying to have in the air again by September too, after doing an undercarriage swap with the JU-52 at Duxford. This is c/n 164.
We are unfortunately not connected to SAA anymore. (See below).
4. The South African Air Force Museum does operate a fairly large collection of airworthy aircraft. This includes a C-47 (6859) a P-51 Mustang, the last airworthy Avro Shackleton MR-3 in the world, 2 de Havilland Vampires a couple of T-6 Harvards, a DH Chipmunk, an Alloutte II, a Canadair Sabre and a Fieseler Storch (currently grounded). There are also many other aircraft flying with them, and some being restored to fly, this includes a Sikorsky S-55 and an Airspeed Oxford.
The SAA Museum has a website at www.saamuseum.co.za
During (late-) 2006 the Museum moved to new accommodations at Hangar 30 @ Johannesburg-Rand Airport. This coincided with the news that the South African Historic Flight returned once again to the loving embrace of South African Airlines, from previous ownership by the government and at its base at Johannesburg-Rand, its aircraft were available for flightseeing- and safari trips.
North of Pretoria there is an airport named Wonderboom; Dodson Aviation is based here, reconfiguring DC-3s to Turbo-Daks and using them commercially. I was allowed to wander around their aircraft and was glad to see ZS-OJL being a candidate for turbo conversion. Some records show it had already been converted.|
To start at the beginning: Douglas C-47B with msn 16565/33313 was officially delivered as 44-76981 on 20May45 but transferred the next month as NZ3546 to RNZAF. It was registered as ZK-AWQ for NZ National Airways (named "Patarai") on 10Jul52, but found its way back to the military again, as NZ3546 with RNZAF (42 Sqdn) on 17Apr61. Its military career definitely ended in 1977 and again it became ZK-AWQ, this time for K.B. Neely (06Dec78).
Rather anonymous in an all-white paintjob, ZS-OJJ (c/n 16213/32961) seems fully operational here at Wonderboom (20Apr04).|
This C-47B started its career conventionally as 44-76629 upon its delivery on 28Mar45, was quickly transferred as KN483 to RAF Montreal (03Apr45) and was deployed to the Middle East that month.. That year its career also started in South Africa: as 6881 it joined the South African Air Force on 06Oct45.
From the military to "civvies" street: registered as ZS-DIV it operated with Africair (Wenela), having been registered on 07Nov53. This was changed into VP-YSN on 28Oct60. Next it became A2-ZEN, still for Africair/Wenela Air Svce (01Dec68). It returned to the S.African Register as ZS-DIV for Wenela in Feb75, changing into A2-ZEN for Wenela once more (Feb77) and was noted stored at Rand AP, Johannesburg during Mar79.
It probably returned to its military career, under serial 6855. At what time it was converted to a turbo-Dak I do not know. I do know that Dodson Aviation took ownership on 14Jul98 and registered it as N8194Q, though it was reported on 30Aug98 at Wonderboom as 6855. Maybe they converted it ? I'd welcome more details.
C-47TP (C-47-65TP) ZS-OJI (14994/26439) with Dodson Avtn, ex/N195RD.
Rather similar in history as ZS-OJJ (some similar names returning), this C-47B "Gooney Bird" or ("Dakota" if you prefer the English nickname) had USAAF serial 43-49178 at the end of the production line on 26Oct44. It was transferred as KK100 to the RAF and joined the ranks of the SAAF as 6849 on 21Nov44.
After more than 10 years with the military it was registered as ZS-DKP for Africair Ltd on 18Jan55, but that same date it was also registered for Wenela 18Jan55. VP-YSP became the new identity on 12Oct60, but to whom is unrecorded as far as I know. In Sep68 the tailnumber was revised to A2-ZEP, still for Wenela Air Service. It returned to the ZS- register in Apr72 when it started operating for Contractor Air Svce as ZS-IPX . This lasted only a year or so as it became A2-AAA for Bamwangato Concessions Ltd in Oct73.
Next we see Field Aviation Ltd becoming the new owner on 02May77, registering it again as ZS-IPX in May77, which was cancelled at some point. In 1989 it again joined forces with the SAAF again, with serial 6892 it flew with 44 squadron.
On 08Jul98 it was registered to Dodson Aviation as N195RD. The turbo conversion probably took place in the USA as it was reported at New Century Air Park, Kansas City with Dodson in Aug99. The ferry flight to South Africa was done in Jan03. Upon my visit to Dodson's hangar here at Wonderboom I was told that the ZS-OJI tailnumber had just been applied.
An unidentified Dak at Wonder Air...
Keith Gaskell, a more frequent visitor to these parts, volunteered the following info: "The camo Dak at Wonderboom is I believe ex Zimbabwe Air Force C-47B 7039 (cn15903/32651) which arrived 01Dec01 along with another two at about that time (7134+7310) for turbo-conversion. I saw it Oct02 parked between two hangars looking very tatty and without any markings. Didn't see the other two but they should be hangared and under conversion. (Thanks Keith !)
In addition we have the following previous identies of c/n 15903/32651:
USAAF 44-76319 (09Feb45) - KN337 RAF Montreal 12Feb45 - MAAF 21Jun45 - SAAF 28 Sq 28Jun45 - 6874 SAAF delivered 04Oct45 - RRAF709 Rhodesian AF "VP-YZH" and 7039 Zimbabwe Air Force.
Nearby we see ZS-CAI parked.
Douglas C-47A (c/n 13541) found its way quickly to South Africa, being first delivered to the USAAF as 42-93610 on 09Jun44, transferred as KG674 to RAF Nassau on 22Jun44 and proceeded as 6838 for the SAAF on 23Jul44 and it has been in S.Africa ever since. In fact, it served a very long career on governmental duties, being registered as ZS-CAI to the Department of Transport on 21Aug58 being used for a variety of duties including navaid calibration.
It was reported as sold to (DRC-based) Business Aviation in Jan02, the SA-register showing a registration date for Biz-Afrika 1472 (Pty) Ltd on 08May02, but it looks like it has been inactive for a while.
Quite amazing that this 1942-vintage transport is still around in such excellent condition !
ZS-MRU was ferried to Europe and expected to be reg'd as TF-AVN for an Icelandic owner. It got as far as the UK, as the deal went sour. It was again put up for sale while parked at Dunsfold.
Finishing an excellent stay at Timbavati Private Game Reserve, camera-hunting wildlife instead of vintage transports, a detour via Nelspruit was in order. Since international flights no longer operate here, access is quite easy and besides some Gulfstream 1's I knew I would see this beauty: ZS-LVR is getting some tender, loving care with a hose... |
The funny nose is not uncommon on DC-3s, probably had some kind of weatherradar installed at some time.
It progressed as N5000C to the Swiflite Aircraft Corporation and was reregistered N5000E in Feb68. It served a lease with Western Geophysical until 1975 and changed hands again to Aero Service Corp. from Houston, TX on 14Jan76. It was back to Starflite Corp. of Miami in Jan89 and registration N5000E was cancelled on 14Sep90. Time to move abroad !
ZS-LVR became its new identity for Bazaruto Air Charter at Lanseria, S.Africa in Sep90 and it was reportedly in Jul91 being inscribed as 'Castrol - A Can of the best Mala Mala'. Later during the 1990s it was operated by National Airways and may have acquired its "Memphis Belle"-titles, which still adorn the aircraft, slightly aft of the cockpit.
She had a narrow escape when damaged by fire (some fool tried to steal fuel at Lanseria at night on 10Mar00 while using an open flame as a light source !! ) but was repaired and registered to its present owner and operator Nelair Aviation Services at Nelspruit. A really good looking airplane, it operates with "Nelair Charters & Travel"-titles.
There is more to this bird, read all about it
The day before our flight home I returned to Lanseria, where this time I was allowed proper access (under security guard escort) on the ramp and on the storage side of the airport.|
Vickers Viscount 806 G-PFBT (c/n 265) is seen here stored at Lanseria in its Parcelforce colourscheme. At some point it was stored at Lanseria for use of spares, but who would benefit I do not know (what operator used V.Viscounts in South Africa ?).
C/n 265 - Viscount V.806
First flight 03May58 - registered to Vickers-Armstrong (Aircraft) Ltd on 20Dec56 as G-AOYP. UK CoA issued on 15May58, whilst delivered to BEA on 16Mar58. Withdrawn from use and stored at Cambridge (Teversham) 10Apr69 - 07Jan71.
Sold to Cambrian Airways (part of BAS) on 07Jan71, reg'd 20Jan71.
Reregistered to British Airways Regional Division 01Apr76. Port wheel collapsed on landing at Cardiff 25Sep79, arriving from Amsterdam flight BA914. Last service for BA was on 26Mar81, withdrawn form use with ttl 34.817 hrs and 37.410 cycles.
Delivered to BAF 10Apr81, named 'Rita'. Leased to Air Algerie 12May81-11Mar82. Leased to Nile Valley Air Services between Oct82-Feb83 but the lease did not materialize.
Transferred to BAF Air Tours 02Mar83. Transferred to subsidiary Jersey Air Ferries between 15Apr83-Oct83. Returned to BAF, leased to Gibraltar Airways 28Nov83-12Dec83 and Virgin Atlantic Airways Dec85-Dec87 & Aug88-May89.
Next was Air UK (14Mar89) and BA (19Jan90). And Air Europe Express (28Oct90) and to Manx Airlines (29Oct90).
Began a major overhaul during Jan91 into 'Freightmaster' configuration. BAF became British World Airlines on 06Apr93 and the aircraft was reregistered on 22Mar94 as G-PFBT. It was rolled out at Southend on 25Mar94 in full red Parcelforce colours.
Delivered to Heli-Lift Ltd on 23May97 and leased to Heli Jet Aviation that same date. UK registration was cancelled 08Sep99, but reportedly seen at Lanseria, South Africa still as G-PFBT on 17Nov99.
Was allocated the registration 3D-PBH, but doubtful if this registration was ever carried.
Parts were used for repairs on other Viscounts. Heli Jet Aviation's two other Viscounts were subsequently sold to a South African leasing and charter specialist, Plane 'R Us Pty., but it is unclear whether G-PFBT was included in the deal.
Breaking up started at Lanseria on 20Apr06, with the nose section reported at Lanseria's dump by Sep06. In the spring of 2007 the nose section was bought by a film company and removed from the airport.
"The Vickers Viscount" (- by Rayner G C Kittle; Air-Britain Historians Ltd, 2008)
Narrowly escaping the scrapman, EL-WNH is now intended to help firemen train... This Former Sis-Q Flying Service and Macavia Int'l "Six" has been placed at the storage side of Lanseria airport.
In Sep.2006 I received a very interesting update and photo from Geoff Street:
Upon revisiting Lanseria on 29Apr04 I was allowed to photograph ZS-CRV (cn13331) inside the Rovos Air hangar. The name "Delaney" is clearly written on the fuselage (and reported as early as 1996).
During Sep. or Oct.2008 ZS-CRV was delivered to Namibia Commercial Aviation (NCA) at Windhoek, ending 'Delaney's' career with Rovos Air. At the same time both CV440's too were offered for sale on the internet.
ZS-ASN has been re-used as a registration (see the Lodestar above) on this unique aircraft; it was Basler's no.11 fitment in June 1992 for Anglo American Operations. (Leith Paxton, thanks).
C-47B (16833/33581) started life as so many others: first assigned 44-77249 for its delivery on 30Jun45 and transferred to the RAF as KP279 RAF Montreal (02Jul45). It served on various units, e.g. 240 OCU (05Jan48).
Its civilian career started as G-AMNV for British European Airways (named "Sir Eric Geddes"), registered on 16Jan52.
Colin Truss (from Whidbey Island,WA) wrote me in July 2005: "My wife Pamela and I flew on this aircraft from Southampton to Jersey in The Channel Islands on our honeymoon, following our marriage on July 12th 1958. Fortunately we are, like the aircraft, well and very much alive."
He sent me these 2 photos of G-AMNV, taken in 1958: Photo 1 and Photo 2. Thanks Colin!
After 10 years, on 20Jun62, it switched to Tyne Tees Air Charter Ltd and did a lease as EC-ATM for TASSA (period: 27Nov62 to 02Nov63; but reported as EC-ATM TASSA at Newcastle on 29Nov63). It continued abroad as SE-EDI for Swedair from 05Jan65, returning to its former identity G-AMNV for Autair Intl Ltd (19Feb65).
It moved to more remote parts of the world as VQ-ZEA for Bechuanaland National Airways (11Nov65) after a lease to Air Senegal did not materialise. A2-ZEA became its new registration on Aug68. It entered the South African Register as ZS-FKI Protea AAV, but I don't have the date for that event.
Then National Process Air registered it in Dec68 and changed it to ZS-NPI in Nov69. It obtained its present tailnumber ZS-ASN for Aircraft Operating Co Surveys Ltd during Feb73. This was slightly revised into AOC Surveys Consultants Ltd, Lanseria in 1980. And 2 months later into A2-ADL for Aerial Survey Botswana, Gaberone.
Its present impressive appearance was acquired in Canada, during a stay starting in 1982 (and still seen at Toronto in May86), when converted to full survey configuration, extended nose and wing tip housing. It returned to Lanseria in Feb88 for Anglo American Corporation. It returned in Nov91 to the US and was converted to Turbo BT-67 by Basler at Oshkosh.
It has been on contract to Canada in 1999 and South America in 2000 (temporarily registered as PT-WXE). When I took these photos on 29Apr04, I was told it would leave for Canada the next day for a contract expecting to last some 6 months.
Dirk Septer sent me a 1997 image, ZS-ASN on assignment at Smithers, B.C. (Canada). You'll notice the change of colourscheme.
Also note that John Austin-Williams,
Public Relations and Media Liaison Officer of the South African Airways Museum Society www.saamuseum.co.za is the webmaster of the following website (valid dec.2012):
AeroTransport Data Base (online)
"Consolidated PBY Catalina, the Peacetime Record", by David Legg (Airlife Publishing Ltd, 2002)
"the ConvairLiners Story" by J.M.Gradidge, in collaboration with John M.Davis, Douglas D.Olson and Dr John A.Whittle (Air-Britain Historians Ltd, 1997)
"The Douglas DC-3 and its Predecessors" by J.M.G.Gradidge plus "Update 1" (1987) and Update 2" (1993)
"Piston Engine Airliner Production List" by A.B. Eastwood and J. Roach (TAHS, 2002)
I am indebted to the airports's management and staff at Rand, Lanseria and Nelspruit for their hospitality and only found Pietersburg's management uncooperative. In acquiring additional information on particular aircraft I am grateful to those who participate on the Yahoo newsgroups (see my Links page) and all those who shared much appreciated information.