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Past, Present and Future

A comprehensive History of The South African Airways Museum Society was written by John Austin-Williams in 2005.
John regularly updates this and the latest version (PDF) can be downloaded here WARNING 14 MEGABYTES FILE SIZE

John acknowledges the following for their invaluable contribution in compiling the history of the SAA Museum Society.

Brendan Odell
Dave Ackerman
Dave Becker
Flippie Vermeulen
Hans Pearson
Johann Prozesky
Karl Jensen
Richard Hunt
Steve Morrison

South African Airways, one of the World’s oldest Airlines, was formed on 1 February 1934, a mere 30 years after the Wright Brothers had made their first powered flight on 17 December 1903. Since its inception, SAA has utilised numerous types of aircraft, from single engined types carrying just one passenger to the largest, powered by two, three or four jet engines, transporting up to several hundred passengers, to all corners of the globe.

Since humble beginnings, the airline has had four homes. Stamford Hill in Durban, Rand Airport in Germiston, Palmietfontein Airport, just south of Johannesburg, and Jan Smuts Airport - later renamed Johannesburg International and now called OR Tambo International Airport - in Kempton Park. Faced with many challenges over the years, SAA became known in the industry for its innovative approach, which in turn resulted in it having a fascinating history. From the outset, it formed part of the then South African Railways and Harbours Administration, and it was the responsibility of the Railway Museum at Johannesburg Station to preserve the airline's history. By the end of the 1960's, this collection consisted mainly of photographs, models, uniforms and other interesting items, but due to a lack of space, no actual aircraft.

Numerous SAA employees supported the museum in expanding the collection. Johann Prozesky was one of them, with a special interest in the history of the individual aircraft operated by the airline since 1934. In 1972, he came across a somewhat neglected looking aircraft at Grand Central Airport, in the Midrand of today - none other than ZS-ASN, a Lockheed L18-08 Lodestar that formed part of the SAA fleet from 1939 until 1955 when it was sold to A.O.C. (Aircraft Operating Company), and used for aerial photography and survey work. Time had taken its toll, however, and ZS-ASN had been put out to pasture, unlikely to ever fly again. Although the Railway Museum did not have the facilities to handle an aircraft of this size, Johann persuaded the curator of the Railway Museum to approach the owners of the aircraft to donate the aircraft to the Administration for preservation and eventual display at a museum that was yet to be. A.O.C.'s Mr. Albert "Late" Lategan was very supportive, and without much persuasion, agreed to the request.

As the airline's Personnel & Training Engineer, Johann was in the ideal position to arrange for the aircraft to be towed to the then Jan Smuts Airport for temporary storage. With its wings removed, ZS-ASN entered the SAA technical area on 3 December 1973 and was stored in Hangar 4. In Dave Ackerman, of the SAA Apprentice Training School, Johann found a willing and abetting ally and restoration work by the apprentices resulted in ZS-ASN making her public debut during an open day held in the SAA technical area on 10 October 1975, resplendent in the airline's post-war "blue and silver" colour scheme. The significance of this aircraft is that it is the oldest aircraft in existence in South Africa - and in all likelihood in the world - that saw service with SAA.

In September 1972, Johann Prozesky met up with another ex-SAA aircraft at White Waltham airfield, near London. It was ZS-BCC, a de Havilland DH 104 Dove, which had seen service with SAA from December 1947 to March 1952. The aircraft, now registered G-AWFM was being operated by Fairey Surveys, and he managed to keep track of it until it was sold, for use as spares, to Fairflight, a charter airline operating from the famous Biggin Hill airfield in Kent. With the help of the late Alan Bell, the South African representative of Hawker Siddeley Aviation in England (which had taken over de Havilland), a generous donation of £500 was made for the purchase of the remains of "Wanted for Murder" as the aircraft had become affectionately known.

On a cold and misty October day in 1978, several SAA personnel began to disassemble the aircraft and it was later transported in a furniture removal van to Salisbury Hall, a stately home north of London for temporary storage. Salisbury Hall is famous for being the birthplace of the de Havilland Mosquito war-time bomber, and now home to the Mosquito Aircraft Museum. The first sections of the Dove left Heathrow Airport in the hold of a SAA Boeing 747 in February 1979, and by 4 November 1980, the SAA apprentices had rejoined the fuselage and wings of the aircraft for ZS-BCC to become a permanent static exhibit. During the restoration process much assistance was received from the late John "Jack" McVicar Malloch of Air Trans Africa in the then Salisbury, Rhodesia. They donated amongst other items a rear cabin bulkhead.

Shortly thereafter, yet another aircraft made its appearance at Jan Smuts Airport, ZS-DVJ, a Lockheed L1649A Starliner that once formed part of the fleet of Trek Airways. In its heyday, the Starliner was considered by many to have been "Queen of the skies", and this particular aircraft, adorned with SAA titles, was used on the scheduled service across the Indian Ocean to Perth, as well as for ad-hoc charter flights. When its useful life ended, it was flown into a dirt landing strip north of Warmbaths, now Bela-Bela in Limpopo Province, for use as a roadside restaurant. This venture did not prove to be a success, and in view of the connection the aircraft had with SAA, its owners, the "Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging" agreed to its transfer and addition to the historic aircraft collection. This was easier said than done and once again, Dave Ackerman together with his team of instructors and apprentices came to the rescue. The aircraft had to be dismantled on site, and prepared for road transportation to the then Jan Smuts Airport. The Abnormal Load section of the Railways supplied suitable low loaders to transport the fuselage as well as the wings, and in view of the size of the load, a pre-planned circuitous route had to be followed to avoid low overhead bridges, etc. This part of the project was completed in May 1979; thereafter the arduous task of reassembling the Starliner began. The two halves of the wing had to be re-joined before being attached to the fuselage. The undercarriage was fitted and empennage replaced before the four turbo-compound piston engines were re-installed.

SAA was approaching its 50th anniversary and preparations for the golden anniversary began in the late 1970's. The thought arose to acquire an example of SAA's first true airliner, the Junkers Ju 52/3m, to be the focal point of the celebrations and simultaneously suitably represent the fleet of long ago - but none of the aircraft that formed part of the pre-war fleet still existed. The remains of other Ju 52s were still to be found in southern Africa, in Mozambique and near Figtree in Zimbabwe, but none were fit for restoration to flying condition. Negotiations with the Portuguese Air Force, which had some aircraft available at Alverca Air Force Base proved unsuccessful and it soon became apparent that SAA would have to settle for a CASA 352L, a version of the Junkers Ju 52/3m built under license in Spain. At that time Abercrombie "Duke" Davidson was SAA's Technical Director, and he supported Johann in the venture to acquire G-BFHE from Warbirds of Great Britain with the help of Airbus Industrie.

On 12 May 1981 G-BFHE, took off from Blackbushe airfield south-west of London on the first leg of its delivery route to South Africa. The aircraft was flown across the English Channel to Lemwerder, north of Bremen, where it was disassembled by a team of SAA personnel. The next stage of its delivery journey involved a short trip by ferry boat up the Wesser River to Bremerhaven, where it awaited the Le Havre-registered "ro-ro" Roll On Roll Off, ship "Ronsard" for the sea journey to Durban. The unusual cargo was offloaded on 6 July, and a week later it arrived at Jan Smuts Airport.
Its arrival in South Africa saw the resumption of a collaboration between South African Airways and the legendary aircraft manufacturer Junkers, which blossomed in the 1930s prior to the outbreak of World War II in 1939.

Restoration work began in earnest in late 1982, with volunteers assisting Dave's apprentices with the project. "Tante Ju", as this - and all other - Ju 52s are now affectionately known took to the air again on 14 January 1984 after an extensive rebuild. She was officially registered ZS-UYU, this being painted under the left wing and in small letters on the rear of the fuselage. On 1 February 1984, the aircraft, in 1934 livery complete with authentic livery registration letters ZS-AFA, took off from Jan Smuts Airport and arrived overhead Rand Airport terminal on schedule at 14:30 to the delight of the expectant crowd. SAA had turned 50.

The acquisition by SAA of historic aircraft was on a roll, and the success of the Ju 52 project resulted in other airlines following suit - amongst others Lufthansa (also with a Ju 52, registered by arrangement with the German Aviation Authority as D-CDLH discreetly positioned under its wing but wearing the historic registration D-AQUI of the 1930's clearly visible on the fuselage) and KLM with a Douglas DC-2, registered PH-AJU. Back in South Africa the Lodestar, Dove and Starliner coupled with an airworthy example of a "Tante Ju", created immense interest and enthusiasm amongst SAA staff, old-timers as well as individuals outside of SAA. As a result it was decided, in early 1986, to establish a "historical section" and The South African Airways Museum Society, (Die Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens Museum Vereniging) a non-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers, was born. Although the Museum Society was officially formed in August 1986, the first work party was held on 29 June 1986. Collecting and preserving the history of South African Airways as well as that of general civil aviation in South Africa had begun.

The Ju was certified to carry passengers, officially registered ZS-AFA, and soon became a familiar sight over Johannesburg carrying passengers on nostalgic flips. The sonorous drone of her three Pratt & Whitney engines stirred the Johannesburg air on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings as she flew low over Johannesburg city and environs. Members of the SAA Museum Society were actively involved with these half-hour flights. They would assist with ticket selling/collection, cleaning/preparing the Ju for the next flip (yes removing air sickness bags), refuelling/re-oiling, cleaning windows and checking stock of refreshments. The majority of the aircrew were museum members. The museum shop was always present and this proved a good source of income as passengers inevitably spent some money on aircraft models, especially of the Ju, badges, caps and T-shirts.

Flipping was extremely popular and the aircraft worked hard. Her pilots consisted of SAA cockpit crew who gave freely of their time to fly her. Many a retired SAA member arrived for a flip, several had been involved with the aircraft type in "the old days back at Stamford Hill and later at Rand Airport" prior to WW2. Many of "the old-timers" brought with them items of a historical nature, relics of SAA's past, to donate to the museum. Old tickets, menus, newspaper clippings, photographs, uniforms, aircraft models, and books began to accumulate and these were displayed in the museum's makeshift display area in the hangar that housed the Ju back at Jan Smuts Airport. Stories abounded about the halcyon days of aviation and many a day's flipping turned into a night of stories in the pub, the "oldies" entertaining one another and the youngsters with anecdotes of a bygone era. Many old friendships were renewed.

At this point, in order to follow the history chronologically, we suggest that you read the
History of The South African Historic Flight, before continuing below.

In March 1987 the SAA Museum Society acquired its first aircraft, a Vickers Viking Mk. 1A. This aircraft belonged to Trek Airways and after retirement from service became a landmark atop Vic de Villiers’ “Vic’s Viking Service Station” in Armadale, south of Johannesburg. It was realised, however that its restoration would be a major undertaking. The Connie was the more popular aircraft – and in view of the Society’s rather limited resources – a better candidate for restoration, and work on Starliner “DVJ” began in earnest after the formation of the SAA Museum Society.

The Museum Society relocated to Swartkop Air Force Base in Pretoria, in 1999, and set up a museum display hall for the impressive collection of SAA and civil aviation artefacts and memorabilia that had been collected. The museum entered the electronic age with an Internet website and this has given the society world-wide exposure. The Society was now “on the map”. South African Historic Flight, who by now had added two Douglas DC-4 and a Douglas DC-3 aircraft to compliment the Ju, had also relocated to Swartkop taking with them the Lockheed Lodestar and de Havilland Dove. Members of the Society were still able to savour the sights and sounds of the vintage aircraft operated by the Historic Flight. It was indeed an aviation enthusiast’s haven with the likes of Douglas DC-3 and DC-4 aircraft and of course the beloved Junkers Ju 52/3m. The Starliner and Viking remained behind at Jan Smuts Airport, the Museum Society unable to bear the costs of relocating the two aircraft to Swartkop.

In March 2002 the South African Airways Museum Society approached SAA with a request to donate, a soon to be retired from service, Boeing 747 aircraft to the South African Airways Museum Society. To the Society’s delight SAA agreed and Boeing 747-244B “Lebombo” was the earmarked aircraft – a very appropriate choice as it was the first “Jumbo Jet” to be seen in South Africa when it arrived on 6 November 1971. SAA’s B747-200 aircraft were named after South African mountain ranges and ZS-SAN took the name of the Lebombo mountain range that forms the border between South Africa and Mozambique.

After a series of negotiations as to a possible location for the aircraft to be housed, a decision was made to take Lebombo to Rand Airport. The management of Rand Airport was most encouraged by the preservation efforts of the Society and was extremely enthusiastic about having a museum at their airport. The choice of Rand Airport meant that the association with SAA in its formative years, would be resumed after a break of more than 50 years. The terminal building and many of the hangars and workshops still in use today, are basically as they were at the time SAA transferred its operation to Palmietfontein and later Jan Smuts Airport.

On 4 May 2003 Lebombo thrilled crowds at the annual Rand Airport air show with a spirited display. She also now wore the SAA Museum Society logo on the left side just in front of door one. She had been carrying the Museum logo for some time and as she plied her trade around the world many aviation enthusiasts began to learn that the old girl was destined to be preserved.

The society was in search of much needed funds and approached SAA with a plan to use Lebombo for a once-off nostalgia sunset flight for aviation enthusiasts.

The sunset flight on the 13th of September 2003 was a resounding success.

The Museum Society vacated their small grey building and bade farewell to Swartkop and set up home at Rand Airport in January 2004. To accommodate the landing of the Society’s new acquisition all the stops were pulled out. One of the biggest contributions to the project was generously donated by Barloworld Equipment who provided all the necessary earthmoving equipment and personnel in order to widen Rand Airport’s main runway. On Friday 5 March 2004, a very dull and overcast day, ZS-SAN performed a textbook landing on runway 11 at Rand Airport. The acquisition by the SAA Museum Society of the “Jumbo” is possibly the single most proactive event in preserving civil aviation history in South Africa.

Barloworld Equipment used to widen the main runway at Rand Airport
Photo Lyn Hancock Communications
Barloworld Equipment used to widen main runway at Rand Airport
Photo Lyn Hancock Communications

Barloworld Equipment
brought in some heavy machinery to widen the main runway at Rand Airport

By 2004 the SA Historic Flight had been in operation for 5 years at Swartkop. The Lodestar and Dove had spent the entire time languishing outside in the harsh South African climate with no maintenance being carried out, save for the odd emergency repair done by SAAMS personnel. The SAAMS had approached SAHF on several occasions for a small budget with which to maintain the aircraft but to no avail. Finally in mid 2004 the SAHF management buckled to pressure from the SAAMS and agreed that the Lodestar and Dove be relocated to Rand Airport and looked after by members of the SAAMS.

The Lodestar and Dove were disassembled as necessary and on Sunday 5 September 2004 the Dove was relocated to Rand and on 17 October 2004 the Lodestar was relocated from Swartkop Air Force base to Rand Airport for public display. The two aircraft were in a very poor state and were brought up to display condition within a few months after their arrival. The Lodestar was given new carpeting, new curtains and new upholstery on the seats. The Dove was given a thorough clean and new fabric covering applied to the control surfaces.

The South African Airways Museum Society is committed to preserving, for future generations, the early history of aviation in the South Africa. The SAA Museum Society maintains in segments of its building space an interactive museum and displays aircraft and mementoes of civil aviation in South Africa providing a detailed history from the inception of aviation to the present day. The Society celebrates South African Civil Aviation by preserving artefacts, paying tribute to the pioneering personnel who established aviation in South Africa, and telling their story. The museum provides facilities for the public at large to view the wonderful collection of aviation memorabilia and artefacts of South African civil aviation history that have been collected over the years. The members of the society will continue collecting, preserving and restoring artefacts relevant to South African Civil Aviation. One of South African Airways Museum Society’s stated aims is to create an awareness of the greatness of South African aviation, particularly amongst the previously disadvantaged communities. The organisation is run by a volunteer group of passionate enthusiasts who are highly motivated people dedicated to the preservation of civil aviation history in South Africa.

The South African Airways Museum Society display hall is located in the Transvaal Aviation Club (TAC) building situated on the eastern side of Rand Airport. Historic items such as photographs, aircraft models, crew uniforms, aircraft instruments, timetables and small artefacts of SAA and general civil aviation memorabilia are on display. The museum library has a large selection of aviation-related books and videos. A souvenir shop is located in the museum display hall.

The Transvaal Aviation Club is steeped in history and has a wonderful nostalgic atmosphere. Refreshments are available at TAC. There are spacious lawns with tables and one can spend hours watching aircraft. There is a kiddies play area and good aircraft photo opportunity for those interested.

The SAA Museum Society holds its monthly meeting on the first Tuesday of every month in the display hall. Here members and guests participate in lively topical discussions. Entertainment may include a guest speaker, aviation related video, or aviation quiz.

The Society offers a wide range of activities for members. The aircraft restoration group affords the technically minded the opportunity to work on the various static display aircraft. Those members who like to keep their hands clean can immerse themselves in sorting through newly acquired material in the form of newspaper clippings, photographs and assorted artefacts etc, all of which need to be catalogued and displayed or stored. Another activity for members is assisting with the museum shop at air shows. Items on sale include aircraft models, stickers, posters, badges, aviation videos and new as well as second-hand aviation related books. From time to time the society hosts Nostalgia Evening Dinner-dances as well as “Wings & Wheels” days. Profits from these activities are put back into the Society for various projects.

Although a great distance separated the Society from the South African Historic Flight operation at Swartkop, a close working relationship between the two organisations existed and museum members often assisted the technical crew who maintained the Historic Flight aircraft.

In November/December 2005 the SA Historic Flight operation was relocated from Swartkop to Johannesburg International Airport. The outfit was closed by January 2006 and the aircraft grounded. It took many months for the operation to be handed back to SAA from the Transnet Foundation. On Monday 18 September 2006 the two DC-4 aircraft were ferried to Rand Airport. SA Historic Flight was to begin operation out of hangar 4 at Rand.

On 10 October 2004 the SAAMS were at it again, this time a letter was written to the Chief of The South African Air Force requesting that they donate an ex SAA Boeing 707 to the Museum Society. As luck would have it they agreed, after much letter writing, and the SAAMS invited a SAAF delegation to visit the museum and witness first-hand the society’s activities. Progress was slow and inspection of the aircraft, SAAF 1421, ex SAA ZS-SAI “East London”, was conducted during November 2004 to determine the exact requirements for the aircraft to be made serviceable for a once-off ferry flight to Rand Airport. As of January 2006 the feasibility study for getting the aircraft ready for a once of ferry flight was still underway, there were many items to be ironed out in order for the donation to become a reality, but the obstacles did not appear to be impossible at the time.

Nothing further was done by the SAA Museum Society to acquire the B707, there just did not seem to be anyone interested to pursue the project. However several years later long time member Andre Swart, then Vice Chairman, took up the challenge and succed in getting a large part of the fuselage and an engine donated to the museum. See here

In order to expand the museum’s facilities to meet the growing demands placed upon it, as well as to provide an aviation awareness and learning centre, the construction of a new building with enhanced facilities is required. The SAA Museum Society Committee is constantly seeking ways to further enhance the museum and its facilities. Towards the latter half of 2004 discussions were initiated with South African Airways regarding sponsorship for a new and improved museum incorporating an aviation awareness and learning centre. SAA were extremely interested and arranged a trip to the Boeing factory in Seattle to discuss Boeing providing sponsorship, along with SAA, to build bigger and better museum facilities. Rand Airport management agreed to make land available for the construction of new facilities. A proposal to Boeing was drawn up and in November 2004 the then Chairman of the SAA Museum Society, John Austin-Williams along with Onkgopotse JJ Tabane Vice President – Communications & Government Relations South African Airways flew to Seattle to present to Boeing the proposal. Boeing were most favourable providing SAA “came to the party” with an equal amount of sponsorship. 2005 looked set to become yet another year of fine achievement for the museum. Sadly however nothing materialised and the museum is still endeavouring to find the means to build bigger and better facilities.

The SAA Museum Society was always proactive and on 21 May 2005 they wrote to SAA requesting the donation of one of the two retired and rather forlorn looking B747-SP aircraft that were stored at the Denel facility. Once again SAA agreed and Boeing 747SP-44 ZS-SPC “Maluti” would be the one to be preserved.

The news we had all been waiting for finally arrived on 01 November 2005. The South African Airways Museum Society was now officially the proud owner of the Boeing 747 SP. The SAA board resolution was handed to the SAAMS Vice Chairman, Richard Hunt, thus allowing him us to begin the flight preparations to move the aircraft to Rand Airport.

The SAAMS was justifiably proud to be the first Museum world-wide to attempt the preservation of a now very rare member of the B747 family; furthermore they will be the only museum to house two of the three major B747 derivatives at one location.

During the latter part of 2005 the land preparation for the final resting place of Lebombo was well under way and scheduled for completion by end of January 2006.

The room allocated for a library finally had its floor cemented in October. The room was painted and carpeting laid down.

The society hit a spot of luck when they were offered a 12 metre porta-cabin (portable office) with three rooms each with an air conditioner. It was in excellent condition, and the ever generous museum members gave it a once over, installed electricity and had new curtains fitted.

As Swartkop Air Force base was being re activated the SAAMS had to remove the rest of its memorabilia and artefacts from the old grey building behind hangar two at Swartkop, and relocate it to the recently renovated “library room at TAC”. This project was begun on 26 November 2005.

Hennie Delport, owner of Phoebus Apollo aviation and one of the owners of Rand Airport, agreed, on 12 January 2006, to donate Douglas C-54D-15-DC, ZS-PAJ to the SAAMS. The aircraft was recently retired from service. One of the stipulated conditions is that the aircraft remained in Phoebus Apollo livery in perpetuity. The aircraft was sans engines but soon Hennie’s crew had all four engines installed. The cockpit required a full set of instruments.

SAAMS member Sean Blaauw took up the post of project leader for ZS-PAJ and within a few months the aircraft was looking good, the first official workday was Saturday 6 May 2006.

At this point, this document becomes a chronicled history of the South African Airways Museum Society in table format. The table below contains information of highlights as they occurred.

Final preparations begin for the relocation of Lebombo, the DC-4, Dove and Lodestar to the new area adjacent to the Transvaal Aviation Club Building.
Lebombo was relocated from outside the Rand Airport terminal building to her new parking spot adjacent to the Transvaal Aviation Club Building. The DC-4, Dove and Lodestar were also relocated on the same day. It took just 50 minutes for Lebombo to be moved.
On Monday 18 September 2006 the two SA Historic Flight DC-4 aircraft were ferried to Rand Airport. SA Historic Flight was to begin operation out of hangar 30 at Rand.
New website launched
At 07:48, Saturday 30 September 2006, Boeing 747SP-44, ZS-SPC “Maluti” touched down on runway 11 at Rand Airport after a short delivery flight to her new home and owners, the South African Airways Museum Society. She is the first SP to be preserved by a museum in the world. Two and a half hours after touchdown she was parked alongside her big sister ZS-SAN, Lebombo, a B747-244, at the museum’s facility adjacent to the Transvaal Aviation Club on the eastern side of Rand Airport. Lebombo landed at Rand on Friday 5 March 2004.
Two B747 derivatives preserved in one museum is also a world first.
The last flight of B747SP ZS-SPC was on the 24th of October 2003 when the aircraft operated flight SA 280/281 from Johannesburg-Perth-Johannesburg. After being checked and some minor maintenance and repairs being done she was certified fit for the ferry flight. At the end of her delivery flight to Rand the crew reported that there was “not one snag”.
Maluti is in pristine condition and will be left 100% intact, unlike Lebombo, which had her engines removed and replaced by time-expired examples. The delivery crew was:
Dennis Spence – Captain
Joe Maartens – First Officer
John Froneman – Flight Engineer
Richard Hunt – Assistant Flight Engineer
Phil Parsons – Safety Officer
Chris Hancock – Civil Aviation Authority Inspector
ZS-SPC had completed 82,313.23 hours at the time of landing at Rand Airport
The erection of security fencing around the aircraft park.
The Museum's Airbus A300 simulator is transported to Rand Airport from Swartkop and put alongside the Museum's Boeing 747 Classic simulator. The move was sponsored and carried out by Abbott Machine Moving and Rigging
12 metre container, donated by Container World is delivered
The SAA Museum Society celebrates 21 years of preserving South Africa's civil aviation heritage.
2007/08/30 Aircraft park lighting is functional. Many thanks to AC/DC Dynamics for their generous contribution to the lighting.
2007/12/31 Transnet Heritage donates the entire South African Historic Flight operation to the SAA Museum Society. Included in the donation are the following aircraft: Casa 352L (Junkers Ju 52/3m) ZS-AFA, Douglas DC-3 ZS-BXF and Douglas DC-4 ZS-AUB and ZS-BMH.
2008/01/30 The SAA Museum Society signs a lease agreement with Skyclass Aviation, a charter airline company operating out of Rand Airport. Skyclass will operate the Museum's newly acquired aircraft namely the DC-3 ZS-BXF and the two DC-4s ZS-AUB and ZS-BMH. Skyclass will continue in the tradition of using the classic aircraft for charter work to Southern Africa's exotic tourist destinations.
Swissport donates a serviceable GPU (Ground Power Unit) to the Museum. The two B747 aircraft can now be powered up and batteries charged. As a thank you the Museum took the management of Swissport for a Flip Flight aboard their Douglas DC-3 ZS-BXF, complete with Swissport decals.

GPU donated by Swissport
Photo: Leonardo Apicella

ZS-BXF with Swissport decals
Photo: Bruce Perkins


Decision taken to prepare the Junkers Ju 52 ZS-AFA for airworthiness test and subsequent return to operations for nostalgia pleasure flights and charters


First meeting with the SACAA re putting the Junkers back in the air.


First test flight of one-hour with the Junkers. All went well.

Douglas DC-6A / C118A c/n 43573 l/n 272 is moved from the grass apron at Rand Airport to the SAA Museum Society aircraft park. The aircraft is registered 9Q-CGZ. Other registrations carried by this aircraft are 51-3826, N203GB, 6Y-JKM, TG-SAS, N54G, 9Q-CGZ. The aircraft has carried a false registration of 5H-264 which was applied for filming purposes only.
Second test flight with ZS-AFA. The aircraft flew to the Parys Air Show Wings and Wheels day
The Junkers receives a special flight permit from the SA CAA to perform a display at the Rand Airport Air Show on Sunday 17 May 2009.
ZS-AFA attends the Rand Airport Air Show to the delight of the spectators.
The Rand Airport air show on Sunday 17 May was a fabulous event and drew a record crowd of 22,000 spectators. The Museum’s aircraft display park was very busy and museum members had their hands full.
The Museum was privileged to have the help of members of the Orange Tail association, all ex SAA crew from the previous century, who did volunteer duty on board Lebombo during the Rand Air Show, Germiston 17 May 2009.

Orange Tail “Tour Guides” on board ZS-SAN, Lebombo during the Rand Airport Air Show 17 May 2009

Left to right:
Brian Watts, FEO Tubby Boshoff, Fred & Gabi Gunkel, Isabel Byrne, Fred & Marietjie Fripp, Mike Cliff, Alta Bradford (in engine), Anne Roets, Sharon Scharinger, Joppie Nieman, Maryna & Tom Latskie, Lise Wielaart, Terence van Willingh, Steven Spires, Johan Steyn.

Not in the picture: Capt Karl Jensen (photographer) Capt Hennie vd Walt, Capt Heinz Kutzner, FEO Eddie Purviss, FEO Hans Terblanche, FEO Don Roebl, Alta Venter, Gabi Bravo, Eugene & Janet Maree, Marianne Kingsburgh, Hettie de Bruin, Leon & Annalize Pretorius, Judy Pillay, Soeraya Williams, Frans Hattingh, George Kemp, Louis Craig, Pieter Potgieter, Rory Learmonth, Danie Boyens, Johhny Bernard, Max Morini.


Skyclass Aviation relocates to OR Tambo International Airport with hangar and office accommodation based at Denel Aviation. The two Skymasters ZS-AUB and ZS-BMH as well as Douglas DC-3 ZS-BXF are now based at the new premises.


Thirteen metres of forward section fuselage, including the cockpit, of ex SAA B707-344C, ZS-SAI, arrives at the SAA Museum at Rand Airport.


Various panels removed off the Starliner ZS-DVJ.


Engine cowlings removed off the Starliner ZS-DVJ.


Propellers removed off the Starliner.


Starliner moved from SAA Technical to Denel Aviation.


New doors were manufactured as ZS-DVJ's original doors will "fly again" on Starliner N7316C, c/n 1018, owned by Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin-Stiftung (DLBS) German Lufthansa Berlin Foundation. New front passenger door was installed on 20 November and the new rear door pn 22 November 2012..


ZS-DVJ dismantling status summary. All engine cowls and propellors have been removed. All landing gear doors have been removed. Both inboard flap sections have been removed. In board wing leading edge sections have been removed. All wing / fuselage fairings and skin sections have been removed fully exposing the attachment bolts and fittings. 99% off all the lower fuselage skin – FWD and AFT service bay panels have been removed in preparation for wing and fuselage separation.


Four dummy engines arrived at Denel Aviation on 4 June 2013 from the USA.


Connie ZS-DVJ tail removed.


Connie Tail sections arrive at Museum Aircraft Park.


Work begins on the removal of the Starliner engines. The four engines are sent to Anderson Aeromotive based in Grangeville, Idaho, USA, for potential overhaul and/or the recovery of components suitable for overhaul for the Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin-Stiftung (DLBS) Starliner N7316C which is being restored to flying condition. The SAA Museum society will receive dummy engines to fit back to ZS-DVJ once she is at Rand Airport.


The last of the dummy engines for the Starliner are transported from Denel to the Museum Aircraft Park.


Go-ahead given by the Museum for Airside Enterprises (Pty) Ltd to manufacture fuselage shoring, consisting of rigging equipment, wing cradles and belly cradle. Cost of the shoring is R65,664.00!


Arrival at Rand Airport of the Museum’s B737 ZS-SMD.


B737 ZS-SMD moved to the Museum’s aircraft park.

SAA Museum Society

The Future

The future of any organisation can never be guaranteed. One thing is for certain though and that is that the current band of volunteers combined with a motivated governing body will ensure the immediate future for the museum will be one of growth. The governing body aims to ensure that those new and younger members realise the importance of such an organisation and that in years to come they too will be driven to strive for excellence and provide for others the opportunity to savour the past and learn from it.

Chip Satış

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