Saturday the 2nd of June looked like it was going to be a wet and rainy day for the pack outing to the South African Air Force museum, but luckily it was mostly indoors.
I’ve always enjoyed aviation, historic especially and grew up with stories from my Grandad on his time in the Royal Air Force during the 2nd World War, he served in Bomber Command as an air gunner and wireless operator on Lancaster bombers, and have been passionate about the Royal Air Force and Spitfires, Lancaster’s and all that goes with it ever since. Some of my most prized possessions are my Granddad’s Squadron photos, log books, badges and all the books I have been collecting since I was a child.
In my younger days we used to visit the SAAF museum, and I loved it, so what better place to take the cubs. We all gathered at 9am at the museum, and all the cubs (and adults who accompanied their cubs) spent a rather interesting morning looking at and even climbing on the aircraft on display. They have really cool stuff, like a cut away Rolls Royce Griffon engine, so you can see all the pistons, a Junkers Jumo jet engine, which was one of the 1st jet engines fitted to a war plane (Messerschmitt Me 262), DH Vampire, the 1st Jet to join the SAAF. Bofors anti aircraft guns and a huge search light too. That was in the first hanger. In the museum bit we saw a time line of the SAAF, with all the uniforms and models of the different aircraft that the SAAF has operated. There is so much history attached to the SAAF, and is the second oldest air force in the world after the RAF.
We them moved on to the next hanger, and had to clear security, as the hanger was in a
security area, Ysterplaat being an operational air force base. That hanger was full of aircraft. The 1st you see upon entering is a massive Avro Shakcleton, and this particular aircraft was used for coastal patrol by the SAAF. This aircraft still runs its engines once a month. The hanger was full of passionate museum volunteers restoring a Blackburn Buccaneer ground attack jet. They were very keen on sharing their knowledge with us all and lots of questions were answered. The cubs were even allowed to sit in and climb into some of the aircraft. There were helicopters, jet fighters, and a big Dakota cargo plane amongst other things. The cubs loved it!
We moved back to the first hanger, and they had aviation films playing, and we all relaxed there for a while, and all spent some money in the tuck shop and bought some SAAF squadron badges for our camp fire blankets.
All in all a fantastic outing, and some where I would certainly visit again.