I will never forget you Lebombo - had quite a few flights on the great bird
From Mr John Austin - Williams from the SAA Museum Society :
Lebombo Has Landed
At four minutes past eight, South African time, on an overcast and dull Friday morning 5 March 2004, the retired South African Airways Boeing 747-244, ZS-SAN, "Lebombo" touched down at Rand Airport, Germiston, just outside Johannesburg. It was a case of third time lucky for the landing had been postponed twice due to poor weather conditions on 14 and 28 February. A substantial crowd had been waiting at Rand since about six a.m. and erupted in cheer and clapping as the grand old lady was placed firmly down on runway 11. As planned she stopped near the intersection of runway 11/29 and 35/17. After the exchange of congratulations over the radio the crew announced the shut down of the four big Pratt & Whitney engines, the APU (auxiliary power unit) however was kept running so that steering and brakes could be operated. The responsibility of towing the aircraft was handed over to a very experienced and highly capable SAA Technical crew who's task it was to move the aircraft to its parking area. A tug was connected and the jumbo began to head for the designated parking area in front of the terminal building. However the tug wheels lost grip on the grass and after several unsuccessful attempts to try and assist the tug with a fire tender a decision was taken to taxi Lebombo across the grass under her own power. The four engines were started and in a few minutes the old girl was on the taxi area in front of the terminal. The tug was reconnected and the aircraft manoeuvred to her parking spot.
Lebombo is sure to attract attention for she can be seen from as far away as Alberton and most of the roads that lead to Rand Airport. An interesting point is that when standing in front of the entrance to the Rand Airport Terminal building one can see her tail towering above the buildings. A good bit of marketing for SAA no doubt!
Lebombo will remain parked in front of the terminal building for a short while until a concrete hard-stand has been prepared next to the TAC building.
Lebombo's crew consisted of:
Captain: Dennis Spence Captain: Stuart Lithgow Senior First Officer: Phil Parsons Senior Flight Engineer Officer: Dennis McDermott Chief Flight Engineer Officer: Peter Kiely
Also on board was Gerry Du Toit from the South African Civil Aviation Authority.
It was an emotional time for it was the last flight of Senior Flight Engineer Officer Dennis McDermott and Chief Flight Engineer Officer Peter Kiely. It was fitting indeed that their last flight was on an aircraft destined to be preserved and not sent to a breakers yard.
On behalf of the SAA museum society I take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank the following for their invaluable contribution towards what will go down in history as a major event in the preservation of South Africa's civil aviation heritage.
In alphabetical order:
African Pilot Magazine Air Traffic Navigation Services Barlod Heavy Haulage Barloworld Equipment Capital Air Security Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality Emergency Services ETV Graham Cooper Laurie Giani LGM SA Lufthansa Gebaudemanagement Lynne Hancock Communications Mama She's Waste Recyclers Netcare 911 Rand Airport Fire Services Rand Airport Management South African Airways South African Airways Flight Operations South African Airways Technical South African Broadcasting Corporation South African Civil Aviation Authority Transcor Heavy Haulage Transvaal Aviation Club Management Tyco Trucks
Our thanks go to all other people and organisations that have given so much time and effort in assisting us to ensure this project reached an epic highlight.
Last but by no means least, a huge thanks to the members of the South African Airways Museum Society.
Well can we ask for more .. here are the notes straight from the commander : Capt Dennis Spence
The aircraft empty weight was 164 000kg and we had 20 000kg fuel on board. The aircraft was TOTALLY airworthy and every component was serviceable, it even has toilet paper in all the toilets!!!!!
We had a snag before start with the PMS (Performance Management Computer) so one was ordered from stores and it was fitted before we departed.
Take-off weight was 183 000 kg and the V1/VR speed was 125 kts. Max thrust was 1.6 EPR but we de-rated to 1.55.
We applied nearly max thrust on the brakes and it had acceleration that made the M3 drivers look like they were standing still.
We rotated just after intersection Lima, some 3000 ft from the beginning of 03 Left, and climbed away with a body angle of nearly 30°.
We were given vectors for Rand from the west, but because of some cloud we only became visual too late to commence the approach, so we were re-vectored and approached from the south.
We joined right-hand downwind for 11 and got the gear and flap 30, landing flap out early. As there is no approach aids on 11, we plotted an ideal path using the DME at RAV. The threshold height of 11 is 5500 ft AMSL at 0,7 DME RAV, so by the simple rule of 300 ft per nautical mile, we had our path plotted.
3,7 DME : 6400 ft 2.7 DME: 6100 ft 1.7 DME: 5800 ft
We did not want to touch early, because of the "lip" on the approach to 11, so we had a chalk line at 50m (150 ft) drawn across the runway to ensure that this would not happen, because of the visual illusion of such a narrow runway ( 15m wide compared to 60m wide at JNB).
The distance from the nose of the aircraft to the rear of the gear is 114 ft, so we would not want to touch down before the nose was at this line.
Also, the demonstrated landing distance from the flight performance manuals, and computed by the performance engineers at SAA is 3000 ft.
This is using ONLY brakes and NO thrust reverse, but we must remember that this is for a new aircraft with new brakes, not one with 107 000 flying hours on it !!!!
To ensure that we minimized the possibility of an over-run of 11, we then put another chalk line at 3600 ft from the end of R/W 29, so if we were not on the ground by this mark, we would go-around and have another attempt. In the Simulator we tried various scenario's using JNB 30L , NO aids, except for the 300 ft/NM [plot, a 5 kt crosswind and a 5 kt tail wind, NO reverse thrust, and every time we managed to stop before intersection Lima.
Well it worked at Rand, and we did NOT scratch the paint !!!
I managed to keep it on the centre line and touch down at the point we wanted - Bug speed at the weight of 178 000kg was 118 kts, but on short final with the wind at 070/08 I elected to fly it at 115 kts.
When Dennis Mc Dermot, our Flight Engineer called 20 ft on the radio altimeter, I closed the thrust levers and planted it firmly onto the runway, aircraft carrier style.
Well most of our energy dissipated rapidly, and by using medium auto-brakes, until I lowered the nose wheel, we managed to stop just before the intersection of 11/35.
Stew just "cracked" the reversers, in case we need them, but because the engines will be removed and used again, we did not want to ingest any debris, as ALL the engines were overhanging the runway. The brake temperatures did not move higher than the mid green range.
Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories of SAA in the 70s. Back in 1971/2 (memory is fading!!!) I remember standing on the roof of the then New Flying Building with Gerry Du Toit, and others (Doug McKellar, Ken Pain ++ if the memory banks recall correctly) to watch Lebombo’s 1st landing. Although ZS –SAL pre- registered her Lebombo was the 1st 742 delivered.
Ironical that 33 years later Gerry was on the final flight.
Still prefer her with the Flying Goat on the fin though!
This Boeing 747-200 (B747) joined the airline on 6 November 1971 at the cost of ZAR17 milion (Euro 1.9 million) and has carried 6 million passengers (world fleet of B747 to date has carried more than 3.5 billlion), done an amazing 107,000 flying hours, twelve and a half years airbone, 481.5 million nautical miles or 886 million Km using 160.5 million litres of jet A1, used 3384 tyres at a cost of ZAR30.4 million (Euro 3.38 million) nearly double the original purchase price.
Well done fellas,a beautifull sight to see. Congratulations to all involved with the planning and execution of this flight. The decision by SAA Ops/Tech, the photos Julian, the chopper flying Andre`and especially to the operating crew, a big WELL DONE Good onya Dennis Spence my mate. Finally, to Stuart Lithgow, my brother in arms,(SAAF Pupes course 2/70). Stuart, to the family, and especially to your dad, my proud acknowledgement of this wonderfull achievement. After your Airbus course and next trip to the land downunder, remind me to shout you all heaps of VB`s.
Perry. To fly is human, to hover is devine
Awesome!!Good effort! You know, looking at that last pic of the crew standing together, if they weren't in uniform and you saw them having coffee together at the mall you'd think they were harmless old men... meanwhile they throw a 747 around like its a toy!! Respect!
Well planned, well flown and well done Dennis and team. The landing was "split-arse" and pictures magnificent. I hope that someone will remember to get copies of these photos into the old bird once she becomes an established museum piece on the airport grounds.
Also, "how you doin Prerry ol Pal". Im your ol pissing competition pal from mudzi mountain, and now- 'van Singapore af'
Good work to Dennis and his crew. Lets not forget to thank Julian for the awsome pictures. If it were not for him some of us who are no longer around Jo'burg would not have had a chance to see this great site. Great pics buddy.