This is a question for the old SAAF guys like Oom Guns & his budds.
I'm in the US of A at present and today, while I was preflighting an aircraft out on the apron in the bitter (deksels ma' dis koud hier!) cold, I hear a sound that both confused me and warmed my heart.
The unmistakeable throb of a Harvard in full flight. And 'struesbob, there she was , doing circuits Runway 34 R at Manassas, VA , still in SAAF colours, number 7697 on the side.
Does anybody know how this bird came to be here and who the owner is?
I'll try to find out from this end, if anybody's interested.
When the Harvards were decommissioned from the SAAF, they were put out on bid. Apart from the few (I think 10) that the Harvard Club of SA retained, some were sold to private buyers in SA, and some were sold to buyers all over the world.
During November of 1993, the SAAF at Langebaan Weg packed 7 Harvards in containers for shipment to Chilé for an Airshow. After the airshow, all 7 went to the USA. I've got stacks of pictures of these dismantled T6's lying on the hangar floor at Langebaan Weg ready to be containerized, but I don't know how to post the pictures here. I will check if GUNZZ can help, and I will also check on the number for you.
Next time you see it, do a close up inspection of the machine, as somewhere on the the fuselage, should be its N registration in small letters. If you can get the N registration, then we can tell you who owns it. Maybe you can even organise yourself a ride in it as a fellow South African.
Love to the wifey and mail some news. Best regards!
I have checked the old logbooks. Flew it last on the 7th of Feb 1978 with Willie van Coppenhagen (Rip) as a Pupe at Dunnottar. Brings back good memories! Very suprised to see it still flies after all my landings.
Skuus Oom Guns, it was used with much reverence and respect. Thanks for the hoping, cause it worked ! After 2.4 hours of sweating blood and swearing (under my breath) I got the 'congratulations, I'll see you inside' yeeha! hoogtyd ook.
On the way out I drove over to where 7697 was hangared, just to see her taxiing out with 2 occupants. Too far away to snap a digital photo.
My instructor gave me some gen as to who to go see re the owner etc. so will report back when I have some info.
Also saw an L39 flying in the circuit. Same paintscheme as the one that was down in Port Elizabeth some years ago. An olive drab Huey was thumping its way around the hangars when I left, will go check her out as well soon.