SAAF Museum visit a Winner!

Family Day

Despite the prospect of extreme cold and wet conditions 29 enthusiastic members and friends of the Witzenberg Motorklub braved the elements for a very informative and enjoyable social visit to the SAAF Museum at AFB Ysterplaat on Saturday 1 June 2013.

André and Ronel Connoway hosted the curious visitors to a most enjoyable SA Breakfast at the Astra canteen and this truly set the scene as there were no time schedules to adhere to, or cars to be prepared, this was a time to relax and enjoy good company.

During the week members of AFB Ysterplaat congregate in the Astra for that much needed lunch time snack or meeting visitors. The much anticipated 2nd Wings and Wheels Show scheduled for Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 December 2013 creating new interest and individual car clubs are encouraged to use the opportunity to learn more about the SAAF in general.

During the Wings and Wheels Show everyone is simply too occupied with their own individual part of the show to find the time to visit the Astra or the highly rated SAAF Museum.

The friendly and efficient staff of 505 Security Squadron met the visitors and directed them to the Astra where André and Ronel Connoway received them with hot coffee or tea. Amazingly, despite being dedicated competitors and / or officials in a sport where you are penalised for every second early or late some of these civvies still managed to arrive late, but then, we did say this was to be a social and relaxed day!

Travelling from Piketberg it was great to have the Witzenberg Motorklub Chairman, Pierre van der Westhuizen, present with his family. Wife Beatrice, son Jean and grandchild Jené not quite sure what to expect. Johann Zulch travelled from Ceres to join in the relaxed atmosphere and it was clear that petrolheads certainly do have an interest in anything that involves wheels or wings.

Deon and Maralize Conradie joined Günther and Louise Appelgryn as enthusiastic gymkhana couples, this time sharing the moment rather than challenging each other for positions. Ryno de Kock, an enthusiastic photographer, opted to leave his camera at home as he simply wanted to observe on this occasion. Saldanha Bay based John McLinden enjoying the Radio equipment on display.

When you are charged with the maintenance of some 300 of the most sought after cars on the African continent it is viewed as possible the greatest job in the country but this time Deon de Waal focussed his interest on the aircraft on display. Accompanied by his wife, Patricia, daughter, Linda and son Ben they made the most of the opportunity.

Hannah Wegner, an exchange student from Germany, one of two international guests present on the day. Liesl Schoonraad, the strongest woman in South Africa, accompanied by her (USA strong man) fiancé, Rick Taylor, adding further diversity to the group as they too have interesting plans for Wings and Wheels.

Brent – Jill and Gavin Laurings forgot about the challenging VW’s and even the yellow Opel and Gavin showed aspirations of becoming a future pilot. Robert and Anna Marle proved a point as Robert was actively involved with the 1st Wings and Wheels – but this was his first visit to the SAAF Museum!

With breakfast tucked away the first stop at the SAAF Museum was the planetarium and for once nobody said a word! Fearing that Chris Teale might expect them to identify one of the plentiful stars on the dome you could hear a pin drop on the super soft carpet. Congratulations Chris – this was a first! Still unable to identify any star sign but the briefing was very informative and certainly provided a deepened respect for our galaxy.

Quickly scanning through the many displays within the SAAF Museum it soon became clear that in order to truly appreciate why this is such a popular facility one would have to return many times to absorb everything properly. Nobody knew what the Ventura was, the Vampire had no teeth and the drone was something which required some explanation. Johann Zulch and Deon Conradie tried fitting the gigantic search light to the Appelgryn Golf whilst Deon de Waal found the ME262 Juno engine intriguing.

Moving on to the SAAF Museum hangar the Shackleton dwarfed everything but the Mirage, Sabre, Harvard, Super Frelon, Dakota, Wasp, Albatros and Impala each provided their own allure. The nostalgia soon evident with tales of relatives and friends leading to associations with each of these historic aircraft.

This certainly not the last time WBMK would be visiting the SAAF Museum.