Adolf "Sailor" Malan
25 Battle of Britain pilots hailed from South Africa. The most famous of them all was Adolph ‘Sailor’ Malan, an excellent fighter pilot, a brilliant tactician, a respected leader, and an inspirational protester against Apartheid.
He was called ‘Sailor’ as he had been in the South African Merchant Navy Academy before joining the RAF in 1936. He was posted to No. 74 Squadron, which was the only squadron he was to serve on. They flew Gloster Gauntlet biplanes until converting to the brand new Supermarine Spitfire in February 1939.
The Squadron’s first operational sortie ended in utter disaster. On 6 September 1939, only hours into the Second World War, the Squadron intercepted what was believed to be an enemy formation.
Rolls Royce Eagle Series 8 Engine transferred to SAAF Museum
Author: WO2 Alan Taylor – Technical Historian
The Vimy “Silver Queen II” seen after landing at Bulawayo
The Rolls-Royce Eagle was the first aircraft engine to be developed by Rolls-Royce Limited. At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the Royal Aircraft Factory asked Rolls-Royce to develop a new 200hp air-cooled engine and despite initial reluctance they agreed, on condition that it be cooled by water rather than air, as this was the company's area of expertise.
Development of the new 20lt engine was led by Henry Royce from his home in Kent and was based initially on the 7.4lt 40/50 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.
Largest, Furthest and Longest – the BOEING 707-328C in SAAF Service
Author: WO2 Alan Taylor, SAAF Museum Technical Historian
The acquisition of Boeing 707s in March 1982 was the result of a ten-year project to provide the SAAF with a dedicated In-Flight-Refuelling capability, a role which had been until then undertaken by the Buccaneer S Mk 50 bomber.
An initial three ex-Air France aircraft were acquired through a Belgian company and sent to Bedek Aviation in Israel for overhaul and modification. In addition to serving as Flying Tankers they were also fitted with removable Electronic Warfare (EW) equipment to be able to serve in Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) as well as in passenger-carrying roles.