Smoke On Go was there on both days and showed a video of the event as it was happening.
Friday was a day of tedious work by the SAAF volunteers gaining the necessary permits and getting logistics in place. The inner wing flaps were removed to prevent further damage when placing straps under the wings to lift the aircraft.
The first aircraft to be tackled was the Piaggio P166 ’Albatross’.
This aircraft was placed on the plinth built in a garden rockery within the airport car parking area a few years after the Impala arrived. The impala arrived on the 27th May 1995.
Within a few years the bracket inside the Albatross holding it on the plinth broke during a storm and the Albatross toppled over onto its tail port side, nose up.
It was decided at this point that the aircraft should be removed and donated to the SAAF Museum. Unfortunately red tape takes a bit of time, and it was within this period that the rudder and a rear baggage cover hatch was removed never to be seen again.
The lifting of both aircraft was planned for Saturday.
Two flatbed trucks and trailers were made available by local and well known personality Stu Davidson and Sons. Samson Heavy Equipment supplied the cranes, and the Albatross was lifted early Saturday morning onto the first trailer. Even with the rain, cold and windy conditions, the Albatross were securely placed.
Next the Aermacchi MB-326 Atlas MK 1 Impala. This was more challenging as this aircraft was on top of a restaurant and cantered at an angle. It was decided earlier on that the aircraft would be removed with the securing bracket still attached to the aircraft. To do this the retaining bolts would have to be cut off while the crane held the aircraft in place.
During the final phase, the aircraft lurched upwards, and the canopy was completely destroyed by the square cradle. This was not as bad as it sounds, as the canopy was going to be replaced during the restoration at the museum, and no damage to the fuselage occurred.
After placing the Impala on the second flatbed, both aircraft were moved in a slow convoy through the airport perimeter gates, across the active runway and to the SAAF Museum directly opposite the main airport terminal building.
It is planned to restore the Albatross in its present colours, while Impala 507 will be restored into its former Silver Falcons colours scheme of blue white and blue.
The SAAF Museum survives through donations, charity and volunteer work, so presently the aircraft will remain outside until sufficient funds exist to place them under cover.
Contact Details: Rudy Nelson 076 2158989
Bank Name: ABSA
Account Name: SAAFM PE
Account Number: 9186400565
Branch Code: 632005
Reference: Your own. Preferably a name etc.