The Aviation Museum of South Africa
The Aviation Museum of South Africa incorporates the South African Airways Museum Society, the Dakota Association of South Africa and Skyclass Aviation, all of which aim to preserve and promote South Africa’s aviation resources and heritage in its various forms. These associated organizations, under the auspices of the Aviation Museum of South Africa, coordinate the efforts of volunteer enthusiasts, clubs and societies to achieve their goals of sharing their knowledge of the aviation industry with as wide an audience as possible.
Established in 1986, the South African Airways Museum Society aims to record and preserve the history of South African Airways as an integral part of civil aviation in South Africa. One of the first items to be restored for display by the members of the South African Airways Museum Society was a Junkers Ju 52/3m (CASA 352L) aircraft, and the collection has since grown to include a Lockheed L-18-08 Lodestar; De Havilland DH 104 Dove; Lockheed L1649A Starliner; Vickers VC1A Viking; Boeing 747-244B; Douglas C-54D-15-DC; Boeing 747SP-44; Douglas DC-3 Dakota; Douglas DC-4 Skymaster; and Boeing 707-344C.
Among the goals of the South African Airways Museum, which is located at the Rand Airport in Germiston, is to preserve South Africa’s aviation history for future generations; to maintain an interactive museum in which to display aircraft and aviation related memorabilia; to restore artifacts relevant to aviation; to make visitors welcome and offer them insight into South Africa‘s aviation history while drawing attention to the great strides that aviation has made over the years.
The Dakota Association of South Africa focuses on Dakota aircraft and related artifacts, promoting these to the public. The association was established in 1984 by Victor Philip Fouche, and consisted initially mostly of WWII veterans, and members of the South African Air Force’s 44 squadron, with each having flown Dakota aircraft at some point. As the association came to the attention of the public it received support from others who admired the iconic aircraft and the pilots who flew them. December 17, 2010, was the 75th anniversary of the first flight by the DC-3 and these pioneering aircraft are still in operation to ferry holidaymakers and tourists to their destinations.
With the combined efforts of South African Airways Museum Society, the Dakota Association of South Africa and Skyclass Aviation, the Aviation Museum of South Africa is ensuring that future generations will have the opportunity of seeing just how far technology has come in a relatively short period of time.