De Havilland Vampires were the first
jet aircraft operated by the SAAF in South Africa, at squadron level. Vampire
229 is a single seat FB-52 variant of this classic series of early jet
fighters, and was one of 30 delivered to the SAAF in 1951, to replace WWII
229 is a substantially complete
airframe, minus engine, which was well preserved apart from minor damage over
many years in storage. 229 was offered to the Pretoria Friends of the SAAF
Museum in 2003 as a restoration project for static display as part of the
proposed SAAF Museum combat aircraft and weapons exhibit, alongside the Sabre,
Cheetah and Buccaneer, in Hangar 3 at Swartkop AFB.
Work is progressing well, with a team
of enthusiasts having stripped many components for cleaning, panel beating and
priming for re-assembly. All work is carried out at Swartkop, on a voluntary
basis, on Saturday mornings. It is planned that the airframe will be ready for
painting in an authentic operational colour scheme, with assistance from the
Museum technical staff, within the next 18 months.
We are pleased and proud to be afforded
the opportunity to preserve this significant part of our military aviation
heritage, and to create a display which will bring credit to the objectives of
the SAAF Museum at Swartkop AFB.
Vampire Project Leader
Feel free to click on any of the thumbnails below to view a
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