of South Africa

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Operators of the North American Harvard in South Africa

 

The Harvard Club of South Africa




Harvard Club Logo

The Harvard Club of South Africa logo

Hereditas Nostra Our Heritage

 

 

The History of the Harvard Club of South Africa

 

The idea of a Harvard Club originated in The South African Air Force Association (SAAFA) during 1988-89. The aim was to recruit members for SAAFA by grouping together airmen involved with the North American Harvard since 1940. The Club was officially launched at Central Flying School (CFS) Dunnottar in 1990, during the Harvard 50th anniversary celebrations.

 

During the weekend 86 members were enrolled of which 52 joined SAAFA as well. The plan was to get all these Harvardites together annually for a braai and story telling regarding the years of Harvard operations in the SAAF.

 
In 1991, the SAAF announced that the Harvard was to be phased out and replaced by the Pilatus PC 9, this would result in CFS, moving to AFB Langebaanweg in Cape Town. It was realised that these wonderful aircraft, the schoolmaster of the air and the backbone of training pilots for the SAAF, would be lost to foreign collectors and traders. Negotiations with the SAAF, Command Council and the Department of Defence was initiated in order to preserve South Africa's Aviation Heritage.

Motivations, bargaining and threats were formulated and lobbied to all parties concerned. The then Chief of the Air Force,
Lieutenant-General  James Kriel, supported the request and formulated the contract, altering the request for 4 Harvards to 10. The fact that the Deputy Minister of Defence, Wynand Breytenbach, flew Harvards, while in the SAAF, promoted the plan in the Higher circles.

During 1992/3 the Club was issued with a range of Harvard numbers that would be available to the club. Together with W.O.I AJ vd Walt, certain aircraft were selected and accepted to be earmarked for the Harvard Club of South Africa.  Members were approached for financial support as the prospect of receiving 10 Harvards to operate and preserve was frightening. 21 Members came to light with donations of R1000-00 each and so the Club assured its finance base. 


The first three Harvards were officially handed over by the CAF, to the chairman during a function held at AFB Swartkop in 1994.  Harvards 7028  7512 and 7643 were flown over to Jan Smuts International Airport where SAA Technical would carry out the inspections and reregister the aircraft on the civilian register.

 

Eleven registrations ZU-AOO to ZU-AOZ  were reserved for the Harvards. During 1994/1995 the other 7 aircraft were delivered to the Harvard Club.

 

Once all the birds were in the nest, with the co-operation of Colonel Tony Smit, WOI AT vd Walt, Reg Rivers and myself, A.W. de Klerk, the history of the 10 aircraft was traced and registered. The application, with full history of each aircraft was forwarded to the National Museums Council, requesting that these aircraft be certified as National Heritage items. The main motivation being the preservation of Our Aviation Heritage and assuring these aircraft were never to leave the Republic of South Africa and preserved for the future generations. The application was successful to the great joy of all.

After completion of the first three aircraft inspections at SAA, the Harvards were flown to Springs airfield where the Club managed to lease a hangar from where the operation would take place. Members' contributions and introductory flights made available to the public, kept the operation rolling. With the SAAF 75 celebrations, ZU-AOR, was painted in the official SAAF 75 colours as a token of appreciation for the assistance in obtaining these aircraft.

 

Via an American company, the Club ventured into “Sky Typing” in order to gain funds to maintain and preserve the Harvards.

 

In May 1996, three Harvards entered into the first pylon race competition, held at FALY, with one of the Club Harvards, winning the event.

 

Various air shows, fly-ins and formations were performed in the years to follow. In 1998 a Harvard spares package was bought from the SAAF to keep the aircraft flying. The funding was and still is funded by the Club by various methods of raising funds.

During 1999, the idea of turning AFB Swartkop into SA’s Duxford, (a flying museum) an offer was made from the SAAF to move the Club from Springs to Swartkop. All official permissions were obtained and the move took place during 2000. Once settled the motivation was directed to renovation and servicing, concentrating on engine overhauls.

 

The Harvard Club of South Africa remains located at AFB SWKP and the future looks good as many enthusiasts, including the younger generation, labours and spends time at the Club, preserving our Heritage.


The Harvard Club offer the following:


  • Introductory flights for new members
  • Type rating conversions
  • Formation training
  • Fly-pasts for special events (company team building)
  • Air show events (where sponsored)
  • Sale of Harvard related memorabilia


For further information visit The Harvard Club of South Africa website


A.W. de Klerk OSAAFA
10 April 2007

 


 


The aircraft of The Harvard Club of South Africa

Click on C/N to go to individual aircraft page with more photos and information about that aircraft.
 

Model SAAF Civil Reg C/N Comments Aircraft name
Mk. 11 A 7024 ZU-AOO 88-9958    
Mk. 11 A 7028 ZU-AOP 88-10536    
Mk. 11 A 7059 ZU-AOR 88-9283 Painted in special colours in 1995 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the SAAF. Named after the wife of the Chief of the Air Force General James Kriel.
Nellie
Mk. 11 A 7152 ZU-AOS 88-10008 Damaged (crashed Stellenbosch. Repairable)  
Mk. 11 A 7156 ZU-AOT 88-9922 Destroyed (crashed Pietersburg)  
  7659 ZU-AOU 88-15277    
Mk. 11 A 7306 ZU-AOV 88-12070    
Mk. 111 7592 ZU-AOW 88-15799 Severely damaged (crashed Fly-in) Perhaps repairable at great cost.  
AT-6A 7643 ZU-AOX 78-7140    
AT-6A 7661 ZU-AOY 78-4698 Disassembled at Swartkop for extensive restoration  
Mk. 11 A 7166 ZU-AOZ 88-10572    




ZU-AOP 7028 Theo van der Merwe

 

C/N 88-0536

ZU-AOP

SAAF 7028

The Harvard Club of South Africa

Photograph: Theo van der Merwe


ZU-AOP 7028 Theo van der Merwe (2)

C/N 88-0536

ZU-AOP

SAAF 7028

The Harvard Club of South Africa

Photograph: Theo van der Merwe

 

ZU-AOR John Miller

C/N 88-9283

ZU-AOR

SAAF 7059 Nellie

The Harvard Club of South Africa

Photograph: John Miller The Article Library This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

ZU-AOR 7059 Nellie Theo van der Merwe

C/N 88-9283

ZU-AOR

SAAF 7059 Nellie

The Harvard Club of South Africa

Photograph: Theo van der Merwe

 

ZU-AOX 7643 Theo van der Merwe (2)

C/N 78-7140

ZU-AOX

SAAF 7643

The Harvard Club of South Africa

Photograph: Theo van der Merwe

 

 

ZU-AOX 7643 Theo van der Merwe

C/N 78-7140

ZU-AOX

SAAF 7643

The Harvard Club of South Africa

Photograph: Theo van der Merwe

 

ZU-AOX 7643 Theo van der Merwe (3)

C/N 78-7140

ZU-AOX

SAAF 7643

The Harvard Club of South Africa

Photograph: Theo van der Merwe

 

ZU-AOZ 7166 Theo van der Merwe (4)

C/N 88-10572

ZU-AOZ

SAAF 7166

The Harvard Club of South Africa

Photograph: Theo van der Merwe

 

ZU-AOZ 7166 Theo van der Merwe (2)

C/N 88-10572

ZU-AOZ

SAAF 7166

The Harvard Club of South Africa

Photograph: Theo van der Merwe

 

ZU-AOZ 7166 Theo van der Merwe (3)

C/N 88-10572

ZU-AOZ

SAAF 7166

The Harvard Club of South Africa

Photograph: Theo van der Merwe

 

ZU-AOZ John Miller

C/N 88-10572

ZU-AOZ

SAAF 7166

The Harvard Club of South Africa

Photograph: John Miller The Article Library This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




 
Monday, 21. May 2018

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