SAA Mu­seum So­ci­ety

If cul­tural, her­itage or nos­tal­gia tourism are niche sec­tors that your busi­ness fo­cusses on, then the South African Air­ways Mu­seum So­ci­ety (SAAMS) is def­i­nitely worth in­clud­ing in itin­er­ar­ies. Here's why.

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL - By Des Langk­ilde

Con­ve­niently po­si­tioned on a tract of land ad­ja­cent to Rand Air­port’s run­way 29 in Ger­mis­ton, Gaut­eng, South Africa, the SAAMS dis­plays an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of Static Dis­play Air­craft.

In­cluded in the dis­play are two Boe­ing 747s, “Le­bombo” which flew over El­lis Park at the 1995 Rugby World Cup and a rare Boe­ing 747SP named “Ma­luti”. There is also a B747 “Clas­sic” Sim­u­la­tor and an Air­bus A300 Sim­u­la­tor, both, sadly, no longer op­er­a­tional. “Le­bombo” is open for view­ing, just not the cock­pit. For in­te­rior ac­cess to any of the other static dis­play air­craft an ap­pli­ca­tion must be made via e-mail, stat­ing the num­ber of vis­i­tors. Ideally at least a week’s no­tice is re­quired to give the SAAMS suf­fi­cient time to al­lo­cate a Tour Guide.

Three of the air­craft that the mu­seum cur­rently owns are ser­vice­able; two Dou­glas DC-4 Sky­mas­ters and a Dou­glas DC-3 Dakota. Th­ese air­craft are all clas­sic pro­pel­ler-driven air­lin­ers that started their ca­reers in the mid 1940s and still ply their trade car­ry­ing tourists to ex­otic des­ti­na­tions in South­ern Africa. The air­craft are leased to Sky­class Avi­a­tion who op­er­ate them on char­ter work, in­clud­ing film shoots and scenic flights around Jo­han­nes­burg and en­vi­rons. Sky­Class holds a Part 121 cer­tifi­cate with both Do­mes­tic and In­ter­na­tional li­cences and has gained an en­vi­able rep­u­ta­tion and is well known and re­spected among lo­cal and over­seas tour op­er­a­tors for their African air tour sa­fari ex­cur­sions. Clients fly into the Jo­han­nes­burg hub and from there make their way to var­i­ous des­ti­na­tions us­ing the Sky­Class air­craft. The air­lin­ers can de­part out of Rand Air­port, Lanse­ria Air­port or from OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port. Pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions in­clude Na­tional and Pri­vate game parks within and out­side of South Africa, sport­ing week­ends and hol­i­days, cor­po­rate trips, fly­ing sa­faris to such ex­otic places as the Vic­to­ria Falls, Chobe Game Lodge, the Is­lands off Mozam­bique and be­yond up into North­ern and Eastern Africa and Zanz­ibar.

Photo's cour­tesy of SAA Mu­seum So­ci­ety, John Austin-Wil­liams and Bruce Perkins of Flight Zone.

The SAAMS Sim­u­la­tor and Ra­dio Room houses a rare Air Train­ers Lim­ited AT50 Jet In­stru­ment Fly­ing Trainer – a li­censed built “Link Trainer” circa 1954.

An ae­rial view of the air­craft dis­play. Founded in 1986, SAAMS is a non-profit vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tion col­lect­ing and pre­serv­ing the his­tory of civil avi­a­tion in South Africa.

A Lock­heed L18-08 Lodestar.

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