Wednesday, 26 December 2012

SAAF Sabres: Canadair CL-13B and North American F86F


SAAF Sabres: Canadair CL-13B and North American F86F



The SAAF Operated North American F86 E/Fs and Canadian Built CL13-Bs:

North American Sabres:

The SAAF's use of the Sabre started during the Korean War when 2 Squadron had their Mustangs replaced by North American F86F-30 Sabres. This was due to the high regard and respect that the SAAF pilots had achieved with their tenacity in the ground attack role with Mustangs.

The first machines, on loan from he USAF, were delivered in January 1953, and the last returned to the USAF in October 1953.

These early Sabres, although F models, which in theory would of been fitted with the newly-developed "6-3" wing were in fact mostly all fitted with the older slatted non 6-3 wing. There is photographic evidence though that at least one of the attrition replacement aircraft was fitted with a "hard 6-3 wing".

At the cessation of the Korean hostilities 2 Squadron returned all their remaining Sabre's to the USAF. Aircraft losses amounted to four out of 22 Sabres.
Serial numbers  were in the 601 to 622 range.





Canadair Sabres


The SAAF Museum's Sabre is a Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk 6, one of a batch of 34 acquired by
the SAAF. The specific aircraft in question, serial 367, was delivered to the SAAF on 11 October 1956. The construction number is 1476 and it was allocated the temporary RCAF serial of 23686.


Initially serving with 2 Squadron, it transferred to 1 Squadron in 1964 when they were replaced by Mirage IIICZ's. In 1976, 1 Squadron re-equipped with the Mirage F1AZ and 361 was transferred to the Advanced Flying School at AFB Pietersburg. Sabre 367 undertook its last flight on 3 March 1978 before
being retired from service.

Sabre 376 was placed in storage until 1996 when, under the inspiration of Col Rod Penhall, OC of AFB Bloemspruit and an ex-Sabre pilot at 1 Squadron, the decision was made to resurrect the Sabre for the SAAF Museum. The aircraft was transported by road from the SAAF Museum to AFB Bloemspruit on
15 January 1997. The team worked for slightly more than three years to restore the aircraft to full flying condition.

Three of the major problems facing the restoration team were the unavailability of pyrotechnic cartridges for the ejection seat, an unserviceable centre wing fuel tank and the requirement to manufacture a new
trunion for the engine. By March 2000, the restoration had been completed.
Since the aircraft had been in storage for an excessive period, the test flying programme conducted by the Test Flight and Development Centre was treated as a new aircraft being readied for its first flight. All electrical looming and connections, hydraulic and fuel pipes, and flight and engine control systems, were inspected by independent authorities, and safety and technical review boards were convened.

After numerous engine ground runs, compass swings and engine relights, approval was granted  to advance to the high speed taxi test. In this specific case, the aircraft was accelerated to 100 knots and the aircraft lifted-off approximately 2ft above the runway for about 4 seconds during which time the test pilot evaluated the aerodynamic responses.

The 'first flight' of the restored Sabre, still in its natural metal finish, was conducted on 30 March 2000 at 17h15B and lasted for 30 minutes during which no snags were reported.

Despite appearing in numerous airshows during 2000, Sabre 367 was only repainted in full 2 Squadron colours during October 2000.


SAAF Sabre Canadair CL-13 Mark 6 #367

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

SAAF Flying Cheetahs (Part 2): F 86 Sabre

SAAF Flying Cheetahs (Part 2): F 86 Sabre in Korea

When the P51D was retired in Korea, the SAAF upgraded to the North American F86 Sabre:



2 Squadron was South Africa's contribution to the United Nations war effort during the Korean War from November 1950 to December 1953. 2 Squadron was attached to USAF 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing for the duration of the war.[4] Initially flying the P-51 Mustang, the squadron re-equipped with the F-86 Sabre in February 1953. During the war the squadron flew a total of 12 067 sorties, most being dangerous ground attack missions. 74 of the 94 Mustangs and 4 out of the 22 Sabres were lost, along with 34 pilots.





For their actions, the squadron received the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and United States Presidential Unit Citation, along with numerous other awards and decorations.










In addition, the Commanding Officer of the USAF's 18th FBW, to which the squadron was assigned, issued a directive at the end of the war that:

In memory of our gallant South African comrades, it is hereby established, as a new policy that at all Retreat Ceremonies held by this Wing, the playing of our National Anthem shall be preceded by playing the introductory bars of the South African National Anthem, 'Die Stem van Suid-Afrika'. All personnel of this Wing will render the same honours to this Anthem as our own.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Flying Cheetahs: SAAF P51 Mustangs in Korea

Flying Cheetahs: SAAF P51 Mustangs in Korea

The Mustang and the SAAF did not meet for the first time in Korea. Early models of this British initiated, American built fighter, served with 5 Squadron in North Africa and Italy during the Second World War.The SAAf used the Mustang from 24 September 1944 when P-51B/C Mustang Is replaced Kittyhawks in 5 Sqn during the Italian campaign. P-51K Mustang IVa's, plus a few P-51D Mustang IV's were introduced later and 5 Sqn used the type extensively until is was disbanded in October 1945. 

War broke out in Korea on 25 June 1950 and on 4 August 1950 the Union Government announced its intention to place an all volunteer squadron at the disposal of the United Nations.

When the South African Government comitted a squadron to the United Nations forces in Korea, 2 Squadron was selected to join the fray with Spitfires. This decision was rescindered, and it was decided to operate an aircraft which was already in the theatre, and for which full logistic support was already established. 2 Squadron joined the 18th Fighter-bomber Wing, flying P -51 Mustangs and later on F-86 Sabres.










On 25 September 1950, 2 Squadron, the Flying Cheetahs, sailed for Japan. On arrival at Yokohama the squadron proceeded to Johnson Air Base near Tokyo where they completed their conversion and OTU on F-51D Mustangs supplied by the USAF. 2 Squadron served as one of the four squadrons of the USAF 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing and flew their first mission in Korea on 19 November 1950 from K-9 and K-24, Pyong Yang.

The SAAF flew with the distinctive Springbok in the centre of the roundel, introduced when 2 Squadron, was sent to Korea. Their role was close air support against enemy positions to soften them up for ground attacks, interdiction against the enemy's logistic and communication lines, providing protective cover for rescue operations, reconnaissance flights and to a lesser extent, interception of enemy aircraft. During the southward advance of the Chinese Communist forces these pilots attacked enemy troops, trucks and supplies daily in near zero temperatures. On 30 November the squadron moved to further south to K-13 from where they were evacuated further back to K-10, an airfield situated on the edge of the little bay close to the town of Chinhae. This was to be their permanent base for the next two years.

While equipped with Mustangs, the squadron flew 10 373 sorties and out of a total 95 Mustangs acquired, no fewer than 74 were lost due to enemy action and accidents. Twelve pilots were killed in action, 30 missing and four wounded.

In January 1953 the squadron received USAF F-86F Sabre jet fighter-bombers. Pilots and ground crew had to undergo courses in Japan to adapt to the aircraft. The first Sabre mission was flown on 16 March 1953. This marked the entry of the SAAF into a new era of jet warfare. Operating from K-55, the Flying Cheetahs took part in fighter sweeps along the Yalu and Chong-Chong rivers as well as ground targets. The squadron flew a total of 2 032 sorties in the Sabres. Only four Sabres were lost out of 22 supplied.

Once again the SAAF proved its worth. Serviceability in 2 Squadron was better than that of the other three USAF squadrons in the wing. The SAAF ground crew were volunteers and mostly WWII veterans, while the USAF ground crew were drafted to Korea. When there was a shortage of aircraft, three Mustangs that had been written off were cannibalised to make one. The work took a month and as the SAAF paid for aircraft issued, this aircraft was 'free' to the SAAF.


The war ended on 27 July 1953. 34 SAAF pilots had lost their lives and eight taken prisoner of war, including the future Chief of the Air Force, General D Earp. 74 Mustangs and 4 Sabres were lost. Prior to returning to South Africa, the Sabres were returned to the USAF.

In recognition of their association with the Flying Cheetahs, the OC of 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing issued a policy directive 'that all retreat ceremonies shall be preceded by the introductory bars of the South African national anthem. All personnel will render the honour to this anthem as our own'.

The SAAF Museum has been attempting to aquire examlples of important aircraft flown by the SAAF during its history, and one of the ex-Dominican F-51Ds was located in Florida, USA, in 1986 where the remaining aircraft had gone after resale. FAS1917 (c/n 122-38661_ was an F-51D-20-NA originally built as s/n 44-72202 and delivered to the USAAF on 9 January 1944. In 1945 it was delivered to the 8th Air Force in the United Kingdom but its unlikely to have seen combat.
In March it was delivered to Flygvapnet (The Swedish Air Force) where it received the identity Fv. Nr.26112 and was operated by F16 Wing based at Uppsala. A total of 161 Mustangs were delivered to Sweden.
On 31 October 1952 it was one of 42 Mustangs sold to Dominica and was accepted by the F.A.D on 1 January 1953. The aircraft saw considerable action against rebels who opposed the dictatorship of President Rafael Trujillo. Trujillo's son Ramfis was forbidden to become an operational pilot with the airforce. However in a flamboyant gesture of appeasement by Trujillo, the fighter squadron operating both F-51Ds and F-47 Thunderbolts was redesignated Esquadron de Caza Ramfis and later Grupo de Caza Ramfis. The Mustangs were periodically updated and overhauled by Trans Florida Aviation of Sarasota, California (which was later renamed Cavalier Aircraft Corp).
Trujillo was assassinated on 31 May 1961, but in the years to come, unrest in Dominica continued, culminating in the Civil War of 1965, in which Mustangs played an active part. A further upgrade programme took place in 1967/68 by Cavalier Aircraft but htey remained essentially stock aircraft. Surviving longer than any other operational Mustangs, they were finally replaced by Cessna A-37Bs and the twelve survivors were sold to the USA


The SAAF Museum brought a Mustang in the USA in 1987, and when it was shipped to Cape Town where it arrived 14 November 1987. It was found to be corroded, and stripping commenced as soon as the crated aircraft arrived at Lanseria (the SAAF Museum base at that time). Bad luck, missing parts, stretched cables and lack of funds, have made its restoration a long and laborious task, but after 12 years the labour of love is complete and flying. It first took to the skies on 13th of October 1998

The Museum Mustang bears the number 325. It is the third time a Mustang bears this number. The first 325 - named "PAPPASAN" - crashed in Korea, and instead of writing the aircraft off , the SAAF ground personnel rebuilt the aircraft from components salvaged from various wrecks. The resulting hybrid was again numbered 325, (PAPPASAN II) and was evidently the fastest Mustang in Korea. 



Mustang Oddities part 2

Mustang Oddities Part 2

CAC 17 Mustang, Piper Enforcer, CA 15 Kangaroo and Cavalier Mustang

CA 17 Aussie Built Mustang



In 1942 the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was looking for a new fighter aircraft. 
They decided on the P-51 Mustang as their high altitutde interceptor. In late 1943, an agreement between NAA and the RAAF was reached. An Australian aircraft company, Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC), would build P-51Ds under license in Australia.

As part of the agreement, NAA would supply 100 P-51D Mustangs disassembled and Packard would supply some 80+ -3 Merlin engines. Delays mounted and the first CAC P-51 did not fly until April 1945. In all, 80 P-51s were completed from these parts and designated CA-17 Mk.20, A68-1 to A68-80.

         
As the war came to an end, the total scratch built CAC P-51s was reduced to 120 aircraft. The CAC new built P-51s were designated CA-18. Versions would be the Mark 21, Mark 22, and Mark 23.

The Merlin V-1650-7 was used in the CA-18Mk.21 models. The CA-18Mk.23 use the British built Rolls Royce Merlin 66 or 70 versions. The CA-18Mk.22 were modified like the F-6D reconnaissance versions. The last CA-18Mk.23 came off the production line in 1952.
            

Australia also received 298 P-51Ds from the U.S. under Lend-Lease. After the Aussie Mustangs were surplussed, Australia became a popular site for P-51 airframes and parts. 

Restorerers and collectors alike would travel down under to make deals and trades. Several P-51s have remained in Austalia and are kept airworthy and well cared for by their pilots and owners.

            CAC 15 Kangaroo

  





Piper Enforcer



In 1968, Cavalier Aircraft developed a highly modified version of the Cavalier Mustang for use as a counter-insurgency aircraft. Cavalier initially mated a Rolls-Royce Dart 510 turboprop to a Mustang II air frame.

This privately-funded prototype was also intended for the same CAS/COIN mission that the Mustang II was built for. The Turbo Mustang III had radically increased performance, along with an associated increase in payload and decrease in cost of maintenance, and was equipped with Bristol ceramic armor to protect the engine, air frame and pilot. Despite numerous sales attempts to the United States Air Force, neither the U.S. military nor any foreign operators purchased the Turbo Mustang III.

Seeking a company with mass production capability, the Turbo Mustang III, renamed the "Enforcer," was sold to Piper Aircraft in late 1970. Cavalier Aircraft Corp. was closed in 1971 so the founder/owner, David Lindsay, could help continue develop the Enforcer concept with Piper. Piper was able to lease a Lycoming T-55L-9 engine from the USAF (the engine Lindsay wanted initially) and flew the aircraft some 200+ hours. In 1984 with a $US12 million appropriation from Congress, Piper built two new Enforcers, giving the new prototypes the designation PA-48. These aircraft were evaluated by the USAF, but flown only by Piper test pilots.
In 1971, Piper built two Enforcers by heavily modifying two existing Mustang airframes, fitting them with Lycoming YT55-L-9A turboprop engines along with numerous other significant modifications. One airframe was a single seat (called the PE-1 and FAA registered as N201PE), the other a dual-control aircraft (the PE-2, registered N202PE). Prior to the Pave COIN evaluation, N202PE was lost in a crash off the Florida coast on 12 July 1971 due to flutter caused by a Piper-modified elevator trim tab. Although the Enforcer performed well in the 1971–1972 Pave COIN test flown by USAF pilots, Piper failed to secure a USAF contract.

Cavalier



In 1957, the last of the active duty P-51s were withdrawn from service. This released many P-51s to the civilian market. David Lindsay, a newspaper publisher, formed Trans Florida Aviation with the intent of refurbishing the ex-military P-51s into well-equiped civilian business aircraft.

Lindsay purchased surplus P-51s (mostly P-51D) and began a restoration process. They would strip out all the military equipment, add a second seat behind the pilot, add extra fuel capacity (some models), update the avionics, install a tall tail similar to the NACA P-51s, plush out the interior to provide the most comfort possible and finish the job with a civilian paint scheme. Lindsay flew 44-13257, with the NACA tail, and was pleased how it handled. He got the FAA STC for the tail mod so the taller vertical stabilizer could be added to the civilian Cavaliers.

One of the P-51s main attributes was its great range. The first P-51 conversion, named Cavalier, was in 1958. Orders trickled in for the first few years. The models offered were all relative to the range of the aircraft. The model numbers (all prefixed by "Cavalier") were 750, 1200, 1500, 2000 and 2500. The longest range Cavalier, the Cavalier 2500, included 110 gallon wingtip fuel tanks. Remember, with the second seat, the fuselage fuel tank was removed and the main wing tanks would yield about 180 gallons usable.

Trans-Florida was renamed Cavalier Aircraft Corporation and purchased the rights of the P-51 design from North American Aviation. The first contract with the U.S. Government was to IRAN 36 F-51 from the Dominican Air Force (FAD). These were not Cavalier conversions but were P-51s that were repaired and upgraded. Then in 1967, the USAF contracted with Cavalier to produce the F-51D for export to South America under the Military Assistance Program (MAP). These aircraft were given new serial numbers starting with the first, 67-14862 and named "Mustang II". In 1967 a total of 9 were built. These aircraft went to El Salvador.

Changes to the Mustang II were made for increased loads. The wing was strengthened to carry a total of 4,000 lbs of ordance and additional weapon hard points were installed, up to six under each wing. A rear seat was installed in these models, for observers. A new Merlin V-1650-724 was installed and these Cavaliers also received the taller tail modification. In 1968, two of the new Mustang IIs went to the U.S. Army as chase planes for the Cheyene (AH-54) helicopter program. These were serialed 68-15795 and 68-15796.

More orders placed in 1972 for 6 aircraft under MAP for export to Indonesia. The Mustang IIs did not have wingtip fuel tanks.









With new ideas of how to keep the P-51 Mustang alive and in service, David Lindsay wanted to try replacing the long-standing workhorse Merlin V-12 with a turboprop. Lindsay perferred the Lycoming T-55 but had difficulties obtaining a copy. They were able to get a Rolls Royce Dart 510 Turboprop and installed it in civilian P-51 N6167U. This mod was not funded by the USAF, but by Cavalier.

The new modification was called the Turbo Mustang III. Cavalier tried to get the USAF and other air forces interested in the project but no sales were made. Later, Cavalier sold the project to Piper and it later became the PA-48 Enforcer. The Enforcer had little in common with the original P-51.

The USAF, under pressure from Congress, did order two prototype PA-48 from Piper. No other orders were place and the project died. The two PA-48 Enforcers do exist today at USAF Museums. Many Cavalier Mustangs are still airworthy today.

Evolution of the Mustang


P-51A; P-51B/C; two early P-51Ds; P-51H; Piper Enforcer.



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