By Garth Calitz
The South African Air Force Museum in conjunction with the a group of dedicated volunteers will be hosting a social responsibility project to raise funds for PinkDrive, charity of choice of the SAAF Museum, by hosting a 100 hour marathon sit-in in various fighter jets and a team of ladies that will be living in the gracious old Shackleton bomber.
The “static pilots” will enter their aircraft on Tuesday 26 February at 8:00 and that’s where they will stay until noon on the 2nd of March for a total of 100 hours. A fifteen minute break outside the aircraft is allowed every four hours. Johann Schmidt, a volunteer at the SAAF museum, hatched the idea and successfully made the long sit in March 2012 along with four other somewhat crazy volunteers.
Lt Col Mike O’Connor , Officer Commanding the SAAF Museum, has Joined forces with the organizing team and several significant sponsors to make this the biggest non-airshow event to be held at the SAAF Museum this year. The aim is to supply “Pink Drive” with a new clinical examination vehicle and as you can imagine, this won’t come cheap.
Pink Drive is a community based project driven by Cause Marketing Fundraisers (CMF), a non-profit organization. The Pink Drive campaign is committed to increasing breast cancer awareness and education by providing services to women across South Africa, particularly to those who do not have access to information on breast health. They currently have two mobile breast units, an education unit working in approximately 103 community health centres in Gauteng and a mammography unit which operates at 3 community hospitals.
Throughout the 4 days the public will be treated to various exiting activities and competitions with some exciting prizes. A number of sponsors such as Canon SA, Hirsch Centurion, Mica Valhalla and many others donated these awesome prizes. The Vintage DC4 Skymaster passenger Aircraft will be converted into a “movie house” where historic SAAF footage will be shown with some music matching the theme by the “Ducktails in Disguse”.
Learn more about the SAAF Museum by taking part in “Discover the Museum” and “Night at the Museum” competitions, which will take the form of a treasure hunt where the participants will be given a range of cryptic clues and the answer be found in the exhibits at the Museum.
The SAAF skydiving team the “Golden Eagles” will be doing various jumps. Makers will be sold as part of the fundraising and will be placed in a demarcated area where members of the team will drop weighted streamers into the area. If the streamer lands on your target, you may win a “tandem skydive” or many other prizes.
A Mirage III fighter jet will also be set aside as a celebrity plane where various local celebrities will be spending a few hours. Members of the public can interact with their favourite celeb’s as they get a taste of what the “static pilots” will be going through.
The Eqestra Flying Lions aerobatics team will be entertaining the public to a magnificent sunset display at approximately 18:00 on Friday 1st March. The final day will coincide with the monthly Flying training day of all the SAAF Museums airworthy aircraft which include Harvards, The Albatross, Bosbok, Kudu, Alouette II, Alouette III and Puma helicopters. At the 100th hour the Pilots will be disembarking during a display by the Garbriel Wings Pitt Special aerobatic team ending with a pyrotechnics display by the South Africa Army Engineering Core.
Pink ribbons will be on sale at a nominal fee which will be linked to a lucky number draw with wonderful prizes including flights in historic aircraft and all proceeds from this project will be going to “Pink Drive”.
The SAAF Museum is dedicated to raising the level of Aviation awareness amongst the youth in South Africa, and preserving our aviation heritage. Through drives like this and the upcoming Air Show on the 11th and 12th of May, they wish to expose as many people as possible to the joys of aviation. The Museum relies on the public for its existence, please support them!!!