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  Harvard Club of South Africa
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Text:

Urs Schnyder

Pictures:

Urs Schnyder

   

The Harvard first joined the Air Force in 1940 and it was finally retired in November 1995. To mark the event, 55 Harvards flew in formation over at Air Force Base Langebaanweg to mark 55 years of the Harvardís service in the Air Force. 

The origins of the Harvard club however date back to 1988 and the South African Air Force Association. The original idea was to bring together people who were involved with the Harvard since 1940. In 1990 during the celebrations of 50 years Harvard in the Air Force, the club was officially founded with 86 members. 

In 1991 the South African Air Force announced that the Harvard would be replaced by the Pilatus PC-9.  It was quickly realised that the Harvards would go to foreign collectors and traders and a piece of aviation history lost if nothing was done. There were a lot of negotiations and the Air Force agreed to hand over 10 Harvards to the Club.

In 1994 the first 3 Harvards were officially handed over to the club at AFB Swartkop. They were then flown to Jan Smuts (now O. Tambo) airport, where South African Airways technicians inspected them and reregistered them into the civilian register.

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

 

Aircraft of the Harvard Club

Civil
reg

SAAF
reg

C/N

Comment

ZU-AOO

7024

88-9958

 

ZU-AOP

7028

88-10536

 

ZU-AOR

7059

88-9283

75 years SAAF colour scheme

ZU-AOS

7152

88-10008

crashed Stellenbosch, repairable

ZU-AOT

7156

88-9922

crashed Pietersburg, destroyed

ZU-AOU

7659

88-15277

 

ZU-AOV

7306

88-12070

 

ZU-AOW

7592

88-15799

Severely damaged

ZU-AOX

7643

78-7140

 

ZU-AOY

7661

78-4698

Disassembled at Swartkop for extensive restoration

ZU-AOZ

7166

88-10572

 

 

Harvard ZU-AOP (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

Harvard ZU-AOZ (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

Harvard ZU-AOZ (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOV (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOV & ZU-AOZ (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Preflight (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

Preflight (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Preflight (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Preflight (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOZ (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

After delivery of all the aircraft their history was researched and registered. An application was then sent to the National Museums Council, requesting that these aircraft be certified as National Heritage. The motivation was that the Aircraft would not leave South Africa and be preserved for future generations. 

The Harvard club first operated out of Springs airfield, where they managed to lease a Hangar and operations started. Member fees and introduction flights helped finance the operations. 

For the SAAF 75 anniversary celebration ZU-AOR, was painted in the official SAAF 75 colours as an appreciation of their assistance.

   

Harvard ZU-AOR (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOR (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOR (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOR (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

In 1998 a Harvard spares package was bought from the Air Force to keep the aircraft flying.In 1999 the idea of turning AFB Swartkop into a flying museum site developed and the SAAF offered the Harvard club accommodation at the AFB. The move took place in 2000 and the club has flown from that location since.

 The Club also offers passenger flights that an be booked via its website:

 www.theharvardclub.co.za

 

Harvard ZU-AOX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Harvard ZU-AOX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Harvard ZU-AOX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

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last update 1. September 2020

Written 5. September 2020

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