Restoration for ferry flight photo
By: Leon Steyn,
Historian, South African Air Force Museum, Swartkop,
I had been working at Swartkop for
just about three years as the Historical Research Officer for the
Air Force Museum. Boasting a wonderful collection of aircraft that
include the Douglas C-47 Dakota and DC-4 Skymaster, I never really
took much notice of the “other old aircraft” parked on the southern
side of the airfield, isolated and removed from the rest of the
activities on the field.
Venturing out of my office one day in November
2008, on a drive-around the airfield, I noticed some frantic
activity around the DC-6. I introduced myself to the man in charge,
and found out that the DC-6 had new owners. Better still, I was
told, that they were planning to fly her out of Swartkop to their
own airstrip, north of Pretoria!
The new owners, I later learnt were Mr. Witold Walus and Mr. Willie Muntingh, business
partners and serious collectors of old things. In November 2008 they had
appointed flight engineer Mike Mayers to assess the condition of
this very historic aircraft. On professional advice they were told that
it would be a better option to rather cut the wings off
the aircraft and move it by
The aircraft had been standing at Swartkop
since 1999, basically intact, but derelict. Even though Witold
and Willie were cautioned about the amount of money, parts and
labour that would needed to repair the DC-6, they remained adamant that the
aircraft will be flown out of Swartkop.
To this end Mike Mayers appointed an
old work team of his, under the leadership of Thomas. With many
years of experience on the type and remarkable dedication, they
toiled away each week for almost two years. The highlight being the
Saturdays that Mike and a few other would join them for engine runs
and to remedy some stubborn problems on the DC-6.
This is their story…
The story unfolds in the Restoration Diary Chapters
as listed below. Click on the chapter link to view.