WW2-era South African Aircraft Painted Day-Glo Orange

Owner and pilot Mark O'Sullivan talks to HAFU's Allan Udy about his ex-South African Air Force T-6 Harvard trainer, and about his journey to become a warbird pilot. This is great stuff for anyone who has dreams of being able to fly, and maybe even own a warbird aircraft.

The aircraft is seen here during a recent competition at the Omaka Aerodrome, Blenheim, New Zealand.

The SAAF operated a large number of Harvards from 1940 until their retirement on Friday 17 November 1995. The type had been in service for 55 years and to celebrate the retirement 55 Harvards flew a last flypast at Air Force Base Langebaanweg on Friday 17 November 1995.

The first Harvards arrived in South Africa in October 1942 for use by the Joint Air Training Scheme schools. By July 1944, 633 Harvard Mk IIA and III aircraft had been shipped to South Africa, with 555 surviving in October 1945 (379 MkIIAs and 176 Mk IIIs).

As the Harvards had been supplied on lend-leaseby the US, 300 were shipped back to the UK from 1946, with the remainder being purchased by South Africa.

65 AT-6Ds (7634 to 7698) and 30 T-6Gs (7699 to 7728) were purchased from the USA during 1952-1956.

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