KOBUS DE WET's
S.A.A.F.
CAREER

   

SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE  

KR-2
Page 1
KR-2
Page 2
KR-2
Page 3
KR-2
Page 4
My
Airforce
Career
VP-1
Page 1
VP-1
Page 2
VP-1
Page 3
VP-1
Page 4
VP-1
Page 5

 
 

    On the 14 Th. of July 1966 I enlisted in the SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE as an apprentice Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic.  I did my apprenticeship at 35 Squadron in Cape Town on Avro Shackleton MR MK III long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. After I qualified in 1970 I was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal.
 

Avro Shakleton LMPR MKIII

  Avro Shackleton LRMP MK III

After working at the 35 Sqd as Engine fitter for 2 years I applied for Flight Engineers training. After the initial training period I was transferred back to 35 Sqd and carried on my training as F/Eng on Shackletons. At that stage the war in South West Africa was just starting and there was a shortage of Allouette III helicopter Fight Engineer / Air Gunners and off I went to join the ranks of the more adventurous. I did the initial training at 16 Sqd in Bloemfontein and on completion was transferred to 87 Advanced Flying School at AFB Ysterplaat in Cape Town.
 

Alouette III During 1980 the School was moved to Bloemfontein and I stayed behind to join the newly re-opened 30 Sqd. As this Sqd was to operate Super Frelon and Puma helicopters, I was sent on a Super Frelon course in Pretoria at 15 Sqd. After completing the training I went back to 30 Sqd in Cape Town. During the first months of it existence the Sqd was involved in a massive rescue operation during killer floods in the Karoo area where the town of Lainsburg was virtually swept away. (22 Jan 1981) The next natural disaster that I was involved in was during January of 1984, when hurricane Demoina struck on the East coast. We were tasked from Cape Town to do a rescue at sea. A sailor had fallen from the rigging of a ship in the Mozambique channel and was in a critical condition. Our task was to ferry from Cape Town to Durban, refuel there and pick up a medical crew to assist with stabilising the casualty on the way back to Durban. The ship was forty miles off the Zululand coast and as I said Hurricane Demoina was doing here thing in that area. The pick-up went without any hitches but then on the way back we flew into the worse rain downpour that I have ever seen. As the Super Frelon is notorious for leaking in rain, the whole cockpit was drenched within a few seconds and with that all the electronics including the auto pilot was lost. We had an escort in the form of a light maritime reconnaissance aircraft with us but as we were on our way back to the coast they decided to go high over the clouds and we got stuck below the clouds. Having lost all comms and auto pilot we were in a bit of a mess. The beach in that area slopes down at an angle of more that 30 degrees from the dune so there was no way that we could land. As the cloud cover was below the top of the dune and with us having lost most of our critical electronic equipment there was no way that we could safely punch up through the cloud. As we had lost all our VHF and HF radio equipment pus the intercom it was not very nice to be airborne. We flew very slowly towards the South hoping to find a spot where we could land. Eventually we found a spot and as we turned in to land the # 1 motor said that's it I need air to burn the fuel not water and flamed out. Eventually the rain stopped and I got most of the electronics dried out and working. That night we stayed over at St Lucia at a hotel and at 20h00 we saw on the TV that we were missing at sea. The reason for this is that the cranks at the TV station were not aware of the fact that Helicopter can land where they want to.
 

SA 321 h

Super Frelon SA 321 H As the Sqd was operating the two types of helo I was off on another course, this time on Puma helicopters during 1983.
Once again I was off to Pretoria this time to 19 Sqd to do the Puma course.
 

SA 330 L

Puma SA 330 L   By this time I had done numerous operational tours to the sharp end including all hot spots in Africa south of the equator.
During 1984 I did the conversion course onto the Puma J model which is the civilian version of the "L" model used by the military, at the end of 1984 I went, on my first trip to the Antarctic continent on board the Research ship SA Agulhas of the Department of Environmental Affairs, on which was the two "J" models that 30 Sqd operated and serviced.
By now our super small Navy was had to have some air support on board the the two supply ships and again 30 Sqd came to the rescue with the Puma helicopters.
By the March 1992 I had been to the Antarctic Continent three time, once to Marion island, once to Tristan de Cunha, an island halve way between Cape Town and South America, onboard the SA AGULHAS. Onboard the SA DRAKENSBERG to Chile, Bangladesh, Turkey, Egypt and Sudan . By then I had already been promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer and there was no more scope for me in the flying game and due to the right sizing exercise that was being done at the time I was one of those who was left without a post at the Sqd. During my flying career I accumulated 3210.0 flying hours.
 
 
 

2 AIR DEPOT

   

In April 1992 I was transferred to 2 Air Depot at AFB Ysterplaat. The Depot as it is known around Ysterplaat is an Aircraft servicing and Engineering unit. My first job at the Depot was that of Depot Quality Officer, until November 1993 when I became the Assistant Manager of the Hydraulic Component Servicing section, here I worked under Warrant Officer  Robert A. Rhodes. We joined the same day back in 1966.
Since June 1997 I am the Manager of the Spray Painting Section at the Depot.
My military career came to an end at the end of February 1999, when I left the service on a voluntary severance package, with a total service time of 32 years and 8 months and 14 days.
     

   

This page is completely BIO-degradable

 

 

KR-2
Page 1
KR-2
Page 2
KR-2
Page 3
KR-2
Page 4
My
Airforce
Career
VP-1
Page 1
VP-1
Page 2
VP-1
Page 3
VP-1
Page 4
VP-1
Page 5