Thunder & Lightnings

Blackburn Buccaneer

Survivor 421

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S.50 421 - SAAF Museum, SAAF Swartkop, Pretoria, South Africa

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Buccaneer S.50 421 at SAAF Swartkop, 1st November 2014; Leon le Roux

When 421 was was delivered to the Museum in Swartkop, it was put in open under roof storage until the aircraft was damaged when the roof of the storage area partly collapsed during a storm. The tail was damaged as well as the starboard engine cowling.

421 was then left in open storage at various places until it ended up at the storage yard of the museum where the airframe was left unattended for quite some years.

A team of former 24 Sqn members, under the leadership of former Buccaneer navigator Charlie Wroth then decided to do something to save this valuable aircraft before it would end up in the scrap yard to be lost forever.

In 2013, the team prepared 421 for towing to one of the empty hangars on base to start the restoration so it can be displayed at the museum.
Due to her main undercarriage sagging from removing the support struts for 414, the team used jacks to get the aircraft back upright again and then towed it to the hangar.

The team started to clean it up which was a slow process because the museum only allowed the team to work on it once a month when they had their flying days. At least the team consisted of knowledgeable people and the able leadership of Johnny Kriel, the former section head of the Buccaneer and Canberra service section at the ATLAS Aircraft Corporation where the aforementioned aircraft was serviced during their service in the SAAF. Technical assistance was also given by Neels Theron a former ground technician at 24 Sqn and one of the original ground crew member’s that went to the RNAS Lossiemouth to fetch the SAAF Buccaneers.

The restoration project is still in progress, but has come to a standstill when the base was closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information on this page current as of 28/03/2021, last updated by Jake

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