While visiting the Africa Aerospace and Defence Airshow at Waterkloof on Saturday, I couldn’t help but feel weirdly attracted to the old Douglas DC-4 aeroplane (aka Skymaster). Aircraft of all sorts were zooming around and parachutes of all shapes and colours were hovering about, but for some odd reason all the boisterous activity going on around me didn’t distract my attention from the old DC-4. And, NO - it was not the old South African flag displayed on the vertical tail that fascinated me, it was something else!
It was only when I arrived home, and after I had done some reading-up on the old aircraft, that I discovered a possible reason why there was this unexplainable feeling of affection for the old plane. Now – I don’t like doing this on my blog, but if I’m going to tell the story then unfortunately I also have to reveal my second name… My second name is William, and the name runs in the family.
According to info provided on the website of the SAA Museum Society, this specific plane registered as ZS-BMH and named “Lebombo” was the last DC-4 Skymaster off the Douglas factory production line. The aircraft was delivered by SAA Captains G.D.B. Williams, Captain G.W. Williams and Captain William J. Morrisey, assistant chief pilot of Douglas Aircraft Company. One of the photographs on the website was taken by a certain John Austin-Williams.
Anyways, enough of this spine-chilling association with names… It’s probably a mere coincidence! Personally I think my fascination has much to do with the fact that this old aircraft was delivered to SAA on the 9th of August 1947, and that she is still with us in the year 2012.
Here’s a short video-tribute to ol’ Lebombo:
Enjoy your Heritage Day!