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CN235 8026 seen taking-off with the undercarriage in the process of being retracted. (Photo: Dean Wingrin)

CN235 to retire soon

Date: 5 December 2011

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By Kim Helfrich

The SA Air Force (SAAF) Museum looks set to be the recipient of yet another casualty of the airborne arm of the SA National Defence Force's (SANDF's) budgetary constraints.

The CN235 (tail number 8026) medium transport until recently operated by 44 Squadron at AFB Waterkloof and Swartkop Airfield, both in Centurion, has been removed from the SAAF inventory of aircraft and all indications are it will find its final home at the museum's Swartkop headquarters. The aircraft has been unserviceable for a number of months this year and no answer as to whether the cost of making it airworthy again or whether it had reached the end of its service life influenced the decision to retire it was forthcoming from SAAF Corporate Communications.

Making it an even more special acquisition for the museum is that the twin-engined turbo-prop aircraft is the first of type ever manufactured. It is also the only one of type to be flown by the SAAF.

The aircraft first saw service in SA with the now defunct Bophuthatswana Defence Force Air Wing with tail number T330 in 1991. It became part of the SAAF inventory in 1994 when the SANDF was brought into being. Repeated attempts over a three-week period to obtain confirmation of the removal of the CN235 from the SAAF inventory from both SANDF Corporate Communications and SAAF Corporate Communications, electronically and telephonically, proved fruitless. A reliable source however confirmed the aircraft was "officially off" the inventory and senior SAAF Museum officers said they "had heard" the CN235 was "coming their way".

Source: The New Age


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