SAAF Museum Aircraft Crashes During Landing At Swartkop Air Force Base

SAAF Museum Aircraft Crashes During Landing At Swartkop Air Force Base
SAAF Museum Aircraft Crashes During Landing At Swartkop Air Force Base – Credits: SAAF

The aircraft, a one off Patchen TSC-2 Explorer 2000 reconnaissance aircraft, impacted the terrain while on approach to the Swartkop Air Force Base (FASK), Gauteng, South Africa.

The vintage airplane was destroyed by an ensuing post crash fire and the two people onboard were fatally injured.

The Explorer was developed for pipeline patrol operation, aerial photography and law enforcement agencies.

Only one example was ever built. The prototype was brought to SA in 1975 and evaluated as an observation aircraft for the SAAF.

Between 1976 and 1979 it was employed as a communication aircraft with Test Flight Development Centre (TFDC) at AFB Waterkloof.

Plans to build the type in SA did not come to fruition and the aircraft sat in a hanger for many years until it was acquired by the SAAF Museum and restored to flying condition.

As a result, it languished in a hangar for many years before being donated to the SAAF Museum.

One witness reported that the airplane flew over his home sputtering badly, possibly due to carb icing.

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One comment

  1. James Feuilherade

    This is a very tragic incident and my sincere and deep condolences to the pilots families. Des Barker was very experienced. Rama Iyer was ex Indian Air Force and also highly experienced. A deeply tragic loss to Aviation in South Aftrica. I have about 50 hrs on this aircraft, when I flew part time for the Museum. It has an interesting history and was one of the first designs for pipeline and power line inspection, the idea being to replace helicopters for this task, being economical to operate. It was based on a Teal Amphibian. It was evaluated by the South African Air Force as a FAC aircraft, but was essentially found to be too light, in performance. It was interestingly the only one built and was the ptototype, so about as rare as it gets. Early witness reports indicate a possible partial engine failure, always a tricky situation. Carb icing is mentioned but this could not be the case as the aircraft was fuel injected, fitted with as I recall a 200Hp Continental. slightly quirky handling but safe I found, as expected, helicopter lke vis from the cockpit, a fun machine.

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