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 Harvard 7072

“In the history of aviation there are a few aircraft that undeniably qualify as classics. In the world of air combat the Spitfire, the Mustang and the Sabre certainly qualify. In civil aviation the Dakota is without doubt an all-time great. And when it comes to training, the Harvard must surely rank at or near the head of the list.” Lt Gen James Kriel SSAS SD SM MMM – former Chief of the South African Air Force.

The South African Air Force was by far and away the largest user of the Harvard outside the UK and Canada and the SAAF used them for far longer than any other nation. It is therefore fitting that a number of Harvards is kept in a flying condition by the custodians of military aviation heritage – the Air Force Museum.

One of these Harvards, number 7072 is currently being prepared by the Museum technical team for its return to flight. Following its retirement from service at CFS Langebaanweg in 1995, 7072 was delivered to the Air Force Museum on 29 January 1996, and flown from Swartkop until May of 2001, accumulating a mere 72 flying hours in the six year period. Since 2001 it was kept in storage, while its sisters in the fleet; 7001 “Inkwazi” and 7675 “Syandiza”; were flown until their servicing also became due. 7072 will now join 7111 “Nelson” who is currently active. The Harvards and other aircraft of the Air Force Museum are widely utilized in memorial flypasts such as the Battle of Britain, Warsaw, Italian POW, and Alpine 44 commemorative services, adding solemnity to the events. Harvard 7072 can easily be distinguished from the rest of the fleet by the application of a mid-1950’s colour scheme as illustrated.

Current active Air Force Museum Harvard pilots are, Col Jeff Earle, Lt Col Glen Warden, Lt Col Martin Louw, and Lt Col Steve Odendal.

Retired Harvards have also been allocated to the Air Force Museum’s satellite branches at Ysterplaat (7289 & 7480) and Port Elizabeth (7231 & 7293) where they are on display and occasionally flown by Lt Col Trevor Schroeder.

Harvard 7072 Service History

North American order number NA-88 placed with the Dallas plant on 10 April 1941.

Built as AT-6C-1-NT for USAAF, but allocated to RAF under lend-lease as Harvard MkIIA and shipped to South Africa as part of the Joint Air Training Scheme (JATS).

Serial number:  88-9868  Ex-US number:  41-33308  Ex-RAF number:  EX335

Delivered Cape Town aboard the SS Robin Adair and assembled at 9 Air Depot Brooklyn, Cape Town

2 Nov 1942

27 Air Depot Bloemspruit

6 Jan 1943

2 Air Depot Kimberley for long term storage

13 Nov 1945

Baragwanath Auxiliary Air Training Wing 2 Flight

6 April 1948


28 July 1952

Langebaanweg (AOS)

7 June 1955

6 Squadron Port Elizabeth

4 June 1956

Central Flying School Dunnotter

5 March 1959

5 Squadron Durban

4 April 1960

15 Air Depot Swartkop

16 April 1962

Central Flying School Dunnotter

13 July 1962

Langebaanweg (AOS)

2 Aug 1962

6 Squadron Port Elizabeth

3 April 1967

7 Squadron Ysterplaat

15 Oct 1970

Central Flying School Dunnotter

8 Feb 1977

Converted to MkIV (Ice Cream) Mod.  New avionics.  


Central Flying School Langebaanweg

14 Dec 1992

SAAF Museum Swartkop
8703 flying hours

29 Jan 1996

Placed in storage SAAF Museum
8775 flying hours

12 May 2001

1942-2007:  A SIXTY FIVE (65) YEAR OLD HISTORY !

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