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African Aviation Series

This page contains images of the book covers of the entire African Aviation Series along with comments, authors' names ans ISBN numbers.

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African Aviation Series No. 1 AT-6 HARVARD In South African Service
Dave Becker & Winston Brent
ISBN 0958388024

In 1994 a seed was sown, to create an African Aviation Series, to cover the various facets of aviation in Africa. Book 1, AT-6 Harvard in South African Service was the guinea-pig, and this series has now grown to numerous volumes, with many still to be published. This book (very much a pictorial) covers the history of the Harvard in South African Air Force service as well as in Southern Rhodesia Air Force service. It is A4, with 106 pages and includes 8 pages of colour. A detailed individual history of each Harvard listed is included.

African Aviation Series No. 2 THE EAGLES OF ZWARTKOP
Dave Becker
ISBN 0958388032

In 1996 the OC of Swartkop commissioned the publishing of this publication to celebrate South Africa’s first military air base. It covers the history of Swartkop (previously known as Zwartkop) in detail, and includes many photographs of visitors to the base, as well as the different types of aircraft flown from that base. It is A4, with 111 pages and only B&W photographs.

African Aviation Series No. 3
CANBERRA in Southern Africa Service

Michael Hamence & Winston Brent
ISBN 0958388040

The book is in two parts – the first 50 pages covers the history of the Canberra in Rhodesian Air Force service and the next 39 pages covers the history of the South African Air Force Canberras that served with 12 Squadron. It reveals for the first time South Africa’s interest to investigate and evaluate before purchase of 8 British Handley Page Victor “V” bombers. It is A4, with 96 pages and 7 colour pages and plenty of B & W photographs.


We’re not sure who Michael Hamence is, but Winston Brent is well known amongst the aircraft spotting fraternity for his unique guide to African air forces. The guide is a masterful example of tedious research and the Canberra book reflects a similar level of study. Unlike many locally published books this one contains some amusing anecdotes of Rhodesian Cannies.

Being a spotter Winston pays special attention to tail numbers with a faithful record of all aircraft supplied to the Royal Rhodesian Air Force and South Africa. Whilst the Rhodesian era is related in considerable detail, we couldn’t help feeling that there must be many more stories about SAAF ops. Indeed the book seems to run out of steam beyond the initial acquisition stage during the mid-sixties.

One interesting revelation is the SAAF’s evaluation of the Handley Page Victor Bomber, which the South African government came close to ordering – indeed serial numbers were allocated before the decision was made to go ahead with Canberras. There are also hints in the South African section of more covert operations.

It’s known for instance that SAAF Cannies on occasion flew on behalf of the Rhodesian Air Force and the book makes no mention of this.

There is no mention of Classic Jet’s Canberra which crashed not long after it was flown to Cape Town.

There are some intriguing never before published photos, in particular the shots of the Russian satellite tracking ship, Kapushka, which was intercepted off the Eastern Cape in 1989.

Nevertheless it’s a book which I couldn’t put down and it’s at a reasonable price too.


African Aviation Series No. 4 EYE IN THE SKY – A brief history of the South African Police Service Air Wing
Herman Bosman
ISBN 0958388059

Herman Bosman is a serving officer of the SA Police Service with a keen interest in the Air Wing of that service. He was fortunate to have access to their records and personnel and thus could write with an insight that any other author would have lacked. He was fortunate to have access to the private photograph collections of many of the air crew and thus many photographs are being shown for the first time. He covers the early days in South West Africa/Namibia before the SA Defence Force took charge, the Police support to the Rhodesian forces and then their return to civilian duties. It is A4, with 148 pages and 6 colour pages.


This easy to read, no-nonsense book by Capt. Herman Bosman contains fascinating accounts and visual material. The author obviously has a passion for aviation in general – and the SAPS Air Wing in particular!

Factual information about projects as diverse as Skeleton Coast patrols and the “Arctic Penguins” gives the reader a bird’s eye view of police operations. Most of the photographs come from the personal collections of pilots and crew and have never been published previously.

It is not commonly known that air support by the SAAF for the South African Police started as early as 1921/22 with the miners’ riots on the Witwatersrand. Then there was the unrest in South West Africa, followed by air support in Natal and other parts of the country.


African Aviation Series No. 5 AFRICAN AIR FORCES
Winston Brent 
ISBN 0958388067

At the time of publication in 1999, never before had such a comprehensive publication been compiled which gave the reader in-depth detail of the aircraft flown by the many air forces – large and small – in Africa. It lists all air forces and air arms in Africa with their respective inventory and it is in colour throughout. Many of the photographs published come from the private collections of visitors passing through Africa states and thus the owners in the majority of instances prefer to not have their names listed. It is A4, with 216 pages with plenty of colour photographs.


African Aviation Series No. 6 CHOPPER PILOT – The adventures and experiences of Monster Wilkins
Monster Wilkins
ISBN 0958388075

At the time of publication in 2000, the author, Monster Wilkins had the most flying hours on Alouette IIIs, his favourite helicopter to pilot. He writes in his – from the cockpit style – and gives in-depth detail of his exploits as a helicopter pilot, from South Africa, to Angola, to Rhodesia and back to South Africa to being OC of the Ciskei Air Wing and OC of AFB Durban. During his stint in the United States of America as Air Attache he was a regular speaker at functions. It is A4, with 152 pages and 12 colour pages. This book was sold out within 6 months of publication and was reprinted.


This entertaining collection of flying anecdotes begins a CFS Dunnottar in 1964, with the author recalling his high-jinks with his later to be famous pal, Scully Levine.

The stories of incidents, adventures, and mishaps – some sad, most funny – continue in chronological order through some of South Africa’s more recent turbulent times right up to the fire-fighting duties on the Cape in January 2000.

There are chapters on squadron ops, mountain flying, various bush-war sorties, and maritime work, as well as specific chapters on the Puma, Super Frelon and the various Eurocopter machines of Ciskei.

The book has a lavish number of photos, ranging from black and white family album snaps to some excellent and rare images.

Although most of the tales are of helicopter adventures this is not a book just for chopper enthusiasts. Anyone who flies in SA, or has an interest in the SAAF, will enjoy this engaging and enjoyable work.


African Aviation Series No. 7 PASSION FOR FLIGHT – Braving the hazards of aviation in war and peace
Peter Bagshawe
ISBN 0958388083

Peter Bagshawe chose 14 South African aviators who have distinguished themselves in various fields of aviation in both war and peace. He has interviewed them and then created a pen-picture of each, with photographs of each individual. It is A4, with 180 pages and no colour photographs, but plenty of B&W.


This, the seventh book in the publishers "African Aviation" series was recently launched and is an overview of the personal and operational flying history of the top fourteen pilots of the South African Air Force. Their life stories are briefly told in a easily read manner, covering the fascinating lives of these great aviators and pioneers.

The stories are a history of their flying experience, many of whom flew operationally in the Second World War. Top pilots included are Victor Smith, Sailor Malan, Pat Pattle and Denis Raubenheimer, to name but a few.

The book is well illustrated with photographs, as well as copies of historic documents, and makes for fascinating reading.

As most of the pilots were flying pre-1945, most of the pictures are understandably in black and white. As each pilots' story is a separate chapter, the book can be read at leisure allowing one to quickly read a chapter. The problem is you will not stop at one chapter...

It is laudable that the author chose to focus on the life stories of these pilots, as they are often over-looked, with many books focusing instead on individual aircraft types or air campaigns that featured prominently in history.

I can wholly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in historic aviation who wish to learn more about our country’s great pilots and aviation pioneers, who flew before today’s hi-tech pilot aid environment. -MBL


African Aviation Series No. 8 2 SQUADRON IN KOREA – 1950 - 1953
Winston Brent
ISBN 0958388091

This book was published in 2001 to commemorate South Africa’s entrance into the Korean War in south east Asia 50 years ago. South Africa was requested by the United Nations to send a squadron of the South African Air Force, and we obliged by sending 2 Squadron, which was equipped with North America Mustangs in Korea. During the closing stages of the war, this same squadron converted on to the Sabre. The author has prepared brief articles on each member killed in service, each aircraft lost and those who were unfortunate to become prisoners of war, and had to withstand the horrible and hostile conditions in North Korea. It is A4 with 160 pages and 11 pages of colour photographs and side drawings of the Mustang and Sabres flown. It was published in Hard and Soft cover.


African Aviation Series No. 9 RHODESIAN AIR FORCE – The Sanctions Busters
Winston Brent
ISBN 0958438811

This book records many of the Sanctions Busting methods used by the Rhodesian Air Force in acquiring aircraft and equipment to maintain the high level of efficiency for which they were known. The author gives in-depth accounts of how some aircraft were obtained. He gives details of all the known aircraft which were flown and includes a comprehensive Roll of Honour. It is A4 with 192 pages and 12 pages in colour and plenty of B & W photographs. It was published in Hard cover and Soft cover.


The Rhodesian Air Force’s history has been exhaustively covered in several publications in the recent past, and this title adds yet another. The book offers a short story of the establishment of the Rhodesian Air Force up to the advent of majority rule in 1980.

The role of the South African Air Force and South African Police in assisting their Rhodesian compatriots is detailed and extensive use is made of photographs to illustrate the text throughout. There is a lengthy reference sections relating the histories and eventual fates of all Rhodesian Air Force aircraft, as well as a complete Roll of Honour and aircraft crash-log.

 The book’s sub-title “The Sanctions Busters” is somewhat misleading though, as there is only a single chapter dealing with the sanctions-busting operations.

African Aviation Series No. 10 SERVE TO SAVE – The South African Air Force at Sea
Guy Ellis
ISBN 0958438838

This is the only known comprehensive book on this “Cinderella” branch of the South African Air Force. The need for “Crash Boats” was identified early in WW2, and without these hardy crews who feared no bad weather conditions, many a life of a downed airman or crew of a torpedoed ship would have been lost. It is A4 with 160 pages and 8 pages of colour and side drawings. Soft and Hard cover copies were printed.


African Aviation Series No. 11 SPRINGBOK FIGHTER VICTORY – Volume 1 - East Africa
Michael Schoeman
ISBN 0958438854

This is a must for the serious and not-so-serious reader of SAAF history, or anybody who would like to know more about who served in the fighter squadrons of WW2. He writes in detail about the many battles fought by the SAAF in East Africa in aircraft not exactly suitable for aerial combat, such as the Gloster Gladiator, Gloster Gauntlet and early Hawker Hurricane. He covers the battles fought by well-known personalities such as SV van B Theron and Piggy Boyle, just to name a few. One appendix lists the serials of aircraft lost or damaged with their pilots and another appendix lists the names and service details of 1376 SAAF fighter pilots. There are 225 B&W photos and 7 maps.


African Aviation Series No. 12 THE MEN WHO WENT TO WARSAW
Lawrence Isemonger
ISBN 0958438846

This book records the flights undertaken by 31 & 34 Squadrons of the SAAF, in supplying relief in the form of food, medicines and supplies to the Polish citizens/resistance movement in the beleaguered city of Warsaw. The Poles were encircled by the German Nazis on the one side and Stalin’s Russian Army on the other. The crews in their Liberators flew a 2000 km return flight from Italy without fighter escort for most of the mission.


African Aviation Series No. 13 85 Years of South African Air Force
Winston Brent
ISBN 0958438897

The author took on the onerous task of compiling in-depth details of the 8000-odd aircraft that have seen service in the South African Air Force between 1920 and 2005. He introduces them more or less in the order which they were taken into service and has listed serials, construction numbers, delivery dates and fates where known. In addition he has 32 pages of colour side drawings for the modeller, plenty of B & W photographs of each individual type and a Roll of Honour that covers 56 pages, with details of rank, initials, surname, aircraft type and serial, and squadron where known. For the first time he lists the details of RAF air crew that lost their lives in South Africa during WW2 while they were here for training. It is A4 with 445 pages. Hard and Soft cover copies were printed.


African Aviation Series No. 14 SWEEPING CIRCLES IN THE SKY
Tom Cockbain
ISBN 0958438862

Better known as Maj-Gen. TGE Cockbain (Retired), this is a must for current and ex-SAAF members! The first five chapters cover his personal biography and the next eleven chapters cover the history of the postwar SAAF radar system. Tom Cockbain is widely regarded as the “father” of the SAAF postwar radar system and he covers its development in detail with many B&W & colour photos that have never been published before. The development of Devon, Mariepskop, Ellisras and Klippan is covered in his easy-to-read, writing style. It is A4 with 124 pages and 11 pages of colour. Hard and Soft cover copies were printed.

African Aviation Series No. 15  Douglas C-47 Dakota in SAAF Service A Pictorial History 1943-2010
Winston Brent
ISBN 9780980279740

African Aviation Series No. 16 Helicopters of the SAAF A pictorial history 1948-2011
Winston Brent


African Aviation Series No. 17 17 SQUADRON - A Pictorial History of Helicopter Operations: 1957 - 2003
Brig-Gen. Crow Stannard
ISBN 0958438870

Crow took on the onerous task of compiling this excellent pictorial history. He has had excellent support from previous OCs and many chopper crews who have made their photo collections available to him. The book is in duo-tone.


African Aviation Series No. 18 ZERO ERROR MARGIN - Airshow Display Flying Analysed
Des Barker
ISBN 0958438889

This book addresses the dynamics of display and demonstration safety, in particular, the display pilot’s physiological deficiencies and the factors affecting the safe presentation of a display/demonstration flight with the aim of bringing practice and theory together to convey the hazards inherent in display flying. It is A4 with 328 pages.


African Aviation Series No. 19


African Aviation Series No. 20 SPRINGBOK FIGHTER VICTORY – Volume 2 - Crisis above the Desert
Michael Schoeman
ISBN 9780980279767

In this volume the author covers the North African – Western Desert campaign from Egypt to Tobruk, including the fall Tobruk and the battle for El Alamein.


African Aviation Series No. 21


African Aviation Series No. 22 SILVER FALCONS - 40 Years
Winston Brent
ISBN 9780980279702

The year 2007 was the 40th anniversary of the Silver Falcons, and it was only fitting to bring out this publication to commemorate the occasion. The author requested each of the surviving leaders to contribute a short synopsis covering his term as leader and many responded unselfishly. They highlighted their high points and low points during their term. As many photographs of each team that could be located has been included together with a listing of the members of each team and a listing of the displays in which they participated. This book covers Team 1 to Team 65, Member 1 to Member 89 and Display 1 to Display 524. It is A4 with 173 pages with plenty of Colour and B & W photographs. For the modeller there are 8 pages of side drawings. It is available in Hard cover and Soft cover. The Hard cover is a limited edition of 200 numbered copies, with the first numbers 1 – 89 being allocated to the Team members.

African Aviation Series No. 23 CHEETAH - Guardians of the Nation
Winston Brent
ISBN 9780980279719

In 1981 the SAAF produced a Staff Requirement to replace the Mirage IIIs and F1s. From this requirem-ent the Cheetah was born. The author covers the initial development of this Project, right through to the arrival of the Cheetah C. This book was published to coincide with the final withdrawal of all the Cheetahs on 2 April 2008. It is A4 with 194 pages and plenty of Colour and B & W photographs. For the modeller there are 5 pages of side drawings. It is available in Hard cover and Soft cover. The Hard cover is a limited edition of 200 numbered copies, with the first numbers 1 – 80 being allocated to the first members who qualified on Cheetahs.

African Aviation Series No. 24
SPRINGBOK FIGHTER VICTORY – Volume 3 Victory over North Africa 1940-1942
Michael Schoeman

African Aviation Series No. 25
SPRINGBOK FIGHTER VICTORY – Volume 4 Fighters over Sicily, Italy and the Med. 1943-1944

African Aviation Series No. 26
SPRINGBOK FIGHTER VICTORY – Volume 5 Victory on all fronts 1942-1945
Michael Schoeman