National Museum of Military History - Cleanup Day

By Russell Dixon-Paver

29.08.2021



The day's briefing was introduced by retired General Roy Andersen, followed by the Old Bill of the Steel Helmet Shellhole, Derek Wood. Allan Sinclair, Museum Curator welcomed everyone on behalf of the Museum Director, Sandy McKenzie, who could not be present as she was busy with the museum audit. He said the attendance was "Wow", especially with the sudden cold and rainy weather!


Coffee & sandwiches were kindly provided by the Building and Development Trust. Everyone was invited to the Steel Helmet Shellhole for Boerewors-rolls, something to drink and enjoy swapping memories after the cleaning activities were completed.

Focus here will be on the cleaning of aviation assets selected for the day.


General (ret) Roy Andersen, eminent businessman and Reserve Officer of the SA Army, opening the briefing and Old Bill of Steel Helmet Shellhole, Derek Wood.


Allan Sinclair, Curator at the Museum welcoming everyone and Richard Henry, Curator of Armor at the Museum, organising the groups.


Some SAAFA members record their presence in front of the Buccaneer.


SAAFA members ready for action in front of the Mirage III and part of Pretoria Boys High School Aeronautical Society team putting their best foot forward. The guy in the T-shirt and shorts responded to my question about being cold with "I am a boarder, Sir!".


SAAF 24 Squadron Buccaneer before wash down.


SAAF Flying Cheetahs Mirage III before wash down.


John Illsley in full flight, with bucket and detergent, while his boys are well underway with cleaning the Impala Mk II. John is the Second Headmaster at PBHS, an aviation enthusiast, eminent historian and author and runs the PBHS Aeronautical Society.




PBHS guys, "wing it", while John Illsley pressure washes the Buccaneer, assisted by one of his team.

Three aircraft assets of the museum were selected after consultation between Allan Sinclair and Mike Weingartz. These were the Spitfire, Me262 and FW 190. Graham Harrison has the African distributorship for the RMX-Global Drywash product and Aeroklin Services uses the product and equipment supplied by RMX-Global to deliver its aircraft cleaning services, based in Lanseria. The product carries many certifications and amongst other, is approved by Boeing and Airbus. A large airliner typically requires around 5 tons of water to clean when cleaned conventionally. The Drywash product is sprayed onto the aircraft surface and left typically for 10 seconds to lift the dirt. It is then wiped off with micro-fibre cloths, leaving a clean, smooth surface coated with a thin polymer film.


Spitfire F Mk VIII before the treatment.


Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a/U1 with RMX-Global Drywash cleaning treatment well underway by Aeroklin Services.


James Olusegun, Director of Aeroklin Services describes the cleaning process in front of the Me 262.




Focke Wulf FW 190A-6/R6 before the Drywash treatment started.


Aeroklin Service team member at work on the tail of the FW 190.


Aeroklin Service team member at work on the cowling of the FW 190.


Me 262 head-on and sparkling clean.


FW 190 final touches to the spinner by an Aeroklin team member.


Spitfire F Mk VIII showing part of its polished cowling. A specialised metal polish was used to give her a new shine. This work could not be completed on the day, but was expected to be finished early in the new week.


Buccaneer clean and sparkling.


Mirage III looking like new.


Impala Mk I ready for the public to admire again.

A most productive day of cleaning the museum aircraft and other assets so heritage can be preserved. As General Andersen said, it's about maintaining the museum assets, but also hugely important for fellowship among the veterans. It was very heartening to see young people involved in helping and of course, learning some of the history while they were helping.

Pilots Post thanks the SA National Military History Museum and all who participated, for being a part of this endeavour. Long may such events be continued!

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