As per request (and as I was already planning), here is a SAAF Alouette II skin. Close your eyes and imagine yourself flying over Africa in a light helicopter buzzing the African steppes, open you eyes and see it happing in 4K DDS glory (or TGA, whatever floats your boat.. or ..fli… flies your whirlybird?).
I hadn’t really looked into what aircraft I was going to do for my SAAF skin but @VexViper_Tiffs requested the Alouette II n22 (s/n 1280) from the SAAF 17th Squardon, which can still be found in flyable condition and operated by the main SAAF Museum at the Swartkop Air Force Base. A total of eight Alouette II were operated over the years, but 12 years after their introduction these aircraft were given on loan to the Rhodesian Air Force from 1974 till 1980. After this the Zimbabwe governments returned the remaining aircraft to the South African government and one of these aircraft, construction number 1280 (aka 22 in the SAAF or 2200 in the RhAF), has since been restored to flyable condition and is still being during displays to this day.
The Alouette II and 17th Squadron
17 Squadron was formed on the First of September 1939, better remembered as the first day of the Second World War, flying ex-SAA Junkers Ju-52/3m’s. However exactly 3 months later the squadron was already disbanded on first of December that same year. A few years later it was reformed on 8 October 1942 as a general reconnaissance squadron, flying Bristol Blenheims V’s. Soon the crews were converted to fly Lockheed Ventura GR. V’s and the squadron was moved to St Jean (South Africa) and Ramat David (Palistine) for convoy escort duties and anti-submarine patrols, while some detachments were sent to Gibraltar and Algeria. Returning to South Africa in September 1945, the squadron was disbanded at Brooklyn (now Ysterplaat) on 31 March 1946, still flying the PV-1 Ventura.
The squadron was reformed and disbanded one more time between 1947 and 1955, before finally reforming as a helicopter squadron at Langebaanweg (literally translated as ‘Long-road-way’) outfitted with three Sikorsky S-55s and surviving S-51 cleared for air-sea rescue duties. In December 1960 the squadron received the Alouette II and soon-after moved to Ysterplaat, with more Alouette III’s following in 1962. Nowadays the squadron operates Agusta A109 LUH and Oryx helicopters.