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c/n 45329

Restoration for ferry flight photo diary

By: Leon Steyn, Historian, South African Air Force Museum, Swartkop, Pretoria.

I had been working at Swartkop for just about three years as the Historical Research Officer for the Air Force Museum. Boasting a wonderful collection of aircraft that include the Douglas C-47 Dakota and DC-4 Skymaster, I never really took much notice of the “other old aircraft” parked on the southern side of the airfield, isolated and removed from the rest of the activities on the field.

Witold Walus

Venturing out of my office one day in November 2008, on a drive-around the airfield, I noticed some frantic activity around the DC-6. I introduced myself to the man in charge, and found out that the DC-6 had new owners. Better still, I was told, that they were planning to fly her out of Swartkop to their own airstrip, north of Pretoria!

The new owners, I later learnt were Mr. Witold Walus and Mr. Willie Muntingh, business partners and serious collectors of old things. In November 2008 they had appointed flight engineer Mike Mayers to assess the condition of this very historic aircraft. On professional advice they were told that it would be a better option to rather cut the wings off the aircraft and move it by road.

The aircraft had been standing at Swartkop since 1999, basically intact, but derelict. Even though Witold and Willie were cautioned about the amount of money, parts and labour that would needed to repair the DC-6, they remained adamant that the aircraft will be flown out of Swartkop.


To this end Mike Mayers appointed an old work team of his, under the leadership of Thomas. With many years of experience on the type and remarkable dedication, they toiled away each week for almost two years. The highlight being the Saturdays that Mike and a few other would join them for engine runs and to remedy some stubborn problems on the DC-6.

This is their story…

Mike Mayers
DC-6B Flight Engineer



The story unfolds in the Restoration Diary Chapters as listed below. Click on the chapter link to view.


Date Chapter Topic
2008 November Chapter One Initial assessment and first engine blow-by tests 
2009 August Chapter Two Dirty work
2009 August Chapter Three Repaint
2009 September Chapter Four Further engine blow-by tests
2009 November Chapter Five Trip to Windhoek
2010 March Chapter Six Engine change
2010 May Chapter Seven Taxi tests
2010 August Chapter Eight Undercarriage retraction tests
2010 October Chapter Nine New home