Rhodesia - Intaf

Callsign - Lighthouse

Intaf Air Wing

This aircraft is on the Mudzi airstrip.  It is still in its peacetime colours and the call sign can be clearly seen as that of ZS DIA.  Photo from Nick Baalbergen.

 

Intaf had a small but credible air wing which was part of the African Development Fund and was staffed by several competent pilots.  Small Cessna aircraft (172, 175, 182, 205, 206, 207 and one 402) were used for reconnaissance, casevacs, and re-supply purposes.  The aircraft often came under fire from terrorist forces on the ground and at least one aircraft was destroyed by a landmine planted on a runway!

 

Intaf aircraft were flown in civilian colours until the anti air missile threat became serious and an Air Rhodesia Viscount was shot down.  Thereafter the aircraft were painted a matt green colour in an effort to make the aircraft less vulnerable.

 

Cessna 172 of the ADF Air Wing

 

Graham Hargreaves has kindly supplied photos and more information on the Intaf Air Wing as follows -

Graham Hargreaves and VP-WHC.  Note the old style Intaf badge on the tail of the aircraft.  Hotel Charlie was later painted in more suitable colours.  Another photo of this aircraft appears below.  (Photo from Graham Hargreaves)

Extract from Graham's logbook. Note the first entry on this page which was very significant in Rhodesia's history of the war.

 

Jim Andrews was the chief pilot of the Air Wing at one time.  He had extensive flying service during World War Two and Korea and also flew for the Rhodesian Air Force at one time.  (Photo from Graham Hargreaves)

 Cessna 180 Golf India at Bumi Hills (Photo from Graham Hargreaves)

Cessna 182 Hotel Charlie somewhere in the Lowveld.  (Photo from Graham Hargreaves)

 Cessna 185 Hotel Whiskie at Bumi Hills (Photo from Graham Hargreaves)

 L-R Chris Marchant, who later flew with Air Rhodesia, Gary Mitchell, Norman Groenewald and Byrne Gardiner (Photo from Graham Hargreaves)

L/R Jim Leonard, Russell Kilner, behind Russell is Norman Groenewald next to Norman is Gary Sherwood, behind Jim, with the beard is Derrick Robinson, next to Derrick is Alan Fraser, with back to the camera is John Hayler.  (Photo from Graham Hargreaves)

The following pilots are known -

 

Ken Brown MSM.  Ken was the Ops Manager and senior pilot of the Air Wing.

 

Chris Brittlebank.  Went on to fly for Air Zimbabwe and other international airlines. 

Michael Cooper.  National Service Pilot in 1975-76 based initially out of Charles Prince airport then in Fort Victoria/Buffalo Range.

Chris Donnelly.  Went to South Africa.

Allan Fraser.  Is presently an Airbus Captain with Air Mauritius.

   

Byrne Rielly Gardener.  Byrne was killed in action when his aircraft detonated an anti tank land mine on the runway at Mutawatawa airstrip in Mrewa District on the 19th February 1979.

 

Laurie Graham. Went on to fly for Air Zimbabwe and other international airlines.

 

Norman Groenewald.  Forced to land between Chiredzi and Chipinga when the aircraft engine failed.  Sabotage was suspected.

 

Graham Hargreaves.  Graham was a National Service pilot who flew with Intaf from August 1977 until end of April 1979. He flew Cessna 182's, the Cessna 180, VP-WGI and Cessna 185, VP-WHW and did over 600 hours over his two year national service period. He also flew with 108 Squadron, South African Air Force when he moved to South Africa.

 

Russell B.G. Kilner.  Did his pilot training course with the Rhodesian Air Force in 1963.  While flying as an Intaf pilot he was shot at while flying over Mrewa District from the ground and was wounded in the stomach.  Russell was awarded the MSM.

 

Mike La Grange. Went on to fly for Air Zimbabwe and other international airlines.

 

Carl Liutingh. Went on to fly with Air Zimbabwe and Gulf Air.

 

James McNiellie. Went on to fly for Air Zimbabwe and other international airlines.

 

Gary Mitchell.  Went on to fly with Quantas, Cathay Pacific and Air Zimbabwe. Is still flying. 

 

Bob Norwid. Went on to fly with Air Zimbabwe and then left for unknown parts.

 

Keith Page.  Flew in the Bulawayo area.  Went on to fly with Air Zimbabwe and Quantas.

 

Rob Rickards.  Went on to fly for Air Zimbabwe and other international airlines.  Rob runs his own website "Viscounts in Africa, The Air Rhodesia Story" which also has some Intaf info.  See links page.

 

Rob Rogerson. Went on to fly with Air Zimbabwe and the Air Force of Zimbabwe.

 

Gary Sherwood. Went on to fly for Air Zimbabwe and other international airlines.

Mervyn Thompson.  Mervyn was a pilot who did his call ups in Itaf.  He used to fly for Arbor Acres on a full time basis, and ended up flying Hawker Siddley 125’s for Anglo Gold, in Johannesburg.  Mervyn's wife worked at the Air Wing HQ.

Trevor Torgius.  Also a pilot who did his call ups with Intaf.  Moved to Durban in 1978.

 

Gary Wilke. Went on to fly with Air Zimbabwe and Gulf Air.  

   

Vedette Ben van Wyk standing in front of an Intaf Air Wing Cessna aircraft in Chipinga district.  This aircraft was usually piloted by Norman Groenewald.  Photo donated by Phil Gargan who was also stationed at Chipinga.  Other aircraft call signs were as follows -

 

VP-WHA (C182)

VP-WHE (C205)

VP-WIE (C175)

VP-WFP (C402)

VP-WFS (C182)

VP-WGI (C180)

VP-WGP (C182)

VP-WHC (C182)

VP-WHW (C185)

VP-WIP (C205)

VP-YXK (C172)

VP-YVB (C182)

VP-YYB (C206)

ZS-IOC (C182)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ground-crew who looked after the Airwings aircraft.  The technician at rear right is Jim Leonard.  Standing next to Jim is Ian Scott.  Sitting in the cart (holding the steering wheel is Micky Lamont.  Sitting next to Micky is Allan Shields.  The names of these men have been supplied by Mike Groenewald who was an apprentice and served with them. Thanks go to him.

A C182 being refuelled in the field

A C205 fitted with anti missile exhaust plates

Chris Donnelly and a C207 

 

C205.  Chris Donnelly checking his map.  

 

 

 Rob Rickards with a C207 in the background.

 Many thanks to Rob Rickards for providing info and photos.

 

 

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