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Dakota Lodge Rand

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The Dakota Lodge

Experience the ambience of an old bygone era with modern facilities. The Dakota Lodge is the first Guest House establishment at the Rand Airport and the first in South Africa with an aviation theme, specifically to honor the venerable Douglas DC-3 Dakota. The Dakota Lodge has been designed by the architect Tienie Grobler of the well known Pretoria architect company Heyn Associates which has won numerous design awards over the last couple of years.

The Dakota Lodge is part of the new development onto the original Hangar 5 at Rand Airport. The three story facility includes office space for our charter company, Springbok Classic Air, modern workshops for our maintenance organization, Springbok Aviation Services, and briefing and lecture rooms for our flight school, Springbok Air Academy.

Captain Flippie Vermeulen, the owner of The Dakota Lodge, mentioned: as an active pilot with South African Airways I have been staying in some of the worlds best hotels over the last 40 years and has as such, ensured the design of the rooms met all of the requirements for all future visitors.

The unique, open plan design of the public areas and stairs, offer an unrestricted view into the main hangar where rare aircraft such as the flagship DC-3, Dakota, The Flying Springbok, of Springbok Classic Air and sistership Beech 18 ′Lucky Irish′ as well many other vintage planes can be seen.

Conveniently situated at Rand Airport, the Dakota lodge offers 24 en-suite rooms. Each room features a historic aviation theme with a beautiful view, from the Johannesburg Down Town area in the west, to the Suikerbosrand in the south.

Situated only twenty minutes from OR Tambo Airport, the Dakota Lodge is only ten minutes away from the Bedford Centre in Bedford View and fifteen minutes away from the well known Eastgate shopping centre. Freeways in all directions are easily accessible from Rand Airport. Apart from the many famous restaurants in the area, such as in the Bedford Centre and Eastgate Shopping Mall, the now, famous Harvard Restaurant is only fifty meters away from the Dakota Lodge.

The Harvard, restaurant offers a wide variety of food, ranging from traditional South African food to Pastas, including some of the best Pizzas to be found anywhere. Enjoy your meal in the open air area at the Harvard, whilst watching the aircraft moving around the airport.

Other facilities offered are: a moderate equipped Gym, Conference Centre, airport shuttle service, 24h reception service, laundry service, free Wifi and Nespresso Coffee station in the lounge.

More info and booking information go to the Dakota Lodge website:

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History Hangar 5

Hangar 5 was built for South African Airways in 1938 to accommodate the three Condors which were on order from Germany. With the outbreak of WWII, the order was cancelled and the hangar became the main maintenance base for SAA until 1953 when SAA moved to Jan Smuts Airport.
Many of SAA's DC-3's were serviced in Hangar 5 during this period. For many years subsequently, until the mid nineties, it became the maintenance facility of Fields Aviation, which serviced the South African Air Force's DC-3's (SAAF) under contract. It is therefore only appropriate to develop the hangar and establish the Dakota Lodge in honour of all the DC-3 Dakota's and C-47 Skytrains which had been serviced there over the years.

With the opening of the Dakota Lodge, the developers / owners Capt Flippie Vermeulen and his wife Maryna fulfilled a lifelong dream to honour the historic Dakota Aircraft.
Capt Flippie Vermeulen has been well known for his efforts over the years to preserve commercial airliners and was responsible for the establishment of the SAA Historic Flight in the early nineties.
Since 2001, he, with his family has established their family business, Springbok Classic Air, offering exclusive flying  safaris to the discerning traveller to remote destinations in Africa, offering  charter flights with their fleet of aircraft ranging from Cessna 210's to the DC-3, Springbok Aviation Services offering maintenance on aircraft ranging from single engine Pipers and Cessna's to the Douglas DC-4's and Springbok Air Academy,  offering flight training ranging from, basic training to advanced flying on the DC-3.

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Springbok Classic Air Beech B-18S (E18S-9700) ZS-OIJ

The final developments of the Beech 18 line, the E18S, G18S and ultimate Super H18 were built at Wichita Kansas between 1953 and 1968. ZS-OIJ (construction number BA-428) was constructed as an E18S-9700 model back in 1959, which included a heightened cabin roof. In 1963 she was purchased by Kawneer Co based at Niles Michigan with registration N379B. After that she was operated by American Metal Climax Inc and Patrick Plywood Enterprises Inc. (1972)

During 1973 she ventured north to Canada and was sold to Millardair Ltd based at Toronto-Malton Ontario with new tail markings C-FWDV. With Millardair she was mainly used as a freighter flying general cargo and automotive parts.

During May 1993 she was struck off Canadian Register and reported sold to the USA as N7058U with Casablanca Air Transport, New York. This changed to Classic Air Transport Inc of Ridgewood New Jersey in January 1994. Sold to Mr Ronald P. Wayner of White River South Africa and departed Lanseria airport for relief work in Rwanda (June 1994).

Aircraft exported to South Africa the next year (April 1995) and was registered to Nelair Pty Ltd of White River in Mpumalanga as ZS-OIJ. It is with Nelair she received her extended nose modification. Up to 1998 she was operated by Mercy Air on humanitarian and missionary work.

ZS-OIJ was used in the epic movie Amelia - A look at the life of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart, who disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 in an attempt to make a flight around the world. She was made to look like the original Lockheed L-12A Electra and received large orange wing and tail surfaces.

Info via
– Geoff Goodall beech18-part-4

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Springbok Classic Air Douglas C-47A "Dakota" ZS-NTE (c/n 11926)

This aircraft was built at the Douglas Aircraft Corporation plant at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in the USA under Contract number W535-AC-2405 for the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), as a model C-47A-1-DK. It was test flown and delivered to the USAAF on the 24th of September 1943 as USAAF serial number 42-92157.It was transferred under the "lend-lease" agreement between the USA and Great Britain to the Royal Air Force and was transferred as such to RAF Middle East on the 20th of January 1944 and given RAF serial number FL565.Under RAF terminology it was designated a Douglas "Dakota" Mk III.

It was immediately transferred to 28 Squadron South African Air Force (SAAF) Transport Squadron, Mediterranean Theatre, then based at Castel Benito in western Libya. It operated flights throughout the Mediterranean region, in particular Bari (Italy), Ras-el-Ma (Morocco) and Rabat-Sale (Morocco).From June 1944 it was based at Maison Blanche, Algiers, Algeria continuing cargo and passenger flights throughout the Mediterranean area.

On strength 28 Squadron SAAF & Transferred to SAAF Serial number 6873 - 5 Wing, 28 Squadron, Shuttle service (Germiston) (1945). Sold to Aero Rebuilds (W. Gale & J. Gaylord) in 1995 and registered as ZS-NTE. During May 1996 it was ferried to Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it was based for some time. It operated cargo flights in the Eastern DRC. During March 1997 it returned to Rand airport. Later Mr. Gale passed away and the business he and Mr. Gaylard owned was liquidated. In 2002 the aircraft, by now partly dismantled was sold at auction to Captain Flippie Vermeulen. It was then placed in storage for the next seven years. Final Restoration commenced on 5 April 2009.

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