87 HELICOPTER FLYING SCHOOL
FOSTERS NEW RELATIONSHIP
photos by Amn Lebogang Ramaboea, AD ASTRA magazine
Col Izak Christoffel van der Vyver was inducted as an
honorary colonel of 87 Helicopter Flying School (HELI FS).
The parade was held at AFB Bloemspruit on 23 January 2009.
“The primary responsibility of the Honorary Colonel is to
assist in maintaining the units traditions, to foster
esprit-de-corps and to represent the interests of the unit.
I consider the appointment as Honorary Colonel of this unit
a singular honour. I solemnly undertake to honour my duties
at 87 Helicopter Flying School. All this I will do to the
best of my abilities,” said Honorary Colonel van der Vyver
in his acceptance address.
Col Izak Christoffel van der Vyver addressing the parade
Col van der
Vyver was born in the Eastern Cape Province in the town of
Queenstown, on 25 January 1948. He attended high school at
Hoërskool Hangkilp until he matriculated in 1966. The
following year saw him join the South African Air Force
(SAAF) and he qualified as a pilot.
During 1968 to 1970 he was a student at the Military Academy
in Saldanha Bay. After qualifying he was awarded the
Ad-Astra trophy for best Air Force Student. In 1970 he
completed the Vampire course at Air Force Base Pietersburg.
Col R Opperman flanked by Hon Col van der Vyver and Lt
Col Jaco Steynberg
The hard working
Col van der Vyver sought for more knowledge. That made him
qualify as a flying instructor at Central Flying School
(CFS) in 1971, where he did his piloting course. The same
year in 1971 he also qualified as an Impala instructor at
AFB Langebaanweg. His resume includes serving as Harvard’s
weapon instructor at 8 Squadron in 1972.
He attained a category B instructors rating at AFB
Bloemspruit. Then, he was an Impala flying instructor at no
4 Citizen Force Sqn at AFB Waterkloof. By the end of 1973,
he left the organisation to further his studies. Hon Col van
der Vyver enrolled with the University of Pretoria and
graduated as a Civil Engineer at the end of 1978. He was
employed at the Vereeniging Municipality. He became a
founder member of the Van Heerden and Van der Vyver
Incorporated. The consulting civil engineering firm
specialises in pavement management systems.
The new Honorary Colonel of 87 Heli FS has succeeded the
late Col Russel Tungay. Hon Col van der Vyver had elier
said; it had been a privilege to serve in the SA Air Force
at the same time as his predecessor. “I knew the late Hon
Col Russel Tungay personally as a colleague, it is a great
honour to succeed him as Honorary Colonel of 87 Heli FS.
That also places a heavy onus on me to live up to the high
standards which he has set”.
This honorary colonel of 87 Heli FS is not new to the post.
He has previously served terms at both 42 and 60 Sqn. He
then succeeded Judge Cecil Margo at 60 Sqn, which was closed
down in 2008.
Maj Gen M Mangethe, Brig Gen Z Msimang, Cpln Mandla Mtila
and Col Hersov
The new inductee
had earlier intimated that he sincerely hopes to complete
his term as honorary colonel of 87 Heli FS. He also thanked
the Chief of the SA Air Force for the honour he has bestowed
on him. He added that the school is currently involved in
training exercises to safe guard venues at the 2010 Soccer
World Cup. He was excited and elated about challenges ahead
of him, and looking forward to upholding the vision of the
unit becoming an internationally recognised helicopter
training school on the African continent.
He stressed the importance and essential mission of 87 Heli
FS, which is to provide the SA Air Force with competent
helicopter pilots. That will in turn be a significant
propeller to the lay basis for all helicopter pilot training
in the SAAF including the training of flight engineers and
flight engineer instructors.
The Tungay family with Col van der Vyver
The evening was
graced by the honour of senior officers in the SAAF; Maj Gen
Mandla Mangethe (GOC, Air Command) and Brig Gen Zimpande
Msimang (D Heli). The delegates included Mrs Tungay and her
In an Interview with Ad Astra magazine on 23 January 2009,
Hon Col Izak van der Vyver said: “I am looking forward to
closely working with Lt Col Jaco Steynberg, Officer
Commanding (OC) of 87 Helicopter Flying School. That will
also mean fostering good relations with the OC of AFB
Bloemspruit Col Rudolph Opperman. On the 25 January I will
be celebrating my birthday with a big braai flanked by my
three daughters Hedre, Ilana and Izone”. Honorary Col van
der Vyver, even at the age of 61 years still goes to the gym
every morning at 05h00, to start his day fresh and in high
The goal of the day was to establish a sound relationship
between the private sector and the SAAF. The Honoury
Colonel, the base OC and the OC of 87 Heli FS arrived in an
Agusta A109. Hon Col Izak Christoffel van der Vyver in his
new post will have to be the guardian of the image of 87
Helicopter Flying School. The four values of the
organisation will be guiding him, Human dignity, Excellence
in all we do, Integrity and Service before self.