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Palmietfontein Airport, Johannesburg  
User currently offlineNZ8800 From New Zealand, joined May 2006, 425 posts, RR: 2
Posted (6 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3002 times:

G'day
Just wondering if anyone has some info on Johannesburg's long gone Palmietfontein International Airport.
It was south of the city centre, in the township of Tokoza.
Some info has been found...

http://www.avcom.co.za/phpBB2/viewto...d=302f728ca89fb3bf68d1bfdb102c4ac8

http://www.saamuseum.co.za/files/SAAMS.doc

Also the Bradshaw's 1953 guide shows the BOAC Comets arriving at the then newly opened Jan Smuts Airport (now known as O.R. Tambo International), but most flights (SAA, Qantas, and BOAC's Constellations) still arrived and departed from Palmietfontein.

It had two runways, one long one, and a shorter cross one on the diagonal, and they were later used as a motor racing circuit for the 1956 Rand Grand Prix, totalling about 3.8 miles between them.

http://www.silhouet.com/motorsport/tracks/palmietf.html

I am not sure if the airport was actually sealed or not! Air Safety Net has an accident detailed suggesting a landing aircraft sank deep into the stones - yet Constellations used it, so perhaps the primary runway was sealed, and the other one wasn't.

I can only speculate why it was closed so early - perhaps not long enough runways, given that Johannesburg's elevation is around 1700m, and bad approaches, and/or weak runways. Whatever it was, money was found to replace it pretty quickly, given the deprivations of the early post-war period.

Also - does anyone know what the name translates as? I only know a little Afrikaans, so while fontein is fountain, Palmiet beats me... perhaps it's someone's name.

Thanks,
NZ8800


MDZWTA ~ Mobile Disaster Zone When Travelling Abroad
3 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePilotdude09 From Australia, joined May 2005, 1777 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (6 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 2943 times:



Quoting NZ8800 (Thread starter):
Also - does anyone know what the name translates as? I only know a little Afrikaans, so while fontein is fountain, Palmiet beats me... perhaps it's someone's name.

A friend from South Africa has told me that Palmiet means fine leaf bushes.....Not 100% sure if it does but he says thats what it means?



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User currently offlineSpeedbird128 From Pitcairn Islands, joined Oct 2003, 1648 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (6 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 2904 times:

Palmiet is the name of a plant... It's a hardy bush/shrub type thing, with long thin serrated edged leaves... Used to have one in my garden when I lived at the coast...

[Edit: it's name is Prionum Serratum]

[Edited 2007-12-05 22:58:33]


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User currently offlineNZ8800 From New Zealand, joined May 2006, 425 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (6 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 2826 times:

Thanks for the info - just realised that the total length of the runways was 1.9 miles - 3040m - as the total given above was the circuit length!
Given that the main runway would be around 2/3 - 3/4 of that total (i.e. between 2200 and 2300m) - that doesn't sound like much for a fully loaded Constellation to take off on, at an elevation of about 1700m - and for some of them, the next stop was the then RAF Station Eastleigh at Nairobi, about 2900km north.

(As it happens, both runway and elevation at Eastleigh (now Moi Air Base), are about the same as the estimated ones at Palmietfontein... elevation of Eastleigh is 1,640m and the runway length is 2438m (8000ft).)



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