Meet the Steering Committee
Here are those dedicated individuals that have made the restoration of Spitfire S/N 5518 a reality.
Colonel Tony Smit
Col. Smit has had an extremely distinguished career in and out of the SAAF, including 15 years in the Rhodesian Air Force, 4 years as an instructor in 44 Squadron SAAF, 7 and a half years as an instructor in 21 VIP Squadron, Officer Commanding, 41 Squadron for 4 and a half years, and Officer Commanding, SAAF Museum for 4 and a half years, Officer Commanding 81 Flying School, and SAAF Director of Foreign Relations to name but a few! Col. Tony was heavily involved with bringing the P-51D Mustang from the USA to the SAAF Museum, including restoring 11 scrap aircraft to flying condition during his time as OC of the SAAF Museum. Col. Tony still flies everything from corporate jets to vintage aircraft and turbo props, with over 25000 flying hours on 230 aircraft types, and not to mention, he is also a dedicated family man, father and husband!
Ian Grace has a long-standing interest in vintage aircraft, particular World War II. This interest extends to aircraft which served on either front, in particular, the fighter aircraft. At present, Ian is also restoring a veteran MGB motor car as well. Ian has also served in various management levels, within various organisations. Ian's academic and technical qualification is within the Instrumentation and Process Control field, specialising in liquid chromatography.
Spitfire Project Committee Member
Dave Evans has been a member of the Friends of the SAAF Museum for twenty years, serving variously on the Pretoria Branch committee as chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and secretary. He has 45 years of business experience in areas such as project management, planning and optimisation, strategy, organisation development, logistics management, factory management and IT management. He has been an aviation nut for considerably longer.
Heydon has been an aviation enthusiast his entire life. In his spare time, Heydon enjoys flying as an avid private pilot and spends many hours in his Rockwell Comander 112TCA, which he hangars at Wonderboom. From a military interest perspective, as a young boy, as with most with an aviation interest, he read all of the adventures of Biggles and any other books on aviation development through WWI and WWII, into modern fighters and still does to this day. He also spent time in the SAAF as part of his national service as a loadmaster on various types including C130, C160 Transall, Boeing 707, DC3 and even on a DC4, with postings at Grootfontein, Eros, Swartkop, Ysterplaat and Port Elizabeth. As a career, Heydon has spent time in Marketing, International Sales and IT at a number of multinationals in executive roles within South Africa. His passion for aviation and the preservation of history has lead him to the Friends of the SAAF Museum and to be a part of history in the restoration of some of South Africa's flying legends as their marketing officer.
PR and marketing consultant
Karen has always had a keen interest in all things military, especially on World War II history. Her many visits to the Military History Museum, her involvement with the Transvaal Scottish Regiment and her love for planes brought her to the Spitfire Restoration Project. After finding out about the project at the 2016 Airshow, she offered to assist with marketing and public relations. Karen works as the communications manager at software development company DVT. Before that she ran her own PR consultancy, Communikay, from 2012 to 2017. Karen worked in the PR industry for 13 years in which she gained invaluable experience working with some of South Africa’s top IT companies. Karen began her working career as a qualified teacher.
Phil Scallan, Bing (Chemie), Bing (Hons) (QA), MBA
Project Representative on SAAF Museum Council
Philip has served in top management and on the boards of a number of listed and multinational companies as well as consulted to listed companies and large parastatals. His expertise lies in the fields of project management, technical, QA and production management. Philip has been a member of the Friends since 1993 and served in various roles: Member of SAAF Museum Council since 2003, President NEC of the Friends SAAF Museum since 2008, Past Chairman Pretoria Branch Friends SAAF Museum (2003 -2006), Member of EAA and Warbirds of America.
Robert Cathro is an aeronautical engineer with 21 years of experience working at the CSIR and Denel Aerostructures. He is currently a principal engineer at Denel Aerostructures where he works mainly on the Airbus A400M. He specialises in the design and analysis of polymer composite structures.
IT Support and Web Master
Keegan's passion for military history started at Bearwood College, Wokingham, UK, where he had his first taste of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF). Later, at Ryde School with Upper Chine, UK, he achieved the rank of Cadet W/O and received flying scholarships to solo the Grob Tutor and Vigilant powered glider. Keegan is in charge of ensuring smooth IT assistance to the project, including web hosting, website maintenance, and inventory management for the restoration of the Spitfire. He has a degree in Information Science (BIS, BIS Hons), and in the past lectured various Information Science modules including Competitive Intelligence, a brief stint consulting in the ERP field, and is currently an Information Systems Manager for a large firm in the Cape.
The International Team
Project Manager Specialist (Australia)
Don Sutton is professional construction project manager with over 20 years of work experience and is now a Senior Project Manager in Sydney Australia where he continues to support the project internationally through support, information gathering and guidance from the well established ‘Warbird’ scene and experienced aircraft restorers in the various states of Australia.
He has worked on diverse projects within various sectors of the economy. Don’s experience extends to establishing standardized gated methodologies for programme and project life cycle stages through the establishment of best practice governance, processes, procedures and templates while committing to quality assurance practices. Don has a keen interest in World War II era fighter aircraft whilst as the same time wishing to preserve the history of the SAAF and the many men who served with distinguished careers.
Ex. British Army WO1 (ASM) REME Mechanical Engineer specialising in Battlefield repair with experience in Heavy Armour, Artillery, Railways, Outboard Motors etc. Specific experience: 3 years work on merlin engines in use as power units for Centurion MBT, and Founding member of REME Historic Vehicle Society and manager of their annual Vehicle Rally which included steam, military & civilian vehicles (now part of REME Corp. Museum).