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 Douglas DC-3 and C-47 Operators and Owners in South Africa


Universal Travel

By Ken Fuller

Universal Travel
Another of the short-lived operators which sprang up after the war, and like Pan African, also operated into Israel. Ted Broome who flew for them as a Radio Officer tells the story that some of the crew made extra money by smuggling the forbidden cans of Ham into Tel Aviv. They had an arrangement with the refueller at Tel Aviv who took care of everything.
The Captains who were innocently involved were quite concerned about the sluggishness of the aircraft after take-off from Bulawayo Airport, unaware of the extra weight on board.
From Wadi Halfa to Tel Aviv they were supposed to follow a route to keep clear of Egyptian air space This would have entailed extra flying time, so they would after take-off initially turn on to a easterly heading and after a few minutes, conveniently lose radio contact before altering course to take them straight up the gulf of Suez on a direct track. It was a mystery why the Wadi Halfa controllers never seemed to get wise to it, or maybe they deliberately ignored what was going on.
After the Company ceased to operate in 1950 their Dakota aircraft was taken over by The Israel Air force. The crewmembers were to provide a nucleus of aircrew for the EL AL airline.
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