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Classic Air Travel

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Classic Aircraft

Enjoy a nostalgic flight in Rovos Rail's Classic Convair 440

In April 2001 the two splendid Convair 440 aeroplanes were purchased from an operator in Bolivia and flown over the Atlantic Ocean to their new home in South Africa. Built in 1954 the first owner was the US Airforce, which based them in Texas until 1992. Then followed their 8-year tour of duty in Cochabamba at 8 500ft on contract to the Bolivian airlines.

The restoration of the air-conditioned aircraft to Rovos standards was achieved in Pietersburg and proved easier than expected due to the exceptionally good condition of the airframe. The aircraft have flown relatively few hours during their 46-year life and as they were operated in dry areas there was no corrosion damage to contend with. The avionics were deemed to be out of date and were thus completely upgraded to incorporate the most modern radar, moving map and positioning systems available.

Fitted with the Pratt & Whitney 2800 radial engines the aircraft has a pleasing power to weight ratio, providing the sort of performance demanded by the well-qualified pilots. Pressurized to 23 000 ft (above the bumps) the aircraft will cruise comfortably at 400km per hour (220 knots) for a maximum distance of 1 600 nautical miles carrying 44 passengers in the comfort and style expected of our product. The geared propellers, a massive 13ft 6ins in diameter, only spin at 1000 RPM helping to keep the cabin noise at a very acceptable level.

Rovos is also pleased to introduce their new addition, a 1944 DC-3 which has been rebuilt with 21 business class seats and a very plush interior. Called 'Delaney' after a child who was born on board in October 1975 - this aircraft has a fascinating history!

Onboard service by the capable staff will be of the usual high standard, complemented by the facilities of an efficient and comprehensive galley. The aircraft will be used to convey our train passengers from Pietersburg to Victoria Falls in Zambia on our scheduled Pretoria to Victoria Falls journeys, and will also be available for charter anywhere in Southern Africa.