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Shrieking Gazelles

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  • RA-05703 (ex-Army Air Corps XZ299 then G-CDXE) during an airshow at Severka airport near Moscow on 13th September 2014. (Photo: Anton Petroff)


    • The Government of Montenegro has recently signed an agreement with Airbus Helicopters in respect of technical support for their Gazelle fleet. The agreement covers both aircrafts delivered from Aerospatiale and those manufactured by the Soko-Mostar factory in former Yugoslavia.

      A Soko-built Gazelle operated by the Air Force of Montenegro

      The contract with Airbus (with an annual rolling value of up to half a million Euros) will cover the provision of spare parts, tooling and equipment as well as technical documentation but does not include engine support. In the contract Airbus have agreed to pay a 'late delivery' of 0,05% per day penalty but not exceeding 5% of the order value.


      • Lovely shot of RA-05703 Zis! The photographer even managed to time it so that he caught both anti-collision lights going off simultaneously!

        Thanks too for the Gaz News contribution. Inevitable really I suppose given that the Soko factory is no more.

        Aviafora is thrilled, yes thrilled, to present our 'Occasional Gazelle Awards' and most especially because this is a double recognition with two awards being issued.

        Both awards are related to a flight which took place in May 2013 when a Westland-built Gazelle, G-BXTH, (which recently featured in a Gaz News item on the previous page) was involved in a 'Birthday Flight'.

        'Granny Scott' (that is to say Mrs Margaret Scott of Carsethorn, near Dumfries in Scotland) aka 'Wee Granny', was treated to the Gazelle flight in celebration of her 98th birthday. Granny Scott (who is a great-grandmother) lives alone in her own house and still frequently drives. She recently bought a new car and said she was "upset" that it only came with a three year warranty. Mrs Scott applied for her first passport at the age of 95 when she decided she wanted to go on a cruise. However, going up in a helicopter has been a lifelong dream and which is what prompted her son Dougie to arrange the flight.

        With the assistance family friend and pilot, Murray Grierson from Dumfries, the special birthday flight became a reality!

        In an interview before the flight (the video of which I shall post at a later date) Granny Scott says: "I've always wanted to go up in a helicopter. I've always thought it would be better than a plane!"

        Ah .. God love you Wee Granny! A wise woman indeed you are!

        So, just how does this special birthday flight rack-up two Aviafora Gazelle Awards? Well, the landing in G-BXTH that day was .. how can one describe this .. unique .. and, the Aviafora team has agreed that both Granny Scott and her intrepid pilot Murray Grierson deserve special recognition as a result.


        To Mrs Margaret Scott (aged 99 this year) Aviafora is pleased to present you with a '1st Place' recognition in our Occassional Gazelle Awards for believing that helicopters are better than planes, for braving a Gazelle flight at age 98 and, specifically, for enduring Murray's 'unique' landing!
        Presented to Mrs Margaret Scott


        To Murray Grierson, Aviafora is thrilled is present you with this 'Runner Up' Award for performing a most spectacular landing!
        Presented to Murray Grierson

        And .. a wee review of that epic landing!

        ps: Murray, if ever you read this, please be sure to know that we love you really!


        • Worst landing ever caught on camera :-)


          • I would like to add my congratulations to those who have received the Gazelle award and to say that I think Mr. Grierson's piloting skills show just how sturdy the Gazelle's undercarriage is!


            • Zis, have you seen the latest addition to the 'Gazelles For Sale' page?

              If so, have you noticed at least two unique features about N901B?


              • Originally posted by Savoia View Post
                If so, have you noticed at least two unique features about N901B?
                If you mean on this "EC120-looking-nose" it's just painted perspex.


                • Lol, yes .. I was sure you couldn't miss it.

                  The re-styled nose I do not like at all (is it really just painted?) but .. the one-piece lower door perspex is nice.


                  • Inside part of the door is also re-decorated.


                    • Okay, grazie!

                      Airborne Technologies of Austria have launched a Self Contained Aerial Reconnaissance (SCAR) Pod which can be mounted on the Gazelle Helicopter.

                      This Pod is completely self-sufficient and allows wireless operation. Data connection from pod to operator station is done via WIFI and needs no external cabling. The use of an internal - easy changeable - battery pack grants power supply for up to 10 hours.

                      Airborne Technologies of Austria are making their 'SCAR' Pod available for installation on the Gazelle

                      The SCAR-Pod does not assume any airframe modifications on the aircraft but can be installed via lug suspensions which enable immediate use on every aircraft with NATO hard points. The light weight carbon fiber pod carries a complete surveillance mission package which quickly upgrades any aircraft to an ISR platform. It offers room for an EO/IR Gimbal, Downlink, Uplink, Moving Map, Augmented Reality System and COMINT/SIGINT equipment. Depending on the size of the gimbal the SCAR-Pod is available in two versions for 10” and 15” EO/IR cameras.

                      Wolfgang Grumeth, CEO of Airborne Technologies, said, “With our new SCAR-Pod any helicopter equipped with hard points can become a surveillance aircraft almost immediately. Although the SCAR-Pod is an “out of the box solution” it turns out to be very flexible in fulfilling special customer needs. On the basis of “Plug & Fly” the customer is able to add ISR capability to his fleet.


                      • A government official and his staff alight from an SA341G (cn 1029) 9Y-TFO belonging to the Ministry of National Security of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago c. 1970's. This aircraft was formerly F-WTNS


                        • SA341G F-WTNV (cn 1006) arriving at Twenthe Air Force Base in Holland on 30th August 1974

                          More F-WTNV on pages 1 and 2.


                          • Gazelle continuing to be a very useful platform for variety of armory & surveillance equipment …

                            Unknown SA.341 exhibited at AFB Waterkloof, City of Tshwane, Centurion SA during 7th Africa Aerospace & Defence Exhibition 17-21 September 2014.


                            • Gazelle Down: Russia

                              The Russian Department of Transport have announced the a Gazelle helicopter has crashed near St. Petersburg in the waters between St. Petersburg Anniversary Park (aka Park 300) and Vasilevsky Island in the Gulf of Finland. The helicopter crashed at approximately 2:30 pm on 19th September.

                              SA341G Gazelle RA-1233G as seen in St.Petersburg on 6th April 2013 which has crashed today

                              The helicopter crashed in front of dozens of witnesses some of whom reported seeing the Gazelle overflying a boat before flying at low level and high speed, getting lower and lower and eventually hitting the water. After crashing, the helicopter is said to have sunk almost immediately.

                              The pilot has been identified as 41 year old Alexei Afonchenkovu who was also the owner of the Gazelle and who died in the accident.

                              A passenger,
                              Juris Babelyuk from Latvia, also on board the helicopter, was rescued from the water and is being treated for multiple lacerations and a broken arm.

                              Investigators from Russia's Investigative Committee of the Department of Transport have been told that before the crash the helicopter's owner had spent several hours at the 'Sail' restaurant located next to the Yacht Club on Peter Spit in St. Petersburg. According to one eyewitness, Afonchenko Babelyuk, the helicopter owner smoked hookah and consumed alcohol before taking-off and flying out over the bay.

                              Rescue boats attended the site of the crash shortly after the helicopter struck the water

                              Sonar was used to locate the helicopter after which rescuers were sent to inspect the wreckage where divers discovered the pilot's body still strapped into his seat.

                              The wreckage of RA-1233G is recovered from the bay

                              The remains of RA-1233G

                              RA-1233G Crash Video

                              The video footage below purportedly shows RA-1233G taking-off immediately prior to the crash:

                              Alexei Afonchenkovu and his Gazelle, as seen in 2013:



                              • Tragic.

                                On page 4 (where incidentally Zis had posted a photo of RA-1233G) I wrote (after posting a video of a Gaz flying low over water):

                                Originally posted by Savoia View Post
                                Low flying over a body of water with a 'mirror' surface? Let me put it this way .. if you were my student and you came back after doing that .. you'd feel the inside of my hand against the back of your head!
                                Again, very sad.


                                • Memories of RA-1233G:

                                  SA341G RA-1233G as seen at Bolshoye Gryzlovo Airfield in Russia in November 2013

                                  RA-1233G's dataplate showing that the craft was manufactured in Marignane in September 1972 and that her serial number was 1020

                                  In memory of
                                  Alexei Afonchenkovu


                                  • Some more memories of c/n: 1020

                                    As YU-HBB at Luxembourg Findel Airport in October 1995.

                                    In Butmir many years ago

                                    And some drawings in both colour schemes.


                                    • Nice shots Zis!

                                      'HBB' in her former colours reminds me of F-GKIB which was posted on page 3 and which carries the same scheme.

                                      SA341G Gazelle F-GKIB as seen at Lognes Emerainville Airport in France on 17th June 1991 (Photo: Don Hewins)


                                      • That's because F-GKIB was previously YU-HBA which together with YU-HBB was attached to the same "unit" in one of the former Yugoslav republics.


                                        • Grazie Zis! Makes sense if they were 'sister' aircraft.

                                          Sadly, the day after Alexei Afonchenkovu crashed his Gazelle in the Gulf of Finland, a Brasilian helicopter pilot crashed an R44 (registration PR-CIG) in the Furnas Dam, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brasil. The pilot survived but his two passengers, a couple apparently on a scenic flight, were killed as they were unable to get out of the aircraft once it had submerged.



                                          • Army Air Corps SA341B Gazelle as seen in 1978

                                            I 'think' this may be XZ312 (manufactued in 1976) but .. would like to try and discover the location of this shot - perhaps an Army helipad?


                                            • Middle Wallop?


                                              • Yes I suppose that is the most reasonable assumption. Only that I did not recognise that particular angle!

                                                Speaking of Wallop ..

                                                A painting of Army Gazelles over Middle Wallop


                                                • Westland Wessex (probably MkV) in company with a Gazelle over RAF Ternhill c. 1970's


                                                  • First solo after receiving 10 hours of instruction:

                                                    Helicopter departures from Waddington Airshow:


                                                    • md600driver
                                                      md600driver commented
                                                      Editing a comment
                                                      we waited for what seemed ages to depart waddington i was in the first gazelle[ Blue] but looking at the clock it was not long

                                                  • Royal Marines Westland Gazelle in company with a Marines Scout on arctic warfare training in Norway c. 1980


                                                    • Trainee mechanic from the L'Armée de Terre inspects SA342 Gazelle 'GMD' during training operations


                                                      • Go Gazelle!

                                                        A Westland Helicopters advert which appeared in Flight International in 1972.

                                                        The advert reads:

                                                        With the new 5-place Gazelle we offer you:
                                                        • Engine dependability with the backing of 4,000,000 flying hours experience with the Astazou engine.
                                                        • Superb and continuous UK-based product support with direct access to Westland, Europe's largest helicopter manufacturer.
                                                        • High speed cruising at 160 mph.
                                                        • Limousine comfort with conversion from 5-place to freight configuration in a matter of seconds.
                                                        • Simple maintenance with trouble-fee components and easy accessibility.
                                                        • Three international speed records back our claim that the Gazelle is the fastest light helicopter in the world and we offer this new breed of helicopter with virtually round the clock flying availability.
                                                        Full information is readily available - telephone Gazelle Sales Yeovil 5222 and - go Gazelle


                                                        • Some unusual Gazelle liveries:

                                                          Tiger Meet Gazelle 3964 at Cambrai - Epinoy in June 2003 (photo: Melvin Jansen)

                                                          Blue Eagles' XX403 commemorate 25th anniversary of Gazelle service in UK forces at Middle Wallop in June 1998 (photo: Stuart Lewis)


                                                          • Nice shots Zis!

                                                            Anja Krneta, first female helicopter pilot in the Serbian Air Force