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Shrieking Gazelles

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  • Gazelles from Gabon ..

    Gabon Army SA342L TR-KCU (cn 5019)


    • I have posted a comment on the previous page to say that I think the cockpit shot of the Gazelle over Plymouth is probably YU-HEV.

      YU-HEV instrument panel


      • Savoia
        Savoia commented
        Editing a comment
        Some nice investigative work there Elipix, bravo! I am sure you are right btw.

      • Zishelix
        Zishelix commented
        Editing a comment
        Well done Helipixman!

    • Yugoslavian Air Force HN-42M 12832 (Soko 'Gama' #076) at Zagreb-Pleso, Croatia, on May 22nd, 1986


      • More ..

        Soko HN-42M SA341H Gama 12824 (cn 068)

        Soko HO-42 SA341H Partizan 12612 (cn 004)

        No date or location details sadly.


        • Gaz in Glasgow ..

          For Elipix and Wiggy!

          SA341G G-SFTF (cn 1262) as seen at Glasgow's Abbotsinch Airport on 5th October 1985 (Photo: John Allan)

          After serving with the Specialist Flying Training School in Cumbria, this craft was exported to France where she flew as F-GDXX. Later on she was sent to Canada, but I do not know whether she is still flying.

          Does anyone know if SFTS used to train any MoD recruits, and is this perhaps why they used Gazelles?


          • Helipixman
            Helipixman commented
            Editing a comment
            Gazelle cn 1262 is currently registered to Auto Meilleur Ltee of Quebec with its latest certificate of registration issued on 22.10.14

            SFTS.... I seem to remember the contracts were with overseas pilots. I read somewhere that SFTS purchased the batch of Gazelles and wanted to offer them for lease to UK Police forces. Instead started training overseas pilots. When G-SFTB crashed it had a solo foreign military pilot at the controls. If anyone can help this is one of only two UK Gazelles I do not have a photograph of

            Looks like some parts of G-SFTG were used near the engine cowling on G-SFTF !


          • md600driver
            md600driver commented
            Editing a comment
            AFAIK SFT was set up by John Davy, an ex-military pilot, for the purpose of training foreign pilots, mostly military, mainly Arabs including specifically, Iranians.

            All SFT's aircraft were insured 3rd party with the clients (foreign defence forces) providing indemnity if damaged .. which a lot of them were! SFT mainly used ex-UK military Gazelle manuals (several copies of which I have).

            John bought loads of Gazelles from the States, as you can see by the covered tailrotor driveshafts.

        • 4O-HJS

          Just received word from Jos, owner of Rotorspot, that he has received communication from the Montenegro CAA who have stated that there has never been a helicopter 4O-HJS on the Montenegrin register, neither has any application been received for such a registration.

          It still seems unclear therefore whether her construction number was/is 031 or 052? Does anyone know whether 031 or 052 were involved in any accidents? This might help us understand if either of these craft were used to create a 'new' aircraft.

          The mystery continues.


          • md600driver
            md600driver commented
            Editing a comment
            The 40 registration was never taken up, but was apparently issued by the Montenegro CAA. In fact I saw some paperwork supporting this.

            The owner of this aircraft allowed Griffair to use it abroad on the Yugo reg but, when he got it back from Griffair, he wanted to use it himself in the UK, and that was when he started the re-registration process. However, problems (including huge costs) prevented him from completing the registration change.

            He then offered the helicopter for sale as part of a truck auction. It did not attract sufficient bids and was withdrawn. It was then offered to the two bidders as a private sale but, this ended up being a bit of a dutch auction, as one potential buyer dropped out resulting in Richard Briggs of Skydock buying it.

        • Elipix: Thanks for the info on 1262. I wonder if Zis has a photo of this craft with her current owner in Canada?

          Re: G-SFTB, if John Davy is still around then perhaps you could try to contact him, or a member of his family, and see whether they have photos from the days when he ran SFT. Alternatively, seeing as he had a number of Gazelles, he must also have employed a number of instructors. If you could get in touch with one of two of them, someone is bound to have a photo of G-SFTB .. somewhere!

          Originally posted by Helipixman View Post
          Looks like some parts of G-SFTG were used near the engine cowling on G-SFTF!
          Yes, it would seem so.

          Steve: Thanks for this additional information (both SFT and HJS). Some pieces of the 'Gazelle puzzle' starting to fall into place!


          Specialist Flying Training School SA341G G-SFTG (cn 1187) as seen at Carlisle Airport on 17th March 1984 (Photo: Derek Heley)

          Now flying as G-GAZA.


          • C/n 1262 C-GEPX

            Just found an advert for this Gazelle (not sure how old advert is) for sale at $350000. TT 3390 hrs and Turbine 520hrs SMHO. The advert is by owner Auto Meilleur.

            Note still has F-GDXX as call sign on panel



            • Specialist Flying Training Ltd

              Here's the full fleet:

              1. G-BBHU Westland SA341G (WA.1108) 1.4.85 to 22.7.87
              Re-registered G-ORGE, G-RIFA, G-FDAV, G-NONA and G-EROL (Current with MW Helicopters)

              2. G-BKLT SNIAS SA341G (1245) 13.8.90 to 29.9.92
              Sold to Jean Labourde and then registered as F-GMJL (Crashed Avignon 18.6.98)

              3. G-BLAN SNIAS SA341G (1063) 16.11.83 to 17.9.87
              Re-registered as G-RIFF (Crashed Hall Lane Farm, Runcorn 7.3.90)

              4. G-BLAO SNIAS SA341G (1097) 16.11.83 to 15.12.86
              Sold to Norman Cyril Kramer and the re-registered as 4X-BHG then HA-LFA (Current)

              5. G-BLAP SNIAS SA341G (1155) 16.11.83 to 23.5.84
              Re-registered by SFT as G-SFTH (see G-SFTH)

              6. G-SFTA Westland SA341G (WA.1039) 10.9.82 to 21.5.86
              Crashed at Alston 9.3.84

              7. G-SFTB SNIAS SA341G (1275) 17.11.82 to 16.11.83
              Crashed near Carlisle 9.11.83

              8. G-SFTC SNIAS SA341G (1289) 17.11.82 to 19.6.85
              Sold and became G-LOYD (now a Crabtree Gazelle)

              9. G-SFTD SNIAS SA341G (1145) 18.10.82 to 30.1.87
              Sold to Blades Helicopters, then became G-RIFF, G-SFTD, G-WELA, G-PYOB, G-GZLE, HA-LFD, N341BB, RA1828G (Current ?)

              10. G-SFTE SNIAS SA.341G (1109) 8.12.82 to 30.1.87
              Sold to Salisbury Helicopters and burnt in hangar fire at Old Sarum 16.1.87

              11. G-SFTF SNIAS SA341G (1262) 18.10.82 to 10.2.87
              Sold as F-GDXX and now registered as C-GEPX (Current)

              12. G-SFTG SNIAS SA341G (1187) 21.12.82 to 3.1.86
              Sold as G-RALE and impounded for a while for drug running before becoming G-GAZA (Current)

              13. G-SFTH SNIAS SA341G (1155) 23.5.84 to 9.2.88
              Sold to Sarum Aviation before becoming G-OAFY, G-PAGS, YU-MMY and HA-LFC

              Does anyone know of the whereabouts of the Davy family or engineers, instructors of Specialist Flying training ? It would be great to see if anyone has pictures of the gazelles in the USA or G-SFTB ?

              Last edited by Helipixman; 30th March 2015, 14:41.


              • G-DFKI

                Just changed ownership to Eddie Coventry and registered to him on 23.3.15.

                Eddie previously owned Enstrom G-HOVA (sold to him by Dennis Kenyon) as well as G-HBAC, G-OBAC and G-ZBAC all Squirrels.

                He has fixed wing aircraft too. I remember him air racing his PA-28RT Arrow G-EDDY when I was many years younger, and flying around with Alan Dyer in his Cessna 310Q G-BAUE, to most of the air races.



                • md600driver
                  md600driver commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Just a small note to say that Eddie's Gazelle, G-DFKI, has had a respray and no longer looks like this anymore.

              • Elipix, those are lovely photos of C-GEPX, plus the SFTS listing .. and now the news on G-DFKI. Bravo!

                Regarding John Davy and the former SFTS crew, perhaps Steve may be able to offer some suggestions or .. as a long shot .. try contacting Carlisle Airport to see whether they have any remaining contacts for anyone who was involved with SFTS.

                Their email is:


                • I see you were very productive while I was absent. Well done!

                  Just a small correction to Helipixman's SFTS list, G-BBHV (later F-GBLK) was in fact s/n 1096, whereas s/n 1108 began as G-BBHU.


                  • Helipixman
                    Helipixman commented
                    Editing a comment
                    It was meant to be G-BBHU and not G-BBHV this was a typo on my part - sorry for some reason it wont let me edit it to change it to G-BBHU ????

                • Former Soko factory in Mostar, Herzegovina region


                  • SA341H's over Mostar in 1991

                    Kuwaiti Police SA342K

                    Zis, if you could assist me with the construction numbers for 633 and 512 (above) I would be most grateful.


                    • Sure, 633 (Yugoslav Air Force 12633) was s/n 1220 (manufactured by Aerospatiale as opposed to Soko) and KAF512 is #1339.


                      • Grazie mille, I can now file these photos!

                        Royal Navy SA341C Westland Gazelle XW890 CU-53 (cn 1161) as seen at RNAS Yeovilton on 2nd August 1979 (Photo: Robin Walker)

                        Seen here with 705 Squadron.

                        Note the classic Range Rover in the background, its rear suspension struggling somewhat under the load of it's box trailer!


                        • Army Air Corps SA341B ZB671 (cn 1958) as seen at Calgary International Airport in November 2010 (Photo: David Subelack)

                          This craft remains in service with the Army Air Corps.


                          • Savoia asked if any Gazelles remain in Scotland:

                            Currently two G-OGAZ and G-OGEO.

                            G-OGAZ c/n 1274
                            Owner: Killochries Fold - based private site west of Glasgow

                            G-OGEO c/n 1417
                            Owner: George Steel - based private site near Falkirk

                            and a couple of shots of G-OGEO's previous identities G-BXJK and F-GEHC

                            F- GEHC at Toussus Le Noble



                            • Savoia
                              Savoia commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Grazie Elipix. Lovely shots as always!

                          • UK WESTLAND GAZELLE Photos


                            Westland Gazelle c/n WA.1096

                            Westland Helicopters Ltd, 7.9.73 - 1.2.74
                            A. Smith (Culcheth) Ltd, 13.2.74 - 23.11.78
                            Sold in France as F-GBLK
                            Sarl Air Affaires EJA France, 11.5.79 - 4.3.80
                            Written off 1979

                            Westland Gazelle c/n WA.1098

                            Westland Helicopters Ltd, 7.9.73 - 26.4.74
                            Bruce Fletcher (Contractors) Ltd, 10.5.74 - 12.7.74
                            McAlpine Helicopters Ltd, 12.7.74 - 14.3.91

                            G-BBHW Seen during use by Strathclyde Police at Glasgow, Abbotsinch on 12th May 1976. It was used to control traffic flows between Abbotsinch and Hampden Park for the European Cup Final between Bayern Munich and Saint Etienne.
                            Score: Bayern 1 St Etienne 0

                            Re-registered G-IZEL, G-WDEV and written off in an accident at Churchfields Industrial Estate, Salisbury, Wilts on 10.1.12

                            Last edited by Helipixman; 11th April 2015, 19:50. Reason: More information on G-BBHW photo


                            • Lovely shots there Elipix!

                              Presumably G-BBHW is seen at Abbotsinch? I am wondering where the shot of G-BBHV was taken, and which 206 that might be in the background?

                              Special Gaz

                              SA341H Soko Gazelle (cn 028) as seen in June 1991


                              • Given that yesterday was the 1st April I suppose it is just possible that some may have thought that there was no Gazelle in the above post! But in fact there is .. here's how:

                                Slovenia's only Gazelle touches down in a remote rural location

                                Major Jože Kalan fills out 028's log

                                By landing in a small glade, the Slovenians plan to protect their only Gazelle

                                The decision is made to camouflage her from the Serbs who want her back!

                                She has to be well covered so that her would-be-kidnappers will not see her!

                                Nicely covered .. the Serbs will never find her now!

                                A Gazelle shrub!

                                Where did I leave that helicopter?

                                Photos by Franc Kačičnik.

                                Read more about 028 on page 31.


                                • SA341B Westland Gazelle cn WA1600, ex-XZ317, ex-3D-HGZ, transferred to South African register on 23rd March 2015. Now ZU-RLH.

                                  SA341G(S) Aérospatiale Gazelle cn 1407, ex-G-EHUP, transferred to Serbian register. Now YU-HWF.

                                  SA341G(S) YU-HWF (cn 1407) as seen at Denham Aerodrome on 2nd April 2015 (Photo: David Clarke)

                                  Gaz News courtersy of Jos Stevens, Rotorspot.


                                  • ..........


                                    • Some more perspectives of the recently re-registered 1407:

                                      SA341G(S) YU-HWF (cn 1407) as seen at Denham Aerodrome on 2nd April 2015 (Photo: Alan Bushell)

                                      SA341G(S) YU-HWF (cn 1407) as seen at Denham Aerodrome on 2nd April 2015 (Photo: Alan Bushell)


                                      • Parachuting from a 342 .. courtesy of the Montenegro Air Force:

                                        Montenegro Air Force SA342L-1 12943 (cn 163)


                                        • One more of HWF, this time seen with her covers on:

                                          SA341G(S) YU-HWF (cn 1407) as seen at Denham Aerodrome on 28th March 2015 (Photo: Joe Evans)


                                          • I've been away for Easter, but thankfully Sav and Helipixman man have maintained the flow of Gazelles!

                                            Something a little different, a Greek SA341G:

                                            SA341G SX-HDL

                                            Another photo of this aircraft appears on page 13.


                                            • xbdt
                                              xbdt commented
                                              Editing a comment
                                              It looks like he is not using a blade folding kit (I cannot see the incidence and flapping locks installed). The blades are simply laying onto the rear support...

                                            • Savoia
                                              Savoia commented
                                              Editing a comment
                                              Could be the 'austerity measures' version!

                                          • Army Air Corps SA341B XZ345 (cn WA1705), from 671 Sqn, as seen at Salisbury Plains Training Area on 12th February 2015 (Photo: Steve Matterface)


                                            • A less fortunate Gazelle airframe: WA341B XX384, an instructional airframe seen at AAC Dishfort in December 2014.

                                              Looks as if she has seen better days!


                                              • Seeing Zis's 'instructional airframe' with its broken perspex .. reminds me of a little story from 1987 ..

                                                In September 1987 I was instructing on Number 1 (AFT) Squadron at RAF Shawbury flying Gazelle HT3, number ZB627.

                                                I was instructing 2 student pilots in mountain flying techniques in the Snowdonia Mountains of North Wales. The sortie was part of the final segment of the basic rotary course and both students were close to graduating onto the advanced rotary course.

                                                The plan was to fly both students in the same aircraft; one flying 'hands on' in the right hand seat and one observing from the rear. We would fly the first segment from RAF Shawbury into the mountains, carry out the training detail for the first student, then fly on to RAF Valley in Anglesey for refuel and lunch. After that, swap over students and then fly the same sortie profile but in reverse.The first part went as planned and lunch was good at RAF Valley.

                                                Whilst departing RAF Valley Military Air Traffic Zone (MATZ) along one of the helicopter exit corridors, flying at 500ft/ 120kts, 2 miles out from the airfield, we suddenly encountered 2 Herring Gulls immediately in front of the helicopter. My second student, 'McHoot' was 'hands on' at the time and he correctly and instinctively swerved aggressively left to avoid the 2 birds. Unfortunately there was a 3rd one which none of us had seen and it impacted the canopy right in front of my face. I recall the Herring Gull seemed to fill my side of the canopy as it came crashing through the Perspex. I was instantly hit in the face and chest by the severe windblast and fragments of shattered canopy.

                                                I felt the bird miss my head and pass by my right hand side between the student pilots head and my own! We all were wearing standard RAF flying equipment, namely a military spec flying helmet and a lifejacket/survival vest. The passing dead bird ripped out my helmet intercom connecting lead so I went electronically deaf and dumb almost instantaneously!

                                                I remember smelling and feeling blood on my face and an awareness that I was still in one piece with full motor functions. I looked across at 'McHoot' who was looking at me with very wide eyes! I then became aware that he was in the process of gently flaring the Gazelle thereby slowing down and starting a descent to land. I remember shouting over the intense wind noise ' I'm all right, now put this ****** thing down on the ground. All of this happened in a matter of seconds.

                                                I quickly regained composure and survival instinct awareness that my student might not get the forced landing bit right and we might yet crash, so I shadowed him on the controls in case he lost it. He did however continue to fly superbly all the way down to the ground. Meanwhile as the speed reduced, the windblast noise reduced, and I could start to think clearly again. The student pilot landed us safely and I told him to continue to shut it down. He had put out 3 MAYDAY calls during the decent, which I hadn't heard; an RAF SARTU Wessex flying nearby on an instrument flying training trip heard our 'Maydays' and quickly came to our assistance (thanks Ken and all!).

                                                Once the engine and rotors had stopped, all 3 of us climbed out of the Gazelle and made sure we were all right. My students, 'Bunny' and 'McHoot' were fine, although shook up. It was obvious I was bleeding from my face so 'McHoot' raided the cockpit first aid pack and bandaged a lengthy but minor cut above my left eye. Needless to say we were all shook up, but relieved to be alive and well, AND on the ground. We all walked around the Gazelle and looked at the damage.

                                                The impact shattered the entire upper left and centre of the left hand side canopy, blowing it all inside the aircraft. The windblast blew open both small rear side access doors, which smashed all the way open in the airflow, but did not detach from their hinges. It they had, then I'm sure they would have taken off the tail stabilisers and the tail rotor, with potentially fatal consequences. Lady Luck was on our side in this instance. Most of the Perspex debris got sucked out of the cockpit in the windblast.

                                                'Bunny' was sitting in the back during this episode and was lucky so have sat behind 'McHoot' on the right side, as a huge shard of jagged Perspex was found lying in the back in the centre! Also, the dead bird impacted the rear bulkhead dead centre, just above the top of the seat cushion, about 'Bunnys' head height!

                                                The SARTU Wessex landed close by and all three of us walked over, jumped into the cabin and were flown directly into the RAF Valley medical centre for assessment. A flight time of only 2 minutes from take off to landing! During this short return flight, I went into minor shock and couldn't stop shaking until I was inside the Medical centre. The two boys were assessed fit and well, just somewhat shook up. As for me, I was a little battered but OK. I was later taken to Bangor Hospital for a precautionary head X-Ray. All was fine I'm pleased to say.

                                                Needless to say, we were all lucky to have survived that and I was particularly lucky not to have been hit in the face by the bird. It would have taken my head off and into the back seats! The birds' beak left a long scratch down the right side of my flying helmet as it passed by! It was THAT close. 'Bunny' was also very lucky not to have had the same thing happen to him!

                                                We did have quite a few beers later that night to celebrate being let off by 'Mr Grim Reaper Esq.' and toasted 'Lady Luck'; the next day was debrief, paperwork and another medical check. By now I had a super black eye and slightly bruised ribs, not to mention a 'neat duelling scar' above my left eyebrow.

                                                On 4th Sep, only 2 days later, 'McHoot' and I went off and flew that mountain flying training sortie together in Gazelle ZB628 just to tidy things up and lay any ghosts to rest. Infact, whilst flying out of RAF Valley on our way home, we flew over and looked down on ZB627 still sitting in a field awaiting road recovery! We had a super training trip and enjoyed each others company.

                                                'McHoot' handled the Gazelle extremely well for his level of experience, and I wrote him up for an RAF Green Endorsement award, which he subsequently got. His skill saved 'Bunny's' and my life!

                                                'McHoot' and 'Bunny' went on to have long careers in the RAF helicopter world, and I resumed instructing on Gazelles, barring a few operational detachments and other duties until August 1993.

                                                - Neil Airey

                                                RAF Westland Gazelle ZB627 (cn 1914) with trainee pilot 'McHoot' in the cockpit on Aberffraw Common in Anglesey in September 1987 after having been impacted by a Herring Gull (Photo: 'Squirrel')

                                                Impact damage to ZB627

                                                RAF Fire and Rescue attend the scene


                                                Deceased Herring Gull in the rear of the Gazelle (Photo: Neil Airey)

                                                Neil sporting a bandaged head and with bird in hand (Photo: Neil Airey)

                                                Support Gazelle arrives at Aberffraw Common

                                                ZB627 has her doors and seats removed and is presumably flown to RAF Valley

                                                ZB627 departing Aberffraw Common minus her front left windshield

                                                ZB627 arrives from Valley at Shawbury courtesy of a low loader (Photo: Neil Airey)

                                                ​This craft now flies as G-CBSK.