Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Helicopters over Beja

Anually, the 552 Squadron "Zangões" organizes a meeting which brings to Beja, south of Portugal, different generations of helicopter pilots. This year, the meeting has happened in May 17th.
As usually, pilots and members from other Portuguese helicopter units were invited to the event. This is the case of the 751 Sqn. (EH-101 Merlin) and the EHM (Super Lynx, Navy). In addition, aviation enthusiasts and plane spotters were invited to be present.

The 552 Sqn. operates the Alouette III fleet. In service with the Portuguese Air Force since 1963, the Alouette III has already reached the impressive mark of 300.000 flying hours. Besides, tis amazing machine is used by the acrobatic team “Rotores de Portugal” (Blades of Portugal).

One Alouette III seconds before the end of another flight. The 552 Sqn. is one of the most active squadrons in the Air Force. For several reasons. First, because all the military pilots destined to the helicopters – including those from the Army and the Navy – make their training with the "Zangões". Secondly, because the squadron is involved in several missions, such as joint exercises with the Army [click to enlarge].

These three helicopters belong to the acrobatic team “Rotores de Portugal” (Blades of Portugal). They have returned to the airshows in 2005 and now has three Alouette III with their own paint scheme [click to enlarge].

One SA-330 Puma was present in the exposition. The Puma was replaced by the new EH-101 Merlin in Search and Rescue (SAR) missions [click to enlarge].

Pedro Monteiro

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