Confirmed presence of Cessna T-37C nº 2423, at Nossa Senhora do Loreto chapel groundings (l/n 2.7.2017).
Alcochete, Carreira de Tiro de Alcochete (CTA)
Noted from 26 to 28 April 2017, operating here in training operations with the GNR special forces, two SE.3160 Alouette III from Esquadra 552nos. 19302 and 19401, in preparation for the forthcoming state visit of Pope Francis.
In late April, early May 2017, a couple of SA-330 Puma’s were noted as “road runners”, somewhere between Beja and Lisboa. As is turns out, they moved from storage at Beja (BA1), to Alverca (DGMFA), in mid-May, a photo confirmed the presence of at least 7 aircraft stored at Alverca. These should be the last three operational SA-330 nos. 19502 (1002); 19503 (1009), 19504 (1004)[identified from photos on the road] ; and 19513 (1270) [special c/s]; the rest of the aircraft at Beja were nos. 19505 (1011) ; 19506 (1019) ; 19508 (1040) ; 19509 ( 1046) ; 19511 (1059).
Still not displayed on the previous plinth, but still a continued presence at Escola Secundária Gago Coutinho is Cessna T-37C FAP no.02412 (s/n 62-5936, c/n 40736). L/n 9 July 2017.
Castelo Branco (city/airfield)
Noted on the 2nd July 2017, during the commemorations of the 65th Anniversary, of the Força Aérea Portuguesa.
Static display in the city of Castelo Branco were, F-16A ‘15100’, SE.3160 9379 and Alphajet A 15209.
Static display at the airfield included C-130H 16806 (70501 flight hours c/s); SE.3160 19401 + 19376 (special c/s); DHC-1 Chipmunk’s 1306, 1319, 1335, 1339; TB-30 Epsilon’s 11404, 11405, 11406, 11407, 11411. Later joined by C-295M 16705, and Embraer KC-390 reg. PT-ZNJ.
Airdisplay/demos included: flyby F-16’s 15110, 15118; formation of KC-390 PT-ZNJ and F-16’s 15110, 15118; KC-390 flight demo; formation of C-295M 16701, C-130H 16803 (faded UN mks.), P-3C 14808; flight formation of P-3C 14808 and Alphajets 15206, 15250 (Asas de Portugal c/s); flyby of P-3C 14808; SAR demo of SE.3160 19376; cargo drop by C-130H 16803; Asas de Portugal demo with Alphajets 15206, 15250; TB-30 Epsilon’s flight formation demo (all except 11411); SE.3160 19376 suspended cargo demo; DHC-1 Chipmunk 4 a/c flight formation demo; Ejercito del Aire Team Aquila display [79-40 (4), 79-06 (3), 79-08 (2), 79-29 (PE), 79-34(7), 79-38 (5), 79-28 (PE)]; formation flight and flyby’s by F-16AM/BM’s 15108, 15110, 15114 (QRA a/c), 15118, 15119, 15131(QRA a/c).
Operating at Horta on the 30th June, was FAP’s C-295M 16704, from Esquadra 502.
Lajes, Base Aérea nº4 (BA4)
Continued presence of both FIAT G.91R/4’s, 5418 displayed in front of Radio Lajes (l/n 27/6/2017), and ‘5414´stored inside Aero Clube da Ilha Terceira (ACIT) hangar.
Noted on the 25th June operating here, USAF’s KC-135R 59-1516/1516 126ARS, and USN’s P-8A Bu168437/437 VP-5.
Noted at the Leixões harbour on the 19th and 20th May 2017, Portugues Navy’s Super Lynx Mk.95 nº19202, on the flightdeck of NRP Bartolomeu Dias [F333]. Although not wearing any of the traditional Flight logos painted on the upper nose of the helicopter, it was said to be of the Red Bull Flight.
Noted on the 22nd June 2017, C-295M 16712 of Esq.502.
Maceda, Aerodromo de Manobra nº1 (AM1)
Operating as part of the 15 Wing Belgian AF detachment, between the 20th April to 20th May, were noted, on the 13th May 2017, the following a/c,
Lockheed C-130H nos. CH-04, CH-08*, CH-10*, CH-12.
[*] carrying several mks/zaps such as “2014-18”, GAF LTG-61, and EATC.
Also noted, support aircraft CH-11, arr./dep. on the same day back to Belgium.
All the aircraft were noted on several occasions during the detachment, at Tancos, UALE (exBA3), in joint missions with the paratroopers of the Exército Português.
On the 20th May, all of the C-130’s except for one (no.?), departed in the morning back to Belgium.
On the afternoon of the 20th May, until late in the night, the Museu do Ar Ovar section was open, as part of the “Museums at Night” event, with Museu do Ar Sintra and Alverca also participating.
Apart from the A-7P 15504 gate guard, were noted,
Outside – 5452 FIAT G.91R/3, 16503 C-212 Aviocar, 15246 Alphajet A, 2608 Northrop T-38A, 2427 Cessna T-37C.
Inside – 3548 Auster D.5/160, 15545 LTV TA-7P, 13710 FTP-337G, 3301 MH Broussard, 3208 Piper Cub, and also Alouette II A13 (ex Belgian Army). Noteworthy also T-6G no. 1769 undergoing maintenance, possibly to be rebuilt for static display!
Esquadra 552 “Zangões” SE.3160 Alouette III nº 19349, was noted also station there for SAR duties.
Monte Real, Base Aérea nº5 (BA5)
During the 12th – 13th May, Portugal received the visit of HH Pope Francis, being the visit solely centered in Fátima (SE of Monte Real), the FAP support operations were based at BA5. Related movements were,
Esquadra 501 C-130H 16806 w/ 70501 flight hours tail markings, carried the papal vehicles. Noted on the 11th, and back on the 13th, for the trip back.
Esquadra 751 EH-101 – 19604, 19605, 19611.
All departed on the 13th, 19605 and 19611 arrived on the 11th, and 19604 arrived on the 12th carrying the President of the Republic.
19605 carried the Pope to the vicinity of Fátima, followed by the 19604 with the President, and the 19611 with the Prime Minister, landing all on the improvised helipad, the parking lot of the local football stadium.
Esquadra 552 SE.3160 Alouette III’s – 19302, 19401, 19312.
All arrived on the 11th and departed on the 13th. The 19312 was equipped with a side mounted camera for TV coverage, and the other two Alouette III’s carried the GNR special forces which flew as close armed support to all the Pope’s movements.
Based in BA11, Beja, Lockheed P-3C CUP+ 14808, flew on both days as command and control aircraft over all the area between Monte Real and Fátima.
Esquadra 201 was assigned to the visit, flying the escort flights and CAP during the cerimonies. Aircraft involved were, 15103, 15115, 15119, and 15135.
Airbus A321 Alitalia eg. EI-IXH arr. 12th carrying the Pope.
Airbus A320 TAP Air Portugal reg. CS-TNV “Grão Vasco”, carried the Pope back to Rome on the 13th. Reserve aircraft was CS-TNU “Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro”.
Other aircraft involved, based in several locations in the Fátima industrial complex,
CS-HHE Agusta Westland A109E Inaer/INEM (EMS)
CS-HMJ/H7 Aerospatiale A350B3 Ecureuil EMA/SNBPC
CS-HMO/H8 Aerospatiale A350B3 Ecureuil EMA/SNBPC
CS-HMI/H9 Aerospatiale A350B3 Ecureuil EMA/SNBPC
I-BBFI Agusta Westland AW169 (Pope’s EMS helicopter) based at the Colégio de São Miguel, moved to the stadium, nearer to the sanctuary, during cerimonies.
This year’s commemoration of the 10th June, Portugal Day [Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities], took place at the city of Porto, with the static display of the armed forces at the center of the city, in Praça da Liberdade and Avenida dos Aliados. The Força Aérea Portuguesa had displayed there, F-16A ‘15100’, Alphajet A 15209, and SE.3160 Alouette III 9379. All arrived on the 5th June and departed on the 11th.
The military parade, took place on the 10th, at Avenida do Brasil, by the ocean front, and the fly over included, a formation with 1xC-130H plus 2xC-295M’s, 4x F-16’s, and 4xAlphajets. Tails: C-130H 16806; C-295M 16702, 16705; Alphajet A’s 15250, 15236, 15206, 15226; F-16AM 15135, 15114, 15110, 15115.
Thanks to: André Carvalho, António Pita, Jorge Martins, José Luís Lopes, Luís “Tamagoshi” de Pádua Gonçalves; Luís Neves, Miguel Machado, Óscar Rodrigues, Sérgio Couto, Manuel Pacheco, Sandra Costa, Eng. Vasco Morão.