in Business Aviation / Features

A Super Puma for the president

Posted 29 November 2017 · Add Comment

A single Airbus Helicopters EC225LP Super Puma Mk II+ helicopter, acquired second-hand from Spain, is now in full service with the Botswana Defence Force Air Wing, writes Jon Lake.

The aircraft is serving as the presidential helicopter with Botswana’s VIP Flight at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport Gaborone, operating alongside single examples of the Beech Super King Air 200, the Bombardier Global Express, the Gulfstream IV and the Dornier Do-328-110.
The new presidential Super Puma had was formerly flown by the Spanish Cuerpo Nacional de Policia – the national civilian police force, which acquired it in 2010 to support the Policia’s Grupo Especial de Operaciones (special operations group), equivalent to Germany’s GSG-9.
In 2013, the aircraft was returned to Airbus Helicopters in part payment for a new batch of Eurocopter EC135s for the Spanish police. Its smart blue and white colour scheme was removed and it was subsequently stored for some time before being sold to Botswana.
The aircraft was overhauled by Airbus Helicopters at Albacete in Spain and was delivered to Gaborone in Botswana on board an Antonov Airlines An-124 transport aircraft, leaving Albacete on September 13 2016.
The new helicopter flew in the Independence Day fly past on September 30 2016 (part of Botswana’s golden jubilee celebrations at the National Stadium in Gaborone). It was still in a plain white colour scheme, with the serial OL1, and with Botswana’s coat of arms – a central shield supported by two zebras, with the motto ‘Pula’ (rain) below – hastily added behind the rearmost cabin window.
But initially President Ian Khama continued to use his Bell 412, one of eight similar aircraft delivered to Botswana, two of them in VIP configuration.
Meanwhile, the Super Puma was flown to Lanseria in South Africa on February 16 2017, where it was stripped for a full re-spray, re-emerging in May in a smart VIP colour scheme, with cheatlines in the national colours (a white-outlined black stripe on a pale blue field), with a black spine on the tailboom and a pale blue upper tail rotor pylon.
On its return to Botswana, the Super Puma finally took on its new role as presidential helicopter.
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

O.R. Tambo International Airport named ‘Airport of the Year’

O.R Tambo International Airport, South Africa’s biggest and busiest port of entry, was named African Airport of the Year at this week’s Air Cargo Africa conference and exhibition. This was the fourth time the airport has won the award.

Ethiopian to operate all-women functioned flight to Oslo on International Women Day

Ethiopian Airlines has finalised all preparations to once again celebrate International Women’s Day by operating an All- Women Functioned Flight this time on Addis Ababa – Stockholm - Oslo route on March 08, 2019.

PC-24 takes the smooth with the rough

Africa’s testing terrain and challenging runways make the Pilatus PC-24 a perfect aircraft for the region, according to ExecuJet, which is the first company to operate and manage the aircraft in Africa. Dave Calderwood reports.

The Embraer Phenom 300 is the world’s most delivered light business jet

Embraer Executive Jets delivered 53 Phenom 300 and Phenom 300E light jets in 2018, according to a report issued by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

Krimson marks handling of 150th flight since operations began in 2015

Krimson Aviation, the Ethiopia-based trip planning and flight support company marked the handling of its 150th flight since inception this month.

Aviation Africa: ‘Flying Forward Together’

The chairman of IATA - International Air Transport Association - H.E. Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Gulf carrier Qatar Airways is planning a hard-hitting message about the future for aviation in the current highly politicised environment

AVAFA19 SK0201280219
See us at
Connect MEIA BT1402010519AviAssistBT201218280219AviationAfrica_BT0607280219