the WWII, both Germany and the allied powers developed operative
helicopters, but they were built in small numbers. It was during the
Korean War the use of the helicopter made its definitive breakthrough.
They were used for liaison and transport duties, but they are most known
for their rescuing work. Thousands of wounded soldiers were flown out of
the combat zone to base hospitals. Many combat pilots shot down behind
enemy lines were rescued by helicopters. I am certain that the small
H-13/Bell 47 is known to millions of people from the TV-series MASH - an
abbreviation that means ”Mobile Army Surgical Hospital”.
helicopter-like autogiro was invented in 1929 and was built by several
companies during the thirties. In Sweden, Rolf von Bahr (1912-1988)
owned and flew totally seven Cierva/Avro autogiros. In 1935, von Bahr
with a civil registered autogiro made some successful tests with
artillery spotting at the major artillery range at Skillingaryd. During
the years of war 1939-45, von Bahr also made numerous reconnaissance
flights for the Swedish Navy. But then the helicopters improved quickly
and the autogiro disappeared from the scene.
the end of 1942, the small Bell 30 took to the air. From this design,
the Bell 47, followed by the 204/205 ”Huey” (Swedish HKP
3), and the 206 JetRanger/LongRanger (Swedish HKP 6) were developed. More than 30.000 helicopters of the different
variants have been built.
Bell 47 is very important in
the history of Swedish aviation. Lennart Osterman, founder of Ostermans
Aero, bought a Bell 47B in 1947. He was appointed as Bell Helicopter’s
representative the same year. Osterman
also built up a service and maintenance organisation and offered
flying training. His company started a flying ambulance service in the
Stockholm archipelago in 1948 and followed this up with a mail service
in the same region during the winters.
1951, the Swedish Navy rented some Bell 47’s with pilots for
evaluation. But the Navy demanded heavier helicopters. Two larger ones
of the type Sikorsky S-55
were rented from Osterman in 1955. The machines were tested for purposes
as sea rescue, ambulance transports and transports of troop and cargo,
but it was the Vertol 44 that became the first regular helicopter in the
Swedish defence (HKP 1).
the Army rented the Bell 47, even to a large extent and to satisfactory
results, but it was never purchased by the military authorities. The
machines kept their civil registration and were never marked with the
Swedish three crowns. About 50 Bell 47’s have been in the Swedish
civil register through the years - eleven 47B/D, thirty 47G and ten 47J.
Most of them have at least some time been hired by the Army for training
The Bell 47 was also used by the Police. See photo at bottom of page.
the helicopters of the Swedish Defence belonged to the separate service
branches and were thus marked Armén
(the Army), Flygvapnet
(the Air Force) or Marinen
(the Navy). In 1997-1998 they
were transferred into one common Helicopter Wing and all helicopters
carries nowadays the marking Försvarsmakten
(the Defence Power). The head
quarters of the Helicopter Wing is located at Malmen (the base of the
former Air Force Wing F 3).
The abbreviation HKP stands for ”Helikopter” - helicopter in Swedish.
For the helicopters used by the Swedish defence forces, see list below.
Please click on the thumbnails for pictures and information
1 - Vertol 44 (1958-1972)
Sud Aviation SE.3130 Alouette
Agusta Bell 204B Iroquis
Boeing Vertol 107 (1963-
Schweizer Model 300 (1964-2002)
|HKP 6 - Agusta Bell 206A JetRanger (1968-2004)|
9 - Messerschmitt Bölkow-Blom (MBB) BO 105 CBS (1985-
|HKP 10 - Aérospatiale AS 332M1 Super Puma (1988- )|
11 - Agusta Bell 412HP (1993-2004)
14 - NH Industries NH 90 (2005- )
|HKP 15 - Agusta A109LUHS (2002- )|
Bell 47G-5A, SE-HPG, c/n 25081. Airshow, Malmen 2001
|© Lars Henriksson, Ljungskile, Sweden||