|Tp 91 - SAAB 91A Safir (1947-1960)|
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SAAB Safir (in English ”Sapphire”) is perhaps most known as a
trainer aircraft, sold to more than 20 countries. But the first ten
aircraft ordered by the Swedish Air Force was of the SAAB 91A model, and
designated Tp 91 (Tp =
Transport”). The Tp 91 was used as a liaison aircraft. Later, 84
trainers of the models 91B and 91C were ordered, designated Sk 50. Totally 323 Safirs were built.
story begins when SAAB in the end of WWII decided to develop three civil
products. These were the SAAB 90 Scandia - a medium airliner, the SAAB
91 Safir and the SAAB 92 - a car. I remember the SAAB 92 myself well -
my father and mother owned one. ”An oil-fired jungle-drum” was the
nasty nick-name the Volvo-owners used of our pride, which was powered by
a rather simple two-stroke engine. Later I drove a SAAB 96 myself - a
car with much more power under the bonnet.
chief designer of SAAB 91 was A.J. Andersson, which also had designed
the German Bücker trainer airplanes. The SAAB 91 and the Bücker Bü
181 Bestmann (in Sweden Sk 25) had certainly a lot of resemblance in their exterior. The
serial production of the 91A version started in 1946. The ten Tp 91s for
the Air Force were delivered in 1947. This first version of the Safir
was powered by a de Havilland D.H. Gipsy Major X in-line engine of 147
SAAB 91A/Tp 91 had three seats and was fitted with retractable landing
gear. One Tp 91, provided to the Naval Wing F 2 at Hägernäs, was also
flown with floats.
May 1947, the Swedish aviator Count Carl Gustaf von Rosen made a good
publicity for the SAAB Safir by flying a 91A from Sweden to Ethiopia
during a 31 hour non-stop flight. The aircraft was a standard one - just
extra fuel tanks were installed.
at top: SwAF/n 91119 at Munksjön Airport, Jönköping in the
fifties. Photo by Inge Bergström, Värnamo.
Photo at top: SwAF/n 91119 at Munksjön Airport, Jönköping in the fifties. Photo by Inge Bergström, Värnamo.
original Tp 91 were scrapped, but a few civil registered 91A are
preserved. The 91A on the photo below (SE-AUR, c/n 91103), was once owned and
flown by Uno Ranch.
on display at the Gothenburg-Landvetter
Airport in its original markings.
Length: 7,80 m. Span: 10,60 m. MTOW: 1.075 kg. Max. speed: 265 km/h.
© Lars Henriksson