The cool video in this post features Gazelle Squadron Display Team during a training sortie at Pembrey airport.
Taken last weekend by our friend Dafydd Phillips, the cool video in this post features Gazelle Squadron Display Team during a training sortie at Pembrey airport.
“With sorties continually heading out with various objectives it was a great photographic opportunity,” Phillips says.
The Gazelle Squadron Display Team was established in 2014 and currently performs as a 2 aircraft flying display and provides additional aircraft for static display at airshows across the United Kingdom. According to the Gazelle Squadron Display Team website, the team has expanded its fleet of aircraft throughout 2021 which will increase its flying display capability in 2022. The Squadron consists of around 38 volunteers who supply their time and skills throughout the year to ensure that our aircraft are displayed in prime condition and operated safely at all times.
In addition to providing aerial displays at public events, the team also provides static display aircraft to a number of smaller private events, schools and other shows including schools and village fetes.
Initially based at a private airfield near Hurstbourne Tarrant in Hampshire the Gazelle Squadron Display Team reluctantly had to move in the summer of 2020 and now operate from a site near Wantage in Oxfordshire. Supported by CAA approved maintenance organisation Falcon Aviation Ltd, the team maintains a fleet of former military Westland Gazelle helicopters from the Army Air Corps, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Royal Marines.
All personnel are civilian volunteers but are generally ex-military. The team adheres to a traditional military structure, many are experienced pilots, engineers and ground crew, most of whom have served with the Army Air Corps Eagles and Royal Navy’s Sharks display teams.
The Aerospatiale Gazelle is a five-seat helicopter developed for light transport, training, and light attack duties. It is powered by a single turbine engine and was the first helicopter to feature a fenestron tail instead of a conventional tail rotor.
A joint production agreement with Sud Aviation, later renamed Aerospatiale and now part of Airbus Helicopters allowed Westland Helicopters Ltd of Yeovil to license build the Gazelle, in part of sale to the British military but also for use by civilian operators. In total, Westland Helicopters produced nearly 300 Gazelle helicopters, with 282 of them being delivered to the British armed forces.
With the exception of the de Havilland Chipmunk, the Gazelle is the only aircraft to serve with all three arms of the British armed forces; the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army Air Corps, with four different variants produced:
- Westland SA.341B Gazelle AH.1, for the Army Air Corps and Royal Marines (Commandos)
- Westland SA.341C Gazelle HT.2, for the Royal Navy
- Westland SA.341D Gazelle HT.3, for the Royal Air Force
- Westland SA.341E Gazelle HCC.4, for the Royal Air Force
For more interesting news and info about Gazelle Squadron Display Team and other display teams check out Aerobatic Display Teams website.
Photo credit: Dafydd Phillips