Agusta Bell 47G-2 AS7201
The Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) donated their first aircraft, a Bell 47G2 helicopter, to the Aviation Museum in Ta' Qali on the 31st May 2008. AS7201 was the first ever helicopter to be acquired by the Maltese Armed Forces and is the first air worthy exhibit to arrive at the Malta Aviation Museum under its own power.
Prior to its handing over, the aircraft was flown one last time on a coastal patrol by AFM Commander Brigadier Carmel Vassallo, together with Bombardier Mark Cassar. The helicopter is a two seat utility aircraft, used mainly for coastal patrols, photography, transport of personnel and conveyance of mail. On occasions, it is also used for search and rescue operations.
The Agusta Bell 47G2 Helicopter ER AS7201 was assembled in the 1950s and delivered to a fledgling reborn Luftwaffe for basic pilot training. In turn, the West Germans donated the helicopter, Echo, along with three others, to the Malta Land Force (MLF) in the 1970s.
The MLF's helicopter flight started operations from St Patrick's Barracks in Pembroke. It later moved to Hal Far and then to Luqa. In the early 1990s, the helicopter flight was renamed Air Squadron and then Air Wing.
The four helicopters were registered in the civil register as 9H-AAE, 9H-AAF, 9H-AAG and 9H-AAH. Foxtrot and Golf were sold but Hotel is still on the AFM books. Echo had adopted the registration AS7201, with Alpha Sierra standing for Air Squadron, the first two digits indicating the date the helicopter entered into service and the last two digits being the asset number.
"Today's handing over ceremony is the result of hard work done some years ago by Headquarters AFM, which work found the support of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Finance."