Air International 1992-12
G.Kamp, H.Koning - Front-line professionals with yesterday's aircraft
Devoid of national markings, a Chinese Y-5 of No 1 Sqn at Tirana is one of a small number used for agricultural flying. Since delivery in 1963-4, only two Y-5s have been lost in accidents.
Marked with the national black two-headed eagle on the rudder, Ilyushin Il-14 15-09 was Enver Hoxha's personal aircraft. Between 1957 and 1979 it was stationed at Tirana before being reassigned to Rinas with the other three examples in service.
Албанские курсанты в СССР знакомятся с Ми-1.
Only known picture of an Albanian-operated Mil Mi-1 'Hare'. Three were operated on transport, SAR and AOP duties.
Russian-built, this Mil Mi-4A originally had fabric-covered rotor blades until overhauled in China when they were replaced by metal ones. The regiment based at Farka has three squadrons with Mi-4s, two with the -4A and one with the -4S.
Aviation Maintenance Unit at Kucova with three MiG-19s (Chinese F-6s) and an F-7 in the background, a MiG-15bis (F-2) on the left and a MiG-17 (F-4) on the right.
One of the Chinese-built F-2 versions of the MiG-15bis which still serve in the training role at the Air Academy at Kucova.
Як-9П ВВС Албании перед воздушным парадом. Авиабаза Ринас. Тирана. 1951 г. Самолеты целиком светло-серые, на коках винтов нарисованы красные пятиконечные звезды
In 1951, the ‘Forcat Ushtarake Ajore Shgipetare’ received its first equipment in the form of a squadron of Yak-9Ps supplied by the USSR. The grey-painted aircraft each had a red star on the spinner and carried early markings consisting of a red star on a black disc applied to the fuselage and wings. On the fin was a vertical red-black-red marking with a red star centred on the black bar.
Албанские Як-9П перед показательным полетом. Тирана, лето 1951 г. Видны опознавательные знаки старого образца (с флажком на киле), применявшиеся до 1961 г.
US Air Force Lockheed T-33A trainer that landed in Albania in 1957. The aircraft remains in the country, being exhibited in a museum at Gjirokastra.
With the change to a democracy, Albania is dropping the star marking from its flags and emblems. This early version MiG-19S (it lacks the tail-mounted parachute housing of later examples) has had the insignia removed and is one of many now flying with only the nose number in evidence. The new insignia is likely to take the form of a red square containing the national two-headed eagle.
Close up on the nose of a two-seat FT-5 (MiG-17UTI) at Kucova with the tail of a Shenyang F-6 behind. Each of the two Kucova-based Shenyang F-6 (MiG-19S) squadrons currently operates a single FT-5 for continuation training.
Almost the only user of the early Chinese-built F-7A version of the MiG-21F-13, Albania operates ten of the type in the intercept role from the northern base at Lezha. In spite of the poor finish on these aircraft, they are fully operational.
One of the surviving 11 F-5 fighter-bombers delivered by China in 1962 and carrying the code of No 3 Sqn based at Kucova.
A two-seat Chinese FT-2, also at Kucova although some of the type operate from Rinas AFB.
Two-seat FT-5, one of six, at Lezha in front of a 600m-long aircraft shelter built by hand during the 1970s.
One of the six Yak-18As received in 1953 undergoing field maintenance at Tirana. Note the horizontal rudder marking.
Among the first new aircraft to arrive in Tirana was this Bell 222 which is civilian registered and operated on Government duties which include rescue. VIP transport and police work.
Only one 'Beagle' has been in Albanian service at any one time. The original Soviet supplied Ilyushin Il-28 was sent to China in 1971 in exchange for a Harbin-built H-5 version which is seen here. Based at Rinas, the aircraft's 12.7mm nose and tail guns were all fully loaded at the time of the author's visit.
Some of the 18 Nanchang Type 61s parked at Valona. Students spend one year of a three-year course on this developed Yak-18. Each of the shelters in the background house two aircraft.