Aviation Historian 4
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J.Forsgren - Keeping the Peace
Nine Cessna Bird Dogs and one Bell OH-13 of the Air Service component of the United Nations Observation Group In Lebanon (Unogil) share the ramp with a Middle East Airlines Douglas DC-3 (and one other DC-3) at Beirut International Airport during the Lebanon crisis of 1958.
Another photograph of the ramp at Beirut International Airport in 1958, including a Bell OH-13 and Bird Dog of Unogil, which operated alongside airline “heavy metal”. Note the Jordan International Airlines Douglas DC-4 (JY-ABD), Iranair DC-4 and MEA Vickers Viscount in the background.
One of the three magnificent Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 trimotors used by the Lebanese Air Force during the 1950s. This particular aircraft was returned in 1993 to Italy, where it is displayed in immaculate condition at the Museo Dell’Aeronautica Gianni Caproni at Trento. The only other survivor, also ex-Lebanese, is at the Military Aviation Museum at Vigna di Valle.
The first batch of six Harvards acquired by the Lebanese Air Force (FAL) in 1952 came from RAF stocks, a total of 16 being operated by the FAL until the type’s retirement in 1972.
One of the four Sk 16As (Noorduyn-built Harvards) supplied by Flygvapnet for Unogil operations flying over rural Lebanon in 1958. This example, with the Unogil number 04, was serialled 16047 in Swedish service and was one of 145 Sk 16As supplied to Sweden in 1947; another 112 were acquired in 1950.
Another picture of Sk 16A No 4 over the dense Lebanese forest. Amazingly, this aircraft, which started its career with the RCAF as FE992, is still flying. Resident in the UK as G-BDAM for nearly 20 years, it was bought in 2004 by a new owner in Canada, where it remains airworthy as C-GFLR.
Four of the 12 Flygvapnet pilots and engineers sent to serve with Unogil beside two of the Sk 16As bound for Lebanon. The Sk 16As were supported by Flygvapnet’s sole Tp 82 Varsity (s/n 82001), which was retired in 1973 and is now on display at the Flygvapenmuseum in Linkoping.
Bird Dog 51-12884 in Unogil service over Lebanon. Note the prominent whip antenna on the cabin roof.
The Cessna L-19A Bird Dogs which arrived in Lebanon from US Army stocks in West Germany were much more suitable for the observation role than the Sk 16As, which were little used from that point on. The Bird Dog had been designed from the outset as a liaison and observation aircraft, its high-wing configuration offering excellent visibility and its flat-six Continental engine proving much more economical.
US Army Cessna Bird Dog 50-1742, in its overall white UN scheme, undergoing maintenance by groundcrew during its tenure with Unogil in 1958.
Another photograph of the ramp at Beirut International Airport in 1958, including a Bell OH-13 and Bird Dog of Unogil, which operated alongside airline “heavy metal”. Note the Jordan International Airlines Douglas DC-4 (JY-ABD), Iranair DC-4 and MEA Vickers Viscount in the background.
Nine Cessna Bird Dogs and one Bell OH-13 of the Air Service component of the United Nations Observation Group In Lebanon (Unogil) share the ramp with a Middle East Airlines Douglas DC-3 (and one other DC-3) at Beirut International Airport during the Lebanon crisis of 1958.
A member of the Unogil team performing observation duties from a Bird Dog. The work was technically just observation, but Unogil aircraft were often subjected to fire from below.
Another photograph of the ramp at Beirut International Airport in 1958, including a Bell OH-13 and Bird Dog of Unogil, which operated alongside airline “heavy metal”. Note the Jordan International Airlines Douglas DC-4 (JY-ABD), Iranair DC-4 and MEA Vickers Viscount in the background.
One of the seven Bell OH-13s flown by the Italian and Norwegian pilots of the Unogil Air Service. The helicopters flew comparatively little during the crisis, being somewhat ill-suited to the hot-and-high conditions in which much of the flying was conducted.
Another photograph of the ramp at Beirut International Airport in 1958, including a Bell OH-13 and Bird Dog of Unogil, which operated alongside airline “heavy metal”. Note the Jordan International Airlines Douglas DC-4 (JY-ABD), Iranair DC-4 and MEA Vickers Viscount in the background.
Nine Cessna Bird Dogs and one Bell OH-13 of the Air Service component of the United Nations Observation Group In Lebanon (Unogil) share the ramp with a Middle East Airlines Douglas DC-3 (and one other DC-3) at Beirut International Airport during the Lebanon crisis of 1958.