Air Enthusiast 1994-12
D.Ford - Enduring Gem
Design lineage is apparent in the Bucker Bu 181 Bestmann. The type was designed by A J Andersson, who went on to create the Safir. Sweden’s Flygvapnet operated the Bestmann, replacing it with the Tp 91 Safir. Displayed at ILA ’92 at Berlin was D-EDUB, a genuine former Flygvapnet example wearing the colours of the F5 Wing.
First production Safir, 91A SE-AUN (c/n 91101) was flown in floatplane guise to enhance to market as a tourer. This aircraft was later exported to the Yemen, in landplane format.
SE-BYZ (c/n 91276) the prototype 91C four seater, built by de Schelde at Dordrecht.
Well-known sight in the UK is Dave Williams’ air racing 91D G-BCFW. A former Rijksluchtvaartschool example, it was registered as PH-RLZ (c/n 91437) in March 1962. It was imported into the UK in 1973.
Sk 50C Fv50087 (c/n 91402) four-seater of F8 Wing, showing off cabin curtaining and wing and tailplane stencilling. ’87 was written off in April 1962.
Saab-91D Safir basic trainer (180 hp Lycoming O-360-A1A engine) of the Austrian Air Force
Austria operated the SAAB 91D until 1992. 3F-SM (c/n 91448) illustrated.
A pair of Ilmavoimat 91Ds, SF-15 (c/n 91361) and SF-16 (c/n 91362). SF-15 (foreground) crashed in March 1961.
The prototype Safir (c/n 91001 SE-APN) underwent two major metamorphoses to evaluate the swept wings on the SAAB J29 Tunen (as the SAAB 201) and for the SAAB J32 Lansen (as the SAAB 202, illustrated).
321 ‘AB-U’ (c/n 91321), the first 91B-2 for the Norwegian Luftforsvaret. This example was acquired by the Newark Air Museum and ferried to Winthorpe, Notts, in July 1982 as G-BKPY.
Flygvapnet Sk 50B Fv50017 (c/n 91217) in the yellow training scheme universally adopted by the type. In later years, standard Swedish camouflage was been applied. This aircraft was written off in March 1957.
First Sk 50B trainer for the Flygvapnet, Fv50001 (c/n 91201), in predelivery colours, for the F5 Wing at Ljungbyhed. This aircraft was later shipped to Japan to become the X1G high-lift test-bed.
Not a great success as a civilian aircraft from birth, the Safir has since become a much sought-after type. Swedish registered, Pink Panther-bedecked 91D SE-IXR started life with the Finnish Ilmavoimat as SF-6 (c/n 91352) before going onto the Finnish civil register as OH-SFI.
Lively pose from 91A SE-BFU (c/n 91125) which was used for an extensive European sales tour. In May 1950 it became PH-UEA of the Rijksluchtvaartschool, serving until 1965.
A major user of the type was the Netherlands’ national flying school, the Rijksluchtvaartschool, which operated 23 91Ds from 1959 at Eelde until replaced by Beech F.33C Bonanzas in 1978. PH-RLA was the first produced (c/n 91367).
Tunisia received 15 Safirs, one 91B-D and the remainder ’Ds. First of the batch, 91B-D Y31001 ‘1’ (c/n 91310) gives a good aspect on the undercarriage geometry.
Pleasing formation shot of Osterreichische Heeresfliegerkrafte 91Ds in their adopted habitat. 3F-SU in the foreground carries the ‘last three’ of its constructor's number, 9191459, on the fin.
SAAB 91B Safir