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SAAB 91B Safir
SAAB 91D Safir
PH-RLA SAAB 91D Safir c/n 91.367 - Rijksluchtvaartschool - Groningen Airport Eelde in Holland - 20 May 1970 Groningen Airport Eelde (GRQ)

The SAAB 91D four-seat civil and military primary trainer was the fourth basic version of the SAAB 91 Safir that flew for the first time on 20 November 1945. The initial model, the SAAB 91A, was powered by a 145 hp Gipsy Major X engine. The SAAB 91B, which appeared in 1951, differed primarily in having a 190 hp Lycoming O-435-A engine. This model was ordered by the Swedish Air Force and was largely built by "de Schelde" in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, as the SAAB factories were fully committed at that time. Safir production returned to Sweden in 1954 and the company announced the Model 91C which had been modified to include a fourth seat. In 1957, the SAAB 91D with the smaller 180 hp Lycoming O-360-A1A four-cylinder air-cooled engine followed and joined the 91C at the production line. A total of 323 Safirs were built, including 120 under licence by de Schelde in Dordrecht, the Netherlands.

The RLS, based at Groningen Airport Eelde, operated 23 Saab 91D aircraft over the years. In 1950, the Rijksluchtvaartdienst purchased eight SAAB 91A Safir for the RLS. In 1959, the SAAB 91A was replaced in service with the Rijksluchtvaartschool by the SAAB 91D with a smaller but more powerful engine and more space. On 16 October 1959, SAAB 91D Safir s/n 91.367 was registered PH-RLA with Rijksluchtvaartdienst, Den Haag, as owner. The SAAB 91D Safir PH-RLA entered service with the RLS the same month. On 22 September 1970, SAAB 91D Safir PH-RLA was registered with Staat der Nederlanden/Rijksluchtvaartschool, Eelde, and as before operated by the RLS. After the SAAB 91D PH-RLA was withdrawn from use by the Rijksluchtvaartschool, registration PH-RLA was cancelled on 17 December 1979. The aircraft was stored at Eelde until the SAAB was sold in 1987 to a privat owner in Rotterdam. On 30 October 1990, after being restored in flying condition, the SAAB 91D Safir was registered again as PH-RLA. Over the years there have been several changes several of owners, but the important thing is ththis SAAB is still flyworthy.
On 20 May 1970, SAAB 91D Safir PH-RLA was seen at Groningen Airport Eelde in service with the RLS -Rijksluchtvaartschool.

page last updated: 18-05-2020
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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