Slovenia's First Helicopter

1. Soko SA341 Gama (licence built Aerospatiale Gazelle)
Shown as it appeared at Brnik prior to June 1991, 'White 660' is finished in the standard Federal Yugoslav colour scheme of Olive Green overall. Yugoslav roundels are Blue and White with a Yellow outlined Red star. Tail markings consist of a Federal Yugoslav flag stretching the full width of the fin in (from top) Blue, White and Red with a Yellow outlined Red star. The fuselage text reading 'SA341 No. 028' and '122660' is Black, as is the Gazelle logo on the fin. The helicopter repair shop marking of Moma Stanojlovic on the tail is in White with a Red star above. There are also several stencilled markings and warnings, which are illustrated in the photos on page 42. Note also the two Red vertical stripes on the main body near the rotor. Aerials are finished in White.

2. Soko SA341 Gama (licence built Aerospatiale Gazelle)
Now re-serialled 'TO-001', this illustration shows Gazelle 12660 as it appeared at Golte on 8th July 1991. The colour scheme is the same as that above, but all Yugoslav identifying markings have been painted out (including the MOMA badge) with a Greyish Olive Green colour, and partial Slovene markings applied in Blue and White. These consist of the Slovene TO badge on the fuselage boom, and a Slovenian coat-of-arms on the tail. The 'TO' and '001' serialling and the town name of 'VELENJE' are applied in White.

3. Soko SA341 Gama (licence built Aerospatiale Gazelle)
By 9th July 1991, TO-001's new colour scheme had been completed. The Red elements of the Slovene markings had by now been added, these consisting of the bottom third of the Slovene TO badge, and the Red stripe on the sides of the Slovene coat-of-arms. In addition, the three six-pointed Yellow 'Celje' stars have also been added to the coat-of-arms.

The Slovene War of Independence in June and July 1991 heralded the sudden emergence of many new countries in Europe, all of which would eventually gain their own air forces. The honour of the first aircraft to be acquired by a newly created European state goes to this Soko SA341 Gama (a Yugoslav licence-built Aerospatiale Gazelle). The full story of how it was acquired and used by the Slovenian TO can be found in Issue 6 of Insignia Magazine.

All pictures and text © Blue Rider Publishing 2013