A FURTHER five ex-RAF Grob G115E Tutor T1s have been delivered to the Finnish Air Force after being sold off by Babcock Aerospace Ltd, which had previously operated them as part of a fleet of 119 of the type on the UK Ministry of Defence’s Light Aircraft Flying Task programme. They comprised G-BYVV (c/n 82131/E), G-BYWC (c/n 82138/E), G-BYWN (c/n 82149/E), G-CGKF (c/n 82306/E) and G-CGKI (c/n 82309/E), which departed from RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire, yon Friday morning, October 20, on their ferry flight to Finland. After crossing the North Sea, they made a short fuel stop at Wilhelmshaven-JadeWeser Airport in northern Germany, before continuing to Jönköping Airport, Sweden, where they stayed overnight. They departed from there just after 1100hrs yesterday morning, October 21, to fly to their final destination, Jyväskylä-Tikkakoski, Finland, where the type is replacing the L-70 Vinka with the Air Force Academy’s Training Air Wing/Hävittäjälenmtolaivue 41/3 Flight.
This brings total deliveries to date to 16 aircraft, out of a total of28 surplus G115Es being acquired from Babcock. The purchase had been announced by Finland’s Ministry of Defence on October 10 last year. The first aircraft to be delivered, G-CGKA (c/n 82301/E), arrived at Tikkakoski on November 22, following which it was painted in Finnish Air Force markings with serial GO-1. A further five, G-BYUG (c/n 82092/E), G-BYUP (c/n 82101/E), G-BYVS (c/n 82128/E), G-BYWJ (c/n 82145/E) and G-BYXN (c/n 82174/E), left Cranwell for Finland on May 24 and arrived at Tikkakoski two days later. Five more, G-BYUA (c/n 82086/E), G-BYVJ (c/n 82120/E), G-BYVX (c/n 82133/E), G-BYWE (c/n 82140/E) and G-BYWT (c/n 82154/E), departed Cranwell on September 25, also initially flying to Wilhelmshaven before arriving in Finland two days later. Two more batches will follow in November and December to complete deliveries of all 28 aircraft.
Before entry into service, the aircraft are undergoing various modifications to meet Finnish requirements, including an avionics and electronic systems upgrade, this work being carried out in Finland by Patria Aviation Oy. Once this is completed, training on the type will begin in 2018.