19-Jan-2015 Source: HeliHub.com
The Air Force of Honduras has recently taken delivery of a new Bell 412EP for the Presidential Flight. It replaces an older 412SP which has been on charge in this role since 1988, and was one of a fleet of ten bought at that time. It is not clear exactly how many of the original batch are still operational, although HeliHub.com research found only five were upgraded in 2010 by Texas based Uniflight. Two are “in storage” and a second pair have been written off – one in May 1989 and a second in November 2000, which leaves one unaccounted for.
The new aircraft is serial 36672, test flown and delivered on 23rd December on FAA registration N446BH. Once in regular operations with the Honduran Air Force, local serial FAH-980 will be its primary identity, although that has been carried on the tail right through its test phase. It is painted in pale grey similar to the upgraded 412EPs, rather than the more jaunty blue metallic scheme the previous Presidential helicopter carried. It is also fitted with the BLR Aerospace FastFin® Tail Rotor Enhancement, nose mounted radar, wire-strike system and a Flitestep on the skids as is often found on corporate/VIP 412s.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
File photo of very similar aircraft delivered to Colombia in 2012. To see an actual (and copyrighted) photo click here