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Hellenic Armed Forces: Air Force History
 

History of the Hellenic Air Force

The year of our Lord 1911 was the year in which the Hellenic Air Force was established. Creators of this glorious branch of the Armed Forces being Eleutherios Venizelos and the TiPsiIta (ΤΨΗ) law passed on March 27 1911. According to this law, this force was to be established based upon French standards and prototypes.

To accomplish this, 13 officers from France were transferred to Hellas to establish the foundation with which the Hellenic Air Force could operate and expand on. The first officers to join this new branch were Dimitrios Kamperos (First Lieutenant Artillery), Mihail Moutousis (First Lieutenant Corp of Engineers), Mihail Adamidis (Second Lieutenant Cavalry), and a little later Loukas Papaloukas (First Lieutenant Infantry), Markos Drakos (First Lieutenant Artillery), and Panoutsos Notaras (Second Lieutenant Cavalry). These officers were trained in France, where they obtained their diplomas.

Eleutherios Venizelos, as a sign of faith towards this new weapon of the Hellenic arsenal, took flight with Emmanouil Argyropoulo on February 8 1912. The first official flight/appearance of the Air Force is considered to be May 13 1912 for a military exercise, during which Dimitrios Kamperos flew over Paleo Faliro. The Air Force received her first aircraft, 4 Henri Farman's, on May 27 1912. The aircraft were named Dedalos, Aetos, Gyps, and Ierax by Eleutherio Venizelo.

The arrival of the aircraft allowed the formation of the first Air Force Company. The above aircraft were of course not designed for military operations, so soon after operations started, the new Maurice Farman aircraft were ordered. Pilots in the company were the officers Kamperos, Moutousis, Notaras, and Adamidis. Added to the above four, by special law, was Second Lieutenant Emmanouil Argyropoulos, who took part in the war with his privately owned aircraft. Argyropoulos also happened to be the first casualty incurred by the Air Force, when his airplane crashed on April 4 1913.

The first operation took place on October 5 1912 by Dimitrio Kampero, who flew over enemy lines in a recognizance mission. Many other operations took place in which the Hellenic pilots didn't hesitate to drop special bombs on Turkish positions.

Operational requirements by the Hellenic Navy led to the creation of the Naval Aviation (Naval Cooperation Air Force). Naval Aviation acquired her first hydroplane in November 1912. First pilot for this new naval weapon was First Lieutenant Moutousis who was recalled from the Epirot front. On November 17 1912 the aircraft was officially presented to the Navy, and named Nautilos.

First training flight took place on January 21 1913 with Moutousi and Ensign Moraiti flying all the way to the island of Tenedos. The first operational flight took place on January 24 1913 with the same crew. On that day, the two crew members not only bombarded the Turkish Navy in the Bay of Nagara, they also reported the location of Turkish ships to the commander of the Hellenic Navy located in Moudrou, Limnos. The mission took 2 hours 20 minutes, and the distance traveled totaled some 180 kilometers. This was the first ever combat naval cooperation mission in the world!

Since that first flight of May 13 1912, the Hellenic Air Force has written pages of glorious victories and of personal sacrifices for the Nation. Since the first victories over the Turks in the First Balkan War, to the untold victories taking place every day over the Aegean today, the Hellenic Air Force has always provided the Nation with victories, even when numbers and odds should have proved otherwise. This page and those presenting the history or current situation of our Armed Forces is dedicated to the men and women who have given their lives or placed their lives in danger, for the defense of our country. To these great Hellenes we owe our gratitude, and this page is but a miniscule reminder.


Planes of The Past


(T)F-104 G Starfighter

The F-104 has gained many 'nick-names' through-out its long career in many air forces around the world. Some of these include 'Widow Maker', ''Manned Missile', and 'Flying Coffin'! The Hellenic Air Force had a very good track record with this aircraft, and if one is lucky, he might still see one over the skies of Hellas.

Maximum Speed : 2.2 Mach

Maximum Range : 3015 km

Initial Climb Rate : 15000 m/min

Maximum Operational Altitude : 18300 m


(T)F-102 Delta Dagger

The Convair F-102 Delta Dagger was a delta-wing interceptor that served in the Hellenic Air Force for a remarkably short period of time (1969-1975).

Maximum Speed : 810 mph

Maximum Range : 1000 miles

Maximum Operational Altitude : 55000 ft.


F-86 D Sabre

The F-86D was a great improvement at the time it entered service, since it offered the capabilities of it's radar.

Maximum Speed : 715 mph

Maximum Range : 800 miles

Maximum Operational Altitude : 50000 ft.


F-84 F Thunderstreak

The Thunderstreak was developed to overcome the limitations of the Thunderjet's straight flying surfaces. Other aircraft systems were also revised. The F-84 F first flew in 1950.

Maximum Speed : 695 mph

Maximum Range : 1900 miles

Initial Climb Rate : 8200 ft/min

Maximum Operational Altitude : 44450 ft.


RF-84 F Thunderflash

The RF-84F was the reconnaissance version of the F-84 F Thunderstreak. This aircraft remained operational with the 348 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the Hellenic Air Force from 1956 to March 29th, 1991.


C-47 Dakota

The C-47 is the military version of the DC-3. It served in the Second World War, as well as decades after that. Dakotas are still flown in many countries around the world.

Maximum Speed : 232 mph

Maximum Range : 1513 miles

Maximum Operational Altitude : 24450 ft.


T-6 G Texan

The North American T-6 was acquired and used by the Hellenic Air Force as a trainer, following World War II.

Maximum Speed : 210 mph

Maximum Range : 770 miles

Maximum Operational Altitude : 23200 ft.


H-19 D Chickasaw

The H-19 by Sikorsky was a utility rotorcraft used by the Air Force.

Maximum Speed : 112 mph

Maximum Range : 330 miles

Maximum Operational Altitude : 15000 ft.


 Marcel Bloch M.B.151

In 1939 an order for 24 of these aircraft was entered to the company later to be named "Avions Marcel Dassault". Only 9 of the aircraft reached Hellas, since the outbreak of World War II prevented the French from completing the order. The aircraft served in the 24th Pursuit Unit (MD - Moira Dioxis) of the then Hellenic Royal Airforce (EBA).

Maximum Speed : 460 km/h

Engine / Horsepower : Gnome-Rhône 14N-35 920 HP


Boeing Stearman PT-13

The Boeing Stearman PT-13 was, and is a trainer. This most popular US made biplane, is still flown in Hellas and other countries of the world, by aviation enthusiasts and flight clubs. In Hellas it is currently operated by the Thessaloniki flight club.

Maximum Speed : 200 km/h

Maximum Range : 750 km

Maximum Operational Altitude : 3400 m.


Tiger Moth

The Tiger Moth, De Havilland 82 was a trainer.

Maximum Speed : 175 km/h

Engine / Horsepower : DH Gipsy Major 130 HP

Maximum Operational Altitude : 4150 m.


De Havilland 9

The DH-9 was acquired by the Navy in 1918 for use during the campaigns of the First World War. The aircraft never made it to the front lines in time, and served only in the Asian Minor campaign.

Maximum Speed : 198 km/h

Engine / Horsepower : Liberty 12 400 HP

Maximum Operational Altitude : 5410 m.


De Havilland 4

The Navy acquired the DH-4 in 1918, at the same time it aquired the DH-9 and Sopwith Camel. It saw action in the Asian Minor campaign.

Maximum Speed : 230 km/h

Engine / Horsepower : 275 kW RR Eagle VIII

Maximum Operational Altitude : 6700 m.


SOPWITH CAMEL F1

The Sopwith Camel was acquired by the Navy for use during the campaigns of the First World War and the Asian Minor campaign.

Maximum Speed : 180 km/h

Engine / Horsepower : CLERGET 130 HP


SOPWITH PUP

The Sopwith Pup was acquired by the Navy for use during the campaigns of the First World War and the Asian Minor campaign.

Maximum Speed : 180 km/h

Engine / Horsepower : LE PHONE 80 HP


SPAD VII

The SPAD VII was the replacement for the Nieuport 24 Bis. It served in the First world war and the Asia Minor campaign, for the Air Force.

Maximum Speed : 180 km/h

Engine / Horsepower : HISPANO SUIZALE 150-180 HP


NIEUPORT 24 BIS

The Nieuport 24 Bis was a pursuit aircraft introduced into service in 1917, with the 531 Mira Dioxis (Pursuit Unit). It served in the First world war and the Asia Minor campaign, for the Air Force.

Maximum Speed : 186 km/h

Engine / Horsepower : PHONE 130 HP


BREGUET 14

The Breguet 14 was a bomber introduced into service after the entry of Hellas into the First World War. It served in the First world war, for the Air Force.

Maximum Speed : 184 km/h

Engine / Horsepower : RENAULT 300 HP


Dorand AR.1

12 Dorand AR.1 aircraft comprised the core of the 532 Pursuit Unit, which was established on December 12, 1917. The plane was used by the Air Force in reconnaissance missions.

Maximum Speed : 152 km/h

Engine / Horsepower : RENAULT 190 HP


Maurice Farman

The Maurice Farman aircraft was introduced into service shortly after the Henri Farman. It served in both Balkan wars, and the First world war, for the Army Air Force and Naval Air Force.

Maximum Speed : 100 km/h

Engine / Horsepower : RENAULT 70 HP


Henri Farman

The Henri Farman was the first aircraft to enter service with Hellas. It served in both Balkan wars, and the First world war.

Maximum Speed : 100 km/h

Engine / Horsepower : GNOME 60 HP

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