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Oldest police helicopter flies again after 15 years

The oldest police helicopter is set to fly again after being grounded for more than 15 years. 

The police air wing has completed refurbishing the seven seater Bell 206B American helicopter, which was grounded in 2002. The helicopter was purchased in 1986 shortly after President Museveni took power. 

The refurbished police chopper 

The former inspector general of police, Kale Kayihura tried to sell off the helicopter in 2013 as scrap but was advised to refurbish it. 

The aircraft was refurbished by Yamasec Ltd. Deputy IGP Sabiiti Muzeyi witnessed the handover the refurbished chopper at the police air wing base in Kajjansi today.

Captain Baraka Orland, the chief executive officer Yamasec, says it took them two years to refurbish the helicopter, adding that the repairs were done at Kajjansi airstrip using local engineers.

"Now this aircraft doesn't have to be sent to a museum but can add on the resources of the police force," Captain Baraka said.

Sabiiti, who part of the team that flew in the helicopter as it was being tested, said "there are many things that can be added on the helicopter like cameras and search lights to make it serve the policing role appropriately".

Initially, the helicopter engine failed to start due to a malfunction but was later fixed and off into the skies it went.

Although police didn't disclose what it cost them to repair the helicopter, a reliable source put the figure at Shs 10 billion. The repair of the helicopter brings to four the number of helicopters belonging to the police force. Two helicopters were purchased in 2015.

Police is in the process of procuring two more helicopters and a fixed wing aircraft, which will bring the total number of helicopters to six. The police air wing, which is now located at Kajjansi was established in 1958 with 14 helicopters and fixed air wings.


+2 #1 Phalanch 2018-05-31 22:47
Obviously this is no flying and after 15 yrs in scrapyard anyone who is crazy enough to get into this disease enters at own risk .
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-3 #2 gatashimana 2018-05-31 23:51
That's very good. Uganda needs to learn how to restore scrap to its original state.

That's commendable and I credit Ochola. He is a true Ugandan.
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+6 #3 gwok 2018-06-01 00:41
That s dangerous thing to do. the Bell 200 chopper series was retired during the last Century because it had too many "metal fatigue" problems associated with its moving parts.

Refurbishing such a junk-yard flyer makes no sense at all. However, it could be handy tool for garanging purposes.
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+4 #4 Timmy Tonga 2018-06-01 01:17
A refurbished relic to fly again?

I wouldn't be surprised if all of a sudden it falls from the sky just a matter of time.
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+2 #5 miki 2018-06-01 08:10
How this story is twisting and turning every minute.

The invitation to reporters talked about a hand over ceremony for one of the reconditioned helicopters recently acquired from Italy.

Now it is a handover for a supposedly repaired 30 year old chopper pulled from the scrap heap of Uganda police??

Repaired for 10billion shillings??? The Observer has an obligation to properly report this story.
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+4 #6 miki 2018-06-01 08:48
They are outlawing cars older than 8 years and they want to fly 30 year old air craft?

Everything seems to operate in some very strange irony in Mr. Museveni's Uganda.

Did they say they are re-establishing an airline soon? Oh no. I will stick with the boda-boda.
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+1 #7 Doctor Noord 2018-06-01 08:58
the bad thing with those guys is heighten coasts, at a time coast for repair can surpass buying a new one the very reason why they never want to disclose their expenditures.
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+1 #8 Lakwena 2018-06-01 10:31
In other words, we are more backward now than 60 years ago.

It is annoying and ironical that; although Mr. M7 lingua frank is "value addition" and castigating "backwardness", but in reality he is the embodiment of the devaluation and backwardness of Uganda as a country and her citizens.

If the Uganda Police had 14 choppers in 1958, shouldn't we be having more than a hundred now?

If in 1958 the police officers lived in decent and clean barracks with tiled roofs and bigger houses for the higher ranks, shouldn't our officers now be living in more modern accommodations.

While Mr. M7, brother, in-laws and cronies develop dehumanizing potbellies; the 32 years of degenerating standard of living of Ugandans, especially our men and women in uniform is annoying!

The only they can be proud of is new uniforms on their backs and boots on their feet. Otherwise inside they are miserable.
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+1 #9 Joe1 2018-06-01 13:42
If bin waiting for death and not coming, please don't waste any more time just fly into that thing
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+1 #10 Apollo Ekelot 2018-06-02 15:13
This is so sinful, if a new Bell 206 type chopper costs between US$900,000 to $1.2 million (UGX 3.2-4.3 billion).

Just wondering how we choose to refurbish a museum piece at UGX 10 billion ( about USD 2.7 million).

I even wonder how someone can be at ease flying in such junk! In Uganda our choices are so dreadful that even the devil shudders!
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