Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

The Mystery Airplane

Designed as a basic trainer with light attack capabilities, the S. 211 first flew on 10 April 1981. Powered by a 2,500 pound thrust P&W of Canada turbofan, it has a maximum speed of 414 mph and a service ceiling of 40,000 feet. With four underwing hardpoints, it can carry a variety of bombs, rockets, and gun pods.

Only three countries ordered the S. 211: Haiti (4), the Philippines (24), and Singapore (30). Over 60 percent of the airframe was made of composites. The two crew members sit in Martin-Baker ejection seats. When the United States needed a new primary trainer, Grumman joined with Augusta to offer a modified S. 211. They lost out to the Raytheon T-6 Texan II turboprop.

Haitian S. 211's appeared on the USCAR in the early 1990's, with a first appearance at Oshkosh in 1993. I photographed N521S, ex-No 340 of the Republic of Singapore Air Force, at Oshkosh in 2015. It had served with No. 130 Squadron in Australia at RAAF Base Pearce. Singapore's flight training takes place in the United States for F-15's and F-16's, in Australia for S. 211 (now PC-21's), and in France for the A-4S Super Skyhawk. The S. 211 replaced the old Lockheed T-33A, and was itself replaced by the new generation Pilatus PC-21 turboprop in April 2008. No. 340 was sold to International Air Parts of Sydney, Australia, in 2009. In June of 2015, as N521S, it was registered in Helena, Montana. Veteran race pilot Doug Matthews flies N270CF, Race #33, "Stallion," ex-Singapore AF (No. 385), at Reno, as well as a stock P-51D Mustang called "The Rebel."

November's contest winner is Bob Eckstein who also noted that Aermacchi now has rights to the S. 221. Other correct answers came from Michael Johnson, Arv Schultz of Phoenix, AZ, Joe Connell, Bob Heavirland, Graydon Carlson, and Gary Underland of Medford, who was with Buzz Kaplan in Italy at the Siai Marchetti factory in 1988 where the S. 211 was manufactured. They, with Tony Seykora, were flying the 1930 Savoia Marchetti S-56B on a six-week tour. I well remember that aircraft when I announced at Owatonna in the early 1990's. History! Best wishes for the New Year. Blue skies and fair winds.


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