Le Caravelle Club - Save a Caravelle

All Photos on This Web-Site are Copyright ©2001. All rights reserved.

The Caravelle and SAS

In the history of commercial aviation, the Sud-Aviation Caravelle plays an important part. The Caravelle was the first commercial jet-aircraft specifically designed for short- to medium range routes. It first flew on May 27th, 1955, just three weeks before the "competing" Russian Tupolev TU-104. The Caravelle also plays an important part in Swedish commercial aviation. Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS) was a launch customer for the beautiful and futuristic design and placed an order in June 1957 for six machines. The order was extended with another six aircraft in 1958. SAS consequently received the first example on April 10th, 1959, and put the aircraft into regular service on April 26th, 1959. The first aircraft was LN-KLH Caravelle III (converted I) "Finn Viking". Depending on how you look at it, SAS thus became the first airline in the world to operate the Caravelle in regular service, initially between Copenhagen and Beirut. At its peak, SAS operated a total of 20 Caravelles on services throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. All Caravelles in SAS service was of the III-model. SAS operated the Caravelle for 15 years until 1974.

Copyright©Hans Norman 2000

A former SAS Caravelle, SE-DAF "Sven Viking", since long retired
from active duty, is resting at Stockholm Arlanda in May, 1999.

Save a Caravelle

NOW, the important thing is that two of the SAS Caravelles were sold to the Swedish Air Force (SAF) as SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) aircraft, with delivery commencing in 1971. The two aircraft that were given the honour of serving in the SAF were SE-DAG and SE-DAI. After conversion to its new role, the Caravelles were put into active "spy" service in the summer of 1972. SE-DAG was given code 851 whereas SE-DAI received code 852. They were making sterling service in the Swedish Air Force for a considerable period of time, and were finally retiring from the military operations at the end of 1998. Belonging to the military upon retirement, both aircraft were donated to the Swedish Air Force Museum (Flygvapenmuseet) at Malmslatt, Linkoping Sweden. There are plans for one of the aircraft, number 851 (SE-DAG), to join the other historic airplanes in the museum-collection, and plans are now drawn up to extend the facilities to make room for such a large military airplane as the Caravelle.

However, at the time of retirement, the (former) Swedish Airforce F14 wing at Halmstad was in desperate need of an "appropriate" large aircraft to utilise at their fire-fighting school. An agreement had thus been made to donate one Caravelle, which happened to be 852, to the school to be used in the excercises to practice airplane fire-fighting in a realistic environment. This would obviously mean that one of the very few flyable Caravelles worldwide would soon be ending its glourious days in the graveyards, not because if non-airworthiness, but because it would be put on fire on purpose, which would be nothing less than a catastrophy for the aviation community.

Copyright©Hans Norman 2000

A pilots eye-view of the Caravelle Cockpit with all "vintage"
late 50s- instumentations which are now obsolete in
modern cockpit designs. A truly historical layout.

Keep it Airworthy and Flying

This was the situation when the empryo of what later would become LeCaravelleClub started to grow thanks to a few very dedicated aviation-minded people who quickly realized that if noting was done immediately, the catastrophe would soon be happening.
Therefore, in the autumn of 1998, these dedicated people started LeCaravelleClub, with the sole purpose of saving one of very very few still-airworthy Caravelles around the globe.

Copyright©Hans Norman 2000
LeCaravelleClub Caravelle "852" on display at Stockholm-Arlanda
in April 2000. Both the club name and website can be clearly
seen on the fuselage just behind the forward entrance door.

Join LeCaravelleClub

As is ususally the case in these types of initiatives based on pure dedication and true enthusiasm, there is always a very shocking lack of understanding in the establishment for the importance of saving this historically and culturally very important piece of machinery for future generations to come. However, after numberus setbacks, which will not be described here, the Caraveller 852/SE-DAI was finally saved from the "perpertrators" and was flown to safety on January 28th, 1999. The flight started at Malmslatt/Linkoping, and the destination was Stockholm-Arlanda Airport where it has been stationed ever since.

If You have been patient enough to read the entire article up till now, I guess You find an interest in historical and/or
commercial aviation in particular, or maybe even your favourite airplane is the beautifully siloutted Caravelle. IF THAT IS THECASE, I WOULD STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you browse to LeCaravelleClubs official webpage where you will find a lot of interesting up-to-date information about the club, the status of "our" Caravelle, and most importantly, HOW TO SIGN UP AS A MEMBER. This is basically an enthusiasts club made up of dedicated people with the sole purpose of saving a flying Caravelle for the future. ALL like-minded are wellcome to "join the club" and make his or her contribution for the eventual success of this important project. Please now therefore jump to the official LeCaravelleClub's webpage, written in both Swedish, English and German to fit all enthusiasts needs...

Go directly to :

Le Caravelle Club

Some more close-up shots of "our" Caravelle:

Copyright©Hans Norman 2000

Copyright©Hans Norman 2000

Copyright©Hans Norman 2000

Copyright©Hans Norman 2000