HA-200A SAETA / AL KAHIRA gallery

This HA-200 R-I 20/II Saeta is the second prototype manufactured by HASA and belongs to the Cuatro Vientos Aeronautical Museum’s collection. It flew for the first time on January 11, 1957, with the registration EC-ANN and was designated as XE 14-2.
This aircraft was approved by the INTA in 1958. In 1962, it was transferred to the Experimental Flight Group, where it remained until its withdrawal, on October 30, 1964. On January 28, 1969, it was ceded to the Museum that currently exhibits at Hangar number 5.
In May 1957, this 20/II prototype made a demonstration flight in the Paris Air Show, (Salon du Bourget), although it was intended that the exhibition passed as unnoticed as possible, because at that time France was also looking for clients for its Fouga Magister jet trainer.
The Spanish Air Ministry contacted Professor Willy Messerschmitt that was manufacturing sewing machines in Ausburg and scooters in Regensburg due to the prohibition on the activities of German aeronautical engineers after WWII.
The first aircraft designed by the Messerrschmitt’s team was the Hispano Aviacion HA-100 Triana, a radial engine aircraft for training that did not entered service and served as the basis for a new jet-powered aircraft called Hispano Aviacion HA-200 Saeta.
The aircraft was built in dural and alclad, very resistant and modern materials in those time. It carried a two-seater cockpit with tandem seats, supported load factors of up to 7 g, and was able to carry up to 200 kg of training weapons. The aircraft must be able to take off, fly and land with one of their engines stopped according to the requirements.
Its maximum horizontal speed was 690 km/h and could reach a diving speed of 790 km/h, its ceiling was about 13,000 meters and had a maximum autonomy of 90 minutes of flight. The HA-200 Saeta had two fuel tanks, one of 239 liters and another of 227 liters that fed the two 400 kg thrust turbojets.
The takeoff run should not exceed 500 meters and the landing run should not exceed 700 meters, having to overcome an obstacle of 15 meters in both cases. The aircraft had installed two fixed Breda 7.7mm machine guns with a rate of fire of 900 rounds per minute and 200 rounds of ammunition each.
Turbomeca Marboré IIA engines were manufactured under license in Spain by ENMASA company, although the first 20 from the 100 contracted engines arrived directly from France. Though the aircraft mounted two turbojets, it was not properly a twin-engine model since according to the regulation number AP.970 the engines had to have independent fuel supply and a bulkhead that isolates them from each other, which prototypes 20/I and 20/II do not they had.
In June 1956, the HA-200 made an 11 day tour for Europe with a view over possible customers, and was offered to the Federal Republic of Germany as the new Luftwaffe’s basic trainer. Nonetheless, the political panorama in Spain stopped all negotiations, and the German authorities did not even let the test pilot fly the aircraft.
The expedition visited Austria, Luxembourg and Switzerland without success, and in May 1957, the prototype 20/II made a demonstration flight in the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.
The flight performance of the HA-200 Saeta was excellent although certain aspects had to be modified to improve its maneuverability, as was evident after the exhaustive tests carried out until December 1958.
The first pre-production aircraft flew in June 1960, but along with five other pre-production aircrafts were sent to Egypt along with almost 100 HASA’s technicians to complete a contract signed with that country to build the Saeta under license. That would result in the variant HA-200B / Al Kahira.
Twenty five HA-200A were constructed, which from June 1966 would be assigned to the 431st Squadron, belonging to 43rd Wing, along with the T-6D Texan. In November 1969, the Basic School of Matacán, based in Salamanca, began to receive the E.14A, and there they would remain until their transfer to the 793rd Squadron in July of 1972.
Between September and October 1966 four aircrafts traveled to El Aaiún in the Sahara’s Spanish territories to test the reliability of the HA-200 in the demanding conditions of the African province. In these two months the aircraft´s shooting capabilities and the general availability were evaluated.
The tests included a total of 113 hours of flight over the desert, performing reconnaissance missions at high, medium and low altitude, as well as night flights. Takings and takeoffs are made from the main Spanish towns in the area, such as Sidi-Ifni, Smara, Villa Cisneros, Echedeiría and Mahbes.
The test conclusions were that aircraft had performed in a very remarkable way, having an availability of 85% in really hard conditions. The HA-200 was able to: … “surprise even some skeptical Air Force commanders regarding their capabilities”, according to the words of one of their pilots.
In April 1974, almost 30 E.14Bs arrived at San Javier AFB, Murcia, framed into the General Air Academy as basic school aircraft. They remained there until mid-March 1980 when they were replaced by the new C-101 Aviojet aircraft.
The HA-200A training variant continued to train pilots in different units of the Spanish Air Force with considerable success and finally, at the beginning of 1980, a large number of E14 and E14B were allocated to the 214th Squadron based in Tablada, Sevilla, with more than 70 aircraft framed in it.
In June and July 1980, all E.14 and E.14B stop flying, and on November 15, the withdrawal of these aircrafts is decreed within the Spanish Air Force, ending in this way the long career of the first jet-powered aircraft born in Spain.
After the retirement, a curious event occurred, a Spanish person bought a significant amount of HA-200A and D that were later sold, along with a large number of spare parts to US individuals who still keep them in flight. At the beginning of 2002, at least 42 of those aircraft purchased in the United States were active, along with some others preserved in Spain.
Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to see this aircraft in flight, will not easily forget the harsh sound of the two Turbomeca turbojets or its beautiful silhouette in the air.
Helwan Air Works company built 63 or 64 units with designation as Helwan HA-200B Al Kahira, (The Victorious), and the first aircraft built in Egypt made its maiden flight in December 1961. The installation of a 20mm HS-804 gun was projected but it seems that it was only installed in the first five HA-200B. The Turbomeca Marboré II engines were manufactured in Egypt by Helwan Air Works under denomination E.201.
Al Kahira aircrafts participated in the Six Day War and it is noteworthy an attack suffered at Heluan Base that ended with the destruction of two aircraft by the Israeli attack. On that ocassion HASA’s Spanish technicians were doing work on the aircrafts both on the runway and inside of an hangar and fortunately did not suffer casualties, although there were some on the Egyptian side. In 1982, the Egyptian Air Force was still using some Al Kahira in tasks such as radar calibration and fast liaison missions.
In 1984, one of the retired Al Kahira was sent for preservation to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, although curiously it was an erroneous shipment, since the Smithsonian had requested Egypt for a MiG-15 or MiG-17, but instead, they sent a decommissioned Al Kahira with ejected seats installed, something surprising for this model.

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