Irish Aviation

Aviation-related Magazines Guide

‘Irish Aviation’ was a news magazine covering the aviation scene in Ireland. It was subtitled ‘The National Air Magazine of Ireland’. Printed in newspaper-quality paper, it featured news and articles on various aspects of Irish aviation – both civil and military. It was illustrated with b+w photographs and typically comprised 32 pages in each issue. The editor was Col. Charles F.Russell. Launched circa 1932, by late 1937 it had dropped the ‘Irish’ from the title, becoming simply ‘Aviation’.

Further information:
No sources known.

Sikorsky S-61N

in Irish Coast Guard Service


At least nine S-61N Mk II operated at various times, 1991-present. Used search and rescue duties. The assigned operating bases were not fixed and aircraft could switch between bases to allow for scheduled maintenance of the normal resident. EI-BHO & EI-BLY were operated by Irish Helicopters under contract, the others being operated by Bond Helicopters/CHC Helicopters Ltd under contract.

Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
EI-BHO 61-822 G-BPWB Apr 1992 Reg’d 5 Feb 1991, based Shannon, to G-BPWB 14 May 1997
EI-BLY 61-761 C-GPOH Jan 1991 Reg’d 10 Dec 1981, based Shannon, til Apr 1992
EI-CNL 61-746 G-BDDA Jan 1997 Reg’d 19 Dec 1996, based Shannon
EI-CXS 61-816   2003 Originally IAC serial 257, Reg’d 18 Oct 2002, based Sligo
EI-CZN 61-740     Reg’d 15 Apr 2003, Waterford spare
EI-GCE 61-817     Reg’d 30 Apr 2007, based Shannon
EI-MES 61-776 G-BXAE   Reg’d 27 Mar 1997, based Dublin
EI-RCG 61-807 G-BZSN   Reg’d 25 Sept 2001, based Waterford
EI-SAR 61-143     Reg’d 26 June 1998, based Waterford til 2005, now Shannon spare


None available at present.

More Information


Other Sources

To be added.

Irish Coast Guard

Operator Profile


Narrative Summary

The Irish Marine Emergency Service (IMES) was first established on 1 January 1991, when a contract to operate one S-61N helicopter for Search and Rescue (SAR) duties came into effect. The contract was operated by Irish Helicopters and the aircraft was based at Shannon. On 1 January 1997, a new contract with Bond Helicopters came into effect, for the provision of two Shannon-based machines, one being a backup to the primary SAR aircraft.

On 29 June 1998, a second helicopter base was inaugurated at Dublin Airport, providing coverage of the east coast with a single Bond-operated S-61N. On 2nd February 2000 the IMES was renamed the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) to better reflect its role. In the same year Bond Helicopters was renamed CHC Helicopters. In 2002 a third base was opened at Waterford in the south of the country. In 2003 the Coast Guard took over the operation of an IAC operated S-61N at Sligo, giving a more even distribution of helicopter missions.

CHC were subsequently awarded a further contract renewal to provide SAR services from July 2007 to July 2010. It is likely that a future contract will require replacement of the aging S-61Ns with a more modern design.

Key Dates

1 January 1991 Irish Marine Emergency Service (IMES) established.
1997 Service expanded to two helicopters.
2 February 2000 IMES renamed to Irish Coast Guard.
2003 Fourth helicopter base opened.

Current Status

Search and Rescue missions off the coast of Ireland are contracted out by the Department of the Marine to a civil operator on behalf of the Irish Coast Guard. The present contractor has been providing the service since 1997, initially as Bond Helicopters, but now known as CHC Helicopters.

Future Plans

Replace the S-61Ns with a more modern design, most likely the Sikorsky S-92.


National Insignia

The helicopters operate in civil markings, with civil registrations and IRISH COAST GUARD / ‘Garda Cósta na hEirann’ service titles.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Coast Guard helicopters carry civil registrations.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used


Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Aircraft Type Total Del’d Total Active Still on Order Role
Sikorsky S-61N 7 7 0 SAR

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Sikorsky S-61N 2 1991 1997 Irish
Sikorsky S-61N 7 1997 current CHC

Irish = operated by Irish Helicopters under contract.

CHC = operated by CHC Ireland under contract.

Aircraft NOT Used

False reports of aircraft on order or in service – none known.


Main Headquarters


Organisational Structure

There are normally six Sikorsky S-61N’s active: four on 24hr standby and two reserve helicopters. Two are based at Shannon Airport, two based at Waterford Airport, one at Dublin Airport and one in Sligo (this latter was formerly operated by the IAC).

Current Unit Assignments

Squadron Type Base
1 x Sikorsky S-61N Dublin-Collinstown
2 x Sikorsky S-61N Shannon
2 x Sikorsky S-61N Waterford
1 x Sikorsky S-61N Sligo

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

See current organisation, above.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

Bases used by the IMES/IRCG are: Shannon (since Jan 1991), Dublin (since June 1998), Waterford (since 2002) and Sligo (since 2003).

More Information


To be added


No articles known.


Official Irish Coast Guard webpage

wikipedia: Irish Coast Guard

Rescue Reports

CHC Helicopters


Country Profile

The Country


Located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the west coast of Britain, the Irish state occupies some 85% of the island of Ireland. It’s only landward neighbour is Northern Ireland to the north east, which comprises part of the United Kingdom. Ireland consists of a central plain with lakes hills and peat bogs, surrounded by a broken rim of low coastal mountains. The total land area is 68,890 sq km (26,598 sq miles).
The Population of 3.6 million (2000 figure) comprises 95% of ethnic Irish origin, with 2% British and 3% other ethnic groups. Some 88% of the people are Roman Catholic, with 3% Anglican, 1% Jewish and 8% other faiths. The capital city is Dublin.

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National History

Summary Narrative History

Timeline – Key Dates in Irish History

Further National Information

BBC News Profile: Ireland
Yahoo Ireland page
wikipedia: Ireland
wikipedia: History of Ireland


Text to be added on the development of aviation in Ireland.


Civil Aircraft Registrations

Irish civil aircraft are registered in the series EI-AAA onwards from 1929.

All-time Ireland – civil aircraft register (EI-aaa EJ-aaa) [TO BE ADDED].
[Get involved with the Aeroflight Cloud.]

Aircraft Operators

Military Air Arms

Current military air arms-
Air Force (Irish Air Corps/Aer-Chor Nah Eireann)

Central Government Agencies

Coast Guard (Department of the Marine Rescue Service)

Public Service Aviation

Medical Aviation
Police Aviation (Police Air Support Unit/Garda Siochana Air Support Unit)

Commercial Aviation

Air Lingus
Aer Turas [1962-2003]
TransAer International [1991-2000]

wikipedia: Airlines of Ireland
The World’s Airlines: Ireland

Private Aviation

To be added


Aircraft Manufacturers

None known.

Aircraft Maintenance/Repair Depots

None known.


Civil Airports & Airfields

Airports in Ireland

Military Air Bases & Airfields

Military Air Bases Listing – to be added.

On Show

Aviation Museums

Irish Air Corps Museum
Foynes Flying Boat Museum

Airshow Dates

Key Airshow Dates

More Information

Aviation-Related Magazines

Magazines Guide for Ireland

Aviation Bibliography

Irish Aviation Bibliography – to be added

Web Links

Historical Aviation Society of Ireland
Society and Irish aviation history info

Aviation Museums Ireland
Visitor data and exhibits for each location

Ireland National History

In 1801 Ireland and Britain were formally joined under the title of the United Kingdom. After decades of agitation, a home rule bill was passed at Westminster in 1914, but suspended because of the outbreak of war. An armed uprising in Dublin on Easter Monday 1916 was put down by the British. Continuous armed conflict between 1919 and 1921 forced Britain to agree to Irish independence. On 6 December 1921 the Irish Free State was established under the British Crown, excluding the six northern counties which remained part of the UK. A civil war followed, between republicans opposed to partition and those who accepted British terms.

A new constitution was introduced in 1937, severing the remaining links with Britain and establishing the independent republic of Eire. The country remained neutral during World War II. In April 1949 a new constitution took Eire out of the Commonwealth and created the Republic of Ireland. Ireland joined the European Community (EC) in 1973. Since 1969, republican terrorist activity close to the border with Ulster (‘Northern Ireland’) has become a major security problem. The terrorists stated aim is a marxist united Ireland.

On 10 April 1998 the Belfast Agreement (‘The Good Friday Agreement’) was signed by Ireland and the United Kingdom. This agreement provides for the Irish Government to participate in certain aspects of the running of Northern Ireland. Increased prosperity due to membership of the European Union, and the implementation of the Belfast Agreement has undermined support for terrorist groups and security has improved markedly.

[To be rewritten]

Wings Ireland

Aviation-related Magazines Guide

A monthly magazine which first went on sale on 20 May 2004. It ceased publication in January 2005. It dealt with many different Irish aviation issues and was available in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It proved highly popular and was a well respected magazine.

Further information:
To be added.

Irish Air Letter

Aviation-related Magazines Guide

‘Irish Air Letter’ is a monthly magazine covering all aspects of Irish aviation (including in the North). It appears to have started off as a spotting magazine, but later developed into more of a historical journal that includes industry news and local aircraft movements reports. It carries the subtitle The Monthly Journal of Current and Historical Irish Aviation.

An A4 size magazine. It includes a movements review for major Irish airfields/airports, historical round-ups, Irish civil register, and Irish Air Corps news together with lengthy feature articles on historical subjects. It has been publsihed since at least 1975, with the July 2009 issue being number 415. The current editor is Paul Cunniffe.

Further information:
Irish Air Letter, 20 Kempton Way, Dublin 7, Ireland.
No website