In August 1943 the aviation company AB Aero Service was founded by Lennart Osterman. He was already the general manager of the leading car company AB Hans Osterman, but selected to create a new company to disguise that Osterman invested in the airplane industry. The company was successful and expanded rapidly. The need for aircraft was huge after World War II.
In 1946 AB Aero Service already operated a large number of airplanes when flight engineer Nils Olof Sefeldt was sent to the United States in order to look for suitable aircraft manufactures that could need sales agencies in Sweden. In May 1946 he sent a telex to Lennart Osterman telling that the company Bell Aircraft was interested in introducing helicopters in Sweden, provided that Osterman first purchased a few machines. After a visit to the factory Hans Osterman reported that he had successfully obtained the agency for the company, as well as three new Bell 47 helicopters.
The following months Nils Olof Sefeldt got a type rating in the Bell 47 and two Swedish technicians got their certifications. In November 1946 the first helicopter came to Sweden, eight moths after the helicopter type got its American air worthiness certification. The helicopter, a brand new green Bell 47B (c/n 10), arrived by boat in boxes to Södertälje. It was in fact the first helicopter to be sold to a non-American customer. Osterman (the new name of AB Aero Service) thereby made history as the first commercial helicopter operator outside the United States!
The helicopter was marked SE-AZT
, but was never officially registered as AZT. The very first helicopter flight in Sweden was carried out by Ostermans Aero's pilot Nils Olof Sefeldt with SE-AZT
at Bromma Airport, Stockholm, on 14 February 1947. The same day the CAA director Carl Ljungberg became the first helicopter passenger in Sweden when he joined Mr Sedfeldt on a short flight in the Bell 47.
The first official helicopter display was conducted on 20 February the same year, when Mr Sedfeldt flew SE-AZT
from Bromma Airport to the National Maritime Museum at Gärdet in Stockholm to show the new revolutionary aircraft for a big audience. The Swedish Post Office's Senior Administrative Director Linnäs joined the flight and brought three letters with him, thereby becoming the first helicopter mail man in the country.
The next day Ostermans Aero broke history by performing the first mail service by helicopter in Europe when a few letters were transported from Dalarö to the lighthouse keeper at Huvudskär.SE-AZT
was officially registered SE-HAA
on August 22, 1947, by Ostermans Aero. It was mainly used for demonstration purposes all around Sweden, together with its two sisters, SE-HAB
.Sweden's first helicopter accidentSE-HAA
got a short life. The helicopter was about to be transported by boat to Finland in order to participate in a public demonstration. On 20 May 1949, as it was approaching the Skeppsbron Harbour the RPM drooped and the helicopter ended up in the water. The pilot and his passenger survived, but the helicopter sank. Some of the salvageable parts were later used in the assembly of SE-HAG
Svenska civila och militära helikoptrar (ISBN 91-9716052) by Lars E. Lundin
Ostermans Aero AB (ISBN 91-631-0364-8) by Göran Wallert
Flygminnen 1 (ISBN 91-85305-20-0) by Göran Wallert
Bromma Flygplats (ISBN 91-85496-87-1) by Michael Sanz