Last August, the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea (SVA, Aerial Vigilance Service), which is the aviation unit of the police of Costa Rica, decided to retire its fleet of two Harbin Y-12E Turbo Pandas. Both aircraft were used to combat drug trafficking, organised crime, ambulance flights and humanitarian aid.
In October 2016, the Turbo-Pandas with serials MSP009 (c/n 089) and MSP010 (c/n 090) were donated by the Government of the People’s Republic of China. The decision to retire the type was taken because the manufacturing company's logistics and spare parts supply chain was not able to supply the necessary parts and components.
Months before, a technical evaluation was carried out by the SVA and the decision was taken to decommission the aircraft, preserving important and valuable parts (engines and avionics). The criteria on their operability was carried out by specialists of the Aeronautical Maintenance Department of the SVA. Both aircraft have since been dismantled at the SVA’s main base in San Jose International Airport in Alajuela.
Early September 2023, the Turbo-Pandas were loaded on trucks and brought to the National Police Academy location in Pococí, one of the police’s educational institutions, where they will serve as instructional assets.
Another SVA-aircraft, Piper PA-23-250 MSP015 (c/n 27-7954032) underwent the same fate. It was retired because of multiple engine problems and excessive use. This airframe has also been dismantled and transported to the academy.
Moreover, the SVA reported that King Air F90 MSP020 (c/n LA-54) will undergo the same fate “soon”.
Credit photo: Diario Extra