Air International 2007-08
News: Headline, Military, Civil, Airshow, Accidents
Macedonian Air Force An-2R VAM-150 (c/n 1G216-32, ex Z3-DCR) is seen here at Petrovec on May 31, 2007 following repaint in a camouflage scheme, complete with sharkmouth. The aircraft had previously been in a bright red and yellow civilian scheme inherited from its days with the aero club at Kumanovo. The aircraft was dispatched to the TEREM-Letec Aircraft Repair Plant in Sofia, Bulgaria, last November for overhaul and wing fabric replacement, following which the opportunity was taken to also repaint it in more appropriate military colours. It returned to Macedonia on April 22 for operation by the Air Force's VIP Transport Squadron.
Two Royal Danish Air Force Merlin Mk 512s arrive at Yeovil Airfield, Somerset, on June 29, 2007, prior to being modified to UK specifications and delivered to the RAF as Merlin HC.3As.
The first EH 101 specifically built for the US Presidential VH-71 programme, wearing test registration G-17-002, seen during its first flight from Yeovil, Somerset, on July 3, 2007.
In tribute to the USAF's 60th anniversary, the US Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, better known as the 'Thunderbirds', rounded off its eight-country European tour at RIAT by performing its usual highly-polished routine with six Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcons.
In tribute to the USAF's 60th anniversary, the US Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, better known as the 'Thunderbirds', rounded off its eight-country European tour at RIAT by performing its usual highly-polished routine with six Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcons.
Following the announcement by Sikorsky that it had delivered three UH-60L Black Hawks to the Jordanian Special Operations Aviation Brigade, photographs of these helicopters have now been made available. Seen here on May 11, 2007 are the first two of the three, SO-3001/(04)-27027 and SO-3002/(04)-27028, wearing identities from a new unique serial system that appears to have been adopted for the Special Forces, together with their US Army FMS serials (the Fiscal Year prefix, which is not worn, has been assumed, as they were ordered in 2004.
Wreckage of UTair Tu-134A RA-65021 lies inverted in the snow after the aircraft crashed on landing at Samara Airport, Russia. Remarkably, only six of the 57 on board were killed.
Whilst Boeing prepares the 787 for its maiden flight, Rolls-Royce is also progressing with the new powerplant for the aircraft, the Trent 1000, which is seen here on the port inboard pylon of appropriately registered company testbed Boeing 747-267B N787RR undertaking its first flight on June 18, 2007. Converted by L-3 Communications at Waco, Texas, the aircraft took off from there at 1900hrs and was airborne for 3hrs 24mins.
Bombardier CRJ200 SE-DUY (c/n 7010, ex C-FJGI and D-ACLE with Lufthansa Cityline), the first of two converted to freighter configuration for West Air Europe, taxies out at Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Canada, on June 13, 2007 prior to departure on its delivery flight to Sweden. West Air is the first carrier to operate the CRJ in a pure cargo configuration.
St George, Utah-based Skywest Airlines has applied this colourful scheme to brand new CRJ900 N821SK (c/n 15109) to mark its 35th anniversary, including '35 Years - just the beginning of an extraordinary journey' titles. The aircraft, which had been delivered on April 17, 2007, is seen here on approach to Toronto-Pearson International Airport, Ontario, Canada, on June 22.
Embraer announced on July 13, 2007 that it had delivered EMB-135BJ Legacy 600 T-501 (c/n 14500981, ex PT-SHT) to Luanda, Angola-based State-owned arms import agency Simportex. The aircraft will be operated in Forca Aerea National Angolana (FANA - National Angolan Air Force) colours as a VIP aircraft for Government officials. An Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia will also join the FANA Legacy in the coming months to perform similar duties.
A recent acquisition by Moscow/Vnukovo-based Kosmos Airlines, An-12BK RA-13392 (c/n 00347210) is seen here operating a cargo flight into London/Stansted Airport on June 20, 2007. The aircraft was previously operated by Moscow-Domodedovo-based Airstars and still wears a hybrid livery.
The first Austrian Typhoon, 7L-WA (AS001), touches down at Zeltweg Air Base on July 12, 2007.
US Marine Corps/VMX-22 MV-22B 166391, appropriately coded 'MV-22', seen after landing on Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious on June 10, 2007 off the east coast of the USA. This was the first time a V-22 had embarked on a non-US vessel anywhere in the world and was a prelude to a US-led Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFX) on the eastern seaboard of the US. The JTFX will also see up to 16 USMC AV-8B Harriers embarked on Illustrious, together with 200 US personnel.
Seen here during taxi and run up trials at Toronto/Pearson International Airport, Ontario, Canada, on July 5, 2007 is new production Bombardier Dash 8-315 C-FLKI (c/n 645), which is being prepared for delivery to HM Airways (Heli Malongo) of Luanda, Angola, which already operates two of the type.
Seen here passing through Rotterdam in the Netherlands on June 24, 2007 are former Caribbean Star Airlines Bombardier Dash 8-315s A6-ADD (c/n 627, ex V2-LGL) and A6-ADE (c/n 628, ex V2-LGM) on delivery to Abu Dhabi for the UAE Air Force. The aircraft had arrived from Frobisher Bay via Reykjavik and flew on via Corfu, Brindisi and Hurghada before arriving in Abu Dhabi on June 25. A total of four ex-Caribbean Star Dash 8-315s have been acquired by Abu Dhabi Aviation on behalf of the UAEAF for conversion to maritime patrol aircraft. The other two, A6-ADF (c/n 610, ex V2-LGJ), A6-ADG (c/n 624, ex V2-LGK), routed Goose Bay - Reykjavik - Newcastle - Brindisi - Hurghada - Abu Dhabi on June 30 - July 1.
QinetiQ announced on June 19, 2007 that its experimental Vectored-thrust Aircraft Advanced Control (VAAC) Harrier T.4, XW175, is currently undertaking trials on the French Navy aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Conducted jointly with the Ministry of Defence's Joint Test and Evaluation Group, the trials are designed to expand the limits and knowledge of ship rolling vertical landings as a possible aircraft recovery technique for the Royal Navy's two projected Future Carriers (CVFs). The test form part of development work for the F-35B variant of the Joint Strike Fighter.
Two Turkish Air Force Northrop NF-5B-2000 lead-in fighter trainers, from 133 Filo at Konya, were on static display. They have been upgraded with new avionics, including a new head-up display, hands-on throttle and stick, a multi-function colour display in both cockpits and an embedded GPS/inertial navigation system radar altimeter. New pilots fly this type in the Turkish Air Force before proceeding onto the F-16 and McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.
Italian Air Force Agusta-Sikorsky HH-3F Pelican appropriately adorned in a colourful paint scheme. The 30th anniversary titles refer to the type's length of service with this air arm and the '150,000 f.h.' refers to the number of hours flown. Next to the sponson are the type's 'battle' honours, reflecting all the operations in which it has participated.
RAF/4 FTS/208 Squadron Hawk T.1A XX196 seen at low level in Low Flying Area 7 near Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on April 18, 2007, only two days before it crashed at RAF Mona, Anglesey.
Upgrade of Swiss Air Force Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainers with a new glass cockpit, GPS, auto pilot and second VHF radio is progressing well. The first two aircraft to be completed, including A-937 seen here, were handed-over last November and, as can be seen, a new colour scheme is also being applied. By the end of this year a total of 18 aircraft will have been modernised to the new NCPC-7 (New Cockpit PC-7) standard, whilst approval is being sought for a further ten aircraft to be upgraded.
Madrid-based Spanish charter airline GIRjet has recently taken delivery of a second Boeing 757, taking 757-225 TF-LLZ (c/n 22691) on lease from Loftleider Iceland, painted in full GIRjet colours. The aircraft is seen here departing Southend Airport, Essex, on June 27, 2007 for return to Madrid after maintenance with ATC Lasham. It joins 757-236 EC-JTN (c/n 25597) that was delivered in May last year.
Seen in the early morning light whilst visiting Dublin, Ireland, on July 7, 2007, White Airways Airbus A330-243 (c/n 635) is the first of the type with the Lisbon, Portugal-based carrier and only joined the airline in June. The aircraft is leased from XL Airways France and still wears the latter’s partial colour scheme. It was operating a flight into Dublin with Irish holidaymakers on behalf of Futura International Airways.
Securite Civile EC725 F-ZWTV seen during flight-testing on June 28, 2007 near Marseille, from where the helicopter was delivered on July 2 to Corsica for fire-fighting trials.
This Finnish Air Force CASA 295s made its RIAT debut. Operated by the Turkilentolaivue (Supporting Operations Squadron) from Jyvaskyla, the first of the two currently in service with the air arm was delivered on March 6, 2007. The aircraft attending RIAT, s/n CC-2, was handed over on March 29 this year. The Finns also hold options for five more CASA 295s that have yet to be exercised.
AgustaWestland has commenced delivery of the four Super Lynx 300 Mk 64 helicopters ordered by the South African Navy, with departure of the first two (193 and 194) from the UK on July 11, 2007. After being prepared for shipment, the helicopters were airfreighted out of RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset, on board a Volga-Dnepr Antonov An-124-100 Ruslan. Seen here with rotors removed and taped up ready for loading on the An-124 is 194. The remaining two, 191 and 192 (actually the first two built), were expected to follow by the same route towards the end of July. The helicopters will be operated by 22 Squadron at Ysterplaat, which was scheduled to formally retire the three Alouette IIIs that they will replace in a ceremony on August 3, marking the final end of military Alouette III operations in the country.
Now fully painted up and looking very smart, the first Embraer Phenom 100, PP-XPH (c/n 50099801), seen here outside the factory at Sao Jose dos Campos on June 22, is currently being prepared for its first flight. Ground vibration testing is now under way, with the aircraft expected to take to the air as soon as this has been completed.
Eurocopter EC120B Colibri D-HSHS (c/n 1500) was formally handed over on June 28, 2007 at Marignane, France, to Germany's Bundespolizei and is the first of six on order, whilst also being the 500th EC120 delivery. The type will be used for ab initio pilot training, replacing ten elderly Alouette IIs currently used in the role.
A welcome addition to the static park was an Indian Air Force (IAF) Hawk Mk 132 Advanced Jet Trainer. This is one of 66 on order, 24 of which will be built by BAE Systems in the UK and the remaining 42 by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. The first six aircraft have achieved interim acceptance, allowing them to be used to train instructor pilots and maintenance personnel. This work is being undertaken at BAE Systems' Warton airfield. To date, 50 Indian pilots have been trained by the RAF using its aircraft from Valley air base on Anglesey. The first delivery to the IAF is due to take place in September 2007.
Lasta 3/Lasta 95 prototype 64301 seen whilst on display at the Partner 2007 international defence fair, which was held in Belgrade, Serbia, between June 26-29, 2007.
Lockheed Martin announced on July 11, 2007 that it has delivered the fourth and final C-130J-30, B-583 (c/n 5583), to the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF|. Three aircraft were originally ordered by the RDAF, but a fourth order was added later. The aircraft is seen here on July 4 performing a spirited flypast at the factory in Marietta, Georgia, before departure to Denmark.
Piasecki X-49A Speedhawk Vectored Thrust Ducted Propeller (VTDP) compound helicopter technology demonstrator, N40VT (ex YSH-60F BuNo 163283), undertakes its maiden flight on June 29, 2007 at Boeing's facilities in Wilmington, Delaware.
Bombardier Dash 8-402 C-FMFG (c/n 4165), seen here arriving Toronto/Pearson International Airport, Ontario, Canada, on July 6, 2007 from the factory in Downsview, Ontario, is to be the first often of these aircraft on order for new Frontier Airlines subsidiary Lynx Aviation. The aircraft carries 'a whole different animal' titles and, appropriately, a baby Lynx on the tail. With a hub at Denver, Colorado, Lynx plans to begin low-fare operations in October, initially to Wichita - Mid Continent Airport, Kansas; Rapid City Regional Airport, South Dakota; and Sioux Gateway Airport, Iowa.
Fledgling Toronto City Centre Airport-based commuter operator Porter Airlines is seeking finance to take up options on six Bombardier Q400s, adding to its current fleet of four of the type, whilst also expanding and adding new routes into the USA. The airline commenced operations in October 2006 with services to Ottawa and Montreal. On June 20, 2007 Porter received official clearance from the US Department of Transportation to provide scheduled and charter services into the USA. First planned route is to Newark, New Jersey, with Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington DC all intended as future destinations. Seen here is Dash 8-Q402 C-GLQE (c/n 4140), which was delivered to the airline on December 27, 2006.
Boeing 737-8GJ F-GZHB (c/n 34902, ex VT-SPO not taken up) was delivered by Boeing to India's Spicejet on June 29, 2007, but sold the same day to Babcock & Brown, leased back to Spicejet and sub-leased to Transavia France for the summer. A similar arrangement saw delivery on May 18 from Boeing of F-GHZA (c/n 34901, ex VT-SPN not taken up) to the new Paris/Orly-based airline, a joint venture between Dutch airline Transavia and Air France that was established earlier this year. The airline now has four 737-800s in service, with plans to add three more in 2008 and two in 2009.
One of the most unusual participants was the Brazilian Air Force Embraer R-99A, s/n 6704, from 276° GAv. This variant of the Embraer ERJ-145 is equipped with an Erieye radar fitted atop the fuselage for its airborne early warning and control role. One of five in service with the Brazilian Air Force, it is based at Anapolis AFB.