Air International 2007-11
News: Headline, Military, Civil, Airshow, Accidents
Ejercito del Aire (Spanish Air Force) KC-130H Hercules TK.10-05 '31-50' from Ala 31 refuels EF-18A Hornets C.15-73 '46-01' and C.15-89 '46-17' from Ala 46 on August 31, 2007 whilst en route to Exercise Bold Avenger at Orland Main Air Station, Norway. Taking place from September 3-14, Bold Avenger involved over 100 aircraft from 13 NATO member nations, comprising Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Norway, Poland. Romania, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the USA. Primary aim of the exercise was to provide training for all participants in tactical air operations in a joint training environment.
The first NH90 for the Koninklijke Marine (Dutch Navy), N088/CS.X6197, was painted in full colours to replace its primer coat for an appearance at the Heldair Maritime Show at De Kooy on September 15, 2007. The helicopter is seen here departing from De Kooy on September 19 to return to the AgustaWestland factory at Vergiate, Italy, where it will continue its flight-test programme.
Latvian Border Guard AgustaWestland A109E Power I-EASQ seen on approach to Verona-Villafranca Air Base, Italy, on September 24, 2007 during its delivery flight to Latvia. The helicopter was accompanied by a second Power for the Latvian Border Guard, l-EASR, both making a fuel stop before flying on to Latvia. Although wearing full Valsts Robezsardze (Border Guards) colours and titles, they carried only their Italian delivery registrations and were to be re-registered after arrival. The two helicopters were ordered under a contract announced in June 2006.
Airbus A380-861 F-WWSH (c/n 011), the first of the type for Emirates, with which it will become A6-EDA, gets airborne from Toulouse at 0959hrs on September 4, 2007 for a 3 1/2 hr maiden flight. The second GP7200-powered aircraft to fly, it was flown to Hamburg on September 7 for completion of painting and cabin installation.
Boeing 747-228BSF (c/n 22794) F-GCBF is the first of six of the type acquired from Air France by Italian cargo operator Ocean Airlines and is seen here on August 30, 2007 at Hong Kong, where HAECO have performed a pre-delivery check and respray on the aircraft. A second ex-Air France aircraft, F-GCBH, is scheduled to also enter service by spring 2008. These will join the two former Lufthansa 747-230Fs that have been operating with the airline since 2004/5.
Seen here during test flying on September 28, 2007, Boeing 777-337ER VT-ALJ (c/n 36308), Air India's first Boeing 777-300ER, was delivered to the airline in Seattle, Washington, on October 10. The aircraft is in a three-class configuration with four first class, 35 executive class and 303 economy class seats. The aircraft is part of an order for 68 Boeing aircraft placed in December 2005, of which three 777-200LRs (out of eight), one 777-300ER (out of 15) and ten 737-800s (out of 18) for Air India Express have been delivered to date. The order also included 27 787-8 Dreamliners.
A ceremony was held at Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry Co Ltd in Harbin, China, on September 28, 2007 to hand over the first ERJ-145LI for Grand China Express, which ordered 50 of the type, together with 50 Embraer 190s, on August 30, 2006. Following the ceremony, the aircraft flew directly to the airline's base in Tianjin City and was due to enter service immediately. Also of particular significance, this aircraft, PT-SOV (c/n 145-01000), was the 1,000th ERJ-145 family aircraft to be delivered since the first of the type was handed over to Continental Express (now Express Jet) in December 1996.
Antonov An-12 YU-UIA of United International Airlines paid its first visit to Rotterdam Airport on September 16, 2007. This small Yugoslav carrier was transporting musical instruments for Rotterdam's Philharmonic Orchestra.
Australian Army/5th Aviation Regiment/A Squadron UH-1H A2-310 banks sharply over the river during a final farewell formation flypast by three of the type over Brisbane on September 21, 2007.
Aeronautics Militate Italians (AMI - Italian Air Force) Eurofighter Typhoon MM7272 '36-03' was one of four delivered on October 1, 2007 from Grosseto to Gioia del Colle to become the first of the type with 12' Gruppo of 36’ Stormo. The unit becomes the third Gruppo to re-equip with the Typhoon following on from 10" and 11" Gruppo of 4" Stormo at Grosseto. Arrival of the new aircraft also coincided with the 90th anniversary of the formation of 12' Gruppo, which anticipates being fully operational with the type by spring 2009.
Now wearing full Afghan Air Force colours and serial, former Czech Air Force Mil Mi-17 Hip 571 (c/n 108M16, ex 0816), the first of six ex-Czech Hips being donated to Afghanistan, undertakes its first test flight on September 4, 2007 at Prague/Kbely Air Base after refurbish there by LOM Praha. A total of 12 helicopters, comprising six Mi-17s and six Mi-24V Hinds, are being donated to Afghanistan by the Czech Republic to help rebuild its air arm. First deliveries to Afghanistan are due in early 2008.
USMC MV-22B Osprey 165852 'EG-OO' from VMM-263 'Thunder Chickens' prepares to take off from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) in the Gulf of Aquaba, just off Jordan, on October 4, 2007 prior to flying across Jordan and into Iraq, where the squadron's ten Ospreys are to be based at Al Asad Air Base.
SOREM/Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul CL-215 l-SRME 'S4' seen arriving in Macedonia on July 25, 2007, to assist in putting out the devastating fires that were ravaging the country during the month. The aircraft was destroyed in a crash in Turkey on October 4, 2007, although all three crew escaped with only minor injuries.
Go Air Airbus A320-232 VT-WAE (c/n 3256, ex F-WWDF), the first of ten ordered by the Mumbai, India-based airline left Toulouse on delivery on October 3, 2007, initially for Ankara and then arrived in Delhi the next day. Go Air launched services in November 2005 with two leased A320s, adding a further five leased A320s during 2006, although VT-WAE is the first directly ordered aircraft to join the fleet. A further three A320s were also ordered by the airline on September 4.
US Air Force officials announced on October 11, 2007 that the MQ-9 Reaper hunter-killer unmanned air vehicle has now been deployed to Afghanistan and is undertaking operational missions. The Reaper, operated by the 42nd Attack Squadron, made its first flight in Afghanistan on September 11 and is undertaking around one sortie per day, with 12 flights completed by October 11. The type will be used for close air support, plus intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, although to date it has not yet been required to drop any weapons on enemy positions. The USAF currently has nine Reapers in its inventory and although it has not been announced how many are deployed to Afghanistan, photographs show at least two of the UAVs in theatre, armed with Hellfire missiles and GBU-12 laser-guided bombs. Seen here on the ramp at its forward deployed location in Afghanistan (believed to be Kandahar) is MQ-9 Reaper 04-4013 (c/n PB-013), the 13th production example.
Saab 2000 G-CERY (c/n 008, ex D-AOLA of OLT), seen here at Groningen-Eelde in the Netherlands on October 5, 2007 operating a scheduled flight from Norwich, is one of two additional Saab 2000s to join the Eastern Airways fleet. First to be delivered was G-CERZ (c/n 042, ex SE-LSA of City Airlines), which joined the fleet on August 24, whilst G-CERY entered service the following week. The airline now has six of the type in its fleet, in addition to 23 Jetstream 41s, making Eastern the largest operator in the world of the latter.
Cessna Model 750 Citation X N750CX (c/n 703), the first of the type built, has been modified with elliptical winglets and is pictured taking off from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, Kansas, on September 25, 2007 for its maiden flight in the new configuration. A second flight took place on September 26 to begin collecting data to support Winglet Technology LLC's effort to obtain a supplemental type certificate (STC) for these patented winglets. The modification is expected to lead to performance improvements, including improved climb, higher maximum cruise speeds at high altitudes and longer range for a given payload throughout the operating envelope. It is hoped to gain an STC in the second quarter of 2008.
Boeing 757-2Y0 G-VKNA (c/n 25240, to be XA-MTY) lands at Southend Airport, Essex, after a test flight on September 24, 2007. The aircraft is the third 757 for Mexican carrier Aladia Airlines and is being leased from XL Airways UK. After being prepared by ATC Lasham at Southend, it departed on September 28 on delivery.
Lt General Simeon Simeonov, head of the Bulgarian Air Force, announced at a press conference on October 10, 2007 that the first of the Air Force's C-27J Spartan transport aircraft is scheduled to arrive at Sofia on November 5. The aircraft, one of five on order, will still be in a basic configuration, with some equipment not yet installed. This includes the cargo winch, digital map display and night vision equipment. The aircraft will, however, still be able to undertake missions until spring 2008, when it will be brought up to full configuration. Seen here during acceptance test flying from Turin-Caselle on October 10 is the first Bulgarian aircraft, 071, also carrying Italian test serial C.S.X62240.
Seen here at Pleso on September 27, 2007, Croatian Air Force Zlin 242Ls 402 (c/n 0784) and 401 (c/n 0783), are the first two of five new 242Ls that will be used for basic training at Zemunik Air Base.
Undertaking its first flight at Toulouse, France, on September 25, 2007 was Airbus A330-203 F-WWKU (c/n 871), which is destined to become the first KC-30 Tanker for the US Air Force, aircraft 'D1', subject to Northrop Grumman winning the KC-X contract. The aircraft, currently a standard A330-200 commercial airframe, flew for nearly four hours. Once initial flight-testing is completed it will be ready for conversion to tanker configuration. Contract award for the USAF KC-135 replacement programme is anticipated in December 2007 or January 2008, but if Northrop Grumman is unsuccessful, this first aircraft will not be converted and instead completed for sale as a normal commercial airliner.
Fokker 100 SE-DUU (c/n 11286, ex G-FMAH, N856US) has been operated on behalf of Stockholm/Arlanda-based Swedish carrier Skyways Express by co-located Swedish operator Air Express on an ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) basis since late August 2007. The aircraft is the first of the type to appear in Skyways colours, having been repainted as such over the weekend of September 29-30. It is seen here on approach to runway 19R at Arlanda on October 1 operating flight ‘JZ424’ from Halmstad.
Spectrum Aeronautical displayed full-size fuselage mock-ups of its S-40 Freedom and S-33 Independence at NBAA. The company had announced on August 10, 2007 that it was accelerating the development schedule for the Freedom and is targeting certification for the aircraft in 2009, a year earlier than originally planned. This will enable time for design refinement of the Independence, which will now incorporate significant performance improvements. This will include using the Williams International FJ33-4A-19 engine instead of the previously planned FJ33-4A-15, giving further thrust and efficiency. Speed, range and cabin size will also be increased and certification of the enhanced version is now planned in 2010, rather than 2009.
Seen in the NBAA Convention static aircraft display at Fulton County Airport - Brown Field, Atlanta, Georgia, from September 25-27, 2007 was the second prototype Diamond Aircraft D-Jet, C-FPTM (c/n 002). The aircraft had only undertaken its maiden flight just over a week earlier, on September 14.
French Air Force Mirage 2000D 671 '3-XK' from Escadron de Chasse 03.003 'Ardennes' at Nancy/Ochey arrives at Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, on September 26, 2007. On that date, the three French Mirage 2000Ds previously deployed to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, were transferred to Kandahar in order to be more readily available to support International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan. They were due to be followed in mid-October by the three Mirage F1CRs from the Dushanbe detachment, which supports the ISAF. France will still maintain a presence at Dushanbe with two Transall C-160 tactical transport aircraft and a number of support personnel. Two French Air Force C-135FR tankers will also remain based at Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan.
Acquired by Northern Ontario-based Canadian operator Bearskin Airlines on May 11, 2007, Fairchild SA227-DC Metro 23 C-GJVH (c/n DC-898B, ex N898ML) was also sporting a new colour scheme when seen at Jack Garland Airport, North Bay, Ontario,on August 26, 2007. The aircraft was one of two of the type bought from Molo Leasing Inc,the other being C-GJVC (c/n DC-885B, ex N885ML) on June 6, 2007.
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 EC-JQV (c/n 49526) 'La Saeta' (The Arrow) of Madrid-based Spanish airline Swiftair seen shortly after roll-out from the paint shop at Palma de Mallorca on September 17, 2007 following respray in the colours of Spanish football team Real Madrid. Swiftair has been contracted through a deal with Spanish tour company Viajes Iberia to fly the team's players as well as members of the Real Madrid basketball team to national and international matches. It was officially unveiled at Madrid's Barajas International Airport on October 1 and undertook its first flight the following day, when it transported the footballers to Rome for the Champions League match against Lazio on October 3, The aircraft has been named after the legendary player Alfredo Di Stefano, who was known as 'La Saeta', and was present at the official unveiling.
Sevenair ATR 72-500 TS-LBD (c/n 756, ex F-WWEQ) 'Hasdrubal' seen at Malta International Airport on September 19, 2007. This new production aircraft was delivered by ATR to the Tunisian airline on July 6 under a previously undisclosed order. Sevenair is the new name that was adopted on July 7, 2007, by the former Tunisian regional and charter airline Tuninter, part of the Tunisair Group, and since rebranding it has also acquired a Bombardier CRJ900 to add to the existing Tuninter fleet.
Computer generated image of Embraer's proposed MLJ business jet.
Displayed at NBAA was the first prototype CompAir 12, N54RD (c/n 701A4412), which made its first flight earlier this year on April 14, 2007. Until now, the aircraft had been flying in primer, but was finally painted just before its appearance at NBAA. Powered by a 1,650hp (1,231 kW) Honeywell TPE331-14GR turboprop, the 8-10-seat aircraft is expected to gain FAA certification in the first quarter of 2010.
Epic Aircraft's Victory very light jet prototype, N370EJ (c/n 001), on show at NBAA. The all-carbon composite aircraft, powered by a single Williams International FJ33-4A, made its first flight on July 6, 2007, from Redmond, Oregon, having progressed from a clean sheet design in just 6 1/2 months. At least six customer deliveries are planned by the year-end, initial deliveries being owner-built aircraft. Epic also had its twin-jet Epic Elite on show at NBAA. This aircraft, powered by two FJ-33-4s, had made its first flight on June 7, 2007, and owner-built 6-7-passenger aircraft will be available for customer deliveries later this year. A 6-8-passenger version is expected to be certified in late 2009.