Two Mil Mi-26T Halos of SkyTech Aviation were transported by road from Charleroi-Brussels South (Gosselies) Airport on October 13, 2008 to an adjacent yard. They were later moved to the port of Antwerp for shipment to Rostvertol at Rostov-on-Don in Russia, where they will be upgraded to Mi-26T2 standard. The helicopters are R A-06032 (c/n 340012122422) and RA-06041 (c/n 34001212431). SkyTech has used its Mi-26s in the fire-fighting role, having developed, along with SEI Industries of Canada, the Twin Bambi Bucket, which can carry 4,311 Imp gal of water.
At a press conference in Moscow on November 14, 2008, the Sudanese Defence Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein confirmed that the Sikakh al Jawwiya As'Sudaniya (Sudanese Air Force) would receive 12 more Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrums. The deal was actually finalised in May 2008 and it is likely that some have already been handed over. A total of ten MiG-29SEs (including this example) and two MiG-29UBs were previously delivered in 2004.
DHL's decision to exit the package business in the United States will affect some of its partner airlines, including ASTAR Air Cargo. ASTAR's Douglas DC-8-73F N801DH (c/n 46033) is shown arriving at Toronto-Pearson International Airport, Ontario, on March 23, 2008.
A F-16C of the 80th Fighter Squadron (FSI, 8th Fighter Wing (FW) 'Wolfpack', formates with a pair of KF-16Cs of the 159th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 19th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) of the Hankook Kong Goon (RoKAF, Republic of Korea Air Force) on November 20, 2008. As part of the 'Buddy Wing' programme, two F-16Cs and 20 airmen from the 80th FS, based at Kunsan AB, were deployed for two days to Jungwon AB, where the 19th TFW resides. The programme is designed to further increase US Air Force and RoKAF interoperability by having pilots from each service fly with and against each other. Each US Air Force base in the Republic of Korea takes part in the exercise on rotation. During the recent deployment, the 80th FS pilots flew multiple sorties with the 159th TFS, carrying out both offensive and defensive sorties.
The first NH Industries NH90 (with the test registration F-WZTH) for the Hellenic Army was being prepared for delivery at Eurocopter’s Marignane facility in France in October 2008. Greece ordered 20 NH90s on August 29, 2003, comprising 16 Tactical Transport Helicopters (TTH) and four Special Operations (SO) versions. Included in the deal were four kits to convert the helicopters for the medical evacuation role. It also has an option for an additional 14 (12 TTH and two SO) examples.
CH-148 Cyclone 148801 (wearing the test registration N4901C) made its maiden flight at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach Development Flight Center in Florida on November 15, 2008. Pilots John Armbrust and Rick Becker conducted low-speed handling and hovering tests, including flight sideways and backwards. The Canadian Forces have 28 CH-148s on order and will use them to replace the CH-124 Sea King fleet on its warships.
AH-64A ES-1015 became the first Hellenic Army AH-64A Apache to be lost when it was involved in a fatal crash on November 5, 2008.
KLM Cityhopper received its first Embraer 190-100IGW (PH-EZA c/n 190.00224 ex PT-SHI) on November 7, 2008, during a ceremony at Sao Jose dos Campos. KLM placed a firm order for ten, plus options for nine in August 2007. The aircraft will be equipped for 100 passengers seats. The Embraer 190s and five additional Fokker 70s acquired from Regional are due to replace all but five of the 20 Fokker 100s currently in service. The final Embraer 190 of the current order is due to be handed over in March 2010.
Eurofighter Typhoon MM7288 (IS020) arrived at Grosseto Air Base on November 14, 2008 for 9" Gruppo of 4' Stormo, becoming the first Tranche 2 aircraft for the Aeronautics Militare Italians (AMI, Italian Air Force). A total of 47 Tranche 2 Typhoons will be delivered to the AMI by 2013.
At least four Moldovan-registered Mil Mi-8/17 Hips have recently been flying in Afghanistan. Owned by the Kishinev-based company Valan International Cargo Charter and operated under contract with Canadian company SkyLink Aviation, the four helicopters have been active at Camp Bastion, the main British military base in Afghanistan, which lies northwest of Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand Province. The helicopters involved are Mi-8MTV-1s ER-MHD (c/n 95864, depicted here) and ER-MGH, and Mi-17-1Vs ER-MGL and ER-MGM.
Making its debut at the show was the Hongdu L-15 Lie Ying (Falcon) advanced trainer (shown), represented by the third prototype, which completed its first flight on May 10, 2008. The design is competing against the Guizhou JL-9/FTC-2000 for an order from the People's Liberation Army Air Force, although Hongdu representatives at the show were confident of an initial order soon. Production aircraft will be powered by the Ivchenko-Progress AL-222K-25F: a prototype with this engine is expected to fly in 2010. Work is underway to fit an afterburner to the powerplant, and an L-15 fitted with such a device is expected to be ready by 2011. Hongdu is also developing an armed version of the L-15 for weapons training and the light strike role. Design work has also started on a single-seat light fighter variant, although the company has no plans to build it in the near term.
The first MB-339CM for Malaysia on its maiden flight from Venegono on November 26, 2008. The aircraft has been assigned the Italian military serial CSX55135 for test flights within the country.
The latest Boeing 767 for LAN Airlines of Chile, 767-316(ER) (CC-CXF, c/n 36711), made its first flight on July 22, 2008, and was delivered on July 31. It is seen on November 21 arriving at Toronto-Pearson International Airport, Canada, operating the carrier's new Santiago/New York/Toronto route, which was introduced on September 3. In addition to the latest order, two more passenger 767s are on order for LAN, with 2009 delivery dates, which will bring its fleet of the type to 27 configured for passengers and nine as freighters. The airline also has 16 Boeing 787-800 and 14 787-900 Dreamliners on order, with delivery dates from 2010 to 2016.
QinetiQ's first Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet As to be repainted at Bournemouth International Airport, Dorset, in the black scheme being applied to the fleet was noted at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, in late November 2008. The aircraft has had its serial (ZJ646) painted on the airbrake and now also carries the 'last two' numbers of its identity on the fin. It is pictured on December 4 operating from Boscombe as GAUNTLET 04. The second Alpha Jet to be painted will be ZJ649.
In order to tackle the fires which ravaged California in November 2008, aircraft from other parts of the United States were contracted to join the state's own assets. Sikorsky CH-54B N719HT (c/n 64-079) is seen on November 11 at Redding, California, during transit to southern California from its base at Coralis, Oregon.
Piedmont Airlines Dash 8 N326EN (c/n 234) is depicted on approach to Philadelphia International Airport on November 16, 2008 for an emergency landing after its nose undercarriage failed to extend.
THE CHINESE People's Liberation Army Air Force allowed several of its latest aircraft to be displayed at the recent China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition. Held at Zhuhai in Guandong Province from November 4-9, 2008, it marked the public debut of the Chengdu J-10A, two of which were present at the event, with one flying each day. The aircraft, believed to be assigned to the 44th Division of the 131st Regiment at Luliang Air Base, were notable for the fixed refuelling probe mounted on the nose. Other Chinese combat aircraft on show included a single Xian JH-7A fighterbomber and two Shenyang J-8IIA fighters. The latter took part in the flying display, behind the trailing hoses of a Xian H-6DU tanker (18792, c/n 202410, shown).
Convair NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS) N793VS (ex 53-7793) was delivered to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, on November 7, 2008. Up to that point, it was the oldest active aircraft on charge with the US Air Force, although it was operated by the civilian Calspan organisation from Niagara Falls International Airport, New York, on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory. The TIFS is a highly modified C-131B Samaritan, equipped with a second cockpit under the original, large side-force generators on the wings, and various other modifications for its role simulating the flight characteristics of other large aircraft types. It was used to evaluate new flight technologies in some 2,500 research flights.
On October 31, 2008, AirAsia X of Malaysia took delivery of the first of its Airbus A330-343s (c/n 952 ex F-WWKR) at Toulouse in France. AirAsia X has 25 A330-300s on order, which will be used to link Kuala Lumpur with low fare services to Australia, North Asia, the Middle East and Europe to complement its the existing AirAsia network. The aircraft have a two-class cabin layout with 355 economy seats and 28 in the airline's new XL premium class.
On November 18, 2008, the first of 12 EADS CASA C-295Ms for the Forca Aerea Portuguesa (Portuguese Air Force) was handed over in a ceremony attended by the Portuguese and Spanish Defence Ministers. The initial seven aircraft delivered will be configured as transports and will arrive at the rate of one every six weeks. They will be followed by the other five, which are VIMAR (Vigilancia Maritime) variants able to carry the EADS CASA Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) maritime surveillance suite inside their cabins.
Diamond Airborne Sensing delivered two Diamond DA42 Multi-Purpose Platforms (MPP) to the Niger Government in October 2008 under a deal announced on April 18. They will be used for border surveillance, assisting anti-smuggling efforts, and will be equipped with a Carl Zeiss Optronics Goshawk 350 daylight video, a night thermal imager system and a Scotty beyond-line-of-sight satellite downlink. Niger also holds options for additional examples of the DA42 MPP.
The Iranian Air Transport Co (IATC), the airline subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company, recently purchased a Fokker 100 for its Northern Fleet (Naft). The aircraft (EP-AWZ, c/n 11497) is based at Tehran. Apart from supporting the oil industry, IATC offers flights ata reduced rate to the general public. IATC's Southern Fleet is based at Ahwaz Airport and operates Fokker 50s and a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter.
Four new Mil Mi-17-V5 Hips arrived at Camp Taji on October 29, 2008 and were handed over to the Iraqi Air Force two days later. A total of 15 Mi-17-V5s have been delivered by Kazan Helicopters to Iraq, and others are due for hand-over by the end of 2008, assigned to 15 Squadron. Iraqi aircrews are being trained to operate them by US Air Force personnel from the 770th Expeditionary Advisor Squadron from the Coalition Air Force Transition Team of the Multi-National Division-Baghdad.
F-4F 38+49 of JG71 'Richthofen' first flew on July 3, 2008, from Wittmund in this scheme marking both the 50th anniversary of the Phantom's first flight and 35 years in Luftwaffe service. The aircraft made a final deployment to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, for an exercise between October 13 and November 3, 2008, and was due to be retired soon afterwards.
Boeing 737-82K(W) PH-HZN (c/n 32943) of Transavia Airlines of the Netherlands recently appeared on winter lease to Caribbean Airlines of Trinidad and Tobago for use on the Port-of-Spain to Toronto-Pearson route. Painted in a hybrid colour scheme of the two carriers, it is shown arriving at Pearson International Airport on November 28, 2008.
G-JENC flying from Hawarden on November 16, 2008, before being painted at Norwich. Of note is the pannier-like structure under the fuselage and the laser warning sensors mounted on the nose and rear fuselage.
G-JENC aircraft was noted at RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire, on December 3, 2008, in company with Merlin HM.1 ZH849 and Lynx AH.7 XZ217. Located under the fuselage is a turreted sensor, which is visible to the left of the starboard main wheel, and the blanked-off cabin windows.