Air International 2008-05
News: Headline, Military, Civil, Accidents
Although becoming a slightly more frequent UK visitor of late, Antonov Airlines' An-22A Antheus UR-09307 is still always a welcome sight wherever it appears. The lumbering beast, which is now some 34 years old, is seen here on March 25, 2008 taxiing out for departure from East Midlands Airport for a flight to Toulouse, France.
Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Pilatus PC-21 9101 is gently eased into the cargo hold of Antonov Airlines An-124-100 UR-82027 at Emmen Air Force Base, Switzerland, with only millimetres to spare on each side. After all six of the initial batch for Singapore had been loaded onto the aircraft, it departed on April 2, 2008 en route to the RSAF Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia.
USAF/75th FS A-10A 78-0600 'FT' seen following its wheels up landing at Edwards AFB, California, on March 25, 2008.
USAF/56th FW/62nd FS F-16C 84-1273 'LF', seen here on April 11, 2007, was destroyed in a fatal crash on March 14, 2008, in a remote area of Nevada.
Canadian Forces' CF-18A 188703 from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS), assigned to 3 Wing at Canadian Forces Base Bagotville, Quebec, has been painted in a special design to commemorate the 50th anniversary of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The aircraft is seen here on March 18, 2008 being flown over the Saguenay region of Quebec by Capt William 'Billy' Mitchell of 425 TFS.
The Canadian Forces accepted the fourth and final CC-177 (C-17A Globemaster III), 177704 (c/n F187, ex N9500R), at Long Beach, California, on April 3, 2008. After final modifications at the Boeing facility in San Antonio, Texas, the aircraft will be flown to Canadian Forces' Base Trenton, Ontario, to join the other three CC-177s already in service with 429 Squadron. The final CC-177 is seen here returning to Long Beach after a test flight on March 20.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-841 9V-SKB flares for touchdown at London Heathrow Airport at 1448hrs on March 18, 2008 after completing flight 'SQ308', the first scheduled A380 service from Singapore-Changi Airport to London. It departed on the return leg, flight 'SQ319', the same evening, arriving back in Singapore the next afternoon.
Pictured being rolled out of the paint shop at Airbus' Hamburg/Finkenwerder site on March 14, 2008 is A380-841 A6-EDA (c/n 011, ex F-WWSH) after being painted in full Emirates colours. The first aircraft for the UAE-based airline, it had made its first flight on September 4, 2007, but had until now been flying in primer, with only the tail painted in Emirates colours. The largest single customer for the A380, Emirates has 58 on order, the first scheduled for delivery in mid-2008.
Pakistan International Airlines' (PIA) ninth and final Boeing 777 departed Paine Field, Everett, Washington, on March 28, 2008 on its delivery flight to the airline's home base in Karachi. The aircraft, 777-340ER AP-BID (c/n 33780), which sports a tail colour scheme representing Pakistan's Northwest Frontier, is seen here undertaking a pre-delivery test flight on March 18. Two of PIA's previous 777-300s have similar themed tail designs representing the country's Punjab and Sind provinces. PIA's fleet now includes two 777-200LR Worldliners, four 777-200ERs and three 777-300ERs.
Pluna Lineas Aereas Uruguayas Bombardier CRJ900 CX-CRA (c/n 15165, ex C-FTMF) arrives at Montevideo/Carrasco International Airport, Uruguay, on March 14, 2008 after its delivery flight from Montreal/Mirabel, Canada, via Providenciales (Turks and Caicos) and Manaus (Brazil). The aircraft is the first of eight ordered by Pluna in July 2007, when it also took out options on a further eight.
Handed over at the Sao Jose dos Campos factory on March 28, 2008 was this Embraer 195-200LR, HZ-NQA (c/n 190-00157, ex PT-SAN), the first for nasair aviation of Saudi Arabia. The aircraft departed the following day, routing via Recife-Guarapes (Brazil), Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) and Djerba-Zarzis (Tunisia) to arrive at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 30. The airline will operate three Embraer 190s and two Embraer 195s on lease from GE Commercial Aviation Services. Another five Embraer 190s are on firm order direct from the manufacturer under a deal announced last November, which also includes five options and purchase rights on a further 12.
A formation comprising the nine Hawk T.1s of the RAF’s Red Arrows and four Eurofighter Typhoons (one each from 3, 11, 17(R) and 29(R) Squadrons) from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, fly over RAF Honington, Suffolk, on April 1, 2008 to mark the RAF's 90th anniversary.
Despite cancellation of the US Air Force's E-10A Multi-sensor Command and Control Aircraft (MC2A) programme, Boeing has recently flown the airframe that would have formed the basis of the prototype. The aircraft, 767-4FSER N526BA (c/n 34205), undertook a two-hour maiden flight from Paine Field, Everett, Washington, on March 21, 2008, followed by further flights on March 24 and 28. Plans for this 767, which is currently in an overall plain white scheme, remain unclear, although a source in the factory at Everett suggests that it may have been acquired by a Russian company for conversion into a business jet.
Alenia Aermacchi unveiled the first M-346 advanced jet trainer to be manufactured to baseline industrial configuration in a ceremony at the Venegono factory on April 10, 2008. This follows extensive flight testing of the two prototypes, which has enabled the final production configuration to be optimised. The third aircraft is structurally different to the prototypes. Changes include rationalising the distribution of wing spars and fuselage frames, more widespread use of composite and titanium parts, plus integrating a new main undercarriage and an enhanced flight control system. These changes have reduced the empty weight by around 1,543lb (700kg).
AIRES Dash 8-202 HK-3997 seen at Bogota-EI Dorado International Airport, Colombia, on January 29, 2008, the day after it overshot the runway there, following which it has been declared a write-off. The registration and all titles had already been painted out by this time and the following day the engines were removed as dismantling of the aircraft commenced.
Cirrus Airlines Dornier 328-110 D-CTOB seen taking off from Stuttgart Airport, Germany, on June 16, 2006. The aircraft ran off the runway landing at Mannheim, Germany, on March 19, 2008, and was extensively damaged.
BAe 146-200 G-FLTF (c/n E2022, ex EI-DMK of Cityjet) seen on April 7, 2008 shortly after being rolled out from the Inflite hangar at Southend Airport, Essex, in IAC (Integrated Aviation Consortium) colours. The aircraft has been acquired by Southend-based Flightline to operate out of Aberdeen on its contract to fly oil rig workers around Scotland for IAC.
Seen parked in a remote area of London Stansted Airport shortly after arrival on April 10, 2008 was CASA C-212-200CC N963BW (c/n 320) of Blackwater USA subsidiary Presidential Airways. Based in Melbourne, Florida, the secretive company uses five of its nine CASA 212s on US Department of Defense (DoD) transport contracts in often hostile environments. This aircraft had recently been flying in Afghanistan and Iraq, and remained at Stansted for a couple of days before heading home. In addition to its fixed-wing operations, the private specialist military security contractor also provides helicopter transport in these two countries. Presidential was awarded another $16.35 million US DoD contract on April 11 to provide further rotary-wing passenger and cargo transport services in Afghanistan from May 1 to November 30, 2008.
Swiss Air Force Eurocopter EC635P2 T-353 (c/n 0529, ex D-HECM), the first of 18 on order, was handed over at the manufacturer's facility at Donauworth, Germany, on March 7, 2008.
CHC Scotia AgustaWestland AW139 G-SARD (c/n 31208) arrived at Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire, on March 20, 2008 and will be flown from there on behalf of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency on SAR missions along the south coast.
New Iraqi Air Force (IqAF) Cessna 208B Grand Caravan YI-114 arrives at Kirkuk Air Base on March 30, 2008 from the USA. The anonymous-looking aircraft was fully painted in IqAF markings, but these had been taped over for the delivery flight.
Two Tornado F.3s from XXV(F) Squadron, ZG780 'XXV' (left) and ZE728 'FZ', form a backdrop to the disbandment ceremony for the unit on April 4, 2008, which also included a flypast by six other F.3s.
Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (UUAP) announced on March 14, 2008 that the Mongolian Civil Aviation Department had awarded a Type Acceptance Certificate for the UUAP-built Mi-171 helicopter, paving the way for them to be delivered and flown by Mongolian civil aviation operators. One such customer is Ulaan Baatar-based mining company Mongolyan Alt MAK Corporation, which will take delivery of this Mi-171, JU6601.
Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI - Italian Air Force) C-130J Hercules MM62176 '46-47' from 461 Brigata Aereal 2° Gruppo at Pisa-San Guisto makes a low pass at Cuneo-LevaIdigi Airport, Italy, on April 8, 2008. This is the first AMI aircraft to be equipped as a receiver-tanker, enabling it to both refuel other types and accept fuel itself in flight. Six refuelling kits have been purchased by the AMI and this initial example is currently undergoing refuelling trials with various Italian and foreign aircraft with 311° Gruppo Reparto Sperimenetale Volo (Flight Test Squadron) at Pratica di Mare.
McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 HB-JIB (c/n 53533), seen here on approach to Malta International Airport on March 14, 2008, now wears a basic overall white scheme with titles. It was previously the sole aircraft of Malta-based low-cost carrier BritishJet, which had announced that it was to cease operations on May 1, 2008, three years to the day after flying its first revenue flight. The aircraft had been crewed by Swiss-based Hello and was painted in full BritishJet colours. Heavy discounting by competitors and increasing fuel costs led to the decision to shutdown. The airline had actually stopped flying in early January, several months sooner than planned, but as the aircraft's wet-lease from Hello does not expire until May, it is being used by Air Malta for the remainder of the lease period.
Bern, Switzerland-based VIP and corporate charter operator Sky Work Airlines took delivery of new production Dash 8-Q402 HB-JGA (c/n 4198, ex C-FOKB) on April 5, 2008. This single aircraft was ordered in December 2006 and will join the operator's Dornier 328-110 on scheduled and charter work from Bern. The aircraft is pictured on April 2 at Pearson International Airport,Toronto, Ontario, departing on a pre-delivery test flight from Bombardier's Customer Delivery Centre.
German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon 30+42 (GT015) departs from Manching on March 20, 2008 to commence its delivery flight. This was the final aircraft to be completed under the Tranche 1 order.
New Basler BT67 conversion N232GB (c/n 14823/26268) arrived at Goderich Airport, Ontario, Canada, on February 21, 2008 to be painted in Bell Geospace Aviation colours. It is seen here at Goderich on March 14, with new Canadian registration C-FTGI taped over, shortly before leaving that same afternoon for Basler at Oshkosh, prior to being handed over to its new owner.
Saab 2000 Erieye AEW&C 10045 (c/n 045, ex SE-045, LY-SBW/Lithuanian Airlines), the first of five for the Pakistan Air Force, was formally rolled out at the company's Linkoping facility in Sweden on March 27, 2008.