Air International 2014-04
Images of a production Shenyang J-16 appeared on Chinese websites from mid-February. The J-16 is a long-range strike variant of the J-11BS equipped with a new radar, fire control system with additional air-to-ground modes, and compatibility with precision munitions. This example (1612, c/n 0102) is understood to be the second production aircraft and in comparison to the J-16 prototype (1601) it lacks the pitot tube on the tip of the radome, possibly indicating installation of an active electronically-scanned array radar.
Contract air services provider Draken International based at Mesa Airport near Phoenix, Arizona, displayed McDonnell Douglas A-4K Skyhawk N145EM at the airshow held at Luke AFB, Arizona, on March 15 and 16, 2014. The aircraft previously served with the Royal New Zealand Air Force as NZ6215 (and beforehand the Royal Australian Navy as ‘871’) and was the first to become operational with Draken. It has a Douglas D-704 refuelling pod under the centreline hardpoint. Draken operates several different types of high-performance former military aircraft to provide adversary training and contract air support to military and industry customers.
The US Air Force announced on March 5, 2014 that the 122nd Fighter Wing (FW), Indiana Air National Guard, based at Baer Field in Fort Wayne, will swap its A-10Cs for Block 40 F-16C/D Fighting Falcons. The 122nd FW previously flew the F-16 between 1991 and 2010 when it converted to the A-10C Thunderbolt II.
The first two HM-1 Pantera K2s were due to be redelivered to the Aviacao do Exercito Brasileiro (Brazilian Army Aviation) in March 2014. They will be handed over to the Batalhoes de Aviacao do Exercito (Army Aviation Battalions) for a technical and operational evaluation before work starts on modernising a further 32 HM-1s. Of the 34 helicopters, two will be rebuilt from wrecks and all will be redelivered by 2020. The Pantera K2 is re-engined with the Turbomeca Arriel 2C2CG, increasing power by 40%, has a new gearbox, an enlarged Fenestron tail rotor and Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics. EB-2010 (c/n 6359) is on the ramp of Helibras' facility at Itajuba, where the fleet will be modernised. The first Pantera K2 flew on October 24, 2012.
Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II 11-5030/‘LF’ (b/n AF-41), escorted by F-16C Fighting Falcon 84-1297 during its delivery flight to Luke AFB, Arizona, from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, on March 10, 2014.
Lockheed TriStar C2 ZE705 about to touch down at Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire, at the end of its last flight with the RAF on March 12, 2014.
The first images of an operational People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force Changhe Z-8YJ (Z-18YJ) 'Black Bat' on the aircraft carrier Liaoning have been released on Chinese internet sites. The Z-8YJ is an airborne early warning and control variant helicopter developed from the Z-8, itself a copy of the Aerospatiale SA321 Super Frelon. The Z-8YJ has the redesigned nose of the AC313 (another development of the Z-8), which is understood to be designated the Z-18 in military service (and thus the aircraft may be the Z-18YJ), but uses the original sponsons for the main landing gear. It also lacks the nose radome of other naval Z-8 variants. The airborne surveillance radar is located on the redesigned rear ramp; it is lowered in flight and rotates in a similar fashion to that of the French Army's Horizon system. This aircraft retains the rescue hoist of other Z-8 variants. Of note is the ‘black bat’ insignia on the tail.
The AgustaWestland AW 109 Trekker combines the airframe of the AW109SP with a skid landing gear. The aircraft displayed at HAI Heli-Expo 2014 wore SevenBar titles.
Qantas has deferred its remaining eight A380 deliveries.
Boeing 777-22KLR EZ-A778 (c/n 42296) was delivered to Turkmenistan Airlines on March 18, 2014, departing Snohomish County Airport/Paine Field in Washington for Turkmenbashi General Airport in Turkmenistan. It is the first of two ordered on November 30, 2011 that will serve long-haul routes with the airline. An earlier 777-22KLR (EZ-A777, c/n 39548) delivered in August 2010 is equipped with a VIP interior and operated on behalf of the Turkmenistan Government.
Embraer 195AR PR-AXH (c/n 19000569) of AZUL Linhas Aereas Brasileiras wears the airline’s 50 cities special scheme. The aircraft was departing Recife’s Guararapes-Gilberto Freyre International Airport in Pernambuco, Brazil, in early March 2014.
This Embraer 175 in United Express colours is the first E-Jet to be rolled-out with a package of performance enhancing features.
Eurofighter Typhoon ZJ700 (IPA 5) at Warton, Lancashire, on February 28, 2014 ready for its first flight after layup. It retains the Steedman Display Sword motif on its tail, awarded for test pilot Mark Bowman’s display at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF
Pilatus PC-21 QA350 (c/n 210) is the first of its type for the Qatar Emiri Air Force. It completed the initial run of its Pratt & Whitney PT6-68B at the manufacturer’s facility at Stans, Switzerland, on February 20, 2014. The test registration HB-HVA was applied - and the Qatar roundel blanked out - for the aircraft's maiden flight four days later. Qatar's order for 24 PC-21 s was revealed on July 23, 2012. Deliveries are due to begin in the summer, with the aircraft due to form the core of a new training syllabus for the air force.
Newly upgraded No.230 Squadron Puma HC2 ZJ955 (c/n 1363, ex SAAF 148) has received a black scheme, South East Asia Command (SEAC) roundels adopted by the RAF during World War II in the Far East, and the code 'P'. (SEAC removed the red segment in the roundels to avoid misidentifications as Japanese aircraft.) The colour and markings recall Short Sunderland III JM673/‘P' of No.230 Squadron, which was lost 70 years ago with its crew of ten on November 28, 1944, while operating off the east coast of Ceylon. Dark colours were adopted for the Sunderland to aid dawn and dusk attacks on enemy shipping in the Bay of Bengal. The Puma is seen operating near its home base at RAF Benson, Oxfordshire, on March 6, 2014.
The Denel Dynamics Seeker 400 during tests at the Alkantpan test range.
Approximately 1,300 enthusiasts from 32 nations flew on the nine specially-arranged pleasure flights from Birmingham Airport in February 2014.
After the last flight had taken place, Bangladesh Biman’s CEO, Kevin Steel, praised the cockpit crew for their smooth handling of the aircraft.
The DC-10's tri-jet configuration makes it a distinctive sight whether in the air or on the ground.
S2-ACR, belonging to Bangladesh’s national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines, was the 445th of the 446 DC-10s to be built. The DC-10 first entered commercial service in 1971. Cargo and military variants will continue to fly for some years to come.
Irish airline CityJet has sold British Aerospace Avro RJ85 EI-RJS (c/n E2365, ex N531XJ) to Air Annobon of Equatorial Guinea. The regional airliner was withdrawn by CityJet on January 22, 2014 and painted in the livery of the new carrier at Shannon Airport, Ireland. It is seen arriving at Dublin on February 27 where it will receive attention prior to delivery to its new owner. Already carrying the new name Mebana on its nose, the airliner will be registered 3C-MAA when it is handed over. It will be based at San Antonio de Pale in Annobon. The airline currently operates a pair of BAe 146-300s (ZS-SOR, c/n E3155, ex G-BTNU, and ZS-SBR, c/n E3120, ex N611AW), both leased from Fair Aviation of South Africa, on domestic flights.
Bombardier Challenger 604 N614BA flying from Toronto Pearson International Airport in Ontario after conversion by Field Aviation as the demonstrator of Boeing’s Maritime Surveillance Aircraft.
Viking completed the 50th Twin Otter Srs 400 (C-GNVA c/n 894) in early March 2014. The aircraft is the fifth of six of the aircraft for MASwings, the regional subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, which currently has the largest civil fleet of the type. It will be delivered to the airline in April. The new production version has been delivered to 18 customers and Viking holds orders for aircraft from operators in 23 countries.
This pair of Daher-Socata TBM 900s are understood to be F-WWRE and F-WWRJ.
The full-scale test aircraft known as Replica on the BAE Systems radar measurement range at Warton in Lancashire on February 28, 2014.
Sikorsky displayed a mock-up of the S-97 Raider at Anaheim, promoting the technology used in the helicopter for civil applications.
The second and fourth prototypes of the Airbus A350-900 on February 26, 2014 during their maiden flights.
As AIR International went to press the first Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation H425s for the Ejercito de Boliviano (Bolivian Army) were due to be delivered. Six helicopters and a flight simulator were included in a bilateral agreement between China and Bolivia, signed on December 22, 2011, with the $108 million order covered by credit given by China to the Bolivian Government. They will be equipped with night vision goggles and will be operate from La Paz Airport, which is 13,000ft (3,962m) above sea level. The Bolivian Army Aviation received its first helicopters - a pair of Robinson R44s - in June 2013 to train the pilots of the H425s.
Beech King Air B200 6W-TNB (c/n BB-1927, ex N840U) of the Armee de I’Air Senegalaise (Senegalese Air Force) was an unusual visitor to Ouagadougou Airport in Burkina Faso, on February 19, 2014. Two second-hand King Airs were acquired in 2011 and modified for cloud seeding operations by Weather Modifications Inc of Fargo, North Dakota, with silver iodide dispensers mounted on the wing trailing edge behind each powerplant nacelle. It appears these have now been removed from 6W-TNB.
Sukhoi T-50-2 recently arrived at Akhtubinsk to begin state trials of the aircraft.
Lockheed EC-130H Compass Call 73-1580 (c/n 4542) is the first to be redelivered after upgrade to Baseline-2 standard. It is seen at the L-3 Communications Integrated Systems facility at Waco, Texas.
On March 7, 2014 Airbus Defence and Space rolled out the prototype PZL-130 Orlik MPT (Multi Purpose Trainer) at the Warszawa Okecie factory in Warsaw, Poland. The aircraft (SP-YZL, c/n 03940033) was modified from an Orlik TC-II equipped with Garmin avionics, and features a pair of multi-functional displays for student and instructor, and a head-up display (HUD) in the front and HUD repeater in the rear cockpit. Instrumentation and lighting has been made compatible with night-vision goggles. It also has a redesigned wing, Martin-Baker Mk 11L ejector seats, and a 750hp (560kW) Pratt & Whitney PT6A-25C turboprop with four-bladed Hartzell propellers with anti-icing. The aircraft is due to make its first flight by the end of March. The new Orlik variant is initially aimed at a Polish requirement to upgrade 12 Orlik TC-Is with a glass cockpit by 2018.
Enstrom used HAI Heli-Expo 2012 to reveal its TH180 training helicopter, which retains the style of the company's earlier designs.
Airbus A321-231 EI-FDP (msn 1004, ex TC-OAL) was at Dublin Airport in Ireland on February 24, 2014 having arrived back from East Midlands Airport, Leicestershire, where it was painted in the livery of the Belgian Air Force. The airliner was previously operated by Onur Air of Turkey, and on delivery it will become CS-TRJ on the Portuguese register, as it will be operated by HiFly of Lisbon on lease to Belgium. The A321 will replace the A330-321 currently used by Belgium as a long-range transport, which is also leased from HiFly.
Second prototype Shenyang J-11B 524 is currently used as a test-bed for an active electronically-scanned array radar. It features a slightly longer radome than the standard J-11, with the air data probe repositioned from the tip to the top of the nose. The new radar has been flown in the aircraft by the China Flight Test Establishment since at least late 2013. The system is understood to be part of a mid-life upgrade for the People's Liberation Army Air Force’s J-11A/B fleet, to be called J-11D. The aircraft was previously used to test ski-jump operations for the naval J-15 variant.
RwandAir has taken delivery of the single Bombardier Q400 NextGen it had on order. Using the Canadian test registration C-GXKR, the aircraft (c/n 4464, which became 9XR-WL) is seen on February 24, 2014 on a test flight at Toronto Downsview Airport, Ontario in Canada. RwandAir signed a purchase agreement for the turboprop on April 22, 2013 and it was delivered at the end of February. It has been fitted with 67 seats in a dual-class configuration, similar to the two Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen regional jets delivered to the carrier in late 2012. The aircraft will be used for short- and medium-haul domestic and regional routes between African destinations. RwandAir is the 12th operator of the Q400 in Africa; 11 other airlines in nine countries utilise approximately 40 of the airliners.
Bell displayed three mock-ups of the Model 505 Jet Ranger X.
The ARCA Air Strato prototype prior to making its maiden flight on February 13, 2014.
The Beijing ZhongHangZhi (ZHZ) Technology Company displayed its TD220 unmanned helicopter for the first time at the recent Singapore airshow. The 300kg (661 lb) class coaxial twin-rotor vehicle can carry a 50kg (110 lb) payload at a cruising speed of 97 km/h (60mph) for up to six hours. Powered by a 65hp (48kW) piston engine, the TD220 is equipped with a HeliAP autopilot with redundant avionics and has completed more than 2,000 hours of flight testing.
The Beriev A-100 model revealed during a Russian TV programme on February 9, 2014.
Rebranded flag carrier Air Serbia (formerly Jat Airways, retaining the JU code) has introduced ATR 72-202 YU-ALO (msn 186) into revenue service with a new interior incorporating 66 leather seats and a new livery. The other three ATR 72-202s and two -500s (212As) will also be upgraded and rebranded. To date, Air Serbia has taken delivery of five Airbus A319s, and its first 164-seat A320 (Dash 232 msn 2587, currently VH-VQO) has also been leased and received the carrier’s livery. It will have a new interior installed before entering service. Air Serbia, 49% owned by Etihad, ordered ten A320neos during the Dubai Airshow in November 2013.
Noted at Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso on February 19, 2014 was Beech King Air 350 N840CA (c/n FL-104) of Commuter Air Technology (CAT), in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. CAT provides aircraft for US Special Operations Command and the King Air is understood to have operated in Africa on its behalf since December 2013. Built in 1993, it features several obvious modifications, including a large number of aerials on the top and lower rear fuselage, and a pannier, which is frequently used to house electro-optical sensors in King Air surveillance variants. All but one of the cabin windows appears to be blanked out.