Air International 2000-02
Devoid of nationality markings, apart from the tricolour rudder, this is the fifth of 30 Aermacchi SF-260Es on order for the Fuerza Aerea Mexicana (FAM or Mexican Air Force) seen at the manufacturer’s Venegono airfield on December 23, 1999. During pre-delivery test flying the aircraft have, at the request of the FAM, worn no nationality markings, been largely flown in primer, the example here being the first to be seen painted in the yellow trainer scheme, but still without full markings.
First Kaman SH-2G(A) Super Seasprite for the Royal Australian Navy, wearing test registration N351KA, was remanufactured from US Navy SH-2F 163210 and is seen here during a recent test flight. Although the manufacturer has only just announced commencement of test flying, the flight test programme actually began with this helicopter on October 26, 1999.
Boeing's two X-32 concept demonstrators for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme were unveiled at its Phantom Works in Palmdale, California, on December 14, 1999. The CTOL X-32A is on the left and the STOVL X-32B on the right.
Gandalf Airlines first Dornier 328JET, D-BGAQ (cln 3130), seen here test flying as D-BDXL, was delivered to the Italian regional carrier on November 17, 1999.
Athens-based Olympic Aviation became the first European operator to take delivery of the Boeing 717-200 on January 6, 2000 when it received two examples, SX-BOA (c/n 55056) and SX-BOB (tin 55053), which are being leased from Bavaria International Aircraft Leasing Company. The aircraft, in a two-class configuration with 34 seats in business and 71 in coach, will be used to expand regional services with operations from Thessaloniki to Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Larnaca, Munich, Paris and Stuttgart. Boeing delivered 12 717s in 1999 and plans to deliver a further 33 this year followed by 60 per year from 2001.
Antonov An-12BP TN-AGC (c/n 4342305, ex TN-AEW) on the ramp at Sharjah on November 13, 1999, having arrived the previous day with a cargo of 350 live billy goats. The aircraft was previously operated by Air Atlantis, whose markings have been crudely painted out, and the aircraft is now Ukrainian-owned and operated by Aviaputsk. As with an increasing number of veteran Soviet era transports operating in the region, the aircraft's country of registration (People's Republic of Congo) bears no relevance to the country of its operator. Such 'registrations of convenience', largely involving the more obscure African countries, are increasingly being used by many operators to circumvent CIS airworthiness regulations, putting into question how safe many of these aircraft really are.
Another anonymous-looking visitor to Sharjah on November 13, 1999, Antonov An-12V 4R-EXC (c/n 08345507, ex RA-12956) still wears basic Aeroflot scheme and is now operated by Colombo, Sri Lanka-based Expo Aviation.
JetBlue's first Airbus A320-232 N503JB (c/n 1123), seen here while still carrying test registration F-WWBR, left Toulouse on its delivery flight to the airline on December 3, 1999. The carrier intends to begin operations on February 11.
Boeing announced on December 8, 1999 the milestone delivery of the 900th 757 produced when this 757-256 for Iberia was handed-over at Renton, Washington.
Airlift/Helikopterteneste AS 350B2 LN-OCF seen when operating from a disused quarry site in the suburbs of Alesund, Norway, on April 22, 1998. The helicopter was lost in a fatal crash on November 6, 1999.
The first Hawk Mk 127 Lead-In Fighter (LIF) trainer for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), DT01/A27-01/ZJ632, makes its first flight at the manufacturer's Warton airfield on December 16, 1999.
Bombardier announced on December 9, 1999 that its new Dash 8 Q400 has finally received European JAA approval, with Denmark and Sweden becoming the first European countries to grant type certificates on December 1 and 2 respectively. US FAA approval is expected shortly. First deliveries began later in the month, initially to SAS Commuter, which will be the first carrier to put the type into airline service. One of the first examples for the tri-national Scandinavian carrier is seen here during pre-delivery test flying.
First Boeing 737-8Q8 for newly-rebranded BWIA West Indies Airways, 9Y-GEO (c/n 28225), departs on delivery from Seattle on January 7, 2000. The aircraft, the first of six being leased from ILFC, also took with it 5,000lbs of relief supplies to Trinidad for onward transfer to Caracas, Venezuela, to provide aid following the recent devastating mudslides there. The new colour scheme had been first unveiled on a TriStar on December 2.
First prototype of the Ibis Aerospace Ae 270, OK-EMA, at its official unveiling during Aero Vodochody’s 80th anniversary celebrations on December 10, 1999.