Air International 2006-08
News: Headline, Military, Civil, Accidents, Airshow
The first pre-series Sukhoi Su-80GP, c/n 01-05, differs from the first flying prototype in having a slight fuselage stretch, as evidenced by the darker section forward of the wing, just visible in this view. The aircraft is seen here undertaking its first flight on June 29, 2006.
US Marine Corps/VMA-542 AV-8B+ Harrier IIs 165004 'YM-52' and 166288 'YM-54' taxi at Sarajevo Airport, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on June 26, 2006. The aircraft paid a one-day visit to Sarajevo to support the country's aspirations to join the NATO Partnership for Peace programme. The aircraft are currently assigned to HMM-365 (Reinforced), which is supporting the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and embarked on board the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Carrier Strike groups of the USS Abraham Lincoln, Kitty Hawk and Ronald Reagan sail in formation in the Philippine Sea on June 18, 2006 whilst a USAF B-2A, flanked by USN F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets from the carriers flies over. All were taking part in Exercise Valiant Shield 2006, which is designed to test the interoperability of US military forces.
Among the rotary wing participants was this Royal Danish Air Force (Flyvevaabnet) EH-101 of Esk 722, based at Vaerlose. It is one of 14 of the type ordered by the Denmark to replace Sikorsky S-61A Sea Kings. Eight aircraft (such as this) will be used for search and rescue and the others for troop transport. Eight have been delivered and the remainder will be ready for delivery later this year or early 2007. The SAR fit includes a comprehensive medical unit in the rear cabin for hospital transfer and emergency treatment.
Canadian Forces CF-18A Hornet 188787 flies off the coast of Hawaii as part of a formation put up to celebrate Canada Day on July 1, 2006. Canadian Hornets are currently participating in the RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) 2006 exercise, the world's largest biennial maritime exercise, which is being conducted in the waters around Hawaii. Other nations participating are Australia, Chile, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Peru, the UK and the US.
Newly completed after conversion at Flight Refuelling's (FR) facility at Bournemouth, Dorset, Omega Air's first DC-10-40 tanker, N974VV, was displayed in the static park. The aircraft, which features PR's 900 series wing refuelling pods, had made four test flights before arriving at the show. It will also befitted with an FR 300 hose drum unit on the fuselage centreline.
Those with a keen eye will have noticed Nimrod MR.2, XV246, wearing 51 Squadron markings. As the unit flies the R.1 variant, this came as something of a surprise. The explanation is that this aircraft is due to be converted into the unit's fourth R.1.
With the planned closure of Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, the US Air Force's resident 56th Rescue Squadron and its HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters have begun relocation to RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk. The first two helicopters were flown in to their new home on board USAF C-17As on June 12, 2006 and 13, whilst the unit's remaining three HH-60Gs will follow over the coming months to bring it back up to full strength. The last two Pave Hawks will remain in Iceland until mid-September to provide back-up support and training before finally moving to the UK. The 56th has been officially under the control of the 48th Fighter Wing at Lakenheath for around a year now, but is also now co-located with its parent unit. The first HH-60G, 89-26206 'IS', is seen here being unloaded from a C-17A at Lakenheath on June 12. It is assumed the 'IS' tail code will be replaced by 'LN' in due course.
Hurricane force winds during a thunderstorm at Aviano Air Base, Italy, on June 29, 2006, overturned this US Army/B/5-159th AVN UH-60 Black Hawk, which is seen during recovery operations on July 6.
With the planned closure of Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, the US Air Force's resident 56th Rescue Squadron and its HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters have begun relocation to RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk. The first two helicopters were flown in to their new home on board USAF C-17As on June 12, 2006 and 13, whilst the unit's remaining three HH-60Gs will follow over the coming months to bring it back up to full strength. The last two Pave Hawks will remain in Iceland until mid-September to provide back-up support and training before finally moving to the UK. The 56th has been officially under the control of the 48th Fighter Wing at Lakenheath for around a year now, but is also now co-located with its parent unit. The first HH-60G, 89-26206 'IS', is seen here being unloaded from a C-17A at Lakenheath on June 12. It is assumed the 'IS' tail code will be replaced by 'LN' in due course.
Exercise Steadfast Jaguar was held in the Cape Verde Islands, off the coast of West Africa, from June 15-28, 2006 as a major test for NATO's Response Force (NRF). The exercise was the largest deployment of NRF forces to date and Cape Verde was selected because it is a strategic distance from mainland Europe, enabling the NRF to be tested over long supply lines with only limited host nation support. The majority of the air component that was deployed for the exercise was based at Sal/Amilcar Cabral International Airport, an exception however was the Belgian Air Component Agusta A109BA detachment, which performed medevac duties from a base at San Pedro Airport on Sao Vicente Island. One of the medevac A109BAs, H-02, is seen here at San Pedro on June 22 awaiting its next mission.
Perhaps in hopeful anticipation of continued improvements in relationships between Greece and Turkey, the RIAT organisers parked a pair of Greek Air Force (Elliniki Polemiki Aeroporia) Vought A-7E Corsair IIs next to a couple of Turkish Air Force (Turk Hava Kuvvetleri) McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantoms. The Corsair IIs were from 116 PM, based at Araxos and the Phantoms from 172 Filo, Eskisehir.
Airbus A380-841 prototype F-WWOW (c/n 001) on finals to land after its display on the opening day of the Show, where it appeared for the first time.
Not surprisingly, the Mikoyan MiG-29OVT, piloted by Paul Vlasov, Mikoyan Deputy Director General, head of the flight test centre and senior test pilot, won the 'As The Crow Flies Trophy' for his truly amazing flying display. Thanks to the thrust vectoring nozzles on the MiG-29OVT's Klimov RD-33 turbofans and its sophisticated flight control system, the aircraft was able to perform manoeuvres that are impossible with more conventional aircraft. An example demonstrated was a 'backwards somersault', in which the MiG-29OVT rotates almost about its centre of gravity through a full 360° without losing height.
To support RIAT's rapid 'global effect theme' and as a gesture of appreciation to the many nations that provided humanitarian relief after a massive earthquake devastated part of Pakistan last year, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) exhibited its Lockheed Martin L-382B Hercules 64144. This civil variant of the Hercules is the only one of its type in service with the PAF and is used by 6 Sqn based at Chaklala, for logistic support and medevac. Its striking artwork on the tail and fuselage, depicting the type's contribution to the relief operation, won it the Page Aerospace Trophy for the best static aircraft on display, and the crew were awarded the BAE Systems 'Spirit of the Meet' Trophy.
Austrian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon '7L-WA' (AS001), the first of 18 on order, is seen on the production line at Manching, Germany, on June 13, 2006. The aircraft's first flight is scheduled for the first week of February 2007 and the in-service date is planned to be July 1, 2008.
Two Eurofighter Typhoons were flown during the show - an aircraft from 29 (Reserve) Squadron, Coningsby, Lincolnshire and one from Ala 11 at Moron AFB, Seville, Spain. It was the first time a Spanish Air Force Typhoon has been displayed in the UK and the fact that two aircraft from the 14 on strength of Ala 11 were deployed is indicative of its increasing maturity in service. Until recently, pressures on the limited numbers of aircraft in service to train aircrew have prohibited their attendance at airshows.
Macedonian Air Force Mi-17 VAM-303 participates in a combat search and rescue/medevac exercise on June 10, 2006 to demonstrate the Air Force's capability to perform complex combat missions in areas under hostile control. On July 3 an agreement was signed for Macedonia to participate in Operation Althea, the European Union mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. To support Operation Althea, Macedonia's two Elbit-upgraded Mi-17s (VAM-302 and VAM-303) will deploy for six-months, commencing on July 14, to Mostar-Ortjes Air Base, marking the country's first ever foreign mission.
Wrecked Turkmenistan Airlines Mi-8MTV-1 EZ-L481 lies on a remote Afghan mountain on June 10, 2006, having only finally been discovered ten days earlier by nomadic shepherds after being reported missing on the night of January 20-21.
A roll-out ceremony was held at Boeing's Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, facility on June 15, 2006 to unveil the first production CH-47F Chinook for the US Army. The aircraft is the first of 452 new CH-47F heavy transport helicopters that will be acquired by the US Army under its Cargo Helicopter modernisation programme. The modernised airframe uses modern manufacturing techniques that will reduce operating and support costs, improve structural integrity and extend the Chinook's service life. A Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System advanced digital cockpit provides improved situational awareness for the crew whilst improved survivability features include common missile warning and improved countermeasures dispenser systems.
A highlight of the Tattoo was the first UK public appearance of two Bell Boeing MV-22B Ospreys, one of which participated in the flying display and the other was on static exhibition. The two aircraft are on the strength of the US Marine Corps VMX-22 Test Squadron and flew from their home base of New River, North Carolina to Farnborough, Hampshire, with in-flight refuelling provided by KC-130J Hercules. After a short take-off, with the engines tilted at 60°, the Osprey demonstrated its helicopter (engines vertical) and conventional (engines horizontal) modes. Apart from its unconventional configuration, the lightweight paint (being tested) and low noise output were particularly noteworthy.
Seen here on April 15, 2006 whilst still retaining its former Niki livery but without titles, A320-232 OE-LOE (c/n 659) has been acquired by German's DLR for use as a research aircraft, replacing the VFW-614 currently in use.
Former Hellas Jet Airbus A320-232 SX-BVC (c/n 2016) is the second of the type for Air Astana and is seen here after a test flight on June 16, 2006 at Southend Airport, Essex, where it underwent pre-delivery work with ATC Lasham. The aircraft, which currently has its new registration, P4-SAS, taped over and still carries SX-BVC, departed Southend on June 24 on delivery to Kazakhstan.
Although India's Kingfisher Airlines already has eight leased Airbus A320s in service, the first of which was delivered in April 2005, A320-232 VT-KFL (c/n 2817, ex F-WWDJ), which made its first flight on June 7, 2006, will be the first aircraft directly ordered from the manufacturer. As such, it carries appropriate 'first' titles on the forward fuselage.
Opening the flying display was the Galileo Avionica Falco, one of two UAVs to be operated by ParcAberporth's anchor tenant Selex S&AS for payload development testing.
First aircraft for Kurdistan Airlines, the new carrier for the Kurdish State in northern Iraq, is Boeing 737-201 N247US (c/n 22754), seen test flying from Tucson International Airport, Arizona, on April 19, 2006. The US registration was cancelled on April 25 as registered in Lebanon, but as of July 14 it was still in US markings and trapped at Beirut Airport by the Israeli air strikes. The aircraft is one of an initial two being leased for flights from Arbil, Kurdistan, to Istanbul, Turkey.
Aloha Airlines unveiled Boeing 737-230A N823AL on June 23, 2006 in this throwback 'Funbird' colour scheme to recapture the Flower Power era of the 1960s and 1970s. Aloha celebrates its 60th anniversary on July 26 and will operate the 'Funbird' on services to Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului, Kona and Lihue.
Air Caledonie ATR 42-500 F-OIPI (c/n 647, ex F-WWLC) was handed-over to the airline on June 30, 2006 at Toulouse and is the first of three new ATRs (one ATR 42-500 and two ATR 72-500s) ordered last September.
FlyBe BAe146-300 G-JEBG has been painted in the colours of online casino Mansion.com and is seen here departing Glasgow Airport, Scotland, on its first day of operation.
Just prior to Farnborough, Dassault deployed Falcon 7X prototype No 3, F-WSKY, to Cranfield Airfield, Bedfordshire, for flooded runway water ingestion tests, which were completed there on July 5, 2006.
An unusual participant in the flying display was Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757-2K2, NZ7572, of 40 Squadron. The aircraft was in the UK supporting a P-3K of 5 Squadron, which had been taking part in the Fincastle anti-submarine warfare competition at RAF Kinloss in Scotland. The Orion also flew in the Waddington flying programme.
The Airbus A350XWB will feature an all-new, wider fuselage and new all-composite wings.
Seen shortly after the formal unveiling of the mock-up on July 17, 2006, Bell Helicopter's X-Hawk, complete with a pair of M61A Vulcan cannons, is being developed by the company's XworX in association with Israel's Urban Aeronautics.
A welcome addition to the static park was this Hellenic AirForce RF-4E, 69-7519, of 345 MTA from Larissa AB.
The Royal Navy variant of Future Lynx, 70 of which have now been ordered for the UK armed forces.
In a ceremony on the flight-line at Farnborough on July 17, 2006, the first Hawk Mk 129 for the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF), 501 (BT001), was formally handed over. The aircraft is seen here just before the hand-over, taking off for a flypast in formation with the Red Arrows before landing in order to participate in the official ceremony. The RBAF has ordered six Hawks, of which BT003 and BT004 will be the first to be delivered to Bahrain, in August. They will be followed by a further pair (BT005 and BT006) in October. The final pair, actually the first two production aircraft (BT001 and BT002), will be delivered in December.
The Carrier Strike groups of the USS Abraham Lincoln, Kitty Hawk and Ronald Reagan sail in formation in the Philippine Sea on June 18, 2006 whilst a USAF B-2A, flanked by USN F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets from the carriers flies over. All were taking part in Exercise Valiant Shield 2006, which is designed to test the interoperability of US military forces.
The Carrier Strike groups of the USS Abraham Lincoln, Kitty Hawk and Ronald Reagan sail in formation in the Philippine Sea on June 18, 2006 whilst a USAF B-2A, flanked by USN F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets from the carriers flies over. All were taking part in Exercise Valiant Shield 2006, which is designed to test the interoperability of US military forces.
Making its Waddington debut was this Sentinel R.1, ZJ692, which, along with four other aircraft, will form the complement of 5( AC) Squadron.
Perhaps in hopeful anticipation of continued improvements in relationships between Greece and Turkey, the RIAT organisers parked a pair of Greek Air Force (Elliniki Polemiki Aeroporia) Vought A-7E Corsair IIs next to a couple of Turkish Air Force (Turk Hava Kuvvetleri) McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantoms. The Corsair IIs were from 116 PM, based at Araxos and the Phantoms from 172 Filo, Eskisehir.
A recent acquisition by Air Cargo Carriers of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Shorts 360-200 N3732X is seen departing Southend, Essex, on July 8, 2006 for Pescara, Italy, and then on to Iraq, where it is believed it will be operated under contract to the US military, hence the overall grey colour scheme. The aircraft left Milwaukee on July 1, routing via Goose Bay to Narsarsuaq, then on via Southampton to Southend on July 5.
Poland's Straz Granicnza (Border Guards) took delivery of this PZL Mielec M28-05 Skytruck, SN-60YG, in early May 2006. Equipment fit includes ARS-400M radar, chin-mounted forward-looking infra-red/electro-optical turret and SX-6 Nightsun searchlight.
Alaska Airlines first Boeing 737-490F Freighter, N709AS (c/n 28896), entered service on June 28 and is the first of five 737-400Fs destined to enter service with the airline by the end of 2007, replacing seven smaller 737-200Fs. Conversion work was undertaken by Pemco World Air Services at Dothan, Alabama, and the aircraft was the first 737-400 passenger-to-freighter conversion ever undertaken worldwide.
TNT Boeing 737-301SF OO-TND seen on June 15, 2006 following its mishap at Birmingham International Airport.
This spectacular colour scheme was unveiled on Horizon Air Dash 8-Q401 N425QX (c/n 4039) in a ceremony at the airline's operations centre at Portland International Airport, Oregon, on June 20, 2006, to mark the carrier's 25th anniversary. The vibrant scheme was designed by Rob Lancaster of Lancaster Design Group and applied by Field Aviation at Calgary, Alberta.
JAS 39B 39802, a Saab company development aircraft, was painted in the colours and markings of the UK's Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) before going on display in the static park at Farnborough. The move coincided with Gripen International's announcement on July 17, 2006 of a new deal with the ETPS, which has used the type in its syllabus since 1999. For 2006, use of the Gripen will be expanded with a 30% increase in student numbers, a 20% increase in flights per student, training of a third ETPS instructor pilot and inclusion of flight test engineer students in a refined syllabus.
Following the adverse publicity in the wake of the crash of the Helio Airways Boeing 737 last year, which killed all of those on board, the airline has undergone a name change and has now been rebranded as A-Jet Airways. One of the first aircraft to be painted up in the new colours is Boeing 737-86N 5B-DBI, which is seen here shortly after arriving at Southend Airport, Essex, on June 13 to undergo some maintenance work.
The first F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, AA-1, in the paint facility at Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth, Texas, facility on July 5, 2006, two days before it was formally unveiled publicly to dignitaries and media on July 7, when it was also officially named Lightning II by USAF Chief of Staff General T Michael Moseley.
During its flying display, the Aerovironment Puma gave a convincing demonstration of how this 8ft 6in wingspan, 12lb UAV could be used to find and track an 'intruder' on the airfield. Datalinked imagery from its conventional and infra-red sensors searching for a 'staged intruder' was projected onto a large cinema-type screen. The Puma's docile flying characteristics were also demonstrated by Andrew Davies, the Minister for enterprise, innovation and networks in the Welsh Assembly Government, who was invited to control the UAV manually. Despite having no previous experience of flying a UAV, he had no difficulty in controlling the inherently stable vehicle. Aerovironment's larger UAV, the Raven, also flew at the open day and has an impressive service record with the US Army and special forces. By March this year it had amassed 15,314 sorties, accruing 18,673 flying hours.
One of the more unusual UAV configurations on show was the Dragonfly Air Systems Globe Skimmer. A prototype of this twin ducted-fan lightweight UAV is expected to fly in August 2006, powered by a high efficiency two-stroke lightweight engine. However, there will be an electric powerplant option. Designed to carry out a wide range of civilian survey, monitoring or inspection work, the Globe Skimmer also has military applications, such as providing support to troops in the close tactical warfare arena. It weighs approximately 44lb, is some 5ft long and has an endurance of one hour at speeds of up to 9kts or in hover mode. The powerplant is housed in the upper fairing, sensors and avionics in the lower pod and the parallel section contains fuel. This model is not fully representative of the prototype, which will have contra-rotating fans in both of the ducts. For ease of carriage the ducted fans fold
down alongside the main body.