Air International 2007-01
News: Headline, Military, Civil, Accidents
Vertikal-T Mi-26T Halo RA-29112 lands during a support flight to NATO operations in Afghanistan, on November 18, 2006. Two weeks later, on December 3, it crashed in bad weather in the northern part of Kandahar province, killing the crew. Note that, aside from its all white scheme, it only carries the Vertical-T company name in small, Cyrillic letters under the cockpit and small 'AUCFC' titles on the centre and rear fuselage, presumably from a previous mission supporting the African Union CeaseFire Commission.
MiG-21bis 17163 is the first Serbian Air Force aircraft to wear the country's new national markings, which are a redesign of those worn by aircraft of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between the two World Wars. The roundel features the national colours of red, blue and white with the 'Takovski' cross superimposed over the top, whilst a new camouflage scheme has been applied that is planned to become the standard for all Serbian military aircraft. The new colours follow the decision last June by Serbia and Montenegro to separate their armed forces after they became independent states.
USAF A-10C Thunderbolt II 79-0209 'DM' taxies in at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, on November 29, 2006 during an official roll-out ceremony to mark delivery of the first of these upgraded aircraft to the resident 355th Wing.
The RAAF's first C-17A Globemaster III. A41-206 (c/n P.166, USAF/06-0206), makes a low flypast over the suburbs of Canberra after departing RAAF Base Fairbairn on December 6, 2006 for RAAF Base Amberley, where the aircraft will be based with 36 Squadron.
Singapore Airlines' (SIA) first Boeing 777-312ER, 9V-SWA (c/ n 34568, ex N6018N) is seen here taking off for a pre-delivery test flight on October 20, 2006.
Bombardier CRJ900 C-FHRH (c/n 15058) is one of three new aircraft of the type that were delivered to Nigeria's Arik Air on October 3, 2006, the remaining two being C-FGNB (c/n 150541 and C-FHRK (c/n 15059). After making an initial test flight, without passengers, on the Lagos-Abuja route on October 16, Arik Air commenced scheduled passenger services on the route on October 30, with four return flights. On November 24 Bombardier announced that the airline has also ordered a fourth CRJ900.
Колумбийская авиакомпания "SATENA" получила первый из двух заказанных самолетов E170 7 декабря 2006 года. E170, рассчитанный на перевозку 70-78 пассажиров, является самым маленьким самолетом в этом семействе. На фотографии: самолет в варианте с увеличенной дальностью полета (максимальная взлетная масса увеличена с 35 990 кг до 37200 кг).
Embraer held a ceremony at its Gaviao Peixoto facility on December 7, 2006 to hand over the first Embraer 170LR for Colombia's state-owned, military-run airline, SATENA (Servicio Aereo a Territories Nacionales). The aircraft, FAC1180 (c/n 17000151, ex PT-SEP), is configured in a 76-passenger, single class layout and will join five 50-seat ERJ-145s already in service with the airline. The new aircraft will be used to increase frequencies on existing routes and add services to new domestic destinations, whilst it will also fly internationally from regional airports in Colombia to destinations in Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela. A second Embraer 170 is scheduled to join SATENA early in 2007.
Air France subsidiary Regional - Compangnie Aerienne Europeenne took delivery in a ceremony at the Embraer factory in Sao Jose dos Campos on November 23, 2006 of its first Embraer 190LR, F-HBLA (c/n 190-00015, ex PT-SIA). The aircraft is the first of six on firm order by the airline, which also has purchase rights on a further six aircraft of the same type, under a contract signed in September 2005.
Flying over the North Sea in a 'Diamond Nine' formation on a sortie from their base at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, on November 3, 2006 are RAF Typhoon F2s ZJ922 'QO-C', ZJ917 'QO-G', ZJ924 'QO-H', ZJ918 'QO-L', ZJ925 'QO-R' and ZJ916 'QO-U' from 3 Squadron; ZJ912 'AB' and ZJ928 'AF' from 17 (Reserve) Squadron; plus ZJ921 'BW' from 29 (Reserve) Squadron. Three aircraft and a spare had been practicing for the Remembrance Day flypast over London on November 11, whilst four others plus a spare were also practicing for a flypast over the new New Zealand Memorial in London on the same day. The opportunity was, therefore, taken to practice close formation flying in a diamond nine, marking the first time ever that any of the type had flown such a formation.
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced at the NATO Summit meeting in Riga, Latvia, on November 29, 2006 that the NATO Response Force (NRF) is now at full operational capability. The NRF had undertaken a final test of its capabilities during Exercise Steadfast Jaguar in Cape Verde, where Spanish Navy/5 Escuadrilla SH-3H Sea King HS.9-6 '01-506' is seen during the exercise on June 22 with Special Forces personnel fast-roping onto Flamengo Beach on Sao Vicente island as part of an amphibious assault demonstration. The NRF now boasts a rotational force that includes an air component capable of 200 combat sorties per day. a brigade-sized land component with forced-entry capability, a naval task force including a carrier battle group, an amphibious task group and a surface action group.
Romanian Air Force IAR 330L Puma 03, seen here undergoing maintenance on July 26, 2006, was the helicopter that crashed in the Golesti Dam in Romania on October 24.
USAF CV-22B Osprey 02-0025 arrives at Hurlburt Field, Florida, on November 16, 2006 as the first of the type for the resident 8th Special Operations Squadron (SOS), which will be Air Force Special Operations Command's (AFSOC) first operation squadron with the type. On the same day, the 16th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt officially regained its historic 1st SOW designation. A training unit, the 71st SOS at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, has already received four CV-22s and AFSOC is destined to ultimately receive 50 CV-22s by Fiscal Year 2017.
Romanian AF/BA 71 MiG-21MF-75 LanceR C 6721, seen here on July 24, 2006, in temporary storage at Campia Turzii, was written-off in a crash on November 22 during its first test flight after being made airworthy again.
Air Cairo took delivery in Toulouse on November 10, 2006 of its first directly purchased Airbus aircraft, CFM56-5-powered A320-214 SU-BPU (c/n 2937, ex F-WWIJ), which was then formally accepted into service with the airline in a ceremony in Cairo on November 13. The aircraft is the first of four ordered from Airbus in December 2005, all of which will be configured in an 174-passenger, all-economy layout.
Former Air Madagascar ATR 42-320 5R-MJC (c/n 132), now in an all white scheme and devoid of titles, is seen here at Dublin, Ireland, on the night of December 4, 2006, having arrived from Marseilles, France. It left the following morning for the USA, where it is reported that it will be converted to cargo configuration.
Former Air China BAe 146-100 N76HN/B-632L (c/n E1076), which had been stored at Southend Airport, Essex, for some time, is seen here at the airport on December 5, 2006 after hasty application of Fuerza Aerea Boliviana (FAB - Bolivian Air Force) serial FAB-098 and a Bolivian flag on the fin. The aircraft is one of two ex-Air China aircraft acquired by the FAB for operation by Grupo Aereo 71 at La Paz, which currently flies the Fokker F27. The second aircraft, N81HN/B-633L (c/n E1081), was also previously at Southend, but has been in the USA for some time and will be delivered from there. Both were due to be flown to Bolivia during December.
CHC Helicopters International AS332L Super Puma C-GOSE (c/n 2048) is seen here departing from Sky Harbour Airport, Goderich, Ontario, Canada, on November 20, 2006 after being repainted in CHC's new corporate colours by Sky Harbour Aircraft Refinishing Inc. As CHCs helicopters come up for major overhaul, they are progressively being painted in the company's new corporate colours. This particular helicopter is a recent acquisition by CHC, although it originated in Europe with Norwegian CHC subsidiary Helikopter Service as LN-OMD, before being exported to Cougar Helicopters in Canada in 1997 and registered as C-GTCH. More recently it was registered back to CHC on November 20, 2006, as C-GOSE. After departing from Goderich, it was flown to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to service offshore platforms in that area.
Grob Aerospace Grob G.180 SPn D-CGSP made its first flight on September 29,2006, but was sadly destroyed in a fatal crash on November 29, 2006.
Artist's impression of what the BAE Systems Taranis UAV technology demonstrator might look like.
BAE Systems has been awarded a contract to develop an autonomous unmanned air vehicle under Project Taranis. In addition to being able to carry ground attack weapons, the UAV will have the capability to remain airborne for over 24 hours. This artist's impression illustrates what the technology demonstrator might look like.
Arriving at Baldonnel on November 23, 2006 at the conclusion of their delivery flight from Italy were the first two AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters for the Irish Air Corps, 274 (c/n 31048) and 275 (c/n 31059), with the latter being seen here shortly after arrival. In a formal ceremony at the base on November 29 they were officially inducted into service by Irish Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea. After completing an extensive training programme, the helicopters should enter full operational service by the end of March 2007. The remaining two helicopters on order will be delivered in spring 2007, whilst options are also held on a further two.
An Army Air Corps (AAC) Apache AH.1 from 667 Squadron is lowered on one of HMS Ark Royal's lifts into the ship's hangar on November 8, 2006 as the carrier lay alongside at Portsmouth Naval Base. This was the first time an Apache had landed on an Invincible Class aircraft carrier and the helicopter provided aircraft handlers experience in dealing with the type as part of ship-air integration trials. The Ark has just completed a £20 million refit, which included conversion to operate the Apache.
Formal hand-over of the first two Polish Air Force PZL Swidnik SW-4 light training and liaison helicopters, 0201 and 0203, took place on November 16, 2006 at Deblin, where 0203 is seen arriving for the ceremony. At the same time, the helicopter was named the Puszcyk (Tawny Owl) and a contract was signed for delivery of the next 22 Polish Air Force SW-4s over a period of three years. The first two SW-4s will enter service with the Deblin-based Polish Air Force Academy, whilst the type will eventually replace the obsolete Mi-2 Hoplite and also the W-3 Sokol, which is not ideally suited to the role, to undertake rotary-wing aircrew training at various Polish Air Force Academy facilities.
Ecuadorean Army/Escuela de Aviation del Ejercito Maule MT-7-235 AEE-620 is seen here at the Festival Aereo FAE 2006 open day at Simon Bolivar Air Base on October 21-22, 2006, only ten days before its crash on November 2.
Destined for service as a Government VIP transport with the Royal Malaysian Air Force's 2 Skwadron 'Parakeet' at Kuala Lumpur-Subang, this newly completed Airbus A319-115X Corporate Jet. D-AVXC (c/n 2949). is seen taxiing out for a test flight at Hamburg-Finkenwerer on November 29, 2006.
Alaska Airlines' Boeing 737-490 N706AS was unveiled in Seattle, Washington, on November 17, 2006 in this special colour scheme featuring a giant blue genie along the full length of the fuselage and Disney castle on the fin as part of the airline's long-term partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Disneyland Resorts. This is the third Disney-themed aircraft in the fleet, painted by the airline as part of its support for the Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Former Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-412BCF(Boeing Converted Freighter) N733BA (c/n 24061, ex 9V-SMA) seen outside the Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering Co Ltd (TAECO) facility in Xiamen, China, on November 22, 2006, following completion of BCF conversion. The aircraft had arrived at Xiamen on February 6, 2006, and, following completion of freighter conversion by TAECO, reflew on November 20. Boeing confirmed on November 30 that the aircraft has now been delivered to Guggenheim Aviation Partners, which has leased it to Martinair Cargo as PH-MPP. This was the seventh 747-400BCF to be delivered through Boeing. Guggenheim and Martinair Cargo have lease agreements on a further three 747-400BCFs, which will be converted and delivered in 2007 and 2008.
Boeing 737-8HJ VT-AXH (c/n 36323) takes off for its first flight on November 15, 2006. The aircraft was formally handed-over to Air India in Seattle, Washington, on November 30 and is the first of 18 737-800s on order for operation by Air India's wholly owned subsidiary, Air India Express. This was the first aircraft to be delivered from Air India’s ordered placed in December 2005 for a total of 68 Boeing airliners, the largest commercial aircraft order in India's civil aviation history.
Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737-8Q8 9Y-TAB (c/n 28233) performs a flyby on November 27, 2006 at Trinidad/Port of Spain-Piarco International Airport before landing after arrival from Atlanta/Hartsfield International Airport, Georgia, where the aircraft was the first to be painted in the airline's striking colours. BWIA had announced on September 8, 2006 that it was to cease operations and be replaced by a new intra-Caribbean airline, Caribbean Airlines, since when it has been confirmed that BWIA will cease trading on December 31. Caribbean Airways will then be officially launched on January 1, 2007, as its replacement.
Seen here making its first flight on November 14, 2006 is Boeing 737-7H1 BBJ N370BJ/N1786B (c/n 36106), which is the first of three ordered by the Indian Government. The 'green' airframe, which was the 100th BBJ to be delivered, was officially accepted by Indian Government representatives on November 29 at the Boeing Delivery Center in Seattle, Washington, following which it was flown to the PATS Aircraft completion centre at Georgetown, Delaware, for outfitting with its 48-passenger VIP interior, which will include a stateroom, meeting room and communications centre. The aircraft will replace the Indian Air Force’s current fleet of VIP 737-200s, operated by the Air Force Headquarters Communications Squadron ‘Pegasus’ at Palam.
Taxiing for departure from Southend Airport, Essex, on November 21, 2006 is Excel Airways Boeing 737-81Q G-XLAC after being painted in the new XL Airways livery, in which all the airline's aircraft will be repainted as part of a major rebranding that was launched on November 22.
As this issue closed for press, maiden flight of the first production Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, AA-1, was imminent. The aircraft has been undergoing final checks at Fort Worth, Texas, and is seen here on the runway at NAS Forth Worth during the first low-speed taxi tests on December 7, 2006, in the hands of F-35 Chief Pilot Jon Beesley. This was the first time that the aircraft had moved under its own power, the F-35 travelling at up to 30kts to test various systems, including brakes and nosewheel steering. Weather permitting, medium-speed taxi tests at 65kts and 85kts will come next, prior to the first flight.
All five of the first batch of Colombian Air Force EMB-314 Super Tucano aircraft, wearing test registrations PP-ZYA, PP-ZYB, PP-ZYC, PP-ZYD and PP-ZYE, but as yet devoid of Colombian serials, are seen in a hangar at Embraer's Gaviao Peixoto facility early on the morning of December 7, 2006, ready for the formal delivery ceremony later that day.