Air International 2007-04
News: Headline, Military, Civil, Airshow
BAE Systems Harrier GR.9 development aircraft ZD320 is seen here at Warton, Lancashire, on February 14, 2007 carrying a total of 12 Brimstone anti-armour missiles during weapons integration trials. The weapon, which first entered. RAF service on the Tornado GR.4 in April 2005, had only previously been carried on the Harrier by GR.7A and T.10 development aircraft. Without the 250 Imp gal drop tanks seen here, the GR.9 could add a further three Brimstones on each inner pylon, allowing carriage of a maximum of 18. Trials with the weapon are being undertaken as part of capability increment D of the GR.9 Capability Improvement Programme and Brimstone has yet to see operational service on the Harrier.
SAR-configured Sikorsky S-92A N8010S (c/n 92-0034), now G-CGMU, was handed over to the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) on March 1, 2007 at Heli-Expo and is the first of four that will be operated on behalf of the MCA for SAR duties around the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
US Air Force/1st Fighter Wing/27th Fighter Squadron F-22A Raptor 03-4049 'FF' touches down at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, on February 7, 2007 for a layover before continuing to Kadena Air Base, Japan. The aircraft was one of 12 Raptors from the unit deploying to Kadena on the type's first operational overseas deployment. Although they were planned to fly on to Kadena on February 10, the aircraft turned back to Hickam shortly after departure after a 'software issue' affecting the navigation system was discovered. It was later revealed that as the first pair of aircraft crossed the International Date Line, multiple computer systems on the Raptors 'crashed', including fuel sub-systems, navigation computers and some communications. Although numerous attempts were made in flight to re-boot the systems, this was to no avail and they were forced to return to Hawaii, using their support tankers as guides, in the absence of any navigation systems. Within 48hrs, a software fix had been developed and installed, but then this had to be thoroughly tested before it was considered safe for the aircraft to continue. As a result, the first two aircraft did not arrive at Kadena until February 16, with the remainder following over the next few days.
General Electric's Boeing 747-121 flying test-bed aircraft, N747GE, gets airborne from Victorville, California, on February 22, 2007 for the first time with a GEnx-IB powerplant mounted on the port inboard engine pylon. The flight marked the commencement of flight-testing with the new engine for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The 747 had to be specially modified to manage the electrical load from the GEnx's two starter-generators and to provide the required power for electrical ground and air starts. Around three flights per week will be undertaken over the next three months for the initial programme, prior to a second series of test later this year. Certification is planned for September 2007.
Embraer EMB-145XR N11189, seen here on January 26, 2007, is one of the first aircraft to be painted in ExpressJet Airlines new livery, following the carrier's decision to operate 44 aircraft under its own brand. All ExpressJet aircraft had previously only flown in Continental Express colours.
Frontier Airlines announced on March 6, 2007 that over the previous weekend it had taken delivery of its first two Embraer 170 regional jets from Republic Airlines and put them into service operating from Denver, Colorado, to Albuquerque, El Paso, Indianapolis and Omaha. Frontier had announced a long-term airline service agreement with Republic on January 11, under which Republic will operate 17 Embraer 170s on Frontier regional jet services, with all 17 due to enter service by December 2008. Seen here on February 25 shortly after repaint in Frontier colours is one of the first aircraft, Embraer 170-100SE N871RW (c/n 170-00140). Republic replaces Frontier's current regional jet operator, Horizon Air, which took back the first two of nine CRJ700s in January 2007, with its last aircraft due to return in December 2007.
Artist's impression of the Boeing HH-47 which was selected in November 2006 as the winner of the USAF CSAR-X competition. The GAO has, however, now recommended re-bidding of the contract for the USAF's new combat search and rescue helicopter.
Japanese Coast Guard Saab 340SAR-200 JA953A/SE-C62 'MA-953' (c/n 362) prepares for departure from a very wintry Linkoping, Sweden, on February 10, 2007 for its delivery flight to Japan. The aircraft is the second of two that were converted to search and rescue configuration for Japan by Saab at Linkoping under a contract signed in December 2005.
Boeing 787 programme partner Spirit AeroSystems of Wichita, Kansas, announced on February 15, 2007 that it has begun production of the first all-composite forward fuselage section for the prototype Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Measuring 42ft long and 21ft in diameter, the section, seen here in the factory on February 2, follows on from three developmental units produced by the company over the last two years. Once completed, the section will be shipped on board a 747-400LCF Dreamlifter to Everett, Washington, for final assembly, which is scheduled to commence in the second-quarterof 2007, with first flight still expected at the end of August.
Three EADS CASA CN-235-300 SM01 maritime surveillance aircraft were handed-over to the Spanish Ministry of Infrastructures on February 26, 2007 at the factory in Seville, Spain. The aircraft are scheduled to become operational this summer, their main role being maritime search and rescue and pollution control within Spain’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Two-seat Czech Air Force (CzAF) Aero Vodochody L-159T1 6069 lifts off from the factory airfield at Vodochody at 1444hrs on March 8, 2007 for its maiden flight after being rebuilt from a single-seat CzAF L-159A. The aircraft is the first of four planned conversions and will serve as the prototype whilst test flying is undertaken.
Seen arriving at Tikkakoski Air Base on delivery to the Finnish Air Force on March 6, 2007, coinciding with the 89th anniversary of the Air Force, is EADS CASA C-295M CC-1 (c/n 035). This is the first of two ordered in May 2005 to replace the current Fokker F27s, whilst options are held on a further five.
Premiair announced on February 13, 2007 that it has been awarded an exclusive contract to operate London Battersea Heliport by its new owners, Von Essen Hotels, which acquired the site from Weston pic. The company plans a major new hotel development that will incorporate a new passenger terminal tor the heliport. Von Essen Aviation's S-76 G-VONA is seen here departing Battersea on February 8.
Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) EC120B Colibri 9203 seen at Seletar Air Base on January 26, 2007, on which date all five RSAF EC120Bs were formally commissioned into service with 124 Squadron. Deliveries of the new training helicopters had commenced last September under a Public-Private-Partnership contract with ST Aerospace.
Bell 429 prototype C-GBLL (c/n 54801) makes its first flight at Montreal/Mirabel on February 28, 2007.
A full-scale mock-up of HAL's proposed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) was unveiled for the first time at Aero India 2007. HAL is developing the LCH for the Indian Army, which has a requirement for around 70 anti-armour helicopters that will be capable of supporting troops on high altitude battlefields. HAL chairman Ashok K Baweja stated at the show on February 8, 2007 that the prototype LCH was expected to make its first flight by September/October 2008.
Hawk Mk 132 ZK122 (HT002, to be A3481), the second aircraft for the Indian Air Force, takes off from Warton, Lancashire for its first flight on January 16, 2007. After a successful sortie, the aircraft had to divert into Blackpool Airport on its return due to a runway incident involving a Tornado at Warton and remained at Blackpool for three days before returning to Warton on January 19. A further two aircraft are expected to fly shortly.
First flight of the second Boeing 747-400LCF Dreamlifter took place at Taipei-Taoyuan International Airport on February 16, 2007. The aircraft was converted from 747-409 N780BA (c/n 24310), not N249BA(c/n 24309) as previously reported when the aircraft was rolled out on January 7 - the latter is allocated as the third aircraft for conversion. The second aircraft was expected to be delivered to the USA in a matter of weeks and Boeing reports that, after several delays late last year, the flight test programme is now proceeding well, with US Federal Aviation Administration certification anticipated within the next few months.
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 G-FLTL (c/n 49790, ex OE-LHG) was officially registered to Flightline Ltd at Southend, Essex, on December 31, 2006, becoming the first MD-83 on the UK register. It is seen here'at Southend on January 20 and departed on January 30 to East Midlands but will be based at Dublin to operate charters from there on behalf of Aviajet (MAP Executive Flightservice), for which it had already been operating using its previous registration. Two other MD-83s operated for Aviajet will also take up UK marks as G-FLTK and G-FLTM (c/n 49966, ex OE-LJE).
Whilst the A380 falls behind, Airbus is ramping up production of the A320 to cater for increasing demand, with a second production line due to be established at Hamburg alongside the A318/A319/A321. Latest milestone for the A318 was first flight of A318-121 F-WWDA (c/n 3001, ex D-AUAI), destined for LAN Chile as CC-CVA, from the Airbus facility at Hamburg/Finkenwerder, Germany, on February 16, 2007. The aircraft is the first production A318 powered by Pratt & Whitney PW6000 engines and is due for entry into service with LAN Chile in May.
New low-cost Saudi Arabian carrier Sama Airlines was scheduled to commence domestic services on March 18, 2007. The airline's third aircraft, Boeing 737-33A HZ-DRW (c/n 25138, ex PK-GGS of Garuda), is seen here on March 6 at Southend Airport. Essex, shortly after roll-out from the Air Livery paint shop after respray into Sama colours. The aircraft left Southend on March 7 on its delivery flight to Damman International Airport, Saudi Arabia, one of the longest direct flights ever undertaken from Southend. The airline has already taken delivery of 737-3M8 HZ-BBK (c/n 25016, ex ZK-FDM/Airwork NZ) and 737-3Y0 HZ-DMO
Newly acquired former dba Boeing 737-3L9 D-AGEJ seen on January 23, 2007 after being repainted in the new yellow colour scheme, together with special tail and rear fuselage markings to promote Leipzig-Halle Airport and two famous German composers. The port side of the fin features 'Leipzig' titles and a picture of Bach, whilst the starboard side has 'Halle' titles and a picture of Handel. The aircraft entered TUIfly service on February 17. TUI Group had announced on January 15 that two of its airlines, Hapagfly and HLX (Hapag-Lloyd Express), would operate under the unified brand, headquartered at Hanover, from April 2007 with all 56 aircraft of the two airlines being progressively repainted in the new colours over a period of 12-20 months.
23 января 2007г.: в Мохаве, Калифорния, совершил первый полет Boeing 737-300 Co-operative Avionics Testbed (N35LX), или "CATBird", предназначенный для отработки оборудования истребителя F-35 JSF. Самолет получил полный комплект бортовой электроники JSF, включая оборудование кабины пилота F-35, а также 20 мест для испытателей.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co's Boeing 737-330 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Co-operative Avionics Testbed (CAT) N35LX (c/n 23528), dubbed the 'CAT-bird', arrives at Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth, Texas, facility, on March 2, 2007 from Mojave, California, where it had undertaken its maiden flight on January 23.
Swedish low-cost carrier FlyMe Sweden, which commenced operations in 2004, abruptly cancelled all flights on March 2, 2007, saying that it had insufficient cash to continue operations and will file for bankruptcy as soon as possible. The airline’s six leased Boeing 737-300s were immediately parked at their base and operations have been shut down. Headquartered at Gothenburg and serving four Swedish and 15 European destinations, the airline was never profitable and failed to gain a serious foothold in the cut-throat Swedish market. FlyMe Boeing 737-33A SE-RCP is seen here on December 17, 2006.
The first AFRC C-40C, 05-0730 (c/n 34807, ex N365BJ), based on a 737-7DM airframe, is seen here during final pre-delivery test flying on February 20, 2007. The aircraft was handed-over in a formal ceremony at Scott AFB, Illinois, on February 28.
Boeing 737-781ER JA10AN (c/n 33879, ex N716BA), seen here during a test flight on January 15, 2007, departed Seattle, Washington, on February 16 at the beginning of its delivery flight to All Nippon Airways (ANA), the launch customer for the new variant.
Now painted in Japanese Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) colours after flying unpainted for some time, Boeing KC-767J N763TT/'601' (c/n 34844) deploys its refuelling boom for the first time during a test flight over western Kansas on February 17, 2007. Delivery of the first aircraft to the JASDF was scheduled to take place in March.