Air International 2007-12
News: Headline, Military, Civil, Airshow, Accidents
Expanding Abu Dhabi-based freight operator Maximum Air Cargo has been operating Antonov An-124-100 Ruslan UR-ZYD (c/n 19530502843) for the last three years or so in an all white scheme, without titles, having largely been flying under contract to the UAE Ministry of Defence. At Dubai, however, the aircraft appeared after being repainted in Maximus colours and titles, although it is reported to be still operated on UAE Air Force contracts.
USAF/7 BW/9 BS, B-1B, 86-0133 'DY' on finals to RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, on October 6, 2007 after a three-engined ferry flight from Kandahar, Afghanistan. Note that the No 4 engine is not only missing, but there are not even any engine covers on the rear section of the empty engine bay. The aircraft had suffered Class A damage due to a serious fire in the No 4 engine whilst undertaking operations over Afghanistan on August 26 and made an emergency diversion to Kandahar. Due to limited repair facilities there, approval was eventually granted in mid-September for a ferry flight to a more secure location after some temporary repairs had been undertaken. Engineers are now continuing to assess whether the aircraft can be repaired at Fairford and hope that it can be returned to operational status within six months.
Royal Australian Air Force/33 Squadron Boeing 707-338C A20-629 'City of Sydney' touches down for the final time at RAAF Base Richmond, New South Wales, on October 31. The aircraft will now be used as a spares source for the only other 707 now remaining in RAAF service, which will also be retired in June 2008.
The first Block 52 upgraded aircraft for the Thunderbirds, F-16CJ 92-3880, is seen here at Hill AFB on October 24, 2007, the day of the official hand-over ceremony, but has now been flown to Nellis AFB, Nevada, for final Thunderbird modifications.
SOKO-built Aerospatiale SA.341G (HN-42M) Gazelle T9-AAB (c/n 037, ex 12809/Republic of Srpska Air Force and Jugoslav Air Force) is operated by the Police Helicopter Unit of the Republic of Srpska's Ministry of the Interior for law-enforcement and other operations. As the ethnic Serbian enclave of the Republic of Srpska is now being integrated into Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the helicopter has now gained a BiH registration and also wears the Bosnian flag on the tail.
Indian Navy Sea Harrier FRS.51s IN608 and IN606 from INAS 300, operating from the INS Viraat (R 22), formate on US Navy/VFA-102 F/A-18F Super Hornet 165894 ‘NF-100’ from the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) over the Bay of Bengal on September 7, 2007 during Exercise Malabar 07-02. The six-day exercise took place from September 4-9 and involved 150 aircraft and 28 ships from the Royal Australian Navy, Indian Navy, Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force, Republic of Singapore Navy and US Navy, The aim of the exercise was to improve interoperability between the participants, improving their anti-submarine warfare, anti-piracy, humanitarian and combat skills.
Indian Navy/INAS 300 Sea Harrier FRS.51 IN608 (foreground) seen whilst participating in Exercise Malabar 07-02 on September 7, 2007. This aircraft has now been identified as the one which crashed into the Bay of Bengal only two days later, on September 9, after the pilot ejected safely.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) undertook the world's first commercial service with the Airbus A380 on October 25, 2007, when its first aircraft, A380-841 9V-SKA (c/n 003), departed from Singapore to operate the appropriately numbered flight 'SQ380' to Sydney, Australia, carrying 455 passengers. The aircraft had been formally handed over to SIA at Toulouse on October 15, following which it was flown to Singapore, where it is seen here shortly after arrival on October 17.
NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy (SOFIA), highly modified Boeing 747SP-21 N747NA, is seen here on October 11, 2007 on its first flight test from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AirForce Base, California. The aircraft was airborne for five hours, during which the aircraft operated in restricted test airspace northwest of Edwards. Tests will initially verify the aerodynamics, structural integrity, stability and control of the aircraft. One of the major external modifications to the aircraft is a 16ft-high telescope cavity door in the rear fuselage for the 17 metric ton telescope inside. After door-closed flight testing, door-open flight tests are scheduled to begin in late 2008, following installation of the remaining elements of the observatory. The aircraft was modified by L-3 Communications Integrated Systems at Waco, Texas, and first flew on April 26, it was then delivered to Dryden on May 31.
Iranian Police Aviation Antonov/HESA IrAn-140 HESA 90-03 is seen here on approach to Tehran-Mehrabad Airport, Iran, on October 22, 2007. This is the first reported sighting of the type with Iranian Police Aviation. The aircraft is the third production IrAn-140 (c/n 90-03) and was previously reported as having been delivered to Iran's Safiran Airlines as EP-SFF in March 2005. Although now wearing Police Aviation titles and a large Iranian Police crest on the fin, the rudder still retains its previous Safiran colours.
Compass Airlines/Northwest Airlink Embraer 175LR N606CZ (c/n 170-00188, ex PT-SUH) was form ally handed-over at the Sao Jose dos Campos factory on October 24, 2007 and is the 300th E-Jet to be delivered. The milestone has been achieved in just over 3 1/2 years since the first aircraft was delivered in March 2004. Northwest ordered 36 Embraer 175s a year ago for its subsidiary Compass Airlines, which operates under the Northwest Airlink brand name, with the first of these having been delivered in July, whilst the 300th E-Jet was the fifth for Compass.
Eurofighter Typhoon Instrumented Production Aircraft Six ZJ938 (IPA6/BS031) powers off the runway at BAE Systems' facility in Warton, Lancashire, for its maiden flight on November 1, 2007. Flown by BAE Systems Typhoon test pilot Mark Bowman, the aircraft lifted off at 1306hrs and was airborne for 54 minutes. Although essentially a Tranche 1 standard aircraft, it is fitted with the full Tranche 2 mission computer suite and avionics and its initial primary tasking will be to gain Type Acceptance for Block 8, the first capability standard for Tranche 2 Typhoons, expected in April 2008. The first aircraft to full Tranche 2 build standard will be a Manching produced German aircraft, IPA7/GS029, which is expected to make its first flight by the end of 2007.
Pilatus PC-21 HB-HYB (c/n 104), destined for the Swiss Air Force as A-101, taxies out at Stans-Buochs on August 23, 2007 prior to making its first flight. The aircraft is one of two Swiss Air Force aircraft now test flying, whilst the third, A-103 (c/n 105), should also have flown by the time these words are read. The first two aircraft are currently being used to train Swiss Air Force instructors, who are scheduled to commence the first student pilot training course in spring 2008, when all six aircraft on order should be ready to enter service.
London-Lutin-based Silverjet has further expanded its fleet with the addition of Boeing 767-204ER G-SILC (c/n 24736, ex G-BRIF/Thomsonfly), which appeared at the Show fresh out of the paint shop of Maastricht Aviation Aircraft Services in Holland, where it was rolled out on November 5, 2007, incorporating for the first time a new logo on the fin. The aircraft was in Dubai to promote the all-business class airline's new Luton to Dubai service, which commences on November 18.
Provincial Aerospace Dash-8-102A maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) C-GRNN (c/n 314), wearing the colours of the Coast Guard for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, seen in Canada on July 18, 2007 after completion of conversion to MPA configuration. The aircraft formally took over surveillance duties around the island nations' coastlines on October 12, replacing two Royal Netherlands Air Force Fokker 60MPAs that had previously been undertaking these duties.
Dr Issam Khairallah, President of new UAE-based carrier Midex Airlines, announced at the Show on November 12, 2007 that operations by the carrier are expected to commence by the end of 2007. He said the airline received its licence for cargo and passenger operations earlier this year and initially daily scheduled cargo flights will be operated to six major destinations from a hub at Al Ain Airport. These will comprise Dhaka, Bangladesh; Paris-Orly, France; Kochin and Mumbai in India; Beirut, Lebanon; and Istanbul, Turkey. Passenger operations will commence at a later date. Aircraft acquisitions are well under way and a fleet of six Airbus A300B4 Freighters has already been purchased. Seen here on static display at Dubai is the first Midex aircraft, A300B4-203F Freighter A6-MDB (c/n 196, ex N372PC), which was acquired earlier this year, but has only just gained a UAE registration.
The RAF's first RQ-9 Reaper UAV, ZZ200 (c/n 109, USAF/07-109), takes off from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, on one of its first missions on October 20, 2007. The UAV currently carries both its RAF serial (just aft of the wing) and USAF serial (on the dorsal fin, which also carries a 39 Squadron badge).
Newly converted Ejercito del Aire (EdA - Spanish Air Force) CN-235MPA maritime patrol aircraft T.19B-12/D.4-01 (c/n E A02-10-C 0 50/89) seen on approach to San Pablo Airport, Spain, on October 30, 2007, whilst test flying from the EADS CASA facility there. The aircraft is the first of six former transport CN-235-100Ms from Ala 35 at Getafe that are being converted to search and rescue aircraft, fitted with the EADS CASA FITS (Fully Integrated Tactical System), search radar, a forward-looking infra-red turret and Link 11 datalink. Although wearing its original serial T.19B-12 on the fin, under the cockpit the aircraft also carries new serial D.4-01, this being in line with the serial system adopted previously by the EdA for its SAR aircraft.
Artist’s concept of the planned new Learjet NXT model being developed by Bombardier.
Over 14 years after its last flight, ex-RAF Vulcan B.2 XH558/G-VLCN lifts off the runway at Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire, on October 18, 2007 for its maiden flight after completion of a mammoth restoration project.
Iraqi Air Force (IqAF) trainee pilots take-off from Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq, on October 31, 2007, for their first training sortie in newly delivered IqAF Cessna 172 YI-131. Training is being conducted by USAF personnel from the newly formed 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron, which is primarily tasked with teaching fixed- and rotary-wing piloting skills to IqAF airmen. Iraq has 18 Cessna 172s on order, plus options on a further ten, under a contract signed with the manufacturer on August 3. The first two arrived at Kirkuk in containers on board a USAF C-17A on October 19 and after re-assembly the first aircraft reflew on October 24. The IqAF Flying Training School at Kirkuk is scheduled to receive 12 of these, with four more due by the end of 2007 and the remaining six in 2008.
NASA Northrop T-38A Talon 963/N963NA (ex 59-1603), previously operated by the NASA Lyndon B Johnson Space Center at Ellington Air National Guard Base, Houston, Texas, was finally retired on November 5, 2007, when it was flown to the Flight Path Learning Center and Museum at Los Angeles International Airport, California, for preservation. The aircraft was one of the first production Talons, originally delivered to the US Air Force on January 31, 1961.
Seen here taking off from Gifu at 0930hrs on September 28, 2007 to undertake its maiden flight is Kawasaki P-X maritime patrol aircraft prototype 5501. The aircraft was airborne for one hour before returning to land back at Gifu. On the occasion of the first flight, it was also announced that the prototype has now been designated the XP-1, whilst production aircraft will use the designation P-1. The aircraft, together with the C-X transport, was unveiled at Gifu earlier this year. A second flight by the XP-1 was undertaken on October 17. Although the C-X was also scheduled to fly during September and taxi tests have been undertaken, unspecified structural problems have been discovered and the maiden flight has now been delayed until around December.
Indian Navy Sea Harrier FRS.51s IN608 and IN606 from INAS 300, operating from the INS Viraat (R 22), formate on US Navy/VFA-102 F/A-18F Super Hornet 165894 ‘NF-100’ from the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) over the Bay of Bengal on September 7, 2007 during Exercise Malabar 07-02. The six-day exercise took place from September 4-9 and involved 150 aircraft and 28 ships from the Royal Australian Navy, Indian Navy, Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force, Republic of Singapore Navy and US Navy, The aim of the exercise was to improve interoperability between the participants, improving their anti-submarine warfare, anti-piracy, humanitarian and combat skills.
Indian Navy/INAS 300 Sea Harrier FRS.51 IN608 (foreground) seen whilst participating in Exercise Malabar 07-02 on September 7, 2007. This aircraft has now been identified as the one which crashed into the Bay of Bengal only two days later, on September 9, after the pilot ejected safely.
Indian Air Force Hawk (IAF) Mk 132 A3488/ZK129 (HT009) departs BAE Systems' company airfield at Warton, Lancashire, on November 8, 2007 at the commencement of its delivery flight. The aircraft was one of the first two to be delivered to the lAF and both arrived in India on November 13, 2007.
Spanish Arma Aerea del La Armada (Navy) Cessna 650 Citation VII U21-01 '01-408' (c/n 7079, ex N779VP) from Escuadrilla 004 at Rota, seen here visiting Alicante on October 24, 2007, is a relatively new addition to the Navy VIP transport fleet. The aircraft was delivered to Rota via St Johns, Newfoundland, and Lajes in the Azores on April 1, joining three Cessna 550 Citation IIs that have served with Esc 004 since December 1982.
A computer generated image of Boeing's concept for a twin-engined High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) unmanned air vehicle (UAV). Boeing announced on October 24, 2007 that, using a Ford Motor Company-developed hydrogen engine, it has successfully tested the hydrogen propulsion system for its HALE UAV. The engine was run for nearly four days in a controlled chamber at the Aurora Flight Sciences facility in Manassas, Virginia, including three days simulating conditions at 65,000ft. The Boeing HALE is designed to remain airborne for more than seven days and carry payloads of up to 2,000lbs for applications such as battlefield persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, border observation, port security and telecommunications.
AMC Airlines MD-83 SU-BOY seen at Istanbul-Attaturk Airport, Turkey, on October 12, 2007, the day after it overshot the runway on landing there whilst making an emergency diversion.
On static display throughout the show was Boeing 737-7ES Peace Eagle airborne early warning and control aircraft N356BJ (c/n 33962, to be 06-001), which is the first of four destined for the Turk Hava Kuvvetleri (THK - Turkish Air Force). First flown after installation of its mission systems on September 6, 2007, it was later painted in THK colours at Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington, where it was rolled out on October 14. The aircraft left Boeing Field for the Show on November 8, routing initially to Bangor, Maine, and then departing the following day via Rome/Ciampino, Italy, for Dubai. It will return to Seattle after the Show to continue functional checkout of the mission systems, with full development flight testing due to commence in 2008. Delivery to the THK is not expected until 2010.
In an announcement on October 16, 2007, the Australian Antarctic Division confirmed that final preparations are under way to commence Australia’s new Antarctic air link to support the country's Antarctic programme. The aircraft to be used for the service, three-year old Airbus Corporate Jet/A319-115LR VH-VHD (c/n 19991, is leased to Australian operator Skytraders Pty Ltd of Sydney, which is operating it on behalf of the Government. As seen here, the aircraft is now newly painted and carries small 'Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources - Australian Antarctic Division’ titles just behind the forward passenger door. The aircraft is now in Hobart for ground crew and pilot training, prior to commencing operations on the air link from Hobart to an ice runway at Wilkins, 43 miles (70km) southeast of the AAD base at Casey Station, Antarctica. The A319CJ will complement two ski/wheel-equipped Skytraders CASA C-212-400s already operating for AAD within Antarctica.
CSA Czech Airlines Boeing 737-55S OK-DGL (c/n 28472), seen here at Skopje International Airport, Macedonia, on October 3, 2007, is the first of the carrier's aircraft to be painted in its new, modern livery. The styling is intended to finally break away from CSA's previous, outdated Communist-era scheme, to appropriately reflect the airline's modern and customer-orientated philosophy.
Seen departing from Terminal 2 at Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, Sweden, on October 20, 2007 is Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-33A LN-KKS (c/n 24094), newly painted in a special UNICEF scheme. The artwork was designed by a 12 year old girl, Katarina Thraning, who was one of 4,000 entrants to come up with a scheme in a competition, and was unveiled following the announcement on October 17 by Norwegian of a three-year deal to assist in raising funds for the children's charity.
SAS Dash 8-Q402 LN-RDI seen at Copenhagen-Kastrup Airport, Denmark, following collapse of its main undercarriage on landing there on October 27, 2007.
SpiceJet Boeing 737-9GJER VT-SPT undertakes a final test flight from Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington, on November 3, 2007. On November 7 the aircraft, the first 737-900ER for the Indian airline, was formally handed over. SpiceJet ordered five 737-900ERs and five 737-800s in a deal announced at the 2006 Asian Aerospace Air Show in Singapore.
Yemenis Boeing 737-808 70-ADQ (c/n 30728) undertakes a test flight from Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington, on September 28, 2007. The aircraft, which is on an eight-year lease from International Lease Finance Corporation, is the fourth 737-800 for the airline and departed Boeing Field on October 15 on delivery to the carrier's home base at Sana’a International Airport, Yemen.
Computer generated image of how the Lockheed Martin ACCA flight demonstrator, based on a Dornier 328Jet, is expected to look.