Air International 1996-07
A new UK operator with the ubiquitous Dak is South Coast Airways (SCA) which has acquired C-47A Dakota 3 G-DAKK, luxuriously refurbished with a 32-seat interior. The company is the brainchild of husband and wife team Andrew and Geraldine Dixon, who fly as pilot and stewardess respectively. Based at Bournemouth, SCA will be operating charters in true 1940’s style with period crew uniforms and in flight catering reminiscent of the period.
In contrast to the scheme on the Greek Air Force’s A-7Hs, the A-7Es which came from surplus US Navy stocks in 1994 had a wrap-around brown-green camouflage applied at NAD Jacksonville, Florida, before delivery. However, Hellenic Aerospace Industries has now begun to apply the new scheme seen here on 160557, which includes an extended white underside similar to that on the A-7Hs. The first A-7E in the new colours was delivered to 335 Mira Taktikis Vomvardismou (Tactical Fighter-Bomber Squadron) at Araxos during April 1996. In addition, the two squadrons of 116 Pteriga Mahis (Fighter Wing) at Araxos (335 and 336 MTV) are due to receive another eight to ten A-7Es, currently stored by HAI at Tanagra, by summer 1997.
Austrian Air Force/4 Fliegerstaffel Pilatus PC-6/B2-H2 Turbo Porter 3G-EK was recently painted in this Blaue Liesl (Blue Lisa) scheme to take part in a ceremony at Langenlebarn air base on May 23 1996 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the type in Austrian service. Some 12 PC-6s were initially delivered to Austria and although one was lost in 1984 an attrition replacement two years later brought 4 Fist back to full strength again.
A sad sight at Preveza military reserve airfield (which has now been renamed Aktion) in Greece during April 1996 were these Greek Air Force F-84F Thunderstreaks which, despite having been derelict in open storage for well over a decade, were declared under the CFE Treaty as front line fighter aircraft. Therefore, to comply with arms reductions under the provisions of the Treaty, all have been savagely hacked with a mechanical digger, destroying any chance of them even now being given to museums. A similar fate has befallen the many F-84Fs in store at Athens/Hellenikon.
Resplendent in American West Airlines’ new colour scheme, Airbus A320-232 N642AW (c/n 584) is the first of a batch of 30 on order for the airline for delivery over the next four years. American West took delivery of its first A320 in 1991 and already operates 16 Srs 231s and four Srs 232s.
Former USAir BAe 146-200 N171US in desert storage at Mojave, California, on October 6, 1994, having been there since retirement in May 1991
Former USAir BAe 146-200 N171US following extensive refurbishment by Marshall Aerospace, as G-DEBA, the first aircraft for new UK carrier Debonair Airways.
Latest addition to Brian Lecomber’s well-established Firebird Aerobatics display aircraft is the brand new Extra 300L G-MIII sponsored by Microlease, seen here just passing the vertical in a loop near Denham during a demonstration flight on June 12, 1996. Firebird’s Extra 300 duo, sponsored by Rover and MG, became established on the display circuit last year but the new Extra 300L is the first in the UK. This latest variant features a new low-wing in place of the previous mid-wing layout, making for much better visibility, a slightly shorter fuselage, increased span ailerons and a number of other refinements. Its performance is even better than the earlier models, with a roll rate in excess of 400° per second whilst the airframe is stressed to plus/minus 23G, although limited to plus/minus 10 for a single pilot and plus/minus 8 with a passenger.
Finnish Air Force F/A-18C Hornet HN-401, the first to be assembled locally by Valmet, seen during its first flight from Haiti on May 14, 1996.
All three Lockheed ER-2 high-altitude research aircraft operated by the NASA Ames Research Center were recently flown together for the first, and possibly last, time. Flying over the old airship hangars at their home base at Moffett Field, California, in the foreground is NASA 706/80-1063 which has since moved to the Skunk Works at Palmdale for re-engining with the GE F118 engine, in common with its USAF U-2R counterparts. The other two (NASA 708/80-1069 and NASA 709/80-1097) will also follow it in turn, although 708, which is on loan from the USAF, may be returned as a replacement for the U-2R lost at Fairford, UK, in a fatal take off crash last year.
Following unveiling of the cloak of secrecy surrounding the Tacit Blue programme, the aircraft is seen here on May 22, 1996 at the USAF Museum, Wright-Patterson AFB, during its official public unveiling and hand-over to the museum after refurbishment. It was noted that the aircraft is completely devoid of any kind of serial or nationality markings.
Artist’s impression of the Stavatti Stalma, an advanced multi-role aircraft design recently unveiled by the American Stavatti Corporation, a company previously unknown in the field.