Air International 2002-08
Former Bulgarian Air Force Mi-8PS VIP helicopter 308, now civilian registered as LZ-ASM, is seen here in June at the TEREM Letetz maintenance facility at Sofia Airport-Northern Area awaiting overhaul after being sold in March 2002 to Sofia-based civil operator Aviostart. Three Bulgarian AF Mi-8Ts, 305, 306 and 314, have also been sold over the last couple of years to Heli Air, also based at Sofia, with two in use for spares and the other restored to flying condition. The other three surviving Bulgarian AF Mi-8Ts, 301, 302 and 303, were passed on to museums in May 2002, one to the 24th Air Base museum at Krumovo, one to the Bulgarian AF Museum, also at Krumovo and one to the Military History Museum in Sofia. One unserviceable Mi-17 was also sold in March to a Russian customer, together with two Mi-2s.
DHC-2 Beaver Mk 1 C-GMXS seen whilst operating with Air Tindi in 2000. More recently acquired by Sioux Narrows Airways, it crashed at Big Stone River, Manitoba, on September 25, 2001.
Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) F-5S 822, with an RAAF Hornet behind, was one of 60 RAAF and RSAF aircraft taking part in Exercise Pitch Black 2002, Australia’s largest air defence exercise, held roughly every two years. The air combat phase of the exercise was held this year between July 15 - August 2.
БПЛА "Скан Игл" A
Boeing’s ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle, built by the Insitu Group, seen during its first flight from Boeing's Boardman test facility in Oregon.
Maintenance personnel from the 418th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards AFB, California, prepare USAF Special Forces CV-22B prototype 164941 (‘Ship 9') for electronic countermeasures (ECM) testing at the base's Benefield Anechoic Facility in early July 2002. The tilt-rotor will spend around three months suspended from the ceiling of the chamber whilst the CV-22 Integrated Test Team tests the ECM package, dubbed the suite of integrated radio frequency countermeasures (SIRFC). Earlier testing has shown that some of the SIRFC antennae were not in optimal locations and following repositioning these new tests will determine how well they are now placed. Modifications have included an almost total structural rebuild of the tail fins to support repositioned SIRFC send and receive antennae on their aft sections, as they were experiencing interference from the tail structure in their previous locations. Other modifications have included adding radar absorbent material near other antennae to reduce reflections, re-routing wires and replacing the original fixed 16ft refuelling probe with an 18ft retractable one which sits flush with the nose when not in use. This saves a lot of work with the fixed probe, which had to be removed and then refixed during shipboard operational testing in order to get the aircraft from the hangar to the flight deck. The other CV-22B prototype, 164939 (‘Ship 7’), is expected to resume flight testing sometime in the late summer.
Airquarius Aviation HS 748-372 Srs 2B ZS-OJU, seen here in June 2001, was lost in a fatal crash on June 1, 2002.
Impression of the CN-235ER MPA in US Coast Guard colours.
Marking the end of commercial aircraft production at BAE Systems Woodford facility, the final production Avro RJ, RJ85 G-CBMH (c/n E2394), leaves Woodford on June 24, 2002 for Filton, where it has been placed in storage pending sale. A further four fuselages had been under assembly on the Woodford production line at the time of cancellation of the programme, but these have not been completed and are being scrapped.
Cessna celebrated a double milestone on June 7 with the simultaneous roll-out from the Wichita factory in Kansas of the 500th Cessna 525, Citation CJ1 N5213S (c/n 0500, to be N525CJ), right, and the 100th Cessna 525A Citation CJ2, N5225K (c/n 0100), left. Originally dubbed the Citationjet when it first flew in 1991, the basic model is now designated the CJ1, with 493 examples now in service in 280 countries. First delivery of the CJ2 which was developed from it took place in the year 2000 and 75 examples are now in service in seven countries.
Seen here recently at the Bombardier factory, Challenger 604 N521RF (c/n 5521, to be A37-001) is the first of three destined for the Royal Australian Air Force and was due for delivery in July 2002.
Eclipse Aviation rolled-out its first prototype Eclipse 500 six-seat, light business jet, N500EA (c/n EX500-100), at the Albuquerque International Sunport, New Mexico, on July 13, 2002, with flight testing scheduled to begin within the next few weeks. Priced at a unit cost of $837,500 per aircraft, the Eclipse 500 costs around a quarter that of other small business jets. Initial production is planned at around 110 per year, with first deliveries in 2004 and production rising to 200 per year by 2005, although with the modular assembly system production could reach 1,000 per year if there was sufficient demand.
Aero Vodochody’s prototype L159B tandem, two-seat advanced jet trainer, 6073, seen during its first flight on June 1, 2002, flown by chief test pilot Miroslav Schutzner and test pilot Rostislav Strain, from the Vodochody factory airfield.
New Belgian carrier VG Airlines has now taken delivery of all three of its former Sabena Airbus A330-223s, which are being leased from ILFC. The third example, OO-SFS, is seen here undertaking the first Los Angeles-Brussels flight on June 30, 2002. VG Airlines’ services began on May 23 with flights from Brussels to New York seven times per week, followed by addition of a five times per week flight to Boston on June 20, whilst the Los Angeles flight operates thrice weekly, with an onward connection from Brussels to Jerevan, Armenia.
Impression of the Bell Eagle Eye in US Coast Guard colours.
St Lucie County Sheriff’s Dept Agusta A119 N911SL, which had only been delivered in early May, 2002, crashed on June 11.
Boeing delivered the 100th F/A-18 Super Hornet in a ceremony at the St Louis factory in Missouri on June 14, 2002. The aircraft involved, a two-seat F/A-18F, is seen here at St Louis already fully painted up as ‘AB-101’ in the markings of Oceana, Virginia-based VFA-102 ‘Diamondbacks’, formerly VF-102, which is trading in its F-14B Tomcats in favour of the Super Hornet.
Kazan Helicopter Plant’s demonstrator Mil Mi-17V-5 96370 seen whilst displaying at the FIDAE 2002 air show at the beginning of April 2002, shortly before embarking on a Sotuh American demonstration tour during which it crashed in northern Chile on June 4.
Aerolineas Argentinas MD-88 LV-VGB seen operating its first service on flight number 'AR1132' into London/Gatwick from Madrid on June 18, 2002. The aircraft is now based at Madrid along with a second aircraft from the Argentine carrier’s fleet to operate an initial three services per week as the airline begins establishing a hub at the Spanish airport, from where it plans to serve further European destinations.
China Southern Airlines has taken delivery of the first Boeing 747-400F Freighter to be delivered to a Chinese carrier. The aircraft, 747-41BF B-2473 (c/n 32803) seen here, was handed-over at Everett, Washington, on June 19, 2002 and becomes the first all-cargo aircraft in the 110-strong China Southern fleet. It will enter service on the Shenzhen - Chicago - Shanghai - Shenzhen cargo route.
MIAT-Mongolian Airlines took delivery of its first winglet-equipped Boeing 737-800 on July 9, 2002. The aircraft, 737-8CX EI-CXV (c/n 32364) seen here, has been leased from GATX Capital and will enter service later in the month with the Ulaanbaatar-based carrier, serving destinations in China, Japan and Korea.
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing 737-7DF A36-001 (c/n 30790) seen in the Qantas hangar at Sydney following its arrival on June 26, 2002. The aircraft is the first of two BBJs for the RAAF which will be operated by Canberra-based 34 Squadron on lease from Qantas Defence Services.