Air International 2012-05
The MiG-31 Foxhound remains an important air defence fighter with 100 aircraft due to remain in service.
A batch of three Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoots of the Turkmenistan Air Force departed Kubinka air base outside Moscow on March 31, 2012 having been overhauled by the 121 Aviatsionny Remontny Zavod (aviation repair facility). The aircraft (including '05' blue, seen here) returned to Mary, where they are based. This is the second batch to have been worked on at Kubinka.
AgustaWestland AW101 Mk 510 G-17-510 (c/n 50012) was noted wearing an unusual roundel in March 2012, with its B-class registration toned down. The helicopter had been painted for scenes in Skyfall, the latest James Bond film currently in production, and is seen operating close to the Surrey border on March 18.
Twelve US Air National Guard (ANG) McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagles transited through Moron Air Base outside Seville, Spain, on April 5, 2012. The fighters were on their way to start a deployment at an unidentified base in Southwest Asia. Six of the aircraft (84-0013, -0016 seen here, -0018, -0023, 85-0125 and 86-0158) came from the 131st Fighter Squadron (FS), 104th Fighter Wing (FW) of the Massachusetts ANG, while an equal number (82-0010, -0017, -0022, -0036, -0037, and 83-0041) belong to the 122nd FS, 159th FW of the Louisiana ANG. The deployment is the first for the 104th FW since it replaced its A-10 Thunderbolts in 2007.
The 4,500th F-16 to be delivered was officially handed over during a ceremony at Fort Worth on April 3, 2012. It carries titles marking the fact on its fin.
Polish Air Force F-16C Block 52 4066 returns to Ovda after training with Israeli F-16s against the aggressors.
Egyptian Air Force F-16C Block 52 9751 seen during its maiden flight on April 6, 2012.
Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II ZM135 (build number BK-1) - the first for the United Kingdom - completed its maiden flight on April 13, 2012. Test pilot Bill Gigliotti lifted the aircraft off from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, and was airborne for approximately 40 minutes, returning to the airfield early after experiencing an hydraulic problem. The aircraft is seen on approach at the end of the sortie, followed by a Lockheed Martin F-16D chase aircraft. BK-1 was rolled out on November 20, 2011. It is the first international F-35 to fly.
The Chilean Air Force's latest Boeing KC-135E Stratotanker on display at FIDAE.
A ceremony was held at BA103 Cambrai-Epinoy on March 30, 2012 to mark the end of operations by Escadron de Chasse (EC) 1/12 'Cambresis', one of the founding members of NATO's Tiger Association. One of the unit's Mirage 2000C-RDIs (103/'103-YN‘, c/n 367, seen here) was painted in a special scheme as part of the event. The heritage of SPA162 'Tigres', the tiger unit within EC 1/12, was passed to the Dassault Rafale-equipped EC 1/7 'Provence'.
NH90 NZ3304 is seen at Marignane in France during a test flight, one of the nine that will be delivered to the RNZAF.
P-3M Orion P3M-08/'22-31' is seen taxiing to the Cassidian apron at Cetafe Air Base on March 16, 2012 after its third test flight. The aircraft was airborne for three hours.
The US Air Force HH-60G fleet is being worn down by serving alongside US Army helicopters in the medical evacuation mission.
Boeing C-17A Globemaster III N9500N (build number P-217, ex 10-0217) is believed to be the eighth example for the RAF. The civil registration had previously been used for test flights of C-17As for foreign customers, including Canada, Qatar and the UAE. The transport is seen taking off from Daugherty Field/Long Beach Airport, California, on March 21, 2012.
Ilyushin Il-76TD Candid EZ-F426 (c/n 1033418609) of Turkmenistan Airlines was noted at Kubinka, outside Moscow, on April 3, 2012. The transport arrived at the base to support Turkmenistan Air Force Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoots being overhauled there.
Lockheed Martin test pilot Bret Luedke took the final F-22A Raptor to be built on its maiden flight on March 14, 2012 at Marietta, Georgia. The aircraft (10-4195/'AK') is the last of 187 production Raptors for the US Air Force. It is due to be handed over to the service in May and will serve with the 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska.
The three A109Es during their final mission on March 9, 2012. The helicopters are N42-501 (front, c/n 11501, ex VH-NPY), -505 (right, c/n 11505, ex F-GLEI) and -510 (left, c/n 11510, ex VH-NPZ).
AgustaWestland AW139 N488SM (c/n 41283) is one of two recently handed over to the Egyptian Air Force.
Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EGO (c/n 35598) was delivered to Emirates on March 20, 2012, arriving the next day at Dubai International Airport. The airliner is the 1,000th example of the widebody and carries markings proclaiming the milestone on its rear fuselage. The airliner is seen making a test flight at Paine Field/King County International Airport, Washington, on the day it was handed over.
Bombardier CRJ200 (CL-600-2B19) VQ-BOM (msn 7707, ex N486CA) for new Russian airline Ak Bars Aero was rolled out of the paint shop of Muskoka Aircraft Refinishing at Muskoka Airport, Ontario, Canada, on March 12, 2012. It had formerly served with Mexicanalink as XA-OMI. The pilots accepting the aircraft arrived in CRJ200 VQ-BOQ (ex-XA-IMI), still in basic Mexicanalink colours, which is due to be the second of six to be repainted for the Russian airline.
The first Embraer 190-100AR for Bulgaria Air is seen during pre-delivery flight tests wearing the test registration PT-TPQ. It was ferried from Sao Jose dos Campos-Professor Urbano Ernesto Stumpf Airport to Sofia Airport between March 9 and 10, 2012.
Seen taking-off from Getafe AB where it was assembled on April 9, 2012 is C16-51, is the 30th single-seat Eurofighter Tifon for the EJercito del Aire (Spanish Air Force). The aircraft lacks a fin-mounted unit badge and squadron code and is believed to be one of the first due to be assigned to Ala 14. This unit, based at Albacete, is due to receive its first four to eight Tifons in May, although it's still not clear if they will carry Ala 14's own badge and codes or if the aircraft will be borrowed from Ala 11 at Moron AB.
Swiss Air Force Pilatus PC-21 A-107 (c/n 153) has been noted recently wearing the civil registration HB-HYE for a series of unidentified tests for armasuisse, the Swiss arms agency. The aircraft is seen at holding-position 7 at Buochs in Switzerland on March 13, 2012 before taking-off using the callsign Tester 51.
Royal Netherlands Air Force CH-47D Chinook D-101 is seen returning from a mission to its forward operating base at Carlisle Airport, Cumbria, during Exercise Tac Blaze 2012/1.
The model of the upgraded Boeing 767 MMTT displayed by Bedek at the Singapore Airshow.
As part of its April 2, 2012 filing for court protection under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code, Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines Corp, which owns Colgan Air, will end Saab 340B flying for United Express.
Lockheed AC-130W Stinger II 88-1306 is seen on runway 29 at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, after arriving at the base early on March 29, 2012. The aircraft is operated by the 73rd Special Operations Squadron, 27th Special Operations Wing, based at Cannon AFB, New Mexico. The MC-130W Dragon Spear was renamed the AC-130W Stinger II in 2011. Dragon Spear was an MC-130W Combat Spear equipped with the roll-on/roll-off Precision Strike Package, comprising a GAU-23/A Bushmaster II 30mm cannon and sensor suite. The AC-130W was making its debut (since the redesignation) at the US Air Force Europe air base.
Recapitalisation of the Russian Air Force tactical air arm fleet includes the Su-34 Fullback.
The Italian Air Force has received two of the six T-346As it has on order.
Air Malta has painted Airbus A320-214 9H-AEO (msn 2768, ex F-WWDK) in this scheme to support Valletta's bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2018. The airliner was repainted at Shannon in Ireland, and returned to Malta on March 23, 2012, appropriately using the call sign KM2018. The text along the fuselage reads 'Valletta - European Capital of Culture 2018 - Candidate City'.
Low-cost carrier Iberia Express commenced operations on March 25, 2012 with four domestic services from its base at Madrid to Palma, Seville, Malaga and Alicante. Two Airbus A320s were operational with the carrier at the time, with others due to join the fleet as it expands its route network within the next few weeks to serve 17 destinations by the summer. A320-211 EC-FNR (msn 323, formerly with Vueling, ex EC-885) is seen on final approach to Palma de Mallorca Airport after completing the very first revenue flight (IBS2448) from Madrid.
On March 25, 2012, Boeing delivered 787-846 Dreamliners JA822J (c/n 34832, ex N1003W) and JA825J (c/n 34835, ex N1006F) to Japan Airlines, marking the first handover of a GEnx-1B (-1B64s) -powered version with a ceremony at Paine Field/Snohomish County Airport, Washington. Both airliners were ferried to Tokyo/Haneda and Tokyo/Narita respectively on March 26/27. JA822J is seen about to depart Paine Field.
The RAF's primary Short Tucano T1 display aircraft for the 2012 season will be ZF269. It was painted in the special markings at its home base of RAF Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, as was the back-up aircraft (ZF374). While ZF374 retained the standard Tucano black finish, ZF269 has been transformed with an attractive red, white and blue scheme. It will be demonstrated by Flt Lt Jon 'Bondy' Bond at over 50 venues in the UK and abroad - including Belgium and Malta - during the year. Flt Lt Bond joined the RAF in 2007 and was posted back to RAF Linton-on-Ouse after completing his Advanced Flying Training at RAF Valley on Anglesey. He hopes to return to the Welsh base at the conclusion of the display season to complete his Tactical Weapons Training on the Hawk T2.
Transiting Glasgow Airport on March 29, 2012 was ATR 42-300QC C-GPEA (msn 158, ex D-BCRP) on delivery to Pascan Express, a new company being formed in Quebec in Canada by Pascan Aviation, currently at St Hubert. The aircraft arrived from Siegerland in Germany on its delivery flight, and departed for Trois Rivieres in Quebec later the same day. It was previously operated by Avanti Air of Germany.
The last C-5B with the 9th Airlift Squadron recently left the unit. The transport is seen on approach to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, Mississippi.
British Aerospace Avro RJ70 SE-DJP (c/n E1254, to become QQ102) is seen on approach to MoD Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, on March 21, 2012, having arrived there two days earlier. Previously flown by Malmo Aviation, the aircraft is the second of two of the BAe 146 series for QinetiQ, which will replace the Hawker Siddeley Andovers and British Aerospace BAe 111s. The first was a RJ 100.
The Gulfstream Elite interior has been approved as an update for the G450 and G550, and will also be an option for the new G280 and G650 when they enter service.
The Dassault Falcon 2000S prototype (F-WWGP, c/n 701) has accumulated nearly 300 flight hours during more than 100 sorties since making its first flight on February 17, 2011. The first part of the test campaign included numerous manoeuvres to demonstrate handling qualities, including stability, stalls, pitch, roll rates and failure mode tests, as well as take-off with engine failure. Future portions of the campaign will evaluate minimum control speed on the ground and take-off at minimum speed, as well as air inlet distortion around the engines and maximum crosswind demonstration. Dassault is aiming the Falcon 2000S at the same market as the Bombardier Challenger 300, Gulfstream G250 and Hawker 4000. It is due to be certified in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Boeing CH-46E Sea Knight N701WN (c/n 2600, ex BuNo 157701) is the first example for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security of the US Department of State (DoS). The helicopter was refurbished by the Fleet Readiness Center East at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, and handed over on March 16, 2012. A further three CH-46Es are being prepared for service with the DoS at MCAS Cherry Point, while a total of 16 have been allocated to the service from surplus US Marine Corps' stocks. The refurbishment work gives the helicopters a further five years of service life.
Making its first visit to Manchester Airport on March 26, 2012 was Airbus A330-343X A6-AFA (msn 1071, ex F-WWYP) of Etihad Airways. The airliner wears a special scheme unveiled on February 15 promoting tourism to Abu Dhabi.
The Spanish Unidad Militar de Emergencies (UME, Military Emergency Unit) BHELEME II (Emergency Helicopter Battalion II) based at Betera, Valencia, is testing new high-visibility marking on its Eurocopter AS532AL Cougar Mk Is to improve safety during fire-fighting operations. HT27-01/'ET-668' is seen taking off from its home base on March 15, 2012 wearing one of the new schemes being tested. A fourth Cougar is due to be delivered to the unit soon. The helicopter is currently at Eurocopter's plant in Albacete receiving additional equipment and modifications to match the configuration of the other three Cougars already in UME service.
Boeing delivered the final pair of F-15K Slam Eagles to the Republic of Korea Air Force on April 2, 2012. The fighters (including 08-060, seen here) touched down at Daegu air base, completing the delivery phase of the Korea F-X II programme. A five-year performance-based logistics sustainment contract was signed with Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration in February to support the aircraft in service. Some 61 F-15Ks have been produced, of which 40 were delivered under the original F-X requirement by October 2008, while 20 (plus one attrition replacement) were ordered in April 2008 under F-X II.
Voyager KC2 ZZ330/G-VGYA lifts off from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, for its first RAF flight on April 8, 2012.
Danish Army troops fast rope down from two AS550C2 Fennec helicopters during a demonstration at Karup Air Base.
The Policia National (Spanish Police) will receive two Eurocopter EC135P2i helicopters during 2012. The first to be delivered will be c/n 0981, seen here wearing the test registration EC-030 on February 22, 2012 during its first flight from Albacete, where it was assembled. In addition to the Police, the Guardia Civil will also receive another two EC135s this year.
Dynamic Beech 200T Transits Norwich Beech 200T Super King Air N45E (c/n BT-13) of Dynamic Air of Bridgewater Air Park, Virginia, briefly transited Norwich Airport, Norfolk, UK, on April 5, 2012. The aircraft carries artwork on the fuselage (partly hidden by the engine nacelle) marked 'Desert Owls on the Prowl'. Dynamic has a contract with US Central Command to provide aircraft for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in Afghanistan and Iraq and frequently rotates the aircraft in theatre back to the US.
The first AgustaWestland HH-139A for the Italian Air Force was officially handed over to the service on March 8, 2012.
The EADS Talarion has failed to secure enough funding to progress to the prototype stage. Unveiled at the Paris Air Show in June 2009, the MALE UAV was due to fly in 2015 and enter service three years later.
Boeing WC-135W Constant Phoenix 61-2667/'OF' recently passed through RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, on its way back to Offutt AFB, Nebraska. The aircraft was deployed to Eielson AFB, Alaska, to sample radioactivity over Japan released from the Fukushima nuclear power station that was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. The aircraft is assigned to the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron, 55th Wing. Why it flew around the world rather than the more direct route back to Offutt has not been explained. It spent two days at RAF Mildenhall and is seen departing there on March 17.
The upgraded FAdeA Pampa II advanced trainer/light attack aircraft was displayed at FIDAE 2012.
F-5EM Tiger II 4845 of the 1° Grupo de Aviacao de Caca takes on fuel from a KC-137 during TRANSPORTEX 2012.
The MD 540F is the latest military descendant of the Hughes 500 family, featuring a six-blade main rotor and redesigned landing skids.
10 марта 2012г. в США в авиабазе Эдвардс (шт. Калифорния) прошли первые пробежки БПЛА с силовой установкой на водородном топливе Phantom Eye, созданного компанией Boeing в сотрудничестве с NASA. Этот разведывательный аппарат с размахом крыла более 45 м сможет подниматься на высоту около 20000 м и оставаться в воздухе до четырех дней.
Boeing's Phantom Works is developing the Phantom Eye as a demonstrator for a larger HALE UAS. It is seen undergoing taxiing trials at Edwards AFB, California, on March 10, 2012.
Noted at its home base of RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, on March 23, 2012 was de Havilland Chipmunk T10 WK518 (c/n C1/0555), one of two assigned to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight as tailwheel trainers for the unit's precious Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires. The aircraft has recently been repainted in the colours is wore when serving with the University of Hull Air Squadron in 1961, with the code 'C' on the side of the fuselage. The scheme replaces the overall black one worn previously.
On April 3, 2012, British Airways revealed the 'Dove' scheme being applied to nine of its Airbus A319s (including -131 G-EUOH, msn 1604, seen here). The artwork, designed by Pascal Anson, is being applied as part of the prelude to the Olympic Games in London this summer.
Noted arriving at London Heathrow Airport on March 16, 2012 was Airbus A319-133X Corporate Jet A7-MED (msn 4114, ex D-AVWA) of the Qatar Amiri Flight. The aircraft was outfitted with a VIP configuration at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg in France and delivered in October 2010.
In March 2012, Alitalia received Airbus A321-112 EI-IXI (named Piazza San Marco - Venezia, msn 494, ex I-BIXI) back from Ostrava in the Czech Republic where it had been repainted in a retro 'Il pentagramma' scheme. The aircraft is seen on approach to Rome/Fiumicino Airport on April 9.
Noted at Cologne-Bonn Airport in Germany on March 24, 2012 was Boeing 737-45S VQ-BIF (c/n 28474, ex OK-DGN). The aircraft is operated by Russian company UTair and is destined for a United Nations' charter. It was at Cologne undergoing maintenance.
Bombardier DHC-8-402 SP-EQC (c/n 4408, ex C-GMYD) is the third Q400 NextGen for Eurolot. It is seen at the manufacturer's de Havilland Canada division facility at Downsview Airport, Toronto, on March 31, 2012.
Bolivian carrier AeroSur's Super Torismo Boeing 747-443 (CP-2603, c/n 32339) was returned to Virgin Atlantic from its lease on March 29, 2012, re-registered as G-VROM and flown from London/Gatwick Airport to Manchester Airport the following day. It is seen arriving at Manchester, where it will be repainted in Virgin Atlantic colours by Air Livery. AeroSur ceased all flight operations at the end of March because of unpaid taxes. However, on April 6 it resumed services - except its Santa Cruz to Madrid flights on which the Super Torismo 747 operated. The airline plans to return to the route with a former Aerolineas Argentines 747-400.
Boeing 737-8F2(WL) TC-JHL (c/n 40976, named Unye) of Turkish Airlines is seen at Turin/Caselle Airport in Italy on April 6, 2012. The airliner wears the ‘Globally Yours' special scheme unveiled on March 15 in Istanbul, incorporating an image of each of the carrier's 17,000 employees on its fuselage. The aircraft was making its first visit to Turin for a press conference to announce the start of daily flights by the airline between Turin and the Turkish capital, due to start on May 28.
Boeing Business Jet (737-7JY) N1TS (c/n 39109, ex N1796B) was recently delivered, the first equipped with Honeywell's Ovation Select system. The airframe first flew on October 10, 2010, and arrived at Sussex County Airport, Delaware, for outfitting on November 10, 2010.
On April 4, 2012, Boeing 737-71B(WL) B-5283 (c/n 38919) made its first flight from Boeing Field/King County International Airport, Washington. The airliner is destined for China Southern Airlines and carries small titles on its nose to mark that it is the 4,000th Next-Generation 737. The airline has ordered a total of 26 737-700s since October 2001. By the end of March, Boeing had signed 6,205 orders for the Next Generation family (737-600 to -900), including business and military versions. The series was first offered to customers in June 1993.
F-35A AN-1 being rolled out of the production facility at Fort Worth, Texas, on April 1, 2012.
On February 22, 2012, Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Levin flew F-35B BF-02 fitted with external weapons pylons for the first time.
US Navy test pilot Lt Chris Tabert launches F-35C CF-03 off the TC-7 steam catapult at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland on November 4, 2012.
An artist's impression of the X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Testbed unmanned air vehicle, with the emblems of the three partner agencies on its tail, including the motif of Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs ('Skunk Works').
The Diamond DA52 prototype (OE-VSZ) completed its maiden flight on April 3, 2012.
Will the US Air Force retire the RQ-4B Block 30 Global Hawk rather than the U-2 spy plane it was meant to replace?
Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander ASTOR ZG989 (c/n 2140, ex G-DLRA) arrived for storage at RAF Shawbury, Shropshire, on March 29, 2012 from Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. Originally built for the Army's Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) requirement, the aircraft had been used by the manufacturer for a series of trials since reassuming its military markings in 2001.
The Pahpad UAV downed by Sudanese rebels on March 13, 2012 carried the identity '3-1-R031 Zagil' on its tail.
An artist's impression of the AAS-72X+ showing the Fenestron tail rotor that distinguishes the new variant from the AAS-72X Technical Demonstrator Aircraft. Eurocopter is promoting the AAS-72X+ (and AAS-72X) for the US Army's requirement for an armed aerial scout.
The Sky Fortress III is powered by a miniature turbine developed for the hobbyist kit aircraft market.