The Russian deployment will consist of aircraft similar to this Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet. (Image © Marcel Burger)

What everybody wanted to know in 2014: Airheadsfly.com Year in Review

The year 2014 has been great for Airheadsfly.com. So thank you (!) for making this happen. This is actually precisely the 999th post of 2014 we published especially to honour you …

… to each and everyone of you who have visited us from one of the 213 countries or regions in the world where you live. We think it’s great that you, the one unique visitor from Palau or St. Vincent and The Grenadines, dropped by.

Airbus A350XWB MSN2 test aircraft's maiden flight (Image © S. Ramadier / Airbus)
Airbus A350XWB MSN2 test aircraft’s maiden flight, the first production aircraft was delivered on 22 December 2014 to Qatar Airways (Image © S. Ramadier / Airbus)
We think it is equally fun that you’re by far not alone visiting us from the United States, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Canada, Australia, India, Russia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Brazil, Belgium, Spain, Ukraine, Poland, Finland, the Philippines, Switzerland, Norway, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Austria, Denmark, Slovakia, Turkey, Portugal, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Malaysia, Greece, Thailand, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Romania, South Korea and Pakistan. We wish we could say “hi” to you in one of our Top 40 fan countries in your native language and dialect, but that remains a wish … for now.

We find it’s great that you in any of the other 171 countries and regions not previously mentioned found the way to us, that you read our stories, look at the images we bring to you, that you check our Instagram and become hooked on our Twitter.

The PC_24 features tail mounted jet engines, making it suitable for operating from unpaved runways.  (Image © Pilatus)
Unveiling of the first jet aircraft of Pilatus in August 2014: the PC-24 (Image © Pilatus)
Eternal fame
A thanks we send to you who have contributed in giving us great content with eternal fame as the only reward. Our special appreciation goes to Tomáš Maruščák and Kamil Kopáč of the Czech Air Force, Canadian photographer Albert Law, Dutch aviation journalist and photographer Dirk Jan de Ridder, Italian photographer and journalist Dino Marcellino, Dutch photographer Robert van Zon and Dutch photographer/aviation enthousiast Ralph Blok. Plus, of course, the press officers and personnel of several European air forces and companies who made our exclusive stories AHF↑Inside possible, like Barbara Buzio of Alenia Aermacchi and John Warren of AirTanker. We look forward to more valuable content and your great help in 2015.

With the year 2014 coming to an end we recall many great moments for the aviation industry, the world’s airlines and the air forces that protect you. But we have also seen sad moments when great planes were used in evil or peaceful air travellers were taken from the sky by aggression. Each of us has its own best and worst moment. Whatever happens we move on, we remember and we find new inspiration.

We conclude with the list of the 10 most wanted this year on Airheadsfly.com, the 10 posts that you and many more of your fellow aviation enthousiasts found most giving judging the many times you’ve read these stories.

We wish you all a beautiful 2015! And thank you for giving us at Airheadsfly.com a fantastic year.

~ Airheadsfly.com editors Dennis Spronk, Elmer van Hest and Marcel Burger

2014 Top 10 Most reads of Airheadsfly.com

1. Overview: the Air Forces of Ukraine

Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 (Image © Elmer van Hest)

A sudden conflict with Russia over the Crimean peninsula and Eastern Ukraine turned our and your attention to a part of Europe where war is now everyday life, flaring up and easing down like a roller coaster ride. Airheadsfly.com was probably the first media organisation in the world that had a fairly complete up-to-date overview available, which we have been updating continuously ever since that first Saturday of March. This was clearly appreciated by you. Read more …

2. Italian & French “water bombers” scramble to Sweden

A Bombardier CL-415 SuperCooper of the French Sécurité Civile in 2006 (Image (CC) Gerard Joyon)
A Bombardier CL-415 SuperCooper of the French Sécurité Civile in 2006 (Image (CC) Gerard Joyon)

The biggest wild fire of Sweden in 40 years – in August 2014 – and our continuous reporting on it clearly caught the eye not only from aviation enthousiasts but many common readers alike who tried to keep up to date. Even many Swedes turned to Airheadsfly.com to give them an overview of things. Read more …

3. Indian Air Force MiG-29s best on the block

The new Indian MiG-29UPG is similar to this Russian MiG-29SMT (Image © Russian Aircraft Corporation)
Second hand Russian MiGs could be on the way to Iraq. (Image © Russian Aircraft Corporation)

That Airheadsfly.com has many fans in India has never came so clearly to light than in the number of views on our story about the Russian-made MiG-29s. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is turning them into probably the best Fulcrums in the world. The story has been capturing the attention of readers ever since it was published in April, especially thanks to Indian bloggers. Read more …

4. Meet the future Australian aircraft carrier

The first of two new Landing Helicopter Dock ships being built for the Australian Defence Force, entered Sydney Harbour for the first time on 13 March 2014 as part of her first contractor trials and testing program at sea. Canberra departed the BAE Systems dockyard at Williamstown on 3 March and conducted a series of tests to prove systems and equipment prior to the Contractor delivery of the ship to Defence. The trials tested a variety of systems in different conditions. The ship is scheduled to undertake a commercial docking in the Dry Dock in Sydney, where the size and scale of the LHD platform will be readily apparent. Canberra is scheduled to receive a hull clean in the dock and final paint before proceeding to sea and returning to Williamstown to commence the final phase of Contractor sea trials involving communications and combat systems. Both LHDs will be home-ported at Fleet Base East, Sydney (Image © ABIS Bonny Gassner / Navy Imagery Unit - East / Commonwealth of Australia)
The first of two new Landing Helicopter Dock ships being built for the Australian Defence Force, entered Sydney Harbour for the first time on 13 March 2014 as part of her first contractor trials and testing program at sea. (Image © ABIS Bonny Gassner / Navy Imagery Unit – East / Commonwealth of Australia)

Officially commissioned on 28 November 2014, the largest ship ever built for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is sporting an interesting ski-jump. Our open question if the brand new HMAS Canberra will see the F-35B Lightning IIs operate from its deck caught the eye of not only our Australian friends. Read more …

5. Armed Iraqi Cessnas continue to attack

An Iraqi air force AC-208B Combat Caravan aircrew launches a Hellfire missile on 8 November 2010 at a target on the Aziziyah Training Range, south of Baghdad (Image Sgt. Brandon Bolick © US Army)
An Iraqi air force AC-208B Combat Caravan aircrew launches a Hellfire missile on 8 November 2010 at a target on the Aziziyah Training Range, south of Baghdad (Image Sgt. Brandon Bolick © US Army)

Months before the United States and many Western and Southwest Asians launched their air strikes against the forces of the so-called Islamic State, the Iraqi Air Force was practically the only one that fought against ISIS / ISIL on a daily basis. Later in the year better suited hardware flowed to the Iraqi armed forces, but especially in the beginning of the year it were Hellfire-armed Cessnas that had to do most of the tricks. A story from the beginning of 2014 that is still popular today at Airheadsfly.com. Read more …

6. Australian C-17 & Dutch C-130s repatriate MH17 victims

RAAF C-17s together with a RNLAF KDC-10 at Eindhoven, the Netherlands, on 1 August 2014 (Image © Elmer van Hest)
RAAF C-17s together with a RNLAF KDC-10 at Eindhoven, the Netherlands, on 1 August 2014 (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Probably the most chocking story to us as editors of Airheadsfly.com – all of us have Dutch roots – was the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July 2014 over Eastern Ukraine by what the evidence suggests was Buk tracked surface-to-air missile system supplied by Russia to pro-Russian separatists. The great loss of life – 298 people including 194 Dutch – and the recovery operations that are still not concluded when 2015 starts have attracted many visitors, especially to the repatriation of the victims. Read more …

7. Raptor debut: strong message and operational test

An F-22 Raptor displays its weapons bays on 26 July 2014 during the Arctic Thunder Open House at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska (Image © Staff Sgt. Jared Becker / USAF)
An F-22 Raptor displays its weapons bays on 26 July 2014 during the Arctic Thunder Open House at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska (Image © Staff Sgt. Jared Becker / USAF)

When tens of thousands of people in Northern Iraq were force to flee, many were killed and when it became clear ISIS / ISIL posed a serious threat to the stability in Southwest Asia the United States launched a bombing campaign against the so-called Islamic State rebels in Iraq and Syria. Not to let anybody mess with their operation the US sent a clear signal to the Syrian leadership as well: the deployment for the first time in combat of the US top dog Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealthy fighter. It was even deployed in its secondary bombing role, getting a lot of attention. Read more …

8. AHF↑Inside: The Czech Prize Fighter

Saab Gripen: a work of art and a Czech prize fighter. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Saab Gripen: a work of art and a Czech prize fighter. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Having warmed up Airheadsfly.com for six months first during the second half of 2013, at the beginning of 2014 we planned to give our enthousiasm an extra kick with the launch of a series of exclusive insights in the world of aviation, given to us by the men and women who have made flying their daily life. Since then we have been on many locations on our home continent Europe. Our first AHF↑Inside brought us to the Czech Republic, to the Vzdušné síly Armády České republiky and the people at Čáslav Airbase, home of the Gripen fighter jet. Read more …

9. Press Play: Hotness from a cool place

(Image © Kamil Kopáč)
(Image © Kamil Kopáč)

Iceland is a place of desolate icy, rocky wilderness. Or is it? Czech Air Force Saab JAS 39 Gripen pilots know there’s more to it since taking up NATO’s Iceland Air Policing mission in Autumn 2014. And what else to do with a lot of time and airspace on your hands? Well, grab a GoPro, shoot some takes and have them edited and shown by Airheadsfly.com exclusively of course! Partly thanks to our Czech friends Airheadsfly.com’s Press Play posts have become quite popular. Read more …

10. Red Bear Rising: Russian Air Power over the Crimea

The Tu-160 (Image © Tupolev)
The Tu-160 (Image © Tupolev)

With the threat of a full Russian invasion of Ukraine on the horizon – or at least that’s what many in Western Europe felt – our indication of what Ukraine might be facing got a lot of views, especially in Spring and Summer 2014. The rise of the Russian bear reminded many of the Cold War – a thought that has been echoing ever since in especially the countries around the Baltic Sea. Read more …

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger (Featured image (top): An Ukrainian Su-27 photographed by Marcel Burger)

Our most common tags of 2014 below