Strike Eagles, Typhoons, Hornets and Navy team up

A knife edge pass by a Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle. Sometimes, life is simple. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A knife edge pass by a Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle. Sometimes, life is simple. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The Royal Navy warship HMS Dragon, Royal Air Force Typhoons, US Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet and US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles have put their skills and technology to the test during a recent joint exercise.

The goal was to detect, classify and monitor contacts on the sea’s surface in the challenging conditions of the Gulf. The Type 45 destroyer provides a complementary service to the highly manoeuvrable and effective Typhoon fast jet combat aircraft.

One of Dragon’s fighter controllers, Lieutenant Francis Heritage, said: “We received the help of a United States Air Force Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or JSTARS, aircraft to cue our fighters onto their targets. The JSTARS surface radar is incredibly powerful. When combined with our own organic sensors and those of the jets under our control, we can provide force protection over a massive area.”

The American surveillance jet fed information directly into Dragon’s operations room, allowing the destroyer to cue fighter jets onto their objectives. HMS Dragon is in the second half of her inaugural deployment, which is a mix of carrying out maritime security operations with the UK’s Gulf partners and contributing to the wider air defence of the region, such as when she joined forces with the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group a few weeks ago.

Source: UK Ministry of Defence

Aeromexico’s first Dreamliner

First Aeromexico Boeing 787 Dreamliner (Image © Boeing)
First Aeromexico Boeing 787 Dreamliner (Image © Boeing)

Aeromexico received its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on August 16th, 2013, in Mexico City, after take-off earlier from Boeing Everett in Washington on the US west coast.

The airplane is the first of nine 787-8 airplanes that Aeromexico will operate, including five on lease from ILFC. The airline will operate a total of 19 Dreamliners, including 10 787-9 models ordered last year. Aeromexico’s 787 Dreamliners will be configured with 32 Clase Premier lie-flat seats and 211 seats in economy class.

Aeromexico is the second customer to take delivery of an airplane leased through ILFC, with the Aeromexico’s plane being the 702nd Boeing aircraft to the lease company.

The 787 Dreamliner is composed of durable composites and features numerous system, engine and aerodynamic advancements providing airlines with a fuel efficiency up to 20 percent less than on other aircraft with a similar size.

To date, the 787 has been ordered 930 times by 57 customers worldwide.

Source: Boeing

Partytime the German way

A German Air Force Airbus A319, similar to the aircraft involved in this story. Infact, it may very well have been this exact plane. This picture was taken at Wittmund, Germany. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A German Air Force Airbus A319, similar to the aircraft involved in this story. In fact, it may very well have been this exact aircraft. This picture was taken at Wittmund airbase, Germany, in June 2013. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

We are pretty sure a 24-year old German had a hell of a time when he boarded the German equivalent of ‘Air Force 1’ at Köln-Bonn airport recently. In fact, he boarded the Airbus A319 on his own while the aircraft was parked during the evening hours. He managed to climb onto the wing using one of the two engines as stairs, opened an emergency exit and threw himself a little party. In his underpants, of course.

The 24-year old then also took the opportunity to empty some emergency fire equipment and – why not – activate an emergency slide. That alone could have been enough to ring some alarm bells at the airport, but actually only after this unexpected visitor went into the cockpit and threw around some switches, alarm bells really started ringing with airport staff.

The Polizei then invited themselves to the party and brought along one of their not-so-friendly dogs. After just two bites did the 24-year old surrender himself. According to a police spokesman, the young German took XTC before going on his adventure. No surprise there, really. Good trip, but straight to prison.

The Airbus was thoroughly checked after the incident and even a testflight was performed. The German Air Force has ordered extra security to guard the airplane, that is frequently used by chancellor Angela Merkel and other German government officials.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

Check out the Germain Air Force Orbat at Scramble.nl

Bad for the bone

A B-1B from Ellsworth Air Force Base, similar to the one that crashed on monday. This picture was shot in uly 1997 at Fairford airbase, UK. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A B-1B from Ellsworth Air Force Base, similar to the one that crashed on monday. This picture was shot in July 1997 at Fairford airbase, UK. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

This monday was bad to the Bone, as a USAF B-1B bomber crashed in Montana after its four crewmembers ejected to safety. The Bone came down in an uninhabited area near Broadus and was totally destroyed. The aricraft belonged to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB.

The two pilots and two weapon system officers were taken to hospitals but none of them were seriously injured. The cause of the crash has not been reported. Ellsworth airbase has temporarily shut down flights until maintenance and operations group commanders ensure that they can safely resume.

The cost of a B-1B bomber is $283 million. The aircraft that crashed was built in 1985. The last time a B-1B was destroyed in a crash was on 12 December 12. All crew survived that crash as well.

Source: USAF

Vueling orders 62 new Airbus A320s

The first Vueling Airbus A320 with so-called sharklets in March 2013 (Image H. Goussé / e*m company © Airbus)
The first Vueling Airbus A320 with so-called sharklets in March 2013 (Image H. Goussé / e*m company © Airbus)

Low-cost airline Vueling and its International Airlines Group (IAG) have signed an agreement to buy 62 Airbus A320s – 30 A320ceo and 32 A320neo – plus hold options for another 58 A320 aircraft.

The Barcelona-based Vueling is part of the IAG group which also comprises British Airways and Iberia. Today Vueling operates an all-Airbus fleet of 70 A320 aircraft on domestic and regional routes to Europe, North Africa and the southwestern Asia.

In March this year Vueling already took delivery of its first A320 aircraft equipped with so-called sharklets on the wingtips to save fuel.

Sharklets are newly designed wing-tip devices that improve the aircraft’s aerodynamics and significantly cut the airline’s fuel burn and emissions by four per cent on longer sectors.

Sharklets are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft, and standard on all members of the Airbus Neo Family. They offer the flexibility to A320 operators of either adding around 100 nautical miles more range or allowing an increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.

To date, over 9,800 A320s have been ordered and more than 5,600 delivered to over 385 customers and operators.

Source: Airbus