Canadian Sea Kings golden jubilee

RCAF CH-124 Sea King in 50th Anniversary paint scheme (Image Cpl David Randell, 12 Wing Imaging Services, Shearwater, N.S. © RCAF)
RCAF CH-124 Sea King in 50th Anniversary paint scheme (Image Cpl David Randell, 12 Wing Imaging Services, Shearwater, N.S. © RCAF)

There is the long service life of the B-52 bomber, and there is that of the Douglas DC-3 transport aircraft. But having a chopper like the Sea King running a show for 50 years impresses us too.

Such is the case for the Royal Canadian Air Force CH-124 Sea Kings, as the Sikorsky SH-3 helicopter is designated north of the American border.

The Canadian Sea King community had it’s own party in Halifax, Nova Scotia, around the turn of July/August 2013 in the new hangar of 12 Wing Shearwater.

Highlight of the Sea King festivities is the specially painted chopper with number 434.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger

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Most famous biplane of 1946 gets new life

Test flight of the new Antonov An-2-100 (Image © Antonov Aircraft Corporation)
Test flight of the new Antonov AN-2-100 (Image © Antonov Aircraft Corporation)

It is probably the world’s most famous biplane. 18,000 have been built between 1946 and 2002, but today starts a new chapter in the life of the Antonov AN-2, with the AN-2-100. The modernized 70-year old model made its first flight on July 10, 2013, at the Ukrainian aircraft factory plant piloted by commander Sergii Tarasiuk and co-pilot Valerii Epanchintsev.

,,The AN-2-100 is intended for passenger, cargo and mixed cargo-passenger transportation on local airlines. It can be operated autonomously at small airfields with low sub-soil strength, including ice and snow-covered ones, in a wide altitude range, under good and adverse climatic and weather conditions”, writes a spokesperson of the Antonov aircraft company of Ukraine in a press release.

The main difference between the AN-2-100 and its predecessor is the new MC-14 turboprop engine, designed and produced by Ukrainian Motor Sich company. The new engine doesn’t need the special aviation gasoline of the old Antonov 2, but the cheaper normal aviation kerosene. The An-2-100 also has a new reversible propeller and weights in fully operational condition 200 kg less than the Annie of 1946.

Antonov will refurbish existing An-2s to the An-2-100 standard. The company identified 135 AN-2s within Ukraine alone, with only 54 aircraft still airworthy. Antonov hopes for foreign orders as well, with reportedly 1580 of them available in the Russian Federation, of which 322 still fly – mainly for agricultural purposes. 290 An-2s are being operated in Kazakhstan, 143 in Uzbekistan, 89 in Turkmenistan, 82 in Belarus, 63 in Azerbaijan, 30 in Kirgizia, 13 in Moldova and 4 in Armenia. How many Antonov An-2s are stored, displayed or fly outside the former Soviet states is unclear.

Source: Antonov Aircraft Corporation

Airbus delivered its 8,000th aircraft

The 8,000th Airbus takes off for delivery to its customer. This A320 will fly with AirAsia out of Indonesia (Image P. Pigeyre / EM company © Airbus)
The 8,000th Airbus takes off for delivery to its customer. This A320 will fly with AirAsia out of Indonesia (Image P. Pigeyre / EM company © Airbus)

Airbus delivered its 8,000th aircraft on August 3, 2013: an A320 for the Indonesian company of AirAsia. The aircraft took off from Toulouse and arrived later at its new base in Jakarta.

AirAsia Group is the largest low-cost airline in Asia and operates an all-Airbus fleet. The airline is the largest customer for the A320 Family, having ordered a total of 475 aircraft, comprising 264 A320neo and 211 A320ceo. Meanwhile, Airbus wide-body aircraft are the choice of the group’s long-haul affiliate AirAsiaX, which has ordered a total of 26 A330-300s and ten A350 XWBs.

A total of 141 Airbus aircraft are flying today in AirAsia’s colours out of its 16 bases in the region, which include Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.

Airbus has another 5,000 aircraft on order.

Source: Airbus

Oh my! An airplane landed safely!

Coverage on the website of Dutch national public broadcast company NOS.
Coverage on the website of Dutch national public broadcast company NOS.

Breaking news today: a Delta Airlines Flight from Paris to Detroit diverted to Amsterdam Schiphol and landed without a problem. Amazing stuff, according to just about all Dutch media, who are in fact clueless about aviation but all the more guided by money and even more stupidly, each other.

In a attempt to not miss out on a ‘dramatic developing story’ of an ‘impending horrifying crash’ involving ‘296 terrified and innocent’ passengers, all major Dutch media were quick to publish about flight DAL99, a Delta Airlines A330 on its way from Paris to Detroit. After take-off it experienced technical problems and the crew decided to divert to Amsterdam. This – and especially the fuel burning orbits circuit over the UK – was noticed by some tweeps on Flightradar24, was put on Twitter – and yep, a small media storm was born.

It resulted in cameras filming an uneventful, uninspiring landing. They could have known, because an aircraft experiencing flap problems – as was the story – is not a very big thing. It’s nothing at all, actually. And it wasn’t, really. Approach speed as seen on Flightradar24 was 141 knots. That’s excellent, right on the mark, probably not even a flap problem at all.

Dutch media seemed to have written this plane off already before it landed and the passengers’ only moan was being in Amsterdam and not in Detroit. Discussion about the ‘mysterious’ orbits over the UK, an escort from the French Air Force and even by a helicopter (yes!), possible hijack… yeah, we saw it all today, and Flightradar24 saw a great number of hits. Good on them.

Media want their journalists to be generalists these days, and the ridiculous stuff they put down the throats of their audience is the result of that. Specialists in editorial teams would prevent this ‘breaking news’ from hitting the screens. But no news equals no commercial value, which is why there is no room for specialists.

The media should be breaking bad habits, and not bring news that never was news in the first place.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

Last Vickers VC10 C1K retired from RAF service

A Vickers VC10 C1K tanker aircraft of the Royal Air Force (RAF) doing a fly-by at Kleine Brogel AB, Belgium in 2007. (Image © Marcel Burger)
A Vickers VC10 C1K tanker aircraft of the Royal Air Force (RAF) doing a fly-by at Kleine Brogel AB, Belgium in 2007. (Image © Marcel Burger)

The last of the Vickers VC10 C1K, with registration XR808, retired from the UK’s Royal Air Force on July 29th, 2013. It made its last flight in 101 Squadron service from RAF Brize Norton to Bruntingthorpe.

The VC10s have recently been mainly used to provide inflight refueling, but during the first Gulf War in Southwest Asia in the 1990s RAF VC10s transported sometimes fifty thousand pound bombs for Tornado fighter jets in the area.

Thirteen VC10 C1s were converted for a dual tanker/transport role between 1993 and 1996. The flying fuel station for other aircraft dispensed the liquid of its own tanks through underwing refueling pods and these tanKers were designated C1K.

10 Squadron flew the VC10 C1Ks until October 2005, when 101 Squadron continued with them in addition to the 101’s K3 and K4s.

Aircraft XR808 has served the RAF for 47 years, during which it made 43,865 flying hours.

101 Squadron will retire its three remaining VC10s (K3s) in October, when the new Airbus Voyager (A300MRTT) will take over its role.

Source: Royal Air Force

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