Valence Vacation

With a shot like this one, who needs another shot? (Image © Dennis Spronk)
With a shot like this one, who needs another shot? (Image © Dennis Spronk)

So you’ve seen the Armée de Terre helos at the Le Luc airshow and you think “I would like some more of those”. Valence airbase near Lyon gave AIRheads↑FLY exactly that; more French helos waiting to be photographed and digitally transferred to your computerscreen. Great colours on these French choppers. What a way to spend a vacation.

No vacation for the pilots of this Aérospatiale Gazelle. It is seen here hovering about. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
No vacation for the pilots of this Aérospatiale Gazelle. They are seen here hovering about. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Yet more hovering for this Gazelle. The very first Gazelle probably did the same before its very first flight on 7 April 1967. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Yet more hovering for this Gazelle. The very first Gazelle probably did the same before its very first flight on 7 April 1967. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Pictured just before transition from hovering to regular flight; an AS532 Cougar. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Pictured just before transition from hovering to regular flight; an AS532 Cougar. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
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Not all Gazelles seen were moving under their own power. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Tupolev Tu-204CM airliner ready to go

The new Tupolev Tu-204CM passenger aircraft. (Image © Tupolev)
The new Tupolev Tu-204CM passenger aircraft. (Image © Tupolev)

The world’s airlines have a new, improved aircraft available to meet their demands: the Tupolev Tu-204CM received its flight certification this summer, reports the Russian design company.

400 tests were performed after which the Russian Aviation Register of the Interstate Aviation Committee gave the Tu-204CM the certificate with the number ST233-Tu-204-120SE/D10. With that the aircraft is okay-ed for passenger traffic.

The Tu-204CM is a much modernized version of the Tu-204-100E, using the new PS-90A2 engines with enhanced service life and reliability compared to their predecessors. The flight crew is treated with upgraded and new systems as well.

According to the Tupolev company the Tu-204CM has better flight characteristics and is more efficient, more comfortable and easier to maintain than the older Tu-204s. ,,It equals other modern jet aircraft”, writes a spokesperson.

First flight of the first Tu-204 series was in 1989, the aircraft being the Russian answer to the American Boeing 757. The Tu-204 is able to accommodate more than 210 passengers. Deliveries of the Tu-204CM are scheduled to begin in 2014, although the aircraft company did not mention specific customers.

Source: Туполев (Tupolev)

UPS Airbus A300 crashed in Alabama

An UPS Airbus A300-600F (Image © Airbus)
An UPS Airbus A300-600F (Image © Airbus)

An Airbus A300-600F operated by UPS crashed shortly before landing at Birmingham-Alabama at August 14, 2013, killing both crew members. The aircraft was operating a scheduled service, Flight 1354, from Louisville, KY to Birmingham AL.

The aircraft involved in the accident, registered under the number N155UP was MSN 841, delivered to UPS from the production line in 2003. The aircraft had accumulated approximately 11000 flight hours in some 6800 flights. It was powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. At this time no further factual information is available of the cause of the crash.

The A300-600F is a freighter twin-engine widebody. The first A300-600F freighter entered service in 1983. By the end of June 2013, 104 A300-600F were in service.

Source: Airbus

First MH-60R Seahawk to Australia

A US Navy MH-60R training with Royal Australian Navy vessel HMAS Sydney on an earlier occasion (Image Leading Seaman Peter Thompson © RAN)
A US Navy MH-60R training with Royal Australian Navy vessel HMAS Sydney on an earlier occasion (Image Leading Seaman Peter Thompson © RAN)

The first of 24 new Sikorsky MH-60R anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopters was produced ahead of schedule to the Royal Australian Navy. The aircraft was rolled out on June 30, at Sikorsky’s Stratford plant in Connecticut, USA.

On July 24 the RAN’s new MH-60R (Romeo) arrived at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Training location in Owego, New York, for the second phase of aircraft completion — installation of the digital cockpit and integrated mission systems and sensors.

Sikorsky has three additional MH-60R aircraft for the Royal Australian Navy in various stages of assembly at its Seahawk production line in Stratford. Those aircraft will be handed over in August and September 2013 for completion by Lockheed Martin in early 2014. Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) is expected to take delivery of all 24 completed MH-60R aircraft by late 2016.

The Australian Defence Force currently operates 16 S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters acquired in the 1980s, roughly the same type of helicopter as the new MH-60s. The first Australian MH-60R helicopter is the 168th Romeo model produced by Sikorsky since deliveries to the US Navy began in 2006.

Source: Sikorsky

Check out the Royal Australian Navy Orbat at Scramble.nl

Look at Le Luc

A Tiger of a different kind. The ecole de l'aviation légère de l'armée de terre is where future pilots learn to fly the EC665 Tigre attack helicopter, among others. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A Tiger of a different kind. The Ecole de l’Aviation Légère de l’Armée de Terre is where pilots learn to fly the EC665 Tigre attack helicopter, among other helos. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

So, what to do on a hot summer day in France? It didn’t take AIRheads↑FLY a very long time to come up with an answer to that one, actually. So we packed our baguettes, some fine wine and a bottle of sunscreen and we headed along l’autoroute to the EALAT Airshow at Le Luc airbase. EALAT stands for Ecole de l’Aviation Légère de l’Armée de Terre, just so you know. And by the way, we also brought along a camera.

Slighty less hi-tech are the SA341/SA342 Gazelles. Probably a better idea to start the learning proces on those, then. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Slighty less hi-tech are the SA341/SA342 Gazelles. Probably a better idea to start the learning process on those, then. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Otherwise this AS555 Fennec will make a nice learning experience. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Otherwise this AS555 Fennec will make a nice learning experience. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
The SA330 Puma is still doing its thing in a lot of armed forces. Bit of an unsung hero if you ask us - please do. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
The SA330 Puma is still doing its thing in a lot of armed forces. Bit of an unsung hero if you ask us – please do. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
The Pumas will eventually make way for the NH90, one of which is seen here. The camouflage makes up for, well... a lot of things. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
The Pumas will eventually make way for the NH90, one of which is seen here. The camouflage makes up for, well … a lot of things. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
The Socata TBM 700 never was a big seller. The French however operate quite a lot of the single engined turboprops. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
The Socata TBM 700 never was a big seller. The French however operate quite a lot of the single engined turboprops. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

And now make some noise! It weren’t only helos or props at Le Luc, there were fighters as well, courtesy of the Armée de l’Air and the French Marine.

It's hard not to miss Ramex Delta, a display team operating two Mirage2000N from Luxieul airbase. They are frequent and much welcomed visitors to European airshows these days. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
It’s hard not to miss Ramex Delta, a display team operating two Mirage2000N from Istres-Le Tubé airbase. They are frequent and much welcomed visitors to European airshows these days. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Fly Navy! Perhaps todays favourite performer, although it was accompanied by a second Rafale M. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Fly Navy! Perhaps today’s favourite performer, although it was accompanied by a second Rafale M. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

We close of in style however, with a fine study of the rotary future for some time to come: the EC665 Tigre.

We close of in style however, with a fine study of the rotary future for some time to come; the EC665 Tigre. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
This Tigre flew several times at Le Luc, along with a German example. The German forces also have their training at Le Luc. (Image © Dennis Spronk)