Tag Archives: Hellenic Air Force

Hellenic CL-215 fire-fighters escape death

The crew of a Hellenic Air Force Bombardier (Canadair) CL-215 are probably the luckiest men on earth at the moment, escaping with only minor injuries from the aircraft an emergency landing went bad.

Looking at the images, published here among other location, one cannot think anything other that the pilot and co-pilot escaped death with narrow margins.

355 MTM Squadron

The CL-215 was engaged in combating a large fire near the village of Stefani in the Dervenochória, only 7 mls (11 km) north of Elefsis Airbase near Athens, home to the CL-215’s 355 MTM Squadron as well as seven other squadrons and a major part of the military airlift fleet of Greece.

Engine fire

According to Hellenic Air Force officials the left engine of the aircraft caught fire around 11:00 on the morning of 26 June. Attempting a safe landing the lack of trust threw the plane rather hard onto the ground where it struck objects while going astray.

Flight time

Local media report the pilot had 850 hours of flight time on the CL-215, and the co-pilot 250 hours.

Greek fire-fighting aircraft

It is the third time in two years that one of the HAF’s fire-fighting aircraft is written off. In May 2015 a CL-415 crashed, followed by a CL-215 in July last year. That leaves a remaining fleet of 39 aircraft to combat wildfires: 11 CL-215s, 7 newer CL-415GR/MPs and 21 PZL M18B Dromader planes from Poland.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Hellenic Air Force CL-215 (Image © HAF)

Greek-Turkish air combat over the Aegean Sea

The air situation in the skies in and near Turkey continues to boil. While the dust of the shoot down of a Russian Su-24 flying near or into Turkish airspace from Syria has not even settled yet, fighter jets of the Greek and Turkish Air Forces continue to clash with each other over the Aegean Sea.

While no weapons have been fired, the dogfights between jocks of both NATO countries were not really a friendly match. On Tuesday 29 December six Turkish fighter jets escorting two Airbus CN235 aircraft violated Greek air space nine times, according to the Greek Ministry of Defence. Ankara denies the aircraft did anything wrong.

Hellenic Air Force cat and mouse

The Hellenic Air Force engaged – likely with its F-16 aircraft – leading to a cat and mouse game often practiced by many of the world’s air forces and known from movies like the 1980s classic Top Gun. No weapons were fired, but with aggression from both sides things can easily spin out of control.

A Hellenic Air Force F-16C in 2007 (Image © Marcel Burger)
A Hellenic Air Force F-16C in 2007 (Image © Marcel Burger)

Turkish F-16D shot down

Military jets from Greece and Turkey have often met each other in and around a 4 mile zone which resulting from a long standing twist of the boundaries of the nation’s borders, the natural resources in the area and airspace around the many islands – Greek and Turkish – in the Aegean Sea. Only once, in 1996, a Turkish F-16D was reportedly shot down by a Hellenic Air Force jet – killing one of two Turkish crew members while the second was rescued by Greek military forces.

This December the hostilities flared up again after political accusations from Greece that Turkey violated Greek airspace. The countries were in the brink of war since the 1930s, even though both are supposed to be friends within the NATO military alliance.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A classic shot of a Turkish Air Force F-16D Fighting Falcon landing in June 2001 (Image © Marcel Burger)

Beechcraft UK order essential to keep T-6 line running

Textron owned Beechcraft is putting its hope on a fat order from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence for its T-6 turboprop trainer aircraft, a company spokesman acknowledged. Beechcraft is about to finish the production of the 700-aircraft deal for the US military.

One of four T-6D Texan IIs delivered to the US Army in June 2015 (Image © Beechcraft)
RELATED POST: US Army fields Beechcraft T-6 Texans
Since 2000 the Beechcraft T-6A Texan II has been replacing the Cessna T-37B Tweet within the US Air Force, with 449 T-6s delivered. The remainder of the 700-aircraft US deal goes to the US Navy (T-6B) and US Marine Corps, plus four specially adapted aircraft ordered by the US Army.

The Beechcraft trainer has had success abroad as well, with versions flying with the NATO Flying Training in Canada (24 CT-156 Harvard II), the Hellenic Air Force (25 T-6A + 20 armed T-6A NTA), the Israeli Air Force (25 T-6A), the Iraqi Air Force (15 T-6A + 24 T-6C ordered), the Mexican Air Force (12 T-6C+), the Mexican Navy (2 T-6+), the Royal Moroccan Air Force (24 T-6C), the Royal New Zealand Air Force (11 T-6C).

Now hopes are high for the United Kingdom, which sees the T-6 as the replacement for the Short Tucano in training both the Royal Air Force as well as Royal Navy future combat jet pilots; with an order in the range of 80 to 120 aircraft awaiting. As for new export customers: it won’t be easy for Beechcraft. The Pilatus PC-9 and PC-21 and the armed Embraer A-29 Super Tucano are very tough competitors, already having scooped up orders like for the Afghan Air Force that years earlier might have gone more naturally to Beechcraft.

There may be some other light on the horizon though. Upgrades of the basic A-model within the US Air Force, US Navy and Hellenic Air Force to C-standard are expected. The current C-model has a digital class cockpit with HUD, multi-function displays, HOTAS to access functions with buttons on the flight control stick and wing hard points, nice featured to incorporate on the A-model.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The T-6C Texan advanced trainer (Image © Beechcraft)

Wrong trim setting caused fatal F-16 crash during TLP

The cause of the dramatic Greek F-16 crash in Albacete, Spain, on January 26 was the result of an incorrect trim setting that went unnoticed, an accident investigation board has concluded. Eleven people lost their lives that day. The board’s findings were made public by the French Ministry of Defense on Monday 27 July. Most of the fatalities in the accident were French.

According to the board, the yaw trim was inadvertently set to maximum right deflection, drastically affecting the aerodynamics of the aircraft during takeoff. After the pilot of the two seat F-16D completed his before take off check list 20 minutes prior  to the aircraft’s actual departure, the incorrect setting went unnoticed. In the time between the check and the actual take off, the knob for the trim setting may have accidentally been hit by something in the cockpit.

As the aircraft rotated, the incorrect setting caused the F-16 to turn right, heading for a platform were other aircraft were preparing for their mission. Data showed pilot tried to correct the unwanted turn by steering left, but the control inputs were insufficient to counter the right roll. The crashing F-16 hit several French Air Force aircraft as it came down, writing off a Mirage 2000D, two Alpha Jets and an Italian AMX. Several more aircraft sustained damage. Pics of the aftermath are here. The two pilots crewing the F-16 ejected, but fatally hit the ground.

Nine more people died in the crash at Albacete airbase in Spain. All were French personnel on the ground. Another 29 military personnel were wounded. The Greek F-16 was part of large formation of aircraft taking part in the Tactical Leadership Program (TLP) exercise.

The investigation board found that the manual trim panel in the F-16’s cockpit  does not prevent all inadvertent movement of the setting. In this case, a check list used by the pilot is likely to have hit the panel without the pilot noticing it. The cockpit is also not equipped with a warning system for aircraft “mistrimming” prior to take off.

Other critical factors leading to the crash were the aircraft  heavy gross weight, asymmetric configuration and a cross wind.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Hellenic Air Force F-16 up close (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Albacete: ‘Greek F-16 crew tried to eject’

In an update on Monday’s tragic F-16 crash at Albacete in Spain, authorities have said that the Greek crew did in fact try to use their ejection seats immediately after take off. Their attempt ended fatal however, while the F-16 carried on to the ramp where other aircraft were preparing for take-off. Nine French military were killed as the steerless F-16 struck parked aircraft. The accident left 29 people wounded.

French Air Force chief of staff Denis Mercier stated that a technical failure seems to have led to the tragedy, which happened Monday at around 15:30 local time. The failure caused the F-16 to steer off course, with the crew initiating ejection. The Spanish Ministry of Defense confirmed the aircraft’s canopy was in fact jettisoned, and other sources suggest the crew did actually eject, but fatally hit the ground because of the aircraft’s attitude.

The F-16 is said to have come down on the ramp inverted. Pictures taken afterwards, show that at least one French Alpha Jet was destroyed by the crashing F-16 and that a French Mirage 2000D and an Italian AMX were severely damaged – and likely written off – by the fire that followed. All were taking part in a Tactical Leadership Program (TLP).

A Spanish investigation team is trying to determine the exact sequence of events and cause of the tragedy. Meanwhile, the bodies of the nine French victims were repatriated to Nancy airbase in France by a Spanish Air Force C-130 Hercules on Thursday. A Hellenic Air Force C-27J Spartan carried the bodies of the two F-16 pilots back home to Greece.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: a Greek F-16D similar to the one that crashed in Spain (Image © Elmer van Hest)