All posts by Steve Bridgewater

USAF Heavyweights for RIAT

The US Air Force has confirmed that two of its largest and most formidable aircraft will be flying into RAF Fairford this summer to take part in the Royal International Air Tattoo.

The bombers, a B-52H Stratofortress and a B-1B Lancer will join other USAF machines, including the F-22 Raptor and Thunderbirds display team as part of celebrations marking the service’s 70th anniversary.  The B-52H will come from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and the B-1B from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.

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View XL426 up close on April 23, 2017

A ‘Visit Vulcan XL426’ open day event is due to be held at (London) Southend Airport on Sunday April 23, from 10.00 to 16.00 hours.  The Vulcan Restoration Trust (VRT) team will be on hand to give visitors guided tours of Vulcan XL426, and cockpit tours for an additional small fee.

Also on display will be a WE177B bomb, carried by the Vulcan during its time with the RAF, as well as examples of the 1,000lb high explosive bombs the Vulcan dropped on Port Stanley airfield during the 1982 Falklands Conflict.

Special displays will include the cockpit of an RAF Buccaneer, a selection of historic RAF and Army Land Rovers, plus historic fire engines, all of which will be free to sit inside.

Richard Clarkson, VRT Secretary said: “Our Visit the Vulcan days are a great family day out; young or old, people are always awe-struck by the Vulcan. It’s a real testament to our volunteers that we can offer such a unique opportunity for people to see up close one of only 3 live condition Vulcans in the world.

“Our souvenir stand will be open selling a selection of Vulcan souvenirs, including Vulcan models, badges, patches, postcards, books, and much more. There will also be hot and cold snacks and drinks available.

“The VRT is a charitable organisation which is funded by donations, membership subscription and open days which is why events like this are very important to ensure the future of Vulcan XL426. We run Visit the Vulcan days throughout the year so keep any eye on our website and Facebook page. We look forward to seeing everyone and showing off our pride and joy”.

General admission is £4.00 for adults with accompanied under-16s admitted free. Admission and cockpit tickets will only be on sale ‘at the gate’ on the day of the event – please note that there are no advance ticket sales. Entry is free for Vulcan Restoration Trust members.

Car Parking – important notice – Due to ongoing airport development, there will be no free parking at the Visit the Vulcan Day. All car parking will be in the airport’s short stay car parks for which there is a charge. Visitors to arrive by train or bus if possible. London Southend Airport station is only two minutes walk from the Vulcan and is served by frequent trains on the London Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria line. Turn right when leaving the station and follow the signs to the Vulcan.

HISTORIC BLADE LOANED TO JET AGE MUSEUM

An historic artefact which helped propel aviation into the jet age will go on public display in Gloucester thanks to the RAF Charitable Trust.

The blade, part of the propeller fitted to the experimental turbo-prop Gloster Trent Meteor I EE227, belonged to the late Fred Crawley who donated it to the RAF Charitable Trust, of which he was a Trustee. It is to go on display at the Jet Age Museum.

Museum archivist Richard Hentschke said: “This turboprop blade has a significant place in the history of the Jet Age, and therefore also for the Jet Age Museum. The world’s first turboprop aircraft was a modified Gloster Meteor used as a testbed for the Rolls-Royce Trent engine. With five-bladed propellers fitted to its two modified Derwent jet engines it pioneered the type of propulsion used by many short and medium range airliners today.”

RAFCT Director Justine Morton said Fred was a long term supporter both of the charity and of the Royal International Air Tattoo. He donated a large number of interesting aviation related items to the charity and donated a significant sum of money that was to be used to benefit the many volunteers who help stage the Air Tattoo each year.

She said: “Fred was very happy for the mounted blade to be loaned to the new Jet Age Museum at Gloucester Airport so people could view it as he recognised it was a significant piece of Gloster Aircraft Company’s history.”

Jet Age Museum historian and Trustee Tim Kershaw said Meteor I EE227 had seen RAF service with 616 Squadron before being transferred to Rolls-Royce at Hucknall for the new engines to be installed. It first flew on September 20, 1945, with Gloster’s chief test pilot Eric Greenwood at the controls.

Mr Kershaw added: “Gloster had schemed the project in January 1944 as Gloster Meteor I type aircraft with Rolls-Royce W2B/37 propeller combination installation after Sir Stanley Hooker’s research team showed the potential fuel economy for speeds below 450mph (724kph) of a jet engine fitted with reduction gear and an airscrew.  Although Greenwood suffered 18 complete engine failures in 21 flights, the programme continued until March 1948. It led to Rolls-Royce developing the highly successful Clyde and Dart turboprops.”

The Jet Age Museum is devoted to the preservation, conservation and public display of Gloucestershire’s world-class aviation heritage and holds a major collection of Gloster Aircraft Company aircraft, artefacts and archives.

Red Arrows set for Blackpool Air Show

The RAF Red Arrows display team is set to perform on both days of the annual Blackpool Air Show, which takes place above the Promenade on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 August.  It’s the first time that the Reds will feature on consecutive days of a Blackpool Air Show.  The RAF Typhoon display team and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are also set for both days of this year’s show.

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The Red Arrows are a huge favourite with visitors to the Blackpool Air Show and its truly fantastic news to hear that they will return to Blackpool for two days this year.

“The Air Show is always an important date in our calendar and I’m certain that this year will be no different.  The show brings in tens of thousands of people on to the Promenade and provides a huge boost to our local economy, with those visitors spending money in our shops and restaurants and supporting our jobs.”

Flywheel at Bicester Heritage returns for 2017

The organisers of Flywheel at Bicester Heritage – Historic Promotions – have confirmed the third annual showcase celebrating classic winged and wheeled vehicles will take place on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June, kick-starting a summer of British motorsport and coinciding with British Armed Forces Day.

Last year, the Oxfordshire festival saw hundreds of historic cars, aircraft, motorbikes and military vehicles come alive on the demonstration track and in the sky at the UK’s best preserved Second World War bomber station, Bicester Heritage. The crowds were joined by Sir Stirling Moss OBE who, as well as signing autographs, was reunited with a host of his race-winning cars from the 1950s and 1960s.

Flywheel aims to bring to life the nostalgic ambience of the festival’s backdrop, Bicester Heritage, which celebrates 100 years since the Royal Flying Corps moved into the site.   Advance ticket prices start from £23 per adult and £52 per family. Each adult ticket includes free parking as well as a complimentary programme. Entry for children under the age of five years is free. http://www.flywheelfestival.com/

Boeing 747 – A new magazine special from Key Publishing

Produced by the industry-renowned team behind Airliner World magazine, charts the development of the first widebody, an aircraft that brought air travel to the masses.  With superbly illustrated articles paying tribute to the Queen of the Skies, this new 100-page publication tells the story of one of the world’s most iconic commercial airliners from the inside, through the people who fly it and the passengers it carries.

This special issue is on sale for just £5.99 from WHSmith, Sainsbury’s and leading newsagents in the UK from March 30th onwards.

Alternatively, order your copy from www.keypublishing.com/shop.

Key magazine subscriber? Call 01780 480404 to claim your £1 special discount.

 

Volga-Dnepr An-124-100 Races Fire-Fighting Helicopters To Chile

Volga-Dnepr carried four helicopters, a truck and flatbed trailer on a single An-124-100 flight.

Georgia-based Helicopter Express called upon Volga-Dnepr Airlines’ expertise in fast response transportation services for an urgent delivery of helicopters to fight the outbreak of wildfires that are plaguing the Chilean countryside.

Helicopter Express, contractors to the US Forest Service (USFS) and the Department of Interior (DOI), are highly-respected experts in fire-fighting operations and provide services such as aerial water delivery, prescribed burning, rappelling operations, and personnel delivery. For this mission, they were contracted by the Chilean government.

With safety and speed the highest priorities, one of Volga-Dnepr’s An-124-100 freighters touched down at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport less than three hours after the helicopters arrived at the airport for 11-hour flight to Santiago. The unique cargo carrying capabilities of the An-124-100 meant it was able to transport all three Bell 205 helicopters, a K-MAX 1200 helicopter and a flatbed truck and trailer onboard a single flight.

The total weight of the payload onboard the An-124-100, which took up the entire floor of the cargo hold, was 25 tonnes.

Peter Baldauf, Key Account Manager, Aerospace at Volga-Dnepr, Houston, Texas, said: “This was a case of two companies that are experts in their fields of operations joining forces to provide a fast solution to help the Chilean government tackle the wildfires in central and southern Chile. Although we regularly carry helicopters, including in the past to fight wildfires, this was the first time we have had the pleasure of working with the team at Helicopter Express so it provided us with an opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities. We expect to be working together again in the future in support of their full range of heavy lifting, disaster relief and helicopter charter services.”

Getting ready to load the helicopters onto Volga-Dnepr’s An-124-100.

Investment and expansion continues at Ashford Airport

An upbeat assessment of investment plans and continued expansion of new aviation services has been provided by London Ashford Airport at Lydd in Kent.

Addressing members of the Lydd Airport Consultative Committee this week, Executive Manager Hani Mutlaq outlined the encouraging progress being made on investments and business growth at the airport.

At a time when Brexit continues to cast shadows of uncertainty over business, Hani underlined the long-term commitment of the owners to delivering on promises to create a successful, modern regional airport supporting a substantial number of new jobs and acting as a catalyst for economic growth in the region.

Central to Lydd’s ambitious development plans is the construction of a runway extension and the building of a new terminal licensed to handle up to 500,000 passengers a year. Planning consent for both has already been granted.

Hani reported that the airport’s legal team are in the final stages of negotiations to buy an area of agricultural land to enable the existing 1,500m runway to be extended. The work will involve lengthening the runway by 294m plus a 150m starter area.

Acknowledging that delays in securing the land had proved frustrating, Hani said that a purchase and compensation package is still under negotiation with the land owners. Once resolved, tenders for the project will then be prepared and issued and he predicted that work would start on the runway “by summer 2018 with work completed by early 2019”.

Meanwhile, rising demand for more business and general aviation facilities has led to the addition of two new hangars at a cost of more than £850,000. “Such is the demand that both new hangars are virtually full and we have a waiting list, so we will be taking a decision soon on investing in even more hangar space at Lydd,” said Hani.

Bristow, which has operated Search and Rescue helicopter services from Lydd for the past 18 months from a temporary hangar, has recently committed its future to the airport. The company will invest millions of pounds in building a permanent base, with construction work expected to start this spring. The operation employs around 30 staff and more jobs are likely to be created as part of Bristow’s investment.

Flight training specialist Go Fly London set up a base at Lydd in 2016 and has installed a £100,000 flight simulator on site. A range of courses are provided that are enabling students from the UK and overseas to use the facility to learn to fly and gain a full light aircraft pilot’s licence (LAPL).

Hani told the meeting: “The airport is heading in the right direction. Our expansion plans are progressing and the support of the owner is strong. Indeed we are even considering bringing forward our plans to build the new terminal, in addition to the runway extension. That is a sure sign of our confidence in Lydd Airport.”

During a Q&A session with the committee, Hani reiterated the airport’s ‘Kent First’ policy of using local suppliers and staff wherever possible, discussed how road and rail links to the airport could be enhanced, and repeated LAA’s determination to minimise the environmental impact of its operations.

The Lydd Airport Consultative Committee was established to boost links with community on Romney Marsh. Chaired by highly respected former county councillor Fred Wood-Brignall, it’s members include representatives of airport users, local businesses, residents, Shepway District Council, parish councils plus Dungeness power station and the Lydd firing ranges.

The airport has spent £35 million upgrading facilities over the past decade, including the installation of an instrument landing system, a new executive terminal with VIP facilities, improved passenger check-in, and a new departure lounge. The airport caters for a range of aircraft operations and provides extensive services, including air traffic control and navigational aids, an FBO with 24-hour operating capability, full terminal services and engineering and cargo facilities.

Once completed, the runway extension will enable Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft types to fly with a full payload of passengers, maximising the availability of routes and aircraft choice to operators and providing much-needed additional airport capacity in the South East.

Iran Air and Airbus seal historic aircraft order – Agreement covers 100 aircraft

Iran Air and Airbus have signed a firm contract for 100 aircraft, building on an initial commitment signed in January 2016 in Paris. The agreement signed by Farhad Parvaresh, Iran Air Chairman and CEO and Fabrice Bregier, Airbus President and CEO, covers 46 A320 Family, 38 A330 Family and 16 A350 XWB aircraft. Deliveries will begin in early 2017.

“I am delighted that we have reached an agreement to go to the next decisive phase and start taking delivery of new aircraft. I am gratified that this new round of cooperation with Airbus has come to fruition and brought us closer with more practical steps to follow for Iran Air’s fleet renewal. Iran Air considers this agreement an important step towards a stronger international presence in civil aviation. We hope this success signals to the world that the commercial goals of Iran and its counterparts are better achieved with international cooperation and collaboration”, said Mr Farhad Parvaresh, Iran Air Chairman and CEO.

A350-900A330neoRendering

“This is a landmark agreement not only because it paves the way for Iran Air’s fleet renewal”, said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus President and CEO. “Our overall accord includes pilot training, airport operations and air traffic management so this agreement is also a significant first step in the overall modernization of Iran’s commercial aviation sector”.
The agreement is subject to US government Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) export licences which were granted in September and November 2016. These licenses are required for products containing 10 per cent or more US technology content. Airbus coordinated closely with regulators in the EU, US and elsewhere to ensure understanding and full compliance with the JCPOA.  Airbus will continue to act in full compliance with the conditions of the OFAC licenses.


The agreement follows the implementation of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action), its associated rules and guidance and included new commercial aircraft orders as well as a comprehensive civil aviation package. The package includes pilot and maintenance training, supporting the development of air navigation services (ATM), airport and aircraft operations and regulatory harmonization.
As the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer, Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus has design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain, and subsidiaries in the US, China, India, Japan and in the Middle East. In addition, Airbus provides the highest standard of customer support and training through an expanding international network.