Category Archives: Historic Aviation

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

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.


“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.

New Zealand-based Flying Scholarships to be extended?

New Zealand-based Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust is considering extending its Flying Scholarships scheme from one to two scholarships. 32 pilots have applied for the inaugural scholarships which are valued at $5,000 each.

Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager, Ed Taylor said: “The Trust had intended to award one scholarship this year but given the high calibre of applications we are now looking at the possibility of making two grants in this our inaugural scholarship year.”

The ultimate aim of the scholarships is to have a new crop of warbird pilots coming through the system to ensure there are pilots to fly historic aircraft for years to come.

“Just being able to fly some of these aircraft takes a high level of skill, to display them at an airshow like Warbirds Over Wanaka is an even bigger challenge,” says Ed.

A scholarship panel has started the process of evaluating all 32 applications and it’s hoped they will have drawn up a short list by the end of October and will be in a position to announce the winners in November.


Sculptor Has Designs on BA First Class

British Airways’ First Class customer flying from London Heathrow can now see a unique piece of bespoke artwork thanks to the airline’s exclusive in-flight magazine for premium travellers.

Terminal Five’s Concorde Room has turned art gallery to feature the latest iconic artwork by British sculptor Alex Chinneck.

He created a life-size ‘sandcastle’ made from concrete and then industrially chromed in Silver, which First Class customers will be able to look at and enjoy at their leisure for the next four months in the luxurious lounge.

‘Sandcastle’ was specially created and commissioned to appear on the cover of the Design Edition of First magazine, which showcases top British artists.

Artist Alex Chinneck, said: “My work is about elevating everyday structures and presenting them in more extraordinary ways.

“To make the sculpture, I used children’s beach buckets to experiment with different designs. The castle was cast in concrete to create a strong surface to withstand the industrial processes, and once we had a rigid structure, it was liquid chromed to add a surprising layer of luxury to a playful object.”

Chinneck’s previous works include a melting house front and an inverted electricity pylon.

Customers flying in First Class with British Airways enjoy access to a network of exclusive luxurious lounges around the world – including the prestigious Concorde Room in London’s Terminal 5 and New York’s Terminal 7 – to relax, dine and drink fine wines and champagnes before their flight.

Boeing Custom Hangar offers unique aviation themed furniture

The Boeing Store Custom Hangar has launched its new collection of handcrafted furniture and accessories made out of actual aviation artefacts from Boeing and its heritage companies.

Offerings include a bench made from a 727-200 jetliner wing slat; a B-17 Flying Fortress propeller blade; and a sleek bar made from the engine of a DC-9/MD-80 airliner.

Buyers and craftspeople for the Custom Hangar climb through aviation boneyards and storage facilities in search of rare artefacts that they refurbish and finish by hand. Each piece is placed in a museum-quality mounting fabricated using authentic materials such as aviation-grade aluminium, steel, and titanium.

Most of the artefacts logged numerous hours of service, gaining a patina that the Custom Hangar craftspeople work to retain. The metal surface of an engine blade from an F-4 Phantom II fighter jet ($90), for example, is naturally discoloured by the high temperatures reached in generating sufficient thrust to propel the jet at speeds up to Mach 2.2. An aluminium window frame ($695) from a 747-100 features lines of rivets that withstood the strain of more than 100,000 hours in the air.

Despite the scarcity of the artefacts, this isn’t an out-of-reach fantasy collection. Pieces range in price from $50 for a specially gift-boxed pen made out of a 747 circuit-breaker tab, to $5,900 for an industrial-chic bench built around a leading-edge slat removed from the wing of a 727-200 jetliner, to $9,500 for a gleaming aluminium and stainless-steel wine bar made from the engine case of a retired DC-9/MD-80 airliner!

The Custom Hangar is often spotlighted on the Boeing Store blog, The Runway (, where Custom Hanger staffers share secrets of the artifacts and their refurbishment.

To get your own piece of aviation history, visit and click Custom Hangar

New Flybe service from Munich to Southampton

The UK airline Flybe is now departing daily from Munich to Southampton and Southampton–Munich.
Southampton has been identified as an important destination, as it has some 250,000 inhabitants and is just a two-hour drive from London. It is best known for its port, which is the starting point for cruise ships sailing to destinations all over the world. To celebrate the inaugural flight to Southampton, the Flybe crew were presented with traditional gingerbread hearts by Munich Airport’s airline liaison manager Martin Laubenthal (right)



Ready, steady, scramble for the Spitfire 10K

Date: 4 September 2016

Time: Race starts at 10am

Cost: Standard entry £22.50 per person (15 years & over)

With just under two months to go until Shropshire’s first ever Spitfire 10K, it’s time to start stepping up the training! Taking place at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on Sunday 4 September, participants will have the unique opportunity to race across the airfield and down the runway at RAF Cosford, whilst raising funds for charity.

At just over six miles, a 10K run is a serious challenge for those just starting out in the sport, but it’s also a great event for experienced runners chasing personal bests or using it a stepping stone to longer distances.  With just under eight weeks to go until race day, it’s time to get your running shoes on and start building up your endurance levels. Whether it’s running with a friend, joining a club or downloading an app to track your progress, participants are being encouraged to do what it takes to boost their motivation levels and get geared up about the race.

With over 450 runners already signed up to the Spitfire 10K and with spaces limited to just 700, there’s no time to waste in getting yourself registered and kick-starting the training.

Taking-off from the museum’s Hangar 1, visitors will head outside and onto the airfield at RAF Cosford.  Participants will run alongside the wartime hangars and past the air traffic control tower and of course, the race wouldn’t be complete without a sprint down the runway!  The scenic route around the military airfield will take runners past several historic landmarks along the way, before passing the rifle range and then back onto the museum for a loop of the site on the final stretch towards the finish line.  Upon completion, runners will be rewarded with a bespoke 2016 Spitfire 10K medal and goodie bag, a perfect and well-earned memento of their day.

Bespoke 2016 Spitfire 10K technical running t-shirts are available to purchase when you register online at a discounted rate and will be ready for collection on race day.  Made from breathable fabrics, they make the perfect attire for race day and for running adventures beyond.  Runners are advised to arrive from 9am in order to collect their race number, pick up their pre-ordered t-shirt and of course to warm up properly.  Then it will be chocks away at 10.00am as the race begins.

RAF Museum Cosford Events Manager, Abi Betteridge said:

“Our number one tip for getting yourself prepared is to put in the training! If you’re prepared, you will certainly enjoy the day more.  Make sure you’ve tried out your footwear in advance to avoid any blistered feet and remember not to set off too fast and stick to a steady pace throughout.  Finally, after the race it’s important to take time to cool down, doing this properly will mean less achy legs the following day.  But, it will certainly be worth it for the chance to run across the airfield and down the runway and we’re sure participants will love the amazing medal we’ve had specially commissioned.”

The Spitfire 10K is a gently undulating road course with small sections along a track and is suitable for keen runners and novices alike, so if you’re aged 15 and over why not give it a go?  Whether you’ve been running for years, or you’re just getting into the sport for the first time, the race at Cosford is guaranteed to be a fun and memorable one.

To register for the event visit the museum’s website  Entry costs £22.50 per person with proceeds going towards the RAF Museum (registered charity number 244708), to support work conserving and sharing the story of the RAF for current and future generations.  Armed Forces Personnel and running clubs are eligible for the discounted entry fee of £20.50 per person.  For further details about the event, visit the museum’s website or call 01902 376200. The Spitfire 10K was first launched at the museum’s London site in 2015.