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.


HIA Joins the Elite

Doha’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) has become just the sixth facility in the world to receive Skytrax’s ‘5-Star Airport’ ranking.  The rating is awarded by the London-based aviation institute to airports providing first class facilities for its passengers combined with excellent service from airport staff.  It takes into account the front-line areas for departures, arrival and transfer, including airport facilities, customer service, security, immigration, shopping outlets and food and beverage facilities.  Doha joins Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo/Haneda and Munich as five star facilities.

Engineer Badr Mohammed Al Meer, COO of HIA, said: “Joining the elite of airports and being the first airport in the Middle East to earn five stars from Skytrax is an honour, and a direct result of the thousands of people who ensure HIA operates smoothly every day, every flight.  No matter how long our guests are with us, we strive to make their journey flawless and memorable.  This acknowledgement is highly gratifying, and will continue to motivate us to create an exceptional experience for everyone.”

HIA, which has only been operational for three years, has enjoyed several strategic milestones over the past 12 months, including the launch of its iBeacon enabled mobile app, the introduction of the dual passenger train shuttle to concourses D and E and the opening of multiple duty free stores.

The Qatari airport also enjoyed success at the 2017 Skytrax World Airport Awards, held in Amsterdam where it was named the “Best Airport in the Middle East” for the third consecutive year and awarded “Best Staff Service in the Middle East” for the second year running.

BOC Aviation Adds More MAX 8s

BOC Aviation has placed an order for 13 additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.  The latest purchase agreement takes the lessor’s commitment to 209 aircraft from the Boeing Next-Generation 737 Family including 74 MAX 8s.

“Airlines are attracted by the 737 MAX 8’s lower operating costs and fuel efficiency, and we are delighted to announce the inclusion of these additional aircraft as we build our future delivery pipeline,” said Robert Martin, Managing Director and CEO of BOC Aviation.

Dinesh Keskar, Senior VP, Asia Pacific & India Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: “BOC Aviation’s purchase for an additional 13 737 MAX 8s is a testament to the superior value, performance and economics the 737 MAX will bring to airlines around the world.”

Helicopter gunships in AFM

Helicopter gunships were all the rage in the latter part of the Cold War. On each side of the Iron Curtain, huge numbers of NATO and Warsaw Pact gunships prepared for a conflict that never came. Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary and Poland all operated the Mi-24 Hind. Today the Hind is only flown in Europe by Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. While the Czech Republic operates 17 Mi-24V/35s, Poland maintains a fleet of 28 Mi-24D/W versions. After grounding its Mi-24V fleet, Bulgaria has since returned a single example to service. Romania never operated the Mi-24 but did fly locally assembled IAR-330H Pumas, which could be armed. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, 30 Romanian IAR-330Hs were upgraded to the armed IAR-330L SOCAT standard.

Photo: Rich Cooper

Back in the Cold War days, the only NATO nation to operate dedicated gunships in Europe was the US Army, which fielded hundreds of AH-1 Cobras and subsequently introduced around 200 AH-64 Apaches. Today there are only around 30 US Army AH-64 Apaches left in Europe, flying from Ansbach-Katterbach Army Airfield in Germany.

However, European countries that once operated Bells, Bölkow 105s or Gazelles that could be armed with rocket pods and guns have now re-equipped with dedicated gunships.   Italy has the Mangusta, while Turkey is developing its own T129 version, known as the ATAK. France, Germany and Spain all collaborated on the Tiger/Tigre, while Greece, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom went for the US option, the AH-64 Apache.

Photo: via Riccardo Niccoli

The current, April issue of AFM sees our correspondents continue their review of Europe’s helicopter gunships, covering Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland. You can buy your copy of the magazine here.



Rotate MD-80 1.3 Pro Released

The updated MD-80 is a accurate replica of the MD-88 variation featuring more advanced systems simulation .

The new version is compatible with X-Plane 11 beta and has lots of new features, including HOLD and PROGRESS MCDU pages and mousewheel support for X-Plane 10.51+

New additions include:

  • All switches and knobs are animated
  • New Custom sounds
  • Precise flight model and fine tuned engine performance
  • Developed with the advice and counseling from MD-80 licensed pilots
  • Works great on all three platforms: Windows, Mac and Linux

Custom Flight Management System (FMS) and Automatic Flight

  • Route, departures and arrivals procedures (SIDs and STARs)
  • Custom LNAV and VNAV. Climb, cruise and descend management with altitude and speed restrictions. ARINC424 instructions support
  • Save and load route to/from text file
  • Performance management, with complete VNAV profile calculation, including T/C, T/D, and time, fuel and altitude predictions
  • Takeoff and approach speed management
  • Custom Navigation Display with curved transitions and MAG/TRU operation
  • DFGC, Thrust Rating management (EPR modes) and Flight Mode Annunciator
  • Aerosoft NavDataPro (2016) included (for updated database third party subscription is needed)
  • DIRECT TO page
  • LEGS page with RTE DATA page
  • CLIMB page with CLB DIR function
  • DESCENT page with SPEED/PATH, DES NOW and DES DIR modes
  • Complete HOLD functionality with entry pattern calculation and Present POS
  • PROGRESS pages with pilot selectable waypoint
  • PERF page with BURN SCHED, WIND/TEMP corrections and calculated remaining fuel

Detailed simulation of systems

  • WX/TCAS with TA/RA advisories
  • Power plant: accurate PW-JT8D-219 model, Fuel Distribution, Heat and Quantity Indication, Automatic Reserve Thrust
  • Electrical: Power Generating and Distribution, APU, Battery Charger, Emergency Power Supply
  • Hydraulics: Rudder and Elevator HYD/MAN operation, GPS, Reversers and Brakes accumulators
  • Air: Pneumatics, Air Conditioning and Distribution, Pressurization
  • Slat/Flap controls with Dial-a-Flap control
  • Takeoff Condition Computer
  • Complete Engine Fire Detection and Extinguishing simulation.
  • Simulated Tests: DFGC, Altitude, Engine Fire, APU Fire, GPWS, Windshear, Flight Recorder, Voice Recorder, TCAS, Brake Temp, Stall, Anti-Skid, LED/Annunciators.

Hyper-realistic visuals

  • Highly detailed 3D cockpit, passenger cabin and exterior model
  • Normal and specular maps for enhanced detail
  • Thorough HD day and night textures
  • Accurate animations, including wing flex animation
  • All external and internal lights


  • A set of ten ultra-high resolution liveries, including a paintkit

Custom sounds

  • 3D sound engine with stereo and doppler effects
  • High quality multi-layered engine sounds
  • Wind and control surfaces sounds
  • Cockpit ambient and custom alerts

AFM at LIMA: Singaporean ‘bombtruck’

AFM correspondent Alan Warnes caught this F-15SG in the static display at LIMA 17 at Langkawi International Airport in Malaysia. Assigned to the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s 149 Squadron ‘Shikras’ at Paya Lebar Air Base, 8319 was loaded with several types of laser-guided bomb (LGB).

Singapore ordered 12 F-15s plus eight options in December 2005 after a long selection process to replace the last of the RSAF’s fleet of locally upgraded A-4SU Super Skyhawks. Based on the F-15E Strike Eagle, the F-15SG is equipped with an Raytheon AN/APG-63(V)3 AESA radar, Sniper pods, Link 16 advanced datalinks and Tigereye infra-red search and track (IRST).

Air-to-ground weaponry includes Paveway II LGBs and Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs). GBU-54 dual-mode Laser JDAMs are also in use.

In 2007 Singapore announced that it was exercising the eight options and adding four more aircraft to the order.

Despite earlier reports that the RSAF has 24 F-15SGs, a count of the airframes in Singapore and the United States indicates that there are 32 aircraft currently in service. In addition, the unexplained appearance of eight more F-15SGs on the US Federal Aviation Administration’s aircraft registry in June 2014 suggests the RSAF could have as many as 40 F-15s.

AFM at LIMA: Leonardo P-72A debut

Leonardo is exhibiting a P-72A (company designation ATR-72MPA) maritime patrol aircraft at LIMA 17, where the type is making its public debut, Alan Warnes reports. The aircraft is one of three that have now been delivered to the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare)’s 41° Stormo based at Sigonella, Sicily.

The Malaysian Government has a requirement for a maritime surveillance aircraft and the Prime Minister had a look around the aircraft immediately after the opening ceremony this morning.

The Aeronautica Militare received its first two examples of the P-72A on December 13. Based on the ATR-72-600 regional turboprop, the P-72A will replace the Breguet P-1150A Atlantic in Italian Air Force service. A total of four P-72As are on order under the terms of a 2014 contract that also includes logistic support services. Final deliveries are due to be completed in 2017.

Equipped with the Leonardo Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance (ATOS) mission system, the P-72A will be used for missions including maritime patrol, search and identification of surface vessels, search and rescue (SAR), counter-narcotics trafficking, anti-piracy, prevention of smuggling, territorial water security and monitoring and intervention in the event of environmental catastrophes.

New XpressSim Products For Spain Released

Scenery Solutions and Flight1 have released 3 new, major cityscapes for Spain.  This includes the beautiful port cities of Barcelona ($5.95), Valencia ($4.95) and Malaga ($4.95).

In the last few weeks, they have also released the coastal Texas resort area of South Padre Island and Port Isabel, including KPIL airport.  There have now been 25 products released for since the initial XpressSim launch back in December 2016.

All XpressSim products are priced between $2.95 and $5.95 each, making them very affordable options for such detailed and unique scenery.  All XpressSim products include custom TexturePhoto terrain with full seasonal support, custom buildings in their real world locations and much more !

To find out more about XpressSim products, along with the free scenery areas available for download, please see their support forum or visit the XpressSim page at the Scenery Solutions site.

XpressSim Software Download (free samples available)