Category Archives: Military Aviation

USAF F-16s for New Zealand Airshow

Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow organisers have announced a major coup for their 30th Anniversary airshow this Easter. The USAF has confirmed its intention to have the world-renowned F-16 Fighting Falcon Jet Demonstration Team attend Wanaka from the Misawa Air Force Base in Japan.  Also displaying at the airshow will be the C-17 Globemaster Demonstration Team out of Hawaii.

Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager, Ed Taylor, is thrilled to have two displays from the US, especially the F-16s. “A big thanks to the USAF, this display is going to be an absolute highlight for us, especially given we’re celebrating 30 years since the very first Wanaka event. There is nothing like seeing and hearing these aircraft up close and personal.  The bonus will be seeing them perform against the magnificent Wanaka mountain backdrop.”

Both the F-16s and the C-17 will operate out of Christchurch International Airport for the duration of the Airshow.  “We must acknowledge the support of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and Christchurch International Airport in helping make the US visit happen.”

As with all military participation, attendance is subject to aircraft availability and operational requirements.

News Update: Schools Aerospace Challenge winners

Congratulations to ‘Team Wright Flyer’ from 1408 (Dorking) Squadron, Air Training Corps who won this year’s Schools Aerospace Challenge awards.  The announcement was made recently at a high-profile ceremony in central London.

The challenge is a competition for 16 to 18-year-olds, challenged to submit design solutions to a fictitious, but realistic, RAF Operational Requirement.  Each year, teams from schools, Air Training Corps or other youth organisations, answer a realistic aerospace design challenge set together with the RAF. Shortlisted teams get to experience lots of what the aerospace world has to offer in a 5-day Summer School at Cranfield University.  Photo and text copyright permission via Craig Penrice.

www.schools-aerospace-challenge.com

 

Caption:  Team Wright Flyer, winners of this year’s Schools Aerospace Challenge with VIP guests at the award ceremony.
(Left to right) Flight Sergeant Harry Mellett, Corporal Harry Pite,
Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty CBE, Commandant Air Cadets, Sergeant George Wood (team captain), Geoff Baker, President Elect, Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Sergeant
Thomas Cameron-Jenkins.

 

RAAF to celebrate with WOW

Photo: RAAF Hawks in flight. Steve Zimmerman via WOW media team.

The Royal Australian Air Force has confirmed it will be bringing Hawk Jets and one of the new C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft to next Easter’s 30th Anniversary Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow in New Zealand.

Chief of the RAAF, Air Marshal Leo Davies, has no doubt that Warbirds Over Wanaka 2018 will continue New Zealand’s record of hosting excellent airshows.  “We’re again very pleased to be part of the celebrations of this consistently great event,” says Air Marshal Davies.  This airshow demonstrates the ongoing commitment and friendship between our two countries.  Since 1951, the ANZUS Treaty has strategically formalised our relationship.

“Warbirds Over Wanaka showcases elements of a modern air force. The C-27J Spartan has proven to be a big hit with enthusiasts across Australia and the sound and speed of the Hawk 127 is likely to be a highlight.”

Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager Ed Taylor said it’s always great to have the Australian military perform at the event.  “The Hawks have been crowd favourites over the past few Airshows with the fast jet pilots putting on a thrilling display.  Next Easter we’re also going to have a display from the RAAF Spartan C-27J.  This aircraft will be making its Wanaka debut and visitors will get the chance to see it perform as well as have the opportunity to look through the aircraft on the ground.”

The RAAF has purchased ten of the Spartans at a cost of $US950million.  The first aircraft arrived in 2015.  The Spartan fleet is operated by 35 Squadron based at RAAF Richmond just outside Sydney.

The RAAF commitment to Wanaka follows news that the RNZAF will have a significant presence at Wanaka along with the French air force returning from New Caledonia.

“The public are going to have the opportunity to look through and chat with the crews of three relatively large military aircraft in the RNZAF Hercules, French Air Force CASA and the RAAF Spartan.  It’s a great chance for young and old alike to find out more about these aircraft from the people who fly them and also to find out first hand more about a possible military career,” said Ed.

Veteran Sea Fury pilot meets adversary MiG-15 prior to it flying in the Duxford Air Show

On Monday 18 September, 86-year-old veteran Sea Fury pilot Brian ‘Schmoo’ Ellis visited IWM Duxford to see the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15UTI prior to it taking part in the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show (Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September).

Ellis is credited with sharing in the downing of a MiG-15 in combat over North Korea in 1952, but has only ever seen the aircraft through the gun sight of an 802 Naval Air Squadron Sea Fury FB11 fighter aircraft. 

He explored the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron MiG-15 in detail, sitting in the cockpit seat and surveying the airfield.  He then saw a Hawker Fury, flown by Richard Grace of Air Leasing Limited, fly into the airfield before landing opposite the MiG-15.

When asked what he thought of his experience, Brian Ellis said: “Awesome.  I think that is the word that comes to me. It was quite emotional. What a privilege it was to spend your days flying these aircraft.  I used to live in these things every day.”

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15UTI will be flying in the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show, representing the jet fighter era as it flies alongside a British de Havilland DH100 Vampire .

Increased numbers of A350s for United

US-based United Airlines has increased the number of Airbus A350 XWB aircraft it will bring into its fleet, updating and expanding its previously existing order for 35 A350-1000 to 45 A350-900 widebody aircraft to replace older, less efficient aircraft.  The A350-900 is the cornerstone member of the A350XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) family, which according to Airbus, is shaping the future of air travel.

The aircraft typically seats 325 passengers in a standard three-class configuration. The twin-aisle A350-900’s combination of payload and long-range range capabilities makes it an ideal aircraft for United Airlines’ international route system. These aircraft will be the first Airbus widebodies to join United’s global fleet.

The 100th A350 was delivered at the end of July 2017, just some 30 months after the first delivery. To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 848 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide.

Red Arrows Line-Up at Eastbourne Airshow

A Catalina flying-boat and a Hispano Buchon fighter are the latest aircraft set to join the 25th anniversary line-up at Airbourne: Eastbourne International Airshow from 17 – 20 August.  Other aerial favourites due to feature at the show include the impressive Belgian F-16, the Norway-based MiG-15 jet, an RAF Typhoon, Chinook and the world famous Red Arrows display team. The latter are set to display on Friday at 3pm, Saturday 12 noon and Sunday 12 noon.

For more information visit www.eastbourneairshow.com

Britten-Norman delivers new lighter Islander to FLN

Aircraft manufacturer Britten-Norman has announced the delivery of its latest model BN2B-20 Islander aircraft to one of its longest standing regular, repeat customers, Frisia Luftverkehr GmbH Norddeich (FLN). The German airline operates scheduled and charter flights along the Frisian coast and to and from Helgoland.

The airline, which is based at Norden, was formed in 1969 and has been operating Islanders since 1975. In common with the majority of Islander operators around the world, the services provided by FLN allow year-round essential support to remote communities.

Britten-Norman say the 2017 model Islander comes with a range of benefits over its predecessors, including reduced empty weight, light weight Skytech starters, a glass panel based on Garmin avionics and the JP Instruments EDM 960 electronic engine display, LED external lighting, Amsafe 4 point crew harnesses, enlarged baggage access and all window seating.  Prior to becoming operational the aircraft will also be fitted with MT’s 4-bladed composite propellers. All modifications included in the 2017 Islander will be made available as options for retrofit on selected legacy models of the aircraft.

Vulcan XL426 Open Day – preview


The Vulcan Restoration Trust (VRT) is holding an open day at its Southend Airport home on Sunday 20 August.

Now settled in her new home inside the airport’s Hangar 6, visitors can expect to see Vulcan XL426 undercover after she’s weathered the elements for more than 30 years. The ‘Visit the Vulcan Day’ team say they will also have displays that including: Buccaneer, Jaguar and Hunter aircraft cockpit nose sections, a ‘Green Goddess’ fire engine, Essex Fire Fighting Museum fire engine, London Southend Airport fire engine, ‘Cold War’ military vehicles displays, classic 1960s and ‘70s cars, plus a BBMF flypast.

The VRT team will also be on hand to give visitors guided tours of Vulcan XL426 and for an additional small fee visitors can climb inside the cockpit.  Doors open at 10.00 a.m. with last admission at 4.00 p.m.

General admission is £4.00 for adults with accompanied under-16s admitted free. Admission allows visitors entry to the hangar to walk around the Vulcan, take a guided tour if they wish and take photographs. For an additional £3.50 per person applicable to both adults and under-16s, visitors can climb inside the Vulcan’s cockpit. The Vulcan Restoration Trust’s stand will also be open with a wide selection of Vulcan souvenirs on sale.

Limited free car parking will be available close to the Vulcan hangar.

For full details please see the Vulcan Restoration Trust website: www.avrovulcan.com.

‘Harvard 57’ back in the air

Almost 18 months after being damaged in a landing accident following the 2016 Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow in New Zealand, North American Harvard ‘57’ is back in the air.  The aircraft, which is part of the Roaring 40s Harvard aerobatic display team based at Ardmore in Auckland, suffered significant damage when it was involved in a ground loop on landing at Wanaka on the Monday after the airshow.

The job of repairing the trainer was given to Callum Smith and his team of engineers at Twenty TwentyFour Limited, based at Wanaka Airport.  “There was damage to one wing, the engine and under carriage.  We were able to source most of the replacement parts relatively easily but there were one of two pieces which proved a bit harder to locate and that’s what has caused the delay in getting the aircraft flying again,” says Callum.

On completion of the repairs the aircraft was test flown at Wanaka by one of New Zealand’s most accomplished warbirds pilots and Warbirds Over Wanaka display planner, John Lamont.

‘Harvard 57’ was first shipped to New Zealand in July 1943 and was assembled at Hobsonville air base a couple of months later.  The aircraft served with 4 Squadron for many years before going into storage at Woodbourne in 1972.  After release from the RNZAF in 1977 it was purchased by an ‘off-shore’ buyer but never left New Zealand.  After passing through several owners, including a stint as a playground attraction the aircraft was eventually purchased and restored to flying condition at Ardmore during the early 1990s.  The new ownership syndicate included a number of Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow regulars Frank Parker, Keith Skilling, Dave Lumsden and Chris Lee.

Frank describes the state of the aircraft when the syndicate purchased it as a “forlorn fuselage”.  The original estimate to restore the aircraft to flying condition was put at $165,000 but Frank says, as with many such projects, the final bill was more than double that.

The aircraft was sold to its current owner and another well-known Warbirds Over Wanaka pilot, Liz Needham in 2010.  ‘Harvard 57’ is expected to return to Wanaka for next Easter’s 30th anniversary Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow as part of the New Zealand Warbirds Association Harvard team.  The Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow is being held on March 30th, March 31st and April 1stwww.warbirdsoverwanaka.com

 

Photo: Callum Smith and John Lamont with ‘Harvard 57’.

USAF ANNIVERSARY SHOW A SPECTACLE

 

 

A series of spectacular flypasts and  displays ensured the USAF’s 70th anniversary was celebrated in style at a sold out Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford last weekend.

The airshow, which took place over three days (July 14-16), attracted a record crowd of 160,000 people who enjoyed  flying demonstrations by some of the world’s leading pilots.

Among the aerial highlights were the USAF Thunderbirds, with its F-16 Fighting Falcons. The team was joined on the friday by nine Red Arrows’ Hawks for a colourful joint flypast to launch the airshow.

Joining the Thunderbirds to celebrate the USAF anniversary were several warbirds including a B-17 and P-51D Mustang, plus a F-22 Raptor and a dramatic flypast by a number of UK and European based USAF aircraft.

On the Sunday, visitors were treated to a surprise flypast by a stealth B-2 Spirit bomber that was taking part in an epic 23-hour transatlantic ‘Global Power’ training flight from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. The aircraft was escorted by two F-15 fighters.

In total, 246 aircraft took part in the Air Tattoo from 32 air arms representing 26 nations.