On Dec. 29, Continental Airlines became the first carrier in North America to take delivery of a new 737-800 with Boeing’s new Sky Interior.
This all-new interior features newly sculpted sidewalls, energy-efficient LED lighting and larger overhead bins that retract into the ceiling, permitting stowage of additional roll-aboard bags. Other features include improved ventilation and cabin-noise reduction for customers and new, touch-screen flight attendant panels and controls. Several carriers outside the U.S. are operating 737s with the new interior.
Ron Baur, vice president of the fleet, said “When customers first step on the plane, they will immediately notice the fresh cabin architecture.”Baur also said, “This modern interior gives the airplane a more open look and feel while increasing cabin comfort and overhead storage space.”
Before entering scheduled service, the airplane will be flown to Continental’s maintenance facility in Orlando, where it will be fitted with fuel-saving winglets. As part of its ongoing fleet modernization plan, Continental will take delivery of several more 737s with the new Sky Interior in 2011.
Continental Airlines is a major American airline based in Continental Center I in Downtown Houston, Texas. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, offers more than 2,400 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Replacing the 737-400, the 737-800 is a stretched version of the 737-700. The 737-800 was launched by Hapag-Lloyd Flug in 1994 and entered service in 1998.
The Thunderbirds are the air demonstration squadron of the U.S. Air Force (USAF), based at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada. The squadron tours the United States and much of the world, performing aerobatic formation and solo flying in specially-marked USAF jet aircraft.
F-84F Thunderstreak – The Air Force selected the swept-wing F-84F Thunderstreak as their second aircraft in 1955, modified for the team by adding smoke tanks, and red, white and blue drogue parachutes. Used from 1955–1956.
North American F-100C Super Sabre – With the change to the F-100 Super Sabre in 1956, the Thunderbirds became the world’s first supersonic aerial demonstration team. That same year, the Thunderbirds moved to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, simplifying logistics and maintenance for the aircraft. The Thunderbirds used the C-model Super Sabre from 1956–1963.
F-105B Thunderchief - Only six shows were flown in 1964 using the F-105 before safety concerns resulted in the team’s adoption of the F-100D.
McDonnell F-4E Phantom II – The 1969 conversion to the F-4 was the most extensive in the team’s history. Among other modifications, paints that had worked on the F-100 appeared blotchy on the F-4 because of multicolored alloys used to resist heat and friction at Mach 2 speeds.
Northrop T-38 Talon- Five T-38s used the same amount of fuel needed for one F-4 Phantom criteria of demonstrating the capabilities of a prominent Air Force aircraft; the Talon did not fulfill the Thunderbird tradition of flying front-line jet fighters. The team flew the Talon from 1974–1981.
In 1982 the team switched to the F-16A Fighting Falcon; this transition had been under consideration before the “Diamond Crash” during training season in January. The team sat out the 1982 airshow season and spent that year retraining and transiting over into the new aircraft to ready themselves for the 1983 season. In rebuilding the Thunderbird Team, the Air Force recruited previous Thunderbird pilots, qualified each in the F-16A, and had them begin by flying “two-ship” maneuvers, then expanded the program, one airplane at a time, up to the full six airplanes.
This stubby but rugged little plane was the main fighter for the U.S. Navy during the hard-fought first year of the war. It saw action at the Coral Sea, Midway, and the Solomons Campaign. Despite claims that it was no match for the Zero, it more than held its own, due to its solid construction and the quality of the pilots that flew her.
The F4F Wildcatwas a tough little carrier-based naval fighter that not only helped save the day for the US Navy in the difficult early days of World War II, but gave outstanding service through the rest of the war with the navies of both America and Britain.
By the time of Pearl Harbor the Navy and the Marine Corps had 131 Wildcats in eleven fighting squadrons. At Wake Island, outnumbered the Marine fliers of VMF-211 fought a doomed battle against the Japanese invaders. Captain Henry T. Elrod of VMF-211, while flying an F4F-3, sank a Japanese destroyer, and subsequently lost his life in the land defense of Wake Island. For his combined actions in defense of Wake Island, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. In February, 1942, the US Navy struck back; carriers Enterprise,Lexington and Yorktown raided forward Japanese bases. When Lexington was sighted and Japanese Betty bombers came after her, Butch O’Hare shot down five of them in minutes.
While it was replaced by the F6F Hellcat in most Navy fighter squadrons during 1943, the Wildcat continued to be used from jeep carriers until the war’s end.
China’s Minsheng Financial Leasing is in talks for 10-15 business jets, following a plan to accumulate orders for 100 by 2014.
The company, set up to exploit what its owners rightly expected to be rapid growth in Chinese business aviation, has ordered 17 aircraft since signing its first purchase contract in April 2008, says David Tang, the firm’s aviation and legal consultant.
The lessor is an affiliate of China’s Minsheng Bank. It specializes in financial leases for Chinese customers and generally orders an aircraft only when it has secured a client. But Tang says that if it can secure attractive terms the company considers buying extra aircraft in expectation of finding customers.
He did not disclose which manufacturers the company was currently talking to about the next order.
Minsheng’s customers so far are showing a strong preference for large, long-range types such as the Gulfstream G550. The lessor expects increased interest in Chinese domestic flying to generate a rise in bookings for medium-range aircraft in 2011.
Founded on January 12, 1996 in Beijing, China Minsheng Bankis the first bank in China to be owned mostly by non-government enterprises. The bank was founded by Jing Shuping, a Chinese lawyer and businessman who become prominent in China after the nation’s founding in 1949.
Minsheng Bank has over two hundred banking outlets throughout China and relationships with more than seven hundred banks overseas. The bank was publicly listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2009.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress on December 22 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of India of various engines, equipment, weapons, training, parts and logistical support for a possible Direct Commercial Sale of 22 AH-64D Block III Apache helicopters.
The complete package is worth approximately $1.4 billion.
The Government of India has requested proposals from several foreign suppliers, including the United States, to provide the next generation attack helicopter for the Indian Air Force. In this competition, the Government of India has yet to select the Boeing-United States Army proposal.
The proposed sale in support of AH-64D helicopters is to improve India’s capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats. This support for the AH-64D will provide an incremental increase in India’s defensive capability to counter ground-armored threats and modernize its armed forces.
There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of one U.S. Government and seven contractor representatives to India for one week to conduct a detailed discussion of the various aspects of the hybrid program with Government of India representatives.
The French and Russian governments said on Dec. 24 that Russia has agreed to buy two helicopter carriers from a French-led consortium in Moscow’s first major foreign arms purchase since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Under the long-discussed deal, the Mistral-type amphibious assault ships will be built by French shipyard companies DCNS and STX along with Russia’s state-run United Shipbuilding Corporation, known as OSK.
Some of France’s NATO allies had voiced concern, urging Paris not to sell Moscow high-tech systems that could be used against Russia’s former communist neighbors, especially since Russia’s brief 2008 war with neighboring Georgia.
The Mistral-class ships can carry up to 16 helicopters such as Russia’s Ka-50/52. They also carry landing barges and hovercraft, allowing vehicles, tanks and soldiers to be taken ashore — an important capability if Russia had to fight a war similar to the one it waged with Georgia in 2008.
The Mistral can carry 450 troops for up to six months, but that number can rise to 700 for shorter periods.
Russia failed to gain control of Georgia’s Black Sea coast in its five-day conflict with Tbilisi. It currently depends largely on helicopters and unmanned planes to control its coastal regions on the Baltic and Black Seas. The Mistral will give Moscow much greater command of its coastlines.
The Mistral purchase of is the first major defense import deal since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, showing Russia’s need for foreign technology in the sector. The deal was a surprise as Moscow’s defense procurement strategy to 2015 did not include construction or purchase of any large combat ships.
One of the main sticking points in Russia’s negotiations over the Mistral is whether it will get access to the same technology used on French ships, giving Russia a glimpse of more advanced naval weapons and defense systems.
The reputation of the Russian naval defense industry had been tarnished by an Indian order of the Admiral Gorshkov heavy aircraft carrying cruiser. Moscow-based defense analysts Cast say Russia has nearly tripled the price and delayed delivery of the cruiser by four years since signing the contract in 2004.
Two Navy instructor pilots have been stripped of flying status and two student pilots will have to repeat training because of a September incident in which they dipped two $33 million aircraft into Lake Tahoe while trying to take photos for the squadron’s Facebook page, a Navy official said Wednesday.
The Sept. 13 incident became public because a bystander caught the event on video and posted it on YouTube.
The video shows the two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters trying to hover low over the lake. In the video, one apparently loses control for a few seconds, dips its landing gear in the water, then pulls up. Both aircraft actually went into the water, though the footage only captured one, Navy officials have said.
Both helicopters were damaged and had to be flown to a Lake Tahoe airport for repairs, which cost $505,000.
A statement from the Navy about the incident says:
“The investigation found that the mishap was entirely preventable had the aircrew followed required directives for conducting cross-country flights and applied more vigilant operational risk management. No punitive actions are warranted as a result of the investigation, but specific administrative measures are in progress for the aircrew and squadron to prevent a similar incident in the future.
The Navy has not released the names of the aircrew, who are stationed at North Island Naval Air Station.
While the instructor pilots are not receiving “punitive action,” in military parlance, the loss of flight status as a pilot means he or she will have to seek a non-flying job in the Navy. With tight competition among naval officers for job slots, this action could be career-ending.
The student pilots, who already have their aviator wings and were learning how to fly this specific aircraft, will have to repeat at least six months of training, the official said.
The emergency evacuation and interrupted takeoff tests were carried out at an airfield in Zhukovsky, near Moscow, under the supervision of the Interstate Aviation Committee Aviation Register (AR IAC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The first test required 98 volunteers of different age groups and five crew members to evacuate the plane in 90 seconds during an emergency landing. They made it in 73 seconds.
The interrupted takeoff test probed the wheels, tires and brakes at maximum possible braking speed. In full compliance with the certification requirements the test was performed without a thrust reverser.
The Superjet 100 aircraft loaded to its maximum takeoff weight (45,880 kg) performed emergency braking at a speed of over 300km/h and came to a stop after running 700 meters, within the required parameters.
According to the company, the results of the tests showed full compliance of the plane with the EASA and AR IAC certification requirements.
The Superjet 100 project is a family of medium-range passenger aircraft developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau in cooperation with major U.S. and European aviation corporations, including Boeing, Snecma, Thales, Messier Dowty, Liebherr Aerospace, and Honeywell.
The aircraft is capable of carrying 75-95 passengers a distance of up to 4,500 kilometers.
Sukhoi has received at least 122 firm orders for Superjet 100 airliners so far.
A 40mm quad anti-aircraft gun that was removed from USS Missouri during its modernization in the 1980s has returned home.
If battleships could smile, the “Mighty Mo”would have been beaming on Dec. 8 when a 40mm quad gun was delivered from Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, “home of the USS Yorktown,” in South Carolina.
The 40mm quad is an old friend of sorts. It was one of two quads traced back to the USS Missouri that, until last month, guarded the Patriot’s Point entrance. Former USS Missouri crewmembers had arranged to have the guns placed at Patriot’s Point well before the decommissioned Missouri opened in 1999 as a memorial in Pearl Harbor.
Recently, the two historic attractions teamed up to secure permission from the Naval Heritage and History Command, who owns the guns, to have one of the WWII-era quads returned to the Missouri on extended loan.
“During World War II and the Korean War, the USS Missouri had 20 40mm quad mounts and 49 20mm guns, all of which were removed during modernization in the 1980s, replaced with four Vulcan/Phalanx 20mm Gatling guns,” said Mike Weidenbach, the Missouri’s curator.
“It is important that we remember the entire five-decade active-service history of USS Missouri, which ran from World War II to the Korean War to Operation Desert Storm.
Through the Missouri, we are uniquely able to portray the evolution of defense technology. For example, the 40mm quad mount will be installed on the main pier, within view of the modern CIWS gun mount that made the 40mm and 20mm anti-aircraft guns obsolete prior to action in Operation Desert Storm.”
The Battleship Missouri Memorial, located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the day of infamy that saw the sinking of USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor and ends with Imperial Japan’s unconditional surrender aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
Following an astounding career that spans five decades and three wars, from World War II to the Korean conflict to the Liberation of Kuwait, the “Mighty Mo” was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc.
The first pre-serial Tiger HAD (fire support and destruction) for France made its maiden flight from Eurocopter’s Marignane, France facility. It marks an important step towards the Block I initial qualification of the Tiger HAD, which is one of four versions in Eurocopter’s multi-role Tiger combat helicopter family.
Eurocopter will conduct joint testing and development flights of this Tiger HAD along with the first Spanish Tiger HAD – which re-started its flight test sequences three months ago subsequently to its transfer to Spain and lay-up – during the next several months.
The Tiger HAD has a maximum takeoff weight of 6.6 metric tons, a more powerful MTR390 engine, an upgraded optical sighting system, an identification friend or foe (IFF) interrogator, improved ballistic protection and a new electronic warfare system.
In addition, France’s Tiger HADs will have the capacity to launch Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, enabling them to perform multi-role missions that meet a variety of operational needs – including armed reconnaissance, combat support and attack.
To date, 64 Tiger HADs have been ordered: 40 by France and 24 by Spain (of which six are retrofits of previously-delivered HAP versions).
The state-of-the-art Tiger combat helicopter family is available in four main versions, with total orders placed for 206 of these rotary-wing aircraft. Currently, there are 64 Tigers in service with four countries: France, Germany, Spain, and Australia. Of these, three French helicopters have been operating successfully in the Afghanistan Theater of operations for the past 16 months.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defense and related services. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 25 subsidiaries and participations on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 10,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in more than 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.