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The USAF West Coast F-16 demo team will join a Belgian OV-10 and a L-39 to perform aerobatics display at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany this weekend.
The aerial demonstration — with maneuvers more complex than a flyby — is the first to be performed before the public on a U.S. military base in Germany since a 1988 air show crash at Ramstein Air Base, where 67 spectators were killed and more than 500 others injured, U.S. Air Forces in Europe officials said.
Since that disaster, military air shows of the type held at Ramstein have been banned in Germany. Highly restricted air demonstrations are approved for open houses only after review of detailed plans, and German rules and restrictions must be adhered to.
Therefore, the flying portion of the Spangdahlem open house will be on a much, much smaller scale than the Ramstein shows, once a huge draw on the European flying circuit with aerobatic teams from all over Europe.
“We carefully selected things that we knew were safe maneuvers and have been practiced over and over again,” said Lt. Col. Steve Horton, 52nd Operations Support Squadron commander at Spangdahlem.
At Spangdahlem’s last open house in 2008, an F-16 and A-10 assigned to Spangdahlem’s 52nd Fighter Wing did “fly-bys” but no aerial maneuvers like those planned for this weekend, according to Spangdahlem officials. Approved maneuvers include a Cuban 8, Double Immelman, Aileron Roll, and High-G turns.
This time, the base invited an F-16 from Air Combat Command’s West Coast “Viper West” team at Hill Air Force Base, Utah; an OV-10B Bronco from Belgium; and an L-39, a former German military aircraft, to perform.
Coordination was worked through many channels, including USAFE headquarters, U.S. Air Combat Command and the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, according to USAFE officials. Approval was granted by the German Air Staff, said USAFE spokesman Mike Kucharek.
“We recognize the sensitivities of the survivors,” Kucharek said. “This is a far different type of event than an air show, because we’re essentially going to be flying basic aircraft maneuvers.”
Source: Stars and Stripes
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Boeing joined the U.S. Air Force at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to help dedicate a C-17 Globemaster III airlifter to the members of the U.S. armed forces who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
A C-17 tail number 99211 was officially dedicated by Gen. Raymond Johns Jr., commander of Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., officially as Spirit of the Medal of Honor in a ceremony attended by several Medal of Honor recipients.
“It’s humbling to be here in the presence of America’s bravest patriots,” said Boeing C-17 Program Manager Bob Ciesla. “The Congressional Medal of Honor serves as a symbol of courage and military heroism in defense of America’s freedoms. Likewise, whenever this C-17 flying the insignia of the Spirit of the Medal of Honor lands, the spirit of America’s bravest will land with it, bringing hope, saving lives and preserving peace.”
The ceremony is part of an Air Force tradition to dedicate aircraft to significant people, events and places. Spirit of the Medal of Honor joins C-17s dedicated to groups including U.S. prisoners of war and troops missing in action; military families; Purple Heart recipients; and those serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.
C-17s have been dedicated to individuals including former President Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope and Medal of Honor recipients Sgt. John Levitow and Col. Joe Jackson. The aircraft also have been named for places such as Long Beach, Calif., where the C-17 Globemaster is built.
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AirVenture — The first Zeppelin to fly in the U.S. skies since the Hindenburg crashed in flames 74 years ago is here to give joyrides.
But the two are worlds apart, in technology, time and safety.
The Hindenburg, the first regularly scheduled aerial passenger service between the U.S. and Europe, was a an 803 ft long behemoth with a gas capacity of 706 million cu ft, and sleeping berths for 72 passengers. It was operated by a crew of 40 officers and men, and up to 12 stewards and kitchen staff. It was kept aloft by hydrogen, which was ultimately its downfall.
The Farmers Insurance Zeppelin NT here this week, built by the revived ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik company in Friedrichschafen, Germany, is just over a quarter the length of the Hindenburg, at 246 ft, and carries up to 12 passengers and two crew. Most importantly, it is filled with 290,000 cu ft of non-flammable hydrogen. It is powered by three 200-hp variable pitch, vectoring Lycoming piston engines, two on the hull and the third at the rear.
Unlike the well-known Goodyear airships, which are inflated bags known as blimps, the Zeppelin NT is a semi-dirigible with a structure of graphite reinforced plastic and three longitudinal aluminum girders that carry the motors and passenger gondola.
In that respect the new Zeppelins also differ from those of the past, which had a rigid skeleton covered in fabric that enclosed the decks and lounges and accommodated the huge gasbags.
Earlier this year, Goodyear committed to replace its famous blimps with three of the new Zeppelins, which will be assembled near Akron, Ohio. Each will cost about $21 million each, with technical support, and the first is slated for delivery in 2014. Interestingly, Goodyear worked with Zeppelin 90 years ago to introduce the rigid airships U.S.S. Macon and U.S.S. Akron to the U.S. Navy.
The Farmers Zeppelin, which is usually based in San Francisco and operated by Airship Adventures of California, will be giving rides at AirVenture through July 31.
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Seventy-eight people were killed when a Moroccan C-130 military aircraft crashed into a mountain in the south of the country last Tuesday, army says.
The C-130 Hercules aircraft crashed near Guelmim, just north of the disputed Western Sahara territory. Officials have blamed the accident on poor weather. The army said three other people were severely wounded in the crash, in what is thought to be one of Morocco’s deadliest air disasters in years.
“Above all, it was the fog and bad weather conditions that are believed to be behind this accident. But for the moment, we don’t have enough information,” AFP news agency quoted an official from the interior ministry as saying.
The C-130 plane was travelling from Dakhla, in the Western Sahara, to Kinitra in northern Morocco. The aircraft was carrying 81 people: nine crew members, 60 troops and 12 civilians.The search team has found forty-two bodies so far.
King Mohammed VI has declared three days of national mourning and ordered that prayers of remembrance be held on Friday in all mosques.
Source: BBC News
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Two Chinese Su-27 fighters penetrated Taiwan’s airspace June 29 and were turned back by Taiwan Air Force fighters. The incident is believed to be the first serious Chinese fighter incursion into Taiwan airspace since 1999.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense confirmed the incursion in a news release on Monday, but would not verify local Chinese-language media reports that the Su-27s were chasing a U.S. surveillance aircraft.
The U.S. Pacific Command did not respond to inquiries about the incident.
An MND source said it is not Taiwan’s duty to protect U.S. surveillance aircraft and the incident is not considered serious.
“There is a line between the two sides, and if any Chinese aircraft flies too close, we will respond,” he said. “If they cross the line, we treat it as a hostile act, but occasionally they fly close to the line, and to be honest, this happens all the time and is not a real problem.”
The June 29 incident was an “unintentional” and “inadvertent” incursion by Chinese fighter aircraft, he said. “The Chinese military has no intention of antagonizing Taiwan” because relations across the Strait are “calm” and there is “no reason for trouble.”
The news comes as Taipei pushes the U.S. to release 66 F-16C/D fighters. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced last week that Washington would make a final decision on the fighters by Oct. 1.
Local media reports said the Su-27s were trying to catch a U-2 spy plane conducting a surveillance mission out of Osan Air Base, South Korea. The reports said the U-2 diverted to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, to avoid the Chinese fighters.
But surveillance aircraft specialist Chris Pocock was skeptical. There are only three U-2s based in East Asia, all at Osan, to watch North Korea, Pocock said.
“They may also fly southwards along the China coast as far as Taiwan, but not on a routine basis,” he said.
The aircraft might have been a Navy EP-3 Aries or Air Force RC-135, which operate at lower altitudes and have been harassed by Chinese fighters in the past.
In 2000, two Chinese J-8 fighters intercepted an Air Force RC-135 in international airspace above the East China Sea. A year later, a J-8 fighter collided with a Navy EP-3 Aries near Hainan Island in the South China Sea.
Despite Chinese complaints, the U.S. surveillance aircraft flies regular missions along China’s coastline. They stay in international airspace because straying into Chinese territory would make them easy targets for S-300PMU-1/2 and Hongqi-10 surface-to-air missiles.
During the Cold War, Taiwan’s Black Bat 34th Squadron flew similar missions with three P-3A Orion signals intelligence aircraft. As well, China shot down five U-2 spy planes operated by Taiwan’s Black Cat 35th Squadron over Chinese territory. Both programs were handled by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Taiwan will soon take delivery of 12 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft for anti-submarine patrols. The aircraft will replace aging Grumman S-2T Tracker anti-submarine aircraft. Taiwan technically has two squadrons of the S-2T, but sources say that only a handful are still operational.
Taiwan has attempted to procure signals intelligence aircraft in the past from the U.S., but procurement problems and budget delays have hampered the acquisition. Taiwan has one EC-130 for surveillance operations, but it is limited in mission scope.
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The first high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE), signals intelligence (SIGINT) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) based on the RQ-4 Global Hawk for the German Bundeswehr, successfully touched down in Manching, Germany last week.
The EURO HAWK took off on July 20 at 2:50 PDT from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and landed at 10:06 Central European Summer Time July 21 in Manching Air Base. It will carry a new SIGINT mission system developed by EADS Deutschland GmbH (Cassidian) and integrated in Manching, Germany.
“Today’s arrival of the EURO HAWK on German soil marks a significant step in delivering this highly capable and unique system to the Bundeswehr,” said Nicolas Chamussy, head of UAVs, Cassidian Air Systems, and member of the board of directors, EuroHawk GmbH.
The EURO HAWK marks several important milestones – it is both the first international version of the RQ-4 and the first HALE SIGINT UAS in Europe. NATO’s AGS will follow close behind and mark the second international RQ-4 and the second HALE UAS in Europe.
The EURO HAWK(R) unmanned aircraft system (UAS), a trans-Atlantic partnership between Northrop Grumman and EADS Deutschland GmbH (Cassidian), successfully lands on centerline July 21 at its new home in Manching, Germany.
With a wingspan larger than most commercial airliners, endurance of 30 hours and a maximum altitude of more than 60,000 feet, EURO HAWK is an interoperable, modular and cost-effective replacement to the fleet of manned Breguet Atlantic aircraft which was in service since 1972 and retired in 2010.
Source: Northrop Grumman
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Algae and garbage will have more influence on Qantas’s carbon emissions than the Gillard Government’s carbon pricing regime, the airline says.
Qantas chief Alan Joyce said the flag carrier was investing in biofuel research as part of its push to meet an industry target of a 1.5 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2020.
The airline is working with US renewable energy companies Solazyme to develop a business case for the use of algal-derived sustainable fuel.
It is also working with another US group, Solena, which deals with waste-based fuel.
Qantas has a fuel bill of almost $4 billion a year.
Mr Joyce was speaking after Lufthansa launched the first daily commercial passenger flights using biofuels last week.
An Airbus A321 will use a biofuel blend on the Hamburg-Frankfurt route during a six-month trial.
Speaking at an aviation conference in Sydney this week, Mr Joyce said the Qantas group would be subject to three different sets of carbon-pricing legislation, in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
A Qantas spokesman said algae could come from Queensland sugar cane and waste from city garbage.
The airline is assessing feasibility studies and may seek government and other corporate investment if setting up a plant is feasible, the spokesman said.
Mr Joyce said both the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 were already 20-25 per cent more fuel efficient than other aircraft. The company has $20 billion in more efficient aircraft on order.
He said the airline had “no ability to digest the carbon tax” and was passing on the $115 million cost to domestic passengers tickets at $3.50 per travel sector.
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The Obama administration has committed to deciding by Oct. 1 whether to allow the sale of 66 Lockheed Martin Corp. F-16 jets to Taiwan, according to an aide to Sen. John Cornyn.
China opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, which it considers a renegade province, and has tried to block sales of the F-16 airplanes to the island. Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou has pressed the U.S. to speed up decision on the jets.
Taiwan’s request for F-16 C/D model jets has been pending since 2006 and upgrades of its older F-16 A/B models have been on hold.
The U.S.-Taiwan Business Council said the timing of the decision “suggests that the Obama administration has no intention” of approving the sale of new F-16 jets. The date is sandwiched between Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to China in August and Chinese President Hu’s expected trip to Hawaii, the group said.
“It doesn’t seem plausible that the Obama administration would stand up for Taiwan policy in the face of two such senior visits from China,” the group said in a news release.
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Alaska Airlines is interested in Boeing’s recently-announced re-engined 737 offering, though the carrier has yet to make any decisions about the type’s future in its fleet.
“We are very much in favour of lower fuel burn, and if Boeing can do this sooner rather than later, that’s a good a thing”, said Bill Ayer, CEO of Alaska parent Alaska Air Group during the company’s second quarter earnings call.
“We just learned about this, really, yesterday, like everybody else,” said Brandon Pederson, company CFO.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh said 20 July that he planned to recommend re-engining the 737 to the Boeing board of directors in August, with a formal authority to offer expected in the fourth quarter.
“We’re all in favour of saving money on our fuel bill, but in terms of how that affects our orderbook, our fleet, our capex, it’s just too early to tell,” Pederson added.
Initial estimates of the fuel burn improvement have spanned from 10-12% and as high as 15% depending on the final configuration that is selected.
Ayer also said “we will be very interested to learn more about this airplane and we look forward to taking delivery of some, if everything looks right in terms of the cost and the fuel burn and so forth”.
Boeing expects to firm the configuration of the new variant within three to four weeks as it concludes deliberations about the fan size of the CFM International Leap-X engine that will exclusively power the new aircraft, which is slated for an entry into service sometime mid-decade.
“We have a fleet plan and an orderbook with Boeing right now that we’re happy with in terms of numbers of airplanes and timing of airplanes, and I think the idea would be that this new airplane would just slot into that whenever it’s available”, he continued.
According to a filing with US regulators, Alaska said it is scheduled to take delivery of six 737-800s in 2012, three in 2013, one in 2014, and two in 2015.
It will also take delivery of six and seven 737-900ERs in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Alaska added the 737-900ER to its orderbook this past January.
The company also said in the filing that it has options for 42 more 737s.
Alaska exclusively operates the Boeing 737 in its fleet, operating the -400, -700, -800, and -900 variants.
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Several Japan Air Self-Defense Force Mitsubishi F-15 Eagles joined other RED FLAG-Alaska participants July 12 after having its entire F-15 fighter fleet grounded in response to an incident on July 4 with one of the fighter jets during a routine training exercise back in Japan.
The F-15 was brought to RED-FLAG Alaska to help JASDF members improve their tactical flying skills and their ability to generate aircraft in a simulated combat environment.
In Japan’s first overseas military training exercise since the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in March, JASDF will be receiving world class training and experiencing a realistic combat simulation. Thorough planning and precautions have ensured challenges were overcome, and the participation of six of Japan’s F-15s began immediately upon their arrival at RF-A 11-2.
“Some of our major training goals as RF-A participants are to expand our fighters’ tactics,” said Lt. Col. Koichi Tokushige, JASDF F-15 Unit Commander. “We would like to improve cooperation between U.S. Forces and JSDAF as well as continue to strive for better understanding with our friends and allies in a joint environment.”
The RF-A participants were ready to begin training earlier this week, however, with the F-15s not arriving until a few days into the exercise Japanese F-15 pilots and maintenance members utilized extra time to further prepare for the weeks flying schedule.
“There are some significant differences in how we maintain our fighter aircraft,” said Tech. Sgt. Toru Michibata, a JASDF maintenance technician. “We would like to show that the Japanese are the best of the best, but we also want to know how some of our international partners repair their aircraft and keep them mission ready.”
Ultimately, the arrival of the F-15s has motivated JASDF personnel who are ready to play their part in this large training exercise. The F-15 will fly a variety of tactics and missions in concert with other participating aircraft throughout the exercise.