Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Proof of carbon emissions: Flatulent cows and sheep cause planes to make emergency landings

Animal farts set off emergency alarms on planes

A Singapore Airlines plane was forced to make a bizarre emergency landing after noxious gas from a flock of sheep caused the smoke alarms to go off.

According to The Aviation Herald, the Boeing 747-400 cargo plane, carrying around 2186 sheep, was on its way from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur when the crew received a smoke indication coming from the cargo bay, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Bali.

The Aviation Herald reported that upon landing, emergency personnel inspecting the aircraft failed to "find any trace of fire, heat or smoke."

Instead, it has been claimed that the "smoke indication was identified to be the result of exhaust gasses and manure produced by the sheep."

Singapore Airlines have since released a statement claiming the flatulence may or may not have caused the emergency landing.

Similarly a Korean Airways cargo flight made an emergency mayday landing at Heathrow airport when the fire alarm on board was triggered over the Irish sea.

Gas masks in place, the crew proceeded to investigate. Instead of a blaze, they found that the 390 sweaty cows in cargo had inadvertently set off the alarm.

Cows produce a high level of methane gas - the second most significant heat-trapping emission. This raised humidity levels inside the aircraft, triggering the alarm.

According to the Daily Mail, "the Korean Airways landing at Heathrow is one of 88 mayday calls reported to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) last year. A mayday landing is the highest level of emergency and is rarely used except in the most urgent cases."

Gas protection for sheep dogs coming soon? 

Monday, 2 November 2015

China eyes the airline market

China unveils jetliner in bid to compete with Boeing and Airbus

Report from Paul Traynor, Associated Press:

 Comac C919

A state-owned manufacturer has unveiled the first plane produced by a Chinese initiative to compete in the market for large passenger jetliners.

China is one of the biggest aviation markets but relies on Boeing and Airbus aircraft. The multibillion-dollar effort to create the homegrown C919 jetliner is aimed at clawing back some of the commercial benefits that flow to foreign suppliers.

The Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) showed off the first of the twin-engine planes in a ceremony attended by some 4,000 government officials and other guests at a hangar near Shanghai's Pudong International Airport.

"It's a major push for the country, as they want to be known as a major player" in airplane manufacturing, said Mavis Toh, Asia air transport editor for Flightglobal magazine.

The C919 is one of several initiatives launched by the ruling Communist Party to transform China from the world's low-cost factory into a creator of profitable technology in aviation, clean energy and other fields.

The C919, which can seat up to 168 passengers, is meant to compete in the market for single-aisle jets dominated by Airbus Industrie's A320 and Boeing Co.'s 737.

Its manufacturer, known as COMAC, says it has received orders from 21 customers for a total of 517 aircraft, mostly from Chinese carriers but also from GE Capital Aviation Services.

A separate state-owned company also has developed a smaller regional jet, the ARJ-21, to compete in the market dominated by Brazil's Embraer and Canada's Bombardier. The first two ARJ-21s were delivered last year to a Chinese airline:

Most of the C919's critical systems including engines and avionics are being supplied by Western companies or foreign-Chinese joint ventures:

Boeing forecasts China's total demand for civilian jetliners over the next two decades at 5,580 planes worth a total of US$780 billion.

China's major airlines are state-owned, which gives the Communist Party a captive pool of potential customers that can be ordered to buy the C919.

"China offers a terrific market, superb engineering talent and reasonably low costs. Developing a national aircraft industry makes a lot of sense," said Richard Aboulafia, vice president for analysis of Teal Group Corp., an industry consultant, in a report in July.

However, the C919 is hampered by official requirements that its manufacturer favour components produced in China, unlike competitors who source parts globally, according to Aboulafia.

"This means Western suppliers need to give away technology to play on this jet," said Aboulafia. "It also means that this aircraft is designed by people whose hands have been tied."

Development of the C919 began in 2008. Plans called for a first flight in 2014 and for it to enter service in 2016, but those targets were pushed back due to production delays. The C919 now is due to fly next year and enter service in about 2019.

One of the biggest components, the core processing and display system, is being supplied by a joint venture between GE Aviation Systems and AVIC, a state-owned Chinese military contractor.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Interceptor and spy planes: Rattling of the Sabre

Rattling the Sabre

Fighter Aircraft intercepting and intimidating surveillance aircraft is nothing new.

Came across these videos on You-tube, showing how fighters intimidate surveillance aircraft:

Russian Su-27 Flanker vs Portuguese P3 Orion:

and a Russian Tupolev Tu 95 Bear is intercepted by NATO Typhoons and Mirages:

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Russian Mi-28 Helicopter Crashes during Airshow Display

Mi 28 Helicopter Crashes during Airshow

A Russian military helicopter has crashed at an air show before thousands of spectators, killing one crew member and injuring another.

Video footage clearly show the tail rotor failing and the gunship starting to spin uncontrollably before hitting the ground in an uncontrolled crash-landing:

The commander of the Mi-28 helicopter was killed. The he aircraft crashed during an aerobatic display at the August 2 air show in the Russian region of Ryazan, 200 kilometers southeast of Moscow.

"The commander has died, the second pilot is alive. According to the second pilot, equipment failure caused the accident," the head of the Russian Air Forces, Colonel General Viktor Bondarev, was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

The air show, Aviadarts, featured Russian Air Force plane and helicopter crews competing to fulfill timed assignments.

No spectators were injured, and the event was suspended for the day following the accident.

Russia's air force has used the Soviet-designed Mi-28 since the mid-2000s, and the aircraft is also exported to numerous countries, including Iraq.

Bondarev has grounded the country's Mi-28 fleet pending an investigation. The surviving crewmember who ejected, reports that hydraulic failure was to blame. This is the 4th crash of an Mi-28 due to hydraulic or gearbox failure.

There have been at least six incidents over the past few weeks involving Russian military planes and helicopters

Risky business ... A Russian Mi-28 attack helicopter similar to this one was taking part

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

NZ $4 Million Griffon Engined Spitfire XIV to Roar in Blenheim

A battle-hardened World War II Spitfire fighter has been delivered to its permanent home at Omaka airfield, near Blenheim, New Zealand.

Repost and embellishment: The 70-year-old aviation marvel is one of only six Spitfire Griffon Mark 14 in existence, and the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

The plane was delivered by a direct flight from Auckland to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre hanger on Sunday.

Spokesman Graham Orphan (above) said the plane would eventually be included in the planned WWII display at the heritage centre. The plane was on loan from owners, the Chariots of Fire fighter collection, he said.

"We are thrilled to get it, and it is a privilege not only to have it based in Marlborough, but also in New Zealand.

"In terms of historic aircraft this is the Rolls Royce of Rolls Royce powered fighters."

NH 799 Pre-Crash in the 1990s

The Spitfire Griffon was involved in a crash at Wanaka in 1996 which almost claimed the life of aviation entrepreneur Tim Wallis.

Hours of painstaking restoration over 19 years had brought the Spitfire back to its original condition, right down to the pilot's leather seat in the cockpit. It is valued at $4 million.

Wallis was reunited with the plane when it appeared at this year's Omaka airshow alongside two other Spitfire in the Twilight Extreme segment of the show.

Photos Harry Mole

Powered by a 2250 horsepower V12, the Supermarine Spitfire Griffon saw action with the Royal Air Force in India and Burma in the later stages of WWII, Orphan said. The engine's roar was known as "the sound of victory".

"It is the final salute to piston-powered engines before jet fighter came."

Orphan was convinced people would flock to the heritage centre to see it.

"Spitfires have a magnetic appeal that transcends all age groups."

The first stage of the display when completed later this year will include the Spitfire Griffon, alongside the Focke Wulf FW190, Russian Yak 3 and Avro Anson bomber from the heritage collection.

The Spitfire will fly in special events at Omaka during the summer  - The Marlborough Express

Spitfire FR Mk.XIVe NH799 (ZK-XIV) is owned by 'The Chariots of Fire Fighter Collection' and based at Omaka airfield, New Zealand. Post restoration first flight 2 April 2015, with John Lamont at the controls. Purchased by the Chariots of Fire Fighter Collection, who are based at Omaka, in 2010. Restored to airworthy condition by Avspecs Limited at Ardmore Airport, Auckland. The restoration was completed in time for the Classic Fighters Airshow held over the Easter weekend (3–5 April 2015) with NH799 is resplendent in a South East Asia Command (SEAC) colour scheme, and wears the individual letter T with the serial NH799 both in white.

NH799 was previously owned by the Alpine Fighter Collection at Wanaka until it crashed on take-off on 2 January 1996 which seriously injured pilot/owner Sir Tim Wallis. Was initially restored to flight by Historic Flying Ltd at Audley End, UK, and flew on 21 January 1994 (as G-BUZU and codes AP-V).

The Mk XIV was the most important of the Griffon powered Spitfires, and the only one to see significant wartime service. It used the two-speed two-stage supercharged Griffon 61 or 65, giving 2,050 hp and a significantly improved performance at higher altitudes when compared to the earlier Griffon powered Mk XII. The Mk XIV was based on the Mk VIII fuselage, already strengthened to cope with the Merlin 61 engine. Early models used the “c” type universal wing (four 20mm cannon or two 20mm cannon and four .303 inch machine guns), while later production used the “e” wing (two .50 inchy machine guns instead of the .303s).

The Griffon engine improved the performance of the Spitfire at all heights. Tests in early 1944 found it to be faster than the Mk IX at every altitude, with the best rate of climb yet seen. The only area not to see any improvement was manoeuvrability, which did not rely on the engine but on the airframe. It had a similar advantage over the Fw 190A, which had a similar performance to the Mk IX. The only problem posed by the Griffon was that it span in the opposite direction to the Merlin. Merlin powered Spitfires had tended to veer left on takeoff. The Mk XIV veered to the right instead.

The superior performance of the Mk XIV made it the ideal aircraft to deal with the menace of the V-1. No.91 Squadron, based at West Malling, ended up with the best record against the flying bomb, shooting down 184 with its Mk XIVs.

From September 1944 the Mk XIV was used with the 2nd Tactical Air Force. It equipped all twenty Spitfire squadrons on the continent between D-Day and VE-Day. Its role in Europe was normally armed reconnaissance, searching for any enemy targets behind the German lines. It could carry up to 1000 lbs of bombs, or in a FR role 500 lbs of bombs and a camera.

More survivors:

...and a close relative, (if only by paint scheme) not so lucky:

(Ps- no right to the photos claimed. Happy to credit, link or remove. Simply a fan page)

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Me 262B-1 Twin Seater Night Fighter Survivor- Johannesburg, South Africa

Red 8: The only Surviving Me 262B-1 Night fighter (Nachtjaeger)

Surviving samples of the world's first operational jet fighter are rare

1500+ Messerschmitt Me 262s were produced, but only eight aircraft survive today.
(Ten if you count the two post-war Avia S-92s.)

The world's only surviving 2-seat Me 262 night fighter is preserved in the South African National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg.

The production two-seater variant of the 262, the Me 262B-1, was initially built for conversion training  purposes. Pilot accustomed to piston-engined aircraft found that the Me 262 was a completely different beast.

The 262 had a tricycle undercarriage, twin engines, completely new type of propulsion and a very temperamental throttle control. This necessitated a conversion trainer with a instructor in the rear cockpit. Two-seater machines were not to be built new but converted from fighter models. About 120 machines of this variant were finished during 1944 and 1945.

Initially, the idea of a night-fighter 262 was developed independently by Messerschmitt as the Me 262B-2. It was to have a longer fuselage accommodating the two crew, internal fuel tanks with the capacity comparable to that of a single-seat variant, and a Berlin radar antenna hidden inside the modified nose cone. By the end of 1944 the war situation had deteriorated so rapidly that it was realized that an interim solution had to be found before the B-2 could reach production status.

Thus some of the existing trainer machines were converted once again to interim model night fighters becoming Me 262B-1a/U1. The conversion mounted a FuG 218 radar;  with an operator occupying the rear cockpit. Before the collapse of German defences, only a handful of this type reached operational use with a single unit, 10./NJG11 at Magdeburg, Germany.

The survivor started its career as  Werknummer 110305. It  was flown operationally at 10./NJG11 by Kurt Welter. Whilst at this location it carried a red number 8 outlined in white, and camouflage of grey mottle over all-black undersurfaces. This aircraft has been widely documented in books and numerous colour profiles.

So how did it end up in South Africa?

Together with other aircraft of the unit, Red 8 was surrendered to the Allies at Schleswig. The two-seater aircraft were considered a prized booty by the British, who collected three flyable machines for evaluation purposes. The other two were Red 12, werknummer 111980, (later destroyed in a gale in 1947) and Red 10, werknummer 110635 (scrapped already later the same year).

On 18 May 1945 Red 8 was ferried to Gilze-Rijen and then to RAF Farnborough in the UK for evaluation. It was subsequently used for radar and tactical trials starting from July the same year. It carried the RAF serial VH519.

After completed trials, Red 8 was shipped to South Africa on 23 February 1947, arriving at Cape Town on 17 March. Amazingly, it survived in storage until the late-1960s when it was taken over by the museum.

This important aircraft was restored for display in 1971 and has been a star exhibit of the Johannesburg museum since 1972. I was lucky enough to first see it in 1977. At that time it was open to be clambered on. I can proudly say that I have stood on the wing of the last surviving Me 262B-2 as a child.

FE-610, an American war Prize, scrapped in 1950

Note the RAF roundels on this unidentifiable captive aircraft

Un-cropped and un-enlaged photo

Possibly the same aircraft, identifiable by its nose werke number: 306;
 clearly one of the three captured by the British

A war trophy on display

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