May 17 saw the Royal Air Force’s “Red Arrows”, one of the world’s most famous display teams, awarded their Public Display Authority (PDA) for 2013 by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton.
The team has been under intense training during an 8 week stint in Greece and Cyprus.
It is here that Sir Stephen Dalton and The Chief of the Air Staff and Air Officer Commanding 22 (Training) Group, Air Vice Marshal Mike Lloyd, both spent 2 days flying with the team observing the 2013 display no less than 5 times before awarding the team their PDA.
Image credit: RAF/Crown Copyright
On the RAF website Sir Stephen Dalton is quoted as saying after awarding the PDA
“The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, have designed a display of precision formation flying that encapsulates the agility and demonstrates the pure flying qualities required in the Royal Air Force. The Reds are an iconic symbol of the United Kingdom and their displays are vividly demonstrating excellence in precision, teamwork and dynamic flying.
“The commitment of the Squadron, the pilots, the organisation and all who support them, work extremely hard throughout the year to achieve this degree of excellence, on the ground and in the air. They promote the Royal Air Force in the most positive way and continue to strive to be the best of the best for which they are recognised worldwide.”
Air Vice Mike Marshal Lloyd was also quoted as saying “I am delighted that the Red Arrows have been awarded Public Display Authority for the 2013 season. They have completed an intense training period to work back up to the traditional 9 aircraft in close formation. This year, they are incorporating a few new formations, amongst which is the “Lancaster” in recognition of the 70th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid. I know the Team is excited about the 49th display season.”
The British public will get their first view of the “Reds” at Duxford on May 26.
Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com
Israel strikes weapons convoy in Syria to halt shipment of “game changing” missiles to Hezbollah May 4, 2013Posted by Richard Clements in : Military Aviation, Syria , 1 comment so far
Although it was not officially confirmed by either side, early in the morning on May 4, news agencies reported that Israeli jets have conducted a new air strike in Syria, destroying a convoy of weapons possibly destined for use by Hezbollah.
Reuters went on to quote an Israeli embassy spokesman as saying ”We cannot comment on these reports, but what we can say is that Israel is determined to prevent the transfer of chemical weapons or other game-changing weaponry by the Syrian regime to terrorists, especially to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
Two U.S officials quoted by CNN said that they had data that suggests that Israeli jets flying over Lebanon had carried out the attack without entering the Syrian airspace, perhaps suggesting the use of missiles or some kind of stand-off weapon was used.
Some news agencies reported that a warehouse which stored chemical weapons was hit; an Isreali source was quoted by the CNN as saying ”We will do whatever is necessary to stop the transfer of weapons from Syria to terrorist organizations. We have done it in the past and we will do it if necessary the future.”
None of the media outlets have suggested what type of aircraft had carried out the strike but its thought the air strike occured in the Thursday May 2. Friday May 3. timeframe and involved 16 aircraft, including some Electronic Warfare assets, as those that were used in the last air strike in Syria.
David Cenciotti has contributed to this post
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On the afternoon of Monday Apr. 29 a civilian Boeing 747 cargo plane taking off from Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, crashed killing all on board.
The doomed B747-400 cargo plane was operated by National Air Cargo and thought to be the example carrying registration N949CA (unconfirmed).
The aircraft had been contracted out by the U.S. military and had arrived at the base the previous day. Eye witnesses said that the 747 had taken off normally but once it had reached an altitude of around 1,200ft the nose pitched up violently leading to a subsequent stall.
There are rumours that radio frequency monitors heard the crew report that the load had shifted just prior to the crash: the heavy cargo plane pitched up past the point at which the crew could not recover; the resulting drop in airspeed made the aircraft stall and that close to the ground there was nothing the crew could do.
National Air Cargo made a statement to Reuters by phone stating “We did lose all seven crew members,” although their nationalities have not been released.
The Taliban released a statement saying that they were responsible for the crash but ISAF (NATO’s International Security Assistance Force) said that there had not been any insurgent activity around or near the base when the incident took place, therefore it would seem the Taliban tried to use this as a bit of a publicity stunt.
The tragic event comes only few days after a U.S. MC-12 military surveillance aircraft crashed in bad weather.
Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com
Image credit: Albert Ramirez via AvHerald
Recent articlesMilitary Aviation, Syria , 7comments
Media outlets are reporting that a Russian passenger jet that was flying from the Egyptian tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh (although some sources say the flight departed from Hurgada) to the Russian city of Kazan, in Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan, came very close to being blown out of the sky.
The jet an Airbus A-320 belonging to the charter airline ‘Nordwind Airlines’ with the flight number of NWS1950 found itself targeted by two missiles whilst flying over Syria.
The crew reportedly spotted the incoming missiles and took evasive action; it must have been a quick reaction since the plane was probably crusing under autopilot control.
Both missiles exploded close to the jet with 200 passengers on board but did not cause any damage to the jet.
“The crew spotted signs of combat activities which, they believed, could pose a threat to the safety of the plane” stated Russia’s Transport Ministry, citing the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) according to Russia Today.
Details are very scarce but the incident took place on Monday Apr. 29 and according to the interfax news agency the Russian Foreign ministry are looking into the circumstances behind the incident.
It remains unclear who is responsible for the attack which could have cost 200 people their lives, although Syrian Air Traffic Control said that they were unaware of any Russian aircraft coming under attack.
The flight can been seen on the flightradar24.com website here.
The track doesn’t seem to show any route deviation that might be a sign of evasive maneuver but this maybe just a matter of scale.
For sure, the Airbus 320 was flying at FL340 ruling out the possibility that it was targeted by a MANPADS.
The Aviationist will provide more details once they became available.
Written with David Cenciotti. Giuliano Ranieri has contributed to this post
UK flying its MQ-9 Reaper UAVs from RAF Waddington as well as from Creech AFB, Nevada April 26, 2013Posted by Richard Clements in : Drones, Military Aviation , add a comment
British media outlets are reporting that the Royal Air Force is now flying its MQ-9 Reaper drones from Lincolnshire as well as from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.
The Guardian has reported that the crews based at RAF Waddington are working in tandem with their colleagues in the U.S. providing round the clock operations in Afghanistan due to the time difference between the UK and US.
No 13 Squadron stood up at Waddington at the end of October to operate the MQ-9 Reaper alongside 39 Squadron based at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.
The Sky News website quotes the British MoD as saying ”XIII Sqn have commenced supporting ISAF and Afghan ground troops in Afghanistan with armed intelligence and surveillance missions, which are remotely piloted from RAF Waddington.”
The Guardian quoted a source as saying ”We aren’t flying any more operations than we were before, but with the time differences between the US, Afghanistan and the UK, it is now possible for pilots at Waddington to work in relay with the those in the US.”
It is thought that the RAF has three control stations at its drone ‘hub’ at Waddington and these have gone through a very tough testing process to make sure these new stations are fit for purpose.
Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com
Image credit: U.S. Air Force