Category Archives: Aviation

Gorgeous cockpit video of the last Vulcan bomber flying in formation with the Red Arrows for the last time

The last flying Vulcan Bomber, XH558, flew with the Red Arrows one last time at the Southport Air Show.

After taking part in air shows for eight years, the last flying Vulcan bomber will perform its final flights today taking part at Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon and at Shuttleworth Uncovered Air Show, which will end Old Warden Collection airshow season.

Avro Vulcan XH558 (carrying civil registration G-VLCN), is the only airworthy bomber of a fleet of 134 Vulcan V bombers operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984.

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 2

The aircraft made its maiden flight in 1960 and was retired from active service in 1984, then it continued to fly with the RAF’s Vulcan Display Flight, performing until 1992.

Its display career restarted in 2008, after the Vulcan To The Sky Trust was able to bring the bomber back to airworthy condition the previous year, but on May 15 this year it was announced that 2015 would have been the delta-winged aircraft’s final flying season.

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 3

To salute the iconic plane, the Red Arrows display team performed a flypast with the mighty Cold War bomber for the last time during Southport Air Show on Sept. 19.

Squadron Leader David Montenegro, Red 1 and Team Leader of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, remarked that “It was a great honour to lead a formation flypast with the Vulcan, particularly as the aircraft type was once based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire – now home to the Red Arrows.”

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 4

In the following beautiful video, taken from the cockpit of the bomber, you can join the Vulcan aircrew who flew with the Red Arrows for the final time.

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors covered Pope Francis’s Boeing 777 during his US tour.

A photo unveiled the presence of two Raptors close to “Shepherd One.”

During Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, the U.S. government carried out one of the largest domestic protective security operations in its history.

In fact, each U.S. military branch, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service (which is usually tasked to protect US president and vice president), and local-state police departments, joined together conducting a huge escort operation  to safeguard the Pope from a wide variety of attack possibilities.

As unveiled by Ian D’Costa in his article “America Deployed its Best Fighter to Cover the Pope’s Tour of the Country,” on, it seems that this impressive contingent also included the Lockheed Martin F-22, the U.S. Air Force fifth generation stealth fighter.

Indeed, as reported by D’Costa, shortly after Pope’s American Airlines Boeing 777 departed from New York heading to Philadelphia, a planespotter named Robert Dube, took a picture of an Airbus taking off from John F. Kennedy international airport with a KC-10 Extender refuelling a pair of F-22s in the background (top image).

Considered that Raptors don’t refuel over Manhattan or nearby too often, it is safe to assume that the aircraft were  deployed to counter a potential terrorist attack conducted by using a hijacked airliner.

Anyway the U.S. Air Force would have not allowed to any aircraft to penetrate the bubble erected to protect “Shepherd One” (as the aircraft in which the Pontiff is flying is nicknamed) and its most advanced air superiority fighter has been the best option to deter an intervention from any potential airborne threat.

Needless to say, it was probably not the only type of aircraft the Air Force committed to such task.

The Pope's return flight to Rome could be tracked online on

The Pope’s return flight to Rome could be tracked online on

Top image credit Robert Dube via Ian D’Costa (


Cool pictures show U.S. F-15Es flying in formation with Spitfires during Battle of Britain celebrations

The last airshow of the season at Duxford celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Among the highlights of the Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show that took place on Sep. 19-20,  there was a flypast made by two U.S. F-15E Strike Eagles of the 492nd Fighter Squadron from RAF Lakenheath, and two Spitfire Mk Is.

F-15E Spit 2

In fact, even if the airfield in Cambridgeshire is a very popular venue for warbirds enthusiasts, contemporary aircraft usually join classic aeroplanes, not only to commemorate historic events but also to boost the already spectacular flying display of the air show.

F-15E Spit 4

These cool photos, taken from the cockpit of one of the two F-15Es, give you a glimpse of what it is like to fly in formation with the iconic Spitfire.

F-15E Spit 5

Image credit: RAF Lakenheath/U.S. Air Force

Enjoy a video walk around of the only flying Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber

Everything you need to know about the legendary B-29 is in this video.

The Boeing B-29 was a four-engine heavy bomber operational during WWII designed for high-altitude strategic bomber role that become particularly famous for carrying out the devastating atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

After the war, the advanced B-29s carried out several tasks including in-flight refueling, antisubmarine patrol, weather reconnaissance and rescue duty. The B-29 saw military service again in Korea between 1950 and 1953, battling new adversaries: jet fighters and electronic weapons. The last B-29 was retired from active service in September 1960.

The Superfortress featured pressurized cabin, tricycle dual wheeled landing gears, and a quite-advanced-for-the-time, remote, electronic fire-control system that controlled four machine gun turrets that complemented a manned, semi-automatic, rear gun turret.

“FIFI” is the nickname of a surviving B-29 out of about 4,000 produced by Boeing, the only one currently flying. The aircraft is owned by the Commemorative Air Force, currently based at Addison, Texas that rescued it in the early 1970s.

Since then, the aircraft has taken part in airshows, documentaries, demo flights and movies.

In the video below, filmed by our reader and friend Erik Johnston, you can join the aircraft commander Allen Benzing in a guided tour outside and inside “FIFI.”

This epic video shows a WWII Spitfire helping out a Cold War Vulcan bomber during nose wheel emergency

One British classic aircraft from WW2 helping out its Cold War compatriot at Scottish airshow.

This video was filmed on Sept. 5, at Prestwick airport, during the Scottish Airshow 2015 and it shows the last flying Vulcan bomber experiencing a nose wheel failure before landing.

As you can see in the interesting footage (that includes also radio comms on the Tower frequency) the Vulcan performed a flyover then initiated a right hand turn to land on runway 30. However, the nose gear did not extend fully and the V-bomber performed a second flyover before starting orbiting to the north of the airfield.

That’s when a Spitfire of the BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) came to help: the WWII plane called up on the radio and asked if there was anyway he could help by giving the Vulcan a closer look from underneath the aircraft.

As the bomber slowed down to below 170 knots, the Spitfire formed up on its right wing and confirmed that the nose wheel was not properly extended.

In an attempt to unblock the gear the Vulcan performed some aggressive turns that eventually freed whatever was holding the nose wheel from extending allowing the Vulcan (preceded by the Spitfire) to perform a safe landing.

Well done to everyone involved in the emergency!

H/T to Alistair Moir for the heads-up!