Even if the news has been around for several years (and always denied), according to Defence24.pl, vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yuri Boyko has recently announced that the An-124 production will be resumed in cooperation with Russia.
According to Mr. Boyko, the Antonov 124 is a perfect solution for both the countries, due to its unique features. Firstly it allows for transporting over 100 tons of load, secondly it can operate from short runways.
Image Credit: ruaviation.com
The project is to be financed by creating an Ukrainian-Russian joint venture, where Ukrainian Antonov bureau provides the technology and design, whilst the Russians provide financial assets and market to sell the airplane. The copyrights of An-124 belong to Ukrainians, and the Ukrainian party demands for the things to remain this way.
The joint programme may decrease competition between the countries and boost their chances in the international market.
When the Americans developed C-5 Galaxy in 1968, the Soviets responded with An-124 in 1972, entering the mass production in 1986 and, later An-225 being constructed back in 1988, at the dusk of the Cold War. The planes got codenames Condor and Cossack respectively.
The Condor, till Jul. 26, 1985, set 21 world records, e.g. took 171,000 kg of load to altitude of 10,700 meters, beating the preceding Galaxy record by 53%. But it was not the end of Soviet giants.
The need for services provided by Condor inspired the Antonov designer team to create even bigger an aircraft – the An-225 Mriya (code named “Cossack” by NATO).
The 225 is a six-engined airplane, capable of carrying 250,000 kg of load: an astonishing mass, even compared to Mriya’s smaller brother, larger than the C-5.
The main purpose behind the design was to carry Soviet made space-shuttle, Buran, on its back. The widespread v-fins of 225 allow for clearance needed to mitigate the turbulence influencing the tail, the problem NASA struggled with when putting a Space Shuttle atop a 747.
Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist
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Brought to my attention by some readers and Twitter followers, a recent article published on CBS reported that residents of Quincy, in the Boston metropolitan area were worried by the activity of a low flying aircraft spotted doing loops over the city.
Actually, in the wake of the Boston attack, some of them said they are really “frightened” by the presence of the mysterious plane over the town every night for the past couple of weeks.
According to WBZ News Radio, FAA has given out little information about the aircraft activity. Not even the City Councillor nor the Mayor know anything about the aerial activity that is keeping locals up at night with a “strong humming sound.”
After a bit of investigation on Open Sources, the mystery was easily solved.
The aircraft flying over Boston metropolitan area since at least Apr. 24 are not drones but FBI planes. Among them, a Cessna 208 carrying registration N1132F, Cessna 206H N309JK, and Cessna 182s N859JA and N906TM.
Image credit: NomadYota/Flickr
What these planes are doing at night can’t be said with much detail because the operation requires some secrecy and the FBI is obviousy not willing to comment on it, but, based on the type of mission usually flown by these assets (available on the Federal Bureau’s website), it’s safe to say they are conducting aerial surveillance and intelligence collection.
Although they are painted as normal private planes, some of these aircraft are equipped with night surveillance and eavesdropping systems, including thermal and video imagery, and are capable to track suspected terrorists and criminals.
This animation shows what may have happened aboard the Boeing 747 that crashed after take off from Bagram May 1, 2013Posted by David Cenciotti in : Aviation, Aviation Safety, Military Aviation , 15comments
The following video shows what may have caused the crash of a National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 shortly after take off from Bagram Airfield, in Afghanistan, on Apr. 29.
As we reported on our first article on the accident, there are rumours that radio frequency monitors listened a crew report according to which the load had shifted just prior to the crash.
A sudden and violent shift of the CG (Center of Gravity) during initial climb, might have induced the impressive nose high attitude that is clearly visible in the shocking video recorded by a car dash camera.
At that speed and altitude, the aircrew could do nothing to recover the situation.
The animation below points towards the engine stall as the root cause of the crash; however, the wings stalled (they would stall even if the engines were working properly) and the aircraft almost fell from the sky like a stone.
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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
Thermal images of the Boston bomber hiding in a backyard boat taken by a helicopter’s IR camera April 20, 2013Posted by David Cenciotti in : Aviation, Military Aviation , 2comments
The following thermal images were released on Twitter by the Massachusetts State Police, show the Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarneav hiding in a boat in a Watertow backyard during Apr. 19′s manhunt.
Image credit: Massachusetts State Police
FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) pods carried by Police helicopters have been an important tool in helping law enforcement locate suspects of the Boston Marathon bombing.
The helicopter was able to pick up the heat signature of the individual even if he was hiding under a cover on the boat, and direct tactical teams on the ground over to the area.
Modern IR (infrared) cameras are extremely sensitive to heat: they are capable to pick different temperatures at very long distances. They can pick up heat on a wall from where a hand was placed for a few seconds and show its thermal signature.
You can’t hide from these cameras unless wearing special reflective materials/suits, capable to minimize heat gain and loss.
Update: here’s the the Boston Bomber manhunt IR video