Category Archives: Aviation

These are the best videos of the Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747‬ emergency landing at Gatwick

A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400 was forced to perform an emergency landing at London Gatwick Airport after main landing gear issue.

On Dec. 29, a Boeing 747-400, registration G-VROM, operating as flight VS43 from London Gatwick to Las Vegas, suffered a Main Landing Gear failure immediately after take off.

After two low passes and circling for a few hours over southern England dumping fuel, the Boeing 747 performed a safe, bumpy, landing at Gatwick, with the still retracted right outboard MLG, just before 16.00 GMT.

Here are the best videos of the mishap we’ve found online.

Another one, shot from the runway end.

Here’s all we know about the Indonesian Airbus 320 disappeared over Java Sea

AirAsia A320 gone missing in southeast Asia

On Dec. 28, an Airbus A320-200, registration number PK-AXC, flying as AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 from Juanda International Airport, Surabaya, to Changi Airport, Singapore, lost contact with Air Traffic Control at 06:24 LT over Java Sea.

155 passengers were on board the aircraft: 137 adults, including 2 pilots and 4 cabin crew and 1 engineer, 17 children and 1 infant.

The aircraft was piloted by a captain with an experience of 20,537 flying hours, 6,100 of which were with AirAsia Indonesia on the Airbus A320. The first officer had a total of 2,275 flying hours with AirAsia Indonesia.

According to Indonesia’s Transport Ministry, while flying at FL320 (32,000 feet), QZ8501 requested to deviate and climb to FL380 to avoid very bad weather in the area. Clearance to climb could not immediately be granted because of nearby air traffic.

The Ministry said the aircraft could be tracked by ADS-B until 06:18, when it went missing from radars. Flight crew did not radio any mayday or emergency message.

Noteworthy, a leaked ATC image published by Gerry Soejatman on Twitter shows the AirAsia flight climbing through 36300ft with a Ground Speed of only 353 knots: provided the image is genuine, the radar screenshot would show an airplane much slower than expected at that altitude (a nearby Emirates flight at FL360 – 36,000 feet – was flying at 503 knots).

Leaked ATC image GS FL

Image credit: via G Soejatman (highlights mine)

Flightradar24 receivers have tracked the flight by means of ADS-B until 06:12, when the aircraft was at FL320, 469 knots, 310° heading.

Although any attempt to explain the reason for the disappearance of the AirAsia flight is pure speculation at this time, we can’t but notice at least one apparent similarity with another famous crash: Air France 447.

AF447 was an Airbus 330 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris that plummeted 38,000 feet in 3 minutes and 30 seconds and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. In that case, pilots responded to a stall, induced by inconsistencies between the airspeed measurements likely due to pitot tubes being obstructed by ice, by pulling the nose up instead of pushing it down to attempt a recover.

Even though a low Ground Speed can be caused by strong head winds, the fact that nearby Emirates was cruising at 36,000 feet at a speed of 503 knots, seems to suggest that the missing Airbus 320 was probably too slow and closer to the stall speed than it should have been.

Anyway, although no sign of wreckage, oil, debris were found so far, experts believe there are more chances to locate the aircraft than the Malaysia Airlines MH370 which vanished in March this year and has not be found yet.

Image credit: Flightradar24.com

 

A320 flying beside Virgin Galactic’s White Knight Two mothership carrying SpaceShipTwo

An unbelievable footage, filmed in 2011, shows a really unusual formation, including an Airbus 320 and White Knight Two carrying the SpaceShipTwo, disintegrated over Mojave desert few days ago.

On Apr. 6, 2011, Virgin America A320 named “My Other Ride is a Spaceship” flew beside Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo over San Francisco to celebrate Virgin America’s new terminal at SFO airport.

The following footage was filmed from aboard the Airbus, as the “mothership” and an accompanying Beechcraft Baron 58 chase plane rejoined on the liner’s left wing, in a rendez-vous reminding that of the receivers on an aerial refueler, to take some cool images of the rather unusual formation.

With a service ceiling of 60,000 feet, the jet-powered cargo aircraft used to lift the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft to a release altitude of 50,000 feet, features two fuselage, one of those is an exact replica of that of SpaceShipTwo to allow tourist training.

On Oct. 31, during a first test over Mojave desert, SS2 disintegrated in flight, seconds after release from White Knight Two. Although the cause of the incident is still being investigated, NTSB team revealed that an uncommanded feather deployment occurred 9 sec. after ignition of the hybrid rocket, possibly overstressing the airframe until it collapsed.

H/T Stefano Perer/Flapa for the heads-up

 

We have visited California Firefighting Hub: San Bernardino Airtanker Base

We have visited the Airtanker Firefighting Hub in California.

Located on the former grounds of Norton Air Force Base, closed under the BRAC (Base Realignment And Closure) proceedings in the early 1990s, San Bernardino International Airport, to the east of Los Angeles, is nowadays the home to the U.S. Forest Service Tanker.

The Airtanker base is the backbone of aviation firefighting in Southern California as it provides support for fixed and rotary wing aircraft during the fire season each year.

Airtanker 16

Airtanker 5

Airtanker 22

During the still burning Silverado Wildfire, Shorealone Films photographer Matt Hartman was able to photograph the amazing aerial firefighting aircraft used to fight the flames, during their early morning ground operations before deploying to the fire.

Airtanker 33

Two DC-10s, (Tanker 911 and Tanker 912) a BAE 146-200, a C-130Q, two Lockheed P-2 Neptunes and a Rockwell Turbo Commander 690 “AirBoss” command and control aircraft were there ready to be dispatched from Airtanker base.

Airtanker 12

Airtanker 28

All images: Matt Hartman

 

Video of DC-10 Supertanker’s fire retardant drop on a mountain

DC10 Air Tanker fighting a fire on a mountain

A cool video shows the DC10 Air Tanker (known as “Supertanker”) performing a nose dive (and subsequent high-G load pull-up) to drop fire retardant over a mountain.

Note the “pathfinder” King Air flying ahead of the DC-10 to point the drop zone for the tanker.