Monthly Archives: April 2013

One of the most shocking videos ever shows huge Boeing 747 crashing after take off from Bagram

This is one of those video that deserve very few words as it speaks by itself.

It was recorded by a dash camera and shows the B747-400 cargo plane operated by National Air Cargo crashing after take off from Bagram Airfield, in Afghanistan.

The B747, contracted out by the U.S. military can be seen almost still, few hundred feet above the ground, unable to climb, before stalling and crashing into the ground.

According to some reports, internal load shifted just prior to the crash, causing the heavy cargo plane to pitch up past the point at which the crew could not recover the proper airspeed and attitude.

Bagram crash video

H/T to Sam Wiltzius for the heads up

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[Photo] French Atlantique maritime patrol aircraft sporting Laser Guided Bomb markings (from Mali Air War)

The following images were taken at RAF Lossiemouth by The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Fucito, during the recent Exercise Joint Warrior 2013.

They show one of the two French Atlantique II maritime patrol aircraft sporting two LGB (Laser Guided Bomb) markings.

Five French Navy’s Atlantique II (ATL2) MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) were deployed to Dakar, Senegal, in support of Operation Serval in Mali. Indeed, the aircraft were not only used to perform ISR (intelligence surveillance reconnaissance) in West Africa, but were also employed as bombers: according to several sources, numerous GBU-12 250 kg laser guided bombs were dropped in the Sahel.

The ATL2 can accomodate up to four GBU-12s but it can’t self designate targets. At least, not yet.

ATL2 France dettaglio bombe

Image credit: Alessandro Fucito


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Saudi Arabia’s upgraded Tornado fighter bombers and new Typhoon jets on delivery

Some interesting Saudi Arabian combat planes have visited Malta International Airport on their way home last week.

On Apr. 23, a RSAF Tornado upgraded under the TSP (Tornado Sustainment Program), have made a stopover in Malta. The Saudi strike fighter, wearing the typical desert color scheme with the RAF roundel and a TSP flag on the tail, was one of the final two upgraded to the standard that will enable the RSAF to operate the medium-range strike fighters until at least 2020.

RSAF Tornado TSP

TSP includes upgrades needed to employ a wide array of precision guided munitions: Brimstone, Storm Shadow, Paveway/Enhanced Paveway-series bombs etc. In other words, RSAF TSP Tornados are quite similar to RAF Tornado GR4s.

RSAF Typhoon 1

On Apr. 25, two two-seater Eurofighter Typhoons on delivery from BAe Warton made a stopover in Malta.

RSAF Typhoon 2

Image credit: Brendon Attard

The two RSAF Typhoon jets in the typical two-tone color scheme followed the same route staged for the delivery flight of the previous examples: Warton – Toulouse (France).

They departed from Malta on Apr. 26, destination Taif airbase (reportedly via Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt).

Written with David Cenciotti

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US Civilian Cargo Plane crashes after taking off from Bagram, Afghanistan

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

Bagram crash

Image credit: Albert Ramirez via AvHerald

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Missiles launched at Russian passenger jet over Syria: known and unknown facts.

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 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

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