Monthly Archives: January 2014

[Video] Boeing 747-8 in Seattle Seahawks livery draws “12” in the sky

A Boeing 747-8 painted in Seattle Seahawks flew a special flight path over Eastern Washington to salute the team.

On Jan. 30 a Boeing 747-8 Freighter painted in Seattle Seahawks livery took off from Boeing Field and landed at Paine Field in Everett 5:30 hour later.

 

The wide body, flying as “BOE 12” drew a “12” across Eastern Washington State: a special salute to the NFL franchise that will play against the Denver Broncos during the Super Bowl game at the MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, this Sunday.

BOE 12 flight plan

Top image courtesy Boeing; screenshot from FlightAware.com

 

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Video shows Angry Afghan Villagers stoning wreck of U.S. Predator Drone

An American UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) crashes in Afghanistan. Local people stone it.

The following footage made its first appearance on Facebook a couple of days ago.

It allegedly shows what seems to be a group of Afghans stoning the wreck of a (most probably American) MQ-1 Predator drone, while other people cheer and laugh.

It’s almost impossible to determine why, when and where the unmanned aircraft crashed. Still, what can be said is that U.S. drones involved in overseas clandestine missions (in Afghanistan or Iran – do you remember the stealth RQ-170 Sentinel captured by Iran?) don’t carry any marking, serial, roundel etc.

 



H/T to Gian Luca Onnis for the heads-up

 

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Made in China: all Modern Chinese fighter jets in one photo

One image shows some of the most famous China’s Air Force combat planes.

Even if some types are missing, the photograph is still much interesting. Indeed, if you wondered how the size of a J-10 compared to that of a J-8II, this photographs gives a hint.

BTW, since the Chinese site where the image was posted focuses on scale models, photoshop compositions etc., we can’t be sure the image whether the photo is genuine or it simply depicts a diorama.

Anyway, from left to right you can ID: Shenyang J-11, Chengdu J-10, Shenyang J-8II, Shenyang J-8, Chengdu J-7, Shenyang J-6, Shenyang JJ-2. Front row: Xian JH-7A, Nanchang A5.

If you are interested in Chinese aircraft, Modern Chinese Warplanes written by Andreas Rupprecht and Tom Cooper, and published by Harpia, is the book for you.

The paperback volume, sporting 256 pages, 274 color photos, 12 maps and 60 color drawings, accurately portrays China’s current military planes, their weapons, their markings and serial number systems, as well as the order of battle of both the People’s Liberation Army Air Force and Navy Air Force: the ideal starting point if you want to study Beijing’s air power.

H/T to Sobchak Security

 

 

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AC-130H Spectre gunship’s final mission

On Jan. 16, the 16th Special Operations Squadron conducted its final mission with the AC-130H gunship at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.

To celebrate the retirement of the Spectre, whose development began in the early 1960s, the 16th SOS launched its whole fleet of 8 AC-130Hs; a tough and remarkable achievement, obtained thanks to the teamwork of pilots, maintainers, loadmasters and maintenance teams.

In 2013, the Squadron completed its last AC-130H Spectre gunship deployment in Afghanistan after 40 years of active service all around the world.

16 SOS will soon receive the AC-130J, a plane equipped with more modern avionics but more vulnerable to ground fire as a recent report pointed out. Indeed, the new aircraft lacks armor needed to protect some aircraft’s vital parts and, above all, its crew.

AC-130H Elephant Walk

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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“Dambusters” Squadron’s final mission. Will reform and get F-35B in 2018.

RAF’s legendary Squadron disbanded 71 years after famous raid over Germany. Will reform and get F-35s in a few years.

Royal Air Force’s 617 Squadron known as the “Dambusters”, from the daring night missions against the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams, pivotal to Hitler’s industrial heartland in the Ruhr Valley, back in 1943, completed their last operational mission (over Afghanistan) with the Tornado GR4.

It will be a temporary disbandment though: the unit will reform in 2018, with both Royal Air Force and Navy personnel and it will be equipped with the F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter.

This last flight was a Close Air Support (CAS) mission, which aimed at helping the coalition troops and was made by Squadron Leader, Mark Jackson.

The Dambuster played recce and CAS roles during their stay in Afghanistan, tasks that were handed over to No II (Army Co-operation) Squadron from RAF Marham.

The statistics of Dambusters’ last tour in  Afghanistan are astounding: the Squadron accumulated 188 missions and logged more than 1500 flying hours.

In the article published on the RAF website Mark Jackson said:

As I stepped down from the aircraft for the last time, my emotions were mixed. Tinged with sadness is an overwhelming sense of achievement for what the Squadron have accomplished. I am sure that the original Dambusters felt a similar poignancy at the end of their iconic raid and would echo how very proud I am of those that serve today.

One of a few interesting tasks the Dambusters performed was the show of force; 14 ones were conducted on their stay in Afghanistan.

What is it? It is basically flying fast and low to deter enemy forces from attacking coalition ground troops. In this way the Squadron paid tribute to its early days, when low level flying was needed to sneak close to the German dams.

Jackson reminisces, that it is nothing compared to the raids back in 1943, since then, the bomber pilots “came back from their mission pulling out bits of trees and twigs from the aircraft, they were literally skimming the trees to get there.”

The Dambusters are to be officially disbanded in March, but then there is a plan to reform the unit as the the RAF’s first Lightning II Squadron in 2018, provided all the problems with the American STOVL (Short Take Off Veritical Landing) stealth jet will be solved by then.

In this way the legacy will be maintained. Wing Commander Arthurton is waiting for the Dambusters to come back, as he says: “the spirit and ethos of this famous Squadron will no doubt endure as it embarks on the next chapter of its illustrious history.”

Written with David Cenciotti

617 Sqn final flight

Image Credit: Crown Copyright

 

 

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