Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Italian Navy is testing a tiny Camcopter drone from its amphibious warfare ship

The Italian Navy is testing the Schiebel Camcopter S-100 Unmanned Aerial System from the San Giusto amphibious warfare ship

In April 2012, the tiny Camcopter S-100 became the first UAS ever to fly from an Italian ship, operating from the ITS Bersagliere frigate.

In February this year, the Italian Navy selected the S-100 as the UAS of choice for use from its fleet: it will be used for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) tasks from ships at sea, and to support military and civil activities such as SAR (Search And Rescue) or assistance in case of natural disasters.

Equipped with a Wescam MX-10 and a Shine Micro AIS (Automatic Identification System), the S-100 has the capability to collect time-critical data during 6-hour missions. By means of its electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) sensors it extends the warship’s ability to see beyond the range of its own sensors and to collect and share critical information, in real-time.

The S-100 carries a 75 lbs/34 kg payload at an altitude of 18,000 feet.

In these days the Marina Militare is testing the tiny drone from the San Giusto amphibious warfare ship, to evaluate the interoperability of the Camcopter with the ship, its ability to takeoff and recover on the ship’s flight deck, its noise level, as well as other operational parameters.

The San Giusto is the first Italian Navy ship to employ the Camcopter S-100 during the week-long evaluation cruise which involves technical engineers from Schiebel, pilots from the 4° GrupElicot (Heli Group) from Maristaeli Grottaglie as well as personnel from Centro Sperimentazione Aeromarittimo (CSA – Air-Land Test Center) based at Luni.

S-100 ground control station

Image credit: Marina Militare / Italian Navy


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[Photo] Four thirsty F-15E Strike Eagles trail tanker during first female USAF fighter pilot’s fini-flight

4th Fighter Wing’s F-15E Strike Eagle attack planes took part to first U.S. Air Force female fighter pilot’s final flight from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

The image in this post was taken on May 29 during Col. Jeannie Leavitt, 4th Fighter Wing commander, fini-flight.

A fini-flight (short for final flight) is a military aviation tradition to celebrate the end of a pilot’s or commander’s time at a base or command or the last flight with a specific aircraft.

During her career as the first female fighter pilot, Col. Leavitt recorded more than 2,600 flying hours in the F-15E Strike Eagle.

On her arrival at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base her Strike Eagle was hosed down with water while taxiing back to the parking slot.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


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U.S. Global Hawk UAS flew from Italy to Norway during largest ever test of NATO’s intelligence capabilities

Huge Global Hawk Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) flew from Italy to Norway, during NATO trial dubbed Unified Vision 2014.

A U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk, flew from its base at Sigonella, Italy, to Norway, as part of Exercise Unified Vision 2014.

The RPV, flew from the airbase in southeastern Sicily, in the Mediterranean (from where the huge drone conduct daily missions over Africa), to Northern European countries, including Norway, to showcase the capability of the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system to route one of its planned five Global Hawks across the busy European airspace.

Indeed, one of the goals of UV 2014 was to prepare the introduction of the AGS capability and to improve data sharing with other ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) systems provided by various NATO and partner nations.

The Global Hawk flew to Norway, cruising at more than 50,000 feet, well above commercial airliners testing the effectiveness of existing ATC procedures to ensure seamless integration of High Altitude Long Endurance UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) within the existing aviation framework.

During the drills, the RQ-4 crossed UK airspace for the first time.

Taking place from May 19 to 29, UV14 saw the participation personnel from 18 NATO nations and three partner nations; 2,000 people attended the exercise that tripled its size since the edition held in 2012.

The drills gave participating arms the opportunity to test their latest ISR equipment and enhance their ability to use, fuse and share data gathered by national and allied assets in a scenario tailored on most recent operational experiences (especially ISAF operation in Afghanistan).

What makes this kind of exercise particularly useful is the fact that they are quite realistic: surface-to-air missile systems are turned on and active GPS jamming is admitted; something almost impossible to do in most parts of the world, because of the interferences with commercial aviation.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force



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NASA shows off Hi-Tech aircraft involved in Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions flight experiment

NASA displayed an impressive array of hi-tech aircraft used in its Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions (ACCESS II) flight experiment during a media day for reporters from around the world.

On May 20, NASA Armstrong Building 703, at Palmdale, California, hosted the Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions (ACCESS II) flight experiment media day.

The event gave reporters the opportunity to learn more about scientific research being conducted on the effects of alternate fuels, including synthetic and biofuel formulations, on engine performance, emissions and aircraft-generated contrails at altitudes typically flown by commercial airliners.

Some NASA aircraft based at Building 703 were on display during the media day as shown by the following pictures taken at Palmdale by Shorealone Films photographer Matt Hartman.

DC-8 side

Among the aircraft on display there was a Douglas DC-8 Airborne Science Laboratory, tail # N817NA, based at NASA’s Armstrong Aircraft Operations Facility and used as a flying laboratory to collect data for experiments in support of various scientific projects.


DC-8 cockpit

Also on display inside the hangar at Palmdale was a Boeing 747SP, SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy). Sofia is the world’s largest airborne astronomical observatory whose role is to complement NASA’s wide array of space telescopes as well as major Earth-based telescopes. SOFIA features a German-built far-infrared telescope, 19 tons in weight, with an effective diameter of 100-inches (2.5 meters) mounted and operated from the left side of the rear fuselage of the highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft.


One of the two ER-2 aircraft (the one with tail N806NA) used by NASA as flying laboratories in the Sub-Orbital Science Program under the Agency’s Science Mission Directorate was on display. The two aircraft are used as readily deployable high altitude sensor platforms to collect remote sensing and in situ data on earth resources, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and oceanic processes, as well as for electronic sensor research and development, satellite calibration and satellite data validation.


NASA Langley HU-25C Guardian (Dassault Falcon 20G business jet), tail N525NA, is a former U.S. Coast Guard aircraft that served as a SAR (Search And Rescue) platform before being converted into remote sensing collector and satellite support aircraft.


All images: Matt Hartman

By the way, NASA operates many other aircraft, including the famous WB-57F supporting BACN for military purposes.


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This is not a videogame but Rafale combat plane’s cockpit at dusk

If you were a Rafale pilot flying at sunset, you’d see this.

Even if it isn’t as futuristic as the one you would find in the F-35 Lightning II (with full touch screens, HOTAS, voice activated commands, system monitoring with all information displayed on a “portal” and so on), Dassault Rafale‘s cockpit features a HUD (Head Up Display) and MFDs (Multi Function Displays) that give the pilot a total situational awareness.

Made available by the Escadron de Chasse 1/7 Provence a multirole squadron of the French Air Force which operate the Rafale C from Saint Dizier, France, the photo shows how most modern aircraft have introduced fairly “user friendly” cockpits where complexity has been reduced to the minimum and avionics provide “at a glance” symbology, to make information easier to understand and correlate.

By the way, the photo shows a cockpit so much “user friendly” and simplified it reminded us some flight simulator games of the 1990s.

Image credit: EC1/7 – French Air Force


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