Category Archives: Military Aviation

Check out these stunning videos of the iconic F-104 Starfighter flying for the first time in 33 years in Norway

A civilian-owned CF-104D Starfighter flew for its first time in 33 years in Norway. And here are some of the coolest clips filmed during the historical “first flight.”

On Sept. 28, CF-104D Starfighter “637” / LN-STF in the colors of the Royal Norwegian Air Force flew again in Bodø, Norway, 33 years after its first flight.

Chased by a dual seater F-16B of the RNoAF, the aircraft, brought back to airworthy conditions in 13 years by the Norwegian Foreningen Starfighterens Venner (Friends of the Starfighter Association) flew for about 50 minutes becoming the first “Zipper” (or “Missile with a man in it” in accordance to one of the several nicknames the legendary plane has had during its long career) to fly in Europe in more than 11 years: the last flight of an F-104 in the Old Continent took place in Italy, on Jul. 27, 2005, when the Italian Air Force retired its last aircraft (a two-seater TF-104, the same type of aircraft this Author had the opportunity to fly in November 2000) after more than 40 years of service.

Eskil Amdal, a Norwegian test pilot, flew the Starfighter “637” during its newest “first flight” that was broadcast live on Facebook.

The following video shows the takeoff of the chase F-16B that performed an airborne pickup of the F-104 and the later approach and landing:

Here’s an interesting clip with footage from inside the cockpit:

The following footage shows the CF-104D from the backseat of the F-16B (taken by Helge Andreassen):

There are rumors that the Norwegian association will some day bring the F-104 back to airshows around Europe. However it looks like there are no plans (and possibly clearances) at the moment to fly this magnificient aircraft outside of Norway.

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H/T to Giulio Cristante, Bjørnar Bolsøy and all the readers who sent us links and comments!

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Check out this funny video of a Harrier Jump Jeat destroying part of a (grass) runway on take-off

35 years ago a RAF Harrier destroyed part of a grass strip by simply applying full throttle on take off.

The following video has been around for some time now. Still,  it’s quite funny and interesting as it shows what happened in 1980 to a RAF Harrier GR.3 that was taking part in an airshow at Bex, Switzerland.

The small airport, located in southwestern Switzerland, west of Sion, didn’t have a paved runway (nor does it have it today) but just a small taxiway leading from the main apron to the threshold of the grass strip.

Not a big deal for the Jump Jet, designed to operate from grass, unprepared runways and artificial surfaces.

However, when the Harrier pilot pushed the throttle forward to accelerate the aircraft down the runway something unexpected happened: the Rolls Royce Pegasus thrust-vectored turbofan engine unleashed some 21,500 lbf of thrust backwards, tearing up the upper layer of the runway including the RWY33 threshold and part of the taxiway.

Have a look:

Interestingly, it was not the first time the RAF Jump Jet took off from the grass strip at Bex: the following video shows the British Harrier GR.3 taking off from the same airport in 1978, without causing too much damage.

Now, as suggested by our friends at Tacairnet, just think to what would happen today if much more powerful F-35B were to perform a short take off run using Bex’s grass strip.

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Watch an epic, deafening U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber’s (almost) head-on take off

A deafening late take off of a B-1B Lancer from RAF Fairford. Video is a bit shaky but cool.

The following clip was filmed a few weeks ago outside the perimeter fence at RAF Fairford, UK, where two B-1B “Bone” bombers belonging to the 7th Bomb Wing, Dyess Air Base, Texas, were deployed.

The two Lancers along with a B-52 took part in Exercise Ample Strike 2016, a yearly Czech Republic-led exercise with 300 participants from 18 countries.

The video is not very good in quality, a bit shaky, but it gives a rough idea of what a (almost) head-on take-off of a B-1 looks like.

“The heat and exhaust flow blew me off my feet. Apparently developed a hydraulic fault on take-off so required more runway than usual for a safe lift off, hence why it is SO LOW,” says the author of the clip, Jonathan Grainge, in a comment to the video on Youtube.

 

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Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 Flankers rock Malta International Air Show

Two Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 Flankers and one accompanying Il-76 have been among the highlights of the Malta International Airshow. And here some really cool shots of such interesting aircraft.

Malta hosted the traditional airshow over the last weekend.

Even though bad weather conditions forced the organization to cancel the aerial display over Smart City on Sunday Sept. 25, the arrival of the participants as well as the Saturday’s show provided an opportunity to take some cool shots of the most interesting aircraft that visited Malta airport in Luqa for the event.

Surely, the most awaited guests of this year’s edition of the Malta International Airshow were the two Su-27 Flanker jets of the Ukrainian Air Force.

Indeed, a Su-27 and a Su-27UB (58 BLUE and 71 BLUE), supported by an Il-76 Candid landed at the Maltese airport on Sept. 22: the Ukrainian trio arrived in style, performing a low passage over the runway before coming to landing.

By the way, this once again proves that Ukrainian pilots do love low-level flying

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On Friday Sept. 23, some photographers were given the opportunity to get some shots of the aircraft at night. Our contributor Estelle Calleja was among them and took the stunning shots you can find in this post.

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The two-seater Su-27UB took part in the late afternoon flying segment over Smart City with a solo display that included release of flares. This was the first time the airshow took place over the area.

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Both aircraft left Malta on Monday Sept. 26. The two Flankers performed a formation takeoff for runway 05, followed by a right hand turn and a low pass to bid farewell to Malta after an attendance that will be long remembered.

Stay tuned for a new article about all the other highlights of the air show that we will publish in the next few days!

Image credit: Estelle Calleja

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South Dakota ANG F-16C jets (including one in new F-35-like dark grey color scheme) arrive at RAF Mildenhall

Four SD ANG F-16Cs returning from Poland have arrived in the UK. One of them sports the brand new overall grey color scheme aimed at reducing the aircraft’s RCS (Radar Cross Section).

Four F-16Cs from the South Dakota ANG 175th Fighter Squadron of 114th Fighter Wing have taken part in a deployment to Lask airbase, Poland, where they arrived on Sept. 3.

The purpose of their visit was to participate in the bilateral training exercise “Aviation Detachment 16-4”. They were also accompanied by 100 associated members of unit.

On Sept. 24, the four Vipers arrived at RAF Mildenhall, UK, apparently due to problems with a KC-10 tanker. Interestingly, one of them 88-0428 sported fancy Tail Markings as the Commanders aircraft while another one (88-0422), was painted in a new F-35-like dark grey color scheme (the other two aircraft were 88-0932 and 88-0463.)

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Actually, the paint job similar to the one of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been applied to U.S. F-16s since at least 2012 when it started to appear on the F-16CM (formerly CJ) Block 50 Fighting Falcon aircraft.

Called “Have Glass 5th generation” or “Have Glass V” the paint scheme is the evolution of the standard Have Glass applied to 1,700 “Vipers”: all the F-16s are covered with RAM (Radar Absorbent Material) paint, made of microscopic metal grains that can degrade the radar signature of the aircraft.

Image credit: Tony Lovelock