Tag Archives: Eurofighter Typhoon

Spanish pilot achieves impressive milestone: 4,000 flying hours on the Northrop Grumman F-5 Freedom Fighter

On Jul. 11, 2013, Lt. Col. Jesus Antonio Caballero, head of the Research Group & Air Forces of the Spanish Air Force (Ejercito del Aire) 23 Wing in Talavera Air Base, completed 4,000 flying hours on the F-5 aircraft . This accreditation, obtained individually, is a unique landmark in the Spanish Air Force and even internationally, as to date, there is no evidence that any other pilot from countries that operate or have operated different versions of F-5, to have reached that milestone.

The historical flight during which Caballero reached 4,000 flying hours consisted of a air-to-air nterception training mission, included in the Plan of Instruction for IPs (instructor pilots) of the 23 Wing.

SpAF F-5 pilot

Lieutenant Colonel Caballero made his first flight in F-5 back in 1987, after being assigned to the 23 Wing as a student. He continued with that fighter in the 21 Wing Air Base in Morón and in the Center of Logistics Armaments and Experimentation (CLAEX) in Torrejon Air Base. From 1993 he returned to the 23 Wing as an IP, having piloted the F-5 A/RF/B & M versions of this veteran aircraft.

The 23 Wing’s main mission is to provide training, both theoretical and flights (Fighter & Attack Phase) to students in the 5th year of the Spanish Air Force Air Academy selected to perform the said phase.

Bought in the sixties, the Spanish Government took the decision to provide to the Spanish Air Force +50 F-5 A & B fighters built under license by CASA.

First units provided fighter missions in Moron and Canary Islands Air Bases. Later, all the F-5 units marched to Talavera to replace veterans T-33.

In recent years the F-5 has undergone a complete modernization, especially its avionics, to suit the teaching Fighter & Attack skills as a step towards next-generation aircrafts such as the F/A-18A+ Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon. This new version of the aircraft is called F-5M

All fighter pilots that currently fly in the Spanish Air Force were formed in the F-5M.

El Lince Analista for TheAviationist.com

Picture Credit: Spanish Air Force

 

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The fighter jet that can fly as a cargo plane: the F-16 VISTA (Variable Stability In-Flight Simulator Test Aircraft)

Born as an in-flight simulator, the F-16 VISTA (Variable Stability In-Flight Simulator Test Aircraft) had the task to simulate the performance of the newest fighter jets.

It was built around a standard production F-16D airframe and introduced many features which a classic F-16 didn’t have.

In fact the airframe included a larger capacity hydraulic pump, a programmable center stick controlled by the digital computer installed in the front cockpit and a custom designed variable stability system which allowed the VISTA’s very different flight envelope.

The distinctive characteristic of the VISTA was that controls to manage the flight envelope were put in the back cockpit and, only after successful access they could be transferred to the front seater: this particular system set-up enabled return control to the backseater in case the front pilot faced a dangerous situation.

After VISTA made its maiden flight in April 1992 the program founds for the next two years were withdrawn.

Luckily the VISTA was resurrected by the General Electric which had the need for a program to demonstrate how the vectoring thrust could improve the F-16’s maneuverability.

The Multi-Axis Thrust Vectoring (MATV) required major modifications of the VISTA to be uninstalled, and the addition of a spin chute along with the characteristic vectoring engine nozzle.

Even if a Eurofighter Typhoon pilot explained to The Aviationist that thrust vectoring (TV) is not essential in an air-to-air scenario, it could give the pilot the advantage to point the nose against an enemy fighter controlling its aircraft beyond the stall, in a so-called “post stall” regime.

At that time, this concept was more or less theory and the task of the F-16 VISTA during the MATV program was to demonstrate the effectiveness of the thrust-vectoring during some post stall maneuvers as well as the advantage it could give to the fighter during Within Visual Range (WVR) engagements.

The results were that during the MATV program, the F-16 VISTA was able to perform the “cobra” maneuver and to prove itself extremely capable in 1 vs 1 and also in 1 vs 2 WVR engagements against two normal Vipers.

When the MATV program ended, the original VISTA features were reinstalled on this one-of-a-kind aircraft that was then delivered to the Test Pilots School at Edwards Air Force Base where it is still flying today.

Some features of this F-16 were eventually embedded in the F-35.

At Edwards, it was finally able to serve as an in-flight simulator, demonstrating to be perfect in training pilots about particular handlings.

Thanks to its centre and the side stick installed in the front cockpit the F-16 VISTA can be re-configured after the take off to fly like a delta wings aircraft, like a canards one or like a large cargo airplane.

Dario Leone for The Aviationist.

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Eurofighter Typhoon celebrates 200,000 flying hours with special markings

On Sept. 8, Eurofighter confirmed that the Eurofighter Typhoon has now achieved more than 200,000 flying hours since the entry-into-service of its worldwide fleet.

719 aircraft on contract, 571 aircraft ordered and 378 aircraft delivered: these are the figures of the programme that is Europe’s largest defense program today.

Alberto Gutierrez, Chief Executive Officer of Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, said: “Every day our aircraft are protecting the skies in Europe, the Middle East and even in the Southern hemisphere. They are on Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Eurofighter Typhoon is combat proven since the Libya operations and is now gaining considerable momentum – indeed the programme has never looked stronger.”

The statement came while six Typhoons are providing the air defense of Cyprus amid growing tensions with Syria.

The press release issued by Eurofighter for the 200K FH provides some interesting details about the history of the program.

The first 5,000 flying hours were achieved in November 2005. 10,000 hours came in August 2006 and 20,000 in May 2007. By August 2008, the Eurofighter Typhoon fleet had surpassed 50,000 hours and 100,000 flying hours was reached in January 2011. In the course of these flying hours, Eurofighter has demonstrated 100 per cent availability in numerous international deployments including: Alaska; Malaysia; the United Arab Emirates; the USA; and India.

The global Eurofighter fleet now comprises 20 operating units with locations in Europe, the South Atlantic and the Middle East. Specifically there are: 7 units in the UK (4 in Coningsby, 2 in Leuchars and 1 in Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands); 5 in Italy (2 in Grosseto, 2 in Gioia del Colle, 1 in Trapani); 3 in Germany (Laage, Neuburg and Nörvenich), as well as 3 in Spain (2 in Morón, 1 in Albacete) and one each in Austria (Zeltweg) and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – all of them have contributed to the 200,000 flying hour total.

To mark the 200,000 flying hours a German Typhoon “30-70” was given red celebrative markings as the image in this post shows.

Image credit: Eurofighter

 

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Royal Saudi Air Force Typhoon fighter jets stopover at Malta International Airport

Two Typhoon fighter jets on delivery to the Royal Saudi Air Force made a quick stopover in Malta International Airport.

The pair of two-seater aircraft, carrying both the Saudi codes “319” and “320” and the UK ones “ZK088” and “ZK089” arrived at Luqa on Sept. 5 and departed on Sept. 6 for Akrotiri, Cyprus (where probably someone may have mistaken them for British Typhoons deploying to the the island strategically located about 200 km off Syria to strengthen the RAF presence there).

RSAF Typhoons

The images of the two brand new planes arriving and departing from Malta were taken by The Aviationist’s contributor, photographer Estelle Calleja.

RSAF Typhoons 1

Image credit: Estelle Calleja

 

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British Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets nearly clashed with Turkish Air Force F-16s over Cyprus

According to the Cyprus-based Famagusta Gazette, the RAF Typhoons based at Akrotiri, Cyprus, to provide the air defense of the island following the Syrian crisis, nearly battled with Turkish jets in a close encounter on Sept. 2.

It looks like Turkey scrambled two F-16 fighter jets from Incirlik airbase, to intercept the British Typhoons that had allegedly violated the airspace over the occupied part of Cyprus.

According to the details collected by the Cypriot media outlet, the UK Ministry of Defence and Cyprus Defence Minister confirmed the incident, however it’s not clear whether the British planes scrambled to intercept the Turkish fighters “after radars detected suspicious flights in the area of the occupied city of Famagusta,” or viceversa.

In fact, after explaining that the RAF Typhoons were launched to investigate the suspicious activity, the article goes on reporting that “it is understood the Turkish jets took off from Incirlik air base in Turkey, in order to intercept the British planes,” and that “the British planes had returned to Akrotiri by time the Turkish jets arrived in northern Cyprus airspace.”

The dispute over the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus is reflected by active NOTAMs (Notice To Airmen):


NAVIGATIONAL WARNING TO ALL CONCERNED REFERENCE IS MADE TO TURKISH NOTAM A2652/05 AND WISH TO STATE THAT THE SO-CALLED ERCAN AIRPORT (LCEN) IS AN UNAUTHORISED AIRPORT OPERATING IN THE OCCUPIED BY TURKEY NORTHERN PART OF THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS (CYPRUS AIC A06/02 REFERS). CYPRUS GOVERNMENT AS THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY AND THE ONLY RECOGNISED GOVERNMENT HAS NEVER REGISTERED ABBREVIATION CODE LCEN WITH ICAO. THEREFORE THIS CODE AND THIS ILLEGAL AIRPORT SHOULD NOT BE USED. 24 NOV 14:30 2005 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 24 NOV 14:53 2005

 

We will publish any further details as soon as they become available.

Image credit: Eurofighter

 

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