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Scene around the UK

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30 April 2007 - Coningsby

At 13:58, thirteen Jaguars from 6 Squadron took off for the last time as an operational unit. The Jaguar would have celebrated 34 years of service on 30 May, but the beancounters declared otherwise and another 'fighter' is consigned to the history books. The signature '6' formation was flown across many airfields in the UK, culminating back at Coningsby late afternoon. Also in the air earlier were three Typhoons from 29(R) Squadron in a unique display, rumoured for a Royal visit tomorrow. Courtesy Bob Franklin

30 April 2007 - Brize Norton

More international traffic - a KC-137 from the Brazilian Air Force and a C-130H from the Israeli Air Force being the stars of the day. Pictures courtesy Peter Snowdon

28 April 2007 - Stansted

A royal visitor - this Boeing 747 belongs to the Oman Royal Flight. Picture courtesy Roger Cook

27 April 2007 - Coningsby

A busy day - as well as the BBMF's press launch (of which more later), 6 Squadron practised its farewell flypast, scheduled for its last operational day on Monday. A figure '6' was flown over East Anglia and the East Midlands on a grand tour lasting nearly two hours. Also visiting the BBMF was John Romain with Historic Flying's Spitfire T9 PV202 in its new Dutch Air Force markings.

27 April 2007 - Brize Norton

Alenia Aeronautica has delivered the first of three C-27J tactical airlifters to the Lithuanian Republic’s Air Force, ordered by the Baltic country in June 2006. The next two C-27Js will be delivered in 2008 and 2009. The C-27J will allow the Lithuanian Air Force to operate to standards required by NATO, which Lithuania joined in 2004.

The Lithuanian choice was followed by Romania on 1 December 2006 to select the C-27J for the renewal of its medium airlifter fleet - the aircraft has also been ordered by the Italian Air Force (12 aircraft), Greek Air Force (12 aircraft plus 3 options) and by the Bulgarian Defence Ministry (8 aircraft). In the United States, the C-27J runs for the JCA, Joint Cargo Aircraft programme, for the renewal of the Army’s and Air Force’s transport aircraft fleet, while in Canada it is proposed for the renewal of the Search and Rescue aircraft fleet. The C-27J is also under evaluation by Australia, Ireland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and by other Countries recently become NATO members, such as Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia. Picture courtesy Peter Snowdon

 

25 April 2007 - Coventry & Coningsby

The BBMF's Lancaster was rolled out after its winter overhaul sporting its new paint scheme complete with nose art. After a midday test flight she departed back to Coningsby, arriving almost exactly at 18:00. We'll bring more details on the new schemes next week. Pictures courtesy Rich Blencowe and Gary Parsons

24 April 2007 - Prestwick

The 'Dreamlifter' 747 LCF (Large Cargo Freighter) made its UK debut at Prestwick for refuelling enroute from Italy to the USA. The aircraft is used for transporting Boeing 787 sub-assemblies from Italy and Japan to Charleston, South Carolina and Everett, Washington for final assembly.

A converted B747-400, the aircraft can hold three times the volume of a standard 747-400, and is one of two now flying, out of an eventual three. The standard winglets were removed due to vibration and handling issues. Courtesy Andy Williams

 

23 April 2007 - Mildenhall

The 'Senior Hunter' programme is a signals and electronic intelligence gathering system, installed in various airlift Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules assigned exclusively to the Air National Guard. At least three squadrons are assigned approximately four specially modified C-130s, consisting of the 142nd Airlift Squadron, at New Castle Airport, Delaware, 105th Airlift Squadron, at Nashville Metro Airport, Tennessee, and 189th Airlift Squadron, Reno IAP, Nevada.

Senior Hunter is a removable electronic suite housed in a moveable module, which can be wheeled into place inside the fuselage of the C-130. Operatives inside the module monitor communications of interest, ostensibly from nothing more interesting than a 'plain Jane' airlift Hercules. The antennae farm is located on the main gear doors, the aft fuselage access doors, on the rear cargo door, and wing tip. The doors are interchangeable, enabling the aircraft to quickly revert to the airlift role. The handful of Senior Hunter aircraft have special wiring permanently installed, with the switch from airlift to specialised electronic/signals gathering capability in a matter of hours. Depicted is 84-0208 of the 142nd Airlift Squadron departing Mildenhall destinted for the Middle East. Courtesy Bob Archer

 

20 April 2007 - Boscombe Down

Hawker Hunter XF995 was built in Blackpool as an F4 variant and was delivered to the RAF at 33 Maintenance Unit, based at RAF Lyneham on 20 July 1956. The aircraft went on to serve in 247 Squadron and 229 OCU. In 1963, it was converted into a T8B for Buccanner training. Following the disbandment of the Buccaneer Squadrons, XF995 became an instructional airframe at Cranwell. It was bought in 2000 by Chris Perkins and shipped to Delta Jets in early 2001 for a complete restoration. It has now been bought by Hawker Hunter Aviation and is the third Hunter to be leased to FRA for MoD duties, keeping its original serial. Courtesy Duncan Chase

 

20 April 2007 - Tattershall

Restoration Progress at Thorpe Camp

A re-built accommodation at Thorpe Camp near Woodhall Spa, Lincs is being used as a new workshop by members of the Thorpe Camp Preservation Group. This has enabled the pace of progress to be increased on two aircraft restoration projects.

Fairchild Argus replica BAPC.294 has recently had the fuselage and wing fabric reapplied and is now waiting to be painted. This replica was originally constructed to airworthy standards by the Medway Aircraft preservation Group and moved to Thorpe Camp from Southampton.

In a separate section of the building de Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth G-ANNN (T5968) c/n 84073 is also receiving some tender loving care and is gradually being re-built. The airframe has served with a number of Royal Air Force training units and suffered several accidents the last of which was in 1953 when the aircraft was with the RAF Wattisham Station Flight. After this the aircraft was withdrawn from service to 58 MU (Maintenance Unit) at Newark, before moving onto the civilian register as G-ANNN with East Anglian Flying Services Ltd. Not converted to civilian standard in the past the airframe has been used for spare parts provision.

Thorpe Camp’s gate guard English Electric Lightning F1A XM192 is now complete and provides an excellent ‘sign post’ the museum site from the B1192 road between Woodhall Spa and Coningsby. This particular aircraft is on loan to the collection from Charles Ross. Courtesy Howard Heeley/Down to Earth Promotions

 

20 April 2007 - Coningsby

Something to look out for on the airshow circuit this year - at selected events the solo Typhoon from 29(R) Squadron will formate with the BBMF's Spitfire P7350, the oldest flying example of the type in the world.

 

19 April 2007 - Mildenhall

SLAR take two! Seen during a quick turnaround today was P-3C 161126 carrying a recently fitted pod - it is now thought to be a Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS) pod system, soon to be operational with VP-46 in the Middle East. The same aircraft transited through the 'Hall on 14 February without the pod (see smaller pic), so one must assume that there is a programme of fitments underway in the US. Maybe we can expect more in the next few weeks? Pictures courtesy Matthew Clements

15 April 2007 - Bournemouth

Pictured taxying back to the Bournemouth Aviation Museum/De Havilland Aviation ramp is one of the UK's lesser-spotted warbirds, Hawker Fury FB11 G-CBEL. Owned and flown by John Bradshaw, the aeroplane was undertaking a routine local flight around the Dorset coast and countryside. These sorties usually take place every four or five weeks, and thanks to the location of Museum, you are able to get a very good view of proceedings. Unfortunately, the owner has not possessed a Display Authorisation certificate for some years, which has prevented the Fury from appearing in the air at airshows for some time. Reportedly sold to a new owner based overseas a few months ago, this has since been dismissed as untrue. Therefore it looks like Bournemouth will remain 'Furious' for some time to come! Courtesy Mark Russell

 

15 April 2007 - Bahrain

Okay, we know Bahrain isn't in the UK, but it's worth following the exploits of the Blades as they fly the flag for the UK in the Middle East. As the world watched the third Round of the FIA Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain, the Blades, the UK’s only commercially run full-time formation aerobatic display team performed their aerobatic display to an international audience of innovative motor machines.

“Displaying above the Bahrain International Circuit was incredible”, said Team Leader and former Red 1 Andy Offer; “the views were fantastic and it was an honour to be able to showcase British skill abroad”. The two month deployment of the Blades has proved to be a fantastic training ground for the team as they have not been hindered by the weather. The rumours flying around about the display this year are for it to include formation stall turns and 'Lomchevats'!

The Blades will arrive back in the UK just in time to start the summer season. The first opportunity to see their new display is at Southend Air Show on the 27/28 May. The Blades will also be running a competition throughout the summer for 24 people to win a flight with the formation team. Details to follow or alternatively keep an eye on the website for news on how to enter. Courtesy Blades Media team

 

15 April 2007 - Mildenhall

A long way from home, 'Tori 76' taxies for take-off after a night stop at Mildenhall. This welcome visitor to our shores is, as the name on its tail suggests, from MCAS Miramar, California. Courtesy Ken Withers

15 April 2007 - Brize Norton

A couple of international 'heavies' - CC-150 15005 (really an Airbus A310-304F) from the Canadian Armed Forces looked superb in its all-gloss grey scheme, while C-5B 85-0005 from the USAF sported 'Let's Roll' nose-art. Pictures courtesy Mark Rouse

14 April 2007 - Mildenhall

An unusual P-3 - sporting a Side Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) system pod underneath, P-3C 161132 made a brief stop at Mildenhall.

The AN/APS 94 SLAR was developed by Motorola and is used on the Navy P-3, as well as the Air Force JSTARS and other military aircraft. It is an X-band radar with an eighteen-foot long externally mounted antenna - it aquires a 'slant range' image of the surrounding terrain in two strips on either side of the aircraft as the antenna hangs below the fuselage so it can 'see' on both sides. Uses of the AN/APS 94 have included charting the extent of flood waters, mapping, locating lost vessels, charting ice floes, locating archaeological sites, seaborne polution spill tracking, and a varity of other geophysical surveying chores, as well as smuggling and drug-running interdiction. Picture courtesy Gary Stedman

 

13 April 2007 - Lakenheath

Lunchstopping were three Danish Air Force F-16s from Esk 727, based at Skrydstrup. Esk 727 provides training for F-16 pilots, hence the frequent sightings of the F-16B. Pictues courtesy Chris Churchard

11 April 2007 - Lakenheath

Visiting was a C-40B from the 86th Airlift Wing. The 76th Airlift Squadron, based at Ramstein AB, Germany, has provided operational support and distinguished visitor airlift since 1 October 1993. Picture courtesy Chris Churchard

5 April 2007 - Brize Norton

Something that used to be a regular sight in the UK but has become scarce in recent years is the US Navy's C-9B Skytrain. The C-9B differs from the C-9A Nightingale in having a large cargo door on the port side together with other necessary cargo-handling features. It can carry up to 100 passengers, its most common mission being to move support personnel and cargo for Navy tactical aircraft squadron deployments and shipboard personnel movements. There are four C-9B squadrons remaining with a strength of four aircraft each, with two C-9Bs forward-deployed to NAS Sigonella, Italy at any time. The Skytrain is expected to remain in service until 2012. Picture courtesy Mark Rouse

4 April 2007 - Elvington

Falkland War exhibition opens at the Yorkshire Air Museum

In a week which marked the 25th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War a major exhibition of the subject opened at the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington, near York. The exhibition was opened by the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Janet Hopton, in conjunction with Squadron Leader Tony Harper, who flew the Harrier GR3 with 1 Squadron in the conflict and still serves with them as a reservist. The exhibition features two of the museum aircraft, the Harrier GR3 representing the British side, and the Mirage III, which has had Argentinian markings applied. Other exhibits include a Scorpion light tank, the only armour that was sent down south, and an ex-Argentinian Tigercat missile system, captured by the RAF Regiment. The Museum's Handley Page Victor also had a supporting role in the conflict, tanking Hercules transport aircraft, forming an air bridge to the islands after the cessation of hostilities. The exhibition will run throughout the summer. Courtesy Mick Britton

2 April 2007 - Boscombe Down

Making a number of approaches was unmarked Lynx ZK116, presumably from AgustaWestland at Yeovil. The aircraft markings have been covered over with tape and only the roundel is visible - according to the UK serial register this aircraft is a Lynx Mk64, destined for the South African Navy as SA02/192. Courtesy Duncan Chase

2 April 2007 - Newark

Co-operative Building Project Being Investigated

The trustees of the Newark Air Museum (NAM) and the Lincolnshire’s Lancaster Association (LLA) have agreed to cooperate on a project to investigate the possibility of constructing a third aircraft display hall at the museum’s site in eastern Nottinghamshire close to the Lincolnshire border.

The aim of the new Avro Project is to provide under cover accommodation for the Avro Shackleton MR3 WR977 and Avro Vulcan B2 XM594 aircraft that are owned by the LLA and that are currently displayed at NAM. Hopefully the building will also provide sufficient space for a third large aircraft like the Handley Page Hastings T5 TG517 to be displayed under cover.

Work is currently underway to prepare a Project Planning Grant (PPG) application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which will evaluate various aspects of the proposed project. This will include: Audience Development; Sustainability; Building Design; and evaluation of the potential aircraft movement routes into any new building.

Prior to commencement of the current evaluation project the Charity Commission reviewed the Articles of Association for both charities, and gave its approval for a cooperative project of the type being proposed. Further details of the PPG application will be released when they become available. Courtesy Howard Heeley/Down to Earth Promotions

 

1 April 2007 - Brize Norton

VC10C1K XV104 has lost its 40th anniversary red tail, plus most of its grey as well - it may re-appear in another anniversary scheme, celebrating one of the RAF's earlier Transport Command colours. Picture courtesy Mark Rouse

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