Spotter Magazine Issue 19

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welcome 2019 has been a time of great changes for us at Spotter Magazine. Following some reseach and your feedback, the magazine is slowly evolving. This issue has been optimised with faster loading times and we have improved the general design somewhat to bring the publication more in line with current design trends. What’s more, our Facebook page is now being updated regularly with the latest news from the world of aviation. The increased activity in the page is staggering, and we hope that this will lead to new sponsors appearing in order to allow this publication to reach its full potential. We’re delighted to once again present some beautiful footage from all around the world, for which we are grateful to all our contributors. Enjoy!

Mark Zerafa Editor EDITORIAL Editor:

Mark Zerafa

Design Assistant: Massimiliano Zammit


EDITORIAL ADDRESS: 238, ‘Morning Star’, Manuel Dimech Str., Sliema, Malta

copyright notice All photos and articles remain the intellectual and artistic property of the respective credited persons. All unauthorised reproduction, by any means, both printed and digital, is considered an infringement of this copyright and all remedies available by law will be taken against any infringements of such copyright.

contents Goteborg Landvetter


Reno Air Races 2018


British Airways Goes Retro


KADEX 2018


WM167 Retires at Bruntingthorpe


Pays D’Enhaut Balloon Festival


Westjet Dreams Big


Japanese Phanttom Phinale


credits Graphic Design:

Massimiliano Zammit,


Richard J. Caruana


Bastiaan Hart Jeroen Van Toor Westleigh Bushell David Sharma Gianluca Storti Max Walldron Harzer Ggopl Nick Chute

Twilight over Reno. Amazing aircraft caught in the American desert twilight.

(Bastiaan Haart)

Text: Mark Zerafa Photos: Mark Zerafa

Sweden’s second-largest airport, Landvetter airport rose to prominence after Goteborg’s main airport was deemed not economically feasible to repair and upgrade. Offering limited spotting opportunities, the airport nonetheless offers a rewarding day out for spotters.

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Turkish Airlines offers a daily service to Istanbul, using A321s.

Finnair A319 takes off heading to Helsinki. It is best to wait for the aircraft to clear the ground properly to avoid heat haze..

Austrian Airlines operates from Vienna and seasonally, from Innsbruck.

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The airport is located around 20km East of Gothenburg and serves as the city’s only commercial passenger airport. Opened on October 3rd, 1977, the airport took over passenger flights previously handled at Torslanda Airport. In 2001, budget airlines started serving the recently demilitarized base of Save. However, due to the extensive reconstruction work required for Save’s runway to accommodate further use by commercial airliners, this airport was closed in late 2014 and all air traffic was diverted to Landvetter.

ver, there is a reasonable amount of bizjet traffic and cargo movements are generally in the small hours. However, bearing in mind Sweden’s fabled long hours of sun;light in the summer months, it is more an issue of the spotter’s resilience to stay later in order to catch these movements.

As for the main spotting location used for this feature, this is the top floor of the main car park opposite the terminal. At the top level, it is just high enough to photograph aircraft entering or exiting the apron from Taxiway Lima, from the corner of the car park. A small stepstool would be ideal for This move coincided with the inauguration the less vertically-gifted of spotters. On hot of a sizeable extension of the terminal, Summer days, heat haze may be an issue where the domestic and the international when shooting aircraft on the runway. terminals were merged. There is no protection from the elements, Ther airport also handles considerable carbut sanitary facilities and refreshments are go movements, and in 2015, airport operaavailable at the terminal. tor Swedavia reached an agreement with DHL Express to build a much larger cargo Getting to and from the airport from central terminal. Gothenborg is easy, if a bit pricey , using the dedicated coach service. A number of international airlines, both legacy and low-cost, offer all-year round If you are lucky enough to get to the deparservices to Landvetter, whilst others are ture lounges of the airport, there are ample more seasonal. Types used are primarily glazed areas and the glass is respectably narrow-body and regional airliners. Moreo- clean.

Ryanair operates flights from a number of destinations. 9

Air France HOP operates from Paris

SAS Boeing 737-700

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With the retirement of its Fokker 70s, KLM Cityhopper now relies on its EMB-170s for its regional routes.

Perhaps fittingly for the day of our visit, Eurowings D-AEWG sported a special Visit Goteborg livery

Norweigan Air Shuttle 737-800


Air Baltic Dash-8 Q400

Wildroe is a Norweigan regional airline, linking a number of cities in Norway to other Scandinavian destinations.

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Braathens Regional Bae 146 SE-DSU in special colours celebrating Sweden’s national football team. 13

OY-NCL Dornier 328JET of Sun Air operates under the British Airways franchise.

SAS Bombardier CRJ900LR EI-FPA operated by CityJet under the SAS franchise.

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Braathens Regional Airlines ATR-72

Braathens Regional Airlines BAe-146

SAS Airbus A320 NEO


Freighters can only be photographed from aircraft while taxiing out for take-off. Amapola Fokker 50


DHL Airbus A300-600

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nair Antonov An-26


ASL Airlines 737-400F


P-51D Mustang ‘Bunny’ 44-7490 was unveiled in 2015 in the colours of the aircraft flown by Lt. Col. Bob Friend of the 33snd Fighter Group, better known as the Red Tails, or the Tuskagee Airmen.

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Text: Jeroen van Toor Photos: Bastiaan Hart Every year, people in the state of Nevada are getting anxious in September. At the airfield of Reno Stead, an annual thrilling event is organized called the Stihl National Championship Air Races. Enormous speeds at low level, close quarter formation flying, adrenaline, the racing element, heroes and zero’s and several military displays, just like how the public wants it. The last ten years more than 200.000 aviation enthusiasts and spectators a year made their way to the Air Races in Reno.


Made famous and continuing the legacy from the 1920’s-1940’s Cleveland Air Races, all began 55 years ago in northern Nevada, when Bill Stead organised it the first two eventsat Sky Ranch airfield. The event then moved to the defunct military airfield of Stead (named in honor of Bill's brother, Croston Stead), where it remains to date. Many big names have flown in these Races; not only great pilots, but also great airplanes. Just like WWF fighters or monster trucks, everybody in the audience will know their names.

Every day, the first races held were the Formula One class and the Biplanes. The Formula One class are the smallest planes, but extremely fast. Most of the aircraft are home built kits and piloted by their builders. All aircraft carry the same engine, the Continental O-200 which can collect speed up to 250 Mph. Winner this year was Justin Meaders in his Sno Shoo SR-1, nr. 34 “Limitless”. In the Biplane competition there are more familiar looking planes like the Pitts SC-1 or Specials. Though one pilot, Andy Buehler, really dominated this category and he was flying a modified Mong Sport, nr. 62. He won almost every race without Unlike the Red Bull Air Race, racers at Reno fly a fixed oval pat- real competition. tern, varying 3 or 8 miles depending on which class they are th competing in. Flying on the outside past metal poles between 50 Another anniversary is celebrated at the same time as the 55 of Air Races. This year the T-6 and 1500 feet high instead of a circuit through blown up fabric the Stihl National Championship th Texan is celebrating its 80 In existence. The advanced trainer pylons. There are 6 categories of planes; Sport, Formula One, Biplane, Jet, Unlimited and the T-6 Texans. Unlike the races in has been the main aircraft for pilots to get their education in. Built Europe, it is not about the fastest times individually, but everyone by the North American Aircraft company, 15.495 have been manufactured and it served many different Armed Forces. Since 1967 is competing in the same race for fame and glory. this type races in Reno and it is favourite to the crowd. Several Qualification laps are held on Wednesday. These are done indi- parents have their kids inside the cockpit and are taking pictures vidually to set a fastest lap time. The lap time will determine in with the pilots. All the crew are happy to talk about these beautiful machines. The races are always close and full of excitement. Due which position a competitor is starting in the first two races on to the high costs of the engine and the difficulty in getting spare Wednesday and Thursday. At every pylon a team of judges is parts, these aircraft are hangered right after the competition, so looking for a fair race and will adhere to the rules and regulations they can be kept running for many more years to come and wow they have been given. The aircraft must stay at the right height the crowds at Reno. The charm in the sound of the engine is apand round the pylons on the outside. The judges also look at danpealing and it turns heads. You straight away know what race is gerous flying manoeuvres and can give out penalties or take a on. The winner of the gold race was John Lohmar in nr 88, plane out of competition. The pilots will fly several races until Sat- “Terminal Velocity” for a second year in succession. urday to determine who will compete in the Gold Race on Sunday.

Planes of Fame Air Museum Lockheed T-33 is used as the pace airplane for the Unlimited Air Races.

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John Lohmar from Dallas, Texas, flew his SNJ-5 to victory in the T-6 Gold class, at an average speed of 228.612mph.


The sport class is defined by lean looking, powerful, fast propeller planes. Glasair, Lancairs, RV’s and Thunder Mustangs are competing on the 6.37-mile long track, reaching speeds close to 350 Mph. This class is the most innovative in design work using highperformance kit-built aircraft. Lots of new pilots start in this type of racing due to an easy step in procedure, the use of hyper-modern engines and durable airframe technology. Class winner this year was pilot Andrew Findlay, flying the Lancair Legacy 2000, nr 30 painted in bright orange and white Stihl company colors.

competition come to an end after thirty years. Lately we see a lot more female pilots joining in again. This year seven female pilots competed in the National Championship Air Races.

The Unlimited class is the most prestigious and gets all the attention. The aircraft are mostly former warbirds, like the P-51 Mustang, the F-8F Bearcat or the Hawker Sea Fury’s. Some rules apply to this class, the engines must be piston engines, prop driven and able to pull GForce 6. Most of the engines are specially upgraded and hold a price tag of around $250.000. Not a lot of other rules are in order, teams are allowed to use exotJet noise!! Flying Czech built Aero Vochody L-29 Del- ic fuel blends, nitro injection or modify the fuselage and wings with different components and materials. phins and L-39 Albatrosses, painted in the most colourful schemes, they are the fastest class in this competiThe winner this year was a Hawker Sea Fury called tion. Even a team from Australia joined this year pro- Dreadnought piloted by Joel Swager and owned by moting their country. Technology has found a way to Sanders Aircraft Inc. They did well this year and took make the Races even more excited. Several pilots four of their aircraft into the Gold race. Dreadnought have taken small cameras on board and show the thrill has served for 22 years in the Burmese Air Force. In of a lifetime, rounding the pylon’s very close to the 1979, Frank Sanders bought the plane and transferred ground. The speed, especially in the jets, is mind- it to Chino, California. They had the plan to race the blowing. And the public is feeling the joy and adrena- aircraft in Reno and so they started modifying it, swapline, like if they were in the cockpit themselves. For a ping the Centaurus engine for a Pratt & Whitney Rlong time, there was fierce rivalry going on for first 4360 Wasp Major radial engine. The result; well over place, Mike Steiger finally draw the shortest straw and 4000 break horsepower. Local mechanics changed a won with aircraft nr. 5 called “American Spirit”. This lot on the structure and bodywork to fit the new dimenaircraft won 3 times in a row. sions and limitations on the aircraft. After the first flight in 1983, they realized that a larger vertical stabilizer Since 1929, women have been a big part in Air Racing, and bigger rudder, new streamlined canopy and differknown as the Powder Puff Derby. This slacked down ent brakes were necessary to make this into a top racduring WWII. But from 1947 till 1977, women have had er. The very first competitive flight it qualified in first their own league. High costs, insurance difficulties, and place for the race and went on to win it in a new speed lack of interests for corporate sponsorship saw the record.

Ryan Coulter in his Lancair Legacy named ‘Modo Mio’

Stephen Baxley’s Challenger powered by a Rotax 447

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Andrew Findlay in his Stihl-sponsored Lancair won the Sport Class. Note the stripped interior.

Thomas Ishii in Race No. 744, a Lancair 360 dubbed ‘Yellow Fever’ 23

This year Dreadnought was on a level of its own. Nobody could catch her. Pilot Joel Swager praised the aircraft;” She is a dream to fly, everything is so smooth. I had the best week ever and I am blessed to fly such a beautiful machine. Man my adrenaline is still pumping. I am very happy with this result and would like to thank the Dreadnought team, Sanders Aircraft Inc., the RARA organization and my family, especially my wife and child for this amazing achievement.” Walking around the showground, you will sense a familiar feeling, everybody is there to enjoy themselves and be wowed by the performances of the pilots in the Air Races, the Patriots Jet Team, Smoke ‘n Thunder Jettruck or the Stihl Lumberjack show. Vendors and exhibitors are doing business, but mostly are friendly aviation enthusiasts ready for a chat. Volunteers are there to help out the organization as they have done for many years. Schoolchildren guided by their teachers are there to have a look into a future job in the Air Force or the aviation business. Very special persons are present for the audience to meet, like one of the last survivors of the Tuskegee Airmen and one of the SR-71 Blackbird pilots, signing books at a stand behind the main grandstand. Everybody has a story, the feeling was amazing and we were happy to be part of the Reno Air Races family.

North American P-51D Mustang ‘Sparky’ has been racing since 1997. It is unique in having a rich service history, including two air-to-air kills during World War II in the Italian theatre of operations.

Hawker Sea Fury T.20 NX20SF ‘Dreadnought’ began life in 1957 as VZ368 and was eventually rescued from Burma in 1979. Re-engined with a Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major, it is one of the fastest piston-engined aircraft in the world.

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Another Sea Fury T.20 saved from Iraq, N63SF “Eagles Win” is powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp.

‘Sawbones’, Race No. 71, is another Hawker Sea Fury. Originally in service with the Iraqi Air Force, the aircraft was rescued in 1979. Re-engined with a Curtiss Wright R3350-26 engine, driving a four-blade 13ft 6’ propeller, the aircraft flies in the ‘unlimited’ class.


P-51D Miss America was built in Inglewood California in 1944, and was delivered to the USAAF as 44-74536/. The aircraft never left American soil, and was transferred to the Air Natioal Guard in 1947 and then to the Air Force Reservce Combat Training Centre in 1953. Sold as surplus in 1958, she was first raced in 1965.

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Built in 1945 at Inglewood, California, 44-74506 was taken on strength with the USAAF before being transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force. Struckoff Charge in December 1960, this Mustang has passed through many owners, including a stint in France between 1993 and 2002.

‘Lady Jo’ started life as a USAAC P-51D serial 44-84860 and has served with the USAAF and the Indonesian Air Force before returning to the USA for possible conversion to a Piper Enforcer. However, this was not to be, and she was assigned a civil registration N327DB in March 1989.

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It looks like a Mustang, is fast like a Mustang, but the pilot looks too big! N167BP flown by Peter Balmer, is a Thunder Mustang kit plane, capable of 390mph in standard form.

Another Thunder Mustang, this time N151CR flown by Mathias Haid. Power comes from a Ryan Falco V-12 engine producing 640hp in standard form. 29

A firm favourite with racers, Grumman’s F8F Bearcat packs a very powerful powerplant with a small lightweight airframe, designed to handle the rigours of carrier operations. First flown on March 10th, 1949, BuNo 122674 served with the US Navy from April 1949 till 1958. After passing through a number of owners, a certificate of airworthiness was issued on April 24th, 1970, and has been in the care of the Confederate Air Force since February 1972. Damaged in a forced landing in 1972, the aircraft was repaired, only to suffer another incident in 1974, when its engine stopped inflight due to fuel starvation. Flown again in 1980, it was fully restored by American Airpower Heritage in 1991.

Bell P-63 Kingcobra 2 of the earlier P-39, th carriage and the eng craft’s centre of gravit

Issue 19 Another Sea Fury T.20 from Sanders Aeronautics, T.20 was built in 1954 and spent most of its service life contracted to the Luftwaffe as a target tug. Retired in 1970, it was purchased by Doug Arnold in 1974 and flown to the United States. Repainted in Royal Navy colours, it raced in 1978. It was completely restored in 2012, and is still powered by its original Bristol Centaurus sleeve-valve radial engine.

68864 was an unorthodox bird from the outset. A development he aircraft retained the same configuration, with tricycle undergine located at the centre of the fuselage to improve the airty. Cockpit access was via a car-type door.


One of only five flying Mitsubishi A6M ‘Zero-Sen’ fighters left in the world, the Commemorative Air Force’s example was recovered from New Guinea in 1991 and partially restored using parts from other A6M3s recovered from Russia. Restoration was then completed in the USA. Powered by a Pratt & Whiney R1830 engine in place of its original Sakai radial, the aircraft has been flying since 1998, and has even participated in airshows as far as New Zealand.

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Dennis Buehn’s AT-6D Texan ‘Midnight Miss III’

Gordo Sanders’ AT-6C Texan ‘Big Red’

Lee Oman’s AT-6 Texan ‘Eros’


Dennis and Tami Buehn’s AT-6D ‘Gotcha’ flown by Pete Stavrides

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‘Miss Ellanous’ T-6G flown by William Mussala

‘Abracadabra’ flown by Vitaly Pecherskyy

‘Baby Boomer’ AT-6 owned by Fred Telling


Steve Senegal—’ Endeavour’

Justin Phillipson—’ No Strings Attached’

Just looking at the size of the pilots’ heads makes one realise how diminutive the Formula One Racers are. Steve Temple followed by Kent Jackson approaching a pylon turn.

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Ryszard Dazow -’Last Lap Player’

Jerry Marshall—’ Tumbleweed’


Tommy Suell in his Christen E

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John Alessandris in his Pitts S1C

Eagle 39

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Jet Class brings together a number of former military jets, mostly of Eastern European origin. The Aero Vochody L-29, standard trainer for the entire Warsaw Pact until the advent of the L-39, is well represented.


One of the most capable and high-performance jet warbirds on a budget, the Czech L-39 Albatros is the mount of at least three civilian acrobatic teams and is also the mount of many jet racers, in different degrees of modification. The wingtip tanks have been removed and replaced with wingtip aerodynamic enhancements in most cases.

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The Patriots Jet Team is a private team flying the Aero L-39 based in California. The team began flying demonstrations in 2003 as a two-ship formation, adding a third aircraft for the 2004 season, and a fourth in 2006. A further upgrade to six aircraft was effected in 2010. Flown and maintained by volunteers, the team displays at a number of events all over America. 45

Reno is also a place to see a number of classic aircraft. Sabreliner N607CF acts as a support aircraft for the Patriots team.

Commemorative Air Force Grumman F6F Hellcat painted in the colours of Minsi III, flown by US Navy ace David McCampbell.

Pl Pl

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lanes of Fame T-33 doubles as a Pace lane for the races.


Commemorative Air Force PBJ-1J Mitchell lifting off from Reno’s runway into the sunset. The aircraft was received in 1993, but needed extensive restoration. Delivered new to the US Navy on March 20th, 1945, it was too late to see any wartime action and was disposed of in 1947, where it passed through a number of owners before ending up derelict at Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1972. Rescued in 1978, the aircraft was registered to the Confederate Air Force in June 1988 before being passed to the American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum in 1991. In 1993, it was re-assigned to the Southern California Wing of the CAF, where a full restoration was undertaken, with the first post-restoration flight made on May 15th, 2016.

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Text: Mark Zerafa Photos: Westleigh Bushell David Sharma

Airbus A-319 G-EUPJ, wears the livery of British European airlines. However, unlike the Vanguards, Tridents and other aircraft which had worn this livery, it was impossible to replicate the original red wings, mainly as tthis would have altered their heat absorption properties. However, the wings’ underside is red.

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To celebrate the centenary since the founding of one of the airlines which would eventually form part of it, British Airways unveiled four retro-liveried airliners representing different eras in its history.


First livery to be unveiled was G-BYGC, which was repainted in British Overseas Airways Corporation. This same livery was worn by BOAC’s Boeing 747-100s prior to the merger with British European Airways to form British Airways.

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British Airways has unveiled its fourth and final retro-livery on Boeing 747-400 GCIVB. The livery worn on the aircraft is the airline’s original red, white and blue design dating from 1973. Known as the “Negus” livery, this scheme was used until 1980. This scheme was adopted in 1973/74 when BA was created, following the merger of BOAC and BEA. A later iteration featured simple “British” titles.

G-BNLY has been repainted in the ‘Landor’ scheme. Ironically, this was the same livery the aircraft was originally wearing when delivered to British Airways, and it seems like it will continue wearing it until it is retired.

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Spotter Magazine would like to thank Ms. Victoria Madden and her team at British Airways for her kind assistance in the making of this feature. 57

KADEX 2018 Text: Gianluca Storti Photos: Gianluca Storti

KADEX (Kazakhstan Defense EXPO) is a defense technology fair in Kazakhstan, an international exhibition of weapon systems and military equipment; it takes place at the base of the new Kazakh capital Astana, organized by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan: from new technologies, weapons equipment and systems to the most basic services for troops, supplies of all kinds and medical services, IT, construction and infrastructure of all kinds.

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The fair is divided into the following sections: - Armament and military technology for land and sea forces .-Aviation and Air Armament, systems and means of air defense - Equipment for special use - Services and technical security of troops.

One of the aims of the fair is the promotion of military technology transfer to Kazakhstan, as well as attracting major armament companies to invest in Kazakhstan. And although this is not Le Bourget or Farnborough, a number of companies are willing to display their wares. Airbus, envigoured by the sale of a further five airframes to Turkey, presented the A400 . Turkey was well represented by many of its companies, looking for parterships above all. Russia was obviously very heavily represented, with offerings ranging from a T-72 tank updated and equipped with all the tools for "Urban Warfare", to its Su-30SM, having just concluded the supply of 12 new SU-30SM by 2020. This long-range fighter hasthe ability to engage multiple targets and data links with 4 other aircraft. The second aspect strongly visible in the exposition is that of upgrading platforms already in service in order to improve their efficiency and capability. Motor Sich JSC, a Ukrainian company, proposed a turbine engine currently fitted to the Kamov Ka-32 helicopter, the TV3-117, which offers improved performance especially in hot and high conditions, whilst having a lifesplan of 12,000 hours and a maintenance period of 5,000 hours, thus lowering maintenance costs. As Asian countries increase their military spending and upgrade their armed forces, expositions such as KADEX, ARMY, DEFEXPO India, ADEX and IDEAS 2018 will continue to provide an ever greater variety of military hardware on show and for sale. So, for military enthusiasts, as Italian Actor Alberto Sordi famously said in a 1974 film ‘as long as there is war, there is hope.’

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Text: Mark Zerafa Photos: Mark Zerafa and Max Walldron

Gloster Meteor NF.11 WM167 has landed at Brintingthorpe Airfield, where it is to be maintained in ground-running condition as part of the Classic British Jets Collection.

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5th January 2019. WM167 taxies in after her final landing into Bruntingthorpe, accompanied by Vampire T.11 of the Vampire Preservation Group. 69

Gloster Meteor NF.11 MW167 was built by Armstrong Whitworth in Bagington in 1952, and was delivered to the Royal Air Force on September 1st, 1952. It first served with No.228 Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Leeming, where it would serve for the first six years of its service life.

In January 1961, it was returned to the manufacturer for conversion into a TT.20 target tug. Once converted, it served with the A&AEE at RAF Boscombe Down, towing targets for trials. It was then delivered to Flight Refuelling Ltd, where it continued towing targets for a further ten years.

Declared surplus to requirements in 1975, the Meteor was purchased by avid warbird collector Doug Arnold, who had the aircraft converted back to its original NF.11 night fighter configuration.

It became a regular performer at airshows, However, ever-tighter regulations and diminishing budgets for airshow organisers have meant that the aircraft could no longer be viable on the airshow circuit.

With its then owner, the Classic Air Force, shutting down, due to the retirement of owner Mike Collett, the aircraft was acquired by an American collector, who sadly was killed in a flying accident before the aircraft could be ferried to the United States.

Thus, the Meteor was instead purchased by David Thomas of the Classic British Jets Collection at Bruntingthorpe, who intends to maintain the jet in ground-running condition.

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WM167 landing at RAF Fairford for the 2011 Royal International Air Tattoo.

WM167 after its last landing. Note the RAF 100th Anniversary marking on the fin. 71

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Text: Harzer Ggoppl Photos: Harzer Ggoppl

For the 41st time, pilots from 15 different nations met in Château-d’Œx (Riviera-Pays -d'Enhaut district, canton of Vaud) for a big but nevertheless friendly rendezvous. The weather was unfortunately very stormy and nasty, but the nine days of the festival allowed a few days of flying in front of an enthusiastic audience.

View of the main take-off area for the festival

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One of the highlights was the long-haul flights David Niven Cup and Piccard-Jones Eco Trophy on January 29th to Italy: In a tradition dating back from the 1979 edition, David Niven, the British actor of 'Around the World In 80 Days offered a trophy for the longest distance flown. This year the team of Yannick Serex / Laurent Sciboz won with balloon HB-QRN, with a distance of 143,77nm flown. To mark the 20th anniversary of the successful circumnavigation of the world by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones in a balloon, a competition has now been launched won by the team Pierrick Duvoisin, Arnaud Favre and Fred Favre with 153.94 NM in balloon HBQPV.. Easily accessible by train from world famous locations like Montreux, Gruyeres and Gstaad, Château-d’Œx is situated in a sometimes very narrow valley with the river Saane heading via Aare and Rhine to the North Sea. It features impressive mountains for hiking, cycling and wintersport, and welcomes guests from around the world.

Some balloons have been built in unorthodox shapes. This is another take on a ‘flying fish’.

It is easy to perceive the world floating below the balloon as some miniature world. However, upon descent, the ant-like creatures soon become full-size people again!

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Balloons offer a unique platform for airto-air photography.

Promoting bizjet services on a balloon‌.

The take-off area bursting with colour.

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Eurocopter Squirrels from Air Glaciers provided support as necessary

A special visitor promoting the Winegrower’s Festival in Vervey.


Alouette II in its element, where its high performance comes very useful in the high mountain environment.


Mike Brageot


Remembering the recordbreaking Breiting Orbiter,

Two different interpretatio vertical flight.

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ons of


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Text: Mark Zerafa Photos: Nick Chute

January 17th, 2019. With the arrival of the first of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, Canadian carrier Westjet is aiming high. From its beginnings as a single-class, single-type Low Cost Carrier, the airline now hopes to tap into new markets far and wide.


In May 2014, Westjet CEO Gregg Saretsky announced the acquisition of wide-body aircraft to operate longhaul routes, to commence in 2015. To this effect four former Qantas Boeing 767-300ERs were acquired. Thee 767s however proved less reliable than expected, given their average age of around 25 years, and the airline reduced their utilisation by the Summer of 2017. That same year, Westjet announced orders for up to 20 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, with ten being firm orders with deliveries slated between 2019 and 2021, and ten further options for delivery by 2024. Westjet’s Dreamliner are configured to carry 320 passengers, 16 in Business Class in a 1-2-1 configuration, 28 in Premium Exonomy in a 2-3-2 arrangement, and 244 in Economy in a 3-3-3 configuration. Initially, the airline has planned to use the aircraft on the Calgary to Toronto route, but upon receipt of further aircraft and ETOPS certification, it aims to start seasonal flights from Calgary International to London Gatwick on a daily basis. Other destinations being considered are Paris and Dublin.

The new-build 787s also gave Westjet the opportunity to launch a new livery together with a new brand image, as the airline transitions from its roots as a lowcost carrier to a full-service carrier.

With a range of 7,600nm, any destination is within range of Calgary. Through its new product offering, including Wi-fi, in-flight entertainment, and industrystandard lie-flat pods in business class, the Canadian airline is clearly targeting other segments besides its traditional leisure customers.

Coupled with the Dreamliner’s key assets, including 20% lower fuel burn, reduced cabin vibration, turbulence dampening technology, an improved air filtration system, more humid cabin air and larger windows, Westjet is clearly opting for an improved passenger experience to sell seats on its 787s.

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Text: David Sharma Photos: David Sharma Profiles: Richard J. Caruana As the F-35 starts entering service with the Japan Air Self-Defence Force, the end of its large F-4 Phantom Fleet gets closer. Of the 140 originally delivered, around 70 remain in service.

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Hyakrui Air Base is situated to the north of Tokyo near the city of Omitawa. It also doubles as Ibaraki airport and is used by local low-cost airlines. Hyakuri is now home to all remaining JASDF phantoms. F-4EJ’s are currently operated by the Central Air Defence Force, 7th Air Wing, 301st and 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadrons. Whilst the remaining RF-4EJ’s are operated by Air Defence Command Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 501st Squadron. The base is also home to these squadron’s Kawasaki T-4’s and JASDF’s Air Rescue Wing UH-60J’s and U-125A’s.

Japan chose the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II as it’s new fighter aircraft in the late 1960’s. JASDF’s first Phantom flew in January 1971 and the entered service the following year. Whilst the RF-4EJ’s were built in the USA, almost all the F-

4EJ’s were licence-built by Mitsubishi. They were built throughout the 1970’s, the last one being constructed in 1981. Since then they’ve undergone numerous upgrades to remain effective. However, the end is now in sight for these aircraft as JASDF transitions to new F-35’s. 302nd Squadron Phantoms are the first to be replaced during early 2019, with the remaining squadrons following during 2020. So, with that in mind time is running out to see Japan’s F-4’s in action. The annual JASDF Open House Air Festival was held at Hyakuri on December 2nd 2018. To mark the end of 302nd Squadron Phantoms two aircraft were in special liveries. With Phantoms being very popular all over the world, it was bound to be a busy event. So, an early start was needed in order to get a good position for photographs.

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Two special schemes were presented on the day.

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During the day twelve phantoms took to the skies with many more on static display. There were also other JASDF aircraft on the ground including a Mitsubishi F-2, a licence-built Mitsubishi F-15J and a Kawasaki P-1. The national display team “Blue Impulse” were absent on this occasion as they were performing at Nyutabaru Air Festival on that day.

craft taxiing only a few feet from the crowd and the pilots waving enthusiastically to us. After that there was a search and rescue demo from a UH-60J, followed by a break for lunch. This gave another opportunity to see the static aircraft, now that the light had improved, as well as watch arriving and departing airliners.

It was a quite a while before any action from the F-4’s, so there was plenty of time to view the static aircraft with the base’s resident Kawasaki T-4’s keeping us entertained in the sky. Though the weather was dry, poor light made photography challenging. At around 11:00 the first Phantoms got airborne for a formation flypast of six aircraft. There were several low passes, including over the top of the crowd line as they returned to land. It was also very nice to have the air-

Action really increased during the afternoon, the two special liveried aircraft were towed out of the static area and took off to perform their flying display, this was followed by a solo display from an F-15J. During mid-afternoon there were further displays from 301st and 302nd phantoms and RF-4EJ’s from 501st Squadron closed the show at about 15:00. Overall, the flying was fantastic and the event was really well organised, it was a fitting tribute to a much loved aircraft! 95

With all Phantoms based at Hyakuri, it was an excellent opportunity to view all the different camouflage schemes worn by Japanese Phantoms. Japan is the last remaining operator of the RF-4E

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McDonnell Douglas RF-4EJ Kai Ph Air Self Defence Force. FS.30372/ dersides; national markings in si black/white/red sharkmouth mo

McDonnell Douglas F-4EJ Kai, Squadron, Japanese Self Defenc black radome and serials; nation

McDonnell Douglas RF-4EJ Phan Japanese Air Self Defence Force. faces with light grey undersides; Radome and serial in black.

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hantom II, 57-6373, No. 501 Squadron Japanese /34108/34079 upper surfaces with light grey unx positions. Radome, code and serial in black; otif below nose

Phantom II, 27-8305, No. 302 ce Force. FS.36270 overall with nal markings in six positions

ntom II, 57-6909, No. 501 Squadron . FS.30372/34108/34079 upper sur; national markings in six positions.


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The now ubiquitous Spook figure is a common sight when Phantoms are around. This Spook waves to the crowd while perched on the intake of F-4EJ Kai 97-8422