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Issue 15 January-February 2018

Gol

Yeovilton Show Report

AW101 Merlin

Banhidi Gerle Air-to-Air

Air Malta 737s

Bangladesh’s Transports

Cosford Show Report

Luftwaffe Phantom Pharewell


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welcome After a three-month lull, Spotter Magazine is back. And it’s good to be back. Producing this magazine gives me an idea of the true worldwide dimension of planespotting. In order to ensure the quality and punctuality of the publication, it was decided to switch to a bi-monthly frequency for the publication. We however look forward to going back to a monthly basis once the magazine has more solid financial footing. In the meantime, we are proud to see that the aircraft projects being supported by this magazine are gathering momentum. Phantom Black Mike is now in one piece at RAF Cosford, and the Save the Skymaster is inching forward with its plan to return to flight. We hope that 2018 will bring great for everyone, and we will have many fantastic features to share worldwide through his magazine. Mark Zerafa Editor EDITORIAL Editor:

Mark Zerafa

Design Assistant: Massimiliano Zammit

ADVERTISING AND COMMERCIAL: Email:

spottermagmalta@gmail.com

EDITORIAL ADDRESS:

238, ‘Morning Star’, Manuel Dimech Str., Sliema, SLM1052 Malta , Europe

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.

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contents Banhidi Gerle

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Cosford Spectacular

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The Silver Lady

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Luftwaffe Phantom Phinale

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Gol: Brazilian Low-Cost

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Magic Merlin

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Air Malta’s 737s

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Yeovilton

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Bangladeshi Transports

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credits Graphic Design:

Massimiliano Zammit,

Contributors:

Svetlan Simov Cliff Ibell Mohamed ‘zs-mk’ Daniel R. Carniero Rich Pittman M. Shahriar Sonet

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Special Gerle Text: Photos:

Mark Zerafa Svetlan Simov

The Banhidi Gerle was conceived in the 1930s. Although never produced in numbers, the aircraft achieved fame in 1933 when designer Antal Banhidi and co-pilot Tibor Bisits made a longdistance flight of 12,258km around the Mediterranean. Svetlan Simov goes for an air-to-air sortie with this rare bird.

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Born in 1903, Antal Banhidi attended the Technical University of Budapest, where he was one of the founders of the University’s flight club. Under the guidance of Arpad Lampich, he learnt the fundamentals of aircraft design. In 1929, Banhidi flew a Lampich L-2 Roma ultralight from Hungary to Sweden, a round trip of 5,000km, including 150km over-water. In 1930, he designed the Gerle, a light two-seater biplane. The aircraft was designed for flight schoolsm light aerobatics, general touring and as a glider tug. The fifteen Gerles built would be Banhidi’s only creation, as the winds of war swept across Europe, and with the end of hostilities, with Hungary being forbidden from designing aircraft, Banhidi’s talents ended up wasted when he was assigned to work on blueprints of ground vehicles. The prototype Gerle 11 was flown by Banhidi himself on September 4th, 1930. Four further aircraft, designated Gerle 12 to 15, were built by the flying club of the Budapest Technical University, and a further three were built by WNF at Wiener Neustadtt. In 1933, Banhidi embarked in a long-distance flight around the Mediterranean in the Gerle 13. Together with Tibor Bisits, the flight took them to twenty-two cities between February 19th and March 24th. None of the original Gerles survive today. However, two replicase have been built. The first, a Gerle 13, was built in 1988, followed by a replica of a Gerle 12, owned and built by the Goldtimer Foundation in Budapest, which first flew on December 4th, 2015.

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Cosford Spectacular Text: Photos:

Cliff Ibell Cliff Ibell

Situated in rural Shropshire, RAF Cosford opened its doors to 50,000 visitors for the annual air show. Celebrating its 70th anniversary RAF Cosford has been holding air shows since the 1940s raising funds for RAF and local charities. The main aim for the air show however, is to engage with the general public and to show them the work that the RAF does both in the United Kingdom and around the world.

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This was also the final air show hosted by Air Commodore Mark Hunt who handed over command of RAF Cosford and the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering (DSAE) to Group Captain Tone Baker on June 15th 2017.

its demonstrated the close links between the United Kingdom and its NATO allies.

The RAF Museum also displayed several airframes from their "Testing" exhibit in the form BAe EAP concept plane and BAe VAAC Harrier T2 used by QinetiQ As well as the RAF Museum, RAF Cosford is home to for the Lockheed Martin F35 project. Completing the the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering display were DSAE's former Boscombe Down Jaguar (DSAE). To show the public its work, the DSAE hang- T2As ers were opened with exhibitions demonstrating the different trades taught at the school with many of the Despite the vagrancies of the British weather and new airframes used by the DSAE students taking part in the regulations governing flying displays following the static aircraft display. Shoreham disaste,r a full and varied flying display took place with items ranging from a cold war Antanov AN2 As the DSAE are taking part in the Science, Technolo- biplane to the RAF’s Red Arrows. Sadly the RAF Tygy, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative one phoon display was cancelled at the last minute due to of the hangers was given up to displays and exhibits technical problems however the Italian Airforce Panavia including a mock-up of the Bloodhound SSC land A-200 Tornado of 311 Gruppo flown by Capt. Gabriele speed record car, all trying to encourage young people Aiolfi gave a most welcome display and picked up an into these vital fields for the future. award for its stunning colour scheme. Each year the air show organisers present the Hartree memorial trophy With one of the main air show themes being “Battle for best display and this year was no exception with the Field Support” a vintage village and simulated forward 2017 recipients being the Swiss Airforce PC7 team for operating post were presented with both period aircraft their immaculate display routine. and re-enactors wearing uniforms of the period. This theme was also carried on into the flying display. As well as the static and flying displays a fleet of Bell “International cooperation” was another of the main Jet Ranger helicopters provided by Adventure Helicopthemes and was represented by vintage United States ters gave the public the chance to view the air show of America aircraft as well as participants from Ire- from the air. land, Italy and Switzerland. With displays both in the static aircraft area and in the flying display these exhib-

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ZB615 was the last Jaguar TMk 2A. It made its final flight from Boscombe Down to cosford on November 17th, 2005. The last British Jaguar to be built, it spent most of its life at Farnborough, then from April 1994 onwards at Boscombe Down.

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For many years. The Harrier was the epitome of British ingenuity in engineering. A number of Harrier variants are present in Cosford to represent the first operational VTOL fighter. Harrier GR9 ZG477 represents the ultimate evolution of the aircraft as a fighting machine. BAe Harrier GR3 XZ991. This aircraft served with No.3 Squadron at Gutersloh until its retirement. It is now in the inventory of the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering. First flown in 1969, Harrier T2 XW175 spent its life as a trials aircraft at RAW Bedford and later at Boscombe Down. It was instrumental in the development of the Sea Harrier, with trials conducted aboard HMS Hermes in 1977 and 1978. Later in the 80s, the aircraft was converted to fly-by-wire in order to develop VTOL aircraft which were easier to fly in the hover. Known as Vectored thrust Aircraft Advanced Control (VAAC), the programme ran from 1986 till 2004, and then continued its career till November 2008, as part of the F-35 programme. 21 21


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On loan from the Fleet Air Arm, Sea Harrier FA.2 ZH796 was built in 1996 and has flown with the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm until its retirement in 2006. It is now housed in the School of Flight Deck Operations at RNAS Culdrose to train naval groundcrew to manouver aircraft in the limited space of an aircraft carrier deck. This was the last Sea Harrier to land on HMS Illustrious

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One of the most interesting aircraft on the airshow circuit, Westland Whirlwind HAR.10 XJ729 first flew in Yeovil on January 18th, 1956, and entered service with No.22 Search and Rescue Squadron at St. Mawgan in March. Initially built to HAR.2 standard, she was upgraded to HAR.10 in 1961. She also served at RAF Leconfield, RAF Leuchars, RAF Coltishall and RAF Chivenor, before ending her career at the Search and Rescue Training Unit at RAF Valley. Relegated to an instructional airframe at RAF Finningley, the airframe began to deteriorate and was eventually sold for scrap. The aircraft was however recovered and restored, making its first public appearance at Fairford in 1995. Flown till the expiry of its certificate of airworthiness expired in 2007, little was known of the Whirlwind’s whereabouts until 2013, when she was once again restored to flying condition.

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AgustaWestland AW 109-SP GZ100 32 Sqn RAF

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Bell 206B Jet Ranger III G-TREE Private

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Eurocopter Puma HC.2 ZJ956, assigned to No. 230 Sqn., Royal Air Force. Delivered new to the South African Air Force in 1995, this Puma was one of six purchased by the RAF in 2002 as an attrition replacements, initially serving with 1563 Flight before being upgraded to Puma HC.2 standard.

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Airbus Helicopters EC135T3 Juno ZM505 of the Defence Helicopter Flying School

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Agusta-Westland AH-64 Apache AH.1 ZJ230 in action during the role demo.

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EC-135 serial 271 is one of a pair operated by the Irish Air Corps. It is used principally to train aspiring helicopter pilots, however can also be configured for VIP and military transport and as an air ambulance.

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The unmistakable shape of the Rockwell OV-10 Bronco from the Bronco Demo Team. This ex-Luftwaffe Bronco has been adorned with the ‘Poppy’ livery to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

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Aerobatics are a firm favourite at airshows, and the Breitling Wing Walkers are an eagerly awaited act. The Boeing Stearmans have uprated engines in order to maintain performance despite the drag generated by the wing-walker on the top of the wing.

Flown by former Tornado GR.1 pilot Rich Goodwin, Pitts S2S G-EWIZ has been specially modified to enhance its air display capabilities. It is expected to be rewinged with a new-design wing over winter to allow more aggressive manouvers to be undertaken. 33 33


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The Silver Lad Text: Photos:

Mark Zerafa Mohamed ‘z

5X-UCF , called "The Silver Lady" is a civil Lockheed L-100 Hercules, owned by the Uganda Government and operated under the auspices of Uganda Air Cargo by an American crew.

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Cockpit close-up. A distinguishing feature of the civil L-100 Hercules is the removal of the additional glazing underneath the main cockpit glazing. These were deemed unnecessary for civilian operators, which were not expected to operate their aircraft from the same unhospitable areas the military would, and hence there was a lesser requirement to give the crew the extra visibility offered by these windows. Unlike many Hercules of her age, The Silver Lady has not been upgraded to digital cockpit displays. A GPS navigator has been added. First flown on April 20th, 1964, the L-100 was a demilitarised version of the C130E. Like the military Hercules, a fuselage stretch was offered in order to provide enough space for cargo in the cabin, as this was often within the aircraft’s lifting capabilities but in the smaller versions, cabin space simply ran out.. 114 L100s were built until 1992. Lockheed now aims to restart civil Hercules production with the LM-100J, a demilitarised version of its current C-130J.

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JAN-FEB 2018 An essential part of the Hercules’ versatility is its ability to operate with minimal ground support. The aircraft stands low on the ground to facilitate loading and unloading, The landing gear sits low and through careful design of the undercarriage doors, is adequately protected from damage.

Built in August 1975, this L-100 had a troubled start to its career. Registered N108AK, it was delivered to two different companies, but the purchase was never completed. It thus ended up with Uganda Airlines with the registration 5X-UCF.

In 1994, it became the sole aircraft of Uganda Air Cargo Corporation, a parastatal airline of the Uganda Government. Eventually it would be joined by a second L-100, and two Harbin Y-12s.

Headquartereed in Entebbe, Uganda, the aircraft spent some time on lease to Safair in South Africa

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Luftwaffe Phan 29th June 2013. The dreaded moment when the last German Phantom squadron officially ceased operations with the type. The event was marked with the appropriate fanfare at Wittmund.

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ntom Phinale Text: Photos:

Mark Zerafa Mark Zerafa

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Germany’s first Phantoms were reconnaissance RF-4Es, with 88 being ordered in May 1968 to replace the RF-104G Starfighters, with deliveries commencing in 1971. AKG51 ’Immelmann’ and AKG52 flew the recce Phantoms until 1994, when they were replaced be the Tornado. However, with delays in the Tornado programme and the obsolescence of the Starfighter in the strike role, the Luftwaffe’s purchase of 175 Phantoms was approved by the Bundestag in August 1971. German F-4s are designated F-4Fs, and were initially intended to have reduced capability as compared to the F-4E, with reduced fuel capacity and no provision for the underfuselage AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range air to air missiles. The leading-edge slats on the wing stabilators was also omitted.

The first F-4F flew on March 18th, 1973 and crew training was undertaken at George AFB, California. The first F-4F,

serial 27+04 landed in Germany on September 5th, 1973, On January 1st, 1974, JG71 ‘Richthofen’ officially began training on the type, the first Phantom arriving at Wittmund on March 7th, 1974. JG74 ‘Molders’ was the second squadron to receive Phantoms, followed by JBG36 and JBG35, both in 1975. With the entry into service of the Tornado, the German Phantoms started relinquishing the strike role and were geared more towards the air defence. An initial update for the Phantom, designated ‘Peace Rhine’, was initiated, with the first re-worked Phantom entering service with JG74 in November 1980. This update saw the F-4F receive a digital weapons computer enabling the carriage of the AGM-65 Maverick missile, as well as provision for the AIM-9L Sidewinder missile, which had a much better operating envelope than the previous 42


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AIM-9Bs, whose utility was limited to ‘tail-chase’ scenarios. However this update would not be sufficient to maintain the Phantom effective till the planned retirement in 2005, by which time the Eurofighter Typhoon was expected to be on strength with the Luftwaffe. Thus, the Phantom ICE (Increased Combat Efficiency) programme was initiated in June 1986. The initial ICE phase focussed on the air-to-ground capability of the F-4F, with improved avionics to aid navigation and weapons delivery. In 1991, the 107 Phantoms assigned to air defence units began a second phase of the upgrade, which included the provision of APG-65 radar, new IFF equipment and the capability to fire the AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile, with new under-fuselage weapon mounting points to enable the F-4F to carry an additional four missiles.

With the delivery of the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Luftwaffe began retiring its remaining Phantoms. JG73 retired its jets in 2002, JG78 in March 2008. This left JG73 at Wittmund as the last operator. On June 29th, 2013, JG73 officially retired the Phantom in an open day, displaying two Phantoms in older camouflage schemes sported by Luftwaffe Phantoms over the years. Moreover, 37+01, the Luftwaffe’s first Phantom, which was still serving with the squadron, was painted in a special scheme to celebrate the occasion.

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38+10 was repainted in a ‘retro’ Norm 72 scheme, which was the initial scheme worn by Luftwaffe Phantoms

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38+33 disgraced itself on the day by going technical for the final formation flight. It was painted in the second camouflage scheme , referred to as Norm 81B, worn by German Phantoms. In the 1980s.

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Test squadron WTD62 sent both of its Phantoms from its Manching base to Wittmund for the occasion. These would be the last two Phantoms in German service, soldiering on for a few more days after JG71’s F-4Fs. 38+13 was given a special scheme to mark the sad occasion, with an orange colour to reflect the flight-test mission and the black as a sign of mourning for the passing of a great aircraft..

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Gol: Brazilian L Text: Photos:

Mark Zerafa Daniel N Carniero

Established in 2000, Gol flew its first flight from Brasilia to Sao Paulo on January 15th, 2001. Initially equipped with Boeing 737300s , the airline transitioned to flying 737-700s and 737-800s by 2011, and is expecting delivery of the 737 MAX-8.

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The airline has its own maintenance base at Belo Horizonte, opened in 2006, which was eventually expanded to allow it to service up to 120 aircraft per year. This allows the airline to provide maintenance services to other airlines, such as Azul and Copa. Gol has made two major purchases, having purchased part of the assets of Varig in 2007 and Webjet Linhas Aereas in 2011, but none of these airlines operate any longer.

The airline flies mainly domestic routes in Brazil, but also flies to Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Suriname and Uruguay. Gol briefly operated the Boeing 767, but these were transferred to Delta Airlines after it acquired a shareholding in the airline.

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In 2015, Gol unveiled a new livery. Whilst retaining its trademark colours of orange and silver, the airline’s logo is now bolder and larger. The new livery appeared on the airline’s 100th Boeing 737, which was delivered on July 15th.

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Magic Merlin Text: Photos:

Rich Pittman Rich Pittman

The AW101 Merlin has firmly established itself as a medium-lift helicopter of choice with the world’s militaries, taking on a multitude of roles well beyond its initial design .

The AgustaWestland AW101 was initially designated as the European Helicopter Industries (EHI) EH101 in the 1980s, following the early concept as a naval replacement antisubmarine warfare aircraft. An international marketing study highlighted a requirement for a 30-seat helicopter, so European Helicopter Industries decided to redevelop the EH-101 into a multirole platform. As a medium-lift helicopter, the aircraft would be able to meet the demands of utility, government and civilian corporations of the 1990's. An initial 9 pre-production models were produced to demonstrate these potential configurations to the worldwide market. With significant mid-life updates, the AW101 has become the most modern and advanced medium lift helicopter available today. It is in service, production and under high demand for its proven performance, demonstrated in operational environments from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Depending on configuration, up to 30 troop seats or 12

stretchers could be hosted on board. Over 220 AW101 helicopters have been ordered so far by customers worldwide, to perform a large number of roles including Personnel Recovery, Special Forces Operations, SAR, Combat SAR, utility, troop transport, Anti-Surface Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Airborne Early Warning, airborne mine countermeasures and Heads of State/Government transport. SAR The Norwegian All-Weather SAR Helicopter (NAWSARH) AW101 612 has been designed to be the most advanced Search and Rescue helicopter to date. 16 aircraft have been ordered with the 1st delivery commencing in November 2017. Replacing the Westland Sea King currently in service with 330SQN, these 16 helicopters will operate from 6 airfields strategically placed around Norway. The NAWSARH AW101 will feature the LeonardoFinmeccanica's Osprey AESA radar and be equipped with the Laser Obstacle Avoidance (LOAM) and Obstacle Proximity LIDAR Systems. Other equipment includes a four-axis

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Digital Automatic Flight Control System (DAFCS), two rescue hoists, searchlight, electro optical device, mobile telephone detection system and a fully integrated avionics and mission system. The Osprey AESA radar, a flat panel antenna design will be the first lightweight airborne surveillance radar to provide a 360 degree field of view without moving parts. Mounted in the fuselage itself, Osprey comprises three flat panels, one on the front of the helicopter and two at the rear to create the 360 degree field of view. This design will leave the helicopter’s belly clear, maximizing ground clearance for challenging rescue landings on rough terrain and snow in Norway. Aircraft deliveries to the Royal Norwegian Air Force will continue through to 2020. As part of the contract, a fifteen year “turnkey” support solution will be delivered, comprising spares and technical support and training service .

CSAR In 2009 the Italian Air Force made a plans to replace their fleet of Agusta/Sikorsky HH-3 Pelican amphibious mediumlift helicopters. The new helicopters prerequisite included survivability, power and flexibility. The AW101 was chosen as the ideal replacement and during 2010, a contract was signed for twelve new variant HH101A 'Caesar' helicopters with an option of purchasing three more. The first production HH101A made its maiden flight at AW, Yeovil on the 19th March 2014. The HH-101A is able to accommodate up to five crew members plus twenty fully equipped troops or six crew members plus 8 special operations troops, this ensures maximum mission flexibility. The helicopters also feature three M134 7.62 mm pintle mounted Gatling-type machine guns installed on right and left sides and on the rear ramp provided by Finmeccanica Defence Systems Division, armoured cockpit seats, ballistic protection for machine gun opera61 tors as well as for critical systems and an Integrated Electronic Warfare System. The HH-101A also features an air-toair refuelling kit for extended range operations .

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Norwegian SAR AW101 612 on a pre delivery test flight at the Yeovil Westland facility on the 10th May 2017.

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ZZ101 the second airframe built for Norway seen here in full Norwegian markings. 22nd August 2016 The 3rd AW101 for Norway,

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ZZ102 (0265), during the intense pre delivery testing. 9th May 2017 1.

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The AW101 500 series entered Portuguese Air Force service on 24th February 2005. Since being formed in 1978, 751Sqn save over 3500 lives to Date 751 Squadron provide a SAR capability for Portugal's maritime zone. The squadron are on c 24/7 365 Days of the Year.

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This company AW101 has been a static exhibit at trade shows across the World.

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Westland 06 returns for a Rotors Running Refuel. The first of two production HC.4 were moved to Boscombe Down to be QinetiQ. The testing program is scheduled to finish near the end of 2017 and if completed successfully the 1st Merlin HC delivered to Commando Helicopter Force early 2018.

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ZR352/ MM81864 at Yeovil, 8th December 2014 Italy has ordered 15 HH-101A "CAESAR" to operate at Cervia airbase.

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A Royal Navy HC.3 still with Royal Air Force titles makes a confined landing on the 26th February 2016. 66


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“The Merlin EH (AW) 101—From Design to Front Line”

Designed by the European Helicopter Industries (EHI) partnership during the 1980s, initi combat the threat of an attack from Soviet missile submarines, the Merlin has evolved in

The AW101 combines the most advanced technologies, safety by design, mission system ing to provide a proven platform for long-range Search and Rescue (SAR) operations in range of 750 nm (over 1,300 km) in standard configuration, the AW101 is the most capab today. Other roles include transportation for Heads of State and VVIP operators; Intellige sance (ISR); Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO); Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW); Airbo (ASaC); Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM); troop transport; utility support, CASE Search and Rescue (CSAR). Lavishly illustrated throughout, Rich Pittman offers a fascinating portrait of an enduring its journey from design to the front line.

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ally as a naval helicopter to help nto a multi-role helicopter today.

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Six AR AW101 Mk.610s were delivered to Algeria during 2011/12

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One of the special jigs built to assemble the AW101’s nose section

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One of the Norweigan AW101s in early production stage.

ms and leading-edge manufacturcertain countries. With a typical ble SAR helicopter in the world ence Surveillance and Reconnaisorne Surveillance and Control EVAC/MEDEVAC; and Combat

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Air Malta’s 73 In March 1983, Air Malta celebrates its tenth anniversary with the order of its first brand-new aircraft, three Boeing 737-2Y5 Advanced airliners from the Boeing Airplane Company, based at Seattle, USA. Thirty-five years and fourteen 737s later, on March 30th, 2008, Air Malta flew its last 737 service, with flight KM3326/7 between Malta and Frankfurt.

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37s Text: Photos:

Mark Zerafa Mark Zerafa Unless otherwise credited

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For the flight crew on this last flight, Captains Bruce Pace and Chris Muscat, the 737-300, 9H-ADI, which they would be flying , was a far cry from the Maltese flag carrier’s first 737-200s. The CFM-56 turbofans were much more efficient and powerful than the earlier version’s Pratt & Whitney JT8Ds. Cockpit instrumentation was completely different, and the navigation system much more sophisticated. An even higher level of sophistication awaited them when they would transition to fly Air Malta’s new Airbus A319s and A320s.

“As a first officer on the 720B, the workload was very light. You just helped the captain fly the aircraft and took care of radio communications. The flight engineer used to take care of all the systems. The 737 did not have a flight engineer. It was now the job of the Captain and First Officer to monitor the engines, fuel, hydraulics, pressurization and electrics. Nonetheless I loved it. The cockpit instrumentation was much better than that on the older aircraft, and it was a joy to fly”

O o A p p M t d w a

Such technology was only the realm of science fiction at the time Boeing built the first 737s. However, back then, the 737 marked a distinct improvement on earlier jet airliners. Air Malta pilots witnessed this first-hand, as they transitioned from the Boeing 720B, which was the previous backbone of the carrier’s fleet in the pioneering years, to the smaller but newer airliner. For Captain Norman D’Amato, who would eventually rise to the ranks of Chief Pilot Boeing, it was almost a culture shock:

Air Malta would eventually own six 737-200s, registered 9H -ABA, 9H-ABB, 9H-ABC, 9H-ABE, 9H-ABF and 9H-ABG. These aircraft witnessed a number of significant events in the airline’s history. On October 8th, 1985, KM108 from Malta to Rome was the airline’s first flight with an all-Maltese crew, with Capt. Norman D’Amato and First Officer Robert Risso at the controls. On May 27th, 1990, another 737-200, 9H-ABF was in the limelight as it was used on flight KM2140, carrying Pope John Paul II back to Rome after his first visit to Malta. Flying the aircraft were Capt. Norman D’Amato, Capt. Laurence Gatt and First Officer Joe Farrugia Jr.

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On another milestone, its twentieth anniversary, Air Malta ordered five Boeing 737-300s from Boeing. Registered 9HABR, 9H-ABS, 9H-ABT, 9H-ADH and 9H-ADI, these aircraft presented a marked improvement in both passenger capacity, fuel burn and navigation systems. Together with Air Malta’s first two Airbus A320s, these continued Air Malta’s tradition of maintaining a young a technologically up-todate fleet. Further 737s, including 737-400s and 737-700s were leased over the years to cope with additional seasonal capacity.

The quality of Air Malta’s aircraft has always been matched by that of its personnel. Over the years, the airline leased aircraft and crews to a number of airlines, including Aer Lingus, AIR, Air Holland, Air New Zealand, Azzurrair, Bhoja Airlines, Boeing Flight Safety, GECAT, Macedonian Airlines, Maersk Air, Malaysian Airlines, PARC Aviation, Ryanair, Skynet, Sultan Air, Transwede and TAP Air Portugal. The airline’s flight scheduling, engineering and line maintenance departments attained such a degree of competence that on three occasions, Air Malta held the world record for the highest fleet utilization rate for the Boeing 737.

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This capability would be tested to the limit when Air Malta undertook an initiative to mount an emergency relief flight to Sri Lanka, carrying much-needed medical supplies and paramedics to the beleaguered country in the wake of the Tsunami. Besides venturing into unfamiliar airfields with possible problems in infrastructure, the logistics involved were considerable. The 737-300 had to be returned to airline revenue service as quickly as possible, given that this was the busy Christmas season, and a number of pilots volunteered to take the aircraft to Sri Lanka and back. The aircraft was flown to Colombo via Dubai, and back in less than a day. The cargo hold and even the vacant seats were packed with urgent medical supplies. A second flightcrew was pre-staged at Dubai to take over the aircraft on its second leg of the journey to Sri Lanka. Upon their arrival, the crew assisted airport employees to unload the aircraft as quickly as possible to avoid possible congestion with other arriving relief flights. Despite the tight timeframes in planning the flight, Air Malta was proud to have landed one of the very first relief flights into Sri Lanka, and then returning the aircraft to revenue service without creating any disruption for any of its passengers. Indeed, it was one of the national carrier’s finest hours.

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With the last of the Boeing 737s departing to a new owner, the airline’s fleet was composed entirely of practically brand-new Airbus aircraft. More fuel-efficient, with greater passenger safety and comfort, through their wider cabin, leather seats and inflight-entertainment, the Airbus narrow-bodies were the airline’s answer to ever increasing competition. Pilots benefited from a state-of-the-art flight deck, offering better situational awareness, improved ergonomics and an overall better working environment, and cabin crew also benefited from improved galley facilities. Just as importantly for Malta’s electronic and pharmaceutical industry, the Airbus offers a greater cargo capacity, so essential for their air freight needs.

So, as KM3326 taxied out through a triumphal arc of water, courtesy of the airport’s Fire Service, many Air Malta employees shed a tear of nostalgia. Many, including current Chief Pilot Boeing Capt. Charles Pace, had come out on the ramp to witness the occasion. With the Boeing 737 lies the pioneering spirit of the airline’s early years, a number of important achievements, and many years of faithful service without a single major incident.

A number of Air Malta’s 737s went on to fly for a multitude of other airlines, most notably Air New Zealand. The 737-200s ended up in Canada and South America. As for 9H-ADI, after serving with Air New Zealand, it was converted into a freighter in January 2016 and was last recorded as PK-YGW with TRI-MG Airlines in Indonesia

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Boeing 737-33A c/n 27460 first flew on April 7th, 1998 and was delivered new to Air Malta. It was then operated by Air New Zealand as ZK-NGR from April 2008 onwards, till it was transferred to Kahala Aviation Leasing as N460KA. Converted to a freighter, it is active with Tri-MG Intra Asia Airlines as PK-YGW.

GINO GALEA — AIR MALTA

These photos record Air Malta’s last 737 flight, KM3327 from Frankfurt to Malta, with the aircraft departing that very night to Shannon for a repaint into Air New Zealand colours.

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eovilton Air Day Text: Photos:

Cliff Ibell Cliff Ibell

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Celebrating its 70th year RNAS Yeovilton has been staging air shows since the late 1940s with the aim remaining the same, to raise money for service charities and show the public the vital work carried out by the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Navy in general. Despite continued budget cuts, overseas deployments and last minute cancellations to star attractions 30000 people attended International Air Day 2017 giving testament to the continued popularity of the senior services flagship event.

young people into these vital fields for the future. Once again Yeovilton Air Day lived up to its international status by hosting participants from the following NATO partners: France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and USA. The fact that for some of these participants Air Day was the only UK based show in the 2017 season shows the esteem held and close cooperation between the Royal Navy and its NATO allies.

As the Navy are taking part in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative one of the hangers was given up to displays and exhibits all trying to encourage

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SPOTTER MAGAZINE SPOTTER MAGAZINE The Fleet Air Arm continued to operate piston engine fighters well into the Korean War, with the Hawker Sea Fury being considered the pinnacle of the piston-engine fighter

The MiG-15 was a real threat to the Fleet Air Arm’s Sea Furies in Korea. Vastly superior in performance, the British nonetheless managed a kill, since attributed to Brian Ellis.

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Outdated even before the start of World War II, the accomplishments of the Fairey Swordfish and their crews are nothing short of legendary, from the annihilation of the Italian fleet at Taranto to the mortal blow to the Bismark

The Sea Venom was an allweather jet fighter which saw action over Suez. 87 87


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e Aeroavale Rafale M has been designed in rallel with the Armee de l’Air Rafales. They e regular participants at Yeovilton. Flown by otille 11F, a member of the NATO Tiger comunity, their aircraft regularly sport tigeremed schemes.

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Now approaching the twilight of its career, the Sea Lynx has proved a capable shipborne helicopter. The Royal Danish Air Force and the French Aeronavale were represented with their Lynxes, whilst the Royal Navay presented its Lynx replacement, the Lynx Wildcat.

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Royal Dutch Navy NH90 arrived with special markings to celebrate the centenary of the Marine Luchtvartdienst, the Dutch Naval Air Ser93 vice. The NH-90s have replaced the Lynx in Dutch service.

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Banglades

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sh Transports Text: Photos:

M Shariar Sonet M Shariar Sonet

The Bangladeshi Air Force operates three main types of transport—the Antonov An-32B, the LET410 and the C-130B Hercules. With an exciting modernization programme underway, the future looks bright.

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L-410 UVP E20

Introduced into service in 2015, the LET L -410 is the latest type in the BAF’s transport fleet. Assigned to the newlyformed 103 Air Transport Training Unit, two of the three aircraft are used mainly to train prospective An-32B and C-130B pilots, with a secondary para-dropping role. A third aircraft is configured as a VVIP transport for use by the Prime Minister.

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C-130B Hercules Four C-130Bs are in service with the Bangladeshi Air Force, one of which is employed in UN Peacekeeping mission. Given the versatility and capability of the Hercules, the C-130s are assigned to 101 Special Flying Unit. Formerly operated by the USAF, the C-130Bs have been upgraded by Lockheed Martin in 2000 to include a glass cockpit for pilot and co-pilot, a flight management computer, improved navigational equipment, weather radar and communications, a commercial autopilot system and a cockpit voice recorder.

When flying on UN Missions, BAF Hercules have been fitted with door guns to provide a level of selfprotection. In the Summer of 2017, it was announced that the Bangladeshi Air Force would purchase two ex-RAF C -130J C.5s in order to enhance its capabilities.

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Antonov AN-32B

The BAF operates three AN-32Bs, assigned to No.3 Squadron 3 based at Zahurul Haque, Chittagong. Used principally as transports, they have been used for bombing missions in the past. However, their current role sees them mainly being used for dropping paratroops from all three branches of the Bangladeshi armed forces. The aircraft have also been utilized for disaster relief missions. 101 101


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