Monday, April 30, 2012

Dassault Mirage 2000-5F (116-FZ)

Dassault Mirage 2000-5F (116-FZ):
Aircraft's picture "Dassault Mirage 2000-5F" registered 116-FZ
Dassault Mirage 2000-5F - 116-FZ


HINOMARU pt #2b:
Last month, right after we put up on our blog our series of articles regarding the Hinomaru, the national marking of Japan, there was immediately a negative reaction in a certain message board. It seems that some did not read what we wrote but chose to troll and growl for omissions or "mistakes" that they think we made. Clearly some consider the internet as a big classroom, and themselves as teachers correcting other people's work. "The eyes are open the mouth moves, but Mr Brain has long since departed" - Blackadder

In the previous parts of the series we provided evidence of how and when the Hinomaru was adopted as the national marking. The photo below shows another accident involving a Maurice-Farman with hinomaru. It happened in March 1916 in Shiba, Tokyo and the pilots Tongu and Abe unfortunately did not survive. Another proof that the Hinomaru was adopted as the national marking as early as 1916.

We also tried to explain what the star and other markings might signify. Our main focus was to provide as much evidence as possible to disprove the earlier notion that the star was an early IJAAF marking. A new and rather ridiculous suggestion was made that the IJAAF was "trying" something. So let’s phrase what a certain "researcher" fantasizes: Japan had adopted the Hinomaru as a national marking by 1916. Quoting D. Thorpe: "The Hinomaru…has a deep-seated significance to the Japanese, being of divine origin and implications." But suddenly and for no apparent reason other than to stick it to the Navy or to "try something", they started painting some of the planes with a star in a white circular background. But then they realized that this marking was exactly the same with the one the Bolsheviks had adopted so they said  "chiksho / damn" and went back and painted their planes with the original Hinomaru. Sounds plausible?

It seems that in our previous article a significant detail went unnoticed so allow us this time to quote directly from Putnam’s "Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941" p.10:
"The Army was the first to initiate a modernization programme with the purchase of war-surplus Nieuport and SPAD fighter aircraft in April 1918."
This means that the aircraft the Japanese imported from France were not all brand new and many of them already carried various markings, insignia and some even camouflage.
In part #2 we showed a photo of a Nieuport 81 with what looks like ex-White Russian roundels. Here we include a close-up in the serial number to help French aircraft experts identify it.

Here’s another photo, this time of a camouflaged Salsmson 2A2 with French tail markings and colors (blue, white, red) . (Perhaps French national colors was something else the IJAAF tried!)

Before we move to the next part of this series we would like to include another extremely interesting photo. The Nieuports and other old Army aircraft, once they were replaced with new aircraft and modern types, were given to civilian schools. In this photo of a camouflaged Nieuport an Iron Cross is prominent under the top wing. Highly unlikely a civilian school to paint such an insignia so perhaps IJAAF was trying German markings too! More on this particular aircraft in the following part.

Our conclusion was that at least some of the aircraft imported from France were intended to be exported to Russia and were diverted to Japan. This was taken to mean that were referring to the star marking aircraft. We were actually talking about the planes with the White Russia roundel. But ofcourse on message boards where there is constant censorship and whoever disagrees with the owner is banned, as the members of this blog are, serious discussion is wanting.
  We believe that the definitive answer regarding the star and all the other markings is probably somewhere in the French archives where the origin of the aircraft exported to Japan is recorded.
  We still hope to hear criticism, suggestions and your thoughts and contributions to this very interesting subject in a friendly and constructive manner.

Mitsubishi J2M3 "Raiden" (Jack) - 海軍局地戦闘機 「雷電」

Mitsubishi J2M3 "Raiden" (Jack) - 海軍局地戦闘機 「雷電」: A NARA photo of what looks like a Mitsubishi J2M3 found at the end of the War in Japan probably in the Mitsubishi factory in Suzuka, Mie prefecture, where Raiden production was concentrated after the Summer of 1944. Suzuka is famous for its F1 racing circuit.
Although revealing a lot of details of the Kasei 23a engine, this particular photo is surprisingly not often reproduced in books.


Esta entrada en realidad es un experimento para ver que ha cambiado en la interfaz de blogger. En la imagen un Su-30MKM malayo en compañía de Mig-29 de ese mismo país.
 Bonito primer plano de la cabina. Me pregunto si sus pilotos serán malayos o rusos. Por cierto que se produce un curioso efecto óptico y el avión parece que lleva adosado al fuselaje un deposito de combustible adicional, al estilo de los F-16 jordanos por ejemplo, pero en realidad es la punta del ala derecha del avión desde el que se hace la foto.
Bonita formación en vuelo.
 El Su-30MKM sobre el mar. El camo es bastante acorde con el paisaje.
Una pareja sobre Kuala Lumpur. Por cierto otro mundo completamente diferente al nuestro, y que sin embargo también existe. Supongo que si allí en este momento les hablas de la crisis, te contestarán como el título del conocido disco de Supertramp. Crisis, qué crisis? Y es que el mundo no se acaba en Europa precisamente. Asi que todo es relativo.

Formation flight Sunday. Sonex (X2)

Formation flight Sunday. Sonex (X2):

Formation flight Sunday. Sonex (X2)

Formation flight Sunday. BT-1s over Miami, 1939

Formation flight Sunday. BT-1s over Miami, 1939:

Formation flight Sunday. BT-1s over Miami, 1939

Formation flight Sunday.

Formation flight Sunday.:

Formation flight Sunday.

Formation flight Sunday. Corsairs

Formation flight Sunday. Corsairs:

Formation flight Sunday. Corsairs

Formation flight Sunday. Wapitis over Iraq

Formation flight Sunday. Wapitis over Iraq:

Formation flight Sunday. Wapitis over Iraq

Formation flight Sunday. Snowbirds

Formation flight Sunday. Snowbirds:

Formation flight Sunday. Snowbirds

Formation flight Sunday. Basset XS779 in air formation with...

Formation flight Sunday. Basset XS779 in air formation with...:

Formation flight Sunday. Basset XS779 in air formation with BBMF Hurricane + Spitfire

Formation flight Sunday. Danish Fighting Falcons

Formation flight Sunday. Danish Fighting Falcons:

Formation flight Sunday. Danish Fighting Falcons

Saturday, April 28, 2012

2012 Raytheon Award Video on Vimeo

2012 Raytheon Award Video on Vimeo

U.S. Amasses Stealth-Jet Armada Near Iran

U.S. Amasses Stealth-Jet Armada Near Iran:
The U.S. Air Force is quietly assembling the world’s most powerful air-to-air fighting team at bases near Iran. Stealthy F-22 Raptors on their first front-line deployment have joined a potent mix of active-duty and Air National Guard F-15 Eagles, including some fitted with the latest advanced radars. The Raptor-Eagle team has been honing special tactics for clearing the air of Iranian fighters in the event of war.
The fighters join a growing naval armada that includes Navy carriers, submarines, cruisers and destroyers plus patrol boats and minesweepers enhanced with the latest close-in weaponry.
It’s been years since the Air Force has maintained a significant dogfighting presence in the Middle East. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq Boeing-made F-15Cs flew air patrols from Saudi Arabia, but the Iraqi air force put up no resistance and the Eagle squadrons soon departed. For the next nine years Air Force deployments to the Middle East were handled by ground-attack planes such as A-10s, F-16s and twin-seat F-15E Strike Eagles.
The 1980s-vintage F-15Cs, plagued by structural problems, stayed home in the U.S. and Japan. The brand-new F-22s, built by Lockheed Martin, suffered their own mechanical and safety problems. When they ventured from their home bases in Virginia, Alaska and New Mexico, it was only for short training exercises over the Pacific. The F-15Cs and F-22s sat out last year’s Libya war.

The Air Force fixed the F-15s and partially patched up the F-22s just in time for the escalating stand-off over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program. In March the Air Force deployed the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Wing, flying 20 standard F-15Cs, to an “undisclosed” air base in Southwest Asia — probably either Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates or Al Udeid in Qatar. The highly-experienced Massachusetts Guardsmen, who typically have several years more experience than their active-duty counterparts, would be ready “should Iran test the 104th,” said wing commander Col. Robert Brooks.
Upgraded F-15Cs from the 18th Wing in Japan joined the Guard Eagles. The Japan-based fighters have the latest APG-63(V)2 and (V)3 radars, manufactured by Raytheon. They’re electronically-scanned radars that radiate many individual beams from fixed antenna clusters and track more targets, faster, than old-model mechanical radars that must physically swivel back and forth. The 18th Wing is working up a fleet of 54 updated Eagles spread across two squadrons. The video above, shot by an F-15 pilot, depicts some of the wing’s training.
F-22s followed this month. “Multiple” Raptors deployed to Al Dhafra, according to Amy Butler at Aviation Week. Air Force spokesman Capt. Phil Ventura confirmed the deployment. It’s not clear where the Raptors came from. If they’re from the Alaska-based 3rd Wing, they’re the latest Increment 3.1 model with boosted bombing capabilities in addition to the standard air-to-air weaponry. In any event, the Middle East mission represents the first time F-22s are anywhere near a possible combat zone.
The mix of old and upgraded F-15s and ultra-modern F-22s is no accident. When the Pentagon stopped producing the nearly $400-million-a-copy Raptor after 187 units — half as many as the Air Force said it needed — the flying branch committed to keeping 250 F-15Cs in service until 2025 at the earliest. Pilots began developing team tactics for the two fighter types.
We have a woefully tiny F-22 fleet,” said Gen. Mike Hostage, the Air Force’s main fighter commander. So the flying branch worked out a system whereby large numbers of F-15s cover for small numbers of Raptors that sneak in around an enemy’s flank in full stealth mode. “Our objective is to fly in front with the F-22s, and have the persistence to stay there while the [F-22s] are conducting their [low-observable] attack,” Maj. Todd Giggy, an Eagle pilot, told Aviation Week.
One thing to look for is the presence in the Middle East of one of the Air Force’s handful of bizjets and Global Hawk drones fitted with the Northrop Grumman Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or Bacon. The F-22, once envisioned as a solitary hunter, was designed without the radio data-links that are standard on F-15s and many other jets. Instead, the Raptor has its own unique link that is incompatible with the Eagle. Bacon helps translate the radio signals so the two jet types can swap information. With a Bacon plane nearby, F-22s and F-15s can silently exchange data — for example, stealthy Raptors spotting targets for the Eagles.
It’s the methods above that the U.S. dogfighting armada would likely use to wipe out the antiquated but determined Iranian air force if the unthinkable occurred and fighting broke out. The warplanes are in place. The pilots are ready. Hopefully they won’t be needed.

Untitled (Meridian Avia) Antonov An-12BP

Untitled (Meridian Avia) Antonov An-12BP:
UR-CGV photographed at Birmingham - International (Elmdon) (BHX / EGBB) on Apr 28 by Karl Nixon. A typically smoky An-12 departure! (Canon EOS 50D & EF70-200 F4 L)

American Airlines Douglas C-54B Skymaster (DC-4)

American Airlines Douglas C-54B Skymaster (DC-4):
NC90404 photographed at In Flight on Apr 28 by RAScholefield Collection. Ex USAAF 42-72331. "Flagship Tucson" wears early "American Airlines System" titles. She was operated by AA from 1946 until sale to Avianca as HK-170 on 1 January 1950. From AA 60 years ago.

Discovery's Final Flight

Discovery's Final Flight:
As I was walking to a meeting this morning in the D.C. neighborhood of Foggy Bottom, I noticed that a bunch of commuters, people who normally don’t even take the time to look up from their Blackberries when they cross the street, were gawking at the sky and pointing at something shiny. Being the lemming that I am, I followed suit searching the heavens to see what was so enthralling that people were pulling their cars over to check it out. What I saw was what looked like two airplanes in a mid-air mating dance.

200mm @ 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 100
However, what initially appeared to be aerial love between consenting aircraft actually turned out to be a NASA 747 jet ferrying the Space Shuttle Discovery on a farewell flight over the nation’s capital. I quickly rushed into my office building, and talked a maintenance worker into letting me up onto the roof to take pictures of the historic event.

70mm @ 1/1250, f/4, ISO 100 & 70mm @ 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 100
The piggybacking shuttle made several low flights over the city, passing over numerous landmarks, and giving us taxpayers an opportunity to watch an amazing spacecraft that we funded fly for one last time.

200mm @ 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100

200mm @ 1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 100

200mm @ 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100
The retired shuttle will be launching into its new role as an educational installment at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Museum in Chantilly, Va., later this month.

“This impressive scene was photographed when the NASA 747...

“This impressive scene was photographed when the NASA 747...:

“This impressive scene was photographed when the NASA 747 carrier aircraft and five T-38 aircraft flew over the Space Shuttle Orbiter 101 “Enterprise” while it was parked on the runway at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California. The Orbiter 101 had just completed a five-minute, 31-second unpowered mission during the second free-flight of the Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Test series, on September 13, 1977, at the Dryden Flight Research Center.”(via)

“Space Shuttle Program”(via this fantastic set...

“Space Shuttle Program”

(via this fantastic set...

“Space Shuttle Program”

(via this fantastic set from the San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives)

“Full-scale mockup of Space Shuttle Orbiter Constitution...

“Full-scale mockup of Space Shuttle Orbiter Constitution...:

“Full-scale mockup of Space Shuttle Orbiter Constitution (OV-101) 1975 - Donwney, CA”

(via aharvey2k’s Flickr)

“February 27, 1975 — Employees at Rockwell...

“February 27, 1975 — Employees at Rockwell...:

“February 27, 1975 — Employees at Rockwell International Corporations Space Division, Downey, Calif., look over a full-scale mockup of the Space Shuttle orbiter..” (via, photo via aharvey2k’s Flickr)

Diamond DA-42 Twin Star (F-HDAR)

Diamond DA-42 Twin Star (F-HDAR):
Aircraft's picture "Diamond DA-42 Twin Star" registered F-HDAR
Diamond DA-42 Twin Star - F-HDAR

Canadair CL-415 (F-ZBFX)

Canadair CL-415 (F-ZBFX):
Aircraft's picture "Canadair CL-415" registered F-ZBFX
Canadair CL-415 - F-ZBFX

Pilatus PC-6/B2-H4 Turbo Porter (F-MMCE)

Pilatus PC-6/B2-H4 Turbo Porter (F-MMCE):
Aircraft's picture "Pilatus PC-6/B2-H4 Turbo Porter" registered F-MMCE
Pilatus PC-6/B2-H4 Turbo Porter - F-MMCE

Basler BT-67 Turbo-67 (C-FTGI)

Basler BT-67 Turbo-67 (C-FTGI):
Aircraft's picture "Basler BT-67 Turbo-67" registered C-FTGI
Basler BT-67 Turbo-67 - C-FTGI

Sonic Cruiser returns, quietly

Sonic Cruiser returns, quietly:
sonic cruiser pic.jpgImage courtesy of Boeing

You thought the Sonic Cruiser was dead -- sacrificed more than nine years ago for the 787-yielding Super Efficient.

Maybe you also thought Boeing was never really serious about the Sonic Cruiser anyway, unveiling the M0.98 speedster in 2001 only to distract the industry from its decision to drop the 747-X Stretch.

You're probably still right.

And, yet, the Sonic Cruiser is not entirely dead.

Somewhere deep inside Boeing, a team of engineers is even now continuing to fiddle with the last decade's most high-profile conceptual aerospace flop. A new Boeing patent application, which was posted online on 19 April, reveals a new and improved Sonic Cruiser. Filing a patent application, mind you, should not be construed as a confession of even long-term corporate strategy. It's most likely just a project some engineers are fiddling around with. Still, it reveals an interesting new approach to an old and fascinating concept. 

Sonic Cruiser 2012.jpg
The new Sonic Cruiser appears to be just as fast as the original design unveiled by a beaming Alan Mullaly at the 2001 Paris Air Show. Improvements are focused on reducing the nearly supersonic aircraft's noise and heat signatures. Rather than embedding the engines under the wing, high bypass turbofans are installed on top of the fuselage. Vertical stabilizers mounted outboard of each engine shields noise generated by the exhaust, while the long aft deck blocks sound waves aimed at the ground. In addition, Boeing's engineers have proposed variable geometry chevrons on the exhaust nozzles of each engine, which soften the noisy mixing of very hot exhaust air with much cooler ambient air.

Besides the new engine locations, Boeing has also made several aerodynamic changes. The differences are clear by comparing the drawing above with the image shown below, which first appeared in a 2003 Boeing patent filing for the original Sonic Cruiser concept. Notice the differences in shaping in the fuselage, nose and wings.

Sonic Cruiser 2002.jpg


Iran - Army Boeing (Elicotteri Meridionali) CH-47C Chinook (219)

Iran - Army Boeing (Elicotteri Meridionali) CH-47C Chinook (219):
5-4069 photographed at Off-Airport - Tehran on Apr 27 by Afshin Pirnoon - Iranian Spotters.

Slovakia - Air Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29AS (9-12AS)

Slovakia - Air Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29AS (9-12AS):
0619 photographed at Ostrava - Mosnov (OSR / LKMT) on Apr 27 by Csaba Király.

Germany - Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS

Germany - Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS:
4551 photographed at Cambrai - Epinoy (LFQI) on Apr 27 by Thierry Balzer. NATO Tiger Meet Cambrai 2011. 10:08 am

Polet Airlines Antonov An-148-100E

Polet Airlines Antonov An-148-100E:
RA-61710 photographed at Perm - Bolshoye Savino (PEE / USPP) on Apr 27 by Andrey Nogin.