Video of Sun 'n Fun Carnage

Not long after the windstorm, I shot these videos.
There were other sections on the field I didn't get to that had more airplanes flipped, including, sad to say, a couple beautiful J3 Cubs.  I hope the Grand Champion hopeful I videoed yesterday wasn't one of them...but everybody loses when this many airplanes are damaged and destroyed.

Rain 'n A Lot Of Pain

Bad day at Sun 'n Fun, a day that no one likes to think about, but can happen anywhere at any time: Mother Nature threw one gigantic hissy fit, to the dismay of dozens of aircraft owners whose aircraft were amaged or outright destroyed. 
A horrific thunderstorm kept feeding nasty tornadic weather right across central Florida, and at one point we had a funnel cloud which may have touched down, depending on who you talked to, and flipped airplanes around like so many child's toys. 
Once it was over, tents were smashed, 2" steel flag poles were bent over like straw, and many planes were stacked like kindling.  Zodiacs, Huskies, Aircams, Cubs: no type was favored over any other.
The two Dakota Cubs I flew out in from Sioux Falls were not spared.  The 180hp Cub Speedy Richardson and I flew the last two days of our 6-day flight was destroyed.  The Cub flown by Amy Gersch was damaged but should be able to fly home, though the cowling was dinged up pretty bad and the metal prop was gouged by the wreckage of the other Cub which flipped, ripping out its double tie downs like they were anchored in peanut butter, and landed on Amy's plane. 
Millions of dollars of damage overall, and the show was cancelled for the rest of the day. 
I hunkered down in the Sun 'n Fun Museum (big steel building) with a couple hundred other anxious showgoers, including Dan Johnson and his wife Randee.  
Our sincerest regrets, condolences and wishes for solid insurance policies for all those who suffered losses today.

Cablex to Make Parts of JSF Ejector Seat

01 April 2011

Martin Baker Mk 16 ejector seat for JSF (all photos : Martin Baker)

East Bentleigh Company to make parts for the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft

Member for Hotham Simon Crean and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today congratulated East Bentleigh based company Cablex on signing an order to supply components for the ejector seat on the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

Cablex has secured an order to supply parts to ejector seat manufacturer Martin-Baker.

“This is a big win for manufacturing in our community. Cablex already employs about 160 people locally and as a result of this order I hope they will be able to employ even more,” Mr Crean said.

“Winning this work proves that local companies like Cablex have the skills and expertise needed to win work on big international projects. This is good news for the Hotham electorate and a boost for employment prospects in the local area,” Mr Crean said.

The Joint Strike Fighter is an advanced stealth aircraft being built by Lockheed Martin in the United States. The Program is expected to deliver about 3,000 aircraft to the US and the other eight international partners over the coming years.

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare said that Cablex is one of a growing number of Australian defence companies working on the global Joint Strike Fighter Program.

“This is a great example of the kind of work Australian companies can win on international defence projects,” Mr Clare said.

Brunei and Ukraine Sign Defense Agreements

01 April 2011

The Defence White Paper 2007 mentioned that the enhancement of the RBLF's mobility will include the introduction of new Infantri Fighting Vehicle (IFV) to enable a higher operasional tempo. Additionally, studies are currently being conducted to increase firepower at various levels within the land component (photo : Defense Industry Daily)

The Foreign Minister stated that Ukraine can equip Brunei

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Konstantin Grishchenko stated that Ukraine has something to offer to Brunei to strengthen its own defenses."We have a lot to offer to strengthen the defense capability of this small country. Of course, there is not a question of some sort of huge volumes of supply", - said the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry news conference today in Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei), commenting on the outcome of bilateral negotiations President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah (Hassanal Bolkiah).

Gryshchenko said that a memorandum of understanding between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Government of the Sultan of cooperation in defense sphere involves training of Ukrainian specialists Brunei armed forces and creating conditions for effective implementation of supply of those types of military equipment that are interested in partners in Brunei.

"I think we have something that might be interested in just those responsible for defense of Brunei", - concluded the Minister.

The Director-General of the state concern Ukroboroneksport Dmitry Salamatin today also announced that Ukraine and Brunei have been negotiating a military-technical sphere. "We have good prospects on building relationships in the military-technical sphere," - he said at a press conference in the city of Bandar Seri Begawan.

Salamatin also expressed hope that in the near future the parties will proceed to discuss specific issues. However, while he did not mention what specific areas of cooperation will take place. "We presented the full range of options that have the Ukrainian military-industrial complex. These features are very interested in our partners. I hope that the talks will be productive," - he said.

However, Salamatin reported that the July 6-9 this year Ukrspetsexport take part in an exhibition of products of the military-industrial complex, which will be held in Brunei.

Director-General of the state concern "Ukroboroneksport Dmitry Salamatin located in the state of the Ukrainian delegation in Brunei.

As reported earlier today, Foreign Minister also said that Ukraine is studying the possibility of its participation in Brunei projects for oil and gas.

We remind the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, together with the state delegation is in Brunei for a state visit on 29-31 March. During the visit, signed an intergovernmental memorandum on cooperation in defense sphere. The document envisages joint military exercises, personnel exchanges and cooperation in the defense industry, the reform of the armed forces of both countries.The memorandum also laid the foundation of the Ukrainian-Brunei cooperation in defense and military-technical spheres, address the issues of information security and protection of intellectual property rights in both countries. The document provides for the establishment of a permanent joint committee of defense ministers of both countries.

Singapore Leads Anti-Piracy Task Force for the Second Time

01 April 2011

RSN personnel working alongside the crew of USS Mason in the Combat Information Centre of the USS Mason. (photo : Mindef)

To curb the threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, Singapore stepped to the fore for the second time to helm the coalition anti-piracy task force Combined Task Force (CTF) 151.

At a simple ceremony on board the Royal Navy frigate HMS Cornwall in Djibouti on 31 Mar, Commodore Abdul Aleem of the Pakistan Navy handed over command of CTF 151 to Rear-Admiral (RADM) Harris Chan of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

Commander Combined Maritime Forces Vice-Admiral (VADM) Mark Fox and Singapore's Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Ng Chee Peng were present to witness the ceremony.

Over the next three months, RADM Chan will lead the command team of 25 Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel and five officers from Indonesia, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia, to coordinate operations to disrupt piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

The team, which will operate from the United States Navy destroyer, USSMason, will work closely with task forces from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the European Union as well as with navies from other countries assigned to protect national vessels operating in the Gulf.

This cooperation will enable CTF 151 to cover an area of approximately 1.1 million square miles (2.5 million sq km) in the Gulf of Aden, where pirates have been wreaking havoc.

RSAF Fokker 50 MPA (photo : XAirforces)

At the ceremony, RADM Chan said: "We are honoured to take over command of CTF 151 for the second time at the invitation of the Combined Maritime Forces. The Gulf of Aden remains a key sea lane that depends on international cooperation to keep it safe for everyone"s use.

"My command team has spent the last few months preparing, planning and training for this mission. We are committed and focused on our mission to disrupt piracy in the Gulf of Aden."

When asked what challenges the command team expects to face, RADM Chan told cyberpioneer: "We're at the tail end of the northeast monsoon, so we expect the pirates to take advantage of the calm seas to attack merchant ships in the area.

"However, we are familiar with their tactics and have developed a very robust concept of operations to deal with this threat."

Singapore's first CTF 151 command stint, headed by RADM Bernard Miranda, successfully concluded in April last year.

Since 2009, the SAF has deployed two Task Groups, each comprising a Landing Ship Tank and two helicopters, from April to July 2009 and June to October 2010 to the Gulf of Aden.

Come April, the SAF will deploy a Fokker-50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft to perform maritime air surveillance in the Gulf until July this year.

First Precision Guided Mortar Deployed

31 Maret 2011

The Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative XM395 cartridge uses a standard M934 high-explosive 120mm projectile body. In the nose, a GPS receiver and computer controlled aerodynamic directional fins keep the round on its programmed trajectory. Folding fins in the tail provide stability. (photo : US Army)

Picatinny fields first precision-guided mortars to troops in Afghanistan

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- This month, U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan received 120mm GPS-guided mortar precision capability.

The Program Executive Office for Ammunition fielded Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative cartridges, or APMI, to one Infantry Brigade Combat Team, or IBCT, earlier this month, and is scheduled to field cartridges to the seven other IBCTs in Afghanistan within six months.

"APMI is a 120mm GPS-guided mortar cartridge that provides the infantry commander precision-strike capability, which he has never had before," said Peter Burke, PEO Ammunition's deputy product manager, Guided Precision Munitions and Mortar Systems.

Mortars are an indirect firing capability used to defeat enemy troops, materiel, bunkers and other infantry-type targets.

"Typically mortars are fired in volleys against an area target because of their inherent inaccuracy, but with APMI, you have the potential to destroy a target with only one or two rounds," Burke said.

The APMI cartridge has a requirement of 10 meters CEP, or Circular Error Probable, but Burke said the program is exceeding this requirement. Ten meters CEP means that if you drew a circle around a target at 10 meters radius, the rounds have to fall inside the circle 50 percent of the time.

Current CEP for 120 mm mortars at their maximum range is 136 meters. Mortars with the most advanced features, such as precision position and pointing systems, can achieve a 76 meter CEP, which still makes APMI seven times more accurate than any formerly fielded mortar.

While APMI will not replace standard 120mm mortars, its accuracy will allow a commander the ability to defeat a target with precision if there is danger of collateral damage, Burke explained.

Insurgents deliberately plan attacks in populated areas in the hope that opposing forces don't want to retaliate and risk accidental harm to civilians or damage to non-military property.

"Sometimes, if the risk of collateral damage is too high, you might not be able to fire (a standard 120mm) at all," Burke said of enemy engagements. "In that case, instead of firing a mortar from a protected position, you would have to send troops in to engage with direct-fire weapons, exposing them to more risk.

"But because of APMI's GPS-technology, which provides an accurate, first-round fire-for-effect capability, troops will have opportunities to employ APMI's precision where they previously would not, such as nearer to friendly forces or in urban areas.

Besides reducing risk to the local population and keeping U.S. servicemembers out of harm's way, APMI reduces the logistical burden of ammunition resupply.

A mortar unit typically carries 25 High-Explosive, or HE, rounds with them, Burke said, and they will now carry a mixture of standard and APMI rounds. Instead of firing large quantities of HE rounds, troops can fire one or two APMI and eliminate the target, so their resupply needs should be reduced.

The APMI, Inside and Out

The APMI XM395, cartridge uses a standard M934 high-explosive 120mm projectile body. In the nose, a GPS receiver and computer controlled aerodynamic directional fins keep the round on its programmed trajectory. Folding fins in the tail provide stability.

APMI also has a multi-functional fuse, which allows the round to be programmed to explode in the air, once it hits a hard surface or after it penetrates inside a target.

In order for the autonomous flight and fuse control to function properly, operators must input mission and GPS data from a fire control computer into the round using a setting device.

Earlier PEO Ammunition program investments contributed to APMI's development by providing technological building blocks and by paving inroads, including the 155mm Excalibur round and the Precision Guidance Kit, referred to as PGK. PGK is a low-cost, GPS-guided fuse kit that improves the accuracy of existing 155mm artillery rounds.

The Armament Research Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, co-located here, develops advanced fire control systems that help mortar operators improve the speed of their operations and the accuracy of their fires. These include the Lightweight Hand-held Mortar Ballistic Computer and the Dismounted 120mm Mortar Fire Control System, which were modified for the APMI fielding to ensure mortar operations remain streamlined.

"There were many difficult technological hurdles we crossed previously during our development of digital fire control systems requiring interface with smart projectiles that culminated in the APMI," said Patti Alameda competency manager, of ARDEC's Mortar and Common Fire Control Systems Division. "The ability of people to work as a team and integrate all of the sophisticated technology in a way that reduces the burden on the Soldier is really how we achieve this leap forward in capability.

"The APMI cartridge is fired from the M120 mortar system, which is compatible with the M326 Mortar Stowage Kit. Also developed at ARDEC, M326 Mortar Stowage Kits are now in full scale production and will be fielded to IBCTs over the next several years.

As of right now, Burke said there is no requirement for precision capability for 81mm and 60mm mortars.

The Army's requirements for larger caliber precision munitions allow technology to be more easily adapted to these larger rounds, he said.

"The 120 gives you a lot more room to work with," Burke said. "To fit all the electronics into smaller cartridges, with today's technology, is not feasible. They started with the biggest size to give us the most room to work with. Plus, you're getting the lethality of a 120, which is leaps and bounds above what a 60mm HE round can do."

Blue skies XX and Blue Lake.

Yesterday (30-03-2011) was a fab day, weather wise, work wise. Calm as, and 8/8th of solid blue.
Here we are at Blue Lake on the West Branch of the Sabine River which flows north into Lake Rotoroa in the Nelson Lakes National Park.
ZK-HXX3 is Hughes 369D c/n 30-0675D. It has been around for a while. Created on March of 1980 it worked in Oz as VH-KSY until imported into NZ for Airwest Helicopters of Reefton as ZK-HSW from 06-04-1984. Nelson Helicopters/Jet Heli Ltd took it on from 20-12-1999 and changed its registration to ZK-HXX3 on 04-02-2000. It was listed to Work Helicopters (NZ) Ltd on 10-08-2001 and then to its current operator Helicopter Charter Karamea 2006 Ltd on 12-09-2007.

Wizz Air opens Belgrade base

Wizz stations A320 at Belgrade Airport

Less than a year after it launched its first flights from Dortmund and London to Belgrade, Wizz Air opened its 13th European base at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport on Tuesday. Wizz Air will become the second largest airline operating out of Belgrade, behind Jat Airways, in April. The airline has carried some 18.000 passengers on its Belgrade flights from June 20, 2010 until March 1, 2011 and has already sold 131.000 tickets from Belgrade. Starting tomorrow, 1 of the airline’s Airbus A320s will be based at the airport.

Wizz Air operates flights from Belgrade to Dortmund, London-Luton, Rome-Fiumicino, Malmo and Charleroi (Brussels). Tomorrow, the low cost airline will inaugurate flights to Stockholm-Skavsta, on Saturday to Memmingen and on Sunday to Gothenburg and Eindhoven. The CEO of Wizz Air, Jozsef Varadi, told a press conference in the Serbian capital on Tuesday that Wizz Air will employ 290 people in Serbia. “Wizz Air has come to Serbia to become the leading airline on the market”. Jat was quick to respond with the launch of a third successive discount fare sale. The airline has been reporting strong passenger growth so far this year but whether Wizz Air’s future expansion plans out of Belgrade will hurt the national carrier remains to be seen.

Sun 'n Fun 2011 Day One

Well, Day One for me anyway; the show started yesterday but I was still stranded in Alabama by soggy and intractable weather with a couple Dakota Cubs.
Amy Gersch
We made it into Plant City at about 5:30 last night after squeaking under some very low ceilings, then running east once we hit the Gulf Coast.
A 6-day odyssey...and we're just glad to have made it at all.  Several VFR pilots are still stuck in the South and the storms continue.
Here's a video I quick-shot today, thanks to Legend Cub's Dave Graham, who took me over to meet the owner of a fabulous Piper Cub J3 restoration.

Dave "Speedy" Richardson

It's really gorgeous.  My video doesn't do it justice but it'll give you a bit of a peak.  The owner is having it judged and hoping to snag a Grand Champion Award. And it's sure got a shot: absolutely immaculate.
The restoration cost upwards of $80K!  Now that's commitment.

Dave and Kurt Sehnert also clued me in a new airplane about to debut from Legend, as well as a quick glance on how this top selling American-produced LSA builder has weathered the sluggish economic recovery.
"Our new Super Legend Cub," says Dave Graham, "has a flapped wing for reduced stall speeds and we're putting a lot of carbon fiber into the structure, in doors, wing tip bows and other components. The tailfeathers are Super Cub size with slightly more area, and aerodynamically balanced for more control authority."
"Power is a Lycoming 0-233.  It's a 115 hp, multi fuel engine to help address the ethanol fuel situation.  The Super Legend will have the same power to weight ratio as the original PA-18 Piper Super Cub with a 150hp engine, so it will be a good performer."
Legend's anticipated timetable:
[] Lycoming expects to complete certification testing by the end of Quarter 3, 2011,
[] ASTM certification for the airplane end of 2011, and ready for the market by Sebring 2012
Intro price is $139,900.  20% down will hold a slot.
It will be an SLSA first, then a kit.
Frame of the new Super Legend
 Kurt Sehnert weighs in on the new plane and the company's fortunes:
"The Texas Sport (kit) version will come after the SLSA version is done, probably by Sun 'n Fun 2012.  The kit can be built either Experimental Amateur Built or as an ELSA.  Of course we will offer our factory built program too as we do with our other models."
Kurt tells me the SLSA Legends continue to dominate sales, and buyers are ponying up for loaded versions with all the toys installed.
"Kit builders tend to build Experimental rather than ELSA because most want their own customized version, which you can't do with an ELSA, which has to be built to the same exact specs as the SLSA."
Super Legend frame detail

The amphib float option Legend offers had a curve ball thrown at it when Baumann Floats recently surprised the aviation world by closing its doors.
"We'll have to see what happens," says Kurt.  "We're looking at other players, but it's been a bit of a shock and it's a shame, they made an excellent product.  But like all business, we'll just go to plan B."
On the Economy: "Well, we figure if we got this far, we'll make it.  It has been a skinny two years.  But it feels like things are moving again."

Navy Defends Plan to Buy Used Subs

30 Maret 2011

Type 206A submarine (photo : manp)

The Navy needs to buy second-hand German submarines as other countries in the region could threaten Thailand with their fleets during a conflict, a military source said yesterday.

"In case of a clash, they could send their submarines to block our territorial waters, and Thailand would be left helpless. We need submarines to counter such an operation. All the countries around Thailand now have their own to protect their sovereignty. Burma is getting theirs from China soon," the source said.

The plan to purchase the dated submarines, which have long been on the Navy's wish list, comes after the Air Force and the Army upgraded their arsenals with new equipment. The Air Force is now flying Gripen jet fighters from Sweden and the Army has Ukrainian BTR-3EI armoured vehicles and Russian MI-17 helicopters at its disposal, the source said.

The Navy anticipates heightened security risks from countries in the region, such as Malaysia, Singapore and China, the source said.

The Navy needs to spend |Bt1.8 billion to buy the six used |submarines and Bt5 billion for repair and spare parts, the source said, adding the subs would be good for 10 more years after refurbishment.

The Type 206A submarines will be acquired from the German navy in a government-to-government deal.

They run on diesel engines and electric motors with a crew of 22. They are designed for anti-surface and anti-submarine, mine-laying and reconnaissance missions and can be armed with eight torpedoes and 24 mines.

The subs are in the process of decommissioning after serving for more than 30 years.

The 35-year-old vessels were due for retirement from 2011-2015, but the German navy brought the dates forward to save on operating costs, according to Jane's defence magazine.

According to a senior Navy officer, German navy officials visited Thailand late last year and offered to sell the submarines.

He told Jane's that the German submarines had been selected ahead of the Type 209s and Type 039s offered by South Korea and China, respectively.

The Navy also held discussions with Swedish shipbuilder Kockums about the availability of Gotland-class submarines, according to the magazine.

The Navy's proposal to buy new submarines had been rejected by previous governments due to the expensive prices. Those from leading weapons-manufacturing countries like Germany, Sweden, Russia and France command about Bt30 billion each.

Turkey Targets Indonesia for Sale and Joint Production of Armored Vehicles, Wireless Devices and Rockets

30 Maret 2011

FNSS ACV armored vehicle (photo : Greenbd)

Turkey targets Indonesia, Malaysia for defense exports

Eyeing to expand in new markets, Turkish defense industry focuses on Indonesia and Malaysia. FNSS, a producer largely owned by Turkish company Nurol, is to sell armored vehicles worth between $300 million and $400 million to the Indonesian Army initially as part of a broader industry relation. The military electronics firm Aselsan also is planned to cooperate with the Asian country on wireless devices and other electronic equipment.

In an effort to cement its position as a major exporter of armored vehicles and other defense equipment, Turkey has chosen the southeastern Asian nations of Indonesia and Malaysia as two key target countries.

Shortly before a planned visit by President Abdullah Gül to Indonesia in early April, senior Turkish procurement officials in mid-March secured a number of defense industry deals, for which official cooperation agreements are scheduled to be signed during the visit.

“Indonesia and Malaysia are two countries with which we really want and hope to greatly boost our defense industry relations,” said a senior procurement official.

Roketsan T122 Sakarya multiple launch rocket system (photo : TurkMilitary)


A first cooperation package with Indonesia is expected to cover the sale and joint production of armored vehicles, wireless devices and rockets. The value of this first package would be between $300 million and $400 million, the Turkish procurement official said.

The Ankara-based armored vehicle manufacturer FNSS, a joint venture between Turkey's Nurol Holding and BAE, is expected to provide the Indonesian Army with tracked armored combat vehicles. FNSS' majority shares belong to Nurol.

Aselsan, a top military electronics company and Turkey's largest defense firm, is planned to cooperate with Indonesia on wireless devices and other electronic equipment. Roketsan, Turkey's top company specializing in rockets and missiles, is expected to sell rockets to Indonesia.

"After this first cooperation package, a second package is envisioned, and it may cover joint production of naval vessels and the modernization of Indonesia's [older] F-16 fighter aircraft by our TAI [Turkish Aerospace Industries]," said the Turkish procurement official.

TAI, which in the 1990s assembled more than 200 F-16s for the Turkish Air Force, in recent years has modernized or is modernizing Jordan's and Pakistan's older F-16s with the permission of Lockheed Martin, the aircraft's original maker. TAI also is contributing to the production of the U.S.-led F-35.


With Malaysia, FNSS signed the largest single Turkish export deal in history, during a visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to Ankara in late February.

FNSS signed the $600 million export agreement with Malaysia's Deftech for the design, development, production and logistical support of 257 Pars 8x8 wheeled armored combat vehicles for the Malaysian armed forces. FNSS earlier sold tracked armored vehicles to Malaysia.

"We have a solid cooperation base with Malaysia. In the near future, we plan to work on naval vessels and some other defense equipment with that country," the Turkish procurement official said.

"Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia are all predominantly Muslim countries, but religion does not play a role in Turkish efforts for arms sales to those nations," said one defense analyst based here.

Separately, Turkey also seeks to modernize the older F-16s of Thailand, another South Asian country.

Turkey's defense industry exports greatly have improved in recent years, up from only some $250 million a year five years ago. The SSM is eyeing the export of defense equipment worth nearly $1.5 billion this year, up from $832 million in 2009. The 2010 figure has not been announced yet.

Parliament: Country's Two Submarines Cost RM50 Million Yearly To Maintain

30 Maret 2011

KD Tunku Abdul Rahman submarine (photo : Militaryphotos)

KUALA LUMPUR, (Bernama) -- The cost of maintaining the country's two submarines, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Abdul Razak, by the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) is estimated at RM50 million yearly.

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said the cost also covered support services and logistics for the Scorpene submarines and did not include the cost of spare parts.

Replying to a question from Datuk Ibrahim Ali (Independent-Pasir Mas) in the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday, he added that the maintenance contract for the two national strategic assets was awarded and executed by a joint-venture company, Boustead DCNS Naval Corporation Sdn Bhd, involving a local company and maker of the Scorpene submarines.

Abdul Latiff said it was a six-year contract between the government and the maintenance company.

"Each submarine is being maintained at a cost of RM25 million yearly to ensure that the two assets can be used at any time.

"If it (maintenance) does not meet the expectations of RMN, we can penalise (the company), in accordance with the agreement signed."

Malaysia had ordered the Scorpene submarines costing RM3.4 billion in 2002 and were jointly built by DCNS of France and Navantia, a submarine-building company from Spain.

KD Tunku Abdul Rahman arrived in Malaysian waters in September 2009 from France, and KD Tun Razak at the RMN base in Teluk Sepanggar, Sabah in July 2010.

To another question from Ibrahim, Abdul Latiff said the technical fault involving KD Tunku Abdul Rahman as reported (by the media) had been overcome, from the submergence test conducted on Feb 22, 2010.

It was reported that the mechanical problem was detected on Jan 17, last year during maintenance work carried out at the Teluk Sepanggar base.

Abdul Latiff reminded all quarters not to expose the weaknesses or shortcomings of national defence assets to outside elements, like what had often been done by the opposition.

"The technical problems faced by the submarines are normal problems which could also be experienced by other submarines in the world. I feel that in national defence and security matters, we should share secrets," he said.

Abdul Latiff noted proudly that KD Tunku Rahman made a successful SM 39 missile launch last July at a depth of 55 metres and hit its target 40 km away.

"This fired up the spirits of the submarine crew, although the opposition claimed that both submarines were problematic," he said.

The deputy minister said that Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin was satisfied after being in the submarine which submerged to the maximum depth in the South China Sea recently.

Philippines Seeks Patrol Ships, Aircraft, Radar to Bolster Watch in and Near the Spratlys

30 Maret 2011

Spratly islands (image : GlobalBalita)

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines plans to acquire patrol ships, aircraft and an air defence radar system so it is better able to guard its territory in and near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, the country's military chief said Monday.

China, the Philippines and four other countries and territories claim all or parts of the Spratlys, which is believed to have vast oil and gas reserves, teem with rich fishing grounds and straddle one of the world's busiest sea lanes. They have long been regarded as a potential flash point for conflict in Asia.

Military chief Gen. Eduardo Oban said it remains uncertain when the massive funding for the acquisitions, initially estimated at about $181 million (8 billion pesos), could be made available, but the government has asked the military to submit a list of equipment needed to strengthen territorial defence in Palawan, the southwestern Philippine province nearest the Spratlys.

At least $700,000 (31 million pesos) could soon be disbursed for the repair of a worn-out airstrip on Pag-asa, the largest island occupied by Filipino troops in the contested Spratlys, Oban said.

"We're pushing for capability development to safeguard our interests," Oban told reporters.

Philippine defence and military officials reportedly called off a trip to Pag-asa using a C-130 cargo plane because of the dangerous condition of the runway.

Spratly Islands (image : Middleburry)

The 120,000-strong military, one of Asia's weakest, has long faced funding shortfalls.

In recent years, it has focused on combating decades-long communist and Muslim insurgencies instead of external defence. "We have not given this enough attention," Oban said, adding President Benigno Aquino III's administration has seen the need to now bolster military presence in Palawan near the contested region.

Two Chinese patrol boats allegedly harassed a Philippine oil exploration ship into leaving a vast area called the Reed Bank on March 2, prompting a Filipino general to deploy two military aircraft, which arrived at the scene after the Chinese vessels had left, the military said.

The Philippines protested, saying the Reed Bank, which is near the Spratlys, lies within Philippine territorial waters. China responded by saying that the Spratlys and adjacent waters belong to it.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told an Association of Southeast Asian Nations regional security forum in Vietnam last year that the peaceful resolution of disputes over the Spratly and Paracel island groups was in the American national interest. Her remarks angered Beijing, which accused Washington of interfering in an Asian regional issue.

Washington worries the disputes could hamper access to one of the world's busiest commercial sea lanes.

Wizz Air from Venice to Skopje

Wizz Air plans new Skopje flights
Low cost airline, Wizz Air, will commence 2 weekly flights from Venice to Skopje to compliment its new service from London Luton. Wizz Air is set to commence flights to the Macedonian capital on June 20 with the inauguration of the London Luton route, which will initially operate 4 times per week, decreasing to 2 from September 15.

The Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency has confirmed that Wizz will fly from Venice to Skopje 2 times per week, starting June 21 as flight W67751 and W67752. However, the airline is yet to officially confirm the new launch. Flights are set to operate every Tuesday and Saturday. The no frills airline will have competition from Belle Air Europe which is set to launch the same service from April 17, also twice per week. Furthermore, Mat Airways has announced that during the summer it will be operating flights from Skopje to Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Vienna and Zurich.

Now on the register

The Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust Agusta A109E Power was placed on the NZ register today as ZK-ITR/2, the first ZK-ITR previously worn by the Agusta A119 Koala which is now ZK-ITP.  Like the Koala, the A109 is registered to Helilink, a subsidary of Airwork (NZ) Ltd.

ZK-ITR was outside the Heliflite hanger at Ardmore today, all photos Mike Condon

ZK-ITR when it was the Koala.

Geared TurboFans (GTF)

This concept is intriguing.  Any observations or comments about it would be most welcome.


Because the idea of gearing the fan came up many years ago in a seminar held by some people from Rolls-Royce plc.  The question arose from the floor and so the answer given, it was stressed, was not R-R official policy but more the opinion of the engineer representing Rolls-Royce.

The seminar was not on the subject of single stage fans  -  nor of high by-pass fans in general, but it was something that the person posing the question, on behalf of an operator, clearly thought strongly about.

The pros and cons stated were as follows:

Pros were that the current situation where the turbine and fan have to be a compromise in design, in order to maximise the power produced by the turbine and the power consumed effectively by the fan with minimum losses, could be avoided by having both the fan and the turbine rotating at their individual optimum rate.  This is bound to give an increase, even if only a small one, in the overall efficiency of the engine.  This leads to a decrease in overall sfc that is going to please the operator.

The cons are that the introduction of a gearbox does two things:
1.  It increases the overall weight of the engine unless savings can be made elsewhere in the construction.  On a twin spool (co-axial) engine, or a triple spool, the length of the LP spool must be increased to accommodate the gearbox.  This increase needs a corresponding increase in the case, carcass and fairing (cowl) which will add to the overall weight and this does not yet include the weight of the gearbox itself.  The alternative might be to snug up the gearbox into the nose cowl which will prevent the additional weight of the external parts but will not avoid the mass generated by the gearbox itself.

2.  No matter how this is done, and, one suspects, a single stage or two stage spur epicyclic will be used, the gearbox will need to be rotated.  Rotating any mass, however small, will result in power being used to do it.  Is it possible that the optimisation of the turbine and fan speed will produce sufficient benefit to both to increase the efficiency to the point that the residue from driving the gearbox will still give increased performance and improved sfc?

Intriguing.  We await figures from Pratt & Whitney and your opinions.

Years apart

When I was in Masterton during the January Cessna 180/185 weekend I came across A De Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth that I remember from the 1970's.
ZK-ANQ was built at Hatfield in the UK as c/n 82906 for the RAF and was issued the serial R5011. It was shipped to NZ (as one of 90 gifted to NZ by the British) and taken on charge by the RNZAF on 23-07-1940 as NZ892. Following withdrawal from military service on 01-04-1947 it entered the NZ civil register on 21-01-1947 as ZK-ANQ with T E Lawrence of Dargaville. By November of 1959 it was Tauranga based with R L Schrivener. The above photo was taken at Tauranga on 10-06-1973. About 1983 it moved to Gisborne for Alan Land. It was hired for a pereiod to White Island Airways and in November 1987 was sold to Thompson & Burdan of Levin. It was damaged on 15-07-1990 near Palmerston North. A couple of owner changes later it was with Stuart Tantrum of Levin by March of 1996. It came out of storage and was rebuilt by Stu to join the Omaka Collection on 29-10-2002 and was re-listed to The Vintage Aviator on 01-07-2007.
Photo below shows her at Masterton on 21-01-2011 in quasi RNZAF markings.

Turkey issues new Jat offer

Turkey wants Belgrade Airport to sweeten the deal
Turkish Airlines has in the past year denied claims that it has any interest in purchasing the struggling Serbian carrier, Jat Airways. However, after the Serbian Prime Minister met with his counterpart in Turkey 2 weeks ago, an offer has been issued, sources close to the airline say. Turkish Airlines is interested in purchasing Jat only if Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport is part of the package. The Turks want Serbia’s main airport to be sold to a Turkish airport operator, strengthening Turkey’s position in the region.

The Turkish company TAV Holdings already runs both Skopje and Ohrid airports and has shown interest in bidding for the construction of Zagreb Airport’s new terminal. Furthermore, another Turkish company, Limak Holding, partly runs Priština Airport and has expressed interest to purchase Airports of Montenegro, which manages both Podgorica and Tivat. Turkey has also shown interest in investing into Serbia’s newest airport, under construction in Kraljevo. On the other hand, Turkish Airlines owns 49% of B&H Airlines with hopes to buy out the rest of the company.

Whether the Serbian government is keen on selling one of the country’s most successful, publically owned companies (Belgrade Airport), together with Jat remains to be seen. Airports are considered a key part of a country’s infrastructure and recent moves to privatise airports in Montenegro have been met with strong opposition. The Serbian Government has announced it will create a new national airline together with a strategic partner which will take over Jat’s aircraft, operations, employees and agreements, minus the debt. However, parties which make up the governing coalition in the country are still divided on Jat’s privatisation model. The government is determined to sell part of the airline by the end of the year.

South Korea Developing Tank Protection

29 Maret 2011

K2 main battle tank (photo : Military Today)

SEOUL, (UPI) -- South Korea is developing an active protection system to defend its K-2 tanks from rockets and missiles, the country's Ministry for Defense said.

South Korea's Agency for Defense Development recently made public the image of the APS launcher, along with a 70mm system's guided rocket at a defense science and technology exhibition in Hawaii that was organized by the U.S. Pacific Command.

K2 active protection system (image : Military Review)

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration said the new system has been under development since 2006 with a budget of $36 million. The project is scheduled for completion this year.

The APS features a 3-D detection and tracking radar, a heat-detection and tracking system, a control computer, a launching system and counter rocket, the agency said.

A two-shot launcher developed for the South Korean Active Protection System (APS) protecting the K-2 main battle tank. (photo : ADD)

The agency said will only take 0.2 to 0.3 seconds for the system to detect and track anti-tank missiles and rockets fired at a tank and fire counter-rockets at incoming missiles.

The system's 70mm rocket has an image infrared and guided control system.


RM700m Deal for New Firearms

29 Maret 2011

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi handling the United States-made Colt M4 carbine at the Malaysian Industry Council for Defence, Enforcement and Security at the Royale Chulan Hotel in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. A total 130,000 units will be bought by the Defence Ministry to replace aging weapons currently in use by the army and police. (photo : NST/Yazit Razali)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Defence Ministry has sealed a RM700 million deal with the United States to purchase 130,000 new weapons for the armed forces and police.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government had in 2006 approved the 5.56mm Colt M4 carbine, which can accommodate the M203 grenade launcher, to replace the Austrian-made Steyr AUG assault rifle.

SME Ordnance Sdn Bhd (SMEO), which began local production of the Steyr in 1991, had on Nov 19, 2007 undertaken the deal with American firm Colt Defence LLC to initially acquire 14,000 carbines, which were all delivered by June 2008.

The company followed it up with a second contract with the same firm on Feb 17 this year for the supply of 116,000 carbines over a seven-year period.

"Through the deal, SMEO is set to obtain the licensing rights to manufacture additional Colt carbines locally, through a technology transfer programme once the US government gives its approval," said Zahid.

He added that Malaysia would also be given the rights to market the locally produced carbines to Thailand, Brunei, the Phlippines, Indonesia and other countries using them.

"This will enable SMEO to become a centre of excellence for the manufacture of small-bore firearms in Asia," he said after chairing a Malaysia Industry Council for Defence, Enforcement and Security (MIDES) at the Royale Chulan Hotel, here yesterday.

The MIDES meeting is held regularly towards the establishment of the high-tech Malaysia Defence and Security Technology Park in Sungkai, Perak later this year.

The park will be a one-stop centre aimed at spurring the local defence industry via counter-trade, offsets, transfer of technology, counter-purchase and work packages through partnerships with foreign entities.

Investors from South Korea, Japan, Europe and the Americas have committed an initial US$1 billion (RM3 billion) and pledged an additional US$5 billion for the park.

On another note, Zahid said MIDES had agreed to streamline the purchase and manufacture of defence equipment, including firearms and apparel, for local enforcement agencies to optimise resources for their maintenance.

"Just like the car industry, local manufacturers do not compete over the same product but diversify into different capacities of vehicles."

Zahid added that local universities, like the Malaysian National Defence University and Universiti Teknologi Mara, would be encouraged to establish defence industry courses to undertake research and development for the commercial market.

"Their input can provide value-added services for defence industries which have the potential to grow enormously and provide job opportunities to talented Malaysians.

"There is great demand for a skilled workforce here and we need not look for foreign talent if Malaysians can meet the challenges."


Aircraft on the, almost treeless, Shetlands only need about twenty minutes, or so, to build nests in the rudders. Birds don't see aeroplanes - they see trees or nest-building opportunities. Snakes and other creatures see caves for warmth and sanctuary. Rodents on aircraft - as well as bugs (see 'British Airways' bed-bug problem out of Thailand and Berjaya Air's German Cockroach infestation) are an ongoing and insidious problem. Rodents are especially problematical because they are inclined to chew through wires and cables.

"Airbus charged over Rio tragedy
March 18, 2011

JET builder Airbus has been accused of involuntary manslaughter over the deaths of 228 people in the Rio-Paris crash in 2009.

Preliminary charges have been laid by a judge to start a formal investigation into the crash of the Air France flight.

Airbus said there was an “absence of facts supporting the charge” and chief executive Thomas Enders said it was premature. He added it would be better to focus on finding the cause of the crash and making sure it never happened again.

Investigators found automatic messages from the Airbus A330-200’s flight computers indicating an electrical fault. The pilots may have been receiving false speed readings from sensors.

Air safety authorities ordered the pitot tube sensors to be replaced on other aircraft after the disaster, although the problem had been known about since 2002.

Franco-German company Airbus says that only finding the black box flight data recorders will give answers to what happened when Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic during a storm.

A fourth phase of searching for the black box is due to begin this weekend, with Air France and Airbus paying the seven million euro cost. It will use a mini-submarine searching in the south Atlantic crevices, which can be as deep as 13,000ft.

Just three per cent of the plane has been recovered, including a large part of the tailfin. Fifty bodies have been found."

What does this have to do with wildlife?


The pitot tube problem cropped up much earlier in Birgenair Flight 301, in 1996. The reason for the faulty pitot tubes. Investigators suspected that some kind of insect could have created a nest inside the pitot tube. The prime suspect is a species called the Black and yellow mud dauber wasp, well-known by pilots flying in the Dominican Republic. The aircraft had not flown in 25 days during which time the pitot tubes were not covered, giving the wasps an opportunity to build nests in the tubes.

(NB:  Final comment courtesy of Charles Thomas)

ICING - Part 2

A Word (or two) About Icing.  Part 2

We need to get rid of ice.

Ideally we get rid of ice on the ground before the aeroplane leaps into the air.  Sometimes the ice will form after the aeroplane leaps into the air and that presents us with a whole new set of problems.

There are lots of different forms of icing but we will just think:
 ‘ice’ = ‘hard water’ on ‘aeroplane’.

Very often ground crews will de-ice aeroplanes on the ground before take-off.  They will do this so that the aeroplane is not damaged by ice (or snow) building up on the aeroplane and weighing it down.
The ice or snow can be removed by sweeping or spraying with a de-icing fluid.

Aeroplanes with a small wheel at the front (a nosewheel known as a ‘tricycle undercarriage) will be de-iced starting at the back because de-icing the front first can cause the aeroplane to tip onto its tail!

Small propellers can be ‘greased’ with a de-icing compound that prevents ice from sticking to the blades.

Once an aeroplane has been de-iced it must be got off the ground fairly quickly or the process will have to be repeated to prevent further build up of ice or snow.

The problem now is the build up of ice on the aeroplane, and in the jet engines, in flight.

Why does ice form on the aeroplane?

Because the way an aeroplane gets ‘lift’ from the wings is to create a low pressure on top of the wings and a higher pressure under the wings.  The aeroplane is ‘sucked’ into the air!  Reduce the pressure of gas and the temperature drops, if it drops sufficiently any water in the air will freeze and stick to the wing.

The engine air intake also has a low pressure in it when the engine is on the ground and the aeroplane is not moving forward.  Ice can (and does) form inside the intake ‘lip’.

Propellers act very much like an aerofoil (wing) and so ice can form on the propeller blades, too.

How to get rid of ice in the air?
Two methods:
1.             Anti-icing.
2.             De-icing.

Anti-icing prevents ice from forming on a surface and de-icing allows the ice to form and then gets rid of it – usually by using it’s own weight to help.

Anti-icing and de-icing use several ways of working.  Sometimes heat is used.  Heat is obtained from two main sources:
1.             Hot air from the engine compressor (High pressure air is hot)
2.             Electrical heater pads

It is also possible to use low pressure air from the compressor to inflate rubber balloons -  called ‘boots’, that will cause ice to crack up and flake off from wings, tailplanes, fins and engine intakes.  This pressure is usually very low and rarely goes much above 20 psi.  The boot is then ‘sucked shut’ to conform to the shape of the surface it is protecting.  The valve that controls the inflation and closing of the boot needs to be heated so that it will not freeze and cease to work.

Electrical de-icing heater pads use a quick burst of electricity to heat up.  The heat needs to be applied at high temperature very quickly so that the minimum amount of ice is melted.  The ice will then blow off or be flung off, on a propeller blade, and the airflow will then cool the heater.  Not too much ice should be melted because water will flow back from the heater element and cause ‘run-back’ icing that cannot now be removed!  These heater elements should not be used on the ground when there is no cooling airflow over them or they may well burn out.

Hot air from the compressor is applied to surfaces to keep them free of ice.  A small bleed of air at low pressure  -  possibly around 30 psi, is allowed to flow out from small holes around the area that needs to be kept free from ice.  Sometimes it is discharged gently from a pipe that has many tiny holes in it called a ‘piccolo tube’, the air sprays onto the inside of a metal skin to keep it just above freezing point so that no ice forms. This is commonly used on engine air intakes and spinner fairings in the middle of the intake.

The other area that needs de-icing is the windshield.  This is usually electrically heated.

The contents of windscreen washer bottles can be kept liquid by electrical heater elements or by using waste air from fans cooling the electronic equipment.

Electrical elements are rarely used for anti-icing because the load on the electrical system would be too high.  Much better to use short bursts of electricity every so often.

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