Strikes force Air France to cancel flights

Air France has seen approximately 15 per cent of its planned departures cancelled today as a strike by cabin crew continues to cause disruption.

Several unions walked out on Saturday as part of five days of action in protest against changes in working conditions.

The strike is expected to continue until Wednesday November 2nd.

Flight schedules have been reduced for the duration with Air France warning it could not rule out the possibility of “on the spot” cancellations.

Cabin crew, who called the strike during the middle of the half-term holidays in France, have been angered by a plan to reduce staffing on long-haul trips.

Government minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet has publicly criticised the unions, primarily over the timing.

“Air France is in a delicate position,” she told Europe 1 radio in an interview, with the carrier expected to release financial results on November 9th.

Passengers have also been angered by planes appearing to run with empty seats despite the strike.

Air France explained that to keep as many planes in the air as possible short-haul flights were being limited to 100 passengers so flight stewards numbers stayed within safety limits.

Source: BTN

Qantas strike: flights may restart today

LATEST | Qantas hopes to recommence domestic and international flights "as early as Monday afternoon" following an order by Fair Work Australia for unions to end their series of crippling Qantas strikes.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce welcomed the FWA ruling as one which "provides certainty for Qantas passengers".
"We will be getting our aircraft back up in the air as soon as possible. It could be as early as Monday afternoon on a limited schedule."
The FWA verdict gives Qantas and the three unions 21 days to settle their dispute and reach a binding agreement – failing that, the FWA will force a compulsory arbitration.

PREVIOUS | Qantas has cancelled every single worldwide Qantas-operated flight immediately, until Monday October 31, as it raises the stakes in its ongoing battle with unions to an unprecedented level.
All Qantas flights, from domestic Australian services to international flights, are now grounded.
The airline has locked out all the unionised workforce taking industrial action: pilots, engineers, baggage handlers, ground staff and catering staff -- which in effect means that Qantas simply can't fly.
The airline advises that "customers booked on Qantas flights should not go to the airport until further notice".
In a press conference today at Qantas' Sydney headquarters, CEO Alan Joyce announced that there will be "no further Qantas domestic departures or international departures anywhere in the world".
Read Alan Joyce's statement in full, and see what Qantas will cover in terms of compensation for stranded passengers.
"Jetstar flights, QantasLink flights and Qantas flights across the Tasman operated by Jetconnect will continue," an airline statement said.
Qantas is requesting that only passengers booked for travek within the next 24 hours call its contact centres (13 13 13 from within Australia).

"A full refund will be available to any customer who chooses to cancel their flight because it has been directly affected by the grounding of the fleet" the airline says. "Full rebooking flexibility will be available to customers who wish to defer their travel."
"Assistance with accommodation and alternative flights, as well as other support, will be offered to customers who are mid-journey."
Competitor Virgin Australia is offering special "Stranded Passenger" fares to Qantas passengers stuck away from home.

Source: Australian Business Traveller

Comments, questions, stories

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US Giving Turkey Access to F-16 Source Codes

31 Oktober 2011

Turkey will become the first nation have the ability to receive information on the F-16 fighters’ software source codes -- primarily their weapons systems -- thereby enabling it to replace them with national software source codes whenever necessary. (photo : Turkey Air Force)

Turkey to rewrite software source codes of 204 F-16 fighters

The US administration agreed in principle almost two months ago for the transfer of information over software source codes of US Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighters to Turkey.

Once the agreement is completed, and if approved by the US Congress, Turkey will have the capability to automatically modify the software source codes of the fighters’ weapons systems with national software source codes, said US sources who asked not to be named.Turkey will become the first nation among 26 to have the F-16s in their inventories and have the ability to receive information on the F-16 fighters’ software source codes -- primarily their weapons systems -- thereby enabling it to replace them with national software source codes whenever necessary.

Once Turkey and the US complete around 50 pages of technical details over the nature of the US transfer of technology, an agreement should be signed, pending US congressional approval.

The US Congress has long prevented arms transfers to NATO member Turkey, mainly in reaction to its strained ties with Israel.

However, the US administration has as of late sought US congressional authorization for the sale of three AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters to Turkey. This indicates a softening on the part of the congress toward Turkey.

Turkey has a long-standing request for Super Cobras. It has a shortage of these helicopters, required in its ongoing fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists, who have increased their violent attacks as of late.

Meanwhile, it is not clear whether the US administration will seek US congressional authorization for another long-standing Turkish request for the sale of four Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and two armed Reaper UAVs.

However, some of the weapons, including Predators that the US reportedly pledged to transfer to Turkey as it withdraws from Iraq in December of this year, are said to not be subject to the approval of the US Congress. These are weapons the US used during its war in Iraq.

Missile defense link

US sources stated that Washington has agreed in principle to transfer the information mainly concerning the weapon systems of the F-16s so that Turkey can integrate by itself the national software source codes because Turkey has pursued a very persistent policy on the matter.

However, Turkey’s approval to deploy a radar system of the US-supported NATO Missile Defense System on its soil is understood to have played an important role in Washington’s agreement to in principle transfer the software source codes of mainly the weapons systems of the F-16s to Turkey.

Turkey agreed last month to host a powerful US-supplied radar system to act as advanced eyes for a layered shield against ballistic missiles coming from outside Europe.

The AN/TPY-2 surveillance radar in Turkey will boost the shield’s capability against Iran, which Washington alleges is seeking to build nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

“By agreeing to transfer information on F-16 weapon systems so that Turkey could automatically integrate them with national software source codes, the US sought to ease tensions with its NATO ally, which is important in safeguarding US interests in the Middle East. The US also puts strong emphasis on seeing Turkish-Israeli relations normalize,” said the US source.

50 weapons systems on each F-16

Lockheed Martin this year began supplying Turkey with 14 F-16C variants and 16 F-16Ds under a deal signed in May 2007. The total cost of 30 additional F-16s to Turkey is $1.78 billion.

Under a separate agreement signed in April 2005 between Turkey and the US, 213 Turkish F-16s are being upgraded at a cost of $1.1 billion at the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in Ankara. Turkey will be able to change the software source codes of the weapons systems on a total of 204 F-16s with national software source codes if a final agreement is reached with the US.

There are 50 different types of weapons systems on each F-16 that are classified.

LAF and BAF Part 3.

LAF and BAF Part 3.

And so we look at BAF.

BAF, or ‘Big Aeroplane Fuel’ as we have come to know it, is paraffin. Or, if you prefer, kerosene.

Why do we use it in big aeroplanes?

The flame rate is slower at only a few feet per second. It is harder to light and easier to extinguish. The energy content is acceptable at (Jet A-1) 43.15 MJ/kg (1 MJ/kg = 430 Btu/lb so about 18,500 Btu/lb.).

Aviation turbine fuel (Avtur) is commonly known in commercial circles as Jet A-1. There is also a Jet B. And a gasoline based jet fuel called Avtag.

Let’s look at some fuels that are kerosene jet fuels:

JET A         A kerosene type fuel with a freezing point around -40°C. It is available only in the U.S.A.
SG Range = 0·775 to 0·83

JET A1         See below

JET B         This is a wide range distillate known as a wide cut gasoline. Not in common use. It is a Naphtha based fuel used primarily for low temperature conditions.
SG Range = around 0·76.

JP 4         This is a wide range distillate known as a wide cut gasoline. When certain additives are present it may be known as AVTAG. For military use.
SG Range = around 0·76

JP 5         High flash point kerosene mainly for aircraft carrier use. May be known as AVCAT.
SG Range = around 0·83


FLASH POINT                           38°C Minimum

SPECIFIC GRAVITY                  0·81 at 15°C

CALORIFIC GRAVITY                  18,560 BThU/lb OR 150,400 BThU/gallon

VISCOSITY-         from 22 Centistokes at -60°C to 1·2 Centistokes at +43°C

FREEZING TEMPERATURE         -40°C maximum.

Note: When kerosene freezes it forms a sort of sludge.  Really, it is the water in it that is freezing and not the kerosene itself. Diesel does a similar thing that we call ‘waxing’.


Well, OK.

Kerosene, in common with other hydrocarbon fuels, is hygroscopic. That means it loves water. It will soak up water until the water begins to coalesce. Major problem now. That water will form droplets in the tank that becomes larger pools. The water that goes down the feed line to the engine can cause flameout and the water that remains causes corrosion in two ways:
1.   By direct contact with the metal walls of the tank and,
2.   By promoting the growth of fungus.

Unlike gasolines, kerosenes all have microbial spores in them. If the temperature is satisfactory for it and if there is water present then these spores will hatch out into fungal growths.

Believe me, this fungus smells really, really bad. It also blocks filters, and pipelines as well as causing corrosion.

Another problem is that the fuel, in rolling around in the tank because of aircraft manoeuvres, will rub on itself creating friction that, in turn, creates static electricity. If there is one part of the fuel at a low level of electrical charge and another portion that is at a high state of charge then there will be lightning in the tank.

This is a bad thing.

To prevent this an additive is put in the fuel to make it electrically conductive. There are also other additives to prevent icing, to prevent fungus growing (biocidal additives) and lubricity additives to stop the pumps and things burning out.

These fuels are very well engineered, are they not?

Some general thoughts.

All fuels are toxic. If you are going into a tank that has had any fuel in it then you need to vent the tank thoroughly.
You also need a medical check before going in or there may be insurance problems in the event of a disaster.
Once the tank has vented remember that there will always be loose (wet) fuel somewhere that is sneaking up on you as vapour.
Measure, and monitor, the lower explosive limit all the time. If the tank is below 25% of the LEL you may go in with breathing apparatus. Below 5% LEL you can remove the breathing kit –but beware that it doesn’t sneak up while you are in there.

Make sure the safety person is strong enough to get you out if you become unconscious!
Make sure that you do all the talking so that the safety person knows you are all right!

If you get fuel on you—wash with cold water FIRST! Then wash with hot water.
Hot water opens the pores (little holes) in your skin and that lets the fuel into your body.

Now you know.  BAF and LAF should never, ever be mixed up. Disasters have happened due to the refuelling of Big Aeroplanes with LAF and Little Aeroplanes with BAF.

Don’t let it happen to you!

BAF and LAF Part 2

Let’s start with LAF.
No particular reason other than it’s my ‘Blog’ and I choose to start with LAF. OK?

LAF is short for ‘Little Aeroplane Fuel’ and is petrol. Also known in some, less developed, parts as ‘gasoline’. For this reason the petrol they put in aeroplanes is known as AvGas.
AvGas is ‘Aviation Gasoline’.
AvGas is very similar to the stuff you put in your car to make it go—unless your car runs on diesel or NGV in which case it is very different.
Putting petrol in aeroplanes gives several problems.
Let’s start with the idea that as you ascend up Mount Everest the boiling point of your water is going down. By the time you get to the summit your water will boil off by pouring some in your hand.
Similarly, the water in your car radiator will not boil until it gets to 110°C, or thereabouts, because the radiator and cooling system is pressurised.
This change in boiling point is all due to the different pressures on the surface of the water.
To say that water boils at 100°C is only true if we add “at ISA SL” atmospheric pressure.
Note: ISA SL = International Standard Atmosphere at Sea Level.

Caution: If you remove the cap from the radiator of a hot engine the pressure on the coolant will suddenly reduce—thus lowering the boiling point dramatically. Equally dramatically, every molecule of coolant will now wish to turn to vapour, which will cause it to occupy a much greater space. Since there is no more space in its immediate surroundings the only place it can move to is outside the system that contains it. It will do this by attempting to pass through the hole that you have just made.
Result? A jet of superheated steam in excess of 100°C will now come out of the radiator filling hole at huge velocities. Contact with your skin will scald the skin and the velocity of the escaping gas will rip it off.
Important to know this, isn’t it?

Note: The boiling point of a substance is the temperature at which it can change state from a liquid to a gas throughout the bulk of the liquid.

Now let’s think about petrol. Petrol is lighter than water. It evolves into vapour more readily than water. Its boiling point is lower than water (95°C at ISA SL). Like water, the boiling point will reduce with altitude.
Aeroplanes fly higher than Mount Everest but, in World War Two, the American high level bombers, flying lower than Mount Everest, were losing up to 10% (Ten Per Cent!!!) of their fuel load because the gasoline was boiling off—it was turning into vapour.
Although the figures will vary considerably we could say that the RVP (Reid Vapour Pressure) for petrol is around 10-12psi.
So what is RVP?
Reid Vapour Pressure is defined as the absolute vapor pressure exerted by a liquid at 100 °F (37.8 °C) as determined by the test method ASTM-D-323.
What does this mean in practical terms?
There is a surface pressure at which hydrocarbon fuels will begin turning to vapour at a specific fuel temperature. Of course, gasoline and other fuels will vaporise over a period of time at any pressure and temperature but there comes a point at which vapour evolution is critical and measurable because of the reduction in boiling point.
The cure? Pressurise the fuel storage system (fuel tanks). This may create a heavier structure and a complex system to control it—also heavier.

What other problems are there?

In the old days there were lots of different petrols (Avgas) available. They were engineered to tolerate different compression ratios.
This leads us straight into a triumvirate of conditions.
Piston engines that use gasoline all operate as a ‘Modified Otto Cycle’ They are four stroke (for the most part) engines. The four strokes are:
1.             Induction. The piston moves down to allow a fresh mixture (fuel and air) into the cylinder head.
2.            Compression. The piston moves upwards to increase the pressure on the mixture.
3.            Power. Just before the piston reaches the top of the compression stroke there will be a spark to ignite the mixture. The burning mixture now adds heat energy to the system at constant volume. The increase in pressure moves the piston down on the power stroke.
4.            Exhaust. The piston moves back up to allow the burnt gases out of the cylinder head, thus making room for fresh mixture.
At 3,000 rpm each stroke takes 1/50th of a second. Not much time, then.
Gasoline vapour burns at about 100’ (feet) per second. It takes time to burn and more time to transfer the heat to the air and then the air needs time to expand.
This is why the spark has to be before the piston gets to the top, to allow for a delay in the burning, transfer of heat, expansion in the cylinder head.
Another factor is mixture strength.
Complicated, isn’t it?
The stoichiometric ratio (sorry about that!) for gasoline is 14.6:1 (Natural Gas and Diesel are about 14.5:1; compare with Hydrogen at 34.3:1.).

Note: A stoichiometric ratio is the ratio at which all the fuel and all the available oxygen are completely burnt. A perfect mixture, if you like.

So you have 14.6 parts of oxygen and 1 part of fuel vapour. It will now burn nicely.
About 12:1 will also burn but that is called a ‘rich’ mixture. You are leaving a trail of black smoke (unburnt fuel turns to carbon as opposed to oil that burns blue-ish or white). A weak mixture extreme might be around 17:1. We like to burn a tiny bit weak because that saves us money on fuel but too weak creates a hole in the piston, valves and our bank account.

So what if we have a high compression ratio, a weak mixture and an advanced ignition?
Whoa? A what?
The faster that an engine is running the less time there is for the fuel to burn. For this reason the spark needs to be initiated even earlier. Then, as the rpm of the engine reduces, the spark can be moved closer to TDC (Top Dead Centre—the point where the piston changes direction at the top of the cylinder as opposed to BDC—Bottom Dead Centre which is the same thing at the other end of the piston’s travel).
Moving the spark away from TDC is advancing the ignition and moving it back towards TDC is retarding the ignition.
If we advance the spark too far the air will expand and push down on the piston too soon. We need this maximum pressure—called BMEP (Brake Mean Effective Pressure), around 22° after TDC for best results.
Too soon and the mixture in the cylinder head will cease to burn rapidly and will, instead, explode. This is called detonation or ‘pinking’ or ‘knocking’. It is very damaging to the engine.
Aero Piston engines needed increased compression ratios to develop more and more power. This increase in CR (Compression Ratio) creates a higher possibility of having detonation.

Note: Many piston engines have bimetal washers under the cylinder head wired to a gauge. This acts as a temperature sensor. A sudden increase in cylinder head temperature indicates that detonation is occurring.

Petrol is engineered to deal with detonation—up to a point.
Most petrols have an ‘octane’ rating. For your car it will be either 95 or 97.
For aeroplanes it is normally, now, 100LL.
The octane rating of petrol was increased by the addition of Tetra Ethyl Lead. This is a bad thing.
Now it is done with other additives and hence we have 100LL or 100 Low Lead.
An octane rating is found by increasing the compression ratio of an engine using the fuel at a specified mixture strength until detonation occurs and then comparing it with an iso-octane fuel. The 95 or 97 is a percentage of that figure—the iso-octane is always 100%.
You cannot get more than 100% so a higher number will be a ‘Performance Number’ and not an octane rating.

100/130 AvGas, now commonly called Avgas 100, is dyed green. 100LL has replaced 100/130 in most places, but AvGas 100/130 is still sold in Australia and New Zealand, I’m told.
In the past other grades were also available particularly for military use, such as AvGas 115/145 (dyed purple) and 91/96 (dyed brown).
Limited batches of 115/145, commonly called AvGas 115, are produced for special events such as unlimited air races; in the past 115/145 was used as the primary fuel for radial engines.
The second number is the Performance Number at ‘Rich Mixture’ conditions. On most of these engines the mixture strength can be adjusted for ‘warm up’, acceleration (Take off) and ‘Economical Cruise’.

So now you see that Little Aeroplane Fuel is quite complicated.  You should also note that it catches fire more easily and is more difficult to extinguish than BAF. It is also more expensive.

We shall look at BAF in Part 3.

Solution for Jat within two months

Status quo to be upheld at Jat until 2012

The tender call to find an interested partner to create a successor national carrier to Jat Airways ended today. The tender began on August 1 and was extended on September 30 for another month. Not a single company purchased the tender documentation. The Minister for Infrastructure, Milutin Mrkonjić, said yesterday that a solution for Jat’s problems will be found by the end of 2011 and that 1.300 of the airline’s employees shouldn’t worry about their livelihoods. According to the minister, two large companies are interested in taking over Jat Airways, one of which is airBaltic from Latvia which bought the tender documentation. Over the past two months, it has also been rumoured that AZAL Airlines from Azerbaijan considered participating in the tender. However, the Azeris might be interested only through direct negotiations with the government.

As a result, the current situation in Jat, or the status quo, will be upheld until the end of the year. The entire tender procedure cost the government millions while the consultant company used in the process (said to have close ties with the government) was also paid a hefty sum. It is not the first time that a consultant company has been paid to advise Jat on its future.

The Minister for Infrastructure did not reveal the names of those companies interested in taking over the Serbian state carrier (with the exception of airBaltic), saying instead that by the end of the year it will be revealed where Jat is “heading towards”. He added that talks between the government and potential investors will be “flexible”. Last week at an economic summit, Mrkonjić pleaded for airlines from Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey to participate in the tender. airBaltic, the only airline to answer the tender call filed for bankruptcy last month.

Pitts S 1 Specials of New Zealand - Homegrown (2)

The Pitts S 1 is a very small aeroplane. The wingspan is 17 feet 4 inches (5.28 m), the length is 15 feet 6 inches (4.72 m) and the wing area is 98 square feet (9,15 square metres). Its empty weight is 720 pounds (326 Kg) and its maximum weight is 1,115 pounds (521 Kg). It has a rate of roll of 400 degrees per second.

The photos are from the Keith Morris collection unless otherwise noted.
Our third Pitts S1 was Max Clear's ZK-EES (c/n AACA/28/1) which was another Pitts out of the Hamilton area. It was built with 2 ailerons so I think it was a S 1C. It was first registered on 21/8/75 and it is photo'd here at the 1977 AACA flyin at Masterton.

It was sold to an Auckland syndicate of Owen Harnish, S P Taylor, Richard Hood and M Waring on 11/5/83. It is is photo'd here at the 1989 National Aerobatic Championships at Waipukurau. It was rebuilt in 1994 with a 180 HP engine, and I guess it was rebuilt with 4 ailerons as photo'd below.

Finally it was sold to Darrell Brown of New Plymouth on 5/2/06, and it now operates with Taranaki Flight Tech Ltd markings. It is photo'd here at the 2011 Brian Langley Memorial aerobatic competition at North Shore Airfield on 15/1/11.

Our fourth Pitts was ZK-EEU (c/n AACA/24/1) which was built by Keith Trillo of Auckland and was first registered on 2/10/75. Its first flight was in January 1978. It is photo'd here at the 1978 AACA flyin at Nelson. I do not have a record of who took this photo but it clearly shows that it has 4 ailerons so it is probably a S 1D model.

ZK-EEU spent nearly all its life owned by Keith Trillo. It is photo'd here at the 1981 AACA flyin at Mt Hutt. It was sold to the Southern Pitts Syndicate at Mandeville and is currently on rebuild.

And our fifth Pitts S1 was ZK-KEM (c/n AACA/404) which was built by Kurt Maluschnig of Levin. I do not have a record of who took this photo, or where, but it shows it to be a S 1D model with 4 ailerons.

It is photo'd here at its Foxpine base in late 1980 where it now sports a white flash at the junction of the fuselage and rudder. I think this was to hide a repair when the aircraft possibly overturned early on in its life. Kurt sold ZK-KEM to Ray Patchett and Rex Handley of Blenhiem on 9/10/85, then it was sold to the Ashburton Aerobatic Syndicate on 13/8/86, but it didn't last long with them as it was damaged at Ashburton on 27/1/87.

The damaged aircraft was sold to Anthony Stuart Clarke of Torbay, North Shore on 27/1/88 and it was cancelled on 1/2/99. However it was re-registered by Mr Clarke, now of Warkworth, on 6/8/04 and it was based at North Shore Airfield. Finally it was sold to Neil Jepsen of Palmerston North on 4/4/09. It is based at Feilding Aerodrome where I photo'd it on 1/1/11.

BAF & LAF Part 1.

A short while ago I was asked, in passing, if the ‘petrol’ used by aeroplanes is all the same.
The answer to this is ‘no’. It is not.
And so we move on.

The subject this time is BAF and LAF.
You want to know, don’t you? I can tell.

BAF = Big Aeroplane Fuel
LAF = Little Aeroplane Fuel

Way, way back in the early days before even I was born—yes, yes, there was such a time, all aeroplanes used LAF.
Then, just after the Second World War, little aeroplanes used BAF until the de Havilland Comet was invented. Aaaah! De Havilland! A thing of grace and beauty that swung effortlessly into the air assisted by angels and four de Havilland Ghost engines on the 27th July, 1949. BOAC started services with the Comet 1 in May, 1952.
Note: the Boeing 707 was not invented until 1955.
Up until the Comet and the 707 (720, according to United Airlines) all big aeroplanes used LAF. Most little aeroplanes were now using BAF
These little aeroplanes were Hawker Hunters, Supermarine Swifts, Fairey Gannets and the like.
Some mid-sized aeroplanes like Vickers Viscounts, F27 Friendships and Dart Heralds were also using BAF.
In the sixties and seventies a swarm of big aeroplanes took over commercial flying that were equipped with magical engines called ‘gas turbines’—jet engines, that were more powerful, more economical, more reliable, quieter (inside the aeroplane) and smoother than the old piston engines.
Suddenly the world had changed. Suddenly the world could afford to fly. The airways as the province of the wealthy and famous was gone.
There are still some hangovers from those days. To cross large bodies of water you still need to have more than two engines—that led to the development of a host of three-engined aircraft like the Lockheed Tristar, BAe Trident, Douglas DC10.
Big aeroplanes now use BAF and little aeroplanes use LAF except that there are still some preserved, old aeroplanes that are big and use LAF and, of course, there are a few little aeroplanes that use BAF.
There will always be delusions if grandeur amongst the smaller ones!

Now we shall look at what BAF and LAF is.

Australia Defence Ministry Lodges $100m Bid for Mine-Sweepers

31 Oktober 2011

US using Buffalo as mine sweeper vehicle (photo : Militaryphotos)

Australia Defence Ministry lodges $100m bid for mine-sweepers in Afghanistan

Perth: Australian Defence Ministry asked the government to approve a $100 million fleet of mine-detecting vehicles, which army experts say will all but neutralize threat of roadside bombs in Afghanistan. News of request came as Australia Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd Friday urged his Pakistan counterpart to stop illicit movement of locally made explosives material into Afghanistan, where it is used to make roadside bombs.

At a meeting on sidelines of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Rudd told Pakistan Foreign Minister Ms Hina Rabbani Khar to take “all practical efforts” to restrict the movement of bomb-making materials across the border.

It is first time the issue of Pakistan-sourced explosives material has been raised at a senior ministerial level between the two countries.

Weekend Australian newspaper understands the request by Australian Defence Ministry for fast-tracked approval for mine-detecting vehicles will go to national security committee of cabinet in December.

Of 29 Australian soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan since 2001, IEDs — improvised explosive devices — have claimed lives of 14 and responsible for wounding a further 105. The explosives issue was raised during bilateral talks on counter-terrorism co-operation between Australia and Pakistan at CHOGM, a spokeswoman for Rudd said.

External link: Article about Flying wings

If you are into flying wings like me, this PowerPoint slideset might interest you. It compares the basics of conventional airliner and flying wing airliner.Much bigger planes in other words, than my interest area. However, some of the pros and cons findings for each configuration also apply for the small version. Not all though as the starting point does not have engine nacelles and engines sticking out of the wing. haven't done yet comparison for the wetted area of a flying wing compared to a sailplane like structure.Logic tells that the flying wing in this size category might have more wetted area. But I am not sure. I need to design both and then measure the wetted area of both and compare.I am not a big fan of wing twist and the amount of wing twist on PUL-10 causes me shivers (wing tip twisted 10 degrees). That can't be good for cruise, simply can not. Ten degrees is insane amount of twist - on cruise the tips are on negative angle of attack and cause a lots of negative lift. The wing tips act as rather poor tails this way - it is very short coupled and if you have tail deflected that much on that close, the wing center section will need to lift also the negative lift of the tips which will make the plane to perform poorer. I am quite sure that a flying wing should be made stable without that much twist.I have a related idea for a flying wing:- one problem with flying wing is that flaps can not be used- what if you had small trim tails that look like the ones in SpaceShipOne. When flaps would be down, the trim tail, would cause opposing pitching moment to negate the pitching moment of the flap- The elevator control otherwise would be like on a flying wing, with elevons.- I haven't tried this out yet but it can be tested with RC model.

Completing the Set of Fisher R 80 Tiger Moths of New Zealand

I was most impressed with the collection of Fisher R 80 Tiger Moths posted by Blue Bus. To complete the set here is a photo of Jon Farmer's ZK-CCC taken at Matamata. I don't have a record of who took this photo. (I did see and photograph it in its hangar at Matamata in September 2007, but this is a better photo).

Zagreb surpasses two million

Croatian airports record growth in September
Last week Zagreb surpassed the two million passengers mark, an impressive 48 days ahead of last year. The passenger was travelling from Zagreb to Istanbul on a Turkish Airlines flight. In September, Zagreb saw 240.805 passengers, an increase of 12.6% compared to last year.

Elsewhere in Croatia, Dubrovnik and Split both recorded a passenger increase compared to September 2010. The two have handled a total of 2.307.811 passengers this year and during November managed to surpass the end of year result from last year. Pula also recorded a passenger increase with the airport seeing almost 8% more passengers this year compared to last. With 886 passengers at Mali Lošinj this September, the airport grew 82.3%.

On the other hand, Zadar is continuing to record a passenger slump. Numbers fell by 3.5%, although so far this year the airport has seen growth of some 3%. Osijek handled 2.475 passengers, which is down on last September. Osijek Airport won’t see any scheduled flights until the end of the year, meaning its figures will significantly decline from now until March 2012.

Below you can review the performance of Croatia’s airports in September 2011. OveSeptember 2010. The statistics have been provided by the Croatian Bureau of Statistics.

AirportPassengers SEP 2011Passengers SEP 2010Change (%)
Zagreb240.805213.876 12.6
Dubrovnik203.360187.630 8.4
Pula55.76352.770 5.7
Split182.459171.066 6.7
Zadar36.92838.266 3.5
Osijek2.4752.821 12.8
Rijeka13.5579.870 37.4
Mali Lošinj886486 82.3

Seeing Double at North Shore Today

In my earlier post on Corby Starlets of New Zealand (2) I posted a photo of ZK-TNT at the 2010 Black Sands flyin and I commented that it was "part way through getting the Wilkinson treatment".And in a double take at North Shore airfield this afternoon ( 2 hangars, 2 yellow Starlets), the full extent of the Wilkinson treatment was revealed! A winter's worth of work by David Wilkinson and his father Don has resulted in Starlets ZK-TOY and ZK-TNT becoming like two peas in a pod! They will make a great sight at the 2011 Black Sands flyin in 2 weeks time.

Tiger country

Rangiora today (30-10-2011) Four Fisher R80 Tiger Moths in a "finger four" formation over the field.
Above and below is ZK-JAL2 (c/n 22) the James Loughnan example. First registered on 26-02-2009. The wings of this one were constructed while James was working in Australia.
Above and below we have ZK-LAS (c/n 18) the Ivan Campbell machine. This was registered on 29-11-2005.
The Peter Parkinson built ZK-LIF (c/n TM43) was first registered on 01-02-2007. This I believe is Rotax 912 S powered.
ZK-NOX (c/n 17) is the Russell Warnock aircraft. Listed on 31-03-2006.
ZK-JAL, ZK-LAS and ZK-NOX are powered by Suzuki G13B twin cam engines and drive through a Raven redrive unit. They also have Simplex digital engine management systems
Almost an "I remember when" view of all four on the ground. Spoiled by a Cherokee wing tip.
The number on their respective engine cowlings is the same as their c/n's, and the pseudo military serial numbers on the fuselage side are : NZ - for obvious reasons : R80 is the model number - 80% scale of the DH82, and the c/n is then repeated again.
There is a fifth example, ZK-CCC2, with Jon Farmer away up north, but it is currently being rebuilt with a larger engine following an accident.

A couple of Robbie 44's from Friday.

 Two Robinson R44's captured on film at Heli Maintenance in Christchurch on Friday 28-10-2011.
Above is Raven 11 ZK-IGR (c/n 12262) listed with Helicopters South Canterbury since new from Skysales back in 2008. It carries the following script on the lower fuselage side.
Below is the Raven 11 ZK-ITZ (c/n 10827) of Helicontrax Ltd still wearing the "Jo Seager" scripts.
Notice also how the "Helicontrax" address is inside the lower front screen so that it appears in your photos taken from the front seat.
I have a feeling in my bones that this airframe is about to head off to the "Islands" to replace a recently bent example. Ben Walker has already another R44 on hand, having acquired ZK-HYF at the end of June.

Winter season 2011/2012B&H, Croatia and Montenegro Airlines

Winter changes
The 2011/2012 winter season begins tomorrow.

As has been previously reported, B&H Airlines will suspend flights to Amsterdam this winter. Compared to the 2010/2011 winter season the airline has terminated a total of six destinations. Since flights to Copenhagen will now operate via Banja Luka and all four weekly frequencies from Sarajevo to Zurich will also make a stop in Banja Luka, the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina will see six weekly flights operated by B&H, which is an increase of one compared to last winter. The frequency for the airline’s Zurich service has decreased by one flight since last winter and will be served four times per week. Flights to Istanbul remain unchanged.

Croatia Airlines won’t be making too many changes to its winter line up of destinations and frequencies compared to last year. Flights from Zagreb to Istanbul, which were launched over the summer, will remain throughout the winter period while Priština will also see an extra weekly flight. Facing competition from easyJet, Croatia Airlines will decrease its Paris flights from daily last year to five per week. On the other hand, it will continue to operate to the French capital from Dubrovnik two times per week, which is a new addition. As has been the case in the past few years, the airline won’t operate flights from Rijeka and Osijek during the winter.

Montenegro Airlines will see frequency cuts across the board over the winter period. However, it should be noted that last winter the airline practically operated its 2010 summer season timetable. Flights from Podgorica to Belgrade, Frankfurt, Moscow, Rome and Zurich will all be decreased while flights to London suspended. However, the airline will continue to operate flights from Tivat to Moscow which were launched during the 2011 summer season.

By clicking on the links below, you can view the 2011/2012 winter season changes in more detail.

Australia Launches F-35 Review

29 Oktober 2011

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-35 Lightning II (photo : Defense Update)

FORT WORTH, Texas -Australian government officials have begun auditing the F-35 program because of concerns that the first tranche of aircraft would not be delivered on schedule, Lockheed Martin officials confirmed.

The review, rare in Australian defense programs, could lead officials to defer the planned order for the first aircraft.

"A Scheduled Compliance Risk Assessment Methodology (SCRAM) team is here in response to the defense minister's undertaking last July to conduct a review of the Australian F-35 program," Keith Knotts, the company's F-35 business development manager for Australia and Canada, told Australian reporters at the jet's assembly plant here. "They will be here this week to assess the program's health."

It was the first public acknowledgment that the review is underway.

The SCRAM team, from the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), will report its findings to the government via the New Air Combat Capability (NACC) project office by the end of the year. It will look at the F-35 program using root-cause analysis to measure the achievements of the technical baseline review ordered by the U.S. Joint Project Office.

Australia has a requirement for up to 100 conventional takeoff and landing F-35As, and plans to sign a deal for the first tranche of 14 in 2012. Under the current plan, it wants to take delivery of the first two aircraft in 2014 for training in the United States and delivery of all 14 to Australia in 2017.

The aircraft are scheduled to come from Low-Rate Initial Production lots Six (two aircraft), Eight (four) and Nine (eight). They will allow the F/A-18A/B Hornets to retire around 2018.

The review follows Defence Minister Stephen Smith's promise to launch an "exhaustive risk assessment of the schedule" by year's end.

In July, Smith told the Australian Broadcast Corp.'s "Meet The Press" program that he has concerns about Lockheed's ability to deliver to its planned schedule and has flagged the possibility of a further purchase of Super Hornets in the interim.

"I have made it clear, both in Australia and in the United States, that the last thing I will allow to occur will be a gap in capability," he said.

Australia has 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets and must decide whether to convert a number of them to an EA-18G Growler configuration early next year.

The Mooney M20C Ranger ZK-MWP

Sir Minty has flicked me this photograph of the Mooney M20C Ranger ZK-MWP (c/n 680095) taken at North Shore on 24-10-2011.
The "68" in the c/n tells us the US year of manufacture = 1968; and it is the 95th of the 98 M20C's built that year. The M20C was a Mk21 with squared off windows and a new front windscreen.
This one popped onto the US register as N6790N and had some eleven owners before being cancelled on 18-05-2011 for its move to NZ where it was registered on 20-06-2011 to the Woodpecker Trust and almost immediately to Hans Holtz of Auckland.
Here is a video clip of it departing Cape May in New Jersey :-

Question time # 141 resolved.

Original clue above.
It is taken from the pic below as seen at Fernside (near Rangiora) on 30-04-2011. The day of the memorial service for the designer, builder and owner of this aircraft.
It is of course the Maurice Paton (Special) Monoswift ZK-MPS (c/n MPS001).
The engione is a 4l Rover Discovery V8.

Well done [again] QW.
I am afraid you will have to flick me your fish mail address again - tks

Dornier Technology Philippines to Expand Facilities in Clark

27 Oktober 2011

Dornier S-Ray 007 two seater pilot training amphibian aircraft, was produced in Philippines (photo : Dornier)

MANILA, Asia Pulse - Dornier Technology, a German-based aircraft manufacturer, would soon be producing a 25-seater amphibious seaplane following the expansion of their manufacturing facilities in Clark.

The US$350-million state-of-the-art seaplane composite manufacturing facilities to rise in Clark would be generating hundreds of manpower requirements such as engineers, avionic technicians, airframe and mechanical staff, according to Dornier Technology Philippines owner Iren Dornier.

Dornier, also the chairman of Southeast Asian Airlines (Seair), said his business partners are very interested in the production of a 25-seater pressurized long range commercial airplane and may also be used as a cargo transport aircraft to remote areas such as isolated islands.

The plane could also be used for coast border patrol, anti-drug smuggling, special missions/operations or strictly for pipelines or areas submerged with water where helicopters are limited in range. It can also be utilized as firefighter plane where it could scoop thousands of gallons of water within seconds.

Dornier Seastar has 12 seats, meaning the new model will have double capacity compared to Seastar (photo : flightglobal)

He added that the airplane is capable of travelling a distance of approximately 2,000 nautical miles long-range endurance and be equipped with two Pratt &Whitney powered turbo propeller engines.

Their facilities in Clark is manufacturing a two-seater multi-purpose aircraft primarily designed to provide a training flat form to seaplane pilots who need trainings.

The S-Ray 007 single engine seaplane could be operated on both lands and sea with short takeoffs and capable of landing on runways or 2 feet seas.

The plane it said is ideal for surveillance missions, UAV missions (uninhabited air vehicles) that can be launched into a boat or carriers and can be transported into a container which flips it wings 90 degrees.


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