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News Archive 2



Cosford centre
Kennet Venom
Farnborough Restrictions
Airshow 2002 performers
Vulcan XH558 (latest)
5 Squadron to be disbanded
Hawk crashes near Valley
Airshow 2002 Cancellations
Demise of the Sea Harrier
RIAT Sea-Front Airshows
Puma Helicopter crash
72 Sqn Disbands
Spitfire (TE566) Fatal Crash
Parking Arrangements at RIAT
Tornado GR4 Crash
Jubilee Fly-Pasts & freq's
L-39 Albatros crash
Hurricane for sale
Alenia G-222 mishap at RIAT 2002
Tiger moth crash
Harrier crash at Lowestoft Airshow
Brize home to Airbus Military A400M Transport
Woburn Abbey Moth nose-dives into pond
Aviation Postcards
RAF names Eurofighter bases (update)
Hendon Expansion
Farewell to Fighter Ace
Spitfire PL344 accident
Vulcan Appeal
Kemble Airfield Sale
Two US Jets Missing
Lockheed SR-71A, Thunderchief, and F-15 Eagle
Spitfire involved in a landing accident
Sea Fury Crash
C-17 Globemasters (First RAF C-17 arrives)
Fatal crashes at Biggin Hill
Spitfire PL983 fatal crash
RNHF Sea Fury damaged
Queen's birthday flypast
ATC 60th Anniversary - 1359 (Beeston) reunion
Harvard crash at the IWM Duxford
Harbin Hong HZ-5 damaged
IWM to receive lottery money
Last Flying squadron departs from RAF Bruggen
Avro Manchester wreckage found in Scottish bog
Sea Harrier crashes at Yeovilton
Lockheed Martin wins JSF contract
Duxford receives RAF Tornado GR1




Vulcan XH558

Vulcan XH558 was the last flying Vulcan, and it was a terrific display aircraft. It is kept in flying condition at Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire. The owner of XH558 is negotiating with the CAA and British Aerospace with the aim of getting this great aircraft in the air again.

Vulcan latest (Jan 2001)

Although no formal decision has been announced it looks as though the VOC might be going for a 'soft-start' option. The total amount to restore the aircraft is still some way off but there should be enough in the bank to begin the work. Response has been encouraging after 558's appearance in the national and international press and the money continues to roll in. The VOC will be at Waddington airshow and RIAT so make sure you hand over your wad to the VOC stand rather than the caterers, every pound counts.

Vulcan latest (Aug 2001)

A significant point in the activity to return XH558 to flight has been reached. Exhaustive work and discussion have taken place over recent months with regard to Avro Vulcan XH558. Since Vulcan to the Sky was launched in January this year, funds have been coming in from thousands of supporters and have enabled the work to return her to the sky to begin. The months have passed by and each one has brought the engineering team nearer their goal. This means that the whole programme is now a third of its way to completion. A golden opportunity for an impressive old war bird to fly again (article in the Times Oct 19/2000)

Vulcan latest (Jan 2002)

All engineering activity on the aircraft has been suspended, awaiting the approvals and funding for the next stage of the Major: the Inspection phase. The aircraft remains on jacks, without engines, wheels, undercarriage units, canopy, radome, avionics systems, fuel tanks and with all of her inspection panels removed. The documentation supporting the Major is complete, including records of work done to date, and a description of any faults found.

XH558 is in the most deeply-stripped state that she has been in since manufacture: there is no going back - the only way now is forward.

The next phase of the Major Service is formal Inspection of every part of the aircraft by approved technicians under the control of Marshall Aerospace, the Engineering Authority. For this to commence, the organisation and procedures proposed by Marshall Aerospace must be approved by the UK Civil Aviation Authority. Draft documentation (the "A8-20 Exposition") is being presented to both the CAA and to the Design Authority, BAE Systems for approval, which is expected within the next two months.

The hangar facilities at Bruntingthorpe will also be audited and formally approved by the CAA for the Major Service.

A technical issue remains, arising out of concern for the integrity of the electrical wiring, given the profile of this issue on older aircraft. The main focus of the investigation is on the quality of electrical terminations in exposed parts of the aircraft such as the undercarriage bays. An action plan to create appropriate inspection criteria and rectification procedures is under way.

A draft Organisational Control Manual (OCM) describing the way that the VOC intends to operate the aircraft has been submitted to the CAA, and some very valuable initial feedback has been received.

Project Timescales Assuming that necessary financial assistance becomes available before April 2002, the VOC believes that the Restoration phase of the project will be completed in time for a first test flight of XH558 in early 2003.



No Lottery Funding for XH558

The British Heritage Lottery Fund has declined to provide funding for the Vulcan to the Sky project. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) say reasons for their decision being "value for money", and "risk".

'The Vulcan to the Sky team is aghast at this decision, and feels a huge sense of frustration that this should happen. Why, one has to ask? It feels so unjust. So much has been achieved, but it seems that at the moment we may well not be able to take the programme any further.'

If you wish to make your feelings about their decision known directly to the HLF, then please ring them on 0207 591 6046 or 0207 591 6041, or send an email to enquire@hlf.org.uk, copying desmondg@hlf.org.uk and sheilas@hlf.org.uk, or write to Anthea Case, Director, Heritage Lottery Fund, 7 Holbein Place, London, SW1W 8NR as soon as you are able. Alternatively, you can e-mail Anthea Case directly at antheac@hlf.org.uk or fax on 0207 591 6013.

Above taken from Vulcan 558 Club

BBC News Report

Vulcan Restoration Trust Statement



RAF names Eurofighter bases

The RAF has decided that Eurofighter, when it comes into service in 2002 will be deployed to RAF Coningsby, RAF Leeming and RAF Leuchars.

The first instrumented Typhoon is to be delivered by BAe to DERA, Boscombe Down for evaluation in August 2001 and the first production model is to be delivered to the RAF in June 2002. By 2004 the first Squadron pilots at RAF Coningsby will convert to flying the Eurofighter and the first Squadron will enter service in January 2005, becoming operational that year. RAF Leeming will convert to Eurofighter with 2 Squadrons from 2006-2008 and RAF Leuchars will form 3 Squadrons from 2008-2010.

Eurofighter OEU to be No 17 Squadron (to form in 2002)
Eurofighter OCU to be No 29 Squadron (to form in 2004)
Allocation of Squadron number plates

click here for further information.

Eurofighter Typhoon website



Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird for the UK

Duxford is set to receive a Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird (aircraft 17962) in the near future to add to its museum collection. The Blackbird is currently stored at Plant 42, Palmdale, Ca, USA, and was one of the SR-71's that was being prepared for re-entry into service when the funds were withdrawn again in 1997. Since it will have to be displayed indoors, and can't go into the American Air Museum at Duxford due to lack of space, its arrival is likely to be delayed.

There are NO plans to fly the Blackbird to the UK and the USAF have stated that it has no plans or funds to fly an SR-71.

The SR-17 Blackbird, F-105 Thunderchief and F-15 Eagle are expected to arrive at Duxford sometime in 2001.

'At Palmdale, California - the site of the first flight of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird on December 22, 1964 - SR-71 64-17962, acquired by the Imperial War Museum, is currently being dismantled by a crew from Worldwide Aircraft Recovery before transport to Houston and onward sea-transit to Tilbury Docks en route for Duxford. A paperwork delay, and recent heavy snowstorms in the desert, have held up the move, but it is still hoped to move the Mach 3 reconnaissance jet to Duxford in time for Easter.' (from Aeroplane Monthly)

Aeroplane Monthly website with picture of 17962 being dismantled.

Pictures of SR-71A Blackbird(17962) in the US.

SR-71 962 will be going on public display on 11 April 2001. See press release on IWM site.

SR-71 962 arrives at Duxford. See the Duxford Times.

The F-105D Thunderchief (59-1822) and F-15A Eagle (76-0020) were also delivered to Duxford at the same time as the SR-71.

The Thunderchief served in Vietnam where it sustained battle damage on several occasions. It was passed to the 149th TFS, Virginia ANG in 1971 where it served out its active days before going into storage at the MASDC(Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center) facility and later AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB on 26th February 1981.

The F-15A Eagle carries the colours of its finalo operator, the 122nd FS, Loisiana ANG to whom it was transferred during June 1993, as the unit relinquished its older F-15As. Prior to that it was operated by the 101st FS, Massachusetts ANG.

The F-15 will be brought to display condition with the help of personnel from the 48th FW at RAF Lakenheath when time permits and the F-105 Thunderchief is a much longer-term restoration project.



RAF Tucano T.1 fleet grounded

The Royal Air Force is grounding its entire fleet of about 80 Tucano T1 basic trainer aircraft after engineers found a rudder pedal fault during routine maintenance. Most of the turbo-prop planes, built at Shorts in Belfast, are based at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire. All Tucano flights were halted immediately the fault was spotted on Friday 1 September as one of the aircraft was being inspected at the training base. Checks revealed other Tucanos were suffering from the same defect and the whole fleet was grounded.

Yorkshire Evening Press reported that most A/C at Linton On Ouse will be back in the air Monday 18/9/00

BBC News story



C-17 Globemasters

Brize Norton in Oxfordshire is to be the operating base for 4 C-17 transport aircraft which will be arriving in 2001.

Each C-17 Globemaster will be capable of carrying a wide range of heavy equipment including either a Challenger main battle tank, 3 warriers, 3 Apache attack helicopters, or 13 Landrover light trucks.

The RAF have announced that its 4 C-17 Globemasters will bear the markings of 99 Sqn. The C-17s will fulfil the RAF's interim strategic transport requirement and the first is scheduled for delivery to Brize Norton on 23rd May 2001 with the others due to leave the factory on the 13th June, 1st August, and 24th August.

The serials for the C-17A Globemaster C1As have now been allocated and are ZZ171 to ZZ174.

A C-17 Globemaster landed at Brize Norton on the night of 15/3/01. It is being used to mark out the pans and taxi-ways and to get the logistics in place for when the full fleet arrives.
Click here for further information.

First RAF C-17 arrives at its new home

The first of 4 Boeing C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft (ZZ171), leased to meet the Royal Air Force's short term strategic airlifter requirement, arrived today (23 May 2001) at its operating base, RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. The second C-17 (ZZ172) arrived at RAF Brize Norton on 15th June

The remaining aircraft are due to be delivered over the next few months and will be operated by the newly re-formed 99 Squadron, which last operated Britannia aircraft in the transport role in the 1970's.

Click here for further information & pictures on the RAF website.



AS cost British taxpayers £2.5billion and been hailed by the Government as "the most formidable anti-submarine warfare helicopter in the world". But after a terrifying crash involving one of the Royal Navy's Merlin HM Mk1 aircraft forced the entire fleet to be grounded, a Sunday Express investigation has revealed an astonishing catalogue of technical faults and manufacturing blunders that, according to air crews, have turned it into a death trap.'

Read the full story here.

New helicopter enters service (from RAF site)

A small handover ceremony at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire marked the entry into service of the RAF's latest support helicopter, the Merlin HC3. The helicopters will be operated by the reformed No 28 Squadron from Benson to complement the hard-working Chinooks and Pumas based at Odiham, Benson and Aldergrove in Northern Ireland. (9 March 2001)



Hendon expansion

The Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon have received a lottery grant of £4.77 million which along with Ministry of Defence money will pay for a £7.3 million expansion to mark the centenary of powered flight in 2003.

The expansion will increase the size of the museum by about one third. Two new buildings will be added to the museum including the large landmark building which will contain a new display named 'milestones of flight' and become the new Museum entrance. The Grahame-White Hangar, a grade II listed building which is a survivor from the original Grahame-White Aircraft Factory of 1917, will be moved onto the museum site. It will be used to display aircraft and a workshop from that period.

RAF Hendon Museum.



Farewell to Fighter Ace

Britain's most successful wartime fighter ace, Johnnie Johnson passed away on January 30th 2001, aged 85.

Johnnie Johnson, the Royal Air Force's outstanding Wing leader in World War II, became the allies top scoring ace on the western front with a total of 38 enemy aircraft destroyed. Apart from his individual successes which brought him 3 DSOs and 2 DFCs, and several foreign decorations, Johnson's aggressive command of the brilliant Canadian formations, allied with his acute tactical mind, placed him at the forefront of fighter leaders of two World Wars.

Later in the Korean War, Johnson, who had flown in Douglas Bader's Wing in the Battle of Britain, operated with the United States Air Force and played a telling part in the advanced jet fighting high up in the north of the country. No Allied leader had a longer run of operational success.



Spitfire PL344 accident

A Mk.IX Spitfire PL344/G-IXCC overshot the runway and nosed over at Wycombe Air Park on the 15/2/2001. The Spitfire landed long on a hard runway and went slightly off at the end of the runway onto the soft and wet grass causing the aircraft to pitch forward. The engine had been switched off so there was only slight damage to the prop blades.

She was sold to Kermit Week's Air Museum in Miami in '92 but was moved to PPS at Booker for further work to bring her to accurate stock condition. She has now completed 5 hour of flying.



Vulcan XH558 Appeal

Help Vulcan XH558 to get back into the air again by purchasing a print of her (all profit is to go directly to the TVOC fund).

For details, please visit the Vulcan Appeal page.



Kemble airfield sale

The future of former RAF Kemble in Gloucestershire is assured now that the airfield portion of the site has been acquired by Ronan Harvey (KAS Ltd). The contract to acquire this historic airfield from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was completed on Thursday 22nd March 2001. Ronan Harvey, whose varied business interests are located at Kemble, is the chief executive of Delta Jets, who are based in the former Red Arrows' headquarters at this beautiful Cotswold airfield.

With the future of Kemble as an active airfield assured, Ronan has expressed his keen desire to encourage activities at the site, "I am keen to ensure that Kemble attracts an interesting and stimulating mix of aviation interests and to attract high quality, sustainable employment to the area".

Delta Jets are planning an air show to celebrate the acquisition of Kemble Airfield and the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Hawker Hunter. This major aviation event, that will feature a strong Hawker theme, will take place on Sunday 22nd July 2001. The Royal Air Force's Red Arrows' display team, who were based at Kemble for many years, will open the show.

Press release.



Two US jets missing

Two US Air Force F-15 jets from Lakenheath, Suffolk, have been reported missing today (26/3/01). They were on a routine training flight in the Cairngorms when contact was lost at about 1.15pm. RAF planes, helicopters and a mountain rescue team are involved in the hunt, covering 100 square miles, which is being hampered by low cloud.

BBC News report.

Rescue teams searching for two missing United States airmen in the Scottish Highlands have found a body. The body - believed to be one of the missing pilots - was found several hundred feet from the wreckage of an American F15C jet which had been located in the Cairngorms.(27/3/01)

BBC News report.

Rescuers have found the wreckage of the second of two US fighters which crashed in the Cairngorms on Monday. The search is continuing on Ben Mcdui in atrocious weather conditions for the body of the jet's pilot.(28/3/01)

Mountain rescue teams have found a second body near the wreckage of two US jet fighters in the Cairngorms.(30/3/01)
One body, that of pilot Lt Col Kenneth John Hyvonen, 40, was recovered from the mountain on Tuesday. The second pilot was named after the crash as Captain Kirk Jones.

'Aviation Now' News report.



Spitfire Involved in Landing Accident

Duxford - Friday 11 May 2001

At around noon on Friday, Spitfire MkXVI TD248/G-OXVI was involved in a landing accident. It's been reported that the pilot (Karel Bos) walked away unhurt, however there is damage to the aircraft's undercarriage, port wing and propellors.TD248 is now in Historic Flying's hangar at the eastern end of the airfield, out of public view.

taken from the Duxford Times

AAIB accident report



Sea Fury Crash

A pilot of a Sea Fury FB Mk.11 (G-EEMV/WH588 'Baby Gorilla') died when the aircraft crash-landed, flipping over on to the cockpit and trapping the pilot inside, at Sywell Airfield in Northants at 1500BST on Saturday, 12 May, 2001.

The pilot was Paul Morgan, co-founder of Ilmor Engineering which builds the Mercedes world championship winning engine for the McLaren Formula One Team.

BBC News report

Sunday Times report



Fatal Crashes at Biggin Hill

The 2 crew members of a DH115 Vampire T55 jet (G-DHAV/U-1234) were sadly killed today (Sat 2nd June 2001at 6pm) as it crashed at the Biggin Hill International Air Fair.

Earlier in the show at about 11.45am a DH112 Venom FB1 (G-GONE) landed with its undercarriage still up although thankfully the pilot was okay and firemen were able lift the aircraft back onto its undercarriage after it had delayed the show for 3-4 hours by blocking the runway and tow it to the static park. The Venom suffered only minor damage. The Vampire and Venom are both operated by De Havilland Aviation Ltd .

The last display items at Biggin Hill were the Sea Vixen and the Vampire.
'Both aircraft were turning in formation to commence a run down runway 03, when the Vampire appeared to lose control and nosedived into the ground, just outside the perimeter.' 'The Sea Vixen then broke off from the display and proceeded to dump fuel before landing without further incident.' The two crew members tragically killed in the Vampire crash have been named as Sir Ken Hayr and Jonathan Kerr.

BBC News report

AAIB accident report for Venom (G-GONE)

Another fatal crash has been reported on the second day (Sun 3rd June 2001) of the Biggin Hill International Air Fair. The pilot of a Bell P-63 Kingcobra (G-BTWR/42-69097) was performing in the display when it stalled at the top of a loop and spiralled out of control and crashed. The pilot has been named as Guy Bancroft Wilson and the aircraft was operated by The Fighter Collection at Duxford.

BBC News report



Spitfire PL983 fatal crash

A Spitfire PR.XI (PL983) crashed at a French Airshow at 1655hrs on Monday 4th June 2001. The pilot, Martin Sargeant, was tragically killed at Rouen Airfield, Normandy, after black smoke was seen pouring from the engine, and as he attempted an emergency landing he realised that he would crash into the crowd so he dived to the right to avoid them and the Spitfire exploded on the ground some 300-500 metres before the runway.



RNHF Sea Fury damaged

The Royal Navy Historic Flight's (RNHF) Sea Fury FB11 (VR930) sustained some damage to its undercarriage on landing back at Yeovilton on Monday 4th June 2001 following the Biggin Hill Airshow. The damage manifests itself in a hydraulic leak from the starboard main oleo, and damaged bearings within the tail shock absorber assembly. At present, the Flight is assessing the full extent of the damage, and trying to resource the necessary spares to effect repairs, it may be some time before the aircraft can fly again.

Royal Navy Historic Flight News



Queen's birthday flypast

'Details of the Queen's birthday flypast (16th June 2001) which follows the Trooping of the Colour ceremony have been released. In a break from recent years, some of the less well-known aircraft in service will feature in the formation - indeed the lead aircraft will be a Tristar from No 216 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton with a pair of Tornados from Lossiemouth. Following will be a Sentry and VC10, each flanked by Tornados and Jaguars, with a Nimrod at the rear.'

'The flypast is timed to be over Buckingham Palace at 1300 hours.'
'Having flown from the flypast bases at Marham, Coningsby, Waddington and Brize Norton, the aircraft will form up over Southwold on the Suffolk coast. Their route will then take them south west over Colchester, Chelmsford and Romford and on to Buckingham Palace. After overflying the palace at an altitude of 1,500ft at a speed approaching 300mph, the formation will turn north west, passing to the north of Northolt before returning to their bases.'

Taken from the Royal Air Force website



ATC 60th Anniversary - 1359 (Beeston) reunion

For many Air Training Corps Squadrons, 2001 is their 60th Anniversary year. 1359 (Beeston) is one of those, and in celebration we are holding a reunion later this year and would like as many ex -cadets, staff members etc. as possible to attend. Many ex-members will have moved since leaving the squadron, so our records will be out of date.

Please Contact Peter Hinton at hinton@ntlworld.com.

Thanks,

P. Hinton
1359 (Beeston) Civilian Committee



Harvard crash at the IWM Duxford

A North American T6 Harvard crashed on take-off at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford today (5/7/01) two days before the Flying Legends Airshow which is to take place this weekend (7-8/7/01). It was not scheduled to take part in the Flying Legends air show on Saturday and Sunday.

An eye-witness said that the pilot, Clive Denney, had to be pulled clear by his co-pilot, Philip Makanna, an aviation photographer, and very shortly afterwards the plane burst into flames. Thankfully no-one was seriously hurt.

BBC News Report

Ananova News Report



Harbin Hong HZ-5 damaged

The Romanian Air Force Harbin Hong HZ-5, which was due to appear in the flying display at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Cottesmore, Rutland this weekend (28 - 29 July 2001), has been involved in a flying accident and so will not now be attending the RIAT airshow. According to the official RIAT website, the aircraft is a 90% write-off but the crew fortunately survived. It was badly damaged as it landed at its home-base of Fetesti-Borcea.

The Romanian MiG-21 will take part in the flying display and the C-130 support aircraft will be in the static park at RIAT 2001.



IWM to receive lottery money

The Imperial War Museum at Duxford, Cambridgeshire has been allocated £9million by the Heritage Lottery Fund and also £5million from BAE Systems for the establishment of a £19.3million British Aviation Heritage Centre called 'The Air Space'.

The project will enable the preservation and interpretation of Duxford's British and Commonwealth aviation collections up to the standard of Duxford's award-winning American Air Museum also supported by a £6.5 million Heritage Lottery Fund award in the mid-1990s.

The key to the cost effectiveness of the Air Space project is that it liberates the volume and structural strength of Duxford's existing 1980s Hangar 1. What is now an unserviced, uninspiring space providing 5000m2 of aircraft space will become a fully serviced exhibition and conservation centre with 7750 m2 of floor space and the equivalent of a further 2500m2 by suspending aircraft in the roof.

The Air Space, in area and volume twice the size of the British Museum's Great Court, would include a dedicated area for the conservation and restoration of large aircraft, some of which have been outside for a number of years. As well as spacious new exhibition galleries, the expanded hangar would also enable visitors to view this vital conservation and restoration work taking place. Visitors to the new building could also expect to see aircraft suspended from the ceiling as if in flight, a technique developed and used to spectacular effect in Duxford's American Air Museum.

Imperial War Museum website.



Last Flying squadron departs from RAF Bruggen

The last permanently-based combat squadron, 6 Tornados of No 31 Squadron, Royal Air Force in Germany departed RAF Bruggen on 21 August 2001. The RAF is withdrawing from Bruggen and, indeed, from stationing in Germany as a UK national formation. The six Tornados landed at their new home at Royal Air Force Marham at 1331 hours (UK time) - precisely planned in honour of their squadron number. Subsequent to the departure of the Tornados, there will be a number of further flights from Bruggen, for logistics purposes. Fixed-wing flying will cease entirely on 1st October. A final unit, 37 Squadron, RAF Regiment, will depart later in that month. The airfield at Bruggen closes in October 2001 and, thereafter, the base will not be used for fixed wing aircraft, although the Army Air Corps helicopter unit presently located there will continue to operate. The site will be taken over by elements of the British Army, with the final handover taking place in March 2002. The new Army occupants will be 1 Signal Brigade, comprising 7 and 16 Signals Regiments, 280 Signal Squadron, 63 Vehicle Troop and other units.

RAF website.



Avro Manchester wreckage found in Scottish bog

The second world war bomber was found in the remote Clashindarroch Forest, Aberdeenshire, Scotland by three friends out for an evening stroll. The bog revealed pieces of metal, a flare pistol, rounds of ammunition, parts of a parachute and a boot. The RAF were called in and they discovered that it was an Avro manchester that had crashed in the area 58 years ago. "The aircraft was carrying seven Polish airmen but all the bodies were recovered. Most of the wreckage was cleared away at that time. But for whatever reason the bog has now decided to throw up what had landed there."

The Telegraph newspaper website.



Sea Harrier crashes at Yeovilton

A Royal Navy Harrier jet has crashed while attempting to land at Yeovilton air station in Somerset on 8 October, 2001. The pilot ejected from the plane and is in hospital. Details of the crash have not yet been issued.

BBC News.



Lockheed Martin wins JSF contract

The Joint-Strike-Fighter (JSF) will be developed and built by Lockheed Martin after its X-35 demonstrator beat off competition from Boeing's X-32 demonstrator, although Boeing may still get a portion of the subcontracting work. This is the largest US fighter program in history and may even be the last manned fighter to be developed in the US.

The JSF will feature stealth-technology, be supersonic, and there will be a version capable of Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL). The four main customers of the Joint-Strike-Fighter are the USAF, USN, US Marine Corps, and RAF/RN. The JSF will eventually replace the F-16, F/A-18C/D, A-10, and AV-8B in the US and replace the RAF Harrier and RN Sea Harrier in the UK.

There are to be three variants of the JSF to meet the needs of the four customers which include a STOVL version to replace the US Marines AV-8B and RAF/RN Harriers, Conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) , and Carrier version (CV). Other nations looking to purchase the aircraft include Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey with Israel and Singapore showing interest.

Many jobs may be created in the UK as BAe Systems and Rolls-Royce have a share in the JSF project and many other UK firms will benefit like Martin Baker who would supply ejection-seats. The UK had stood to gain whoever won the battle between Lockheed and its rival bidder Boeing as British firms dominated the lists of non-US contractor on both bids. Britain is the only nation to have been granted "full-partner" status in the contract and has committed £1.4bn in development funds.

Under current plans, the first operational aircraft is to be delivered in 2009 and enter service with the US Marines in 2010, with the USAF in 2011, and with the USN and Britain in 2012.

BBC News.
Aviation Now.
Janes.
JSF website.



Duxford receives RAF Tornado GR1

The Imperial War Museum at Duxford received an RAF Tornado GR1 (ZA465) on 25th October 2001 to add to its collection. This particular example flew the highest number of bombing missions during the Gulf War.

'Duxford's Tornado GR1, serial ZA465, first flew on 23 August 1983 and was delivered to the RAF in October that year. From June 1984 until 1991 it was deployed with the RAF in West Germany on NATO's Cold War front line. During the Gulf War it operated from bases in Saudi Arabia carrying out two runway denial, 28 free fall and 14 laser guided bombing missions. After the war '465' returned to the UK and was then redeployed to RAF Germany with the famous No.617 'Dambusters' Squadron. The aircraft was then modified to GR1B standard which gave it an additional anti-shipping capability equipped with the Sea Eagle anti-ship missile. Since modification it has been based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland and on its last flight to Duxford the aircraft will transit from its Scottish base.'

Imperial War Museum, Duxford website.



Cosford centre

The Museum at RAF Cosford has acquired a £1.5m purpose-built centre for the restoration and conservation of aircraft destined for display at Cosford or Hendon. Aircraft to be restored include a Hawker Tempest along with a Handley Page Hampden bomber and a 1917 Sopwith Dolphin is in the pipeline. There will also be a public gallery where visitors can view the proceedings.



Airshow 2002 performers

Organisers in the UK are being offered a new and original airshow act from the US. Dan Buchanan who flys the aerobatic Delta Glider is planning to visit the UK and Europe from late July to mid August 2002.

There is a possibility that the Libyan Arab AF may make its international airshow debut in 2002 by sending two aircraft to Europe. Had it not been for the terrorist attack on 11 September the Libyan AF would have been present at the Malta International Airshow in 2001. They are now considering sending two aircraft to the 2002 Malta Airshow.

The Breitling Fighters, based at Duxford and operated by the Old Flying Machine Company (OFMC) will be seen on the airshow circuit for the next two years. The Breitling Fighter team consists of a Spitfire HF9b, P-40E Kittyhawk, P-51D Mustang, and Corsair. There is also a chance that the Russian Yak3 and Lavochkin La-9 will join the team. All the fighters except for the Spitfire will have new liveries by Spring 2002.

RIAT 2002 will see a unique fly-past of the Hunter, Harrier, Nimrod, Tornado, and Typhoon. One of the themes of the airshow is a 'Salute to Bomber Crews' from around the world which will hopefully include the B-52H, and B-1B alongside the Tu-22M 'Backfire' and Tu-95 'Bear'.

It is possible that Farnborough 2002 will host the international debut of the Joint Strike Fighter (Lockheed Martin F-35).

It looks like the United States F-15 West Coast Demonstration Team are to attend the Eastbourne Sea Front, Airbourne 2002 show from 14th-18th August 2002. The Eastbourne air show is now organised by RIAT.



Kennet Venom

Kennet Aviation's DH Venom (G-VENM) took to the air on November 23rd 2001 after a two year restoration. G-VENM is to join the rest of the Kennet Fleet which are ready for the 2002 Airshow season.



Farnborough Restrictions

Farnborough flying displays are to be restricted for the trade days at FI2002 to just two hours (14.30hrs - 16.30hrs) to help limit the effect on the local enviroment, limited airspace and requests from exhibitors for more 'relevant' arial demos. The weekend public days will be more extensive than on the trade days but could become 'constrained' in the future as the area around the airfield becomes much more built-up.



5 Squadron to be disbanded

No 5 Squadron, operating the Tornado F3, based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, will be permanently disbanded next summer (2002) * when the airfield closes for runway resurfacing work and preparation for the Eurofighter in 2003. The four remaining fighter Squadrons will be assigned to RAF Leuchars, Scotland, and RAF Leeming, N.Yorkshire.

A shortage of jet pilots has been given for the reason why No 5 Squadron has been disbanded and air crew are being brought in from New Zealand to help fill the gaps. The Government denies that the real reason was driven by Treasury cuts.

There is concern that Southern England and London will be less well defended against terrorist attacks such as a hi-jacked airliner heading towards the Capital although the Government insist that overall air cover will not diminish. An MoD spokeswoman said the planes would still be able to provide air cover for London and southern England. Two Tornado F3 Fighters may temporarily be moved to RAF Marham in Norfolk, which is just 100 miles from London.

BBC News.

* Latest info suggests that RAF Conningsby's runway and maintenance work is expected to take place during 2003 starting from February for about six months.



Jubilee Fly-Pasts

There will be a large scale fly-past to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee on Tuesday 4th June 2002 which will form up over the sea off East Anglia and fly over the palace. A Eurofighter Typhoon will be included in the flypast.

Formation will be 14 nm long and flying at 1500ft and a speed of 280 kts, thus taking 3 mins to pass. It contains 27 aircraft in 8 elements 2 nm apart. They will form up over the sea off East Anglia (Southwold) and route from there direct to the Mall and over the Palace.

Elements are (with sqn if not unique and mark if known)

The formations principle waypoints are: Chelmesford (17:49hrs), Fairlop (17:53hrs) or RAF Northolt (17:57hrs)

C17
TriStar KC1+2xGR4s 31 Sqn
Sentry Sentry Standards Unit+2xF3s 56 Sqn
VC10 C1K combined crew+2xJags 6 Sqn
Nimrod MR2 combined crew+2xCanberras
BAe146+2xBAe125s
Eurofighter DA2
Concorde+Red Arrows.

There will be a practice on 29 May over Marham with all aircraft except Eurofighter with a Hawk as sub.

The flypast will be repeated on 27th June over Portsmouth but will include 2 X GR7s, and 2 X FA2s which will replace the Eurofighter, no concorde, and the Red Arrows will be seperate to the formation. There will also be a helicopter formation at the same time including SAR, Apache, Merlin, Chinook etc.

FREQUENCIES for ACTUAL FLY-PAST ON 4th JUNE :

120.625 STANSTED APPROACH
123.300 NATO Common Radar
125.800 WATTISHAM ZONE
126.950 STANSTED RADAR
132.700 THAMES RADAR
132.900 NEATISHEAD (Displays/Fly-Past) Primary
134.550 NEATISHEAD (Displays/Fly-Past) Secondary
135.275 LONDON MIL(East) Fly-Past Monitor Primary
135.925 LONDON MIL(East) Pre-Join Transit
232.875 31 Sqn Air-to-Air GOLD STAR OPS
243.450 RED ARROWS Air-to-Air
244.550 56(R) Sqn Air-to-Air
260.150 NEATISHEAD(TAD 100 Series) Tanker Co-ord Primary
275.350 LONDON MIL(West) Pre-Join Transit for Brize based aircraft
277.775 LONDON MIL(East) Pre-Join Transit & Co-ord
299.975 LONDON MIL(East) Fly-Past Monitor Secondary/Pre-Join Co-ord
300.100 Air-to-Air Refuelling LION/MADRAS
369.125 NEATISHEAD(TAD 100 Series) Tanker Co-ord Secondary

taken from MSF and Roger
Lowestoft Aviation Society - Suffolk's Eyes on the Skies

Checkout the RAF Marham site for details of the Jubilee Flypast Rehearsal.

The Red Arrows will take off from Stansted at 1709 on Tuesday 4 June and fly the following track.

1715 - Heading of 062 to the south of Bury St Edmunds
1722 - Heading of 062 to the south of Great Yarmouth and join the holding pattern off the Norfolk coast, where they will formate on Concorde
1733 - Depart the hold on a south-westerly heading.
1737 - Overhead Southwold
1742 - Overhead Ipswich
1749 - Overhead northern edge of Chelmsford
1752 - Overhead Fairlop Waters Country Park, north east of Ilford
1755 - Fly down the Mall then over Buckingham Palace
After the overflight of Buckingham Palace, the Team will return to Scampton, passing near to Hertford, St Neots, Thurlby, Corby Glen and Grantham before landing back at base at 1817.

Taken from Red Arrows official website.

More info on the RAF site.



Hawk crashes near Valley

At 0730hrs on Friday 15th February 2002 a Hawk Trainer, flown by an RAF pilot, crashed at a farm near RAF Valley. An RAF spokesman said the pilot tried to land the aircraft, but it became clear the plane was losing power rapidly so he decided to make a "controlled ejection". It is thought that the accident was caused by a bird being sucked into the engine.

The pilot ejected safely and was picked up and taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd, the hospital in Bangor, with back injuries," said a North Wales Police spokesman. North Wales Police confirmed that no-one else had been hurt. He was airlifted to hospital by a Sea King helicopter from 22 squadron at RAF Valley.

The plane landed in a field, then kept going through a drystone wall, crossed a road and cleared a six foot wall before crashing and bursting into flame.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said there would be a formal investigation to determine the cause of the crash, and a board of inquiry has already been convened.

The Hawk was on a routine flight to report on weather conditions in the area when the accident happened.

BBC News Report.



Airshow 2002 Cancellations

Mildenhall Air Fete 2002 which was to be held on 25-26 May 2002 has now been cancelled due to operational requirements. With the war against terrorism taking up personel and resources and increased security it was always likely that this event would be cancelled for this year.

Click here for the official explanation.

The Air Day 2002 show at Yeovilton has been postponed from 13th July to 21st September. Reasons for the postponement include the airshow congestion in July (There are many major airshows in July) , newly-required, self-supporting, £360,000-worth of medevac availability, and the weather.



Demise of the Sea Harrier

An MoD statement revealed: "At present, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force pilots in Joint Force Harrier fly a mixture of Harrier GR7 and Sea Harrier FA2 aircraft. It has been decided to withdraw the Sea Harrier from service in 2004-6, but upgrade the Harrier GR7 to a new GR9 standard, to be flown by pilots from both Services."

The decision is based on the fact that the Sea Harrier, which first entered service in 1978 is due for some much needed, and expensive engine overhauls of its own that the MoD cannot afford to complete. Moreover, with the JSF on the horizon, Defence chiefs clearly feel that the revitalising of the Sea Harrier is not necessary anyway. Added to this is the notorious drawback of the ageing Naval aircraft that it cannot operate effectively in hot climates, which given the current state of world affairs is pertinent.

However, the solution that Defence chiefs have offered provokes significant questions. Firstly, the new GR9 standard aircraft lacks certain key capabilities afforded by the Sea Harrier. They do not possess radars to detect airborne threats and enabling them to activate counter-missiles. Naval chiefs have therefore raised doubts that they would be an effective substitute in a naval combat situation, and could therefore compromise vessel safety.

The Government's strategy is to build two larger aircraft carriers to replace the existing three small carriers and to equip them with the Joint Strike Fighter, which is being developed by Lockheed Martin, the American company. The first of the new carriers with their single multirole combat aircraft is not due in service until 2012. The new Type 45 Destroyer will also be introduced later in the decade and will have a very capable area air defence system.

Defence Systems Daily.

The Times.

Harrier GR9/9a Programme (MoD Site).

Type 45 destroyer.



Riat Sea-Front Airshows

The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) is, through the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBFE), negotiating to go into the Sea-Front airshow business. RIAT has been invited to tender to stage the Sunderland International Airshow (27-28 July) and the Eastbourne International Airshow (15-18 August) by the Councils representing both Sunderland and Eastbourne. The focus for both shows will be current military aircraft which are most popular with airshow audiences. This will consist primarily of British military but using RIAT's contacts this will also include USAF and European military participation. The Red Arrows will attend both these shows including all four days of Eastbourne.

Check Airshow calendar for these two Airshows.



Puma Helicopter crash

A Puma helicopter, based at RAF Aldergrove in County Antrim, had been on a routine flight between security force bases in south Armagh when it crashed at 1035 GMT on Saturday 16/3/02. The Army said the cause of the accident was unknown, but that terrorist involvement had been ruled out. There were three crew members and six passengers on board. The Army said seven of them were injured and were taken to a number of hospitals.

Local Sinn Fein councillor Packie McDonald, who witnessed the incident, said the helicopter appeared to go into a spin as it tried to land at a military observation post."The pilot tried to control it for a while but shortly after it just crashed on the side of the mountain about 150 yards from the look-out post. "The tail has broken off and the propeller is lying on the ground. "The main part of the helicopter is lying on its side."

BBC report.



72 Sqn Disbands

After more than 30 years of commitment to Northern Ireland, 72 Squadron is set to disband later this month, bringing to an end the service of its veteran Wessex helicopters. Aldergrove based 72 Squadron disbands on March 31st 2002 and its veteran Wessex HC MkII begin a well-earned retirement, bringing to an end a formidable flying commitment that began in July 1969.

As a dual helicopter squadron, the remaining five 72 Squadron Pumas will be transferred to the station's other resident RAF squadron, No 230. The Wessex helicopters will be used for spares recovery for the RAF's remaining Wessex unit, Akrotiri-based 84 Squadron.

RAF News.



Spitfire (TE566) Fatal Crash

The former Historic Aircraft Collection's (HAC) Spitfire Mk IXe, TE566 (ZS-SPT) DU-A which has recently been sold to Michael Snoyman in South Africa has crashed, killing the pilot. The Spitfire which was piloted by Michael Snoyman crashed and exploded at Wonderboom Airport, north of Pretoria on Thursday 25th April 2002. Pretoria police spokesperson Captain Piletji Sebola said "It seemed the aircraft engine stalled while the pilot was awaiting instructions to land"

News24.com



Parking Arrangements at RIAT

Due to increased security after 11th September, visitors will have to park in fields outside the RAF Fairford base and enter on foot.

'The majority of visitors will park in fields adjacent to the airfield and will enter the Showground through a series of perimeter fence booths manned by admissions staff who will check tickets and operate on-the-day sales. This system is designed to reduce traffic delays on the approach roads. The events of 11 September have led to additional security considerations at RIAT 2002 and off-base parking will also enhance these arrangements. RIAT parking is free when all adults purchase a RIAT 2002 admission ticket.'



Tornado GR4 Crash

An RAF Tornado GR4 has crashed into the Humber Estuary near Brough, east Yorkshire, at about 1450hrs BST on Friday 17th May 2002. The crew ejected after a Mayday call and have been taken to Lincoln hospital for treatment although neither is seriously hurt. RAF spokesman Michael Mulford said: "We don't know what the cause of the incident was yet. The crew will only have had two or three seconds before deciding to pull the handle to eject."

The Humberside Police helicopter was scrambled, and the local coastguard and two RAF rescue helicopters, from bases at Leconfield and Wattisham, were called to the scene. The Tornado, on a flight from RAF Marham, Norfolk, came down near Brough, four miles upriver and close to a disused airfield. The pair were located by helicopter just off the north coast of the river.

BBC News Report



L-39 Albatros crash

An L-39 Albatros crashed onto the M11, killing one crew member, and slightly injuring another. The accident happened on 2 June 2002, as the two-seater trainer was landing at Duxford airfield in Cambridgeshire it skidded onto the motorway and across the central reservation. Emergency workers say it is a "miracle" no vehicles on the motorway were involved.

One person ejected as the aircraft was heading for the motorway, but was killed. A second person remained in the plane and walked away with minor injuries. Air accident investigators are now at the scene trying to establish the cause of the crash.

Cambridgeshire Police said the plane's brakes appeared to have failed on landing. Catherine Feast of Cambridgeshire police said: "It appears to have landed on the runway. "But for some reason it has had some kind of brake failure and carried on and left the runway and ended up across the central reservation of the M11 motorway at Duxford. Ted Inman, director of the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, confirmed the plane was based at North Weald, near Harlow in Essex."It's sad that somebody's lost their life and I find it amazing that no one else has been involved," he said. "The air accident people will have to look at it and we will look at the implications with them and see if any lessons can be learned."

BBC News Report

ITV News Report



Hurricane for sale

'The Real Aeroplane Company has decided to place its all black Hawker Hurricane Mk XII (G-HURR) on the market. The decision was not taken lightly but was made for a variety of reasons. With our display commitment now firmly rooted in furthering the development of Breighton as the north's leading aviation centre, that simple equation of value-for-money v's entertainment value had significant influence. Additionally, since the departure of the Spitfire and Harvard, it was becoming obvious to all that the Hurricane simply didn't fit into our shared vision of all that Breighton is about. As a result, it was decided to let the Hurri' go. However, the Company have been out and about with their shopping lists and a brief to find two or three historic aircraft considerably more appropriate to the ambience that we're all trying to create at Breighton. The first of those was the Fokker Dr1 Triplane replica, I can now reveal that the two new aircraft they've chosen are even more exciting and incredibly rare.'

Taken from the Breighton Bugle



Alenia G-222 mishap at RIAT 2002

The nose wheel of an Italian G222 collapsed as it landed at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford, Gloucestershire at 1136 BST on Saturday 20th July 2002. The G222 landed heavily causing the nose-wheel to collapse with fire and smoke coming from the front of the aircraft. Emergency crews were on the scene within a minute and no-one was hurt but it disrupted the rest of the display as it took over 3 hours to clear the runway.

BBC News report



Tiger Moth crash

The pilot of a Tiger Moth escaped serious injury when his plane crashed to the ground at a charity Airshow on Sunday 21/7/02. The 55-year-old man was thrown clear of the wreckage of the plane when it plunged 300ft to the ground at the White Waltham airfield near Maidenhead, Berkshire. Thames Valley Air Ambulance crew, who the pilot was raising money for, were on standby at the display and flew the pilot to the Wexham Park Hospital in Slough. Roger McKie, the chief executive of the airfield, said: "During one of the display manoeuvres, he lost height rapidly and took a very heavy landing."But he has not been badly hurt." The show is an annual event for members of the West London Aero Club and this year raised about £3,000 for the air ambulance service.

BBC News report

Ananova News report



Harrier crash at Lowestoft Airshow

A Harrier GR7 from RAF Wittering crashed into the sea during a display at Lowestoft Air Festival on Friday 2nd August 2002. A BBC reporter at the scene said the aircraft was flying about 50ft above the water when there was a loud explosion. "The Harrier, one of the most popular parts of the show, was facing the crowd about 50ft from the edge of the sand," said Guy Campbell. "It was about to do a favourite manoeuvre with the crowds - a bow - when there seemed to be some kind of huge engine loss. "The jet began to fall towards the sea then there was an explosion as the hood of the cockpit blew off and we saw the pilot fly about 50ft into the air." No-one in the crowd was injured.

A spokesman for the organisers says at about fifty feet, there was apparently engine failure and the pilot ejected. The Lowestoft lifeboat brought him ashore. He is understood to be well and crowds applauded him as he waved from a helicopter which was taking him to hospital for examination.

BBC News report

Another BBC News report

BBC video of Harrier crash

The Harrier GR7 was recovered from the sea on Friday 9th August 2002 after two previous attempts were hampered by bad weather. The harrier will be taken by barge to Lowestoft before being dismantled and transported to Cambridgeshire for a Ministry of Defence investigation.

BBC News report of recovery

RAF News - Harrier wreckage recovered from seafront



Brize home to Airbus Military A400M Transport

RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire has been named as the base for the RAF's next generation of transport aircraft, the Airbus Military A400M. The aircraft, which is due to enter service from 2010, will replace the last of the original C-130 Hercules aircraft operated by the RAF and the four leased C-17 transports.

There were several key factors that influenced the decision, namely the requirement for a runway at least 8,000ft in length, fire, crash and medical support for 24-hour operations and a number of infrastructure requirements. Although the off-aircraft technical accommodation at RAF Lyneham is in reasonable condition, the Station was discounted because the A400M would not fit into the existing hangars and the cost of building a new hangar and associated 1st and 2nd line engineering facilities would be considerable. Furthermore, the aircraft pan would need considerable work and the main runway is slightly less than the optimum length. RAF Brize Norton, on the other hand, would require more work to the current off-aircraft engineering facilities, but less work would be required on the ASP. In addition, the current hangar could accommodate up to six A400M aircraft and the length of the runway exceeds that required for the A400M. Consequently, on both financial and operational grounds, RAF Brize Norton was the recommended option to base the A400M fleet.

The decision does leave a question mark over Lyneham's future role, and work is ongoing to identify how to make most effective use of RAF Lyneham and RAF St Mawgan; however, no decision on the future role of the units has yet been made. Taken from RAF site

RAF News Report



Woburn Abbey Moth nose-dives into pond

Woburn Abbey's traditional De Havilland Moth fly-in ended dramatically when a 70-year-old biplane nose-dived into a pond.

Spectators watched in horror when the DH 60 Gipsy Moth developed problems immediately after taking off from the grounds of the stately home at 6.15pm on Sunday 18th August 2002. Fortunately the pilot managed to retain control and from 50 feet brought the plane down for an emergency landing, smashing the wooden propellor as the aircraft finished upright in one of the estate's five-foot deep ponds. Paramedics and fire services, on standby throughout the two-day event, raced to the stricken aircraft to offer assistance. The two airmen were treated at the scene by paramedics, suffering only from shock and very minor injuries.

Woburn Abbey administrator Bill Lash witnessed the dramatic events unfold as the event was coming to a close. "The pilot took off to go home but for some reason which we don't yet know, he got into trouble," he said. "He tried to put it down on the other side of the pond but didn't quite make it." It was an unfortunate conclusion to what had otherwise been a very successful weekend for the De Havilland Moth Club which has been holding this annual event at Woburn Abbey for 22 years.

Milton Keynes Online News Report