Saturday, May 19, 2018

Cubana Boeing 737 crashes


An aged Cubana Airlines (Cubana de Aviación) Boeing 737 passenger jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Havana-José Martí International Airport in Cuba on Friday.

The flight CU972 carried 104 passengers and 9 crew members of which 3 have survived with serious injuries.

The 737 crashed at 12:08 in Santiago de Las Vegas, about 10 km (6.2 miles) from Havana airport, shortly after take off.

Mexican Authorities confirm that the aircraft involved in the crash is a 39 year-old Boeing 737-200 (XA-UHZ) wet-leased from Mexican charter airline Global Air (Damojh), operating on behalf of Cubana.

The flight #CU972 was bound to Holguin.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Sikorsky delivers first CH-53K to US Marines

Sikorsky delivered the first CH-53 King Stallion helicopter to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina.

The aircraft is the first of an expected 200 helicopters for the Marine Corps' fleet.


The CH-53K is the new build replacement for the U.S. Marine Corps' aging CH-53E Super Stallion fleet. The CH-53E first flew in 1974 and entered service with the USMC in 1981.

The helicopter will breathe new life to USMC heavy lift helicopter fleet, as the current CH-53E has outlived their life and are in poor conditions with leaking hydraulic lines.

The CH-53K can carry 27,000 lb externally over 110 nautical miles, which is more than triple the capacity of the CH-53E.

This first CH53K heavy lift helicopter will be stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville.

There the helicopter enters into the Supportability Test Plan. U.S. Marines will conduct a logistics assessment on the maintenance, sustainment and overall aviation logistics support of the King Stallion. This assessment also will validate maintenance procedures with Marine Corps maintainers conducting hands-on care/upkeep of the aircraft.

The Supportability Test Plan will ensure readiness and support on the flightline when CH-53K helicopters enter into service with the USMC.

Sikorsky expects to deliver its second CH-53K helicopter to the USMC in early 2019.

The CH-53K test program recently completed the following milestones: maximum weight single-point cargo hook sling load of 36,000 pounds (16,329 kilograms); forward flight speed of over 200 knots; 60 degrees angle of bank turns; altitude of 18,500 feet mean sea level (MSL); 12-degree slope landings and takeoffs; external load auto-jettison; and gunfire testing.

Sikorsky is preparing its manufacturing facility in Stratford, Connecticut, to house CH-53K production beginning this summer.

The heavy lift helicopter made its international debut and showcased its maneuverability and advanced fly-by-wire technology during demonstration flights at the recent ILA Berlin Air Show in Berlin, Germany.

The CH-53K is an all new aircraft, using modern intelligent design. The rugged CH-53K helicopter is designed to ensure reliability, low maintenance, high availability and enhanced survivability in the most austere and remote forward operating bases. 

Sudan inducts Chinese FTC-2000 fighter trainers

Sudanese Air Force has taken delivery of its new FTC-2000 trainer jets manufactured by Chinese GAIC (Guizhou Aircraft Industries Corporation), Sudan's Defense Ministry announced on 16 May.

All the six aircraft ordered with numbers running from 1201 to 1206 has been delivered, according to pictures released.

The FTC-2000 is the export variant of GAIC’s JL-9 two-seat supersonic turbojet-powered trainer operated by Chinese PLA Air Force and Navy. The low cost out dated trainer is based on the Chinese MiG-21 trainer copy JJ-7/FT-7.



The FTC-2000 can train pilots for fourth generation fighter jets and impart realistic combat training for air to air and air to ground attack missions.

The aircraft is equipped with four under wing weapon stations that can be configured to carry air to air missiles, fuel tanks and rocket pods for pilot training and combat missions.

The glass cockpit is equipped with integrated control systems, hands-on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls, a pulse Doppler radar and INS/GPS navigation systems.

It is powered by a single Guizhou Liyang WP-13 turbojet engine which is also a Chinese copy of the Tumansky R-13 turbojet that powered the MiG-21.

Sudanese Air Force already operates Chinese license built versions of MiG-21 and MiG-17.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bangladesh acquiring ex-UK C-130J aircraft

Bangladesh's acquisition of two retired Royal Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules tactical military transport planes has been confirmed with the support contract awarded to UK based Marshall Aerospace and Defense Group.

This multi-year contract will see Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group deliver a total support solution to the Bangladesh Air Force C-130J covering aircraft maintenance, logistics support including the provision of spare parts and ground support equipment for establishing local capabilities, as well as engineering services to ensure the effective operation of the fleet.


The company will also be carrying out important modifications to the aircraft, such as the design, development and installation of a MEDEVAC capability, to enable the Bangladesh Air Force to carry out important tasks within the country and overseas delivering support to UN missions.

In addition, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group will be providing in-country technical support to the operator for an initial period along with specific technical services to support the longer-term sustainment of the fleet.

UK is retiring 10 of its 24 C-130J transport fleet as the new European Airbus A400M transport plane is introduced into fleet.

The aircraft are the short bodied C-130J variant and will replace the BAF's four second hand C-130Bs acquired from United States in 2001.

BAF transport fleet also consists the Antonov AN-32 and LET L-410 light transport aircraft.

The UK C-130J fleet were ordered in December 1994, comprising ten standard C-130J aircraft and 15 of the longer C-130J-30. The first aircraft a C-130J-30 was delivered in August 1998.

One RAF C-130J-30 was destroyed by UK forces after sustaining severe damage during a night time landing in Southern Iraq in 2007. The aircraft was damaged by a IED placed in the landing strip.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Improved Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket debuts

On May 11th SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket successfully launched Bangabandhu Satellite-1 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The mission served as the first flight of Falcon 9 Block 5, the final substantial upgrade to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

The Block 5 is designed to be capable of 10 or more flights with very limited refurbishment as SpaceX continues to strive for rapid reusability and extremely high reliability.


According to SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk, the Block 5 is designed to be "the most reliable rocket ever assembled".

The Block 5's first stage now have an 8 percent thrust increase at sea level producing a total 1,710,000 pounds force, with each of the nine Merlin 1D engines producing 190,000 pounds force.

The Block 4 Merlin 1D engines featured constant chamber pressure. While the Block 5 features a variable chamber pressure to maintain a constant thrust.

The single vacuum-optimized Merlin engine on Falcon 9’s second stage has a 5 percent thrust increase to 220,000 pounds-force, he said.

Falcon 9’s octaweb structure that supports the all nine first stage engines is now a bolted structure instead of welded, easing manufacturing and inspections.



Another improvement is the redesigned composite over wrapped pressure vessels, used to store helium for pressurizing the propellant tanks in the second stage.

The COPVs were implicated in the rocket’s pre-launch explosion in September 2016, when a Falcon 9 exploded during preparations for a static fire test, destroying the payload and severely damaging the launch pad.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sichuan A319 loses cockpit windshield mid-flight



A Sichuan Airlines Airbus A319 passenger jet was diverted to Chengdu on Tuesday, after losing one of the cockpit windshield while flying at 33,200 ft (FL332) altitude, at speeds of around 450 knots.

The windshield separation caused rapid cabin decompression damaging cockpit avionics and injuring one of the pilot possibly the first officer.

The right side portion of the glareshield instrument panel was sucked out of the aircraft through the windscreen hole, crippling the Flight Control Unit (FCU), forcing the crew to fly the aircraft manually.

Civil Aviation Administration of China said the windshield was an original part of the aircraft which entered service in July 2011, and did not undergo any maintenance or repair.


The incident happened close to the Chengdu Airport, where the flight carried out a emergency landing after around 45 minutes from the incident.

During landing the aircraft suffered tyre bursts, but came to stop without any further events.

No passengers were injured in the incident but a cabin crew was injured during the descent.

The flight, Sichuan Airlines 3U8633, took off from Chongqing on Monday morning and was bound for the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.



Airbus said the aircraft, MSN4660 registered B-6419, was built in 2011 and had accumulated 19,942 flight hours to date.

Asiana A330 cuts Turkish A321 tail fin at Istanbul

An Asiana Airlines Airbus A330-300 knocked down the vertical stabilizer of a Turkish Airlines Airbus A321 during taxing at Istanbul-Atatürk International Airport (LTBA) on Sunday.

The Asiana A330 was scheduled to fly Flight #OZ552 to Seoul-Incheon, which was canceled.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Kinzhal equipped MiG-31K fighters debut at Victory Day 2018


Russian Air Force's new Kinzhal hypersonic air to surface ballistic missile and carrier MiG-31 fighter designated MiG-31K, marked public debut during the Victory parade in Red Square on May 9.

Two MiG-31K fighters flew with the missile hung under belly, during the parade over the central Moscow.

The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile was first revealed by President Putin in March 2018, which will enable a strategic ground and anti-ship attack capability to the Mach 2 plus capable MiG-31 interceptor.

Russian Defense Ministry had earlier revealed 10 MiG-31K fighters are operational with the Southern Military District.

The Kinzhal is a air-launched version of the Iskander-M tactical surface to surface ballistic missile.

Russia claims the increased kinetics imparted by the MiG-31K carrier enable the Kinzhal to strike targets at more than 2000 km, four times the range in its ground launched configuration.



The twin engined MiG-31 Foxhound was introduced in 1981 as follow on to the famous MiG-25 Foxbat fighter for swift long range interception to patrol the vast Soviet air space.

The high speed well in excess of Mach 2 and long range coupled with the powerful Phazotron Zaslon intercept radar make them a highly capable interceptor. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Second MC-21 prototype begin flight testing



The second prototype of the Russian MC-21 single aisle passenger jet completed maiden flight from the Irkutsk Aviation Plant on May 12.

The aircraft incorporates modifications based on the feed backs from the flight testing of the first prototype.

The aircraft flew for 1 hour and 7 minutes at an altitude of 3000 meters and reached speeds of up to 400 km/h.

The flight program included testing the aircraft for stability and controllability for various wing configurations with cleaning and landing gear, as well as testing the on-board equipment performance.

The aircraft was piloted by a crew of test pilots Vasily Sevastyanov and Andrei Voropayev. According to Vasily Sevastyanov, the flight task was completed in full, the flight was in normal mode.



In total, 4 MC-21-300 aircraft will be involved in flight tests, along with two static test airframes.

The aircraft is powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1400G engines, and the Russian PD-14 engine will be offered later, after completing the development and certification.

In February 2018 Aeroflot signed a firm contract with the leasing company Aviakapital-Service (as part of Rostec State Corporation) for the delivery of 50 MS-21-300 aircraft.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Guardian RPA commence civil flight demonstration in Japan

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) announced the first flight of the Guardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) in Japan during an opening ceremony on Iki Island.

The demonstration flights, taking place over the next three weeks, intend to promote the civil and scientific applications of the RPA using the GA-ASI manufactured MQ-9 Guardian, a maritime variant of the MQ-9 Reaper combat capable RPA widely flown by US Air Force and its European allies.



The Guardian will collect data and conduct scientific research while operating from the island of Iki, in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture.

Israel carries out extensive strikes in Syria

Israeli Air Force jets struck several Iranian and Syrian targets in the Syria in retaliation to rocket attacks, the most extensive air strike against the country since the disengagement agreement between the two in 1974.

On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, the Quds force, a special force wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, stationed in Syria, shot 20 rockets towards IDF posts in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights earlier in the night.