Saturday, 30 July 2011

German Aero 300 -Rare Birds (4)

It is believed that only a single example of the Aero 300, a 'modern' pre-war Czech bomber, was ever constructed. Note the clearly visible over painting of the original Czech markings. Two further prototypes were not  apparently completed and were captured still under manufacture. No information as to their fate.



Photo via Jan van der Heuvel at the link below

http://www.nederlandseluchtvaart.nl/forums/f36-buitenlandse-luchtvaart-foreign-aviation/german-aero-300-a-17623/

Friday, 29 July 2011

Dewoitine D.520 fighters of the French resistance - Groupe Doret -edit June 2015





The first Dewoitine D.520 fighter constructed for the French resistance was this machine coded '1' delivered to the 1st Groupe de Chasse 'Doret', a unit established by the 'resistance forces of the interior' (FFI) in the Toulouse region. Both the SNCASE (Dewoitine) and the Morane-Saulnier factory at Tarbes had been manufacturing D.520s for the Germans since 1943, but following the Allied landings in southern France (Provence) during August 1944, Morane Saulnier diverted construction to the newly established GC 1 of the FFI. The pictures were taken on 24 August 1944 and the pilot seen in front of the aircraft at Tarbes-Ossun is capitaine de réserve Jean Cliquet, who was previously chief pilot at Morane Saulnier. Note the cross of Lorraine on the rudder and the wing roundels.



Pictures via Michel Ledet at Avions magazine. 'Avions' is the leading French aviation bi-monthly and a special photo report on the D.520 over 20 pages appeared in issue No. 162 (March/April 2008). Back issues are available from http://www.avions-bateaux.com/

Below; D.520 (number black 28) was exhibited in Paris in March 1945 and very probably belonged to the Groupe Doret. Photo via Phil Canonne





Monday, 18 July 2011

Nato Tigers - 50th anniversary meet Ba 103 Cambrai June 2011




A single click to view the video summary of this years Tiger Meet held at Ba 103 Cambrai, northern France, prior to the closure of the base next year. A selection of some of the most striking photos follows from the week's flying courtesy of Nico Charpentier. Click on the image to view a larger low-res picture...












Tuesday, 12 July 2011

USAF Thunderbirds display team in Europe - Koksijde, Belgium 6-7 July 2011

A few shots from the Koksijde show which I attended on 6 July 2011, last date on the Thunderbirds European tour. Pics courtesy Nico Charpentier (cheers mate!)  - the last dramatic pic against the storm clouds was taken on the Thursday show and the weather led to a curtailment of the demo! A single click to view a larger size image!








Greek interlude - Skiathos airport landing/takeoff and Mirage crash and recovery Samos






Back from our hols last week - here we are having just landed at Skiathos airport in the Aegean sea. Skiathos lies only a few miles off the Greek mainland and has some beautiful beaches and green scenery - and a big enough runway for a 757, but with sea at both ends, landings and takeoffs can still give the impression of being a little hairy to the uninitiated ! The end of the runway is just a five minute walk from bus stop no. 1 and provides great viewing and filming opportunities. It's not quite St. Maarten but still impressive. Not that I bothered overly - the beaches on Skiathos are just too good to waste time..superb.

Skiathos Airport is Europe’s equivalent to St Maarten in the Caribbean, where aircraft literally pass right before your eyes while landing...".

One or two interesting facts; only aircraft Captains can land their aircraft here - if the Captain is incapacitated for whatever reason then the First Officer must divert. As it is airliners often have to make a refuelling stop-over on the Greek mainland because of the weight issues involved at Skiathos. The biggest aircraft to land at Skiathos was an Air Italy B 767 in June 2011 (while I was there) - special dispensation had to be sought from the local aviation authority after the original aircraft planned for the sector went technical. The aircraft was flown in by one of the airline's most experienced Captains. The local authority are planning a 300 foot extension which will presumably encroach on the beach at the far (sea) end of the runway.

A single click to watch the videos and to enlarge the pictures...











And here's the travalogue





Eslsewhere in the Aegean  islands while we were away, the HAF were busy retrieving a two-seat Mirage 2000 BGM that came down in the sea off Samos on 9 June 2011 after experiencing a technical malfunction while on a low level maritime patrol. Both crew ejected safely. The aircraft was retrieved from a depth of 250 ft

http://news.in.gr/greece/article/?aid=1231114711





Monday, 11 July 2011

Duxford Flying Legends 9-10 July 2011 - P-51 crash following mid air Skyraider collision



Mid-air between the Skyraider and the P-51 'Big Beautiful Doll' during the mass fly-by and break at the end of the show. No casualties aside from the aircraft. The P-51 crashed (pilot Rob Davies parachuted clear) and the Skyraider landed safely minus a chunk of the starboard wing. View a video clip of the incident at the following link. The report below is from the Cambridge News.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-14101641









Thanks to all the photographers..the pic of Rob baling out from BBD was seen on the sukhoi.ru forum but looks similar to an image from the sequence taken by gundylunch and posted on britmodeller.com. No doubt plenty of lenses were trained on that. The britmodeller sequence is by far the best of the incident.

Interviewed on the BBC's South East Today P-51 pilot Rob Davies said;

" ..it was an extremely loud impact which I heard even above the noise of the engine and the head-set.....the aircraft was violently thrown onto its side. At this point professionalism kicks in....even when its to save your life in this instance...normally if there's a problem you wouldn't bail out below 1,000 feet.."

..and the best video footage of the incident courtesy of David Taylor. A single click to view



From the Cambridge News

Duxford Imperial War Museum was hosting its annual and hugely popular Flying Legends event yesterday (Sunday) when the mid-air collision happened.It is thought the crash involved two planes, one being a P-51 Mustang and the other a Skyraider.The pilot of the P-51 parachuted to safety and the pilot of the other plane was uninjured, managing to land his heavily damaged plane.


David Quinton, from Woodhurst, who shot the collision footage (stills above), said he was watching the display from a field in Thriplow and recording the planes with an HD camcorder.
"We didn't realise what had happened at first," he said. "We were just hoping everyone was ok. Because it was so low we didn't know if the parachute would open."
Mark Brown, 38, said: “As soon as I saw the two aircraft they were getting closer and closer together. The whole point of when they peel off one after the other, they aim to put a separation, a few hundred yards between them, they got that wrong, they came very close together. When the collision occurred, you know when you talk about things in slow motion, I thought that’s not right, they are far too close, they should not be doing that. As soon as I saw part of the wing tip coming off, I knew right from that instant there was going to be a serious problem.”


Another eyewitness said: “The P-51 is the aircraft that has crashed with the pilot managing to leave the aircraft and parachute to safety with the plane coming down on the perimeter of the airfield out of sight of the crowd. The Skyraider managed to make an emergency landing with a large portion of the starboard wing missing. An announcement later from the tannoy informed everyone that the pilot of the crashed plane had landed safely and walked to the ambulance.”















Thursday, 7 July 2011

Koksijde 65th International Airshow 6-7 July 2011


I was in Koksijde, Belgium, yesterday for the Koksijde 65th International Airshow. Been a while since I attended a 'proper' airshow, but I guess with everything happening worldwide 2011 will not be a good year for airshows. A few aircraft would help though. Koksijde especially is a 'difficult' venue at the best of times..crowd line 300 yards from the runway and intermittent sun/strong blustery wind/squally rain in my face all day long. I have never been to a show with so many enthusiasts outside of the airfield either but the best views for photography are along the canal that leads into the town of Veurne as the aircraft come into land. Like an idiot I paid my 40 euros (car and occupants) and went onto the airfield. Highlights were few and far between with upwards of 30 minutes between aircraft in the sky - interesting passes were flown by Belgian AF F-16s and an Airbus A330 (?) and a DC-3, C-130 combo. The rest ranged from good to average to eminently forgettable, aside from the usual Patrouille de France and the Red Arrows especially, who were magnificent, drawing applause all through their display, even if their commentator did refer to the Belgian flag colours as being red/white/blue ...(!!!) ....the USAAF Tbirds were rather tame by comparison and not worth the long wait - they didn't fly until 20h15 (sorry guys!) . Guess it didn't help that I was cold/tired/wet/sunburnt by that time... as usual click on the images for a closer view. More pics to follow some time soon and a photo feature on the Cambrai Tiger meet to come..