Monday, 29 August 2011

Regia Aeronautica in the Battle of Britain


A selection of Italian types from the following Ebay auction
http://www.ebay.de/itm/58-originale-seltene-Flugzeug-Fotos-2-WK-Hanna-Reitsch-/310340564750

that appear to be part of the Corpo Aereo Italiano that transferred to Belgium between 27 September and 19 October 1940 to participate in the tail end of the Battle of Britain; eg Cant. Z 1007 of 172 Squadriglia RST (one of five sent to Belgium), Fiat CR.42 of 83 Squadriglia. Similar views appear in Hans Werner Neulen's article in Flugzeug Classic magazine Dec 2010 issue...

" 11 November 1940 - today we have brought down more enemy aircraft than on any previous day. Among them for the first time were at least eight Italian machines. The PM chuckled with joy when I reported this information to him..."  John Colville, Churchill's private secretary.

11 November 1940 was indeed a hard day for the forces of the Regia Aeronautica stationed in Belgium on the North Sea coast. Hoping to participate in the invasion of Britian the Italians had despatched an expeditionary force of some 200 aircraft. Although a comparatively strong force on paper, many of the aircraft had no armour nor functioning radio equipment, pitot tube heating was insufficient to prevent them freezing and the Fiat CR. 42 biplane fighters with their open cockpits were hardly suited to missions over the UK in winter. The Italians were operating from Belgium as the Luftwaffe leadership had refused to allow them to operate from their airfields in northern France, which considerably hampered their radius of action (the endurance of the CR.42 was 775 km and the Fiat G.50 445 km), allowing them barely ten minutes over southern England. In addition, of the 200+ Italian pilots only five had received instrument or blind flying training. Even the transfer from Italy was a total fiasco - as a result of poor weather, lack of fuel or technical faults no fewer than 19 Fiat BR.20 bombers had to make emergency landings while a further four bombers and three Fiat G.50s were posted missing!

On 11 November 1940 the Italians had planned a raid over the UK under the code name 'Cinzano' - a bombing raid on Harwich  by ten Fiat BR. 20s escorted by 40 Fiat CR.42s and G.50s and a diversionary attack on London by the five Canz Z. 1007 bombers in concert with the Luftwaffe. However everything that could go wrong, did go wrong...the G.50s turned for home unable to locate the bombers, the bombers, late for their rendez-vous, arrived unescorted over Harwich and the RAF was able to claim eight Italian machines shot down - in reality three bombers and two biplanes..one Fiat coded '95-13' got lost and put down on the beach at Orford Ness in Suffolk - the aircraft today displayed at the RAF Museum, Hendon..

Below; Fiat BR.20M 242-3/MM22267 lost on 11 November 1940.















Sunday, 21 August 2011

Red Arrows tribute - in memory of Flt Lt Jon Egging - Red 4 Bournemouth accident

A small selection of new photos of the Red Arrows displaying at Koksidje Belgium in July this year - one of the best displays I've ever seen them put on. A small tribute to Flt Lt Jon Egging - Red 4 - who died when his Hawk T1 aircraft crashed near Bournemouth Airport after a display on Saturday 20 August. Pics by Nico Charpentier








Thursday, 4 August 2011

Mirage F1 photo reference - Reims air base closure



On Wednesday 20 July 2011 the last Mirage F1 CR n°620 stationed at Reims, north of Paris in the Champagne region of France (base 112), took off from runway 25 for the final time and thus became the last military aircraft to leave Reims prior to the closure of the base as the escadron de reconnaissance 2/33 'Savoie' completed its move from Reims to Mont-de-Marsan. The aircraft was flown by capitaine Laurent Malineau, the eldest pilot in 2/33 'Savoie' making his final flight in the Mirage F1. Reims was the first French base to host the Mirage F1 in 1973 on the type's entry into service. Reims opened its gates to its first military aircraft, the Breguet 19, on 1 October 1928. The closing ceremony for Reims as an Armée de l'Air base was held on 30 June 2011 in the presence of the chef d’état-major de l’armée de l’air, général Jean-Paul Paloméros as reported on the Armée de l'Air site here

http://www.defense.gouv.fr/air/actus-air/le-dernier-mirage-f1-decolle-de-reims

Herewith some views of  a day's spotting at Reims earlier this year courtesy of photographer Nico Charpentier. Please click on the photos to open a full screen quick-loading image...







Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Mirage F.1 - recommended aviation books (11)

Recommended  aviation books - two volume history of the Mirage F.1 published by Lela Presse ('Avions' magazine)






Though not as famous as the delta-winged Mirage III, the Mirage F.1 is still in service with a number of units in France and in the world. Vol 1 is dedicated to the development of the aircraft and its versions while vol.2 covers its operational and combat service.

Although the Mirage F.1 lost out to the F-16 in the 'contract of the century' in 1975, it went on nevertheless to serve widely in the Armée de l’Air and was exported to several countries. This first volume of a two-part history of Dassault's Mirage F1 describes in detail the history and the origins of the swept-wing successor to the famous Mirage III. Co-author Michel Liebert worked on the flight control side of the programme during the late 1960s at Villaroche. The first prototype, which was developed by Dassault using their own funds, made its maiden flight on 23 December 1966 but the developmental process of an aircraft initially conceived for the delivery of tactical nuclear weapons was a long and complex one. Volume one retraces the saga of the prototypes and projects through to the mid-1970s. The authors cover all aspects of the programme - from paper through to hardware via design, construction and training. Opening with a discussion of Dassault the company, the authors explore the Mirage F.2 and F.3 before the considering the rationale behind the F1. Separate chapters look at the Franco-British GVFB while a lengthy chapter discusses the American interest in the swing-wing Mirage 'G' as a possible replacement for the F-111. The book is interspersed with test pilot recollections and period colour photos including a contribution from project leader Jean-Marie Saget. The F1 02 had achieved Mach 2 on only its second flight and Dassault had a winner on their hands.

Below; the variable geometry Mirage 'G' - here with wings swept back - is presented to the press in May 1967



Volume II of this superb history of the Mirage F1 covers the type's operational and service history. Entering French Air Force service in May 1973, the Mirage F1 quickly proved to be clearly superior to its predecessor, carrying up to 40% more fuel, and displayed superior range and better maneuverability. It would serve as the main interceptor of the French Air Force up until the entry into service of the Dassault Mirage 2000. With production successfully underway dedicated variants were proposed by Dassault - all-weather interceptor and tactical reconnaissance variants are covered in depth. Additional chapters cover foreign operators, including for the first time detailed accounts of the Mirage F1 in combat - in 1995, during the Cenepa War, Ecuadorian Mirages went into action against Peru. On 10 February 1995, two Mirage F1JAs, piloted by Maj. R. Banderas and Capt. C. Uzcátegui and armed with Matra R550 Magic AAMs, were directed over five targets crossing the border from Peru toward the Cenepa valley. After making visual contact, the Mirages fired their missiles, shooting down two Peruvian Su-22Ms. During the Iran-Iraq war, Iraq's Mirage F1EQs were used intensively for interception, ground attack and anti-shipping missions. while Iraqi Mirage F1 EQ-5/6 units clashed throughout 1988 with Iranian F-14s. The F1 pilots hunted the Tomcats aggressively and attacked the Iranians at any occasion. The F1EQ-6s were equipped with ECM systems, degrading the effectiveness of the F-14's AWG-9 radar/fire control system. On 19 July 1988 four Mirages attacked two F-14s and downed both, suffering no losses. This sumptuous 350-page volume is completed with a super selection of colour images of French aerobatic teams and colour profile artwork by Thierry Dekker and Tom Cooper.

This text was written by myself for the Lela Presse web site
http://www.avions-bateaux.com/


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Airframes at the RAF Manston fire dump

A walk around the RAF Manston fire dump courtesy of Acky 190 via britmodeller.com. These old air frames are used for training new fire men on fire fighting and rescue techniques. Pictures posted here via photobucket embed code. Acky 190's album is at the link below, over 400 pictures to view...

http://s586.photobucket.com/albums/ss306/Acky190/DFTDC%20Manston/

Jaguar GR.3

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A-10 at Fairford 2011

Pics by Nico Charpentier for falkeeins blog. Click on the image for a larger (low-res) picture












Monday, 1 August 2011

IL 76 departure from Fairford 2011

Filmed in dv courtesy of jetnoiselover via youtube ---- the much debated departure of the Ukraine AF Il -76





Did he retract the gear too soon or did the tyres burst before the gear went up?
Here is your chance to decide. Clip also features the  " rolling" departure of the Su-27ub. The crew were very friendly! Thaks to them for the tour round the Flanker. BTW, they mentioned that to have the Flanker even in the static cost £250,000  - not sure if something was lost in the translation!


Rafale at Fairford 2011

Rafale at Fairford 2011. Pics by Nico Charpentier. These were mostly taken on Thursday arrivals day as the weekend show weather was particularly grey, especially the Sunday. The Rafale is proudly displaying its '30,000 hours' logo and has a nice motif of St. Exupéry's 'Little Prince' on the tail...click on the image for a larger (low-res) view..