Donating Member
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Maverick last won the day on December 9 2017

Maverick had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

217 Excellent


About Maverick

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    The great wet coast
  • Interests
    Mechanical stuff and a good game o' golf!

Recent Profile Visitors

4,055 profile views
  1. Malaysia Airlines A330 took off with pitot covers on… JULY 21, 2018 Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330 flight MH134 returned to Brisbane Airport, Australia due to airspeed indication failure during take-off on 18 July 2018. The flight MH134 bound for Kuala Lumpur departed Brisbane Airport at 23:31 LT with the pitot covers on, and reported loss of air speed and returned to Brisbane Airport after 40 minutes into the flight dumping fuel. According to passengers, the flight made a hard landing at 00:33 LT and the aircraft suddenly came to a stop on the runway. Apparently the crew couldn’t measure the landing speed and made a hard landing damaging its nose wheel. In a post-landing announcement, the Captain announced, the aircraft was unable to taxi and was waiting to be towed to the terminal because the landing gear door was opened.
  2. You have a point you're trying to make?
  3. Maverick

    Hard Landing?

    Agreed, if it was properly secured that will not happen.
  4. Maverick

    Cold war story

    I love this stuff! The story of Belmont 86, the SR-71 that made an emergency landing in Norway after spying over Murmansk By Dario Leone - Jul 8 2018 0 Pilot, B.C. Thomas and RSO Jay Reid with Norway Newspapers In the following post Lieutenant Colonel Bredette (BC) Thomas tells the story of the infamous SR-71 Emergency Landing in Norway. The Blackbird was crewed by BC Thomas himself and Lieutenant Colonel Jay Reid (Reconnaissance Systems Officer or RSO). This story appears in John Altson book The Black Line. That Time an SR-71 Made an Emergency Landing in Norway On August 13, 1981, Jay Reid and I made the first SR-71 landing in Continental Europe. It was virtually unannounced – and not particularly welcomed. The Mission Before establishing a continuous SR-71 presence in Europe in 1982 (at RAF Mildenhall, England), the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, the responsible headquarters for all SR-71 operational flights, was sometimes tasked to fly a particularly important higher-headquarters mission from Beale AFB in California to the Soviet Union and back. The purpose was to photograph (with either film or radar), and collect electronic data in and around the Soviet Naval facility at Murmansk, located on the Kola Peninsula in the Barents Sea above the Arctic Circle, in the extreme northwest portion of the Soviet Union, north of Norway and east of Finland. We required information about their air-defense electronic warfare capabilities and specifically, their antiaircraft surface-to-air (SAM) missile systems. Murmansk was a strategic nuclear submarine base and maintenance facility, and since knowing the disposition of all nuclear threats was vital for the security of the United States, Murmansk was one of our most significant reconnaissance objectives. My Reconnaissance Systems Officer (RSO), Jay Reid, and I were assigned this mission scheduled for Wednesday, August 12, 1981 in SR-71 aircraft #964. This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. SR-71A Blackbird 61-7972 “Skunkworks” We reported for the flight at 7:00 p.m., checked weather and last-minute changes to the mission requirements, updated the intelligence briefing, met with the mobile crew and SR-71 crew chief, ate a meal of steak and eggs, donned our space suits, conducted an aircraft preflight, and were ready for a 9:47 p.m. takeoff. The flight profile called for a 45,000-pound takeoff fuel load; a rendezvous with two tankers over Idaho to fill our tanks; acceleration to Mach 3+ (2,000 mph) while cruise-climbing to 80,000 feet; descending to 26,000 feet to meet more tankers over Goose Bay, Labrador; crossing the Atlantic Ocean just south of Greenland and Iceland at Mach 3 to a third refueling over the North Sea, northeast of Scotland. The next acceleration was to Mach 3.25 to penetrate the Soviet air defense region around Murmansk. Passing west of Norway, then north of Finland, we headed toward the Soviet coast by flying inbound from a point in the Barents Sea and approaching the land mass at Murmansk directly at 90 degrees head-on. There is no doubt that our presence was heralded to Soviet personnel on the ground by the sweet (and rather loud) sound of freedom: the distinctive double-sonic boom of the 2,200 mile-per-hour SR-71. That knowledge would always give us a certain inward sense of pride; not in ourselves altogether, but pride in the aircraft, the engineers and designers who built her, the maintenance people who made her safe to fly, and the faithful tanker crews who were always there when we needed fuel. All of these support personnel were vital for any successful mission. The Soviet Union claimed their sovereign territory extended 100 nautical miles from their land mass. The international norm is 12 miles. Heading inbound, we turned so that we flew within 12.5 miles of the Soviet coast in a 30-degree right-banked turn while obtaining radar imagery (or photographs) and recording Soviet electronic countermeasures. This somewhat provocative technique was trolling: we stimulated the Soviet defenses, causing their radios and radar to bristle with electronic information, thus impelling them to reveal telltale electromagnetic signatures indicating the type of equipment, modes of operation, and limits. There were sometimes other American assets offshore, but within radio range, which also collected electronic transmissions. B. C. Thomas and Jay Reid After departing the “take area,” the plan was to refuel again over the North Sea, accelerate to Mach 3, refuel for a fifth time over Goose Bay, then fly Mach 3 thereafter to Beale AFB. We planned to land at 8:15 am on August 13 after 10.5 hours of very intense flying. We were operating a long distance from home base, the mission was deemed vital, and no crew member ever wanted to abort a flight. Any mission deviation could lead easily to an international incident, would be scrutinized by the highest National Command Authority, and possibly result in our names appearing in every major newspaper in the world. We certainly felt this responsibility, but had the utmost faith in our preparation, training and the talent and dedication of all our support branches. The Emergency After transiting Murmansk and while hooked up with the tankers during the fourth refueling, I saw a flicker of the Master Warning light. Jay Reid announced the light at the same time that I saw it in my peripheral vision. I disconnected from the tanker’s boom and maneuvered back to the pre-contact position. Our indication was the illumination of the left-engine oil supply low-quantity red warning light. From our training and experience with the aircraft emergency checklists, we knew immediately that this required that we “land as soon as possible.” A Boeing KC-135Q Stratotanker refueling an SR-71 The mandate to land immediately was borne out of long experience with malfunctions: the type which would crash the airplane if another single-system failed. The natural tendency for military air crews is to complete the mission if humanly possible. To counter this inclination, the Wing Commander had designated certain emergencies sufficiently critical to require immediate landing. This was one of those emergencies. Our mission planning and alternate airfield study had prepared us to know quickly where to fly if an emergency required immediate landing. Some military intelligence might limit our choice of a suitable landing field, depending on the political situation, and of course weather was always a major consideration. Jay and I quickly agreed that recovery at the joint civilian/military air base at Bodø (pronounced: “Buddha”), located on the Norwegian coast a few miles above the Arctic Circle, was best. We were about 60 miles away. The Arrival We wasted no time notifying the tanker crews of our decision to land. They set up a holding pattern in international airspace to assist in refueling, or to be our radio­-relay if necessary. Their standing orders were to await our call to release them, presumably after our safe landing. While Jay was transmitting our mandatory abort reports via high-frequency, long-range radio, I contacted Norwegian Approach Control. Our orders were not to broadcast that we were flying an SR-71, but rather give the general type as “U.S. Air Force Tactical,” which really meant nothing to a controller concerned about arranging for emergency equipment, and notifying proper authorities of our emergency condition. My call sign was “Belmont 86” and my transmissions to approach control were something like this: “Bodø Approach, Belmont 86, six-zero miles west, declaring an in-flight emergency, request straight-in approach to land on runway zero seven.” “Belmont 86, say aircraft type, nature of emergency, souls-on-board, and fuel remaining.” “Bodø Approach, Belmont 86, US Air Force Tactical, engine problem, 2 souls, zero plus four-five fuel-on-board.” “Belmont 86, say again aircraft type.” “Bodø Approach, Belmont 86, US Air Force Tactical.” “Belmont 86, I do not understand your aircraft type.” “This is Belmont 86, we will land in approximately 10 minutes and I will deploy 3 drag parachutes: 2 small and one 40-foot chute. I will jettison all three on the runway. I don’t have time now to talk.” We were cleared to land with nothing more said. We touched down at Bodø on August 13 at 1:12 p.m. Norwegian time after a total flight of 6.4 hours. When we were on short-final approach, tower controllers had no problem identifying our aircraft type, and immediately sent out notifications which, we learned later, included the local press. What could we expect? What kind of reception would the Norwegians give us and would the airplane be secure, especially considering that we had on-board highly classified images and electronic recordings from Murmansk? The Reception I asked for and was given taxi directions to the Norwegian military ramp where I could see some friendly looking F-104s, the front-line NATO fighter aircraft. After I shutdown the engines and we opened our canopies, the first person to greet us was a Norwegian military pilot who said: “Welcome, do you know Bill Groninger?” Bill Groninger was a fellow SR-71 pilot who was a USAF instructor pilot before he was chosen for the SR-71 program. The Norwegian pilot was his student. We learned that many Norwegian fighter pilots received their initial training in the USA. We definitely were among friends! We were quickly introduced to General Olav Aamoth, the Wing Commander at Bodø. He asked for any special requirements and I requested full-time guards be placed on the aircraft with only myself and Jay Reid authorized to admit personnel to the plane. He agreed and assured us that the aircraft would be guarded continuously. I then asked for a secure phone to call the Command Post at Beale AFB. Belmont 86 with nacelles covered for weather protection General Aamoth drove us to an underground labyrinth of tunnels carved into the side of a mountain, containing maintenance shops and aircraft. He directed me to a telephone within his Command Center. I called the 9SRW Commander, told him the time of the abort and that operations were normal up to the emergency, thus relaying that we had the reconnaissance data on-board. This information was needed to arrange for the proper retrieval of the mission materials. We briefly discussed the nature of the emergency, and I assured him that the aircraft was safe. He said that we were to stay there until the aircraft was repaired, which would probably take three days. The 9SRW had already started a recall for the support personnel necessary for the recovery of the SR-71. General Aamoth seemed unusually concerned, as he insisted that a Norwegian officer physically be present with us until we left. He introduced us to an F-104 pilot, 1 Lt Roar Strand, who would help us with anything we might require. He was a very pleasant guy, and I kind of felt sorry for him because I was sure he had better things to do than to “mind” us for 3-4 days. Roar Strand was very accommodating. After all the immediate activities associated with bedding down the aircraft were accomplished, he took Jay and me to his apartment, where we met his beautiful girlfriend, then to a restaurant in downtown Bodø where we spent a pleasant evening. Roar accompanied us to the transient quarters to sleep in the same room with Jay and me. Early the next morning, he went with us to a military dining hall for breakfast. It was there that I got my first real surprise of the trip: the only food presented was about four types of fish soup, all of which, to this unaccustomed American, smelled terrible, especially so early in the morning. I asked if any cold cereal was available and thankfully, there was. Corn flakes. Espresso coffee completed the fare. General Aamoth joined us and with him was the American Air attache to Norway who had just flown in from Oslo specifically to see us. I knew then that this visit was attracting more attention than any of us needed or wanted. He asked about the emergency, the condition of the airplane, and wanted to know if anything unusual or unpleasant had happened to us. I assured him that we were fine and that recoveries such as this one were well planned and the maintenance team would probably be here that day or the next. We did not anticipate any logistical problem as this type of activity was performed often, usually without help from other local organizations, and the Norwegians were taking extra care to assure that we were not contacted or hindered. Recovery Operations The rest of the day was devoted to making preparations for the maintenance recovery team from Beale AFB. General Aamoth, to my surprise, stated specifically that he did not want any talk or outward expression of anything clandestine (not that we would anyway.) More than once, he made the explicit statement that when we landed, he considered us to be a NATO-allied aircraft in distress and that military courtesy and professional consideration meant that we were to be afforded the support necessary to see us on our way and that he did not want any mention of reconnaissance activity or publicity. Thomas and Reid perform preflight checks It was way too late for the admonition concerning publicity, however. Virtually every newspaper in Norway had news of a “Spy Plane” landing at Bodø splashed across its front page. Newspapers in the USA also had the story. The reports generally said that it was the highest-flying and fastest airplane in the world, and opined on what type of “spying” we were doing. Jay and I did not like the publicity, but were relieved that no newspapers published our pictures or names. None of us flying reconnaissance missions wanted to be publicly identified while we were engaged in these activities. Our missions were highly classified, and no good could ever come from talking to reporters about anything associated with our reconnaissance flights. The next day, August 15, a KC-135Q from Beale AFB arrived carrying our special fuel for the SR-71; the deployment commander, Lt Col Randy Hertzog, who was also the Commander of the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (1SRS); and the maintenance crew plus civilian technical representatives from Lockheed. The recovery plan written by the 9SRW stated that in foreign stations, the recovery team would all wear civilian clothes so as not to disclose who was military. This did not sit well with General Aamoth! He told me to tell Col. Hertzog to have all military personnel wear military uniforms. I did not know why he would issue such an order, but I complied. The military team dutifully returned to the KC-135 and changed into uniforms. Over the next two days, the maintenance team ran into several problems repairing the aircraft. We had parts flown in from various sources. A spare “engine start cart,” a machine containing 2 Buick Wildcat engines in tandem and specifically designed to mechanically rotate the SR-71 engines for starting, was flown in by C-130. On the third day, our aircraft was repaired and made ready for takeoff. Since preparing the SR-71 for a supersonic (Mach 3) flight would have taken more equipment and time, we elected to fly subsonic directly to RAF Mildenhall, England, from which the SR-71 had conducted operations previously. We would fly in formation with the KC-135Q, which had landed at Bodø for our support 2 days earlier. Departure The maintenance crew performed outstandingly and we were ready to depart on Sunday, August 16. Preflight preparations for Jay and me were smooth, except our first engine-start attempt failed. The start cart could not, observing normal rpm and torque limits, achieve the required aircraft engine speed for a safe start. On the second attempt, the crew chief, Clarence “Skip” Hosler, valiantly ignored the cart rpm/torque limits and informed me on inter-phone that this would be the last attempt. He later told me that the connecting rod glowed red-hot just before the aircraft engine reached the start rpm. We took off at 1:42 p.m. It was the roughest takeoff I ever made in an SR-71. The runway was smooth to sight, but owing to the very long, slender and flexible fore-body of the SR-71 (where the nose wheel is located) and the distance from the nose wheels to the main landing gear (42 feet), the slight undulating wavelike runway set up a vertical motion in the cockpit which amplified as we accelerated for takeoff. SR-71 Blackbird taxis out of chocks It was getting so bad by the time we achieved rotation speed (180 knots) that I was very concerned that something might break before liftoff (210 knots). The acceleration of the SR-71 was quick and I was able to raise the nose before the up-and-down oscillation became traumatic. With the gear up, everything returned to normal. We rendezvoused with our tanker for a planned refueling to augment our takeoff fuel, and landed at 2:53 p.m. local time in England, for a flight of 2.2 hours. With a million members of the Polish Solidarity movement having gone on strike on 7 August, and mounting tension between Communist state officials and the rest of the Polish population, Strategic Air Command (SAC) directed that upon arrival, we would set up a deployment base at RAF Mildenhall and conduct several additional operational missions before returning home. Jerry Glasser and Mac Hornbaker were sent from Beale AFB to meet us when we arrived from Norway and they flew an operational mission a few days later. We were ordered to stay at RAF Mildenhall until relieved, so Jay and I also flew another operational mission after Jerry and Mac. When Rich Young and Ed Bethart arrived as our replacements, we departed for Beale AFB on September 2. What started out for us as a 10.5-hour, round-robin mission, California to the Soviet Union and back, turned into a 21-day marathon of SR-71 missions, involving 6 SR-71 air crew members, a host of maintenance and support personnel, and a true adventure for us all. Along the way, we made some very special friends. Afterward After I retired from the US Air Force and our SR-71 reconnaissance activities were no longer classified, I contacted General Aamoth. He had also retired from the military after being Chief of Staff for the Norwegian Air Force from 1985 through 1991. I asked him about his reluctance to have our military personnel wear civilian clothes and why he admonished us not to do or say anything which would identify our mission as being reconnaissance. He told me a very interesting story. On May 1, 1960, General Aamoth was a fighter pilot (then a Lieutenant) in the Norwegian Air Force stationed at Bodø. That was the day that Francis Gary Powers was shot down flying a CIA U-2 aircraft over the Soviet Union. Although Powers had taken off from Pakistan, his intended landing base was Bodø, the same Norwegian base at which I landed. Furthermore, the then-commander of Bodø knew about the U-2 and that it was to land at his home base; however, neither the Norwegian Prime Minister nor the Chief of the Norwegian Air Force knew anything about it. To make matters much worse, the Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, threatened to “nuke Bodø” for “cooperating” with the United States in the “U-2 Affair.” After an investigation, the Military Commander was summarily fired. General Aamoth saw a very stark parallel to that story when we landed. He told me that he was sitting in his office when we were on final approach. The airfield tower controller telephoned and told him to look out his window to see what aircraft was landing at his field asking to be parked on his military airport apron. I now understand General Aamoth’s concern! As of 2016, Roar Strand is still an active pilot, flying worldwide for Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). He has homes in Norway and France and is married to Maryann, the girlfriend whom I met at his apartment in 1981. They are the proud parents of 3 and are also grandparents. SR-71 #964 at Mildenhall, UK As for SR-71 aircraft #964, a veritable workhorse for the SR-71 program, it is displayed at the Strategic Air and Space Museum (formerly the SAC Museum) near Omaha, Nebraska. John Morgan (RSO) and I had an SR-71 emergency on April 5, 1984 in aircraft #974, and landed again at Bodø. General Aamoth was there to meet me a second time. He was then a Major General and Commander of Tactical Air Forces North. I told him that I really didn’t mean to do it a second time! There was minimum publicity and we departed within 2 days. By then, we were operating out of RAF Mildenhall and the logistical support was much closer and quicker than in 1981. The SR-71 (#974) in which I landed at Bodø the second time was the first SR-71 to fly combat missions in the Vietnam War. It was also the last Blackbird to crash. While flying at Mach 3 over the Philippine Sea on April 21, 1989, her left engine seized causing shrapnel to explode into critical hydraulic lines, and subsequently rendering the flight controls completely inoperative. The crew, Dan House (pilot) and Blair Bozek (RSO), ejected safely and were recovered by Filipino fishermen. By May 10, 1989, US Navy and Air Force personnel had recovered the wreckage from 200 feet below the ocean surface, and returned her to Okinawa for disposal.
  5. Maverick

    XM607 Falklands' Most Daring Raid

    I've watched it a few times. Very well done!
  6. Maverick

    German Airforce facing problems

    CANADIAN DEFENCE MATTERS CONTEMPORARY DEFENSE ISSUES FROM A CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE Wednesday, 27 June 2018 NATIONS DO NOT HAVE FRIENDS, THEY HAVE INTERESTS It is reported that on June 19 U.S. President Donald Trump sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin calling on allies, including Canada, to increase defence spending on NATO. President Trump is quoted as saying that “The United States is increasingly unwilling to ignore this Alliance’s failure to meet shared security challenges.” President Trump’s letter comes at a time of increased trade tensions between Canada and the United States. The president’s administration imposed stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum imports which Washington has said, “are necessary because of national security concerns”– an argument Canadian officials have said is ” insulting” and “absurd.” The application of tariffs based on ‘national security concerns’ has been greeted with surprise in Canada. It should not. Although it may well be true that these tariffs are motivated more by concerns over bi-national and international trade then they are genuinely motivated by so called ‘security concerns’ it should not come as a surprise that the U.S. would put its own interests first. As Ed Whitcomb pointed out in the Globe and Mail the United States followed, almost literally for centuries, isolationist policies. It could even be said that the current fashion for multilateralism in that country is the aberration, not the norm. As he points out, “The U.S. is moving back to its traditional preference for bilateralism and isolation and no amount of lecturing on the advantages of multilateralism will change the minds of those who think that way.” In point of fact, as Canada has discovered in the past, all countries, no matter how close the relationship, put their own interests first. In 1903 the Alaska boundary dispute took place between Canada and the United States over the boundary of southeastern Alaska and the coast of British Columbia. The dispute was referred to an international tribunal, whose members included three, two Canadians and Lord Alverstone, Lord Chief Justice of England. To the surprise of many, Alverstone supported the American position against that of the Canadian delegation. It appeared to Canadians that the British felt that their new policies of what came to be known as rapprochement with the United States counted for more than Canadian interests. Although Canadian representatives refused to sign the final decision this act of protest did not prevent the decision from taking effect, since the question had been put to binding arbitration. One unforeseen outcome of this decision was a growing Canadian desire for full control over their foreign policy. Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier emphasized that Canada's lack of treaty-making power made it difficult to maintain its rights internationally and the dispute, as well as fueling anti-British sympathy, supported Ottawa’s case for increasing independence from London, especially in the years following the First World War. In our current situation both Matt Gurney writing for Global News and Ted Campbell on his website have made the point that if a nation wishes to be truly sovereign then it needs to have independent foreign and defense policies backed up by spending adequate to realise those policies. Gurney in particular laments what he perceives as the Canadian tendency to assume that in the final analysis we can always count on the U.S. to protect us. As history has shown us, this is a false belief. In the past Canada has effectively used military spending to achieve political/trade goals. Writing in The Canadian Military Journal Frank Maas pointed out that: “After a lengthy review of foreign and defence policy in 1968 and 1969, the Trudeau government announced plans to reduce 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Europe by half and replace its Centurion tanks with a lighter vehicle. This angered Canada’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, but they could not convince Trudeau to reverse course, and the plan was confirmed in the 1971 defence white paper, Defence in the 70s. The following year, the government announced plans to develop trade links with Western Europe and Japan, the “Third Option,” to reduce dependency upon the United States. Attempts to foster a contractual link with the European Economic Community began in 1973 and it quickly became apparent that the Europeans were resentful of the reduction of the brigade in 1969, and pressed Canada to beef up its defences in Europe. An intensive review of Canada’s armed forces, the Defence Structure Review, began in 1974, and NATO allies, particularly West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, prevailed upon Canada’s diplomats, soldiers, and Trudeau himself to reverse the 1969 decision and keep tanks in Europe. The suggestion was that if Canada wanted trade with Europe, it would have to help defend Europe.” The end result was that the cabinet directed the Armed Forces to purchase 128 German built Leopard 1 tanks. Compared to most procurement projects the speed of the program was spectacular. Cabinet directed the army to purchase new tanks in November 1975, approved a deal in May 1976, and the government signed a contract in October 1976. By 1979, the army received 128 modern tanks, on time and under budget. This was a case in which Canada used a directed military procurement to achieve political and trade goals. The time has come for Canada to consider similar actions with respect to our ongoing disputes with the United States. Canada does need to spend more on defence, if for no other reason than to increase our own capacity to maintain an independent foreign and defence policy. At the same time we need to send a message to our U.S. allies that actions have consequences and that there are costs associated with forgoing traditional methods of diplomacy in favour of bullying tweets and gratuitous insults. Canada cannot win a trade war with the United States, we should not even try. As Conrad Black has pointed out, “Behind the peeling façades of Norman Rockwell and Walt Disney, America is a monster, and not always an amiable one… Canadian policy-makers must understand that they are playing for almost mortal stakes with potentially dangerous protagonists who have no sense of fair play and no interest in what Canada thinks of them.” That does not mean that there are not actions that Canada can take. Cabinet should immediately direct the Armed Forces to procure a minimum of 88 Typhoon Eurofighters. Any complaints from other manufacturers over the lack of an open competition can be dealt with by referring to the “national security” caveat included in any government procurement program. Directing that an acquisition program worth up to $19 billion , include associated equipment, weapons, and other services, go to a European conglomerate would send a strong message. It would be a message that could be heard and understood by many sectors of the U.S establishment. If the announcement of a directed purchase of European jet fighters were to be followed shortly thereafter by a similar declaration concerning the acquisition of suitable numbers of Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft for use as air-to-air refuelers and transports the message would become deafening. No project, however necessary or well-managed, can prevail against a government that does not see the political utility of the project. Conversely, a Cabinet and Prime Minister who understood the practical benefits, both domestic and international, to be derived from giving clear and unambiguous political support to purchasing proven, in-service aircraft and working with accommodating contractors could overcome many of the negative factors that have bedeviled Canadian military procurement efforts in recent decades. Even more important would be the lesson delivered to both a national and international audience regarding the importance Canada places on its own sovereignty. Trump warns Trudeau on lack of defense spending ahead of NATO summit How Canada deals with America in seven simple steps ED WHITCOMB CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
  7. Operators Exploit New Boeing 737 Range As MAX Deliveries Accelerate With about 140 Boeing 737-8/-9s delivered to almost 30 operators since its commercial debut 13 months ago, the 737 MAX is quickly setting an industry record for the fastest introduction ever of a new jet transport. Much to the relief of Boeing and its customers, given the steep ramp-up, the swiftly expanding fleet is easing into operation with a relatively trouble-free track record since entry into service with launch carrier Malindo Air of Malaysia just over a year ago. When the first anniversary passed in late May, the fleet—which then numbered 130 aircraft—had already attained a dispatch reliability rate of 99.4%. Operators highlight reliability, fuel-burn improvements Norwegian grows transatlantic network using MAX Deliveries have been challenging but largely on time However, there remains room for improvement, and the manufacturer has tackled a handful of “teething problems,” acknowledges Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President of Marketing Randy Tinseth. “There was no one thing in particular that was a big challenge, just small things across the board with systems we changed—fly-by-wire spoilers, the onboard network server [ONS] and new flat-panel displays.” Other key changes introduced with the MAX include the new CFM Leap 1B engine, a relofted low-drag tail cone, split winglets, extended nose gear, electronic bleed air system and updated electronic engine control software. As Boeing has experienced over the years, there are different challenges in introducing major derivatives versus all-new designs, and the fewer fundamental changes associated with the former do not necessarily mean a smoother entry into service. Consequently, as it ushered in the fourth distinct generation of the 737, the company was on the lookout for unexpected knock-on effects of overlaying new systems onto an existing platform. “I think the good thing is, as we looked at it, we don’t think the design changes impacted the other systems or the other parts of the airplane. . . . At 99.4% dispatch reliability we have nothing to apologize for,” says Tinseth, who adds that the fleet appears to be on track to hit a target of 99.7% by year-end. The reliability rate, which compares favorably with that of even the highly serviceable 737 Next Generation (737NG) at the same stage of its early revenue-earning life 19 years ago, reflects Boeing’s strategy of uncovering potential issues with the MAX ahead of delivery through a 787-like service-ready operational validation (SROV). Most MAX operators are taking advantage of the aircraft’s extended range capability. WestJet inaugurated the first Boeing 737-8-operated direct transatlantic flight to Paris with a new service from Halifax on June 1. Credit: Boeing The SROV, simulated regular operational flights with launch operator Southwest Airlines in late 2016, uncovered potential niggling issues with areas such as fault isolation manuals. Other risk areas, such as the ONS that monitors hardware and software for anomalies, were mitigated by introducing the server earlier on the standard 737NG. Now in operation with 28 airlines, the MAX is used on a wider variety of routes than any previous member of the 737 family. This is largely because operators such as Lion Air and Norwegian are taking advantage of its 20% fuel-burn and 500-nm-range improvement over the 737NG, particularly on longer routes not possible with the earlier generation. Yet, even though Boeing touted the extra range and endurance as a key selling point of the MAX, the manufacturer appears to have been taken aback by the speed with which some of the operators have pushed the 737-8, in particular, into service on extended missions. “I think the ability to use them over the North Atlantic, and how Norwegian has flown the airplane, has been a little bit of a surprise, as quickly as they’ve deployed it on a number of new routes,” says Tinseth. “What I was also a little surprised by, frankly, was how our customers in Southeast Asia have flown the airplane . . . opening up new markets in the Middle East, flying to Japan immediately. We are not six years into the program, and it has opened up 180 new routes, like the 787, but we are having some of that same kind of effect,” he adds. Air Canada, a new Boeing 737 operator, expects to have 18 aircraft by year-end and is already operating them on longer routes, including transatlantic services. Credit: Boeing “We have over 4,500 orders and are fast approaching [our] 100th customer. We are at 98 and counting, so we are getting the depth and breadth of the market that we were expecting and, to some extent, I think we are exceeding our expectations,” says Tinseth. Of the airlines accepting the MAX, 28 are “first-of-kind” operators, representing an average new operator almost every two weeks. Norwegian is the one airline that is not only using the MAX to replace older aircraft but also to expand its business model. The carrier is flying the aircraft on transatlantic services between secondary cities. “The routes have been very well received by customers on both sides of the Atlantic,” says Chief Commercial Officer Thomas Ramdahl. “Not only is the experience of flying long-distance in a brand-new modern cabin appealing, but the efficiency of the MAX has allowed us to grow the operation. We are already increasing frequency on some routes this summer, including a new double-daily service from Dublin to New York in response to the strong demand seen on the route. We have already announced more 737 MAX flights from Edinburgh, [Scotland], and Shannon, [Ireland], this winter, too.” Boeing is on track to ramp up 737 assembly to 57 per month in 2019, but admits the supply chain supporting the production system is already “tight.” Credit: Boeing While Norwegian is increasing 737 capacity on transatlantic routes, it is also already changing its MAX route network. In the upcoming winter timetable, it is dropping routes from Shannon, Edinburgh and Cork, Ireland, to Providence, Rhode Island, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Bergen, Norway, to New York Stewart International Airport, and from Edinburgh to Hartford, Connecticut. It is moving capacity to the Dublin-New York, Dublin-Providence, Edinburgh-New York and Shannon-New York markets. The airline has not yet decided whether it will resume the dropped services next year. Ramdahl says that “despite taking delivery of the aircraft slightly later than planned, we have managed to successfully integrate the 737 MAX aircraft into our operation, and it continues to fly according to plan.” Norwegian has 110 737 MAXs on order and will use the aircraft on long- and short-haul routes. North American carriers that are longtime 737 operators are seeing benefits in their new MAX-family aircraft and taking advantage of them in their networks. United Airlines put its first 737-9s into service at the beginning of June, concentrating them on routes out of its Houston Intercontinental hub. Among the first United 737 MAX routes is its 2,340-nm Houston-Anchorage, Alaska, run, a seasonal market that formerly relied on Boeing 757s. The carrier has 161 MAX-family aircraft on order and has plugged in a 14% fuel savings over its 737NG fleet, which includes -700s, -800s, -900s and -900ERs. Air Canada is using some of its 737-8s to upgrade routes between Canada and several Hawaiian destinations from Boeing 767s flown by low-cost carrier subsidiary Rouge this winter. The carrier, which has 61 MAX-family aircraft on order—50 -8s and 11 -9s—also will use them in several international markets, including Keflavik, Iceland, Dublin and Shannon, this summer. The carrier in April announced a change in its 737 MAX-family delivery schedule, moving five deliveries to 2020 from 2021, and deferring 11 others “up to 36 months,” Chief Financial Officer Michael Rousseau says. Shandong Airlines, which already operates 120 Boeing 737s, is one of seven Chinese carriers now operating the MAX; it has 34 on order. Credit: Boeing Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu says the moves reflect the firming up of several uncertainties in place when it booked the 61-aircraft order. Among the changes since: an order for Bombardier CS300s and a decision to sell 25 Embraer 190s. “These changes are to give us maximum flexibility to bring the 737 MAXs in at a time [when] we can use them most effectively and we can drive the best business case,” Rovinescu says. “We don’t want to be inundated with aircraft at times [when] we can’t use them, and we don’t want to be short of aircraft at [high-demand] times.” Air Canada plans to be operating 18 MAXs by July 1. The carrier’s chief rival, Calgary, Alberta-based WestJet, will make the 737-8 the centerpiece of its narrowbody fleet. The carrier has committed to a total of 55 MAX-family aircraft, including a mix of -8s, -9s and 10s. It has six -8s in service, with the first joining its fleet last November. “Schedule reliability started off well with results being over our initial target line of 98.2%,” the carrier reports. Following a slight decline in early 2018, the fleet “is now back on target.” The fleet’s completion factor is “strong,” the carrier adds, “well above” its target of 98.9%. WestJet says Boeing’s aftermarket support has been generally solid, although spare parts inventory “in some case has been a challenge” due to limited initial availability. “Those challenges include where the manufacturer has deemed parts as ‘management controlled,’ where limited supplies were made available and additional inventory released when an aircraft is [on ground] (AOG),” or grounded while awaiting spare parts. Like other MAX-family operators, WestJet is using its newest 737s to stretch its network. Among the -8’s routes are Halifax, Nova Scotia-London Gatwick Airport, which started April 30, and Halifax-Paris, which launched May 31. “We are evaluating other longer-haul services enabled by the MAX and out of range of our existing NG fleet,” the carrier says. “The route performance has been as expected.” WestJet adds. “Feedback from pilots has been positive regarding low noise levels in the flight deck and cabin (which helps reduce fatigue) as well as increased fuel efficiency.” In Europe, TUI Travel is growing its MAX fleet rapidly. TUI has five 737-8s in service, the first of which arrived in January. Four more are due for delivery in November and December, and TUI plans to take an additional 14 before summer 2019. Chinese operator XiamenAir took delivery of its first Boeing 737-8 in May. The first MAX was the operator’s 150th 737, and its 200th aircraft overall, since beginning operations in 1984. Credit: Boeing “Entry into service has been very smooth,” says TUI fleet planning director Tom Chandler. The delivery process itself was “less smooth than expected,” but ultimately all of the aircraft arrived as scheduled. The five MAXs burn about 16-17% less fuel per seat than the 737-800s the company has been flying on typical missions. Chandler has heard positive feedback from pilots about the good handling of the aircraft and the larger screens, although the engine start “is a little slower than on the NG,” Chandler says. Flight attendants appreciate the lower noise level in the cabin. The dispatch reliability is “very good,” and TUI has not had any serious issues, apart from a component failure that Chandler describes as “bad luck.” TUI’s airline affiliates operate the -8 in an 189-seat configuration; 42 seats have extra legroom at a 32- or 33-in. pitch. The aircraft therefore have the same capacity as the -800s they replace. But TUI also plans to use the MAX to replace its fleet of 221-seat 757-200s. For that purpose, it has converted the order to include 18 737-10s, which are to arrive from late 2020 onward. The 737-8s currently operate average sectors of little more than 3 hr., according to Chandler. They have not yet been deployed on longer routes than the -800, but TUI is looking at taking advantage of the additional range capabilities by adding more nonstop flying to the Cape Verde islands, sectors in excess of 6 hr. depending on the origin. While the 757s will leave the fleet when the -10s come in, TUI plans to operate a mixed MAX/NG fleet for the foreseeable future. Given the rapid expansion of the customer base and the accelerating delivery numbers to support it, there is strain on the Renton, Washington, assembly line. “The production system has been tight, especially as we’re producing at these higher rates,” says Tinseth. “The only thing we can do is keep in close contact with all our supply base. But at this point the program continues to be on track, deliveries are on time. But I will tell you that the supply chain is tight.” The strain on the 737 production system began to grow significantly in 2017 as the rate increased to 47 a month from 42; evidently, the growth is continuing and will level off at 52 over the coming weeks. The system will face further pressures next year: An increase to 57 per month is planned for mid-2019, in the middle of which Boeing will also initiate deliveries of the shorter-bodied 737-7; certificate the higher-capacity, 200-seat 737-8 derivative and introduce the first 737-10 test aircraft onto the production line. This all means the number of 737s coming into service will also continue to grow significantly in 2018 and 2019. In 2017, 529 737s were delivered, of which 74 were 737-8s. Some estimates suggest total 737 deliveries could exceed 580 in 2018, of which 40-45% will be MAX models. Production of the final 737NG models is meanwhile expected to be completed by late 2019 or early 2020, with production then switching entirely to the MAX variants with the exception of military derivatives. For engine manufacturer CFM International, a General Electric-Safran joint venture, the in-service experience has also been relative painless, allowing it to focus predominantly on catching up on its lagging production plan. “It has been, frankly, a pretty smooth entry into service and we have had no significant events on the engine,” says CFM Executive Vice President Allen Paxson. By the end of the first year in service, the 260 installed Leap 1B engines in the fleet had amassed 270,000 hr. and 100,000 cycles. “The operators are taking the aircraft and flying them right away, and the early data says they are flying them on the same routes or longer than they flew their 737NGs, which means they have a great deal of confidence in the new product and are putting them to work right away,” Paxson adds. The shift to using the new aircraft on longer routes is “a pretty solid trend,” says GE Leap 1B product leader Kris Shepherd. “All these fuel savings are on the longer routes where they get more of a bang for the buck,” he adds. Although CFM acknowledges a handful of minor issues such as faulty sensors and fuel tube leaks, “there is nothing across the fleet,” says Paxson. However, a more serious long-term challenge is the emergence of the same erosion in exhaust gas temperature (EGT) margin CFM has seen on the Leap 1A powering the Airbus A320neo. The issue, reported on the Leap 1A in 2017, is caused by premature loss of the protective coating on the high-pressure turbine shrouds and results in a shorter time on wing before removal. “We are experiencing that on the Leap 1B as well,” says Paxson. The base engine has 50-60F EGT margin, and CFM is adding an additional 25F through a software update to mitigate the impact. “So there is plenty of margin, but we have seen this shroud spall cause some shift in this engine EGT as well, and that’s likely to be what drives them off-wing first for a refresh. However, we have had no removals due to that to date,” he adds. The EGT margin erosion is “easy to predict, so we can prepare ourselves and refresh the shrouds in less than 30 days,” says Paxson, who calls it “a very manageable condition.” A revised shroud configuration is in production and “flying away on the latest engines, and we have them ready for the refresh of the shrouds when they come in to the quick-turn sites," he says. "We have not had any of those done on the Leap 1B for the MAX yet. We don’t expect to have those until a year from now, or more, but we are ready.” CFM also hopes to catch up with its Leap 1B engine deliveries “with buffer” by the third quarter this year. “We are still behind our commitments to Boeing in production, and the good news is we are not any further behind. But we have not caught up as quickly as we had hoped,” says Paxson. The engine-maker, which last year acknowledged it was 28-30 days behind, has closed the gap to about 26 days. “We were still about there. Yes, we are closing slower than we had hoped but we are still closing it,” he adds. Although the disruption in early 2017 caused by the recall of 30 engines to inspect and replace low-pressure turbine discs has been overcome, the fallout partially persists as CFM is still behind schedule in its efforts to ramp up additional suppliers. “Our efforts to bring on second and third sources earlier has been slower than we hoped for as we come down the learning curve for new suppliers,” says Paxson. The compensating element of this drive for a more robust supplier base is that none of the holdups have been related to new technology components, such as the composite blades, fan case or additive fuel nozzles. “It’s the standard forging and casting parts that are pacing us right now. The ‘dual-tri’-sources strategy is a great risk-abatement policy but it adds complexity to the ramp-up because on any one part we don’t have one process,” he adds. “To get up the ramp rate, we have to have two or three suppliers or shops doing it at the same time. Getting to that rate with all those supply streams is doubly difficult, but it will be worth it eventually,” Paxson concludes.
  8. Maverick

    AirTransat Expands to Europe

    That didn't take you long!
  9. Maverick

    AirTransat Expands to Europe

    No, I'll continue to call you out. How about you stop posting sh!tty, snide comments and then I won't have to? You can then just carry on as the self appointed AEF starter of most every thread! Win/Win
  10. Maverick

    AirTransat Expands to Europe

    Nah, just tired of your same old shite.
  11. Maverick

    AirTransat Expands to Europe

    You’re a funny guy Malcolm
  12. Maverick

    DLH A340 damaged by fire

    Absolutely, it's a sunset airplane anyway. I've seen far less damage resulting in a write-off.
  13. A Sichuan Airlines pilot has been awarded nearly US$776,912 for calmly landing the flight 3U8633 after his co-pilot was partially sucked out of the cockpit window on May 15, 2018. The Chinese pilot, Liu Chuanjian, was awarded the nearly five million yuan and the title of “hero captain of China’s civil aviation.” An airbus A319 carrying 119 passengers was cruising at an altitude of 32,000 feet, the right windshield broke loose and a deafening sound tore through the cabin. The pilot saw his co-pilot was partially sucked out and said “i noticed, my co-pilot had been sucked halfway out of the window” he added “everything in the cockpit was floating in the air. Most of the equipment malfunctioned — and I couldn’t hear the radio.” The Captain Liu Chuanjian took control of the situation, and safely landed the plane. The Captain Liu Chuanjian received five million yuan (US$776,912), the second in command, Liang Peng, was awarded two million yuan (US$312,456), 27-year-old co-pilot Xu Ruichen, received one million yuan, (US$156,228), and six other crew members were given one million yuan between them.
  14. Maverick

    First WJ plane in new livery

    Surprising no one.