Bombardier CSeries 300 flies

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Canada, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America | Posted on 28-02-2015

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CS300 first flight

Following from our post a few days ago, we can now report that the Bombardier CSeries CS300 aircraft made its first flight on 27th February 2015.

The picture above shows C-FFDK on its maiden flight at Montreal Mirabel Airport, and the video below shows the moment she took to the skies for the first time.

Capt. Andris (Andy) Litavniks, who was the co-pilot on the historic maiden flight of the smaller CS100 model on September 16, 2013, was pilot-in-command on today’s milestone flight. Capt. Litavniks was assisted by co-pilot Christophe Marchand and flight test engineers Anthony Dunne and Mark Metivet.

“It was an absolute privilege to fly the first flight of the CS300 airliner and I’m absolutely ecstatic with how well it handled. It’s a pilot’s aircraft and handled exactly as predicted by simulation,” said Capt. Litavniks. “Pilots will find it easy to transition from the CS100 to the CS300 aircraft or vice versa, which will greatly reduce training costs for operators using both models.”

“Our CSeries aircraft program is progressing well, with results from testing as expected or better. The CS300 airliner will now join the five CS100 aircraft flight test vehicles that have amassed more than 1,000 flight test hours to date,” said Rob Dewar, Vice President, CSeries Program. “We are confident the CS100 aircraft will be certified in the second half of 2015, followed closely by entry-into-service. The CS300 airliner is expected to follow about six months later.”

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This larger variant of the new regional airliner will join the four CS100 aircraft already undergoing testing and certification ahead of an entry to service with the many airlines who have ordered it.

Congratulations to Bombardier and all of the partners involved in this significant milestone and good-looking aircraft!

Last Airbus A300B2 retired from passenger service

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Iran, Japan, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 27-02-2015

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A300B2 MahanAir (c) Mohammad Razzazan

The final example of the first model Airbus A300B2 has been retired from passenger service by Iranian carrier Mahain Air after a career spanning 34 years.

Originally delivered to Japanese airline TOA Domestic Airlines in 1981 and later joining Japan Air System, EP-MHA (c/n 160) started flying for Mahan Air in 2006 on routes around Iran and the Middle East.

Now the aircraft has been ferried to Kerman, according to ch-aviation, to join two other stablemates which were retired recently. It is expected that the aircraft will be scrapped rather than going on to serve with another airline.

It is expected that Mahan Air will also retire its ageing A300B4 fleet this year, too.

Bombardier CSeries 300 maiden flight due this week

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Canada, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America | Posted on 24-02-2015

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CSeries CS300

Bombardier has announced that it has received a permit to fly the prototype CSeries 300 variant this week for the first time.

So far the test programme for the new regional airliner has focussed on four of the smaller CS100 models. They have so far accumulated over 1,000 hours of test flying, and the manufacturer has said “test results are looking great.”

The CS300 has been given a window of 26-28 February to make its maiden flight, which will be at the Montreal Mirabel Airport facility used to build the aircraft.

Bombardier has said it will announce the test flight timing 48 hours in advance on the CSeries.com website, but maintains that it is subject to weather and other last minute factors.

The aircraft is expected to perform a series of handling and system calibration tests, at a wide range of altitudes and speeds.

“This is an exciting time. The first four CS100 Flight Test Vehicles (FTVs) have flown more than 1,000 hours, test results are looking great and the CS300 aircraft will perform its maiden flight in the coming days,” said Rob Dewar, Vice President, CSeries Program, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The success of the CSeries aircraft program is testament to the dedication and hard work of our partners, suppliers and in-house teams, and it has also benefitted greatly from the involvement of our customers.”

So far the CS300 variant has orders for 180 units.

You can watch live updates of the test flight at CSeries.com and on Bombardier Aerospace’s Twitter feed.

New Toulouse aviation museum opens its doors

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, France, Miscellaneous Spotting, Western Europe | Posted on 18-02-2015

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Aeroscopia_museum_aircraft_display_1

A new attraction for aircraft enthusiasts visiting Toulouse has now opened.

The Aeroscopia museum was developed with the support of Airbus, and is situated alongside the manufacturer’s huge assembly lines – an aviation attraction in their own right!

Attractions at the museum houses about 27 historic aircraft, including:

  • The first Airbus A300B2 prototype (F-WUAB)
  • An Airbus Skyling Super Guppy (2/F-BPPA)
  • Sud Caravelle 12 (F-BTOE)
  • BAC/Aerospatiale Concorde 201 (F-WTSB)
  • BAC/Aerospatiale Concorde 209 (F-BVFC)
  • Plus various light, executive and military aircraft of historic value.

Aeroscopia_museum_aircraft_display_4

Many of these aircraft featured in a previous aviation museum at Toulouse Airport, but under the new development it is arranged in a much better way. A new hangar-like structure houses many of the aircraft, whilst others are still displayed outside. There is also an aircraft restoration workshop which you can visit, and a gift shop full of aviation goodies.

Aeroscopia is open daily from 9.30am to 6pm.

You can find out more on the Aeroscopia website.

50 Shades of Grey Airline Liveries… well, nearly!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 13-02-2015

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Time for some fun. Whilst the world is going ‘Fifty Shades’ mad, I set myself the challenge of finding 50 different shades of grey airline liveries.

Well, I managed to find ten, old and new. So I present them here for your enjoyment! There are some really great liveries and many important airlines have chosen grey as their identity.

Which others can you think of? Leave a comment below!

 

1. American Airlines

Both old and new, American took many years to grow out of the polished grey look, and even now retains a light grey scheme.

American 767

Bradley Basin Employee ShootPatrick Summersrms275910cns2014nef

 

 

2. Spirit Airlines

Their new livery looks like a New York taxi cab, but the previous one was every shade of grey and looked great!

Spirit_Airlines_N587NK

By Jelson25 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

3. Qatar Airways

The first operator of the Airbus A350, which wears their smart grey scheme with red titles.

Qatar A350

 

4. United Airlines

OK, their current (Continental) livery isn’t grey… and neither was their previous livery. But the one before THAT was definitely grey. Known as their battleship scheme, it was prolific in the 1990s.

By Solitude [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Solitude [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

5. Jet2

The UK low cost airline’s main colour scheme features a grey body and red tail, as seen on their Boeing 737s and 757s.

Jet2 757

 

 

6. Royal Jordanian

This is a very dark shade of grey, but nevertheless it’s one of the smartest airline colour schemes in my opinion.

Royal Jordanian 787

 

 

7. Royal Netherlands Air Force

So we’ve gone military here, but it’s another great grey scheme and one of the last operators of the Douglas DC-10, so worthy of inclusion!

Netherlands Air Force DC10

 

 

8. Aeroflot

The Russian national airline dumped its white and blue scheme last decade and now sports this classy grey, blue and red scheme.

Aeroflot-A320

 

 

9. Thomas Cook Airlines / Condor

The European leisure airline updated its livery in 2015 and I can count two shades of grey amongst the white and yellow, so it definitely counts!

By Myself (Adrian Pingstone). (My own photograph, taken with a Nikon D50 DSLR.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Adrian Pingstone

10. Northwest Airlines

I still miss this airline. Most of their colour schemes over the years featured some shades of grey, with their final livery (seen here) was about 80% grey.

By Makaristos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Makaristos [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

So, which other airlines can you think of that use grey in their livery? Post a comment below.

 

 

2Excel’s Boeing 727s at Doncaster

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting Trip Reports, Spotting Videos, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 06-02-2015

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2Excel Aviation now have two former FedEx Express Boeing 727s based at Doncaster Sheffield Airport in the north of England. I was on site yesterday to witness the arrival of the second, G-OSRB, recently painted in the striking red and white colours.

The company’s first aircraft, G-OSRA, was in fact the last Boeing 727 built. Both have been saved from the axe following their retirement by FedEx last year.

Now, the aircraft will be used for oil spill response duties, and also in a cargo carrying capacity.

Enjoy this video of the aircraft at Doncaster.

Transavia gets a new look

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, France, Miscellaneous Spotting, Netherlands, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 30-01-2015

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Transavia new livery

Transavia Airlines and Transavia France have introduced a new branding and colour scheme across the company, including its aircraft livery.

It only seems a shot time since their last rebrand, but apparently it’s been ten years!

The first aircraft to wear the new, brighter look is Boeing 737-700 PH-XRX and is already flying.

Transavia new scheme

The new branding was completed by Studio Dumbar, and you can see more examples of the new look on their website. Most notably, the airline is no longer called transavia.com. It’s apparently old news to do that now.

What do you think of the new scheme? Have you see it in real life yet?

 

 

New Air Force One on its way

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 29-01-2015

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"Air Force One over Mt. Rushmore" by U.S. Air Force File Photo. - http://web.archive.org/web/20070315005902/http://www.af.mil/news/airman/0104/trans21b.html, http://www.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/021126-O-9999G-024.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Air_Force_One_over_Mt._Rushmore.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Air_Force_One_over_Mt._Rushmore.jpg

Air Force One over Mt. Rushmore” by U.S. Air Force File Photo

The US Government has chosen the Boeing 747-8 for its Air Force One replacement.

The aircraft, which transports the US President and other government staff on trips all over the world, is one of the most famous aircraft in the world. In the past the fleet has consisted of various Boeing 707 variants, some of which are now preserved at different museums.

Presently, two Boeing 747 VC-25s, based on the 747-200B, operate for the president in the instantly recognisable blue, white and grey scheme.

On choosing to keep with the 747 line, Air Force Secretary Deborah James said in a statement: “The Boeing 747-8 is the only aircraft manufactured in the United States (that) when fully missionized meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission.”

The exact number of 747-8 aircraft which makes up the Air Force order is not yet known, but some are speculating that it could signal the end of the line for the classic ‘jumbo jet’. Production has been reduced recently to 1.3 aircraft per month as orders have slowed and few airlines are opting for the type over rival twin-jets.

It would be incredibly significant if the new presidential aircraft is the final Boeing 747 built, but we’ll have to wait and see whether this happens.

Presumably the existing Air Force One VC-25s will be retired to museums in due course.

Airbus A350 routes page

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 21-01-2015

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A350 Routes Page

A new resource we’ve recently added to the site is a list of planned Airbus A350 XWB routes that will be operated by the many different airlines who have ordered it.

The type is now in service with Qatar Airways, and will soon start flying with airlines such as Finnair and Vietnam Airlines.

Like our extremely popular Boeing 787 routes page, our new page will constantly evolve as we hear about new planned routes, training routes, and new airlines taking delivery of the type. It will hopefully be a really useful resource for those planning to see this new aircraft in service, or even to plan a route and fly on it!

You can find the Airbus A350 routes page here: www.airportspotting.com/airbus-a350-routes

242 tonne take-off weight Airbus A330 takes to the skies

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in France, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 13-01-2015

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A330_242T__First_flight_take_off_2_

Airbus has successfully flown the first A330 aircraft with the increased 242 tonne maximum take-off weight (MTOW) at Toulouse Blagnac.

Didier Evrard, Airbus Executive Vice President Head of Programmes said: “I congratulate the whole team in charge of the A330 242 tonnes weight variant for making this day happen ahead of schedule. We are on track to deliver this new higher weight variant in 2015 to launch customer Delta Air Lines, who will also be the launch customer for the A330neo.”

The A330 242 tonne MTOW is the platform for the future A330neo and is concrete example of Airbus’ incremental innovation strategy. The newest enhancement offers more capability at lower operating cost with a range extended by up to 500 nautical miles and up to two percent reduced fuel consumption while also benefiting from operational reliability of above 99 percent. The 242 tonne MTOW is capable of flying missions up to 15 hours.