Dusseldorf railway station spotting area closed

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, Germany, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 08-03-2015

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By Konstantin von Wedelstaedt [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Konstantin von Wedelstaedt [GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately one of the two official spotting locations at Dusseldorf Airport has been closed.

The railway station, linked to the national and local rail network, as well as to the terminal via a monorail, featured an open air viewing area which overlooked the ends of runways 23L and 23R, as well as the taxiways linking them. As such it was a great place for photographing airliners both on the ground and in the air.

But sadly the viewing area is now closed, and it is reportedly a permanent closure.

A.Savin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

A.Savin [CC BY-SA 3.0 or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

The other official viewing area, atop the terminal building, remains open. It is on top of concourse B, and reached via the third floor. There is a small entrance fee.

Opening times are now 10am-7pm year-round (no early summer opening now)

Iberia brings forward Airbus A330 deliveries

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 04-03-2015

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Iberia A330

Iberia has brought forward the introduction of the Airbus A330-200 into its fleet by 14 months.

Eight examples are now due to enter the fleet between December 2015 and November 2016, from an order placed last year.

The aircraft will replace the ageing A340-300s still being flown by the airline, and will join the A330-300 and A340-600 fleet in operating Iberia’s long-haul flights from Madrid Barajas.

The A340-600s are in the process of being upgraded, with new long-haul cabins and better Business class. The airline will also take delivery of eight A350-900s in the future.

 

Boeing finding homes for ‘terrible teen’ 787s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Asia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, North America, USA | Posted on 03-03-2015

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Ethiopian 787 (c) Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

Boeing is making progress on finding homes for the early Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft which have been sat in storage at its Everett Paine Field manufacturing site since the early days of the aircraft.

These particular aircraft were built shortly after the prototypes began flying, with Boeing seeking to catch up on the delays it had incurred. The aircraft were completed, and most had the basic liveries of the airlines who had ordered them applied. But then they didn’t go anywhere.

When I visited Paine Field in early 2012 there were a number of these aircraft scattered around, painted in the colours of Royal Air Maroc, ANA All Nippon Airways, Air India and others.

Since these aircraft were among the first 20 built (hence the nickname ‘terrible teens’) they also incurred vital modifications which were necessary as a result of testing on the prototypes and first delivery aircraft. Notably, there were problems with electrical fires and the strength of the wing assemblies.

All future Dreamliners were built with fixes for these problems, but for the terrible teens a process of modifications took place to make them airworthy; this in turn added extra weight to the airframe and they incurred a range penalty of around 1,000 miles.

Naturally the planned operators of these aircraft demanded newer airframes, leaving the early examples looking for a new home.

Terrible Teen 787s at Paine Field

Terrible Teen 787s at Paine Field

But now Boeing seems set to announce where they’ll be heading. Since the backlog for orders is so great, taking a terrible teen will be a way to jump the queue for any airline – especially those who don’t mind the range restrictions so much, and would prefer to pay a reduced price tag, which presumably is the case for the unwanted aircraft.

Last week it was confirmed that Air Austral would be taking two of the aircraft, to operate from Reunion Island.

Now it looks like Ethiopian Airlines will take up to eight examples.

Garuda Indonesia and Malaysia Airlines have been approached to take some of the jets, according to ch-aviation, and it seems likely Rwandair will take two of the Royal Air Maroc candidates.

 

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.”

bca_4668_02_27_gallery_26en

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.

CSA to open Stuttgart focus city

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Czech Republic, Eastern Europe, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 26-02-2015

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CSA A320

CSA Czech Airlines is slowly emerging from its self-imposed retreat by announcing more expansion and route updates.

Earlier this month the airline announced its return to the UK with a new twice-weekly link to Liverpool from Prague starting on 4th June.

Now, it has announced the inauguration of a focus city at Stuttgart Airport which will commence in May.

A 3x weekly ATR42-500 route from Prague to Stuttgart had already been announced, starting 26th May. But now, on the same day, the airline has said it will start flights from Stuttgart to Bologna, Geneva and Marseilles (via Geneva). All routes will use the ATR42 aircraft.

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.

WOW Air adding two A321s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Iceland, North America, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 24-02-2015

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Wow A321

WOW Air will add two Airbus A321s with sharklets in the coming month.

The aircraft, which will feature sharklets, will be introduced on the airline’s new flights from Reykjavik (Keflavik) to Boston Logan (from March 27th) and Baltimore-Washington (from May 8th).

“We’re very proud to be adding these new A321 aircraft to our growing fleet of aircraft,” said WOW air founder and CEO Skúli Mogensen. “We are now ready to continue our rapid growth as the first true low-cost carrier offering flights across the Atlantic via Iceland.”

Ilyushin IL-96 to continue, and other common Russian types

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Eastern Europe, Russia, Spotting News | Posted on 23-02-2015

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By Dmitriy Pichugin [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Dmitriy Pichugin [GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

The Russian government has thrown a lifeline to the Ilyushin IL-96 – a type that has all but disappeared since Aeroflot retired its fleet in favour of western wide-body types recently.

Fourteen examples are expected to be taken over the coming decade, with the majority being new-build aircraft from the production factory at Voronezh.

The remaining examples will be converted from existing IL-96-400T freighter aircraft already in service or storage. One example, RA-96104, was recently converted into a IL-96-400VPU used for aerial command and control missions. Two aircraft will also be destined for use as presidential transports. Four older (and smaller) IL-96-300s are already used for this purpose and may be retired as a result.

With this news in mind, here’s a look at some other Russian types which have not yet succumbed to the dominance of western aircraft types:

Tupolev Tu-204/214

By Sergey Riabsev [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Sergey Riabsev [GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

Although it made its debut in 1990, the Tu-204 has only seen 76 examples built. It is still officially in production. The Tu-214 was a modernised version which first flew in 1996.

Airlines currently flying the type include Red Wings, Transaero, Cubana, Air Koryo, Cairo Aviation/TNT, and the Russian Government. Transaero and China Cargo have a number of examples on order for the most recent variant ,the Tu-204SM.

Sukhoi Superjet 100

aeroflotsuperjet

Despite a slow start, things have been looking up lately for this modern Russian regional jet. Around 90 are in service, with airlines such as Aeroflot, Interjet, Gazpromavia, Yakutia and Lao Central Airlines. Future deliveries will include examples for Red Wings, UT Air, Yamal Airlines, Transaero, Comlux, VLM, and the Thai Government, along with examples placed through a number of leasing companies.

This type is the first Russian airliner for years to truly gain international reach, and potential to challenge the dominance of western airliners.

Ilyushin IL-96

Ilyushin_Il-96

Despite Aeroflot retiring the type from passenger service in 2014, the type remains in active service with Cubana and can often be seen on routes to Europe.

Of the stored fleet of Aeroflot types, it is expected that some will go to Cubana to supplement its fleet. The remainder may also go to government use, or be used as spare part sources for active aircraft or rebuilds.

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.