Thursday 31 March 2022

Happy Birthday RAAF

            Today the RAAF turns 101 years old. 


Founded in 1921, their history has been one of duty, dedication and sacrifice. More than 360,000 Australians have served with them over the last century - and more than 11,000 have died in service. Their commitment and sacrifice will never be forgotten. Today, all who proudly wear their uniform carry a deep sense of duty to serve our nation, protect its people, and to safeguard its future for the generations that will follow us Then, Now. Always. 

RAAF Time Line

31st March 1921
The Australian Air Force (AAF) is formed
The formation of the Australian Air Force was announced in the Australian Government Gazette on 31 March 1921. Later in the year on 13 August, following receipt of approval from the King, the Governor General signed an order authorising the use of ‘Royal’ making this the start date for the use of the Royal Australian Air Force name.
RAAF Point Cook is located on the shores of Port Phillip Bay, 20 kilometres south west of the Melbourne central business district, near the township of Werribee, Victoria and is synonymous with the birth of military aviation in Australia.

10th January 1922
First Air Force non-technical training course graduates
Around 240 Officers and Airmen complete three months of training.

15th June 1922
Aircraft production begins in Australia with the Avro 504K
Avro 504K trainer became the first aircraft built in Australia for the RAAF.

19th May 1924
First round Australia aerial survey flight
First round Australia aerial survey flight by Air Force’s acting Chief of the Air Staff, Wing Commander S.J. (‘Jimmy’) Goble, and pilot, Flying Officer Ivor McIntyre.

1st July 1925
Establishment of RAAF Base Richmond
RAAF Base Richmond lies approximately 50 kilometres north-west of Sydney, and is situated between the towns of Richmond, from which the base takes its name, and Windsor. Richmond was activated as a RAAF station when No. 3 (Composite) Squadron’s first 3 aircraft arrived there on 30 June 1925, as part of the unit’s relocation from Point Cook, Victoria.

1st March 1926
Establishment of RAAF Base Laverton (RAAF Base Williams - Laverton)
RAAF Williams - Laverton is located beside the Princes Highway next to the Laverton railway station, Victoria, about seven kilometres away from RAAF Base Point Cook. Since the airfield was decommissioned in 1996 there have been no flying units or flying activity at Laverton.

20th April 1936
Formation of Nos 21 and 22 Squadrons
Nos 21 and 22 Squadrons were raised as ‘Cadre’ units at Laverton, Victoria and Richmond, NSW respectively,

10th March 1938
Establishment of RAAF Base Pearce
RAAF Base Pearce was officially granted station status on 6 February 1939 and is located in the suburb of Bullsbrook, approximately 35 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia. The base, the only permanent RAAF base on the west coast is home to No. 79 Squadron, No. 2 Flying Training School and No. 25 (City of Perth) Squadron as well as several other units, including No. 130 Squadron of the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

1st June 1940
Establishment of RAAF Base Darwin
Formed in June 1940, RAAF Base Darwin was very rapidly at the front line of Australia's defence at the outbreak of war in the Pacific. Darwin and its satellite fields housed a multitude of Australian and US units, operating throughout the South-West Pacific.

17th June 1940
Establishment of RAAF Base Amberley
RAAF Base Amberley commenced operations on 17 June 1940 with its initial role being a centre for flying training and recruiting.

31st July 1940
Establishment of RAAF Base Wagga Wagga
The origins of the Base are traced back to May 1939 when Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced that Forest Hill would become the site of the RAAF’s new flying school (No. 2 Service Flying Training School).

15th October 1940
Establishment of RAAF Base Townsville
In 1939, Townsville City Council transferred the city airport to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). RAAF Base Townsville was formed on 15 October 1940 and has a long and proud association with the people of North Queensland.

15th February 1941
Establishment of RAAF Base Williamtown
RAAF Base Williamtown is strategically positioned to the North of Newcastle in the Port Stephens area. The history and expansion of RAAF Williamtown since its establishment during World War II is directly linked to the evolution of air power and the technological advances in tactical fighter and surveillance aircraft.

31st August 1944
Air Force reaches its highest strength during World War II
The RAAF attained its highest strength during World War II on this day, at almost 182 000 personnel (162 846 males and 19 031 females).

30th January 1951
Women’s Royal Australian Air Force
Women’s Royal Australian Air Force (WRAAF) commences recruit training on this day.

13th December 1958
C-130A Hercules Touches Down at Richmond
The first C-130A Hercules touched down at Richmond airbase on delivery from the United States, beginning a new era in RAAF airlift.


19th March 1964
Establishment of RAAF Base Fairbairn
Headquarters RAAF Station Canberra ceased to function on 31 May 1952 and Headquarters RAAF Canberra was formed the next day. Ten years later, on 19 March 1962, the name was again changed, to Headquarters RAAF Fairbairn, in honour of J.V. Fairbairn, the former Minister for Air who died in an air crash in Canberra on 13 August 1940.

22nd April 1964
Introduction of the Caribou
Three DHC-4 Caribou Mk 1 light transports arrived at RAAF Base Richmond on delivery from the De Havilland Aircraft Company of Canada.

13th May 1968
Introduction of P-3B Orion Aircraft
Australia’s initial order for ten P-3B Orions to equip No 11 Squadron for maritime patrol duties was delayed in 1968, not arriving until this day.

14th September 1970
Air Force takes delivery of F-4E Phantom Aircraft
The first five of 24 F-4E Phantom aircraft, arrived at RAAF Base Amberley.

23rd November 1981
Air Force Ensign

The first example of a new ensign featuring the Air Force's ‘leaping kangaroo’ roundel in place of the RAF cockade went on display in the office of the Chief of Air Staff, finally completing the process of evolving a distinctive flag for the Air Force. After receipt of Royal Assent during the Air Force's diamond jubilee year, the new Ensign was gazetted in 1982.

17th May 1985
Arrival of first F/A-18 Hornet Aircraft
The first two F/A-18 Hornets landed at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales, on completion of their delivery flight from the US.

11th June 1988
Opening of RAAF Base Curtin
RAAF Base Curtin is a joint use military air base and civil airport located on the north coast of Western Australia about 35 kilometres south-east of Derby and 170 kilometres east of Broome, and covering an area of more than 25,000 hectares. Curtin is one of 3 RAAF bare bases that form an arc across the north of Australia, the others being Scherger on Cape York and Learmonth on the North West Cape peninsular of Western Australia. Although, during peacetime, Curtin is maintained by a small caretaker staff permanently stationed there, the base is activated for Defence Force exercises and operations by units deploying to the base from other parts of Australia.

30th June 1988
First Female Pilots
Flight Lieutenant Robyn Williams and Officer Cadet Deborah Hicks became the Air Force’s first female pilots.

31st March 1989
Establishment of RAAF Base Tindal
RAAF Base Tindal is located 15 kilometres outside Katherine in the Northern Territory and 320 kilometres by road south – east of Darwin. Tindal forms part of chain of airfields reaching from Learmonth in Western Australia to Townville in Queensland and is home to No, 75 Squadron, a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fighter unit as well as several detachments and non-flying units belonging to the Combat Support and Surveillance and Response Groups.

11th August 2003
First Female Two-Star Ranking Air Force Officer
When Air Commodore Julie Hammer was promoted to Air Vice-Marshal, she became the first woman to achieve two-star rank in the Australian Defence Force.

26th November 2009
Introduction of the Wedgetail
No 2 Squadron took delivery of the first two Boeing Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW. Under the project, the Air Force would receive six airframes at a cost of A$3.4 billion, to herald a new era of aerial surveillance for the Australian Defence Force.

20th March 2010
First of the F/A-18 Super Hornet – Rhino’s Arrival
The first five of 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (Rhino) aircraft on order for the Air Force arrived at the RAAF Base Amberley, becoming the Air Force’s first new air combat aircraft in 25 years.


3rd December 2010
Farewell to the F-111
The Air Force’s fleet of F-111 bombers was retired after 37 years as the mainstay of Australia’s long-range strike capability.


1st June 2011
Delivery of KC-30A
The Air Force took delivery of the first of a planned total of five Airbus Military A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, designated the KC-30A.

RAAF AIRBUS A330-203 MRTT A39-002 (MSN 951)

16th November 2016
Arrival of the P-8A Poseidon
The first P-8A Poseidon aircraft arrived in Canberra on this day.

10th December 2018
Arrival of the first F-35A Lightning II Aircraft
This date denotes the arrival of the first two F-35 Lightning aircraft to their new home at No 3 Squadron RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW.

1st November 2019
Heading to retirement of the AP-3C after 50 years of service
The Air Force began the draw down of the AP-3C Orion following the arrival of the P-8A Poseidon, after serving as Australia's primary Maritime Patrol aircraft.

Sunday 27 March 2022

KLM / Pan Am Incident 45 yrs today

KLM B747-406 PH-BFH (CN 24518)                 File Photo

On the 27th March 1977, 45 years ago today, two Boeing 747 passenger jets, KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736, collided on the runway at Los Rodeos Airport on the Spanish island of Tenerife, killing 583 people, and making it the deadliest accident in aviation history. 61 passengers survived the accident. KLM had 248 POB (234 Pax and 14 crew) Pan Am had 396 POB (380 Pax and 16 crew, 335 Pax died 61 survived). At 12:30pm a bomb explodes in the Las Palmas passenger terminal. Because of warnings of a possible second bomb, the airport was closed. A large number of flights were diverted to Tenerife. Like KLM Flight 4805 from Amsterdam and PanAm Flight 1736 from Los Angeles and New York. Las Palmas Airport re-opened to traffic again at 15:00. Because the PanAm passengers remained on aboard it was possible to leave Tenerife at once. The taxiways were congested by other aircraft however. This meant the PanAm crew had to backtrack on runway 12 for take-off on runway 30. The entrance to runway 12 however, was blocked by the KLM Boeing. The PanAm flight had to wait for almost 2 hours before all KLM passengers had reboarded and refuelling had taken place. The KLM flight was then cleared to backtrack runway 12 and make a 180deg. turn at the end. Three minutes later (at 17:02) Pan Am 1736 was cleared to follow the KLM aircraft and backtrack runway 12. The PanAm crew were told to leave the runway at the third taxiway and report leaving the runway. At 17:05:44 KLM 4805 reported ready for take-off and was given instructions for a Papa beacon departure. The KLM crew repeated the instructions and added "We are now at take-off". The brakes were released and KLM 4805 started the take-off roll. Tenerife tower, knowing that Pan Am 1736 was still taxiing down the runway replied "OK ...... Stand by for take-off, I will call you." This message coincided with the PanAm crew's transmission "No ... uh we're still taxiing down the runway, the Clipper 1736". These communications caused a shrill noise in the KLM cockpit, lasting approx. 3.74 seconds. Tenerife tower replied: "Papa Alpha 1736 report runway clear.", whereupon the Pan Am crew replied: "OK, will report when we're clear". This caused some concerns with the KLM flight engineer asking the captain: "Is he not clear then?" After repeating his question the captain answers emphatically: "Oh, yes". A number of second before impact the KLM crew saw the PanAm Boeing still taxiing down the runway. The crew tried to climb away and became airborne after a 65 feet tail drag in an excessive rotation. The PanAm crew immediately turned the aircraft to the left and applied full power. The KLM aircraft was airborne, but the fuselage skidded over the PanAm's aft fuselage, destroying it and shearing off the tail. The KLM aircraft flew on and crashed out of control 150 m further on, sliding another 300 m bursting into flames.


"The KLM aircraft had taken off without take-off clearance, in the absolute conviction that this clearance had been obtained, which was the result of a misunderstanding between the tower and the KLM aircraft. This misunderstanding had arisen from the mutual use of usual terminology which, however, gave rise to misinterpretation. In combination with a number of other coinciding circumstances, the premature take-off of the KLM aircraft resulted in a collision with the Pan Am aircraft, because the latter was still on the runway since it had missed the correct intersection." KLM Flight 4805 was a charter flight for Holland International Travel Group and had arrived from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Netherlands. Its captain was Jacob Veldhuyzen van Zanten, age 50. At the time of the accident, Veldhuyzen van Zanten was KLM's chief flight instructor, with 11,700 flight hours, of which 1,545 hours were on the 747. The first officer was Klaas Meurs, age 42. At the time of the accident, Meurs had 9,200 flight hours, of which 95 hours were on the 747. Flight engineer was Willem Schreuder, age 48. At the time of the accident, Schreuder had 15,210 flight hours, of which 540 hours were on the 747. The aircraft was a Boeing 747-206B, registration PH-BUF, named Rijn (Rhine). The KLM jet was carrying 14 crew members and 234 passengers, including 52 children. Most of the KLM passengers were Dutch, while also on board were 4 Germans, 2 Austrians and 2 Americans. After the aircraft landed at Tenerife, the passengers were transported to the airport terminal. One of the inbound passengers, who lived on the island with her partner, chose not to re-board the 747, leaving 234 passengers on board.

Pan Am Flight 1736 had originated at Los Angeles International Airport, with an intermediate stop at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The aircraft was a Boeing 747-121, registration N736PA, named Clipper Victor. Of the 380 passengers (mostly of retirement age, but including two children), 14 had boarded in New York, where the crew was also changed. The new crew consisted of captain Victor Grubbs, age 56, first officer Robert Bragg, age 39, flight engineer George Warns, age 46, and 13 flight attendants.
At the time of the accident, captain Grubbs had 21,043 hours of flight time, of which 564 hours were on the 747. First officer Bragg had 10,800 flight hours, of which 2,796 hours were on the 747. Flight engineer Warns had 15,210 flight hours, of which 559 hours were on the 747.

Aircraft 1 Information
Aircraft: Boeing 747-206B
Operator: KLM
Flight Number: 4805
Registration: PH-BUF
Serial Number: 20400
First Flew: 14/9/1971
Age: 6 yrs

Aircraft 2 Information
Aircraft: Boeing 747-121
Operator: Pan Am
Flight Number: 1736
Registration: N736PA
Serial Number: 19643
First Flew: 24/12/1969
Age: 8 yrs

Story sourced from Wikipedia

Friday 25 March 2022

Pakistan International Airlines plans direct flights to Sydney

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) intends to soar into Sydney in April as the flag carrier begins a long-awaited direct service connecting the NSW capital with Lahore.

Although the initial schedule shows just one flight per week, this will slash the current travel time in half, from around 25 hours including stopovers to just under 13 hours.

While a firm start date doesn’t appear to be set just yet, flight PK9808 is slated to take off from Lahore at 7:15pm on Fridays, touching down in Sydney at 12:45pm the following day.

The aircraft will then remain parked at Sydney Airport until Sunday evening, when PK9809 pushes back at 7:45pm to reach Lahore at 3.45am Monday, subject to approval by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Passengers will travel on the airline’s Boeing 777-200LR, where the 35 very dated business class recliners in a 2-3-2 layout are sold as ‘Executive Economy’ class, ahead of 275 economy seats in a 3-3-3 set-up.

Lahore is one of PIA’s three hubs, alongside the capital of Islamabad and the sprawling coastal metropolis of Karachi, with connections fanning out across the nation and to nearby countries, along with London, Birmingham, Manchester and the Norwegian capital of Oslo.

There are also codeshare flights with partners including Etihad Airways, Turkish Airlines, WestJet and FlyDubai to deliver a wider international network.

While Pakistan International Airlines doesn’t belong to Star Alliance, SkyTeam or Oneworld, its Awards+ Plus loyalty program offers the usual three tiers (Emerald, Sapphire and Diamond) with perks such as free seat selection, priority baggage and access to PIA’s business class lounges.

Thursday 24 March 2022

Dad dubbed 'Fraud of the Skies' stole £25k from duty free

A Dad dubbed 'Fraud of the Skies' stole £25k from duty free with in-flight loophole

Keith James, 63, stole items including perfume, alcohol and cigarettes, in hundreds of transactions over three years and was dubbed the 'Fraud of the Skies' over a series of flights between Manchester and his second home in Spain. 

He was dubbed the "Fraud of the Skies" and it came to an end when he was arrested at Manchester Airport. James, who believed he was terminally ill with bladder cancer, used bank cards with no credit facilities after realising online transactions could only be processed after planes landed, a court heard.

Between May 2016 and April 2019 the married father-of-six would fill his bags with items from the duty-free trolley onboard then, after touching down at the airport, would make a quick getaway before the cabin crew downloaded passenger purchases. They would then find his transactions had been rejected due to "insufficient funds''.

At one point, Jet2 tried to ban the rogue customer from their flights, but he got around it by using his middle name on boarding passes.

James, from Wythenshawe, ignored legal letters demanding payment and even kept flying with the same operators but he was eventually arrested at Manchester Airport as he got off a flight from Spain.

He later admitted hundreds of illicit mid-flight transactions for pleasure claiming he wanted to ''get one over'' on the banks claiming they were ''keeping customers in debt".

He said he had gifted all the stolen items, which also included sunglasses and aftershave, to his family. The total amount of goods he stole was worth £25,556.40. ($33,746 Australian)

In a statement, James said: ''I've been an idiot haven't I. But the diagnosis has taken its toll on me mentally and physically and I felt the radiotherapy and chemo had done me in and made me a bit bitter and twisted.

''I was genuinely giving things away as it made people happy.

"Giving away a bottle of nice perfume was making me happy. I didn't know how long I had left and I liked doing this. I realise it was wrong I shouldn't be doing it. But at the time I was treating each day as my last and didn't think of the consequences - I regret it now and haven't done it since.''

Jet2 lost £12,459.50 ($21,941 Australian) during the racket while the now-shuttered Thomas Cook lost £13,100.19. ($23,069 Australian)

At Minshull Street Crown Court, James who is still undergoing twice-yearly treatment for his illness admitted eight charges of fraud by false representation and was given 12 months jail suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to wear an electronic tag for six months as part of a 7pm-7am curfew.

Tuesday 22 March 2022

China Eastern grounds 737 fleet after crash

CHINA EASTERN A350-941 B-304N (MSN 261)

China Eastern have confirmed it will ground all 102 of its 737-800 models. These normally fly short haul domestic and international routes. 

The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, was delivered to China Eastern direct from Boeing in June 2015 and had been flying for over six years.

The 737-800 is a popular variant of the 737, one of the world’s most widely selling jets. 
Both Qantas and Virgin Australia have the 800s in their fleets but have not yet commented on what they plan to do.
India has said all 737s in the fleets of its airlines will be placed under “enhanced surveillance’ following the Chinese disaster.

The 737-800 is not a 737 Max variant which has been involved in two fatal crashes and was taken out of service for almost two years.

The cause of the plane crash is under investigation and the company will co-operate with the relevant investigations. Flight data of the China Eastern airlines Boeing 737 jet have detailed the terrifying three minutes the passenger plan plummeted from the sky.

In two minutes and fifteen seconds, the plane dropped from a cruising altitude of 29,100ft to 9075ft. The last reported altitude the plane recorded was 3225ft.

The director of aviation consultancy firm Cirium also called the Boeing 737 jet one of the safest planes ever made and struggled to explain how the incident happened. While rescuers are currently accessing the area, no survivors have been reported as of yet. 

“I’m not going to speculate on what happened but if the FlightRadar24 logs are accurate, something seems to have happened abruptly and the plane nose dived from cruising altitude.” he said.

The initial assessments of the tragic crash appears to have left experts baffled. This is due to the fact the Boeing 737 was in the cruise phase of the flight, when accidents are least likely to occur. “Usually the plane is on autopilot during cruise stage. So it is very hard to fathom what happened,” he said.

Monday 21 March 2022

China Eastern Airlines passenger jet crashes with 132 people on board

                          BREAKING NEWS

A Chinese Eastern flight travelling from Kunming Wujiaba International Airport (KMG/ZPPP), China to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN/ZGGG), China with 132 people on board has crashed in the southern province of Guangxi, state media reports.
Broadcaster CCTV said the accident involved a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 and occurred near the city of Wuzhou in Teng county. It said rescuers had been dispatched and there was no immediate confirmation of numbers of dead and injured.

Shanghai-based China Eastern is one of China's top three airlines, operating scores of domestic and international routes serving 248 destinations.

Reports said rescue teams were near the site of the crash, which was ablaze, but casualties were unclear.
It is not clear just yet what caused the crash.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the aircraft lost contact over the city of Wuzhou. It had 123 passengers and 9 crew on board.
The plane, which was 6 years old, took off from Kunming's runway 21 at 1:11pm local time, according to information on the FlightRadar24 website.

The flight tracking ended at 2:22pm at an altitude of 3,225 feet with a speed of 376 knots.
The plane had been due to land at 3:05pm local time.

The safety record of China's airline industry has been among the best in the world over the past decade.
According to the Aviation Safety Network, China's last fatal jet accident was in 2010, when 44 of 96 people on board were killed when an Embraer E-190 regional jet flown by Henan Airlines crashed on approach to Yichun airport in low visibility.

The jet was delivered new to the Chinese airline in 2015 and was a popular sight at airports as it was adorned with a special peacock livery. 

Aircraft Information:
Airline: China Eastern
Code: MU/CES
Aircraft: Boeing 737-89P
Registration: B-1791
Serial Number: 41474
Flight Number: MU5735
Age: 6.8 Yrs
First Flew: 05/06/2015
Engines: 2 x CFMI CFM56-7B24


American Airlines suspends Sydney flights

The Qantas partner will pause its flights between Los Angeles and Sydney from the 5th May.


American Airlines will suspend flights between Sydney and Los Angeles from the 5th May, citing “ongoing delays” to the delivery of new Boeing 787 jets.

The daily trans-Pacific service is American’s only Australian route; also being put on ice are Seattle to London and Dallas Fort Worth to Santiago, while the launch of a new flight between Dallas Fort Worth and Tel Aviv has also been pushed back.

An American Airlines spokesman confirmed the changes to Executive Traveller, adding that the carrier was “proactively reaching out to customers scheduled to travel on affected flights to offer alternate arrangements.”

“American is committed to Australia and offers service through our Oneworld partner, Qantas,” he added.

Qantas’ daily Sydney-Los Angeles schedule in May shows an Airbus A380 five days a week, with the mid-sized Boeing 787 Dreamliner currently slotting in on Tuesday and Sunday.

The Boeing 787 has become American’s international workhorse, but in December 2021 the airline suggested it would need to revise its schedule to account for as many as 13 planes it had counted on having but remained undelivered.

“Without these wide-bodies, we simply won’t be able to fly as much internationally as we had planned next summer,” Vasu Raja, American’s chief revenue officer, said in an internal memo.

This weekend, in a posting to American’s internal staff website, the airline stated “we had expected Boeing to deliver all 13 of our delayed 787-8 aircraft in 2022, but we now expect to receive only 10 787-8s this year, with the remaining aircraft now scheduled for delivery in 2023.”

Boeing is working to find and repair tiny structural imperfections in the carbon-fibre aircraft while addressing quality lapses among suppliers and their subcontractors.

“Despite the ongoing delay, we still have tremendous confidence in the aircraft and will continue to work with Boeing on their delivery,” the airline stated, adding that the airline would receive compensation from Boeing “for their inability to deliver the aircraft.”

American Airlines reinstated daily Sydney-LAX flights in early January this year, after halting the service in August 2021 “due to the ongoing travel restrictions” sparked by Covid-19, an American Airlines spokesman told Executive Traveller at the time.

American's US rivals Delta Air Lines and newly-minted Virgin Australia partner United Airlines will continue their daily Sydney-Los Angeles flights.

Story sourced from here

Sunday 20 March 2022

Wasps wreaking havoc on planes at Brisbane Airport

A wasp population is wreaking havoc on planes and impacting aviation technology at Brisbane airport, with ecologists working to solve the problem. The invasive keyhole wasp, only found at Brisbane airport is the species behind the infestation, creating problems for aviation crews by making mud nests inside pilot tubes, a hollow device used to calculate the plane's speed.

MALAYSIA A330-323 9M-MTK (MSN 1388)

Covers for the tubes have been deemed the best solution to the problem, but in 2018 a Malaysian Airlines flight took off with the covers still in place. As a consequence, crews were unable to determine the plane's speed, putting all on board at risk. The results of an investigation into the incident have just been released. "The consequences of taking off without reliable airspeed indicators can be catastrophic, and it has played out that way around the world in the past," Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Angus Mitchell said.

"There was a number of points along the way and a number of decisions that were missed that should have kept that plane on the ground."

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released the final report from its systemic investigation into a serious incident where a Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330 with 14 crew and 215 passengers on board took off from Brisbane Airport with no airspeed information.

Shortly after the aircraft arrived in Brisbane from Kuala Lumpur on the 18th July 2018, a support engineer placed covers on the aircraft’s three pitot probes (airspeed sensors) to prevent them from being blocked by mud wasps, a known hazard at Brisbane Airport.

However, during the turnaround and before the aircraft departed for the return flight to Kuala Lumpur the covers were not removed. This was despite there being requirements for multiple walk-around checks by the aircraft captain, engineer and dispatch coordinator, all intended to identify unsafe conditions such as the fitment of pitot probe covers.

Consequently, the aircraft’s primary instrument displays showed red speed flags in place of airspeed indications from early in the take‑off, and the flight crew did not respond in time for the take-off to be safely aborted.

Once airborne the flight crew climbed the aircraft to 11,000 feet where they performed troubleshooting and other procedures, including shutting down the aircraft’s air data systems. This activated a system installed on some Airbus aircraft called the back up speed scale (BUSS), which displayed a safe flight envelope for flight crew to maintain.

Using the BUSS and airspeed management procedures, and assisted by air traffic control, the flight crew brought the aircraft safely back to Brisbane.
On the night, several individuals from different organisations had separate, key roles in detecting aircraft damage or other unsafe conditions such as the fitment of pitot probe covers. However, these checks were omitted entirely or only partially completed, for a variety of reasons including inadequate communication and reduced diligence.

“Had all the relevant pre-flight inspections been completed, and conducted thoroughly, it is very likely that the pitot probe covers would have been seen and removed,” Mr Mitchell noted.

A report from the ATSB said the wasps have now spread beyond control.
Ecologist Alan House is working with Brisbane Airport to solve the problem.
"The wasps as far as this study showed preferred Boeing 737s and A320, A330," he said.
"Eradication... would not have been too difficult 10 years ago.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Malaysia Airlines
Code: MH/MAS
Aircraft: Airbus A330-323
Registration: 9M-MTK
Serial Number: 1388
Engine:  2 x PW PW4168A
First Flew: 30/01/2013
Test Registration: F-WWYT

Saturday 19 March 2022

Passengers sing Baby Shark to comfort upset boy on six-hour flight

Doo-doo-doo-doo-don't cry! Heartwarming moment plane passengers sing Baby Shark to comfort upset boy on six-hour flight from Dubai

The young child had become very upset on a flight from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, to the Albanian city of Tirana last week.

Rather than simply sitting in silence for the six-hour flight, other people on the plane decided to try their best to cheer him up, breaking into a rendition of the famous children's song.

A video of the sight, taken by Dubai-based radio host Parikshit Balochi and posted on his TikTok on Thursday, March 10, has now been viewed more than 7 million times.

In the footage passengers on the FlyDubai flight can be seen smiling as they clap and sing the song.

The camera pans to the upset boy, who is being held in the arms of a man, and seems to be calmed slightly by the tune as he watches them sing.

Mr Balochi said that the child was sitting next to him and had been 'crying nonstop'.

'First individually people sitting around him tried distracting him, but when nothing worked out a group of guys, including me, started singing Baby Shark and more people joined in,' he said.

The video has warmed hearts across the world, with people on TikTok praising the passengers for their actions.

@missylight205 said: 'It literally costs nothing to be a decent person. We need more of this.'

@itsmillennialsarah said: 'See what can happen when we all work together instead of against each other?'

@aishasree added: 'Do we still have this kind of people? I love their kindness and vibe.'

@hkrai.x said: 'How was there so many kind humans on the plane all at once! I love this'

Story sourced from here
Plane passengers sing Baby Shark to comfort crying boy on six-hour flight from Dubai [VIDEO] | Daily Mail Online

Friday 18 March 2022

Air Canada restarts Brisbane and Auckland flights


With travel confidence continuing to improve in 2022, Air Canada is making the most of the upbeat mood. The Star Alliance member will boost its Sydney-Vancouver flights to a daily schedule as of the 1st May, up from the current four days a week, in the face of Qantas’ own thrice-weekly Sydney-Vancouver service.

Air Canada will also bring back direct Brisbane-Vancouver flights – the only carrier serving this trans-Pacific corridor – beginning 1st July from Vancouver (on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) and July 3 from Brisbane (on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday).

Auckland is also back on Air Canada’s map, with three flights a week from the 10th November.

The Brisbane and Auckland flights will be handled by Air Canada’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which – like the Sydney-Vancouver Boeing 777 – feature spacious Signature Class lie-flat business suites and WiFi.

Business class travellers and those with top-tier frequent flyer status can begin their journey from Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland from the lounges of Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand, with the Signature Suite lounge at Vancouver slated to reopen by mid-year.

  • Vancouver-Sydney flights ramp up to daily from 1st May
  • Vancouver-Brisbane flights resume 1st July
  • Vancouver-Auckland flights resume 10th November

Story sourced from here

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Pilot issues mayday alert at Sydney airport

A pilot issued a ”mayday” call to Sydney Airport’s air control after experiencing a possible “flight control malfunction” just moments before landing.

A ‘mayday’ call signalled to Sydney Airport air control has been recorded after a FedEx aircraft was forced to abort a landing during its final approach to the runway shortly before 10.30pm on Saturday.

The FedEx flight FX9075 on a journey from Singapore was on its final approach to Sydney, according to the Sydney Morning Herald,when the pilot reportedly changed course just kilometres from the runway.

According to the FlightRadar flight tracking map, the pilot clearly changed course during the decent and diverted west over Brighton-Le-Sands before ascending again to nearly 3000 feet, the data shows.

A ‘mayday’ call signaled to Sydney Airport air control has been recorded after a FedEx aircraft was forced to abort a landing during its final approach to the runway shortly before 10.30pm on Saturday.

The FedEx flight FX9075 on a journey from Singapore was on its final approach to Sydney when the pilot reportedly changed course just kilometres from the runway.

According to the FlightRadar flight tracking map, the pilot clearly changed course during the decent and diverted west over Brighton-Le-Sands before ascending again to nearly 3000 feet, the data shows.

In a statement provided to, the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau said further investigations into what occurred are ongoing.

“The ATSB is gathering further information into the circumstances of an occurrence where a MD-11 freighter aircraft conducted a missed approach and issued a mayday call while on approach to land at Sydney Airport on Saturday evening.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: FedEx
Code: FX/FDX
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-11F
Registration: N576FE
Serial Number: 48501

Aircraft Registration History
30/09/1992  Garuda - EI-CDK  
21/09/1997  Varig - PP-VPP  
10/03/2005  Fed Ex - N576FE 

Monday 14 March 2022

British Airways 747 is now an exclusive PARTY PLANE


After more than 13,000 flights, one of BA’s jumbo jets can be booked for everything from parties to weddings.

The Boeing 747 revolutionised air travel when it first took to the skies in 1969. Now, after an impressive five decade production run, one iconic jumbo jet is gearing up for perhaps its most ambitious role yet – as a ‘party plane’ available for weddings, birthdays and private events.

Sporting British Airways’ classic ‘Negus’ livery – a distinctive red, white and blue design that featured across the fleet from 1974 to 1980 – the 747 was put out to pasture in October 2020 after completing 13,398 flights and racking up an impressive 118,445 flight hours.
Its last passenger flight was from Miami to Heathrow on the 6th April 2020.

But this Queen of the Skies wasn’t quite ready for retirement just yet.

She was purchased for a token £1 by Cotswold Airport, near the village of Kemble in Gloucestershire, England, with airport CEO Suzannah Harvey revealing grand plans for the old girl.

Harvey said she was offered her pick between four retired BA 747s, but the choice was an easy one, describing the British Airways livery created by feted British design agency Negus & Negus as “the most beautiful one they’ve ever produced”.

An extensive 14-month interior makeover saw the economy class ceiling panels, seats and overhead luggage compartments removed to open up the spacious cabin.

The jumbo now sports a large, multi-space dancefloor matched by an impressive lighting rig, DJ booth and bar seating. The galley kitchen has also been converted into a cosy walk-up bar, although the first class cabin and the cockpit remain untouched, should you need a space to sit down and catch your breath.

The Cotswold Airport 747 Negus is now available for weddings, birthdays, launches and any other event you’d care to hold inside a jumbo jet.

Rates start at around £1000 (AUD $1,911) an hour, with a 24-hour full day hire setting you back some £12,000 (AUD $22,934) – still, it’s a small price to pay to experience a piece of aviation history.

For what it’s worth, the first Qantas Boeing 747-438 is now in residence at Australia’s Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) Aviation Museum at Albion Park, one hour south of Sydney.
VH-OJA (MSN 24354) arrived on the 8th March 2015 as a gift from Qantas after Qantas cancelled a plan to retire her to an ‘aircraft graveyard’ in Victorville, California and instead donated the historic aircraft to HARS to be preserved.
It was the 12th Boeing 747-400 to be built by Boeing.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: British Airways
Code: BA/BAW
Aircraft: Boeing 747-436
Registration: G-CIVB
Serial Number: 25811
First Flew: 3rd February 1994
Engines: 4 x RR RB211-524G
Stored: 16th March 2020

Sunday 13 March 2022

Bamboo Airways to fly Sydney, Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City

Bamboo Airways Logo QH-BAV.png

Vietnam’s newest international airline is headed to Australia, with flights from both Sydney and Melbourne.

Vietnam's Bamboo Airways is soaring into Australian skies, with non-stop flights from both Sydney and Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City – (formerly known as Saigon) – as well as Hanoi set to take off.

The new services capitalise on a fast-growing market and what was one of Asia's most popular tourism destinations prior to the pandemic, while also serving the large Vietnamese population in Sydney and Melbourne. Vietnam intends to remove most restrictions on international tourists from the 15th March.

While Hanoi is the Vietnamese capital, Ho Chi Minh City is a drawcard for Bamboo's debut, being the nation's commercial hub and a primary destination for business and tourism alike.

Executive Traveller understands March 30 will see the launch of twice-weekly services from Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City, as well as Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City, with the option of growing both routes to four flights per week later in the year "subject to demand."

Those will be followed on April 27 with the first direct service between Melbourne and Hanoi; this will start at just one flight per week, again with the intention to add flights as demand grows.

"We expect the upcoming regular nonstop Vietnam-Australia route of Bamboo Airways will help maximize passengers' benefits when traveling between the two countries while making a substantial contribution to the promotion of bilateral cooperation in economy, culture, and people-to-people exchange," said Nguyen Manh Quan, Executive Deputy General Director of Bamboo Airways.
More Australian cities to come?

Bamboo Airways has its eye on additional Australian cities, with Truong Phuong Thanh, Deputy General Director of Bamboo Airways, describing the opening of the Melbourne-Hanoi route as "a crucial premise for Bamboo Airways to further expand the non-stop flight network to other destinations in Australia, and to connect Australia with countries in Europe and Asia through Vietnam as a transport hub."

Prior to Covid-19, Bamboo Airways’ rival Vietnam Airlines and Qantas' low-cost arm Jetstar connected Melbourne with Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, while Vietnam Airlines ran direct Sydney-Hanoi flights on its own Boeing 787.

Bamboo Airways JSC, operating as Bamboo Airways, is a Vietnamese leisure airline owned by the FLC Group, registered in Quy Nhơn, Vietnam, with a head office in Cầu Giấy District, Hanoi. Founded in 2017, the airline launched operations on the16th January 2019. It operates a mixed fleet of narrowbody and widebody aircraft, and has hubs at Noi Bai International Airport and Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

Ho Chi Minh (SGN) to Melbourne (MEL)
QH88 will depart SGN on Saturday at 1.30 arrive MEL 14.00 - (Inaugural 26th March) 
Melbourne (MEL) to Ho Chi Minh (SGN)
QH89 will depart MEL on Sunday at 10.00 arrives SGN 14.20 -  (Inaugural 27th March) 

Hanoi (HAN) to Melbourne (MEL)
QH82 will depart HAN on Wednesday at 18.30 arrives MEL 7.00 (next morning) (Inaugural 18th May) 
Melbourne (MEL) to Hanoi (HAN)
QH83 will depart MEL on Thursday at 10.00 arrives HAN 16.40 (Inaugural 19th May) 

Ho Chi Minh (SGN) - Sydney (SYD)
QH86 will depart SGN on Tuesdays at 18.30 arrive SYD 7.00 (next morning) -  (Inaugural 29th March) 
Sydney (SYD) - Ho Chi Minh (SGN) 
QH87 will depart SYD on Wednesdays 11.30 arrive SGN 16.15 (same day) -  (Inaugural 30th March) 

As of October 2021, the Bamboo Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:

                            In Service         On Order
Airbus A319-100      1
Airbus A320-200      6 
Airbus A320neo       6 
Airbus A321-200      3
Airbus A321neo       5                     1
Boeing 787-9           3                     11
Embraer E190          5         
Total                   29               12

Friday 11 March 2022

10 Year Old delays Alaska Airlines arrival with hijacking threat

An Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Orlando was held up last Sunday evening due to an incident with a 10-year-old prankster. Authorities have said that the 10-year-old boy had AirDropped a message about hijacking the plane to another passenger, who alerted a crew member. Speaking to WKMG, an unnamed passenger explained:

"We’re taxiing in and all of a sudden the plane gets interrupted with a peculiar notice that we’re going to park on an active runway for a moment. After that, they said there was a threat to the plane and that we are not going to be approaching any terminal for any time soon.”

Armed police were dispatched to clear the situation. The plane was left parked away from the terminal for over an hour before clearance was given for the flight to continue to its gate. Another passenger has said:

"We were looking (up and down the plane) for the perps, but we’re not seeing any. Our concern was that it was a bomb threat because they kept us far from any terminals.”

The threat was quickly determined as not credible. Police cleared passengers one by one before the family of the prankster was escorted off the plane. Passenger Ryan Ruitt described the parent’s reaction to police:

“As soon as they got up, it was, like, the saddest thing. The mood just switched because the mom was crying and was, like, ‘I’m so sorry everybody. I’m so sorry.”

The minimum age for federal aviation crimes is 11 years old, so no charges have been filed.
Alaska Airlines released a statement on the incident:

"After Alaska Airlines flight 16 from Seattle landed in Orlando, it parked remotely because of a potential threat that was later deemed non-credible. Police boarded and cleared the aircraft. The plane continued to its gate and passengers deplaned as normal," they said. "We take safety seriously and we apologize for the inconvenience for our guests."

AirDrop issues

This week’s incident was not the first of its type, with a similar one taking place in San Francisco back in July 2021. United Airlines Flight 2617, also to Orlando, was deboarded after a teenager airdropped an image of an airsoft gun to other passengers. Police determined that the photo had been taken at an earlier date, and they did not have the toy firearm with them.

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Remembering Malaysia MH 370



Today marks the 8th anniversary of the disappearance of the Malaysian 777 and even though bits and pieces believed to be from the stricken 370 have been found, the actual aircraft is still missing. 
Flight MH 370 was a scheduled international passenger flight that disappeared on the 8th March 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL/WMKK), Malaysia to Beijing-Capital International Airport (PEK/ZBAA) China. Flight 370 last made voice contact with air traffic control at 01:19 local time when it was over the South China Sea, less than an hour after take off. The aircraft disappeared from air traffic controllers' radar screens at 01:21 local time. Malaysian military radar continued to track Flight 370 as it deviated from its planned flight path and crossed the Malay Peninsula. Flight 370 left the range of Malaysian military radar at 02:22 while over the Andaman Sea, 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 miles) northwest of Penangin in north western Malaysia. The aircraft was carrying 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 passengers from 15 nations; six of those were Australians. Investigators thought the most likely location for the jet was in the Indian Ocean after analysing information from the British satellite telecommunications company Immarsat. Likely locations for the airliner could be tracked by knowing the distance from the fixed satellite, but it would also change depending which direction the plane was flying in after its last known position and at what speed it was travelling at. If it was flying north then possible locations could stretch as far as the border between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Thailand. But if it was flying south possible sites could range from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean. Authorities believe the Indian Ocean is the most likely site After 7 years of extensive searches and many possible sighting of floating objects, Investigators have found no trace of the Malaysia Airlines 777 or it's 239 passengers.
Initially search efforts focused on the South China Sea area. On the 24 March 2014 further analysis of the Inmarsat satellite data indicated that MH370 flew south and ended its flight in the southern part of the Indian Ocean. A surface search was conducted of probable impact areas along an arc, identified by calculations based on Inmarsat data. The search was carried out from the 18th March - 28th April 2014. This search effort was undertaken by an international fleet of aircraft and ships with the search areas over this time progressing generally from an initial southwest location along the arc in a north-easterly direction. No debris associated with MH370 was identified either from the surface search, acoustic search or from the ocean floor search in the vicinity of acoustic detection, which were initially believed to have been from the pingers on the flight recorders. The ocean floor search was completed on the 28th May 2014.
On the 26th June 2014 the ATSB published a new search area based on refinements to the analysis of both the flight and satellite data. The priority area of approximately 60,000 km2 extends along the arc for 650 km in a northeast direction from Broken Ridge, an underwater ridge. The width of the priority search area is 93 km.
On the 29th July 2015 a flapperon washed ashore on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. On August 5 it was established to have been from MH370.

Flight 370 was operated by a nearly 12 year old Boeing 777-2H6ER, registration 9M-MRO (MSN 28420). This was the 404th Boeing 777 produced, it first flew on 14th May 2002 and was delivered to Malaysia Airlines on 31st May 2002. For the sake of the loved ones left behind and for the staff at Malaysia Airlines I hope they find the aircraft soon.


Sunday 6 March 2022

Spotting at Brisbane Airport

Yesterday morning I headed out to Brisbane airport to catch the two Lion Air 737's passing through Brisbane.(See previous post)  

Below are some other photos I took during the day.





AIR NIUGINI BOEING 767-341 P2-PXV (MSN 303041)




LEARJET 60 VH-OLJ (MSN 60-211)








VH-VJU (MSN BB-1881)


A36-002 (MSN 30790)

EMIRATES A380-842 A6-EVC 9MSN 248)

Saturday 5 March 2022

Lion's found in Brisbane

Late last month there have been a fair few aircraft leaving the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage facility in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia, and today was no different. 

Two Lion Air Boeing 737-8GP departed Alice Springs bound for the USA and called into Brisbane for a fuel stop.
N381AG, with the callsign of Nomadic 553, departed Alice Springs from runway 12 at 9.31am (Alice Time) and set course for Brisbane landing on runway 01L 2 hours 30 minutes later at 12.34pm local. 

N381AG is the new registration as the aircraft started its life with Thai Lion Air in August 2015 with the registration HS-LUI. Then in March 2020 it ended up with Lion Air and had the registration PK-LQV (MSN 39861).

Twelve minutes later N386AG, with the callsign Nomadic 554, departed Alice also from runway 12 at 9.43am (Alice Time) and he too set course for Brisbane. Nomadic 544 landed on runway 01L fourteen minutes later at 12.48pm.

N386AG is the new registration as the aircraft also started its life with Thai Lion Air in October 2015 with the registration HS-LUK. Then in March 2020 it ended up with Lion Air and had the registration PK- LQW (MSN 39868).

At 1.51pm Nomadic 553 pushed back from the gate and made the long taxi out for the 01L holding point, then at 2.02pm starting rolling for take off and headed off for Honiara. From there it will travel to Honolulu, Los Angeles and on to Miami's Opa Locka.

At 2.13pm Nomadic 554 pushed back from the gate and also made the long taxi out for the 01L holding point, then at 2.26pm starting rolling for take off and headed off for Honiara. From there it will travel to Honolulu, Los Angeles and on to Miami's Opa Locka.

Thanks to Damian F for the heads up, really appreciate it.