Air Vanuatu has returned to Melbourne Airpot launching the carriers three times week service between Port Villa and Melbourne.
Marking the return of the airlines services to Melbourne was a ceremony conducted outside gate 20 of the International terminal.
Standing outside on the hardstand was the airlines Boeing 737-8SH, YJ-AV8 on a cold and dark Melbourne morning. A stark contract to the passengers who will arrive to beautiful and warm 27 degrees later that day.
Launching the service was Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation David Hall who was trilled to announce another airline to his airports portfolio and destinations severed from Melbourne. “The service to Port Villa is a big win for Victorian travellers as well as holiday makers in Tasmania and Adelaide who use Melbourne as a hub to reach overseas destinations”, said Mr Hall.
Also present at the launch was Air Vanuatu Managing Director and CEO Derek Nice. “We (Air Vanuatu) are excited to commence our new direct service today from Melbourne Airport to Port Vila, Vanuatu. Our direct nonstop morning flight, which see ours guest arrive in Vanuatu by lunchtime is a great opportunity for Victorian’s to explore our idyllic island nation and immerse themselves in the Melanesian spirit from the moment they arrive”.
The airline will fly to and from Melbourne on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with departure from Melbourne at 7am.
Air Vanuatu commenced operations in 1987 using a leased Boeing 737-200 flying from Port Villa to Sydney. In 1989 Air Vanuatu received its first own aircraft a Boeing 727-200. Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Brisbane are its principal destinations.
In 2004 government of Vanuatu decided to join operation s of Vanair, a well established domestic inter-island airline, with the international operations of Air Vanuatu. Noumea was added to its international schedule and the next generation Boeing 737-800 replaced older 737-400 model. Air Vanuatu is one of few airlines using Chinese made regional turboprop Y-12.
The airlines current fleet includes, three Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otters, two Yunshuji T-12, two ATR 72, two Britten Norman BN-2 and a single Boeing 737-800.
Air Vanuatu has ordered two Airbus A220-100s and two A220-300s, making it the launch customer for the A220 in the South Pacific. The first delivery from the order is due in June 2020.
ASO again wishes to thank Melbourne Airport Corporation and Air Vanuatu for their assistance.
I make no apologies for writing and photographing as many aviation museums’ as I have here at Aviation Spotters Online. Nearly all are run and managed by passionate volunteers who wish to preserve and tell the story of aviation in relation to their country, area of operations, war zones or as is the case here an airforce’s history.
The JASDF Museum at Hamamatsu has been on my list of places to visit for many years. The museum is set on the side of the Hamamatsu Air Force base where it was established in 1999. Getting there is relatively simple, a bus from the Hamamatsu train station or hire a car from the afore mentioned station and drive about 25 minutes to the entrance.
Greeting you at the main entrance is a Blue Implulse marked F-86E Sabre serial number 02-7966. Hamamatsu was the home of the JASDF’s display team where the team formed flying the Sabre in 1960. Flying six F-86Es the team was part of the 21 Squadron, which was part of the 4th Air Wing.
Tuesday ( 9:00 AM ~ 4:00PM )
Wednesday ( 9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
business_hours.thursday ( 9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Friday ( 9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Saturday ( 9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Sunday ( 9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Open on National Holidays, but closed the next day ( 12:00 AM ~ 12:00 AM )
Buses on Line 51 depart from Bus Stop 14 of Hamamatsu Station bus terminal, or the museum is within walking distance from a bus stop at Izumi-yon-chome.
Outside are a couple of airframes, hopefully in time they will move inside when time and space occurs. As with all museums space is at a premium. This however doesn’t detract from a great display of the post war JASDF. From early British and American designs too Japanese developed aircraft this small nation has progressed rapidly in its capabilities.
Curtiss C-46A Commando, s/n 91-1138
The JASDF was a significant operator of the Curtis C-46 Commando. The type was flown in several versions including electronic countermeasures training versions. On display is Commando 91-1138. This was ex USAF 42-101098, and it was delivered to the JASDF in December 1959. Withdrawn from use on 11 March 1978, and had been placed on display at Hamamatsu Air Base by 1984.
Piasecki CH-21B Workhorse s/n 02-4756
The Piasecki H-21 “Workhorse/Shawnee” is an early American designed helicopter. Fourth in a line of tandem rotor helicopters designed and built by Piasecki Helicopter (later Boeing Vertol). Commonly called the “flying banana”, it was a multi-mission helicopter, utilising wheels, skis, or floats.
Japan Air Self-Defense Force operated 10 H-21B helicopters in the search and rescue role. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force operated 2 Model 44A helicopters for testing. Four of the surviving helicopters are preserved in Japan.
Walking inside the main hangar you can’t help but notice the variety of colours and aiframes on display.
North American T-6 Texan s/n 52-0010
Known as the pilot maker across the world, the JASDF operated the North American T-6 Texan. They were among the first military aircraft which Japan was allowed to operate post-war. Some 195 eventually seeing service with the JASDF between 1955 and 1970. A further 62 were flown by the Japanese Navy.
de Havilland Vampire T.55 s/n 63-5571
The JASDF acquired this aircraft in 1955 for evaluation. The Japanese decided not to purchase it after evaluation. It remains the only Vampire flown by Japan. And thus a very unique exhibit in the museum.
Japan was looking for a replacement for its war weary North American T-6 Texan fleet. First flying in 1957 with the British Orephus engine as its power plant this was soon replaced with the locally built and designed JO-1 Engine. Long delays in the engines development saw the Orephus soon back in the airframe. Some sixty six examples of both the T-1A, T-1B and T-1C were produced and taken into service with the JASDF. The type had a long and successful career with the 13th Flying Training Wing stationed at both Gifu and Ashiya. Replaced by the locally designed and built Kawasaki T-4 in 2006. On display is T-1A 15-5825, delivered to the JASDF in 30/9/1961 it was withdrawn on the 29/3/1999 at Ashiya.
Beech 65 Queen Air
Used in the Communications and navigation trainer role the JASDF took on some 28 examples beginning in 1963. The type retired in 2000. The B-65 displayed at the JASDF Air Park bears the markings of the Southwestern Command Support Flight based at Naha, Okinawa Prefecture. It was from there that the aircraft was flown to Hamamatsu after its withdrawal from service.
North American T-28 Trojan
Initially assigned the civil registration JA3086 when imported from the manufacturer in 1954, this North American T-28B Trojan was passed to the then Japan Defense Agency for technical research purposes in 1956. Converted for the reconnaissance training role in 1962, the aircraft suffered a heavy landing at Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, on July 3, 1963, when serving with the 501st Sqn. For a time used as an instructional airframe at Kumagaya AB in Saitama Prefecture, the aircraft was in place
when the Air Park first opened its doors in April 1999.
North American T-33 Shooting Star
A type flown in large lumbers by the JASDF was the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. Entering service in 1956 and retiring in 1994 the type was flown by fourteen different Tactical Fighter Squadrons in the JASDF. Over 210 examples were eventually to be operated with many built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. T-33 was developed from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 by lengthening the fuselage by and adding a second seat, instrumentation, and flight controls. On display is 71-5239.
Mitsubishi A6M Zero
A type which was to be a mainstay in Japan’s war in the Pacific. The Zero is a long-range fighter aircraft formerly manufactured by Mitsubishi Aircraft Company, a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1940 to 1945. It was one of the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world when it was introduced early in World War II, combining excellent manoeuvrability and very long range. Nearly 11,000 examples were produced.
On display is a genuine combat veteran Zero. An A6M5 version serially 43-188. It was shot down on June 19th 1944. This being the first day of the Battle of the Philippine Sea better known as the “Marianas Turkey Shoot”. Pilot Shimazu Ozaki and another Zeke straffed a Navy SOC seaplane attempting a rescue of a downed American flyer. A USN F-6F of VF-10, flown by Lt. Henry C. Clem joined the battle, but was shot down by Ozaki. In turn, a F4U-2 Nightfighter on temporary day duty, flown by Lt.Cdr. R.E. Harmer of VF(N)-101 pursued Ozaki, and damaged his Zeke.
Escaping back towards Guam streaming smoke. Ozaki crash landed his Zeke just off the airstrip, and later died of his wounds. Rediscovered in 1962 the aircraft was exhumed nearly totally complete apart from the fabric covered rudder. It was retuned to Japan in 1964 and rebuilt and repainted into its wartime markings.
Restored by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in a hangar at JASDF Hamamatsu Airbase, it is a true time capsule example of the famous Zero.
Helicopters on display
The museum has a vast three examples of helicopters on display within the main hall.
All three are painted in their Search and Rescue (SAR) markings.
A single turbine engine, three-blade rotor amphibious helicopter. Originally developed as a commercial venture by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation of Stratford, Connecticut, it was used by the JASDF in the Search and Rescue role. Produced under license in Japan by Mitsubishi. Nine Mitsubishi-built Sikorsky S-62J rescue helicopters were operated. Known by the unofficial name of Raicho (Ptarmigan), the type was in service from 1963 to 1983 before being replaced by the more capable, twin-engined Kawasaki-Vertol KV-107.
Boeing Vertol Model 107
The KV-107 started life as Boeing Vertol Model 107 which was a twin-rotor, twin-engine design that first flew in April 1958. Japan was interested in the Model 107 for service in its Self Defense Forces and Kawasaki Heavy Industries acquired a license to manufacture the aircraft in Japan.
The JMSDF acquired the KV-107-II-3 as a mine sweeper; the JGSDF selected the KV-107-II-4 as its assault and transportation helicopter; while the JASDF adopted the KV-107-II-5 as its primary rescue helicopter. In 1988, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force choose the UH-60L to replace its KV-107 and Sikorsky S-62 helicopters.
The KV-107 started life as Boeing Vertol Model 107 which was a twin-rotor, twin-engine design that first flew in April 1958. The KV-107 started life as Boeing Vertol Model 107 which was a twin-rotor, twin-engine design that first flew in April 1958.
The Mitsubishi MU-2 made its maiden flight in September 1963 and was produced until 1986. It is one of postwar Japan’s most successful aircraft, with 704 manufactured in Japan and San Angelo, Texas, in the United States.
29 MU-2Es were purchased by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force as search-and-rescue aircraft and designated MU-2S. Additional equipment consisted of a “thimble” nose radome, increased fuel capacity, bulged observation windows, and a sliding door for dropping rafts. The type was replaced in 2008 by the British Aerospace U-125A.
Four C-model aircraft were built, in addition to 16 MU-2Ks, entered service with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) with the designation LR-1; they were used as liaison and photo reconnaissance aircraft.
North American F-86 Sabre
The first Sabres were delivered in December 1955 when a number of F-86F models arrived in Japan. The delivery of these F-86s coincided with the establishment of the Kokudan (Air Wing) at Hamamatsu airbase, eventually forming the 1st and 2nd Hikotai (Squadron) within it, both equipped with F-86F Sabres. The Sabre numbers were expanded to a sizeable air force with the backbone being formed by 180 US built and 300 Mitsubishi built F-86Fs.
A tactical reconnaissance unit was established December 1961 when the 501st Hikotai was activated at Matsushima, flying converted Sabres designated RF-86F.
F-86D all weather interceptors also flew with the JASDF. Eventually some 122 US F-86Ds, which operated between 1958–1961 They were assigned to four all-weather interceptor Hikōtai, and the Air Proving Ground at Gifu.
Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
Japan operated 173 T-34 Mentors with them being built locally by Fuji Heavy Industries. Derived from the Beechcraft Model 35 Bonanza, it first flew in 1948. On display is 51-0382.
The Fuji T-3 is a primary military trainer aircraft that was used by the JASDF. Manufactured by Fuji Heavy Industries. Its first flight was in 1978. In total 50 aircraft were produced. The type was replaced by the Fuji T-7 in 2002. 91-5517 is on display.
The Mitsubishi T-2 is a supersonic jet trainer. Introduced in 1975, it was the twin seat development of the Mitsubishi F-1 military aircraft. It was also the first Japanese aircraft to break the sound barrier. All T-2s were retired by 2006.
Entering service in 1975, with the first unit, the 21st Hikōtai becoming fully operational on 1 October 1976, with a second squadron, the 22nd Hikōtai following on 5 April 1978, allowing the North American F-86 Sabre to be phased out of the advanced training role.
The “Blue Impulse” aerobatic display team of the JASDF re-equipped with the T-2 in the winter of 1981–82. T-2s were also used by a dedicated Aggressor squadron. T-2s were also used as conversion trainers for squadrons operating the Mitsubishi F-1, a development of the T-2.The type was retired from service by 2006.
The Mitsubishi F-1 is Japan’s first domestically developed and built supersonic jet. It was nicknamed “Supersonic Rei-Sen” (Rei-Sen being the Japanese term for Mitsubishi’s A6M “Zero” fighter). Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries jointly developed the F-1. Entering service in April 1978 the type Continued until its retirement in March 2006. Seventy Seven airframes went on to serve the JASDF. Its primary role is anti-ship attack with a secondary ground attack role. It can carry AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles for self-defense.
Lockheed F-104J Starfighter
Some 210 F-104J air-superiority fighters and 20 dual-control trainer F-104DJs. Called Eiko (“Glory”), they served from October 1962 to 1986, losing only 3 airplanes in this time including a mid-air collision accident. Seven air-superiority squadrons used them: 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207. Japanese F-104s were constantly engaging intrusive Soviet airplanes during the types long service. Twenty two of the Japanese F-104s were eventually converted to drones for aerial target practice. 31 F-104J and five F-104DJ aircraft were sold to Taiwan. The museum has two examples on display, 76-8693 and 76-8998.
In the second hall are display relating to the history of the JASDF and its current fleet. Some creative and interactive parts are sure to have you spending some time in this hall. Two aircraft are also on display within the hall. A mockup of the F-2 and a F-1 which has been de-skined to show the inner workings of an airframe.
I highly recommend this museum, it is a great place to learn about the JASDF from its humble beginnings to its current incarnation.
In this the first of our Australian International Air Show articles we focus on an aircraft type that has previously visited the Australian International Air Show. The Airbus Defence and Space Military aircraft, the A400M Atlas. It was again part of the line up to be displayed among the other international aircraft on the flight line at this years event. The Royal Malaysian Air Force and Airbus Industries not only flew the Atlas to Avalon, but it was demonstrated to invited guests during the event.
Airbus are keen to see more Air Forces in the Asia-Pacific region replace legacy types like the Lockheed C-130, and Transal C-160 with the A400M.
Positioning the A400M after a demonstration flight.
The type was launched in 2003 to response to the future airlifter needs of several European nations. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Belgium, and Luxembourg had a need to replace older transport aircraft, such as the Transall C-160 and the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
All the major assemblies built at the company’s other facilities across Europe, are brought to the Seville facility by Airbus Beluga transporters, for the final assembly. The type first flew on 17 December 2008, it was originally planned to fly during the first quarter of 2008. This was postponed due to the well documented programme delays, schedule adjustments and financial pressures.
While development and cost overruns are common place with aircraft development the program was close to being terminated. In 2009, Airbus stated that the programme was expected to lose at least €2.4 billion and could not break even without sales outside NATO countries. Then in January 2010, Airbus again repeated that the A400M may be scrapped, costing Airbus €5.7 billion unless €5.3 billion was added by partner governments.
Orders and Deliveries
It was November 2010, when the governments of Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey finalised the contract and agreed to lend Airbus Military €1.5 billion. The programme was then at least three years behind schedule. The RAF reduced its order from 25 to 22 aircraft and German Luftwaffe from 60 to 53, decreasing the total order from 180 to 170.
The A400M entered military service a decade later on the 30th of September 2013. It was the French Air Force who took delivery of the first production aircraft and has orders for fifty. Turkey took delivery of their first A400M in 2014, of ten for that service. The Royal Air Force has ordered twenty two and took delivery of their first aircraft in 2014 also.
The German Luftwaffe took the first of their fifty three on order in 2014. In March 2015 the Royal Malaysian Air Force took delivery of its first A400M, of four on order. 2016 saw the Spanish Air Force take delivery of the first of twenty seven on order for their air arm. This year (2019) Belgium was handed over the first of seven their Air Force will except. Luxembourg will also take delivery of a single example in 2019.
To date some 174 aircraft have been ordered with Airbus keen to sell the aircraft to other operators including the Royal New Zealand Air Force who are considering the type to replace their 1965 delivered Lockheed C-130H Hercules.
Arriving at Avalon Airport ahead of the airshow was, RMAF M54-04 was previously deployed along with RMAF F/A-18 Hornets to Pitch Black 2018.
Wearing civilian registration, F-RBAF. Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) A4M014 departs Avalon.
Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) A4M014
Royal Air Force A400M C.1, ZM401 operated by XXIV Squadron, was present at the 2017 event.
Aviation Spotters Online was invited by Airbus and the RMAF (Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM) to experience and look at the Atlas in detail during the Australian International Airshow 2019.
Engine and Propeller Combination
It was parked near some of it’s air lifting counterparts on the hard standing at the airshow which included, the Lockheed C-130H and J models, Boeing C-17A, Kawasaki C-2A. The A400M casts a large shadow where based on size alone looks like a perfect fit among the mix. The huge eight bladed Ratier-Figeac FH385 and FH386 variable pitch tractor propellers with feathering and reversing capability are 5.3 meters in diameter. Coupled to the four Europrop TP400-D6 turboprop, 8,200 kW which produce some 11,000 horsepower each, gives the A400M a cruise speed of 781 km/h at 31,000 feet.
The eight bladed Ratier-Figeac FH385 and FH386 variable pitch tractor propellers, churn away as we climb out over Geelong
The RMAF crew prepare the cabin for the media flight.
With a maximum payload of up to 37 tonnes (81 600 lb) and a volume of 340 m3(12,000 ft3), the A400M can carry numerous pieces of outsize cargo. It is not limited to vehicles and helicopters that are too large or too heavy for previous generation tactical airlifters, for example, a NH90 or a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, or a heavy infantry fighting vehicle. It can also carry a single large truck, rescue boat, excavators or mobile cranes needed to assist in disaster relief.
Personnel and troops
Airbus has designed the A400m to accommodate 116 fully equipped troops or paratroops, seated in four longitudinal rows. Broken down this equates to:
54 sidewall seats permanently installed in the cargo hold can be easily folded against the sidewalls.
Two-centreline seat rows (62 seats) are fully removable to clear space for cargo.
An Atlas cockpit is based on the layout and design of the civilian A380 passenger liner. The full glass cockpit which features four large glass displays are combined with systems designed to reduce the workload in the flight deck. A HUD or Heads Up Display is a prominent feature in forward vision from both the right hand and left hand seats. Other systems like a T-TAD (Tactical Terrain Awareness Display), ECAM (Electrical Centralised Aircraft Monitoring) and Fly by Wire controls all aim to reduce pilot workload during its varying mission suites.
Air to Air Refuelling
The Atlas was designed to be a dual-role transport and tanker aircraft. A standard A400M has much of the equipment and software provisions for 2-point air-to-air refuelling operations already installed. Any A400M can be rapidly reconfigured to become a tactical 2-point tanker able to refuel probe-equipped receiver aircraft. Having a fuel capacity of some 63,500 litres (50,800 kg) which can be even further increased with additional cargo hold tanks.
The aircraft uses Cobham designed 908E refuelling pods which are mounted on the external hard points out board of the engines. A further 808E Hose Drum Unit can be installed in the aircraft’s fuselage.
The RMAF has already certified air to air refuelling with its three fighters, the Flanker, Hornet and Hawks. The RMAF has ordered two sets of the refuelling pods for its four A400M, all of which are wired for air to air refuelling.
The A400M loadmaster sits underneath the main cockpit. The station has monitors to access the cameras feeding information from around the aircraft to the crew member.
RMAF roundel proudly worn on the A400m.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force’s 22 Sqn, is the services sole operating squadron of the Airbus A400M. Based at Subang Air Force Base which was Kuala Lumpur’s main airport from 1965 to 1998. This was before the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang was opened. The motto of the squadron is “Gagah Berani or The Strong and The Bold, which officially stood up in 2015.
On 8 December 2005, four Airbus Military A400M aircraft were ordered to enhance the air force’s airlift capability. By March 2017 all Malaysian A400Ms had been delivered to the squadron.
Climbing out of Avalon.
The power from the four Europrop TP400-D6 turboprops is huge.
Flying over Northern Victoria
Taking in the vies from the cockpit.
The RMAF did an amazing job presenting the aircraft to the public.
Humanitarian efforts with the A400M
In October 2018 an earthquake and tsunami in Palu Indonesia, saw the Royal Malaysian Air Force and Airbus Foundation working together to support humanitarian efforts. The deployment of a single A400M was to aid the distribution of emergency supplies to the city. It arrived at Jakarta’s Halim Air Base on 4 October, to support the devastated city.
Specialised cargo which would be a first of kind transport for the RMAF, included fuel trucks and excavators. Other supplies like food, drinks, clothes, and medical supplies were brought in on subsequent flights also.
Major Hasan, who is a RMAF A400M Captain and also the Commander of Operations, took time out to speak with the assembled media about the aircraft, in the Air Force’s service.
The Major noted that the A400M has a quicker pre-flight preparation due to the aircraft’s on-board flight computer. It also enables a quicker turn around when the aircraft is on the ground.
It is a truly amazing aircraft with fantastic capabilities, we hope to see the type in Asia Pacific region in other air arms markings soon.
Aviation Spotters Online wishes to thank the crew of The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF Malay Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM) and Airbus Defence and Space for the invitation to experience the Airbus A400M Atlas during the Australian International AirShow 2019.
There is now only 10 days left until the Australian International Airshow 2019 at Avalon opens to the public. Check your calendar now to make sure your there when this great show takes off on Friday March 1st, 2019.
The 2019 Australian International Airshow will also showcase a significant number of aircraft and types flown on the civilian registers. Each year the airshow brings in International displays who wow the crowd with their aerobatic, aircraft performance and a look at where aviation has come from. The Airshow for 2019 will be no different. Some of the displays and type that will be seen are as follows:
1st March – 3rd March Australian International Airshow (public access starts at 2pm on Friday)
**Hot Tip** Whilst the flying displays don’t start until 2pm on the Friday, if your a Gold Pass holder on the Friday you can get in to the airshow from 9am Friday. This is a great opportunity to get around the large number of aircraft on static display before the crowds build.
Take a look at the bottom of this story for links to the program details.
Paul Bennet Airshows and the Skyteam will be showcasing their amazing piloting skills from Glenn Graham, Glenn Collins and Ben Lappin alongside their performances from their aircraft which include:
Wolf Pitts Pro
Wolf Pits S1-11X
The Temora Aviation Museum at Temora in New South Wales will be bringing and displaying the following:
CAC CA-13 Boomerang
Cessna A37 Dragonfly
Supermarine Spitfire XVI
Jeff Trappett former RAAF Squadron leader based at Latrobe in Victoria will display his Douglas C-47 Dakota painted as a USAF AC-47 Gunship.
Extra 330C Paul Andronicou
Nanchang CJ-6A/Yak-52 – Russian Roolettes
SIAI-MARCHETTI S-211 Jetworks Display Team
Curtiss P-40N Kittyhawk – Alan Arthur
Lockheed 12A Electra Doug Hamilton
Sopwith Snipe, Sopwith Pup and RE.8
Other types on display around the airport will include:
A CA-25 Winjeel
AAT Tercel Gyroplane
Aeropilot Legend LSA
Aerospatiale AS365 Dauphin
AESL Airtourer Super 150
Airborne M4 Sport Microlight
Alpi Pioneer 200
Alpi Pioneer 300
Alpi Pioneer 300 Hawk
Auster MKV TW371
Autogyro de Cavalon
Autogyro de MTO Sport
Beech T-34 Mentor
Beechcraft A36 Bonanza
Bell 47 Helicopter
Bushby Mustang II
Corby Starlet CJ-1
DH.94 Moth Minor
Diamond HK-36 TC100 Motorglider
DTA J-Ro Tandem
ELA 09 Drover
Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin
Flight Design CTLS
Fly Synthesis Texan 550
Fresh Breeze Xcitor
Glasair III Super Turbo
Grumman Tiger AA58
ICP Savannah S
LA 4-200 Buccaneer
M912 Sport Copter
Magni M-16 Tandem
Magni M-24 Orion VIP
Morgon Aeroworks Cougar MK1
Percival Jet Provost
Piper Arrow IV
Piper Cherokee 6 PA32
Piper PA 15 Vagabond
Pipistrel Alpha Trainer
Searey – Southern Sun
Super Petrel LS
TAG Aviation Titanium Explorer
Tecnam P92 Echo Super
Tecnam P92 TD
TL Ultralight Co TL-3000
Wittman Tailwind W10
Zenair STOL CH 750
More Information and links to resources and tickets.
As Australia’s premier Airshow its an event not to be missed. For more information here are a few handy links:
Naval Air Facility Atsugi (厚木海軍飛行場Atsugi Kaigun-hikōjō) is a naval air base located in the cities of Yamato and Ayase in Kanagawa Prefecture. The 1,249 acres of Naval Air Facility Atsugi is in the heart of the Kanto Plain on Honshu, the main island of Japan.
Aircraft and Squadrons:
The following Fleet Air Force units of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force units are based at NAF Atsugi:
Fleet Air Wing 4, Air Patrol Squadron 3 flying the Lockheed P-3C Orion and Kawasaki P-1.
Air Transport Squadron 61 operating the Lockheed C-130R Hercules and the Beechcraft LC-90.
Air Development Squadron 51 operating the P-1 & UP-1, P-3C & UP-3C Orion and a mix of SH-60J/K & USH-60K Seahawks.
The Unites States also has a presence at the base, although much less then it previously had.
Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 77 Saberhawks operating the MH-60R Seahawk.
Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 Golden Falcon operating the MH-60S Seahawk.
The Imperial Japanese Navy constructed the base in 1938 to house the 302nd Kokutai, one of the Navy’s most formidable fighter squadrons during World War II. Aircraft based at Atsugi shot down more than 300 American bombers during the fire bombings of 1945. After Japan’s surrender, many of Atsugi’s pilots refused to follow Hirohito’s order to lay down their arms, and took to the skies to drop leaflets on Tokyo and Yokohama urging locals to resist the Americans. Eventually, these pilots gave up and left Atsugi.
After the end of hostilities the United States took up residence at the base. The USAAF 3d Bombardment Group moved in on the 8 September, before they were replaced by the USAAF 49th Fighter Group on 15 September which handled the initial clean up of the heavily damaged airfield along with the 1539th Army Air Forces Base Unit to provide station facilities. Flight operations were restored by October which allowed the P-61 Black Widow-equipped 418th Night Fighter Squadron to operate from the airfield to provide air defence over the area, along with the P-38 Lightnings of the 49th Fighter Group.
In later years the base became host to many types including, the Lockheed U-2 spy plane, United States Marine Corps operated F8U-2 Crusader, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornets operated by VFA-115 and VFA-195 and the EA-18G Growler-equipped VAQ-141. Most American squadrons have since departed the base leaving just three squadrons being hosted today.
One of the highlights from my trip was the chance to see the latest in Japanese Anti-Submarine and patrol aircraft the Kawasaki P-1. We arrived early in the morning on a low cloud base day. The weather was a lot colder then the previous visits. However the weather didn’t stop the action in the skies above. A full day at the base where there is some of the best spotting facilities I have ever seen. A park with mounds and bridges to elevate you to look into the base, toilets, and shops all within walking distance to the base made it a fantastic day out. I highly recommend the Lawson’s fried chicken and the yakisoba noddles for lunch!
Now its onto the photos, and the day produced some great arrivals and departures as it went on. The weather got better and so did the light of course.
Lockheed P-3C Orion
Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, based in Kobe, Japan, manufactured the P-3C aircraft in Japan under licensed agreement. Kawasaki is the prime contractor to the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) for the supply of 110 P-3C aircraft. Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI), based in Tokyo, manufactured the engines.
As a manufacturer of the P-3C Orion, Kawasaki was allowed to authorise changes and improvements to the design up to a certain level. Major changes however had to be reviewed and authorised by Lockheed and the US Navy before implementation to the design. Originally Kawasaki produced P-3C-II½ Orions from the 70th aircraft and up they followed the Americans and switched to the P-3C-III.
During 1990 Kawasaki unveiled plans for a series of special variants of the Orion for service with the JMSDF. These included an Electronic Warfare trainer, an oceanographic research version, a systems test and evaluation aircraft and a transport variant. Kawasaki delivered its final P-3C-III to the JMSDF on 17 November 1997. The very last Orion built in the world, Kawasaki’s UP-3D (9163) was delivered to the JMSDF on 1 February 2000. This marked the end of 38 years of continuous P-3 production.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has operated a total of 40 C90 and C90A King Airs, since deliveries started in 1973. These have been given various designations by the JMSDF and consist of 34 TC-90 trainers, five LC-90 transports and a single UC-90 which is configured for photographic aerial survey. The TC-90s and the UC-90 comprise the 202nd Naval Air Training Squadron (JMSDF) based at Tokushima Air Base, while the LC-90s are attached to various Lockheed P-3 Kokutai (Squadrons) and a Air Transport Squadron 61 as liaison aircraft.
During the visit LC-90, 61-9302 was very active through out the day.
The Kawasaki P-1 is a purpose-built maritime patrol aircraft powered by four IHI F7-10 turbofan engines. The four-engine low-wing loading design adopted for the P-1 results in a flight profile with better manoeuvrability and stability at low-speed and low-altitude flight.
The P-1 is equipped with many newly developed technologies and features, particularly in terms of its avionics and missions systems. One such key feature is the use of a fly-by-light flight control system. This has the effect of decreasing electro-magnetic disturbances to the sensors in comparison to more common fly-by-wire control systems. The P-1 is the first production aircraft in the world to be equipped with such a flight control system. Various on board systems are provided by Honeywell, who is the largest non-Japanese supplier to the project, such as the auxiliary power unit, environmental and pressurisation control systems, ram air turbine, sonobuoy dispensers and elements of the avionics.
Next P-1 to arrive back at base was 5502.
A welcome visitor was the next in the pattern. Various United States military aircraft still frequent the base. Today would be no exception. With both a US Navy Boeing C-40A Clipper and US Marines Lockheed KC-130J Hercules dropping in.
Boeing C-40A Clipper
Yet another welcome visitor was a US Marines operated type. The Lockheed KC-130J Hercules.
Lockheed KC-130J Hercules
The KC-130J provides the Marines with tactical aerial refuelling, assault-support, close air support, and multi-sensor imagery reconnaissance, day or night, under all weather conditions. It is the only long-range, fixed-wing assault support capability available to the Marine Corps.
Other improvements include a Rolls Royce AE2100 propulsion system, a Dowty R391 advanced-technology, six-bladed propeller system, and a 250-knot cargo ramp and door. All of the active component KC-130T aircraft have been replaced with KC-130Js.
Then it was time for some more P-1 actions as aircraft 5508 and 5514 returned to base. All the while SAR UH-60J flew the pattern on duty.
Aircraft 5514 then proceeded to preform a series of touch and goes at the base.
Up and down all day on training missions was the LC-90.
Having only seen one of the P-3C Orions depart I was starting to lose hope we would see one in the air on approach. Thankfully the JMSDF didn’t disappoint. Lockheed P-3C 51-5088 was soon on the approach. The JMSDF operate several variants of the Orion, which includes sixty eight of the Maritime patrol P-3C, four of ELINT EP-3C, five of the Optical reconnaissance OP-3C, one Equipment test UP-3C airframe and finally three Electronic warfare trainer UP-3D . Since 2009 the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has deployed P-3s to Djibouti for anti-piracy patrols.
And yet again another P-1 was on the approach, it looked as through we would get the entire fleet in the air at this stage.
As one landed another prepared to depart this time another Lockheed P-3C Orion was on taxi for departure.
As a spotting base Atsugi really is one of the best set ups I have ever seen and I really do recommend a visit to this base.
The count down is ON … only 21 days left until the Australian International Airshow 2019 at Avalon opens to the public. Check your calendar now to make sure your there when this great show takes off on Friday March 1st, 2019.
The Australian International Airshow which first commenced in 1992 sees Avalon Airport come alive with a civilian and military trade show at the start of the event. The airshow opens to the public on Friday afternoon through until Sunday. Once again on the Friday night the 1st March the airshow displays will start from 2pm for the Friday Night Alight spectacular until 9:15pm (approx.)
The Airshow is a biennial global business event, attracting senior civil aviation, air transport, aerospace and defence industry, military and government decision‐makers from around the world. The 2017 event included 664 companies from 25 countries, 158 delegations and more than 33,000 accredited trade attendances, with a total event attendance of 210,664.
The public Airshow runs alongside The Australian International Aerospace And Defence Exposition Avalon 2019. This is one of the region’s largest aviation, aerospace and defence trade shows.
26th February – 3rd March 2019 Australian International Aerospace And Defence Exposition Avalon 2019 (registered trade visitors only)
1st March – 3rd March Australian International Airshow (public access starts at 2pm on Friday)
**Hot Tip** Whilst the flying displays don’t start until 2pm on the Friday, if your a Gold Pass holder on the Friday you can get in to the airshow from 9am Friday. This is a great opportunity to get around the large number of aircraft on static display before the crowds build.
Take a look at the bottom of this story for links to the program details.
What to expect from the military!
There are always great displays from the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, United States Air Force among many. This years line up for is looking like no exception.
So what can we expect this year in terms of the military displays? We thought we’d put together this montage in both video and pictorial format to give you some idea of what to see and hear. The confirmed military attendees this year looks like this:
Airbus A400M – Royal Malaysian Air Force
ARH Tiger Helicopter – Australian Army
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress – United States Air Force
Bell 429 Global Ranger – Royal Australian Navy
Boeing C-17A GLobemaster III – Royal Australian Air Force
Boeing C-17A Globemaster III – United States Air Force
Alenia C-27J Spartan – Royal Australian Air Force
Lockheed C-130H Hercules – Royal New Zealand Air Force
Lockheed C-103J Hercules – Royal Australian Air Force
CASA CN-235 – ARMEE DE L’AIR (FRENCH AIR FORCE)
Boeing CH-47F Chinook – Australian Army
Boeing CH-47 Chinook – Republic of Singapore Air Force
Boeing E-7A Wedgetail – Royal Australian Air Force
Boeing EA-18G Growler – Royal Australian Air Force
Airbus Helicopters EC-135T2+ – Royal Australian Navy
Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor – United States Air Force
Boeing F/A-18A Hornet – Royal Australian Air Force
Boeing F/A-18-F Super Hornet – Royal Australian Air Force
Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighter – Royal Australian Air Force
BAe Hawk-127 – Royal Australian Air Force
Beechcraft King Air 350 – Royal Australian Air Force
Beechcraft King Air 350 – Royal New Zealand Air Force
Kawasaki C-2 – KoKu-Jieitai (JAPAN AIR SELF DEFENSE FORCE)
Airbus MRTT- KC-30A – Royal Australian Air Force
Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker – United States Air Force
Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk – Royal Australian Navy
MRH-90 Taipan – Australian Army & Royal Australian Navy
Boeing P-8 Poseiden – Royal Australian Air Force
Boeing P-8 Poseiden – United States Navy
Pilatus PC-21 – Royal Australian Air Force
Pilatus PC-21 Republic of Singapore Air Force
Pilatus PC-9/A – Royal Australian Air Force
More Information and links to resources and tickets.
As Australia’s premier Airshow its an event not to be missed. For more information here are a few handy links:
I’ll open this report with the statement, that from 1988 through to 1992 I was a resident of Kobe Japan. I grew up watching the Shin Meiwa PS-1 and US-1A flying boat take off from Kobe harbour. It was a great sight and sound and one which I’ll never forget. So the passion for the JASDF is a long and deep seated one. And after many years I was so happy to be back where I spent a portion of my youth watching the Japanese Aviators. Though I had never been to Hamamatsu it certainly felt like at times like going back to those early childhood memories.
The base is located 5.6 km North of the city of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, in central Japan.
Hamamatsu Air Base was established in 1925 as an Imperial Japanese Army Air Force base to be home to the newly formed IJAAF No.7 Air Regiment. In 1933, it was designated as the primary flight school for Japanese army aviation. After the end of fighting in World War Two , the base facilities were used as an emergency landing strip by the United States Air Force, and were returned to the Japanese government in 1952 for use as a flight training school for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
The training syllabus was transformed in 1954 into separate schools for flight training, aircraft maintenance and communications. The base was divided into northern and southern areas in 1958, with the operational area in the north housing the 1st Air Wing, and from 1960, the Blue Impulse aerobatic squadron and the southern area housing the administrative and training facilities.
The Blue Impulse squadron was transferred to Matsushima Air Base in 1981, however this was marred when the team suffered a fatal mid-air collision during a farewell performance at Hamamatsu in 1982.
The First Air Wing transitioned from Lockheed T-33A trainers to Kawasaki T-4 trainers in 1988. In 1989, the northern and southern halves of the base were reunited into a single administrative entity. From 1998, Hamamatsu Air Base became the home base of Japan’s squadron of Boeing E-767 AWACS aircraft.
In 1999, an aviation museum, the JASDF Hamamatsu Air Base Publication Centre (航空自衛隊浜松広報館Hamamatsu Kōhōkan), was established. We have a separate report on this coming up soon!
Aircraft and Squadrons:
The squadrons and units based at Hamamatsu include the following:
1st Air Wing
31st Training Squadron flying the Kawasaki T-4
32nd Training Squadron flying the Kawasaki T-4
Airborne Early Warning Group
602nd Squadron flying the Boeing E-767
Air Basic Training Wing
Air Rescue Wing Hamamatsu Detachment flying the U-125A and UH-60J
Hamamatsu Anti-Aircraft Missile Group
Air Officer Training School
1st & 2nd Technical School
Air Training Aids Group
Air Traffic Control Group
Air Weather Service Group
Hamamatsu Air Police Group
This report will take in two days of flying including the practice day display by the Blue Impulse display team.
As noted in the first report about JASDF Iruma, The Kawasaki T-4 is the JASDF’s primary jet trainer. A number are on strength at various squadrons as ‘hacks’. Some 208 aircraft were eventually delivered for service. Both the 31st and 32nd Training Squadrons are based at Hamamatsu flying the type. A 31 Squadron aircraft is identified by a blue stripe under the yellow and black chequer board and 32 with the red line.
Beechcraft T-400 Jayhawk
Once the T-4s were on the ground it was time to watch a handling display from type I hadn’t seen since an airshow in the United States. The Beechcraft T-400 Jayhawk. Operated by the 41st Flight Training Squadron, the dai41kyouikuhikoutai is a training squadron of the 3rd Tactical Airlift Group. Equipped with 13 of the T-400 Jayhawk aircraft. The squadron trains JASDF pilots who will go on to fly large jet aircraft like the Kawasaki C-1, Kawasaki C-2, KC-767 and E-767.
Raytheon (Hawker) U-125A
Another type converted from a biz jet platform for military service is the Raytheon (Hawker) U-125A. The U-125 search-and-rescue variant of the Hawker 800, was engineered and equipped for the maritime search-and-rescue duties that the JASDF require. Features such as large observation windows on either side of the fuselage, a Toshiba 360-degree radar system, Melco thermal imaging equipment (TIE) system, a flare and marker-buoy dispenser, life raft and an emergency equipment dropping system. Other features include a comprehensive suite of communications equipment and enhanced protection against the salt water environment in which the aircraft operate.
Fourteen Hawkers were ordered initially for the search and rescue role. Operated by the Air Rescue Wing, which headquarters in Iruma, all units operate and fly both the U-125A and UH-60J.
Aircraft are based at the following;
Air Rescue Wing (HQ: Iruma) Detachments (All are equipped with the U-125A and UH-60J)
Komaki, Aichi (Training Sqn)
Sikorsky UH-60J Blackhawk
As mentioned above all base units have UH-60J Blackhawks. A licence built version of the Sikorsky type, Japanese examples where built by local subsidiary Mitsubishi Heavy industries. To date some 178 have been built.
A unique aircraft within the JASDF Fleet, the Boeing E-767 was designed in response to the Japan Air Self-Defence Force’s requirements. Taking the Boeing E-3 Sentry’s surveillance radar and air control system and then installed on a Boeing 767-200 airframe. The JASDF took delivery of the first aircraft on March 11, 1998 along with the second E-767. The third and fourth aircraft were delivered in January 1999. Operated as part of the Airborne Early Warning Group (AEWG), and flown by 602nd Squadron which is based at Hamamatsu Air Base.
McDonnell-Douglas (Boeing) F-15J/DJ Eagle
The JASDF took delivery of its first US assembled F-15J on the July 15 1980. The first assembled aircraft made at the Mitsubishi Industries plant at Komaki was handed over on the 19th August 1981. To date some 223 aircraft of the F-15J and F-15D/J Eagles have been delivered for service. The JASDF ordered the fourth generation interceptor to replace the large numbers of Lockheed F-104J Starfighters and McDonnell-Douglas F-4EJs in service. The last of which rolled of the production line in 1997. The aircraft has equipped many squadrons over time this includes:
2nd Air Wing Chitose Air Base
201st Tactical Fighter Squadron (1986-)
203rd Tactical Fighter Squadron (1983-)
6th Air Wing Komatsu Air Base
303rd Tactical Fighter Squadron (1987-)
306th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1997-)
5th Air Wing Nyutabaru Air Base
202nd Tactical Fighter Squadron (1981-2000)
305th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1993-)
9th Air Wing Naha Air Base
204th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1984-)
304th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1990-)
Air Development and Test Wing
23rd Flying Training Squadron (2000-)
During the airshow a single example, 55-8853 a F-15DJ operated by the 23rd Flying Training Squadron which is part of the Air Development and Test Wing did the performance.
McDonnell Douglas F-4EJ Phantom II
Now in its twilight years of service, The McDonnell-Douglas F-4E Phantom II. Japan selected the F-4 Phantom II as its new fighter at the end of the 1960s. Japan became one of the few countries that license-produced this aircraft outside the USA. a total of 154 F-4EJ and RF-4Es. The F-4EJs were built almost entirely by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the RF-4Es were bought directly from McDonnell-Douglas. The Phantom has served with a number of Units with retirement scheduled in 2021. The aircraft will be replaced with a mix of F-2s and F-35 Lighting II’s. Units to fly the aircraft includes:
During the show F-4EJ aircraft 47-8336 performed a great display was from the 23rd Flying Training Squadron which is part of the Air Development and Test Wing.
After the Phantom display which was loud and impressive anything else would almost seem lack lustre. However a nine ship formation of Kawasaki T-4s wasn’t half bad.
After the main displays there was a break for lunch, during this period I headed into the main base to record the day’s activities.
The base was full of interesting displays, this included several T-4s in various degrees of servicing.
The Mitsubishi F-2 is a multirole fighter derived from the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, and manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Lockheed Martin, with a 60/40 split in manufacturing between Japan and the United States. Production started in 1996 and the first aircraft entered service in 2000. The first 76 aircraft entered service in 2008, with a total of 94 airframes produced. On display at the show was an F-2 from the 1st Training School. The primary role of the 1st TS is to provide the full gamut of technical training on the maintenance of the aircraft in service with the JASDF and the weapons with which the combat aircraft types are armed.
Bell AH-J Cobra
Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye
The JASDF purchased thirteen E-2C aircraft to improve its early warning capabilities. The E-2C was put into service with the Airborne Early Warning Group (AEWG) at Misawa Air Base in January 1987. 89iuIn June 2015, the Japanese government requested to buy four E-2Ds through a Foreign Military Sale. A follow up order placed in September 2018, by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale of up to 9 E-2Ds to Japan.
The Kawasaki C-2 is a long range twin-engine transport aircraft. In comparison with the older C-1 that it replaces, the C-2 can carry payloads up to four times heavier. Powered by a pair of General Electric CF6-80C2K turbofan engines. Some 40 examples are on order.
The Finale- The Blue Impulse Display Team
As the airshow drew to a close the hype for the next performance was very noticeable. People standing to see the crews prepare to depart, waving as they taxied out and people rushing to gain a better view as the Blue Impulse display team set about wowing the attendees. The teams flew several different displays involving up to six aircraft, solo displays and four ship formations. The team currently operated by number 11 Squadron, part of the 4th Air Wing is based at Matsushima Air Base.
Another great adventure to another Japanese base, I hope you all enjoyed this over view of the event. In out next instalment it will cover the JASDF Museum at Hamamatsu. Lots of interesting aircraft and helicopters.
See Part One of Dave’s series of Japanese Air Base visits HERE
Or if you want to be notified when the next ASO article is published you can register ….
Japan is a major military force in the region and to this day continues to design and develop it’s own indigenous aircraft to suit its operational requirements. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (航空自衛隊Kōkū Jieitai), JASDF, also referred to as the Japanese Air Force, is the air warfare branch of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, responsible for the defense of Japanese airspace and for other aerospace operations, including and not limited to transport, humanitarian and disaster relief. The JASDF had an estimated 50,324 personnel and some 777 aircraft in its arsenal. Currently they operate type which includes.
Attack: F-2, F-35A and F-4EJ
Electronic Warfare: E-767, EC-1, EC-2 and E-2C
Fighter: F-4EJ, F-15j/DJ, F-2 and F-35A
Helicopter: UH-60J, CH-47J
Trainer: F-15DJ, T-7, T-400, T-4 and U-4
Transport: C-1, C-2, KC-767J, C-130H, Boeing 777-300
Our first stop on the tour was to Iruma Air Base or 入間基地,Iruma-kichi. The base is located in the city of Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, north of western Tokyo, Japan.
Some history on the base, the airfield was used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force Academy until 1945. After this it became Johnson Air Force base of the United States Air Force, during and after the occupation of Japan. Today Iruma Air Base is home to the Air Defence Command Headquarters Flight Group. The variety of aircraft located at the base include the Grumman U-4, NAMC YS-11, Kawasaki T-4 and Kawasaki C-1.
Aircraft and Squadrons:
The squadrons based there include:
302 Hikotai flying the T-4
402 Hikotai flying the C-1, U-4
Hiko Tenkentai flying the YS-11
Iruma Helikoputa Kuyutai flying the CH-47J
This report takes in two days of action at the base.
In November 1981, Kawasaki was selected as the main contractor to design and produce an aircraft relating to the MT-X program. This program was launched to replace the Lockheed T-33 and Fuji T-1 jet trainer aircraft in service in the Japan Air Self Defense Force. The initial program planned a run of 220 aircraft and entry into service in 1988. The first production T-4 flew on 28 June 1988 and deliveries to the JASDF began in September 1988. Some 208 aircraft were eventually delivered.
The CH-47J is used by both the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The differences between the CH-47J and the CH-47D are the engine, rotor brake and avionics, for use for general transportation, SAR and disaster activity like U.S. forces. The CH-47JA, introduced in 1993, is a long-range version of the CH-47J, fitted with an enlarged fuel tank, an AAQ-16 FLIR in a turret under the nose, and a partial glass cockpit. Both versions were built under license in Japan by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
The Japan Defense Agency ordered 54 aircraft of which 39 were for the JGSDF and 15 were for the JASDF. Boeing supplied flyable aircraft, to which Kawasaki added full avionics, interior, and final paint.
The Air Rescue Wing (航空救難団 (koukuukyuunandan)) is a wing of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Responsible for airborne search and rescue, it is based at Iruma Air Base. It controls squadrons and detachments across Japan.
We arrived mid afternoon to a busy and very active day at the airport. T-4s, YS-11’s, C-1 and U-4s were all out and about at the base. Add in a visit from C-130s and it was a perfect mix of interesting and colourful types.
Five Gulfstream G-IVs are operated under the designation U-4. These aircraft were modified to incorporate a large cargo door and can move palletised cargo and passenger mixes similar to the C-20G aircraft operated by the U.S. Navy and Marines.
Lockheed C-130H Hercules
The JASDF ordered sixteen examples of the Lockheed C-130 in the H version. Operated by the 401 Hikotai based at Komaki Air Base south west of Tokyo. They augment the C-1s based at Iruma.
A type rapidly approaching retirement is the indigenously designed NAMC YS-11. The YS-11 is a turboprop airliner built by a Japanese consortium, the Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation. Powered by the Rolls Royce dart engine, some were later converted to with license-built General Electric T64-IHI-10J engines.The program was initiated by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in 1954, the aircraft was rolled out in 1962, and production ceased in 1974. The YS-11 was produced at a loss, and was the only airliner wholly designed and manufactured in Japan until the development of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet. Approximately 8 are still in service used for light checks and other purposes.
The roar of the 1960’s returned soon enough as the C-1As powered by the Pratt & Whitney JT8D-M-9 (Mitsubishi built) low bypass turbofans from, the 第402飛行隊 (402nd Tactical Airlift Squadrondai402hikoutai) returned to the base. It is the sole squadron of the 2nd Tactical Airlift Group. Thirty one examples were manufactured and all were delivered by 1981.
The next day, was just as busy as the first.
A huge highlight for me was seeing this very unique version of the C-1A. The one and only EC-1A flown by the Electronic Warfare Squadron (電子戦訓練支援機denshisenkunrenshienki). It operates under the authority of the Air Tactics Development Wing. The squadron operates both the Kawasaki EC-1 and YS-11EB aircraft.
Background to the EC-1A
In March 1983 Defence Agency contract awarded to Kawasaki, saw them modify the 21st production C-1 for use as an ECM training aircraft. Known as the EC-1, it first flew on December 3, 1984 and was handed over to the JASDF’s Air Proving Wing in late January 1985 for evaluation. In June 1986 the EC-1 was transferred to the JASDF’s Electronic Warfare Training Unit.
Equipped with a domestically built TRDI/Mitsubishi Electric XJ/ALQ-5 ECM system, the sole EC-1 has large flat bulbous nose and tail radomes, a blister on each side of the forward fuselage aft of the flight deck side windows, others on each side of the rear fuselage, and two antennae beneath the fuselage.”
The EC-1’s replacement is well and truly under development. The Kawasaki EC-2 was out most of the day. The aircraft is very, very impressive.
The aircraft, a heavily modified C-2 tactical transport aircraft with a modified nose section and large fairings top of the tail, fuselage and sides, as well as several antennas underneath the fuselage, is serialled 18-1202. Only one is currently on strength.
The T-4s head out for the days missions. These were very active through out the entire day.
The sight and sounds of the YS-11 as it passed over head was something I’ll never forget.
The morning sun was doing its job as the EC-2 again prepared to head out again.
Around lunch time I headed off to see the gate guardians at the base. Access inside of them isn’t able to be sorted unless arranged prior. However the road parallel to them allows for good photos to be taken.
From about 15:00 hours the activity got intense as aircraft kept coming and going at the base.
The EC-2 again returned and proceeded to do several touch and goes before landing back at base.
Next up was the return of the last C-1A’s which departed early in the day.
And finally the third aircraft I had come to photograph came in to land. A C-1A in the Kabuki scheme. This paint scheme is to celebrate the 2nd Tactical Airlift Group’s 60th anniversary. The theme for the design is called kabuki. A kabuki actor’s heavy eye make up can be made out around the cockpit windows. Proposed by a 402nd Squadron flight engineer, Master Sgt Shōta Gotō, the design also features a kabuki actor’s face on the tail, engine nacelles and, on the upper surfaces of the wings.
This was my first return to Japan since living in the country for four years many moons ago. It really is a very spotter friendly country. You wont be disappointed with the variety frequency and hospitality of the Japanese people. Getting to and from the bases is quite easy, however I do recommend hiring a car to make it that bit easier again.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of two days of operations from JASDF Iruma. Stay tuned for the next article which cover the Air Show from JASDF Hamamatsu.
It was the perfect day for an inaugural flight as FC223, a Fly Corporate Saab SF340 VH-VEO touched down at approximately 08:00am on a beautiful Melbourne morning at Essendon Fields.
Fly Corporate which is a subsidiary of Corporate Air, began its air operations in 1972 providing charter and aviation services. Success in the air charter business has allowed growth which led to the airlines purchase of the first Company turboprop aircraft in 1989. Continued expansion saw the purchase of Fairchild Swearingen, Metroliner 23 turboprops with the associated multi-crew operations in 2000. Market development and client demand for larger aircraft saw the introduction of the Saab 340B+WT aircraft in 2012. Today the company operates some thirteen aircraft including five examples of the well established Saab 340B+. Its operations were and still are concentrated on in the Eastern states. Today the airline operates to three states and one territory with some 13 destinations.
The airline reintroduced an air-service for residents in the Wollongong and Illawarra region in NSW. It replaced the Jetgo service after it collapsed in 2018. The smart Fly Corporate livery will be seen nine times a week between Albion Park and Melbourne Essendon Fields. There are two flights a day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday alongside one flight a day on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Passengers disembark and proceeded into the Essendon Fields terminal which is almost completed a major overhaul.
Aviation Spotters Online wishes to thank Fly Corporate and the Essendon Fields Operations team for the access and time provided during the making of this story.
Warbirds Downunder 2018 was held over two days, in the New South Wales town of Temora, approximately an hour North of Wagga Wagga. An afternoon/evening airshow on Friday October 12th got things rolling before the full airshow on the Saturday.
Compared to the last event much milder temperatures and much less wind made this event a lot more bearable for the average airshow enthusiast. And as can be expected a large and diverse range of aircraft were on show as well. Just some of the flying aircraft included, Spitfire Mk XVI, Spitfire Mk VIII, Cessna A-37B Dragonfly, Lockheed Hudson, CA-13 Boomerang, DH-82A Tiger Moth, Ryan STM, Ryan PT-22, CAC Wirraway, Gloster F.8 Meteor, Cessna O-2A, Hawker Hurricane, various P-51 Mustangs, P-40 Kittyhawks, Cessna O-1 Birddogs, CAC Winjeels, CT-4s, T-28 Trojans, The Southern Knights Aerobatic Team, Harvards, Russian Roolettes, PBY Catalina, DHC-4A Caribou, Yaks, Nanchangs, Grumman TBM Avenger, The RAAF Roulettes PC-9A Demonstration Team, RAAF Hawk 127s, RAAF F/A-18A Classic Hornet, RAAF C-17A Globemaster, RAAF C-130J Hercules and RAAF E-7A Wedgetail.
So lets get to the important part, the photos.
Friday’s show brought some fantastic sunshine and spirited displays.
Opening the show was the Royal Australia Air Force’s aerobatic display team The Roulettes, which currently operate the Pilatus PC-9A. The PC-9A is in the process of being withdrawn and replaced by the newer Pilatus PC-21 which the RAAF has on order, and is currently in transition to enter front line service by early next year, so any future displays by the team with the PC-9A, will be numbered. Warbirds Downunder was the last appearance of the PC-9A at this airshow. Aircraft serials at the event were A23-046, 063, 027, 050, 025, 052 and 012. Six are flown in the display, with a seventh used as a back up.
A three ship trainer display was up next, which included Australia’s only Vultee BT-13 Valiant, a Ryan PT-22 and Ryan STM S2.
A mass launch of the the World War Two aircraft and a couple of Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18As signalled the start of the next display. Two Mustangs, a Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation built CA-18, and the other one a North American P-51D took to the air, in front and behind were a pair of different versions of the Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk. First up was Doug Hamilton’s P-40N, a genuine combat veteran, and Ross Pay’s ex RNZAF P-40E NZ3094, which is in the scheme of a former 3 Squadron RAAF P-40E Kittyhawk, serial ET953 Sqn, code CV-V, which was the personal aircraft of Robert Henry Maxwell (Bobby) Gibbes, DSO, DFC and Bar, OAM.
Once the formation display was complete the pair of P-40s did a couple of passes before the Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18A began its solo display.
The warbirds left the display airspace and it was time for some jet fuelled noise brought to you by the Royal Australian Air Force with the McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18A ‘Classic’ Hornet. Another type in its twilight years of service, after over three decades of service to the nation, it will soon be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.
The quartet of V-12s returned for some more aerial displays,
The next to display was a first timer for Warbirds Downunder, a Hawker Hurricane. Flown during the display by Paul Bennet on behalf of the owners, the aircraft flew together with two of its British relatives, being the locally based Supermarine Spitfires owned and operated by the Temora Aviation Museum.
The RAAF trainer formation was another great formation display that comprised of four CT-4s, a pair of CAC Winjeels and the RAAF museum’s T-6 Harvard. To say the formation display was a very well rehearsed and precise one is an understatement. Well done to the display pilots, your practice and professionalism in the air deserves a round of applause.
A pair of World War Two aircraft both with very varrying roles were displayed together. Paul Bennet’s big Grumman TBM Avenger and the Temora Aviation Museum’s CAC CA-13 Boomerang did a pairing display followed by some solo displays. Paul’s Avenger, VH-MML is an ex United States Navy Bu 53857 TBM-3E Avenger. It is currently painted in markings of VT.8 that flew from USS Bunker Hill part of CVG-8 (Carrier Air Group 8) commencing March 1944.
The Boomerang, former RAAF serial A46-122, now VH-MHR has been with the Temora Aviation Museum for a number of years now. Rebuilt by Matt Denning some time ago, Matt regularly flies the aircraft showing off its performance and it’s distinctive howl coming from the gun ports in the aircraft wings.
The only flying example in Australia, the Temora Aviation Museum operate VH-MBX, an F.8 version of the Gloster Meteor. In May 1946, former RAF F.3 Meteor EE427 and later RAAF allocation A77-1 was taken on charge by the Royal Australian Air Force, becoming the first RAAF jet fighter. In 1951 Meteors entered regular service with the RAAF and then they did so with a true “baptism of fire”. Meteor F.8 aircraft were taken into action by 77 Squadron RAAF, in Korea, against the Mig-15. This example built by Gloster in 1949 carried RAF serial number VZ467, serving until 1982. Today the aircraft flies carrying the markings of Korean War era Meteor A77-851 operated by RAAF 77 Squadron and flown by Sgt. George Hale.
The E-7A Wedgetail dropped in courtesy of its 2 Squadron crew. Based on a Boeing 737-700 platform, its addition of an advanced Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar, and 10 crew consoles, gives it the ability to track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously. Based at RAAF Williamtown, it is one of six Boeing’s and was deployed to the Middle East in September 2014, as part of Australia’s contribution to the military coalition against ISIS. Aircraft A30-001 did several passes for the crowd.
The RAAF operate eight of the Boeing C-17A Globemaster III, all based at RAAF Amberley in Queensland with 36 Squadron, the first of which entered service in December 2006. The eighth and last was delivered in November 2015. Aircraft A41-206 was the first airframe delivered being handed over to the RAAF on the 28th January 2006, and also performed the display. Despite its size the C-17 is no slouch, with the crew performing various manoeuvres more akin to an aircraft half its size.
The Friday show saw a Vietnam era display which included a trio of Cessna O-1 Birddogs, and a very energetic display from the Cessna A-37 Dragonfly.
Saturday was a very different day to the previous with overcast weather, although the sun found time to visit later in the day. This of course didn’t stop the action.
The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society based at Albion Park once again supported the show with several of its flying aircraft. This included the Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina VH-PBY and De Havilland DHC-4A Caribou VH-VBB. Both were on static display and flew later in the afternoon. More on this later.
The RAAF put together a huge contribution to the airshow. The ground displays and in the air were welcomed by the crowds and certainly popular with the little and big kids.
The Roulettes Launch……………
Warbirds taxi out for their display.
Opening the show in perfect formation the RAAF Roulettes.
Enter centre stage, a fantastic warbird formation.
The RAAF trainer flight was again an amazing display, with three NZAI CT-4s, three CAC Winjeels and the RAAF Museum’s T-6 Harvard in tight formation flying.
Solo performances were done by both the T-6 and CT-4.
The Southern Knights are a civilian aerobatic display team which fly the North American T-6A Harvard/Texan. The team came together in 1997 and, since then, have performed at various airshows around Australia. The pilots for the team were, Doug Hamilton, Steve Deeth, Guy Bourke and Scott Taberner.
Next to display were two Australian built aircraft. The Commonwealth Aircraft Company (CAC) CA-16 Wirraway VH-BFF and CA-13 Boomerang VH-XHR.
Martime Patrol was the theme for the next lot of aircraft to display. This saw HARS’s afore mentioned Catalina launch alongside the Temora based Lockheed Hudson and Paul Bennet’s Grumman TBM Avenger.
The World War Two fighter launch certainly had the crowds attention. With four V-12s in sync it was hard to miss.
The Vietnam Era display saw the launch of the HARS Caribou along with a fleet of Birddogs, T-28 Trojans ,Cessna 0-2 Skymaster and the A-37 Dragonfly.
The second World War Two formation again consisted of the pair of Temora based Supermarine Spitfires, and the Hawker Hurricane from Scone. The Hawker Hurricane developed oil pressure issues and landed. The two Spitfires then put on a graceful display.
The fastest radial on the airfield launched for its display. This record breaking aircraft known as ‘Steadfast’ is a Yak-3 , which holds nine world records to its name, that include the international world speed record set in 2011 by reaching 655km/h over a 3km course in Utah. Flown by James Crockett, the aircraft is fitted with the best smoke generators on the airshow circuit, as the aircraft preforms its smoke makes rings which adds to the display.
The Hawk 127 Demonstration was conducted by A27-29. The Air Force’s Lead in Fighter prepares qualified Air Force pilots for conversion to F/A-18A Hornet, F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA/18G Growler aircraft. The BAE Hawk 127 first entered service to replace the CAC built MB-326H ‘Macchi’ in 2001. Thirty three Hawk 127s were ordered, twelve of which were produced in the UK and 21 in Australia. The Hawk is flown and based at two seperate locations in Australia, No 76 Squadron based at RAAF Base Williamtown near Newcastle, and No 79 Squadron at RAAF Base Pearce, near Perth.
The RAAF again flew the Boeing C-17A Globemaster III down from RAAF Amberley. The aircraft A41-213 preformed the display.
The next launch was the final one for the World War Two fighters. This time it was two Spitfires, two Kittyhawks and two Mustangs.
The RAAF brought two F/A-18A aircraft to Warbirds this year. Some seventy five F/A-18A and two seat B models were ordered, with deliveries commencing in 1985. Now after thirty three years of service of the type, the fleet, and its operational squadrons, have begun the wind down for the transition to the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II. No. 3 Squadron has withdrawn the type from service leaving No 77, 75 and 2OCU continuing to fly them until sufficient numbers of F-35s are in the country. A21-09 preformed the display this year again with SQNLDR Phil Eldridge at the controls.
To the Warbirds Downunder organisers, the volunteers and people of Temora you are all to be commended for putting on another great airshow. The hospitality in the town, the displays, were fantastic and I know I’ll be back again for the next one. See you then.