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    The Royal International Air Tattoo Puts Europe’s Best Mix Of Military Aircraft On Display

    The Royal International Air Tattoo is a yearly event held at Royal Air Force (RAF) station Fairford in the UK. Each year the aircraft in attendance for the show are a cross-section of everything from civilian aircraft through warbirds and the latest military hardware. Arrivals for the show are often a good time for spotters and avgeeks to get a good look at which aircraft will be attending the show. 

    This video documents the arrivals for the 2017 version of RIAT ahead of the show that runs from July 14-16. There was a significant crosswind component on the active runway so some of the approaches and landings are “interesting.”

    Aircraft included in the video are a USAF Boeing B-52H Stratofortress, two USAF Lockheed U-2S Dragon Ladies, a RAF Embraer 500 Phenom 100E, a Textron Airland Scorpion Jet, a Gulfstream G550, a USAF Rockwell Boeing B-1B Lancer, a pair of French Dassault Rafales, several Lockheed C-130 Hercules airlifters, Saab J-39 Gripen jets, Aero L-39 Albatros jets, an EADS CASA C-295 airlifter, a couple of KC-135R tankers, a pair of Spanish Air Force Boeing EF-18A Hornets, and the Extra EZ-300Ls of the Royal Jordanian Air Force Falcons aerobatic team, one of whom experiences one of those interesting landings.

    A Raytheon T-6A Texan II trainer makes an appearance, as do Alenia G.222 airlifters, the RAF King Air Display Team, French Mirage jets, Turkish F-16 Vipers, an RAF Tornado GR4, an Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master trainer, and two of the few remaining operational F-4E Phantoms IIs from the Greek Air Force. That’s all the clues I’m willing to hand out. There are some very cool surprises in this video. Many of the aircraft are wearing special commemorative paint schemes too. 

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    Tristar Experience L-1011 Lands Safely After Engine Issues

    Rare L-1011 flight makes emergency return on what was supposed to be its last flight.

    Update #1 7/15/2017:  We received updated information that the jet made a precautionary return yesterday due to an oil pressure issue and a few other problems.  After a few hours of maintenance, the jet was ready to go.  The jet took off today again enroute from Tucson to Kansas City International.  The planned flight takes it across New Mexico, the Panhnadle of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.  Planned flight level is FL270. You can follow the flight here.

    A Lockheed L-1011 TriStar on its first flight in over 15 years landed safely today in Tucson, Arizona after experiencing an “engine out” failure in the air over New Mexico shortly after takeoff from Tucson International Airport this afternoon. Continue reading

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    This Is How Airmen Ensure the A-10’s Gun Stays Ready to BRRRRRT

    Airmen work hard to ensure the A-10 Thunderbolt II’s iconic weapon system, the GAU-8 Avenger, stays fully operational and ready to BRRRRRRT.

    The whole aircraft is actually built around the 30mm Gatling-type cannon, which is capable of firing 70 rounds of a lightweight aluminum body projectile per second, cast around a smaller caliber depleted uranium penetrating core, and is lethal against tanks and all other armored vehicles.

    But what does it take to keep the beast working?  Watch this video and find out:

    And if you need more BRRRRT in your life, make sure to check out more of our publishing about the A-10 HERE.


    Follow Mike Killian on Instagram and Facebook, @MikeKillianPhotography 



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    Jimmy Stewart Joined the Mach 2 Club in a B-58 Hustler

    When the General Dynamics / Air Force film “Champion of Champions” was produced in the early 1960s the United States Air Force (USAF) was flying several manned bomber types. Brigadier General James M Stewart, USAF (ret) did the narration and makes several appearances in the film. In fact, he climbs out of the pilot’s seat of a Convair B-58 Hustler appearing in the film’s opening scene. We’re told that Stewart joined the Mach 2 club when he flew a Hustler. Of course Stewart was still in The Air Force Reserve when the film was made and there is plenty of documentation of his flights aboard Convair B-36 Peacemakers, Boeing B-47 Stratojets, and Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers. He may actually have flown the B-58 before he retired from the Air Force in 1968. Either way the film is entertaining in a what-if sort of way.

    B-58s entered service in 1960 and served for a tumultuous ten years before they were retired. The film makes mention of the B-58’s low-level flight performance, which is ironic because the B-58 was originally designed for high altitude penetration missions.

    Of course when in 1960 the capabilities of Soviet surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) became apparent, Strategic Air Command (SAC) was forced to change their mission parameters to low-level penetration sorties. The B-58 could not use its greatest asset (its speed) as effectively at low altitude. The change to low-level work spelled the end of the B-58 in SAC front-line service.

    Official United States Air Force Photograph
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    Roaring B-1 Bombers Light up the Guam Night As They Takeoff For South Korean Peninsula

    B-1B Lancer bombers assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Dyess AFB, Texas conducted a “sequenced bilateral mission” with South Korean F-15 and Japanese F-2 fighter jets this weekend, in response to “increasingly escalatory actions” by North Korea (most recently on July 3 when they launched an ICBM test).

    The USAF called it, “part of the continuing demonstration of the ironclad U.S. commitment to our allies against the growing threat from North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.”

    The B-1s took off from Andersen AFB, Guam, for the 10 hour mission to practice attack capabilities and drop inert weapons in a precision strike training exercise at the Pilsung Range, near the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

    They also flew a bilateral mission with two Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-15’s over the East China Sea on July 6, marking the first time U.S. Pacific Command B-1s have flown combined training with JASDF fighters at night.

    Bilateral training fosters increased interoperability between Japan and U.S. aircraft,” said the USAF. “Participating in bilateral training enables the operational units to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also building bilateral confidence and strong working relationships.”

    Check out some of the images from their weekend below.

    Credit: USAF / Tech. Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger
    a bilateral mission with two Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-15’s over the East China Sea, July 6, 2017. This mission marks the first time U.S. Pacific Command B-1B Lancers have conducted combined training with JASDF fighters at night, demonstrating our increasing combined capabilities. Credit: USAF / Airman 1st Class Jacob Skovo
    Credit: USAF / Airman 1st Class Jacob Skovo
    Credit: USAF / Airman 1st Class Jacob Skovo
    Credit: USAF / Tech. Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger
    Credit: USAF / Airman 1st Class Jacob Skovo
    Credit: USAF / Airman 1st Class Jacob Skovo
    Credit: USAF / Airman 1st Class Jacob Skovo

    Follow Mike Killian on Instagram and Facebook, @MikeKillianPhotography 


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    Would You Buy An A-4 Skyhawk After Watching This Promotional Video?

    Here at we know how much our people enjoy Skyhawks. This gem of a film was produced by McDonnell Douglas in the early 1970s to familiarize potential customers with their model A-4 model light attack jet- specifically the A-4M Skyhawk II, although they show but don’t mention the Mike model until about halfway through the picture. The A-4E, A-4F, TA-4F, and TA-4J are also shown. A Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake A-4C sneaks in to videobomb the film late. And as the film points out, Skyhawks had been flying combat missions over Vietnam for several years before the film was produced. When the last A-4 rolled off the production line in 1979, 2,960 of them had been built (all variants). Many Skyhawk fans would agree that wasn’t enough of them!

    Skyhawks from VMA-311 Tomcats, VA-125 Rough Raiders, VA-127 Batmen, VA-164 Ghost Riders, VMT-103 Sky Chickens, VA-55 Warhorses, VMA-211 Wake Island Avengers, VT-22 Golden Eagles, and VA-56 Champions appear in the film. Some really nice quality air-to-air footage is included. Naturally the superior characteristics of the A-4M are listed, from the uprated Pratt & Whitney J52-P408 engine to the increased ammunition capacity for the internal twin 20 millimeter cannons, improved angle-rate bombing system, and larger cockpit enclosure.

    There’s more, but the film does a better job listing the deltas between the Foxtrot and the Mike than I can. Enjoy this rare look at the A-4 Skyhawk!

    Video posted on YouTube by Periscope Film.

    Official US Marine Corps Photograph
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    UPDATED: USMC KC-130 Crashes in Mississippi

    We will keep this story updated as we learn more facts.

    UPDATE #4 7/11/17 8:40PM ET: The Marines issued an update on the crash.  It is confirmed that 16 members of the military (15 Marines and 1 Navy Corpsman) were killed in the accident.  Here is the statement:

    The Marine aircraft that crashed Monday evening was a KC-130T from Marine Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron (VMGR) 452, Marine Air Group-49, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve.   The flight originated from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., as the squadron was supporting a requirement to transport personnel and equipment from there to Naval Air Field El Centro, Calif.  

    The crew and passengers consisted of 15 Marines and one Navy Corpsman.  Equipment on board included various small arms ammunition and personal weapons.  An Explosive Ordnance Disposal team is at the scene as a precaution in the interest of safety.

    The identities of the personnel whose lives were lost in this tragic accident are still being withheld to allow time for their loved ones to be notified appropriately. While the details of the incident are being investigated, our focus remains on providing the necessary resources and support to the family and friends of these service members as they go through this extremely difficult time.  

    General Robert Neller, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, also issued a statement.  His tweet is below.

    UPDATE #3 7/10/17 10:40PM ET: WLOX (a TV station in Biloxi, MS) is reporting that 16 people were onboard the USMC KC-130 when it crashed in Leflore County, MS.

    UPDATE #2 7/10/17 10:36PM ET: Video of the crash site (provided by KXAN’s Facebook page)

    UPDATE #1 7/10/17 9:07PM ET: The US Marine Corps have issued a short statement that the C-130 that crashed was a USMC KC-130. Here is the tweet:

    A C-130 with nine onboard, crashed in Leflore County, MS this afternoon, near the county line with Sunflower on Moorehead and Itta Bena Roads. Continue reading