CHINESE J-31 STEALTH FIGHTER AIRCRAFT

The brand new 5th-generation fighterjet Shenyang J-31 – or F60, which would be nicknamed Gyrfalcon – took off on October 31, 2012. She thus performed a test flight – probably her maiden flight – on Wednesday.

This futuristic PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) stealth multirole jetfighter looks like an F-35 Lightning II though the Gyrfalcon (or Falcon Eagle?) turns out to be a twin-engine a/c. She would be more maneuverable but smaller than the latest Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle stealth fighter. Her radar cross section (RCS) might be very small, and stealthier than recent 5th-generation fighter aircraft as the radome mounting looks as if it were – like the rest of the airframe – designed with reentrant shapes.

This fighter aircraft would not exceed Mach 2, and she features a DSI (Diverterless Supersonic Inlet) so that the airspeed can be reduced while entering the air intake, thus preventing the engine from breaking up.

Here are a few pictures, and videos:

TOP 10 DANGEROUS AIRFIELDS

Here are the ten most dangerous airports in the world (some of them closed down, or they were upgraded):

  1. Lukla airport, or Tenzing-Hillary Airport (IATA: LUA, ICAO: VNLK) in Nepal. Located at 2,860 meters above sea level. Its 460-meter long runway has a slope at a 12 percent incline, facing a steep, sloping Himalayan valley is probably the most dangerous airfields in the world. A few photos of Lukla, and videos were posted on the blog « PASSION POUR L’AVIATION » about three, and two years ago ===> Lukla au Népal : 2860m d’altitude & a Dornier Do 228 landing at Lukla airport: Lukla au Népal : atterrissage long d’un Do228 de Sita Air
  2. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (IATA: SAB, ICAO: TNCS) on the island of Saba, in the Netherlands Antilles is located on a small plateau above the Caribbean Sea. Its runway is very short – 400 meters long.
  3. Saint Barths airport (link to AIP approach map) or Gustaf III Airport (IATA: SBH, ICAO: TFFJ) is located on the Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy, France.
  4. Toncontin International Airport (IATA: TGU, ICAO: MHTG) or Teniente Coronel Hernan Acosta Mejia Airport – at one thousand metres altitude – is located in a hollow on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Its 2,021-meter long runway – even though it was extended in 2009 as it was 1,863 metres long only – is one of the shortest ones among the international airports. A very dangerous hillside at the end of the runway was removed in 2009 too. This airport was ranked second in this top 10 before.
  5. Courchevel Airport or Altiport (IATA: CVF – ICAO: LFLJ) is an airfield that serves Courchevel, a ski resort in the French Alps. Its 525-metre long runway has a slope at an 18.5 percent incline. There is no ILS, and no go-around procedure. Courchevel is a difficult approach as ski runs are in the vicinity of its upslope runway. Moreover, the airport’s elevation is at 2,008 metres (6,588 ft).
  6. Gibraltar International Airport or North Front Airport (IATA: GIB, ICAO: LXGB) is located in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, and belongs to the UK Ministry of Defence though it is a civilian airport too. There are around 3,000 aircraft movements per year. The main road intersects the airport runway, and the road traffic is stopped whenever an airplane takes off, or lands.
  7. Hong Kong Kai Tak International Airport (IATA: HKG, ICAO: VHHH) was an international airport until 1998. It was shut down, and then replaced by the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, 30 km to the west. There are mountains, and skyscrapers to the north of Kai Tak Airport, and its runway faces the ocean. Landing on this runway is particularly difficult.
  8. Los Roques Airport, or Aeropuerto Los Roques, in Spanish (IATA: LRV, ICAO: SVRS). It is a domestic airport with a one-kilometre long runway on the El Gran Roque island, Venezuela.
  9. Saint Maarten International Airport (IATA: SXM, ICAO: TNCM) (also known as Princess Juliana International Airport) is located on the Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin. Viral videos, and pictures are regularly posted on the Web as the runway threshold is only a few meters from the beach, and tourists can feel the turbulence, and even the blast of heavy aircraft when they land, or take off.
  10. Madeira Airport (IATA: FNC, ICAO: LPMA), or Funchal Airport (as Funchal is the name of the nearest cathedral), is an international airport in Santa Catarina, Santa Cruz, Madeira, Portugal. Its two runways are a bit short, and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and mountains.

Watch the video:

Could RAFALE benefit from F-35 glitches?

 

JSF F-35 Lightning II
F-35 Lightning II

The British Harriers were to be replaced by the F-35Cs. Do you remember? You may have learnt from the recent news that the carrier variant of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Joint Strike Fighter – CV JSF (Carrier Vessel variant’s Joint Strike Fighter) – F-35C was unable to catch the wire onboard the aircraft carrier during the latest landing tests.

Strange as it may seem, the F-35C’s designers may have not forecast what would unfold during a test flight while landing on an aircraft carrier:

The arresting hook (tailhook) never engaged the arresting wire as the clearance between the tail hook and the main landing gear’s tyre tread is too short for such a speed. An F-35C Lightning II missing her carrier landing has been reported even though some U.S. officials would have dismissed such information which might result from simulated tests.

Added to that is a software bug which had grounded the CV JSF for 6 days a few month earlier for the fifth-generation fighter aircraft might have encountered wing-folding input while flying!

As a result, the British Ministry of Defence might find a Plan-B solution as these design flaws, and some others which date back to November 2011 are deemed unacceptable for such an expensive fighter aircraft – $139.5 million for the F-35C (CATOBAR – Catapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery), and $150 million for the F-35B (STOVL – Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing). The latter can land on carriers but she is more expensive, and the JSF program costs have already increased several times.

 

Moreover, the JSF would not be able to fire AMRAAM air-to-air missiles as reported in this video:

 

 

RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 - © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/
RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

And there’s even more: according to a Pentagon study team report, 13 areas of concern that remained to be addressed in the F-35 would have been identified. For instance, the Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) would not work properly…

The British MoD is therefore considering the purchase of either F/A-18E Super Hornets or RAFALEs for the RAF. The French Dassault which has already lost the Swiss NAC tender due to replace the Swiss Air Force’s F-5s, would be proposing a new offer with 18 RAFALEs at a cost deemed lower than the 22 SAAB Gripens’ one according to the Swiss press.

The RAFALE is still in competition with the Eurofighter in the Indian MMRCA tender. the Indian officials are expected to make a decision this week. To be continued… ==> We have just learnt (on January 31, 2012) that the RAFALE has won the MMRCA tender… 🙂

 

Photo 1: © Recce 233 Savoie; Photo 2: © Xavier Cotton – http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

PEARL HARBOR ATTACK & WWII

The Pearl Harbor Attack(called Hawaii Operation or Operation AI by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters – Operation Z in planning – and the Battle of Pearl Harbor) happened on Sunday December 7, 1941 ie 70 years ago. Here is a video of remembrance of the infamous day which dragged the United States of America into World War II:

 

Pearl Harbor: A Landmark in History, part 5 from Pacific Historic Parks on Vimeo.

FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR ACCIDENT FALLOUT

Firefighters, as well as military personnel might be involved in a CRO (Crisis Response Operation – WARNING as this acronym has many other meanings in the military).

To whom it may concern, a short vocabulary review could be useful in case of (let’s hope you won’t deal with it) either natural disasters or a nuclear powerplant accident.

For instance:

  • « Fallout » is used in the headline above, and it means « consequences » but it also means « fallout » like in « radioactive/radiological fallout » (retombees radioactives/radiologiques)
  • NRBC (Nuclear, Radiological, Biological, and Chemical) or CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear)
  • Meltdown scenario = scenario de fusion du coeur du reacteur
  • Plume of smoke = Panache de fumee
  • Tidal wave, tsunami = Tsunami
  • Earthquake, quake = Tremblement de terre
  • Tremor = Secousse, replique
  • Shake, shaking = Secousse
  • Mud slide (prononcez [meud slaïd])/Land slide = Coulee de boue/Glissement de terrain
  • Flood/Flooding (prononcez [fleud] ou [fleuding]) = innondation
  • Fire/Arson = Incendie/Incendie criminel

…and so on. Watch, and listen carefully to this PBS News-Hour video: