July 6, 2011 – The legendary Hong Kong Kai Tak International Airport could have been inserted into this list but it closed down on July 6th, 1998 i.e. exactly 13 years ago, and this top ten gathers airfields still in service only. Gibraltar airport could have been part of it as a route (yes, you’ve well read) crosses its runway.
It must be very difficult to set up such ranking. This is what AirfareWatchdog has tried to do. Among them, a striking view of Courchevel airport at an altitude of 2,008 m featuring a steep slope in the middle of its runway.
No other fighter aircraft will be as omnipresent at the Paris Air Show as the Rafale as it has been shorlisted for India’s MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) tender along with the Eurofighter. The IAF (Indian Air Force) is to order 126 multirole fighter aircraft for a deal of up to $10 billion. The French Dassault Rafale is still in competition with the Swedish SAAB JAS 39 Gripen, and the American F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in Brazil.
The Rafale also remains with the Gripen, and the Eurofighter in the Swiss NAC competition in order to replace the Swiss Air Force F-5s. The French Air Force has already demonstrated through the Rafale its combat readiness in Afghanistan, and over Libya. Its brand new reconnaissance pod Reco NG is now flying, and it managed to strike moving targets with its laser-guided AASM – Air-to-Ground Modular Weapon – beyond all expectations.
Its new Thales RBE2-AA AESA radar is still being developed. It has already been tested, and should be fully operational next year.
ToT (Transfer of Technology) has been pledged for the Rafale if the Indian government were to make its procurement decision.
Special thanks to Xavier Cotton, an aviation geek who provided the top left picture. Please visit his website http://passiondesavions.blogspot.fr/ full of fantastic posts about aircraft of all time as well as from everywhere.
The Airbus flagship A380 had a winglet clipped off by a building while taxiing or parking:
Moreover, the brand new Airbus A400M military cargo aircraft got an engine failure. The A380 would have flown back to Toulouse so that it can be fixed, and take part to the Paris Air Show again. As far as the A400M is concerned, it is likely to remain grounded unless the engineering team find a solution to repair the gearbox.
This is the brand new project being designed by EADS, and supported by Japan as well as the French DGAC (Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile – FAA or CAA equivalent). The European consortium has just unveiled its ZEHST project as the Paris Air Show 2011 is opening. ZEHST stands for Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation.
This aircraft would be both a commercial airplane, and a rocket. It could cruise at « flight level 1056 » i.e. 20 miles or 32 kilometers above the mean sea level… The ZEHST specifications feature a speed of Mach 4 but according to the video below, it might reach Mach 4.5 i.e. 5,500 km/h or 3,000 kts through the stratosphere. It would use two independent turbojets for taking off, then it would gain speed thanks to two cryogenic rocket engines, finally two ramjets would propell the aircraft to hypersonic speeds.
The ZEHST is supposed to pollute far less than the Concorde as it would have a main cruise stage in the stratospheric layers, and according to EADS, its carbon footprint should be very low. There could between 60 and 100 passengers on board who could join Tokyo from Paris in 2.5 hours instead of 11.5, and New-York in 1.5 hours instead of 8! The prototype is expected to fly by 2020, and the first passengers might enjoy stratospheric flights around 2050.
The French Dassault RAFALE multirole fighter aircraft should be omnipresent at Le Bourget PAS 2011 as it has been shortlisted as a final competitor versus the Typhoon Eurofighter for the Indian MMRCA tender which will make a decision on the purchase of up to 126 multirole jetfighters. Furthermore, the French aircraft is still a contender in the Brazilian bid request, and it has been shortlisted in the Swiss NAC tender.
Nonetheless – and maybe « thanks » to some media always « forgetting » to state the outstanding results of the RAFALE in theaters of operations as well as in exercises and evaluations – this state-of-the-art fighter has never been exported so far… Watch the video – First comments in French, then in English:
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