Tag Archives: Boeing

A Heavy month for Twente Airport

The month of January 2018 was a very busy month for Twente Airport, both within and outside of the fences. The reason for this was the arrival of no less than 3 heavy widebodies in one week. All three aircraft made their final flight to Twente Airport, where dismantling would follow by AELS.

Airbus 340 F-GLZI after shutting down the engines for the final time.

Many people know the large aircraft boneyards like Mojave and AMARG, but AELS chose a different approach when it comes to aircraft dismantling. Costs can be saved by chosing to dismantle aircraft in the region where they come from, which already reduces the amount of fuel that is required to transfer the aircraft on the final flight.

What is AELS

AELS is an aircraft disassembly and dismantling company that provides full scale solutions for aircraft that have reached their (economical) end of life. The services of AELS can be split up in 3 segments, where they often come together in one project:

  • Aircraft disassembly and dismantling
  • Recycling of aircraft parts
  • Component Management

The fact that AELS is a relatively small company means that they can quickly adapt and react to the customers’ needs.

History of AELS

The history of AELS starts with its founder, Derk-Jan van Heerden, a couple of years before the establishment of the company in April 2006. In that period Mr van Heerden asked himself what was happening with aircraft that had stopped flying and he decided to find out more on this subject. This proces lead to him graduating on this subject after which he began to create a business plan for AELS. After a short period with KLM Engineering & Maintenance, where he was responsible for the dismantling of a Boeing 747, AELS was founded by Mr van Heerden in 2006.

Nowadays the AELS team assists aircraft owners all over the world in the dismantling of their aircraft. AELS facilitates the complete process, from the arrival of the airplane to the sale of the last piece of aluminium. During the short existence of the company, more than 40 aircraft have already been processed in a sustainable manner, where the goal is to reuse all components.

Initially the disassembly activities were based at Woensdrecht, in the south of the Netherlands.  The downside of this location was however, that wide-body aircraft could not be processed there, due to the lack of space. Therefore it was decided to move the company’s activities to Twente Airport, where the first airframe – a Swiss Airbus 340 – arrived on 27 April 2017. AELS then made clear that they had larger plans and were looking to acquire more airframes.

HB-JMK with AELS in April 2017

Three Widebodies in one week

By the end of December 2017, messages started seeping in that , after the arrival of the first KLM Boeing 747, more was to be expected at Twente Airport in January. Almost everybody believed that this would be the 2nd KLM Boeing 747, the PH-BFF. For many it came as a surprise that next to this Boeing, also 2 Air France Airbus 340s were scheduled to arrive at Twente.

A disadvantage of January is that normally the weather is not all that good, grey skies, low clouds, snow and rain dominate the winter period in the Netherlands. These weather conditions can cause issues at Twente Airport, as it is a VFR (Visual Flying Rules) only airfield. VFR dictates that there has to be a minimum cloud base of 1500ft and a visibility of 5 kilometers. Because of these reasons the flights were several times postponed to different dates and on the day itself the arrival time was also changed several times.

F-GLZI

The first aircraft that was scheduled for arrival was Air France’s A.340-311 F-GLZI, which was due to arrive on the 19th of January.  This aircraft was ferried from Paris – Charles de Gaulle to Twente Airport, a flight of approximately an hour. Due to a combination of strong winds and low ceiling, the flight was postponed several times on this day, after which the Airbus finally arrived at quarter to four. At that time, there was no longer a tow truck driver available, so that the aircraft was parked at Twente’s Runway 05 end. This was something that was appreciated by many aviation enthusiasts, but less by the members of the flying club. They could not use the 3km runway that weekend.

F-GLZR

Next up was Air France Airbus 340 F-GLZR on the 22nd of January.  On this day the crew was prepared early on the day to make the short flight form Paris to The Netherlands. However, because the flight was a non-commercial flight, they had to join the back of the queue at CDG to obtain a slot or get a towing truck for pushback. When finally F-GLZR’s symbol lit up on the Flightradar app, a sigh of relief went through everybody on or around Twente Airport.

PH-BFF

Finally, on the 25th of January the last flight of KLM’s Boeing 747 PH-BFF “City of Freetown” was scheduled to take place from Amsterdam to Twente. This flight had received quite some publicity through the regional media channels, so the spotters hill at Twente was filled with spectators early that day already. This was the shortest flight of this week, but later it proved to be the most difficult one as well. All day long, the cloud base above Twente was to low, so that the flight could not take place at that point. Throughout the day, the AELS and Twente Airport staff were in contact with the flightcrew, who were already aboard the aircraft since 10 in the morning. Finally, by the end of the afternoon, the clouds broke and the ceiling was high enough.

When this became clear, the puzzling and brainstorming started. The Boeing had to arrive before the Universal Daylight Period (UDP) expired, as Twente is a VFR only airport. On the 25th of January this UDP ended at 17.30 local time. An extra problem was that prior to the arrival of the PH-BFF, two bizzjets were scheduled to arrive and depart. These aircraft had already departed their airport of origin, so cancelling them was no longer possible. These jets also had to leave Twente before the Boeing’s arrival, as otherwise they would be stuck at Twente (the runway would be blocked with a large piece of blue metal).

All in all this was a big puzzle, but in the end the last flight of the PH-BFF could take place. At 17.30 precisely, with the last bit of daylight, the wheels of the 747 were pushed against the tarmac for the very last time. After this, the City of Freetown was towed through the darkness towards the AELS platform. Before this could take place, first an A340 had to be repositioned, so that the Boeing could be parked next to Hangar 8. Once parked over there, the crew could finally exit the aircraft after a very long day. Flights to New York usually take them less time than this short hop.

After this flight, things got “quiet” at AELS. They now own 4 widebodies, of which two are parked at the former Runway 11 and two next to the AELS hangar. Only once these aircraft have been dismantled will there be space for new acquisitions. Who know what will be the next arrival….

Sources: Wikipedia, www.aels.nl
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Night photography

Night photography is one of the more difficult things to do. The primary reason is the lack of light, something essential to photography. In order to get decent pictures you need a lot of practice, patience and a tripod will come in handy as well.

Modern DSLR cameras can easily go up to ISO One Zillion without loss of quality, but back in the old days, when you used slide film, a very long shutter time was needed and then still it was a big guess on what the result would be.

As said, modern cameras make it a lot easier, but you still have to know what you are doing. Next to that, quite some correction is required afterwards, as artificial lights have a nasty yellow glance.

This article shows various nightshots throughout the years.

Oldskool: Slides

A Venezuelan Hercules on the platform of Twenthe Airbase
A Venezuelan Hercules on the platform of Twenthe Airbase
An An-12 from Balkan Bulgarian Airways on the platform of Twenthe
A Balkan Bulgarian Airways Antonov 12 at Twenthe
A Belgian Hercules at Twenthe Airbase
A Belgian Hercules at Twenthe Airbase

Digital: Funfair in Hengelo

Emergency Services at Night

A large fire in Enschede
A large fire in Enschede
Firemen in action at a large fire in Hengelo
Firemen in action at a large fire in Hengelo

Aircraft at night

A Swiss Challenger 300 on the platform of Le Bourget
A Swiss Challenger 300 on the platform of Le Bourget
A brand new Embraer ERJ-145AEW amde a stop at Le Bourget during the delivery flight to India
A brand new Embraer ERJ-145AEW made a stop at Le Bourget during the delivery flight to India
The Ecuadorian presidential aircraft was parked at Le Bourget during a visit to Paris
The Ecuadorian presidential aircraft was parked at Le Bourget during a visit to Paris
A Global Express from the German Air Force awaits a VIP at Le Bourget Airport
A Global Express from the German Air Force awaits a VIP at Le Bourget Airport
A United States Air Force C-40 VIP transport at Le Bourget
A United States Air Force C-40 VIP transport at Le Bourget
The Mirage gate guard of Payerne airbase in Switzerland
The Mirage gate guard of Payerne airbase in Switzerland
The Christoph Europa 2 helicopter at the Medisch Spectrum Twente in Enschede
The Christoph Europa 2 helicopter at the Medisch Spectrum Twente in Enschede
The view on this Egyptian Hercules at Le Bourget was unfortunately obstructed by fences.
The view on this Egyptian Hercules at Le Bourget was unfortunately obstructed by fences.
When you take pictures at night, some lights can be rather annoying, as was the case with this Malaysian Global Express
When you take pictures at night, some lights can be rather annoying, as was the case with this Malaysian Global Express
The picture of this Thai Air Force Boeing 737 was also rather tricky due to the large spotlight
The picture of this Thai Air Force Boeing 737 was also rather tricky due to the large spotlight
A US based Gulfstream from the USAF on the tarmac of Le Bourget
A US based Gulfstream from the USAF on the tarmac of Le Bourget
A rare visitor to Le Bourget was this US Marine Corps C-9
A rare visitor to Le Bourget was this US Marine Corps C-9
Egyptian Hercules are frequent visitors to Le Bourget and therefore this nice picture could be taken
Egyptian Hercules are frequent visitors to Le Bourget and therefore this nice picture could be taken
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Paris Air Show 2015

During the week of 15 to 21 june 2015, the 51st edition of the Paris Air Show (Salon international de l’aéronautique et de l’espace) was held at Le Bourget airport. This Air Show takes place every 2 years and counts as one of the largest trade shows for the aviation industry.  Also this year, the show was visited by over 150,000 professional visitors as well as more than 3,000 journalists from over 80 countries.

This year’s edition of the Paris Air Show showed 1,017 order commitments and 206 options, which leads to a total of 1,223 orders. Of these orders, 531 went to Airbus and 350 to Boeing.

Traditionally the Paris Air Show is the home show for Airbus, as well as companies from the French defence industry like Dassault, Thales and MDBA. After this year’s merger with Eurocopter, the Airbus booth was the largest booth on the grounds and showed a wide spectrum of aircraft, ranging from the electrically powered E-Fan, through the Caracal helicopter, up to the enormous A.380 airliner.  The booth also featured a full-scale mock-up of the new H160 helicopter. The H160 made it’s first flight from Marseille in the week prior to the Paris Air Show. Airbus also showed it’s goods in full force during the flying display. After the may 2015’s fatal crash in Seville and it’s subsequent grounding, the A.400M was back in action, showing an impressive flying display.

The Airbus A.400M waits at the beginning of the runway whilst the A.380 completes its display.
The Airbus A.400M waits at the beginning of the runway whilst the A.380 completes its display.

Due to the sequestration, the United Stated Department of Defence had to miss out on the 2013 edition of the Paris Air Show, but this year they returned in full force, showing aircraft such as the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the P-8 Poseidon on the static display.

P-8 Poseidon
US Navy P-8 Poseidon at Paris Air Show 2015

An interesting newcomer was the Chengdu/PAC JF-17 fighter aircraft from Pakistan. This fighter aircraft was developed jointly by China and Pakistan. Pakistan produces 58% of the aircraft, China produces 42% and the aircraft is powered by a Klimov RD-93 engine. There are plans though to equip the next version of the JF-17 with a different engine, as the RD-93 (developed from the MiG-29’s RD-33) produces too much smoke. For this year’s Paris Air Show, the Pakistan Air Force brought 3 aircraft. One featured in the static show, while the other was shown during the flying display. The 3rd JF-17 featured as a backup aircraft. At the end of the show, Air Commodore Khalid Mahmood of the Pakistan Air Force announced that the first export-order was signed with an undisclosed Asian country.

The  JF-17 in the static show  displaying the weapons it can carry.
The JF-17 in the static show displaying the weapons it can carry.

Even though Airbus dominated the show, Boeing also made sure it’s presence was noted. In the weeks before the Air Show a video was already loaded onto YouTube, showing the complete display that the Boeing 787-9 would fly in Le Bourget. This display featured a near-vertical take-off and the audience was not left disappointed.

Boeing displayed the B.787-9 Dreamliner in the colours of Vietnam Airlines
Boeing displayed the B.787-9 Dreamliner in the colours of Vietnam Airlines

A new player in the market for small airliners is Bombardier. In Paris the Canadian company showed it’s new C-series with the CS100 and the CS300. With these aircraft Bombardier focuses on the market that is currently served by aircraft such as the Airbus 320 and the Boeing 737.

On the Ground

Le Bourget always has many gems in the static display, some hidden away behind flagpoles, tents and banners. Below is an impression of what could be found on the ground.

Up in the Air

Next to a huge showground for the static display, Le Bourget would not be complete without a flying display. Here are some pictures from this years show.

Patrouille de France

No Air Show is complete without a show from the famous Patrouille de France. The same obviously goes for Le Bourget.

The next Paris Air Show will be in June 2017. Let’s see what that edition will bring.

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