The Russian Knights landed just now at Yelahanka, Bangalore!
September 2012 was when Radka told me of her wish to return to India for another performance. January 2013, The Indian Government suddenly invited the Flying Bulls to take part in Aero India 2013 at Yelahanka Air Force Base, Bangalore. A swift response followed, with the Flying Bulls aerobatic team disassembling their aircraft and shipping them to India. Radka, the formation lead of the Flying Bulls, in the meanwhile, talks more about herself, and her flying.
Click Here to Discover more about Radka and her flying in this exclusive interview, which will also be published in the Air Show’s special issue of SP’s Airbuz.
I thought I’d be this cool dude by writing an extensive article on the 787 right away. Its too big, and too grand for that. In the time I will take to write up on the Dream, enjoy the photos from The Flying Engineer, who got one of the most detailed tours of the new bird from Boeing. And I adopted a reverse airflow direction over 238 economy seats and 18 business to cover this bird. Paid off!
Making your presence felt goes a long way in winning customer confidence in the product. They can see it, feel it, and fly it, and decide on the spot. The pampering really can make a huge difference.
Here is the listing of 18 fixed wing aircraft on static/flying demo at India Aviation 2012, arranged by the manufacturer, in alphabetical order:
Airbus ACJ (Regn: A6-AJC)
Boeing 787-8 (Regn: N1015B)
Challenger 300 (Regn: N305CL)
Global 5000 (Regn: A7-CEE)
Learjet 60XR (Regn: N383LJ)
Q400 (Regn: VT-SUG) Note: On display for 2 hours only
Falcon 7X (Regn: VT-RGX)
Falcon 2000LX (F-HBIP)
Legacy 650 (Regn: PT-TIE)
Phenom 100 (Regn; VT-AJI)
Phenom 300 (Regn: PT-TRT)
Gulfstream G150 (Regn: N150GV)
Gulfstream G450 (Regn: N450GD)
Beechcraft King Air C90GTX (Regn: N8020J)
Hawker 900XP (Regn: N964XP)
Hawker 4000 (Regn: N860AP)
P-180 AVANTI II (Regn: VT-RNB)
Sukhoi Superjet 100 (Regn: RA97005)
There was a hurry, but then, there was room to fit in more. The Phenom 100 from Embraer is small to look at from the outside, and is a pain to get inside, but once seated, you’re in a nice, cozy business et of your own.
I still have more technical details of the aircraft to bring out, but the Phenom 100 is pure bliss, and an aircraft perfect for anyone getting introduced to aviation by way of a private jet. The “Jet” is a phenomenon, and boosts your image in the eyes of an onlooker, simply because having an airplane with propellers outside (read: turboprop) is simply “too old and not good enough“.
SO go in for a jet! With the ability to seat 4 passengers very comfortably in the cabin, and take two extra persons by exercising a very innovative use of space, the Embraer Phenom 100 does an elegant job of accomodaing 8 souls on board, including 2 flight crew.
The figures are not firm, but to give you an idea: 500kgs of fuel burn in the first 1 hour of the flight, ~350kgs/h fuel burn in cruise, and a range of about 1200NM (NBAA Assumptions): Very neat for anyone wanting to travel medium sectors, like the Phenomm100 operator: Joyalukkas (a renowned jeweller), whose aircraft (VT-AJI) is on display at India Aviation 2012.
The flight deck is very nice, deviating from Embraer’s control column, but retaining the signature “motobike” yoke. The cockpit is very simple, and designed for single pilot operation, making every panel easily accessible. The ergonomics is extremely appealing. (scroll down to read more)
The flightdeck employs the Prodigy Flight Deck 100, which is Garmin tailor made solution for the Embraer 100. The screens are bigger than the G1000, pack moe information without cluttering, and present information that is more on the lines of Embraer’s “format”. The enhanced situation awareness impacts flight safety. Positively, that is.
With a 30kg cargo hold in the nose, and a 160kg hold in the rear, the Phenom 100 is a perfect machine even for the heavy traveller. Its small, its economical, and more importantly, it’s a PHEMONenon to reckon with.
What do you do if you want your aircraft to gain Western Acceptance?
Use their systems. (SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE TEXT)
The inside of the EASA approved Sukhoi Superjet 100 confuses you at first. It has the size of the A320 cockpit, but the display aspect ratio of the Airbus A380′s. The navigation display eerily has the same symbology as the Airbus aircraft, has the side sticks, the same flap lever, similar cockpit layout, and yet something feels different. The Russian engineer seated beside me.
The all-Thales supplied cockpit of the SSJ100 is simply brilliant, in the least to say, especially considering that the airplane is Russian. There is no cockpit clutter, there are no analog instruments, there is no poorly finished panel: there are simply 2 things: a brilliant airplane, and a Russian Engineer who can’t speak English. Had it not been for him, you would have thought it to be an A360, if there was something like that.
I managed to speak to Panyukov Pavel, who was a very friendly gentleman on board the aircraft. He believes that the SSJ100 makes a difference right from the start, and is all about savings: Acquisition to Maintenance. The figures never came though.
That is probably why the Russian airplanes don’t sell well: the sellers aren’t aggressive enough. No figures, and then when asked for a comparison with the competition, pat comes the reply, “We don’t compare. we have to evaluate on an airline route basis”. Noone was inside the SSJ100, except for me, Pavel, and the Russian engineer.
The seating on the airplane is old compact school: 5 abreast, with 3 on the right and 2 on the left. Seats were very comfortable. And the feats performed by their stellar air force pilots were equally good. Question is: what does all this mean for an airline, a customer?
Firstly, there exists a market gap today, between the 70 seat ATR72/Q400 aircraft and the 180seat A320. The gap is very huge, a gap that isn’t closed much even by the 156 seat A319. The SSJ100 will do a good job of plugging that gap, in part, but the sales aggressiveness that others show simply lacks in the Sukhoi team. Their attitude is more on the lines of “the aircraft sells for itself”. Not quite; it doesn’t speak well.
An Airbus pilot will be at home with similar colour cockpit, similar sidesticks, similar tiller, similar thrust levers, similar everything. How much the exclusively made SaM146 engines and aerodynamic combination contribute in its fuel burn is for them to reveal tomorrow. Till then, enjoy the pics of the marvellous airliner.
Balancing aesthetics and performance is an art; an art that very few can master. When it comes to airplanes, whom better to turn to, than the only manufacturer of business and fighter jets?
Dassault’s latest offering, the fly-by-wire Falcon 7X trijet, couldn’t have performed any better. The cabin is plush, but the flight deck is a lot more attractive. With the EASy flightdeck, the all-Honeywell cockpit is reduced to four large LCD screens, which integrates many functions, just two of which eliminate the need for a paper checklist and paper charts. The cursor control unit allows for navigation between screens, and extensive drop down menus and check boxes make life simpler: provided you master the use of a cursor in the cockpit, which hardly takes any time.
We were pushed back and allowed to start engines only at taxiway “A”. Engine start is unnoticeable: no callouts, no checks: the FADEC does it all in a seamless manner. The engines cannot even be heard: the cabin and the engines are that quiet, and the flight deck too far in front to be heard. Advancing power for taxi gave the first taste of the airplane’s power: the bump ahead was noticeable. We back-tracked runway 09, lined up runway 09, and that was when the story really began.
The light aircraft was heavily accelerated by three Pratt & Whitney PW307A turbofans, each capable of producing 2,846kgs of thrust. We were below the maximum landing weight of 28304kg, and by the 2000ft marker, we had reached V1. Seconds later, Capt. Rahul Singh Rawal rotated VT-RGX smoothly into the air, and the homesick angel came to life.
With a crazy climb rate that touched 5000 feet per minute, FL250 came all too early. We were above the clouds, and headed to waypoint HITAS, which was around 140 nautical miles away. We broke the cloud layer on our flight down south-east, and pure bliss ensued. The evening sun, ready to go down, and the game of shadows played by the clouds, and more: all enjoyed in a noiseless cabin that was comfortably pressurized at around 1400ft: Absolute comfort.
I had never flown so fast in my life: Mach 0.88 if I recollect correctly. The increase in the noise of the wind hitting the windshield at this incredible speed, was very noticeable, and yet so soft.
The very experience of the Dassault 7X’s flight performance is indescribable. Adding to that is a brilliant golden orange sun setting at FL250; the combination rendering you absolutely speechless.
At waypoint HITAS, we turned back to Hyderabad-Shamshabad, and gracefully accepted vectors for the VOR approach for runway 09. On approach, Capt. Rahul who knew me very well, made it very clear that he’ll have 4 red on the PAPI as he was targeting the runway numbers to stop by taxiway Alpha (A). His touchdown was firm and nice, and the deceleration very powerful. The bird exited onto “A”, where our engines were shutdown, and we were towed into our parking slot.
My editor was impressed; the publisher awestruck, and I: on cloud 9.
Live from the Q! (More text below)
VT-SUG is on display at India Aviation 2012! This is the very first public display of the Q400 in India, and the aircraft is all prim and proper. It smells good, it feels good, and the flight deck: as good as it ever will be. Very ergonomic, and not too crammed except for the act of making your way to the flying seat. (more text below)
With 78 seats, and loads of interest from curious onlookers, the jet engine core- driver turboprop aircraft is making heads turn. The cabin overhead is spacious, the lavatory is more accessible, but just the seats make you uncomfortable.
Says Eric Sharma of Bombardier, “There are a line of seats available that can be chosen by the operator. This is typically the low recline one for high density seating”.
Enjoy the photos of this prim and proper bird! (And oh, don’t miss the ANVS control panel!)
Always having been slightly disappointed by the lack of planning and exhibitor info available during the airshow, making me go searching for companies, I made this list of serious civil aviation players who can potentially make a difference. After making this list for 24+ hours, I realised to my horror that the organisers are still updating the list! But this one is good wnough to start of with: Just refer, identify companies by their logo, and you’ll know if they’re there; if yes: where. Have a good time at India Aviation 2012, and see you there!