Thursday, 3 September 2009

Ze Plane! Ze Plane!

Lots of screaming and shouting going on around Azaiba and Mawaleh now that the "transport solution" for the RAF is in full swing.
The requirement was for an aircraft with a very large cargo space inside, that could operate on a host of runway surfaces from asphalt to gravel to compressed sand - AND had great short field performance.
There were no new Globemasters available - so you get the next best thing - the Ilyushin 76.

To a pilot, or an anorak plane-spotter, this machine is about as good as it gets. I can remember for years during the Cold War, all we had were grainy black and white photos of it, gleaned from US spyplanes and secret agents with bow-tie cameras.

Now we get to see them every day and they are awesome!
Yes, they keep some of you awake at night - but that's a small price to pay to have them here.
Personally, I love watching a fully loaded one of these, trying to launch itself into the sky and struggling with the relative humidity so just keeping it low level until the speed goes up.

If you want to see an Ilyushin 76 getting it all out of shape - one only has to look at this video. A real eye-opener for our Azaiba and Mawaleh chums!

I'm having my fun.....and that is all that matters! Mwah!


James said...

The ilyushin's slow and low take off's are certainly a sight to see and thoughts akin to your commentator's have crossed my mind!! I may be wrong but I could swear I saw one heading out low in the opposite direction last week, so maybe no one is safe??

omanobserver said...


Thanks again for explaining about the IL-76s. As we're on planes, here's the rest of what's been bugging me...

- is that AN-124 part of the same 'solution'? if not, what's it up to?
- on noise abatement, whichever direction is in use, can't all planes taking off (or at least these Russians and all the grey ones, especially the Ns) be made to turn straight out to sea? It wouldn't help with landing noise but would presumably spare lots of coastal Muscat.
- different area: BO (the 700 currently being used for desert ops on behalf of one of Omanair's clients) seems to be spending a lot of time in the hangar these days, with Sierra having to be brought in to cover. Any thoughts on why? One assumes that the short hops, dust, hard landings etc are to blame, and that this particular 'solution' may have to be revisited..?


Jamilla Camel said...

Those Illyushins ARE NOISY! Nothing can be done about noise abatement, unless you fly them in uninhabited areas.

When I worked for Boeing, our car park faced Boeing Field (it was the FAA Building) and we saw a fantastic variety of aircraft every day.

I used to work in Tech Pubs in Maintanence Engineering, so I actually know what FIM and Ramp manuals are for!

Anonymous said...

Isn't Russian engineering untrustworthy? i.e. lower-quality than that of the Americans/Europeans?

Could just be my ignorant opinion.

-Omani in US

Al Habsi said...

Pardon me, but are the RAFO using this or ze British RAF for running hops to afg? Confused by ze post.

BTW, so are ze Il-76's not very good for humid ops? The IAF has been using it for a while now. I guess they need longer runways?

Jet Driver said...

Al Habsi

These are being used for British Military operations.
Oman is not "directly" involved apart from allowing its territory to be used in the "War On Terror" ;)



The Antonov is being used for the same purpose however it is also used a lot by PDO to transport massive pieces of kit.

The Antonov 225 was in a while ago which caused quite a stir on the ramp due to its size and clearance issues etc - but all well within the capability of OAMC to deal with.

A turn straight out to sea can be a bit dangerous for a few reasons. The main one is that we don't really want to be in a low altitude turn, on a low performance day with an engine failure.
Best to have wings level until we have some distance between us and the deck.

BO is probably in for the usual spit and polishing.
The ATR is a great machine for the jobs that Oxy and the like are getting it to do.
It spends most of it's time on the deck waiting for weather to clear in Khasab and then same if there's sandstorms in Mukishna.
They will eventually be replaced by Embraer 170 or 190 at some point - subject to new runways going in.

Omani in US:

Russian engineering is some of the best in the world - a bit more "stick and rudder flying" to be done in them but I'd be more than happy to have a go in a 76 any day.


So endeth the lesson :)


ynotoman said...

Oman Air parked next to it when I flew in; very big and there was another similar sized 'something' on the tarmac. Our bus had to wait while the Russian thing taxied for take off

Sid said...

Nice post on the Ilyusins. Maybe a post on how one actually takes off one of these planes might be fun.
And yeah my name is Sid.

Al Habsi said...

Cheers buddy. shouldn't they using Thumrait? :p

Any word on RAFO fighter craft selection, EF gave a press release stating they are in negotiations with RAFO, however they aren't holding their breath for the order.

I bet they go for the american option for GCC wide compatibility for operations.

-Habsi in UK

Jet Driver said...

Al Habsi

EF was here about a year ago for a static demo.
There are already Block 50 F-16s now based down in Thumreit - I have thoroughly enjoyed every Viper flight I have ever done.

I would go for a UK / US mix of hardware as is the usual balancing act that is done here.

(Habsi in UK - surely not THE Habsi?)


Al Habsi said...

THE Habsi would be probably practicing for his footy match tomorrow.

I am just an ordinary Habsi.

Block 50's - cool. The Indians were looking at the EF and apparently from what I hear from the news article is that the EF is primarily for Air Defence role. RAFO wants to replace the Jags. EF wouldnt make much sense. Unless they decide to buy it for the balancing act.

You reckon RAFO would be into the russky stuff, e.g Su27 range?

Blewyn said...

They need a pair of these...

Anonymous said...

Seems as though more and more of the screeming IL76's on steroids are coming and going from Muscat these days - where are they going and for what reason? The AN124 seems to make twice daily flights in/out of MCT too (Volga-Depnr).

They fly past my window (not so literally) but are fun to watch - any clues as to what's up?