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!