I went to the show on Saturday and ended up taking around 800pix, mainly walkaround stuff. I was particularly pleased that the RNZAF had a T-6C on static display that I could photograph as I have the Isracast 1-48 T-6A/B/C kit and have been very curious to understand the differences in the three variants. At least I'll be able to do a pretty accurate comparison now on with the kit versus the RNZAF aircraft now. The static display aircraft had the canopy closed and the front bang seat out of the aircraft but I was still able to get some reasonable shots inside the interior from the viewing platform alongside. There were an additional nine Texan II's flying on Saturday.
I took the opportunity to go aboard the A400M as well. It's noticeably bigger than the Herc inside and it'll be interesting to see what aircraft the RNZAF and Government decide to purchase to eventually replace the Herc.
I guess the exciting news was that Singapore has asked to base its F-15SG's at Ohakea in the future. The RNZAF is very receptive to this and the matter will go to Government to work through. Hopefully that works out and we can see the F-15s exercising around NZ in the future.
I would be surprised if the airforce ends up getting A400M's (and this is based on info from family friends who fly the hercs and 757). Too new and too many issues. I dare say they will most likely end up getting c130j's since the US and Aussie already fly them and having that commonality in terms of maintenance will help (this is also the main reason they wanted to buy C-17's to share maintenance costs with the aussies). It would be great if they could still get a couple of ex usaf c-17's, maybe from davis montham, since we have such a great track record of keeping aircraft flying long past their expectancy. But my bet is on c130j's and maybe a couple of stretch hercs. In saying that thought I would love for them to get A400M's.
I must say, I was impressed this year. 1st, there was any issues with traffic at all. it was really nicely planned in that regard. Real pity about the F-15's not flying. that would have been spectacular. But I enjoyed the Falcons and the Hornet flying, that was great.
My 2 cents on the A400..great plane, but just a mini C17. Get a C-17 NZ! or maybe two.
Actually, the Ozzies are getting rid of their C-130J's in the next few years and appear to be consolidating with the C-17.
The only thing about purchasing C-17s these days is that they come in US spec only. The C-17 production line was closed a few years back but the USAF needed more C-17s in its fleet so the production line got opened again. Boeing tooled up again for one specification only and it is not entertaining tailored production for interested foreign countries.
There won't be any C-17s in the boneyard as they are all needed by the USAF who are desperately short of heavy lifters, particularly because the C-5 fleet is nearing the end of its lifespan, likewise with their KC-135s.
I agree that the A400M is still a very green aircraft although a number of the teething issues with the A400M have been solved and remedied in a relatively short period.
The C-130J would have to be the favourite in the running for the RNZAF there is a bit of optimism out there for either the C-17 or A400M.
Kerry, nice work if you can get an air-to-air. My camera gear's not good enough, so I don't go down that route, although it's been offered. Who you work for now, still with AP?
Regarding the choice to replace the C-130s, the RNZAF needs a lifter to carry its NH-90s for overseas deployments, which rules out the C-130J, unless it relies solely on HMZS Canterbury, which would be a slow and unreliable option. The A400M is attractive, but not without its issues, which are being resolved, from what I've read. We'll have to wait and see what the final decision will be.
Viperbuilder, I put in lots of photo time doing walkarounds, too; good subject matter and good access made it a successful day. Watch this space:
Since NZPA shut down I mainly do sports now. Freelance mostly for Getty and Photosport but will shoot for whoever will pay me. Do some spot news especially if I'm close to it. NEVER turn down an assignment where I get to fly. Hanging out of choppers in the best
Further to the earlier conversation, apparently Brazil's KC-390 is the favourite as our Herc replacement. It has better spec's than the C-130J but it's no LAV or NH-90 carrier. Clearly, the RNZAF is not afraid of green aircraft.