Glasgow Airport Movements 2017
Glasgow International recorded its busiest ever month after the airport welcomed more than 1,082,000 passengers through its doors in July, which is an increase of 6.2% compared with the same period in 2016. International traffic grew by 10.1 per cent while additional capacity on a number of European routes including Alicante, Palma and Dusseldorf boosted that category`s passenger numbers by 14%. City Break destinations such as Berlin, Reykjavik, Amsterdam, Madrid and Paris also proved popular.
The soon to be released August numbers may exceed July`s, boosted by large-scale events such as the return of the Piping Live festival and the World Pipe Band Championships. Both are incredibly popular and draw thousands of visitors and participating musician from across the globe. The Badminton World Championships are also set to be hosted in the city.
There was considerable congestion around the airport this month during the morning and evening rush hours caused by essential repairs to the Inchinnan Bascule Bridge over the Black Cart Water.
The work, which began on 5 August, was originally estimated to take 5 weeks, and meant that all vehicular traffic normally bound for Renfrew by this route had to divert and either go onto the M8 at Erskine, the St James interchange, or turn up Abbotsinch Rd from the A8 and access the motorway from the airport.
The project finished early, however, and traffic was flowing normally again by 30 August.
Several more Korean Air Airbus A330s arrived this month, all of which flew non-stop inbound-only charter flights from Seoul. Hanjin Travel, a sister company to the South Korean carrier, organised three holiday excursions to Glasgow for the first time last summer and Scotland has obviously proved popular as an extra flight was added this time. More than 1,300 South Korean tourists visited Scotland during July and August this year and it`s hoped that the number of flights will increase yet again for 2018.
On 15 August, Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest carrier and Europe's seventh-largest by passenger numbers, announced that it was filing for insolvency. The news ended months of speculation over the indebted airline which has, over the past four years, posted mounting losses despite taking drastic cost-cutting measures. The company said in a statement to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange that it had had no option after its largest shareholder, Etihad Airways, refused to offer any further financial support.
Etihad, which has bought into a number of European airlines in recent years, owns just under 30% of Air Berlin's holding company. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier had hoped to increase long-haul traffic through the country`s hub and break into the U.S. market, however, that strategy unravelled as losses proved too heavy to sustain. In May, Italian flag-carrier Alitalia instigated bankruptcy proceedings, leaving Etihad sitting on losses of nearly $2 billion. The German government, however, quickly stepped in to provide a bridge loan so that Air Berlin could continue operations during its search for a buyer. Lufthansa and easyJet are the most likely candidates so there is a chance that the troubled carrier may still operate, most likely as a Lufthansa subsidiary.
United Airlines announced that it`s halting flights from Glasgow International to New York / Newark from 29 October 2017 until May 4 2018 due to a `reduction in market demand`. Previously the service operated year-round and customers who have already booked seats with the airline will either be given refunds or offered alternative travel arrangements.
Scores of Scots were stranded in Romania for up to a week at the end of this month after the plane they were due to travel back on suffered a technical malfunction. The Wizz Air flight from Bucharest`s Otopeni Airport to Glasgow was due to depart at 19:30 hrs on Monday 28 August, but the plane never took off.
The airline offered a full refund or seats on the next available Wizz Air flight, however, despite Wizz Air having over 80 airliners in its fleet, passengers were eventually told that it would be a full week before an aircraft would be available to take them home. Some travellers turned to rival airlines, but last minute flights were reported to cost in the region of £700. Others accepted Wizz Air flights to other UK cities, but had to pay for transfers to Glasgow out of their own money and claim their insurance.
On a more positive note, Jet2 announced that it was expanding in time for the 2018 holiday season, adding new aircraft and creating 100 jobs at Glasgow, 100 at Edinburgh and 400 at Manchester. It`s not clear how many will of these will be brand new positions as some may be replacing seasonal staff. Above right: Delta Airlines `Skyteam` Boeing 757 N717TW moments from landing on Thursday 17 August.
Gazpromavia Boeing 737-76N(WL) RA-73004 (f/v) arrived at 12:45 hrs on Monday 14 August with FC Astana for a Champions League first playoff round against Celtic. The VIP configured aircraft parked on Stand 65 and remained until 00:30 hrs on the 17th.
Gazpromavia (Gazpromavia Aviation) is based in Moscow and operates both passenger and cargo charters, mainly in support of the oil and gas industry. It also operates regular domestic flights from Russia`s capital city and international charter passenger and cargo services. The airline began operations on 16 April 1995 and employs around 2,700 personnel. As of July last year, Gazpromavia`s fleet included 3 Boeing 737-700s, 10 Sukhoi Superjet 100s and a Yak-42 as well as a large number of helicopters.
Their presence always raises the chance of a bird-strike at this time of the year and Airfield Ops are kept on their toes trying to dislodge these large birds if they stray too close to the flight path. Starlings (above) are just one of the potentially problematical species that are present all year round.
Another visitor arriving in connection with the Celtic v FC Astana Champion`s League game on Wednesday 16 August was Boeing 767-35D(ER) ZS-NEX which arrived earlier that afternoon. The South African-registered VIP-configured airliner had flown up from Liverpool and remained at Glasgow until Sunday 20th when it took Celtic to Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, for the second leg.
Yet more football related traffic, but in this case for a World Cup qualifier. CityJet Sukhoi Superjet 100-95B EI-FWB departed with the Scotland football team on Thursday 31 August and took them to Lithuania for their next match, a first round fixture, the following evening. Unbelievably, Scotland won 3-0. Wonders will never cease!
Noteworthy jet airliners visiting this month included Boeing 737-33A(QC) G-POWC Titan Airways which flew in to take Celtic FC to Trondheim, plus Fokker 100 9A-BTD Trade Air (f/v), Boeing 737-8K5(WL) YR-BMH Blue Air (City of Liverpool Livery), Airbus A320-211 YL-LCN Smart Lynx, and Boeing 737-71B(WL) F-GZTP ASL Airlines (plus other dates) (1st); Airbus A330-223 HL8276 Korean Airlines (f/v), Airbus A320-232 A7-ADG (f/v) and A320-214(WL) A7-LAA (f/v) both Qatar Airways, Boeing 737-86N G-DRTB Jet2 (f/v) and Boeing 737-8AS(WL) EI-FZN Ryanair (f/v) (2nd); Boeing 757-256(WL) TF-FIU B757-2W Icelandair (Aurora Borealis colours), Fokker 100 9A-BTD Trade Air returned with Celtic fans while Boeing 737-33A(QC) G-POWC Titan Airways arrived with Celtic FC (3rd); BAe 146-200 G-RAJJ Cello Aviation (4th); Airbus A319-112 OE-LDA Austrian Airlines (f/v), A319-114 D-AILY Lufthansa, Boeing 737-4K5 EC-LTG Alba Star (plus other dates), Boeing 737-8K5(WL) YR-BMH Blue Air (City of Liverpool Livery) (plus other dates) and A320-214(WL) G-EZRL easyJet (f/v) (5th)...
Boeing 737-4K5 EC-LNC Alba Star (plus other dates), Airbus A320-232 LZ-BHH BH Air and A319-111 G-EZDW easyJet (Venezia Livery) (6th); Airbus A320-232 A7-ADE Qatar Airways (LHR Shuttle flight - drafted in due to ongoing strike action by some BA staff) and Airbus A320-214 YL-LCU easyJet (f/v) ) (ex SmartLynx) (8th); Airbus A330-223 HL8212 Korean Air Lines (Skyteam colours) (9th); Boeing 767-375(ER) C-GSCA Air Canada Rouge (f/v) (10th); A320-214 OE-LBO Austrian Airlines (f/v) (11th); Airbus A319-114 D-AILP Lufthansa (f/v) and A319-112 OE-LDD Austrian Airlines (12th); Airbus A320-232 LZ-BHG BH Air (plus other dates) and Boeing 737-408 EC-LAV Alba Star (13th); Boeing 737-76N(WL) RA-73004 Gazpromavia (f/v) arrived with FC Astana, plus Boeing 757-231(WL) N717TW Delta (Skyteam colours) (14th); Airbus A320-211 YL-LCN easyJet (leased from Smartlynx) and BAe 146-Avro RJ100 G-JOTS Jota Aviation (f/v) (15th)...
Airbus A330-223 HL8212 Korean Air (Skyteam livery), Boeing 767-35D(ER) ZS-NEX (f/v) call-sign `Arno 1A`, Boeing 737-8K2(WL) PH-BXA KLM (Retro livery) and Avro RJ100 G-JOTS returned (plus other dates) (16th); Boeing 757-231(WL) N717TW Delta (Skyteam colours) again (17th); Airbus A320-214 OE-LBK Austrian Airlines (f/v), A320-214(WL) D-AIZR Eurowings (Borussia Dortmund Livery) and another visit from KLM`s Retro 737 PH-BXA (18th); Airbus A319-112 OE-LDA Austrian Airlines, A319-112 D-AIBA Lufthansa and Boeing 737-86J(WL) OM-NAS Alba Star (19th)...
Boeing 757-256(WL) TF-FIU Icelandair (Aurora Borealis Livery), Boeing 757-231(WL) N705TW Delta Air Lines (SkyTeam Livery) and Airbus A320-251NEO (WL) G-UZHA easyJet (f/v) (21st); Airbus A320-214 D-ABHO Air Berlin (f/v) worked today`s Eurowings flight, plus A320-233 YL-LCN easyJet (lsd from SmartLynx) (22nd);Delta (SkyTeam Livery) Boeing 757 N705TW again (23rd); Airbus A320-214 OE-LBU Austrian (f/v), Boeing 737-8MG(WL) G-JZHN Jet2 (f/v) and Boeing 737-8AS(WL) EI-FRO Ryanair with `Gdansk City of Freedom` markings on one side (25th)...
Boeing 757-256(WL) TF-FIU Icelandair (Aurora Borealis Livery) and A319-112 OE-LDG Austrian Airlines (26th); Airbus A320-232 A7-ADD Qatar Airways (27th); A320-232 A7-ADA Qatar (f/v) (28th); Airbus A319-112 D-ABGQ Eurowings (f/v) and A320-233 YL-LCN SmartLynx (29th); Airbus A330-243 C-GUBC Air Transat (f/v), A320-216 D-ABZI Air Berlin (f/v), Sukhoi SU100 Superjet EI-FWA Cityjet and A320-232 A7-ADH Qatar (f/v) (30th); Sukhoi SU100 Superjet EI-FWB Cityjet and Boeing 737 PH-BXA KLM Retro colours (31st).
The above slideshow is a compilation of various Virgin 747 shots taken on different days throughout the month.
Above: easyJet Airbus A320-251N (WL) G-UZHA, pictured here taxiing to the terminal on the 21st, was making its first visit to Glasgow International. I dont know if any other NEO (New Engine Option) airliners have passed through the airport but this is the first one I`ve seen. Launched on 1 December 2010 by Airbus, the A320neo is a development of the current A320 family of narrow-body airliners. They are essentially a re-engine; with a choice of CFM International LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G power sources. The original family is now called `A320ceo`, for current engine option. As of this the end of this month, Airbus has 5,167 firm orders for the new variant from numerous airliners around the globe.
Above: Emirates Triple-Seven A6-EGL arrives on Saturday 12 August. This month, Emirates announced that four million people have now flown with the airline from Glasgow Airport since flights to Dubai began in April 2004, with many of those passengers transiting the UAE hub continuing on to destinations including Thailand, Australia and India. There are currently two daily Emirates Boeing Triple-Seven flights from Glasgow and just under 45,000 passengers used the service this July. The airline also carries lucrative Scottish exports such as whisky, salmon and cheese to Dubai and other destinations throughout its network. The confirmation of the Glasgow-Dubai route`s popularity has again increased speculation among local enthusiasts that the Airbus A380 may appear on a daily basis next year. If this does become the case, the airport management team won`t be slow in making an announcement and construction of facilities necessary to accommodate the huge jet would have to take place over the forthcoming winter.
The fine examples of early Christian gravestones shown below are currently housed outside the entrance to Inchinnan Parish Church (left) in a covered enclosure. They were originally located within an ancient church which stood on the banks of the Black Cart Water, just a short distance from its confluence with the White Cart, south of the River Clyde near Renfrew.
St Conval founded the original church, which was later given to the Knights Templar by King David I (1124-53), in 597AD. This structure was demolished in 1828 and its replacement, built in 1900, was the church subsequently demolished to make way for the airport.
The stones were moved to their current location when the old church grounds were swallowed-up during the construction of what is now Glasgow International Airport.
A large number of later gravestones and a crypt remain at the original location, now fenced-off, but access to view the site is not usually permitted unless authority is obtained from the airport operators. Two of the early stones now preserved outside Inchinnan Parish Church are recumbent slabs while the other is a shaft and lower section of the head of a monolithic cross. It is thought that they all date from somewhere between the 10th and 12th centuries and they can be viewed anytime.
Korean Airlines A330 HL8212 made two visits this month. The above sequence shows it coming in to land on Wednesday 9 August, the first occassion.
Not much in the way of interesting turboprop visits this month, the only ones worth mentioning being Fairchild SA-227DC Metro 23 OY-NPD North Flying (19th), plus ATR 42-300 LY-ARI Danu Oro, which worked a couple of Loganair flights, and Embraer EMB-120FC Brasilia EC-GQA Swiftair both on the 24th.
Left: Loganair Saab 340B G-LGNU, still in the manufacturer`s basic colour scheme, made its first scheduled flight with the airline on Monday 3 July.
With Loganair due to become independent at the beginning of next month, following the end of its long running franchise agreement with Flybe, the latter airline has joined forces with Eastern to compete with Loganair on a number of routes.
The merger is considered a risky venture by many as both Flybe and Eastern are currently running at a loss and the potential customer base with regard to the islands is limited. Plus, British Airways has just announced that it plans to codeshare with Loganair as of 1 September which is a welcome boost for the Scottish airline`s operations.
It means that passengers travelling from the Scottish Highlands and Islands will be able to book flights on BA’s network, connecting on domestic services at Inverness, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen and fly on a `through ticket` which enables them to check-in hold luggage at their departure airport all the way through to their final destination. The codeshare extends to Loganair’s new services to and from Manchester, offering connections at Glasgow, Inverness and Norwich.
This is the first time that British Airways will be operating a codeshare with Loganair as an independent airline, although the two companies have had a business relationship stretching over a quarter of a century. The airlines operated as franchise partners between 1994 and 2008 and have operated a code share agreement under the Loganair/Flybe franchise.
The following slideshow features a few more shots of Aeronexus Corporate Boeing 767 ZK-NEX, the largest `biz-jet` by far to visit Glasgow this August. It departed for Kazakhstan with Celtic FC as scheduled, around 14:00 hrs on Sunday 20th for the team`s away fixture against FC Astana. Despite losing in Kazakhstan, Celtic secured an 8-4 aggregate win to reach the Champions League group stage.
The Group B draw, all non-UK teams apart from `The Hoops`, means that there should be some interesting aircraft transporting the opposition and their fans to Glasgow during the latter part of the year. Match dates for Celtic`s home games, all Tuesdays, are 12 September v Paris Saint-Germain, 31 October v Bayern Munich and 5 December against Anderlecht.
Corporate jets stopping over from July were Dassault Falcon 900EX N131DS (above), a first-time visitor which landed mid-afternoon on the 31st, pictured here parked on the executive ramp on the morning of Tuesday 1 August, plus, Gulfstream G550 N128GV, Learjet 31A D-CURT and Falcon 2000 N215RE which was under cover inside the Gama Hangar.
Biz-traffic during August included Falcon 2000EX CS-DLG and Cessna 551 Citation II/SP D-IRUP (f/v) (2nd); Learjet 35A D-CEXP and Embraer 505 Phenom 300 CS-PHJ (3rd); Bombardier Global 6000 N805WM (f/v) and Learjet 45 G-XJET (4th); Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy 600 CS-DVY (f/v) (5th); Cessna 560XL Citation XLS CS-DXM Netjets Europe (6th); Gulfstream G650ER N650EW (f/v), Challenger 605 C-FSEP (f/v), Falcon 2000EX D-BIKA (f/v), Learjet 60 D-CFAF (f/v) plus Ryanair Learjet 45 M-AGBV flew in from London Stanstead (7th); Challenger 350 CS-CHD and Embraer Phenom 300 CS-PHA (8th); Falcon 50EX HB-IGV (f/v), Learjet 45 G-UJET and Citation Mustang G-FFFC (plus other dates) (9th); Embraer ERJ-135-BJ Legacy 600 G-LEGC, Gulfstream 450 N243PC (f/v) and Citation Bravo G-IPLY (10th)...
Two biz-jets from the German register were on the ground together on Tuesday 8 August 2017 after night-stopping on Area J: Learjet 60 D-CFAF of FAI Air Ambulance and Dassault Falcon 2000EX D-BIKA. Both were visiting Glasgow Airport for the first time. D-CFAF is one of four Learjet 60s operated by FAI which also has two Learjet 55s, a pair of Global Express and three Challenger 604s in its inventory. The company has bases in Nuremberg and Dubai.
Canadian-registered Cessna 750 Citation X C-FJIC made its first visit to Glasgow on the 17th and is seen here the following morning. According to the manufacturer, this long-range medium-sized business jet, powered by two turbofan engines, is currently the fastest civilian aircraft in the world with a top speed of 1,127 km/h and a range of 5,956 km.
Corporate jets visiting in August continued with Challenger 300 N184BK and Embraer Phenom 100 D-IAAR (f/v) of Arcus Executive Aviation (11th); Embraer Phenom 300 M-ELON (f/v), Cessna Citation XLS SE-RMR and Challenger 350 CS-CHF (12th); Challenger 605 M-AYRU (f/v) and Dassault Falcon 7X OE-IPW (13th); Gulfstream V-SP N315RG (f/v) and Gulfstream IV N310 (f/v) (14th); Bombardier Challenger 601 2-MATO Volare Aviation and Raytheon Hawker 800XP CS-DRN (15th); Falcon 900EX G-EGVO and Cessna Citation Encore+ LN-IDC (16th); Cessna 750 Citation X C-FJIC (f/v) (17th); Bombardier BD-700 Global Express N91FX (f/v) (18th); Raytheon Hawker 800XPi CS-DRV NetJets Europe (19th); Falcon 50EX M-CICO, Gulfstream V-SP N1HC (f/v), Bombardier Global 6000 CS-GLD, Bombardier Global Express N838SC (f/v), Nextant 400XTi (Beechjet 400) G-FXKR, plus Learjet 45s G-SOVB and G-UJET (20th)...
Bombardier Global 6000 N145QS, Falcon 2000EX CS-DLF and Embraer Phenom 300 D-CHGS (21st); Bombardier Challenger 350 9H-VCC VistaJet, Falcon 2000EX CS-DLF returned, plus Cessna 525 CitationJet N902MZ (22nd); Corporate Boeing 767 ZS-NEX returned with Celtic FC, Bombardier Global Express N70PS (f/v) and Global Express XRS G-GLOB (f/v) (23rd); Falcon 2000EX CS-DFF, Cessna 680 Citation Latitude CS-LTA (f/v), Beechcraft 400XTi Nextant G-SKBD, Raytheon Hawker 400XP N497XP and Global Express G-GLOB returned (24th); Cessna Citation XLS CS-DXQ (25th)...
Cessna CitationJet CJ1 OE-FLG (26th); Raytheon Hawker 800XP CS-DRL, Citation XLS+ D-CAHO, Learjet 45 G-SOVB and Embraer Phenom 300 G-JMBO (27th); Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy 650 D-AERO, Falcon 2000EX D-BIKA, Citation XLS SE-RMR and Phenom 300 G-JMBO returned (28th); Falcon 2000EX CS-DLF and Raytheon Hawker 800XP CS-DRX (29th); Gulfstream GV-SP CS-DKF, Bombardier Global 5000 N114QS (f/v), Falcon 2000LX YU-FSS, Falcon 2000 N215RE, Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign OK-UGJ (f/v), Cessna 650 Citation III OY-EDP, Citation CJ2+ G-TWOP and Learjet 60 D-CPMU (30th); Gulfstream G-IV N900RL, Learjet 55 D-CCGN and Citation Bravo G-IPLY (31st).
By the 14th, Gulf 4 N243PC had been joined by Gulfstream IV N310 (f/v) and Dassault Falcon 7X OE-IPW.
Eurocopter EC135-T2+ G-SCAA (1st); Grob G115E Tutor G-CGKU (f/v) arrived in the afternoon of the 2nd and is now based with the local University Air Squadron (UAS) (2nd); Beech G58 Baron N476BE (f/v) (5th); SOCATA TBM-930 M-ATTI (6th); Pilatus PC-12 M-YBLS and Piaggio P-180 M-ONTE (plus other dates) (7th); Sikorsky S-92A G-LAWX (8th); King Air 200GT M-JACK (10th)...
AgustaWestland AW139 DU-142 of the Dubai Air Wing (12th); AgustaWestland AW189 G-MCGS HM Coastguard (f/v) called in twice in the afternoon (14th); King Air 200 G-BGRE (16th); Piper PA-32-301FT G-TTEC (f/v) (17th); Lockheed L-100-30 Hercules (L-382G) N3755P and King Air 200 G-WVIP (18th); Cessna 425 Conquest N425HB, King Air 100 N3538 and Beech G58 Baron N476BE (19th); King Air 200 G-CWCD, Eurocopter EC135-T2+ G-GLAA and AS355F2 Ecureuil 2 G-PDGT (21st)...
AgustaWestland AW189 G-MCGT HM Coastguard (22nd); SOCATA TBM-930 N2PD (f/v) (23rd); Eurocopter EC135-T2+ G-GLAA (24th); TBM-910 N910ZA (f/v) (25th); Sikorsky S-92A G-MCGI and AW189 G-MCGT both HMCG (26th); King Air 200GT G-IASB (f/v) and Cessna 172 G-UFCI (f/v) (28th); King Air 200s M-WATJ, G-WNCH and G-IASB, plus AS350B3 Ecureuil G-SPVK (f/v) and Robinson R22 Beta G-WFWS (f/v) (29th); TBM-900s N900XH (f/v) and N979MB (30th): PA-31 Navajo G-IFIT and EC135 G-SCAA EC135 (31st).
Above: Aptly registered Sikorsky S-76 G-ROON of Rooney Air Ltd. was snapped from Longhaugh Point near Bishopton at a distance as it flew west above the River Clyde. I`m unsure whether it had actually called in at Glasgow Airport, or the City Heliport, and have no information as to its intended destination.
It was busy with arrivals on Tuesday 8 August when Sikorsky S-92A G-LAWX sought permission to land and as there were several inbound aircraft in close proximity, it had to hold at the Erskine Bridge for a time. The chopper eventually got the `all clear` and came in behind Air Ambulance King Air G-SASS but, rather than landing on `Juliet, went directly to Taxiway Yankee and parked beside Gulfstream 650 N650EW to drop-off passengers. The biz-jet took off a short time afterwards, bound for San Jose in California.
US-registered Beech King Air 100 N3538 made a brief stop on the afternoon of Saturday 19 August to refuel.
Robinson R44 Raven G-CTFL, Aerospatiale AS350B3 Ecureuil G-LARR and Robinson R66 Turbine G-OHAS were all buzzing about near the airport or overflew on Sunday 20 August, but as far as I know, none of the helicopters actually landed there. On Thursday 31 August, more than a few happy snaps were being taken outside the airport`s Scottish Ambulance Service facility.
Italian Air Force C-27J Spartan MM62223, which visited last month, landed at 14:10 hrs on Wednesday 2 August to refuel and stayed on the deck for just over an hour. The following day, US Army Cessna UC-35A Citation Ultra 95-0123, call-sign `Duke 64`, made a fuel stop late afternoon (3rd).
US Army Gulfstream C-37A 97-1944 (f/v) call-sign "PAT 44" landed at 12:40 hrs on Friday 4 August, remaining on the ground until 11:30 on the 6th, plus US Navy Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk 166552 (f/v) call-sign "Navy 706" made two appearances on the 4th. The chopper was operating from USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) and belongs to HSM-70 (Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 70) `The Spartans`. When not operating at sea, the unit is home based at NAS Jacksonville, Florida.
USS George H Bush and her escorts USS Philippine Sea and Donald Cook had sailed north from Portsmouth to participate in Saxon Warrior 2017, a large scale military exercise involving UK, other NATO and US naval and air assets, most of which took place off the northwest coast of Scotland. The action centred around a fictional conflict between neighbouring countries, one of which was supported by a multinational naval force, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 315.01, with the huge carrier at its core. The CSG also included RN Type 23 frigates HMS Westminster and HMS Iron Duke (below), plus the Norwegian frigate Helge Ingstad. Opposing this Strike Group was the Dragonian Navy`s Task Force 606 comprising of just three ships, namely USS Truxton, Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser Leyte Gulf (CG-55), and the Norwegian frigate Otto Sverdrup. Several of the participating vessels are no strangers to the Clyde having taken part in a number of bi-annual Joint Warrior exercises over the years.
Other elements to Saxon Warrior 2017 included supporting aircraft making attacks on the respective fleets, and live dropping of ordnance onto the Cape Wrath bombing range while 29 Commando and Swedish tactical air controllers provided forward observation. The air participants included Royal Navy and RAF Hawks, RAF Typhoons, a large number of United States carrier borne planes, most of which were F-18 Super Hornets, as well as British, American and German surveillance and refuelling aircraft. Two 736NAS Hawks and two Cobham Falcons flew missions from Prestwick. The exercise ran until Thursday 10 August, after which USS George H Bush `met` the Royal Navy`s new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth which was conducting sea trials off the Hebrides.
King Air 350ER MM62300 of the Italian Air Force appeared at 15:35 hrs on Saturday 5 August and night-stopped. It took off just after 10:00 hrs the following morning. BN-2T-4S Defender ZG996 of the Army Air Corps (f/v) did a touch-and-go on Monday 7th.
US Army Beechcraft C-12T Huron 84-0488 (call-sign `PAT 397`) and C-12U-2 Huron 84-2438 (call-sign `PAT 395`) both stopped to top up their tanks around midday on Friday 11 August. C-12 Huron is the military designation for a series of twin-engine turboprops based on the Beechcraft Super King Air and Beechcraft 1900. C-12 variants are used by the United States Air Force, United States Army, United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. These aircraft are used for various duties including embassy support and medical evacuation, as well as passenger and light cargo transport. Some aircraft are modified with surveillance systems for a variety of missions,
Below: On Friday 25 August, AgustaWestland AW109SP GrandNew, serial number GZ100, which was transiting from Edinburgh, overflew the Glasgow zone en route to drop off passengers at the Faslane naval base. Using the call-sign `Ascot 1229`, the helicopter reappeared soon after, landing on the Royal Pan at the airport about 12:25 hrs. It remained on the deck until approximately 15:00hrs.
This helicopter is operated by 32 (The Royal) Squadron and was delivered to the unit in early 2016. The military registration GZ100 signifies the squadron’s contribution to the defence of the UK since its formation. During the Second World War `GZ` was the identification code that 32 Squadron wore during the Battle of Britain. One of the most successful fighter squadrons, 32 Sqn flew Hurricanes from RAF Biggin Hill, with its pilots scoring 102 victories over a 7 week period in the summer of 1940. The number `100` in the serial represents the one hundred years that the Squadron has been in existence. It was formed at Netheravon on the 12 January 1916 and from there went straight into battle in the skies over France during World War One.
Meanwhile, down at Prestwick, the Ayrshire airport seemed more like RAF Mildenhall as it handled no less than eight US Air Force Boeing KC-135Rs on Saturday 26 August, six of which had arrived the previous day as did a Polish Air Force Gulfstream G550. Apparently, the Suffolk base was having a families` day and had to make some room!