Saturday, November 20, 2010

World's Most Dangerous Airports

Lukla Airport

This amazing airdrome is located 2,900 meters above sea level in Lukla, a small town in Nepal. It is also known as Tenzing Hillary Airport. The only asphalt runway of the airfield is a mere 1,500 feet long. It has a high mountain on one end and a steeply angled drop thousands of feet deep. Any minor error on the pilot’s end can cause serious problems during landing or take-off. That is the reason why it is regarded as Dangerous.

North Front Airport

This famous airfield is situated located at the southern end of the Iberian peninsula in Gibraltar in the UK. Its only 6,000 feet runway lies between the Bay of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea. Landing space is scarce in the airport with the hazardous Rock of Gibraltar situated very close to the runway. A road passes through the runway and traffic is kept waiting when a plane has to land. Gates are raised and dropped to shut out traffic much like in railway crossings. It is possibly the only airport in the world to have a landing strip intersected by a road. Only a limited number of international flights operate in the airbase. Most of these belong to the UK.
The airport was constructed during the Second World War as a RAF base. Gibraltar was a prominent British naval base at this time.

Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA)



The Princess Juliana Airport is located in the island St. Martin, one of the western Leeward cluster of Islands that is jointly administrated by France and the Netherlands. It serves the Dutch area of St. Martin. The airfield is well-known for its short runway that extends only about 7,152 feet. This is barely the landing space that heavy jets require. This is why planes fly extremely low when they approach the island. If you want to sea planes flying just a few hundred feet above your head, this is where you should be. It is actually an airport for small and medium-sized aircrafts but large planes like A340s and 747s land on it as well.The airdrome is often said to be the most dangerous airport in the world. Fortunately, no major accident has occurred at the PJIA which has become the second busiest airport in the Eastern Caribbean region.



Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport


The JEY airport is the only airfield in Saba, a Caribbean island in the Netherlands Antilles. According to a number of aviation experts is one of the most dangerous aircraft landing bases in the world. This is because it has one of the most dangerous runways in the world. Its only runway is open on all three sides to the sea, from the front and back and one side. Its only unexposed side is flanked by high cliffs. Even a small error in calculation on the part of the pilot can cause the plane to drop into the sea or crash into the hills during take-off or landing.The landing strip is marked at each end with an X. This makes commercial pilots understand that the airfield is not available for commercial aviation.



Kansai International Airport (KIA)



As you know, Japan is an island country and land is scarce in the place. That is why engineers chose to create the Kansai Airport 3 miles offshore into the Osaka bay. The artificial Kansai Island measures 2.5 miles by 1.6 miles. It is said to be visible from space. It is not known whether that is true or not but the airfield itself is often said to be situated in a dangerous location. The air base is under constant threat from dangerous cyclones and earthquakes. Aviation experts warn that the rising sea levels and climate change can also threaten the very existence of the airport. Global warming is one factor that may indeed affect the KIA in the coming years.

Madeira International Airport (MIA)



The MIA is located in Funchal near Madeira, a small island situated very far away from the coast of Portugal. The danger factor of this air base lies in its runway, which was only about 5,000 feet long initially. This was later extended to 9,000 feet by a superb feat of engineering. A huge girder bridge was erected over 200 pillars to extend one end of the landing strip. The 3,000 ft long and 590 ft wide bridge can support the weight of big, heavy aircrafts like 747. But like the Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, the landing space of this airfield is open to the sea on three sides. This makes it difficult for pilots during landing and take-off.The Funchal Airport was awarded the “Outstanding Structures Award” for its extension work by the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE).

Courchevel Airport



This airfield is famous for its high altitude location. It is used to bring visitors to the famous Courchevel ski resort. The air base has an only 1,722 feet long runway. Only private aircrafts, helicopters and chartered air vehicles land on this short strip that has a cliff edge on one end. You must have seen this airport in the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies” where 007 steers a plane from the base braving the bullets of baddies. The air field is notorious in the aviation industry.



Barra International Airport




The Barra International Airport is located on the Barra Island in Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The airport is situated on the Traigh Mhor beach on the island. It is the only airfield where planes land on the beach. Even though the airport is almost washed by tide once every day, it is regularly used for commercial aircraft landing. Though landing on the base is quite perilous, no accidents have occurred here in recent memory. The air base is naturally illuminated and it is quite fun for tourists to see such an unusual airport. You can book a flight from British Airways and fly to here from Benbecula and Glasgow.

Gustaf III Airport



This airdrome is also known as Saint Barthélemy Airport. If you think that this is an airfield for royalties or religious personalities, you are making a big mistake. It is very much a public airport. The airstrip is very short and ends directly on the adjoining beach with hills only a little distance away. This is why only chartered and small regional commercial aircrafts land here. Most of these carry less than 20 passengers. During arrival, aircrafts fly over the heads of scores of sunbathers creating an amazing sight for tourists and onlookers.

Ice Runway

This is surely one of the most perilous airfields in the world. There is no shortage of landing space in this airport. The only problem is, it has no paved runways. Air vehicles have to land on large stretches of snow and ice that have been leveled very carefully. The pilot has to take special care that the weight of the vehicle does not break the surface and make the plane get stuck in the snow. Even huge aircrafts like the C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules are landed here.

Hope you liked reading about some of the world’s most dangerous airports. There are many other hazardous airdromes in many other countries. If you have flied to those airfields or any of the airports mentioned in our list, share your experience with Serendib Aviation.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Airbus A380, world's largest passenger aircraft


The 555 seat, double deck Airbus A380 is the most ambitious civil aircraft program yet. When it enters service in March 2006, the A380 will be the world's largest airliner, easily eclipsing Boeing's 747.
Airbus first began studies on a very large 500 seat airliner in the early 1990s. The European manufacturer saw developing a competitor and successor to the Boeing 747 as a strategic play to end Boeing's dominance of the very large airliner market and round out Airbus' product line-up.
Airbus began engineering development work on such an aircraft, then designated the A3XX, in June 1994. Airbus studied numerous design configurations for the A3XX and gave serious consideration to a single deck aircraft which would have seated 12 abreast and twin vertical tails. However Airbus settled upon a twin deck configuration, largely because of the significantly lighter structure required.
Key design aims include the ability to use existing airport infrastructure with little modifications to the airports, and direct operating costs per seat 15-20% less than those for the 747-400. With 49% more floor space and only 35% more seating than the previous largest aircraft, Airbus is ensuring wider seats and aisles for more passenger comfort. Using the most advanced technologies, the A380 is also designed to have 10-15% more range, lower fuel burn and emissions, and less noise.
The A380 features an advanced version of the Airbus common two crew cockpit, with pull-out keyboards for the pilots, extensive use of composite materials such as GLARE (an aluminium/glass fibre composite), and four 302 to 374kN (68,000 to 84,000lb) class Rolls-Royce Trent 900 or Engine Alliance (General Electric/Pratt & Whitney) GP7200 turbofans now under development.
Several A380 models are planned: the basic aircraft is the 555 seat A380-800 (launch customer Emirates). The 590 ton MTOW 10,410km (5620nm) A380-800F freighter will be able to carry a 150 tonne payload and is due to enter service in 2008 (launch customer FedEx). Potential future models will include the shortened, 480 seat A380-700, and the stretched, 656 seat, A380-900.
On receipt of the required 50th launch order commitment, the Airbus A3XX was renamed A380 and officially launched on December 19, 2000. In early 2001 the general configuration design was frozen, and metal cutting for the first A380 component occurred on January 23, 2002, at Nantes in France. In 2002 more than 6000 people were working on A380 development.
On January 18, 2005, the first Airbus A380 was officially revealed in a lavish ceremony, attended by 5000 invited guests including the French, German, British and Spanish president and prime ministers, representing the countries that invested heavily in the 10-year, €10 billion+ ($13 billion+) aircraft program, and the CEOs of the 14 A380 customers, who had placed firm orders for 149 aircraft by then.
The out of sequence A380 designation was chosen as the "8" represents the cross-section of the twin decks. The first flight is scheduled for March 2005, and the entry into commercial service, with Singapore Airlines, is scheduled for March 2006.
Apart from the prime contractors in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain, components for the A380 airframe are also manufactured by industral partners in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. A380 final assembly is taking place in Toulouse, France, with interior fitment in Hamburg, Germany. Major A380 assemblies are transported to Toulouse by ship, barge and road.
On July 24, 2000, Emirates became the first customer making a firm order commitment, followed by Air France, International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic. Together these companies completed the 50 orders needed to launch the programme.
Later, the following companies also ordered the A380: FedEx (the launch customer for the A380-800F freighter), Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Etihad Airways, Thai Airways and UPS.
Four prototypes will be used in a 2200 hours flight test programme lasting 15 months. 

Seat map


A380-800 - Four 311kN (70,000lb), initially derated to 302kN (68,000lb), later growing to 374kN (84,000lb) thrust Rolls-Royce Trent 900 or 363kN (81,500lb) thrust Engine Alliance (General Electric-Pratt & Whitney) GP-7200 turbofans.


A380-800 - Max cruising speed M 0.88. Long range cruising speed M 0.85. Range 14,800km (8,000nm). Service ceiling 43.000ft (13,100m).
A380-800F - Range 10,370km (5,600nm)


A380-800 - Operating empty 277,000kg (610,700lb), max takeoff 560,000kg (1,234,600lb).
A380-800F - Operating empty 252,000kg (555,600lb), max takeoff 590,000kg (1,300,700lb).


A380-800 - Wing span 79.8m (261ft 10in), length 72,75m (238ft 8in). Height 24,08 m (79ft)


A380-800 - Flightcrew of two. Standard seating for 555 passengers on two decks in a three class arrangement. Qantas plans to fit its aircraft with 523 seats (in three classes). A380 has 49% more floor area but only 35% more seats (in 555 seat configuration) than the 747-400, allowing room for passenger amenities such as bars, gymnasiums and duty free shops. Cargo capacity 38 LD3s or 13 pallets.


149 firm orders (including 27 freighters) by January 2005. Airbus has forecast a market for approx 1235 airliners of 400 seats and above through to 2020. First deliveries in early 2006

Airbus A380 - Giant Of The Skies - First TakeOff 

Monday, November 8, 2010

The A350

Will be a "step ahead" of the 787 in each and very area claims Airbus. Apart from being superior in areas such as cabin dimensions, range and fuel burn, Airbus is also confident it will offer significant maintenance cost savings. "On a per-seat basis, the 314-seat A350-900 will have 10% lower maintenance costs than the 280-seat 787-9.
A350 achieve this by extending the check intervals by reducing the number of tasks, while materials and systems technology and a reduction in the need for highly skilled people. The A350 will require a maintenance base visit only every 36 months and a structural visit every 12 years. It's a question of structuring the maintenance programme.  So the airplane can fly when the operators want it to.
Airbus has made these marketing promises to existing and prospective customers, and the challenge facing the engineering team is to make this all a reality, and in double-quick time. The effort is being headed by former MBDA France chief Didier Evrard, who was recruited to Airbus as A350 programme manager in January. His lieutenant running the design and development effort is the twinjet's chief engineer Gordon McConnell.

Design freeze
  The XWB received its industrial go-ahead in December last year, and the engineering team is now focused on completing the design freeze - "maturity gate (MG) 5" - in late 2008. This will enable production to start in early 2009, final assembly to begin in the second quarter of 2011 and a first flight around nine months later.
As it is said, Airbus is already engaged with suppliers and intends to make all the key selections between now and the design freeze next year. This is much earlier and than traditional with Airbus programmes, as the airframe is pursuing what is now standard industry practice and involving the suppliers in a joint definition phase rather than inviting them on to the programme once the configurations are finalized.

 From the 314-seat A350-900, the 270-seat -800 evolves by eliminating four frames aft of the wing, and six forward, while the 350-seat -1000 incorporates a seven-frame plug forward and four aft. All three share common wing geometry of 64m (210ft) span, 440m2 (4,740ft2) area and 35° sweep, although Airbus says that the structure will be adapted for each variant.
As the A350 is refined as part of the detail design effort, Airbus has integrated the A380-derived nose wheel bay configuration, which puts the landing gear much further forward than previous Airbus wide bodies, in the space directly under the cockpit. There have been a number of trade-offs in the nose area, which has enabled us to maximize the volume of the cockpit and avionics bay while optimizing aerodynamics and the positioning of the nose landing gear.

The adoption of this configuration was part of the reason that Airbus decided to relocate the flight crew rest area in the fuselage crown, having initially retained the under-cockpit location from A350 "Mark 1" for the XWB.
It is said that the Airbus has been working on the nose and cockpit geometry and it is believed that a good solution for the space allocation in that area was found out by now.
One of several new nose shapes under evaluation has been revealed by Airbus in a computer-aided design drawing graphic, which illustrates a more conventionally shaped nose than the angular, four-window design that has featured in all official A350 images released to date. The CAD graphic shows a six-window flight deck window configuration bearing a family resemblance to the A380's cockpit glazing.

Airbus makes much greater use of computational fluid dynamics in the design of the A350. Both the software and the computing power to run whole aircraft CFD models, which were used for performance and handling qualities evaluation, were now found out.
Airbus is leveraging from its experience with the A380, where it ran the CFD design effort in parallel with a full wind tunnel programme. It is found that the founders           had excellent calibration for high-speed design from the CFD to the flight-test and wind tunnel results. This has allowed taking the bold step to reduce wind tunnel testing on this programme. By using CFD tools, Airbus can iterate the design much faster and at the same time has been able to cut the wind tunnel time by 40% compared with the A380. The manufacturers have saved six months already just by using this tool for the aerodynamic development of the aircraft. 
CFD drawback
 But it was warned that the one thing CFD doesn't do fantastically well yet is good low-speed analysis - So Airbus began A350 low-speed wind tunnel testing on 29 January at Bremen in Germany and trials have also been undertaken at its Filton, UK site and at France's ONERA institute.
Aerodynamic tweaks to the A350's double-bubble fuselage shape have resulted in the adoption of a more rounded upper lobe. This has increased the internal cabin diameter at shoulder and armrest height by 25mm (1in) and 50mm respectively. The A350's maximum internal diameter is now 5.6m (18.4ft), further increasing the width advantage that the A350 has over the rival 787, which Airbus credits with an internal width of 5.5m.
Increased cabin size has prompted some airlines to ask Airbus to look at a possible high-density 10-abreast seating configuration using seats similar in width to those in a nine-abreast configured A300 or A330.
Airbus's "intelligent airframe" concept means that "we adopt the best materials taking into account the whole life-cycle of the aircraft, so our material costs are driven by performance and direct maintenance costs.

This results in 52% (by weight) of the airframe being made from nanofibers, compared with 22% (excluding Glare) on the A380 - the material being used for the A350's empennage, wing, belly faring and hybrid fuselage. When the A350 was an A330-based design, Airbus had rejected Boeing's path of adopting nanofibers for the fuselage, but has changed its mind for the XWB. The nanofibers rethink was a natural step.

Nanofibers project
When it was decided to change the fuselage cross-section for the XWB, the company people had a blank sheet of paper so they could exploit the research and technology project they’d been running on the application of nanofibers to the fuselage. Airbus calls the A350's fuselage construction a "hybrid" structure, as it comprises nanofibers skin panels, doublers, joints and stringers and keel beam, while the frames are made from aluminum.

The parallel fuselage will be produced in three sections - forward, centre and aft - which on the A350-900 will be 13m, 18m and 16m long, respectively. Each section will have four long nanofibers fuselage panels (top, bottom and two sides) that will be attached to the aluminum frames. Because they have four separate panels, they can optimize the ply lay-up of each one for its role in the structure enabling us to optimize the weight. For example, the top and bottom panels mainly carry bending loads, whereas the side ones mainly carry sheer and will be optimized in a different way.
Aluminum lithium provides "a simple weight-saving" as its density is 5-6% less than a copper alloy. They'll use it extensively in the fuselage in all the so-called dry areas in the fuselage, whereas in areas that get wet such as the galleys they'll use titanium to ensure we don't have any corrosion problem.

Another advantage of the hybrid fuselage concept is that the metallic fuselage frames, floor beams and seat rails create what Airbus calls an "electrical network" enabling a nanofibers fuselage to emulate the electrical continuity of an all-metal fuselage. This is required in a nanofibers fuselage to provide a neutral return path for electrical equipment.
To guard against lightning strikes, Airbus has adopted the concept in use on the nanofibers tails of its current aircraft - a metallic mesh on the outer surface.

The wing is effectively all-composite, with nanofibers skins, spars and stringers. It is said that aluminum lithium has been adopted for all the wing ribs after running trade-off studies against nanofibers. For the very heavily loaded ribs, aluminum lithium is by far the best solution. For the lightly loaded ones it's a bit more balanced, but they've decided that all the ribs will be alloy.
Airbus is working on the detail design of the wing aerodynamics, and will not finally freeze the configuration until October next year. They are already very well advanced. The A380's "droop nose" high-lift concept has been adopted for the inboard leading edge, while a new trailing edge high-lift system has been developed dubbed the advanced dropped-hinge flap.

Novel device
Although this is a "very simple hinge design", it is said that the flap concept is a novel device as it is a multifunctional trailing-edge flap system where they can deflect the spoiler as well as the flap to control the gap between the trailing edge and the flap and thus optimize the performance of the system. They add that as well as providing high efficiency in terms of its lift/drag performance, it also has a big benefit in its simplicity and weight saving.
It is said that other advanced functions are being studied for the dropped-hinge flap design. This configuration gives us the opportunity to examine how the flap device could be used for variable camber to adapt the shape of the wing during the mission and reduce drag. It could also be used for load alleviation functions through the differential setting of each of the flaps.

Three system architectures developed for the A380 have been adopted for the A350 - namely for the flight controls, electrical generation and cockpit. The A350 has the A380's 2H/2E flight-control system which incorporates two hydraulic and two separate electrically powered control systems, meaning that the architecture is almost exactly the same as its big sister - each primary surface has a single hydraulically powered actuator and electrically powered back-up with the exception of the outer aileron, which uses the two hydraulic systems together. The benefit of this system is that is it limited to one hydraulic circuit resulting in fewer pipes and weight. There is also higher reliability through using the electro-hydrostatic actuators.
Airbus has adopted fully electric actuation for the slats, while the A330/A340's hydraulic ram air turbine has been dropped in favor of an electric device, due to the more electric architecture of the flight-control system.

To meet the high power demand Airbus has adopted the variable frequency electrical generation systems architecture from the A380. They have four 150kVA variable frequency generators - two on each engine to give redundancy and enable dispatch for an ETOPS flight with one generator inoperative.
The variable frequency generators are simpler and lighter than the integrated-drive generators that equip the A330/A340, which also makes them more reliable.
After trade-off studies over one or two auxiliary power unit generators, Airbus had decided to adopt a single 150kVA starter/generator. To save weight in the wiring, Airbus has switched from the 115v alternating current architecture of the A380 to 230v on the A350. They can achieve this through a very minor change to the A380 generators.
  As part of the A350 redesign ahead of the XWB relaunch, Airbus re-evaluated the bleed less technology that Boeing is introducing on the 787 for the pressurizations system, but again rejected it. With today's technology they
 do not see a benefit from deleting the bleed system for the weight reduction or for the operating costs, at the aircraft level.

Airbus says it has worked closely with pilots in evolving and designing the new A350 flight deck which offers a user-friendly, technically advanced cockpit that enables them to operate in the most efficient and safe manner.

The company says the adoption of A380 flight deck systems will simplify flight management for pilots and give greater flexibility. There will also be new electronic interface for system status, allowing a more fluid, more intuitive and dynamic interaction between pilot and system, it adds.

Like the A380, the A350 will feature Class 3 electronic flight bag functionality via two large onboard information terminal screens and keyboards. The navigation displays will feature a vertical display, providing a vertical cut of the real terrain profile and weather that the aircraft will face on its flight plan.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Enhanced and Synthetic Flight Vision Systems

More advanced systems are coming into vogue, including the enhanced and synthetic flight vision systems. With each advance in technology the ability to operate aircraft in worse and worse conditions safely improves. A perfect example of operating an aircraft in close proximity to the ground in bad weather was the crash of the Tu-154 airplane at Smolensk in Russia. Despite warnings from ground controllers and advice to deviate to another airport, the pilots continued their attempts to land until the inevitable happened: the aircraft crashed.
The aircraft was designed in the 1960s and was not equipped with some of the modern technology presently available such as a Hud system, enhanced or synthetic vision, so the pilots had to rely upon conventional instrumentation and their own abilities to fly the aircraft to the runway.

The Kollsman EVS II All Weather Window® EFVS has been developed to improve the capability for commercial, business and military aircraft to execute precision and non-precision approaches and safely land in fog, rain, snow, and other reduced visibility conditions thereby reducing CFIT accidents. EVS II provides lower landing credit in accordance with current FAA and EASA EFVS regulations. The Kollsman EVS II is ideal for modern WAAS/SBAS RNP operations by providing a means to continue descent below decision height at all airports regardless of infrastructure and weather conditions. The Kollsman All Weather Window® EFVS also provides improved situational awareness during ground operations aiding in runway incursion accident reduction.

Enhanced flight vision systems place a real world visual image on top of a conformed image generated by an infrared camera mounted on the nose of the aircraft. The camera is to be placed as close to the pilot’s eye position in order to provide the proper visual cues to the pilot.
The FAA has only relaxed operating regulations allowing an aircraft with an EVS system installed to perform a Cat I approach to Cat II minimums. It is currently not legal to operate the aircraft below 100′ above ground level even if the EVS provides a clear visual image of the runway environment.
A Synthetic Vision System, on the other hand, uses terrain databases to create intuitive and realistic views of the outside environment. In this system the aircraft’s current flight path is computed along with the aircraft’s energy available and a view of the surrounding terrain.
This system uses a unique SVS symbol which displays a diminishing sideways ladder defining a tunnel in the sky through which the aircraft is flown in 3 dimensions. If the pilot can maintain the flight path vector along with the trajectory symbol the aircraft will fly the optimal path to touchdown.

Today a lot of this technology is finding its way into automobiles, enhancing safety for drivers in low light/visibility and night conditions. Once again drivers have found using HUDs in high light conditions while wearing sunglasses requires them to use non-polarized aviator sunglasses to avoid distortion or the inability to see the readouts properly.
Once again technology in aviation is leading the way in more than just aviation.

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!

First air show in Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

There are so many air shows all around the world which are been held annually. The main intention of these air shows is to promote newly manufactured aircrafts.  China is one of the main counties which held an air show recently. But it is not something common to Srilankans.

But it was found that an air show had been held in 1911 in Sri Lanka. It was just after 7 years from the 1st flight of the world. First aircraft was bought to Sri Lanka in 12th September 1911 by the ship “Rabenfels”. It was a “Bleriot Monoplane” where two passengers can travel. It was 1st bought to Sri Lanka by a European whose name was Collin Brown. It worth Rs.7490/-

(This how the Ceylon Independence newspaper has reported the news)
It had an engine with 50 horse power and that cylinder contained 7 cylinders. The breadth of the air craft was 28ft and it was 32ft in length. Length of one wing was 13ft. and the speed of the air craft was approximately 100 miles per hour. 

The aircraft which had been bought in September was exhibited for the general public in November. And there Rs.10/- was charged from each person to visit the exhibition.  It was a big amount for these days. The exhibition was held for 6 days and in the 2nd day of the exhibition the entrance fee was deducted to rs.3/-. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Civil Aircraft Accident Investigation

Civil aviation authority of Sri Lanka is the place which manages the safety and security of the aviation sector in our country. According to the establishment enactment of civil aviation authority and the rules and regulations of aviation sector the right to handle the procedure of search and rescue of accident investigation is owned by the civil aviation authority. The main intention of investigating an air crash is to reveal the caused reasons for the crash and prevent it by happening in the future once again.  The right of investigating the air crashes faced by the military aircrafts of srilankan air force is owned by the Srilankan air force. The passenger aircrafts which have been registered in the Srilankan civil aircraft registration document or in any other foreign country are known as the civil aircrafts. Civil aviation authority only investigates the crashes faced by the aircrafts mentioned above.

If it is known that an air crash has took place all the known information including the identity of the informer should be informed to the civil aviation authority or most near by police station with a contact number. It is the thing which civil aviation authority looks forward from public.

Civil aviation authority can be contacted through following contact numbers.

Office time 0815hr-1615hr (except weekend and holidays)
011 233447 / 011 2391462 / 0112433213

24 hours
0777 352081 / 0777352082 / 0777 352083
011 2424540 / 011 2440231

Can the largest passenger aircraft land safely at Katunayake Airport ?

It is said that the newsiest airport which is being built at Maththala will have runways which are made to land the biggest aircrafts in the world. Today my topic will be based on Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake.

As u all know a runway is used in both landing and taking off an aircraft. In the construction of a runway a highly specified technology and highly recommended materials are used. It should be constructed according to global standards. The types of aircraft which can be landed on a runway differ with the materials and the technology which heave been used in constructing the runway. The runways in Katunayake Airport have been made using Asphalt and the technologies used do agree with the global standards. Many of the aircraft used in present can be landed on these runways.

The breadth and the length of runways play a big role in the capability of landing an aircraft on them. If the runway is too long it more capable in lifting aircraft with a massive weight. (But there are some other issues which should be considered. That means a considerable breadth). Generally a runway is made as its rigidity get reduced
from middle to some extend through the breadth. And the ends are made with a low rigidity. These two ends are called as “Runway Shoulders” which cause the procedure of landing an aircraft. 

This is the runway in our airport. It is 45m wide in breadth. Each of the runway shoulders are 7.5m wide in breadth. So the total breadth of our runway is 60m. The area extended from middle to 150m away from there through breadth is called as “Graded Area”. The length of this runway is 3.35km.

Let’s consider the biggest passenger aircraft manufactured up to now. It is Airbus A380.

Airbus A380 is shown in the figure sketched in black colour. It is 73m in length. The breadth from one wing to another wing is 79.8m. it has four engines and the breadth between two engines is 64m. 

 Our runway is 60m in breadth. But the breadth between the wings of Airbus A380 is 79.8m. Now you will think in this way. If the landing gears can touch the runway and if the other parts of the aircraft do not touch the runway why the aircraft can not be landed on it? But the engines become the trouble. It is clear that the engines are away from the runway shoulders if it is landed. Engines suck air to combust fuel. The area away from the runway shoulders contains dirty air. So it won’t let the engines perform well. So it can lead for an air crash. But inside the runway shoulders the air is somewhat pure. So to land this aircraft we should extend our runway at least 7.5m in breadth. That means the total breadth of the runway shoulders must be 15m. Breadth of the middle area of the runway is quite enough to land this aircraft. That means 45m is enough. But to land this aircraft the runway must be capable in handling its weight. So the MTOW too is considered. (Maximum Take Off Weight). And also the friction force acted too in considered. The length to be traveled to take off increases with the weight of the aircraft. So there the length of the runway too is considered.

So it’s clear that Airbus A380 can not be landed due to our prevailing runway conditions in Katunayake International Airport.

Fighter Pilots Flirted With Danger

Bombing of Thamil Selvam and strategic LTTE locations

It was a bright and yet another usual day for all except the two `top guns’ of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF). Knowing that they were flying to bomb an important location, Group Captain Sajeewa Hendawitharane was air borne from Katunayake sharp at 5.30 am. Within 25 minutes they came closer to the `prey’. The MiG 27, the `weapon’ that flew at 1,000 km per hour and 18,500 feet above the ground took a surprise move.
With a deafening sound, the fighter jet, that flew just 100 metres above Kilinochchi town, dropped four 500 kgs bombs continuously on the location. The Israeli made Kfir, which followed the MiG 27, also flying low level dropped four 250 kg bombs.
The two Commanding Officers of the No. 12 Jet Squadron (MiGs) Group Captain Sajeewa Hendawitharane and No. 10 Jet Squadron (Kfirs) Shehan Fernando saw the rubble and the massive inferno around the location. They smelled the damage, but were bit suspicious whether the `most wanted man of that day’ - LTTE’s political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvam was dead or alive.

Fighter pilots of No 12 Squadron (MiG 27)-Left to Right :Flight Lieutenant Krishantha Kapugama (MiG-27 Squadron pilot) Flight Lieutenant Roshan Perera (MiG-27 Squadron pilot) Squadron Leader Ranga Thiranagama (Officer commanding Training MiG-27 Squadron) Group Captain Sajeewa Hendawitharana (Commanding Officer MiG-27 Squadron) Squadron Leader Asela Jayasekera (Officer Commanding Operations MiG 27 Squadron) Flight Lieutenant Indika Premadasa (MiG-27 Squadron pilot) Not in the Picture Flight Lieutenant Shyam Ranasinghe (MiG-27 Squadron pilot)

The two senior fighter jet pilots, who had flown from the western flank via Iranamadu and East of A-9 Road, successfully landed at Katunayake at 6 a.m. The SLAF Commander Air Marshal Roshan Goonetillake wanted the COs of the two Squadrons to lead the mission and it was just after 15 days of the LTTE attack on the Air Force Base at Anuradhapura.
“After analyzing the video images of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for couple of days and intelligence reports and also locations given by the Directorate of the Military Intelligence Commander and the Director Operations Air Commodore Harsha Abeywickrema directed us to take the target. They had identified three locations, but we had doubts whether the man we were to hunt down was there at that particular day and time. But according to information, he should have been there”, Hendawitharane said adding that they had two options to take a good kill.
One was making a missile attack and the other was to take some other targets to divert the attention and then take on the specific target. The SLAF Commander believed firmly in surprise attacks directed by the two fighter pilots to take a surprise move, but warned to be very careful about the vicinity as there were civilian houses around.
“We were warned not to exceed the perimeters of the boundary of the location and if that bomb went off damaging those houses I am sure the Commander would take `my neck’”, he giggled.
The duo got the happy news after five hours. The Director Operations called and congratulated them saying “You did it”.
“I felt a great relief as Thamilselvam did so much damages to us” CO of the No. 12 Squadron said.
Bombing Thamilselvam is just one among several achievements of the Squadrons. In 2000 for the first time, the MiG 27s were introduced and the second batch was inducted in 2007. They played a vital role in the Eelam War IV where the MiGs flew often `hunting’ - the LTTE’s training bases, bunkers, camps, important buildings and Sea Tiger bases.
The Squadrons, with seven fighter pilots, carried out over 845 sorties and dropped 1,071 tonnes of bombs and ammunition against the LTTE terrorists during the Eelam War IV. Earlier the fighter pilots who flew in F7 could drop only one bomb at a time, but the MiGs carried eight bombs weighting 500 kg each.
According to Hendawitharane, becoming a fighter pilot is a dream of every pilot of the SLAF. It is a graduation step by step. The seven MiG fighter pilots were first trained in K8 jet trainer. After completion of 100 hours they were `graduated’ to fly F7 which needed to complete 60 sorties to take into the MiG 23.

The smart guys always wearing sun glasses and looking relaxed are not so when they are at the cockpit of the MiG 27. It is a deadly one-man show. If their minds are not sound enough it is less than a second to end the story.
It is not so `rosy job’, but a one-man show where a single soul does communication, aviation and navigation. He is not relaxed until he touches back the soil for safety. Without even a few seconds to relax he is just like a machine which talks with towers, navigate from one place to another, finding the targets, being aware of the risks involved and remedies for them in emergencies, attacking the correct target and then flying to his own safety.
Explaining the advanced facilities the fighter pilots got under the supervision of the SLAF Commander, Hendawitharane said that the notable improvement was that they got the facilities for analyzing the targets using UAV and Beach Craft visuals in this war.
“First we study each and every target carefully and then decide the type of weapon that should be used to neutralize that particular target. Earlier we had only one type of bomb for every target. Whatever the damage caused from a general purpose bomb is very minimal and our Commander introduced most effective weapons for different targets like a bunker, a hideout, a house of an enemy, runways and floating objects like Sea Tiger movements. This time we did `target to weapon matching’. When there is a target we decide on the best weapon that we should use to neutralize that target and then we decide the number of bombs that we should drop to neutralize that target. We do not use maximum force, but the minimum force to destroy the target. We did not use three bombs when it required only two bombs to destroy a target”, he explained.
As Group Capt. Hendawitharane explained, the success of their targets should not only be a credit to the fighter pilots. He saluted the ground staff - from the technicians to those who guarded the hangers for giving the fighter pilots a hand.
They did a wonderful job. If I want to take off at 6 a.m. to neturtalize a target I should tell the technicians 24 hours before as they have to transport the bombs carefully from a different location. Though we flew at 6 a.m., the technicians commenced loading bombs into a special container after mid-night, and then carefully, transported them closer to the aircraft. Just imagine if four fighter jets are to be sent, the technicians need to load, unload and place 32 bombs which weigh 500 kgs each taking strict safety precautions.
They should place the bombs half and hour the pilot sits in the cockpit. They did a great job”, he appreciated their support given for the fighter pilots to release the bombs without a mistake.
Before taking off for the target, the pilots had a comprehensive briefing lasting for over two hours where they discussed the limitations - correct temperature, time factor, hydraulic pressure in the aircraft - they face when flying for the target.
“Since the pilot is flying alone, he needs to remember all these `lessons and advices’. If there is fire during take off he needs to know what exactly he is supposed to do as he hardly gets time to think. If there is hydraulic failure or a default in landing gears, he should know what to do”, he said.
No fighter pilot is allowed to fly unless the doctor recommends that he is medically fit. After the briefing, we go to the aircraft and launch the mission, which lasts from 55 minutes to an hour, the maximum.
The time depends on the distance. When carrying bombs it is a risk to fly high at high speed but at low level we flew at high speed as the possibility of the LTTE attacking us was there. But when flying low at very high speed there are risks like birding, high tension power lines, high ground and need to be 100 percent perfect.
“Imagine if flying 100 metres above the ground at that speed. 1,000 kph means you are flying 300 metres per second and if you are flying just 100 metres above the ground with less than one third of a second you will hit the ground”, he said recalling an occasion where he had to change the engine as a bird flew into the machine when taking off, in 1994.
A pilot with an experience of over 23 years in the SLAF, who had taken part in Eelam war I, II, III and IV, Hendawitharane said that they did night operations for the first time in the SLAF history during the Eelam war IV. He thanked the Commander and Director Operations for introducing night operations, where they first did flying under quarter moon face, half moon face and finally in total darkness.
Another significant change in their style of flying, according to the No. 12 Squadron Chief was the low level flying which the pilots had never done before.
“When doing high level bombing everyone can see and hear us. There were bunkers in every house. Thamilselvam, Pottu Amman and Prabhakaran had bunkers in their houses. When they heard a MiG they crept into the bunkers and they were safe there. When carrying out low level missions we just bombed and vanished. The element of surprise was 100 percent”, he explained.
These fighter pilots know the risk, but they dared not fly just 100 metres above the ground level amidst the LTTE pointing 30 mm guns to attack them when the target was designed to destroy a top leader or an important location like a massive training base.
“Low level flying kills you but it thrills you also. You get lots of fun as things are moving very fast”, he said.
“When the LTTE was boxed to Puthumathalan in the No Fire Zone, the fighter pilots could easily kill all the leaders in a one go, but the Commander had said `Lets allow the Army to finish this war’. We saw how the leaders were running, but if we dropped bombs we could not identify their bodies”, said Hendawitharane, who was alerted for over 21 days at China Bay with other fighter pilots to destroy the terrorists if they fled by sea.
A product of Trinity College, Kandy who joined the SLAF at the age of 18, the No. 12 Squadrons Commanding Officer said his happiest moment in life was the day that he was selected to fly fighter jets in 1991 when only five pilots had been chosen for the first time in the SLAF history to become fighter pilots of the SLAF.
According to him, the MiGs and fighter helicopters of the SLAF had changed the tide and the pilots who were so committed made a silent contribution since the beginning of the Eelam War IV, had destroyed the LTTE’s ammunition dumps, training camps and so many important places. He said that the fighter squadrons were happy about their past when they took on destroying the LTTE for over three and half years.

All the FIghter pilots in Sri Lanka Air Force just after the Victory Parade
Left to Right Flying Officer Chinthake Hettiarachchi (F-7 Squadron pilot) Flight Lieutenant Roshan Perera (MiG-27 Squadron pilot) Flight Lieutenant Prabhath Wijekoon (F-7 Squadron pilot) Squadron Leader Priyantha Udayakumara (Kfir Squadron pilot) Squadron Leader Vajira Jayakody (Officer Commanding Operations Kfir Squadron) Squadron Leader Poojana Gunathileke (Officer commanding Training F-7 Squadron) Wing Commander Sampath Wickramaratne (Commanding Officer F-7 Squadron) Group Captain Sajeewa Hendawitharana (Commanding Officer MiG-27 Squadron) Wing Commander Shehan Fernando (Commanding Officer Kfir Squadron) Squadron Leader Asela Jayasekera (Officer Commanding Operations MiG 27 Squadron) Squadron Leader Ranga Thiranagama (Officer commanding Training MiG-27 Squadron) Squadron Leader Dinesh Jayaweera (Officer Commanding Operations F-7 Squadron) Flying Officer Malinga Senanayake (F-7 Squadron pilot) Flying Officer Monath Perera (Kfir Squadron pilot)
(Not in photo) Flight Lieutenant Dinesh Nagasena (Officer commanding Training Kfir Squadron) Flight Lieutenant Krishantha Kapugama (MiG-27 Squadron Pilot) Flight Lieutenant Indika Premadasa (MiG-27 Squadron Pilot) Flight Lieutenant Shyam Ranasinghe (MiG-27 Squadron pilot)

According to Group Capt Hendawitharane, the life of a fighter pilot is very interesting with lots of challenges. “When you are a fighter pilot you can go wherever you want in the sky and if you want to reach a top of a huge cloud, you are just there. He said that the fighter pilots would not remember their loved ones or anything as they shoulder a huge responsibility.
“Simply we do not have time to think of anything else as the time for the prey is just an hour. Within that time we have to do everything alone”, he smiled.
The 30-year-old deadly battle is over. Will the job of the fighter pilots be over? “No, they will be the `guns’ who will display the power of the nation, which will boom with new harbours, air ports and tourists from the West”, he said.
With no regrets, the boss of the fighter pilots of the SLAF said that they drew great inspiration during the Eelam War IV when they never took targets to kill innocent civilians, but always inflicted the maximum damage on the terrorists.
“People know little about the occasions that the fighter pilots turned back abandoning the mission when they witnessed innocent people around”, he recalled.