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First Boeing CH-47F Block II Chinook Delivered to U.S. Army



Boeing CH-47F Block II Chinook - CREDIT Boeing

The U.S. Army has taken delivery of the first CH-47F Block II Chinook from Boeing. The iconic tandem-rotor helicopter is one of up to 465 in the Army’s fleet that will be modernised to the new Block II configuration.

“The CH-47F Block II provides capability improvements allowing the U.S. Army to lift more, fly farther and maintain their aircraft better than ever before,” said Heather McBryan, vice president and program manager, Cargo Programs.

“This modernisation program enables the battle-tested Chinook to play a key role in multi-domain operations going forward.”

Chinook Block II Explainer


The CH-47F Block II has an improved drivetrain, a reinforced airframe and enhanced fuel system, provides for an additional 1,800 kg of max gross weight and extends the mission radius for nearly all payloads.

The new Chinook has been designed to enable upgrades as advances in technology are made.

“As the Army’s Heavy Lift platform of tomorrow, the CH-47F Block II provides increased capability while continuing support of the Army’s requirement to remain strategically responsive across the full spectrum of operations,” said Viva Kelly, U.S. Army Cargo Helicopters acting project manager. 

Aside from the U.S. Army the H-47 Chinook is used by 20 international operators including Australia.


The tandem-rotor design gives increased stability and control, maximum agility, ease of loading and unloading and outstanding performance in wind.

Put simply, the Chinook can operate where others can’t.

Tail rotor clearance is not a concern so rear ramp access on any almost any terrain is possible. The Chinook can reach up to 20,000 feet, higher than other helicopters in its class.

It’s one helluva flying machine.

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Avoid Flying into Trouble – Get to Know Your Camera Settings as Qantas Bans Photos of Staff and Passengers without Permission



Travellers are being urged to check their camera settings and capabilities before flying this summer. The advice comes after Qantas quietly banned the taking of photos or videos of staff and passengers without their permission.   

In the video above I explain to Jaynie Seal on Sky News Weekend Edition why camera settings matter. It has to do with how wide you shoot and how deep your depth-of-field is. If you shoot with a wide angle lens you could end up capturing the flight crew but most likely fellow passengers. This is against the rules. It’s OK to video or photograph yourself or travelling group and outside the window but the Qantas rule about in-flight photography says you must get permission from everyone else.

“seek consent before filming or photographing Qantas Group staff, contractors or other customers”

QANTAS Conditions of Carriage
Last updated: 8 November 2023

If you shoot with a GoPro you’ll probably have a very wide angle view so be wary of that. You can narrow this FOV in the settings. Also – depth of field should be shallow – which means the background is out of focus. This won’t happen on a GoPro or similar action camera with a fixed focus lens. Essentially everything is in focus.

Your phone’s tiny sensor will suffer from the same problem. Many have a fixed-focus selfie camera lens, but even those without it, will still keep many people in focus. Phones do fake background blur but this isn’t good enough, as it is adjustable in most cases after the shot is taken.

By understanding how your camera works, you are more likely to avoid scrutiny from cabin crew and other passengers. If you break the rules it could lead to your phone being confiscated, something you agree to in the conditions of carriage.

“use electronic devices (excluding hearing aids and heart pacemakers) when and as directed and in the case of any failure to comply with the direction we may retain the device”

QANTAS Conditions of Carriage
Last updated: 8 November 2023

I can understand why Qantas wants to protect the privacy or aircrew and passengers but I think another big reason is they just don’t want viral videos of in-flight chaos. These can be embarrassing but they could also provide crucial evidence if crew members were assaulted – for example.

Similar rules are in place around the world but that hasn’t stopped viral videos of cabin incidents, especially in the US.

Most aircrew and passengers don’t understand how cameras really work so I’m concerned that people looking to ‘bust’ happy snappers will get it wrong. For example, a couple takes a shot against the fuselage and the passenger behind them protests thinking they are in shot. When, in reality, there was no way that was possible given the angle. This stuff happens all the time when I am shooting out and about. The camera might even be facing away from the disgruntled member of the public and yet they still aggressively ask, “are you photographing me?”

Travel vloggers are going to struggle big time.  They often just walk around recording everyone and everything. So maybe this isn’t so bad.

I’ll also point out that this has not been well publicised by Qantas. I’ve spoken to travel agents who didn’t even know about it. If it’s possible for people to get in trouble with a new rule then they should know about it before flying. Let’s face it, no one is going to read the lengthy conditions of carriage each time they fly. Any change like this should be well publicised.

So that’s why I’m covering it today.

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Starship Ready to Launch as SpaceX Receives Clearance



The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has cleared SpaceX to proceed with the launch of its second flight test of a fully integrated Starship.

Starship reached an altitude of 39km in the first test flight

SpaceX made a number of upgrades to the vehicle and ground infrastructure following the first integrated Starship/Heavy configuration test flight in April.

Starship reached an altitude of 39 kilometres over the Gulf of Mexico before an self-destruct command was given. Troubles began when leaking propellant ignited, leading to loss of communications to the majority of booster engines.

There was also work to be done on the ground. The launch pad essentially designated under the enormous thrust of the Super Heavy engines. Chunks of concrete were sent flying for kilometres. SpaceX has since made reinforcements to the pad foundation and added a water-cooled steel flame deflector.

 SpaceX made reinforcements to the pad foundation and a water-cooled steel flame deflector

Following approval from the FAA, which also required a report from and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Starship is set to launch on Friday, November 17.

A two-hour launch window opens at 7:00 a.m. CT. (Midnight AEST)

If Elon Musk’s team pull this off, it will super-charge the modern space race.

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Fresh Paint, Fresh Start for Qantas Group Fleet?



The Qantas Group needs a fresh start and what better way to get back on track than a new plane with a striking new paint job. Symbolising this change is the rolling out of the first new QantasLink Airbus A220 from the Mirabel paint shop in Canada.

Paint shop at Airbus’ facility in Mirabel, Canada

The aircraft is due in Australia by the end of the year. It will be the first of twenty-nine A220s that will modernise the Qantas Group domestic fleet while also expanding its narrowbody aircraft numbers. The new Airbus A220s will gradually replace the Boeing 717s in the fleet, doubling the range of the outgoing aircraft.

“The A220s will mostly connect smaller capital cities like Canberra and Hobart, with our major hubs in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.”

This will open up new domestic and short-haul international routes for the Qantas Group.

It will be the first of twenty-nine A220s

“These aircraft have the potential to change the way our customers travel across the country, with the ability to connect any two cities or towns in Australia,” said Qantas Group CEO, Vanessa Hudson.

“That means faster and more convenient travel for business trips and exciting new possibilities for holiday travel. A whole new fleet type also means a lot of opportunities for our people to operate and look after these aircraft.”

QantasLink A220 Fast Facts

  • The QantasLink A220 will seat 137 passengers in a two-cabin configuration with 10 Business seats and 127 seats in Economy.
  • The A220s will mostly connect smaller capital cities like Canberra and Hobart, with our major hubs in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
  • The A220 has almost double the range of the 717 at over 6,000 kilometres, meaning it can fly between any city in Australia. The aircraft burns 25% less fuel per seat and CO2 compared to previous generation aircraft.
  • The public has been invited to help name the new A220 fleet after Australian native wildlife. (The first aircraft, as part of the Flying Art Series, is an exception to the A220 naming convention).

Over the past 12 months, Qantas Group has taken delivery of twelve new aircraft, including eight Airbus A321LR planes for Jetstar and three Boeing 787 Dreamliners for Qantas International.

More deliveries of multiple aircraft types are expected in the next 12 months, including the first Airbus A321XLR for Qantas Domestic. As the old aircraft are replaced, Qantas can look forward to a cheaper fuel bill with fewer emissions.

QantasLink A220 (registration VH-X4A)

The new QantasLink A220 (registration VH-X4A) will undergo a series of routine post-production test flights with Airbus as well as being fitted with Qantas-specific equipment before being officially handed over to the airline by the end of the year.

The aircraft will then ferry from Quebec to Australia and join the QantasLink fleet, initially operating flights between Melbourne and Canberra. Another six A220s are scheduled to be delivered by mid-2025.

“The aircraft is named after the artwork Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa – The Two Sisters Creation Story.

The paintwork on VH-X4A tells the Dreaming story of two sisters who travel across remote Australia together to find their way home. The aircraft is named after the artwork Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa – The Two Sisters Creation Story.

Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa – The Two Sisters Creation Story

Senior Pitjantjatjara artist Maringka Baker created the artwork, while approximately one-hundred painters were involved in completing the livery. The Airbus teams worked with 130 stencils to replicate the detailed designs. It features over 20,000 dots and is the most complex livery Airbus has ever completed for this aircraft type. It took two weeks to complete.

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