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  • 2011 – The Year in Review: Top 10 Picture Stories

2011 – The Year in Review: Top 10 Picture Stories

1. First images of Air France A330 crash site

French investigators released images of the wreckage of the Air France Airbus A330-200 that crashed in the south Atlantic in 2009, after discovering the site of the accident after a two-year search.

The images show the aircraft's General Electric CF6 engines, sections of the wing and fuselage, and the landing-gear.

2. BA to celebrate royal wedding with special aircraft

Prince William BA Royal Fleet tail livery

Flightglobal published an April Fool story with a Royal Wedding theme.

We reported UK flag carrier British Airways had announced it would celebrate the nuptials of Prince William and Catherine Middleton with a series of special royal portrait liveries on a selection of its aircraft.

The six aircraft, dubbed the Royal Fleet, would feature portraits of different members of the British Royal Family on their tails.  

3. Crashed AF447 flight data recorder found

Search teams recovered the flight-data recorder from the crashed Air France Airbus A330-200, one month before the second anniversary of the accident.

The cylindrical memory unit, which was missing when the chassis of the recorder had been located, was found during a dive by a remote underwater vehicle on 1 May.  

4. RAF's first A330 Voyager lands in the UK

The UK's first Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) landed at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, at the start of its programme of in-country testing, as the Ministry of Defence announced that the type would be named the Voyager in Royal Air Force service.


5. AF447 flight data recorder found but memory unit missing 

Search teams located the flight-data recorder, but not the critical memory unit, from Air France flight AF447. But the crucial crash-survivable memory unit – in which data from the aircraft's instruments is stored – was not attached.

6. Wingtip hit grounds A380 demonstration flight

Airbus scrapped plans for the flying display of its A380 superjumbo jet at the Paris air show after the aircraft’s wingtip "touched a structure" during ground manoeuvres at Le Bourget airport.

Korean Air's A380, which had been on static display, stood in with an aerial performance.

7. F-35b starts critical tests in comeback attempt

With the beginning of at-sea trials for the Lockheed Martin F-35B, the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant had entered the most critical phase in a year-long campaign to overcome probation and be spared cancellation.

For the next two to six weeks, two F-35B flight test aircraft would attempt to prove the proposed successor to the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II can operate aboard the US Marine Corps' relatively small amphibious carriers.

Lockheed Martin F-35B JSF carrier landing, US Navy


8. China Southern receives first A380

China Southern Airlines has five of the type on order, configuring the jet with 506 seats, comprising eight first-class suites, 70 lie-flat business-class seats and 428 economy seats.

The aircraft are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines and will initially be used on domestic routes between Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

9. Crashed AF447's auxiliary power unit located

10. Lufthansa rolls out 747-8 colours 

Lufthansa 747-8

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