CHINA 1405-1433

The first of seven daring maritime journeys for the Chinese Treasure Fleet got underway in 1405. From this first expedition to the fleet’s final trip in 1431, these voyages — led by explorer Zheng He — would expand the influence of the Chinese empire throughout the world from Indonesia to Africa.

The fleet was commissioned in 1403 by Emperor Chengzu, who appointed the eunuch Zheng He as its leader. Zheng He was an imposing captain at 1.8 metres (six foot) tall who, after being taken prisoner at the age of ten, had gained the favour of the emperor


Serbias First Overhauled MiG-29 Returned to Service

AFTER BEING overhauled by RSK MiG, in co-operation with Serbia’s Batajnica-based Moma Stanojlovic facility, the first of five Serbian Air Force MiG-29s has been returned to service. The aircraft, 18101 (c/n 2960525085), made its first post-overhaul test flight on February 11, a year after work had commenced. Final work is now also being undertaken on the remaining aircraft, comprising single-seaters (Model 9-12A) 18102 (c/n 2960525086), 18105 (c/n 2960525095) and 18108 (c/n 2960525100), plus twin-seat MiG-29UB (Model 9-51) 18301 (c/n 50903006375).

Work on the aircraft was extensive, involving complete disassembly at Moma Stanojlovic before all major components and systems were airlifted

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Sentinel R.1 Flies Following Completion in UK

A FURTHER milestone in the Ministry of Defence’s Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) programme was reached on July 25 when ZJ691(c/n 9123), the first Sentinel R.l to be completed at Hawarden Airfield, Broughton, North Wales, made its first flight. An extensively modified Bombardier Global Express business jet, it was crewed by Peter Collins, Head of Flying at Raytheon Broughton and Raytheon UK ASTOR Project Test Pilot, and Sqn Ldr Tim Butler, the RAF ASTOR Project Test Pilot. During the four-hour flight the aircraft climbed to an altitude of 17,000ft (5,200m) and reached an indicated airspeed of 320kts (593km/ h). Following further

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Scammell Wynners

Wynns and Scammell: in the context of Britain’s heavy haulage industry, it would be impossible to say two more iconic names In the same breath.

Founded by Thomas Wynn in 1863. this year marks 150 years of the Wynn family’s involvement in goods transport. At the start — before the dawn of mechanical road transport — carts were drawn by heavy horses, typically for local distribution of goods shipped over longer distances by rail or horse-drawn barge.

At one point. Wynns had over 200 heavy workhorses stabled at its base In Newport, South Wales. Imagine the logistics of feeding them

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Russian AF Prepares for First Su-34s

BEFORE THE end of this year, the Russian Air Force’s 4th Combat and Conversion Training Centre (CCTC) in Lipetsk will receive its first two Sukhoi Su-34 multi-role tactical bombers. Addressing 59 OSCE observers in Lipetsk on September 5, the Russian Air Force Commander-in-Chief, General Vladimir Mikhaylov, said: «One of the aircraft is due at the Lipetsk-based Centre very shortly, and the other in November.» They will be used to convert Russian AF flight and ground crews onto the type and to devise operational combat techniques. Official trials of the Su-34 are in the final stages, and early production aircraft are

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Road to mining asteroids

Planetary Resource’s Chris Lewicki on what we can expect to see in the future.


“The first activities of Planetary Resources actually start in space next year with early demonstrations of some of our commercial technologies to dramatically reduce the cost of this. In about two years’ time we will be putting in orbit around the Earth space telescopes which we can use to discover, characterise and monitor potential asteroid targets that we will then go out and explore in more detail up close.”


“By 2020 I really see us having several spacecraft missions out to a number of

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Red-Hot Mama

The Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney loves a good challenge. I Iere, the actress, director, writer (her first novel comes out this month), and mother of two shares her tips for turning dreams into reality.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES. When Alison Sweeney did her first shoot for SHAPE in early 2012, she had never posed for a magazine cover in a bikini. “I was so nervous about showing my body,” recalls Ali, who had struggled with her weight since she began appearing on the daytime soap Days of Our Lives at 16. Despite having successfully lost 30 pounds

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Supplied free of charge to educational and training establishments, from the Inspectorate of Recruiting, Directorate of Recruiting and Selection, PO Box 1000, Cranwell, Lincs, NG34 8GZ.

NOW HERE’S a treat. You may remember some time ago, the RAF released the first in a series of ‘IT in … ‘ packs, aimed at schools, and for free. Being the exception that proves the rule, the first pack, all about air/sea rescue, was worth considerably more than you paid for it. Judging from the mail received by us, you were interested too. So, good news, there’s a second in the series, this

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Prowling Over Scotland

HMS Illustrious handed back to RN

AS THE aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (R06) enters the final stage of its £120 million, two-year refit, the ship was officially handed back to the Royal Navy (RN) on July 27 at Babcock Engineering Services’ Rosyth Dockyard. Some 550 new RN crew members will now assist in completion of the refit at Rosyth which will lead to an intensive period of sea training after she returns to the fleet in February 2005 before officially becoming the Fleet Flagship in June 2005.

Once the refit is completed, officially scheduled for November 6, ‘Lusty’ will look

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Paris Preview

THE BI-ANNUAL Paris Air Show is looming on the horizon. Taking place at Le Bourget Airport on June 11 /20, this will be the 40th Salon de L’Aeronautique et de L’Espace.

In previous years the show was only open to the public on the last few days, a la Farnborough, but this year the organisers have made the first three days of the show available for public entry as well. Therefore access will be available on June 11, 12, 13, 19 and 20, with June 14/18 restricted to trade visitors only.

The flying programme is scheduled take place daily from

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