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Open Skies – Doing It Our Own Way

Szöveg: HDF 59th “Szentgyörgyi Dezső” Air Base, Airlift Squadron |  2013. május 14. 16:01

During the last two weeks the An-26 aircraft of the Hungarian Defence Forces, equipped for aerial photography, and their specially trained aircrew have performed mapping tasks on a mutual basis, flying over Ukraine and Russia (Report from the soldiers of Kecskemét.)


The Ukrainian mission was performed together with Italian partners, and the Russian one
with Canadian partners, using Hungarian military transport aircraft and Hungarian military
aircrews on both occasions.

All successful Open Skies observation flights are based on cooperation between the experts of
various special fields – cartographers, photosensor specialists, aircrews, flight engineers – and
the individual nations. These missions are very different from the everyday routine of airlift
units because the aircrews are briefed on the flight routes and their dates only on the site, after
consultation with the observed Party. After the approval, the pilots and the navigator prepare
the flight plans and make the required navigational calculations which weather conditions
cannot or only partly can modify, continuously keeping in contact with the Hungarian team
taking the photos and with the meteorologists.


Meanwhile the flight engineer and the radio operator introduces our aircraft and equipment to
the representatives of the observed Party. We are continuously making in-flight navigational
calculations to compute angle of turn, wind correction for turning, fuel consumption and
airspeed to be maintained, since we do not only need to stay on the flight route with an
accuracy of 10 to 20 meters, but we also need to reach on time the navigation fixes designated
in the flight plan. Under the changing meteorological conditions, these tasks are not easy to
execute even for experienced aircrews.

We logged a total of 24 hours flying time in executing the tasks in Ukraine and Russia, while
flying 8,400 kilometers and taking photos all along. At the end of the missions, the tired crews
were pleased to hear the Hungarian and foreign partners extending their sincere appreciation
to them for the successful and faultless performance.

This year the Hungarian Defence Forces will carry out some additional Open Skies missions,
whose successful accomplishment can further enhance the international recognition of
Hungary’s commitment.