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August 22, 2005

Other Birds of Iraq

With the dry summer, the birding has really slowed down around Camp Victory-or it could be that I am less interested in watching birds when the temps are up around 112 or so. No worry, as you can watch airplanes instead - one of the advantages of living at the airport. And since I brought my scanner back with me from leave at Ft Bragg, I can sit in the Ford Explorer with the air conditioning running and listen till I hear something coming in.

Baghdad International Airport, (BIAP) formerly Saddam International, has military and civilian sides, and serves as the main air hub for Coalition Forces in and around Baghdad. Air traffic into Baghdad isn't quite routine yet, as there is still a slight threat of missile attack. Both military and civilian aircraft spiral in and out of the airfield to minimize the threat. But that may not be any worse than going into the Basrah Airport, where the AIP lists "Potential for unexploded ordnance away from hard standings". Interestingly, there are Iraqi air traffic controllers on duty at BIAP during the daytime, and the Americans take over at night.

Here on short final to the military side at BIAP is a C-12 Huron, which the military uses as a VIP aircraft. It is a military version of the Raytheon Super King Air 200.

Not sure which VIP this one was carrying, we have no shortage of generals here in Baghdad.

Civilian traffic continues to increase here as well. The US State Department says that there were 326 civil aviation flights in and out of Baghdad for the week of 7-13 August. When you add in the military flights, it makes BIAP a fairly busy airport. There are several "new" airlines flying in and out of the city, although I'm not sure I want to try Flying Carpet Airways just yet. Here is one example, an Iraqi Airways 727 taking off from Runway 33 R back in April.

This airplane has an interesting history; like many that end up in this part of the world, it flew elsewhere first. This one, #21483, was delivered to Delta Air Lines 31 May 1978.

Air freight is really the biggest traffic contributor here, with service from DHL to several cities in Iraq, among others. Here is a Phoenix Aviation An-12 coming in to the civilian side on 21 August 2005.

The An-12 is the Soviet counterpart to the Lockheed C-130, it is perhaps more ubiquitous than the C-130, as the An-12 has been pressed into freight service by numerous carriers.

Posted by LTCBob at August 22, 2005 03:27 AM | TrackBack
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You forgot that BIAP (Baghdad International Airport) was called for a very brief time "Bush International Airport". For a very brief time.

Good to see that there is civilian traffic coming in an out of there. DHL has been there about as long as the US military. I arrived at Camp V about three months after the war started and DHL was already there. Although mail delivery sucked, if you had the money, you could get a "care package" delivered to your front door (or tent) with a minimum of fuss. One of the DHL planes was hit with a MANPAD after I left and the pilot was able to bring the plane in and land.

Posted by: El-ahrairah at August 22, 2005 03:07 PM
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