Newsletter 6
22 January 2023
Photo of G-ASDC by Roger Syratt
This is the 500,000th photo in our database, a wonderful Carvair captured at Coventry by Roger Syratt in 1972. We would like to thank all our users for helping achieve this milestone, which was achieved last autumn. In case you are wondering: occasionally some photos are removed, usually because they have inadvertently been added twice, which explains that the Photo ID number of Roger's picture is not 500000, but 501462.

In fact, if you're uploading, you can help us to prevent doubles – by checking your accepted photos of course, but also by using the proper channels when doing a reupload. When asked to improve an image by the screeners, please do not initiate a new upload, but follow the instructions in the e-mail message, or go to your Returned Photos queue on the website when logged in and use the 'Replace Image' button. And if you would like to improve an accepted photo, then also don't do a fresh upload. Please use the 'Reupload this Photo' button that appears below your accepted photos on the website when you're logged in.

And, if you feel like it, please do not hesitate to resubmit photos in improved quality or size the AirHistory screeners will only be happy to see them again and will gladly assist to make them available to our viewers.
The photo below in our Photo Archive account, in which we preserve and interpret historic aviation photos from public sources, was one of a bunch reuploaded when old Life magazine photos were found to be available in a more generous size than before. Remember: in helping to document aviation history, your photos may be just as significant as Loomis Dean's!
The Story of Photo... 239853
Photo of OO-SHL by Loomis Dean
In 1957, Life photographer Loomis Dean was invited by Sabena to witness the spectacular inauguration of the Belgian airline's new helicopter service to Paris. The whole new fleet of eight S-58 helicopters flew from the central Brussels heliport to Issy-les-Moulineaux in loose formation. Helicopter tickets were rather expensive and publicity in Life magazine was aimed at attracting wealthy American tourists, Sabena's advertisements carrying the slogan See more of Europe.

Starting with S-55s in 1953, Sabena was one of the few traditional airlines to try an inter-city passenger helicopter service. The hope that newer helicopter types would drastically cut the high operating costs did not come true. Also, public tolerance of the noisy choppers around city heliports diminished and Sabena gave up around 1965. At AirHistory we have a nice collection of some 50 photographs relating to Sabena's historic helicopters, often depicting these machines at forgotten city heliports in places such as Brussels, Rotterdam and Cologne.

The story of Photo... will be a returning column in our infrequent newsletters. If you feel there is an interesting story around one of your photos, a tad too long too tell in the photo comment, please do not hesitate to contact us through the Contact page on the website! This may be just an interesting little bit of aviation history, or something personal since some of your photos were taken in rather interesting circumstances.
Stricter standards
Recently we have seen a sharp increase in the number of modern day airliner, warbird and military jet photos being submitted. While these are worthy categories, we do see the need to apply stricter screening standards to these photos and to implement some other changes.

This is necessary to avoid having too many photos of the same aircraft and to maintain variety in the website.
For photos dated 2003 and later – the digital age – we will be applying stricter screening. The more recent the photo, the stricter the screening will be. For recent photos, the photo quality should be nearly flawless, particularly if the aircraft is common.

The photo date will also be more of a factor. Additional photos of the same airframe taken within a relatively short time of another, without changes in titles or livery, are of limited historical significance. They will be judged more strictly and are less likely to be accepted.

Another thing you may notice is that we will be returning photos more often if we think they can be improved fairly easily. Until now we have always been quite lenient about minor flaws, but with the above in mind we think it’s time to be a little more strict in this respect too.

When uploading, you are now more likely to see a photo being flagged with a red ‘Common’ warning in the Auto-suggest list on the upload page. When this happens, please step back for a moment and try to decide objectively whether your photo will actually contribute to the database. If you feel it will, please explain your reasoning in the ‘Comment To Crew’ field at the bottom of the upload page. Common photos without good reasons for inclusion in the database will no longer be accepted.

All of this is not set in stone. We try to not apply rules, only using guidance, and exceptions can always be made for common photos at the screeners' discretion – for example if the photo is of truly exceptional quality, such as Shaun Conner's magnificent shot below. This is not a photo we can say 'no' to, even though we already have more than 60 photos of this aircraft on the database! We will continue to give a message with every returned or rejected photo, explaining the reason for the decision.
Photo of G-VLCN / XH558 by Shaun Connor
Upload limits
The number of photos submitted per day is also generally on the rise, which is of course basically a good thing! However, this does put some strain on our small screening team. We don't want long waiting times and we strive to clear the queue every day. Therefore we kindly ask photographers to please be selective and submit not more than roughly 25 photos per day. Of course exemptions for newsworthy and eventful photos will be given. We can now install upload limits for those who upload too many common or consistently poor images. Ideally we would not want do this, but after asking nicely several times, sometimes it's the only option left.
Upload page change
When uploading you may notice that you can no longer skip the Auto-suggest feature. It is now a mandatory step in the upload process, and all other fields will only show after you have used the Auto-suggest. This to get more consistent data entries, and also to display a red 'Common' warning for your photo when necessary. Also it is no longer possible to edit the registration/serial field after having used the Auto-suggest.

As most of our uploaders will know, the Auto-suggest will give a list of options to choose from, based on the photos already on the database. We ask you to select the option that is the best match for the photo you are uploading, even if it is only a partial match. For example if it shows the same aircraft (matching aircraft type and construction number), but with a different operator. When you select that partial match, the aircraft type and c/n will auto-fill and you only need to change the operator to the correct one. We believe this will result in fewer mistakes. If no useful partial or full match is listed (e.g. in the case of a new registration), there is a button which will allow you to enter all the information manually.

In practice these will be minor changes for most users, and most of it should be self-explanatory. Also there are help texts to explain the details. But please do not hesitate to send a message to the screeners if something is not working right or if you have a question!
The Photo Search Categories
One of the features that distinguishes AirHistory from other aviation photo sites on the web is the large number of photo search categories available for users on the Advanced Search page. Using these search categories, you can more easily search through our extensive photo database to find photos of whatever types of aircraft or aircraft operators interest you. We have categories in three sorts: Photo Categories, Aircraft Type Categories; and Aircraft Operator Categories. You find them bottom left on the Advanced Search Page.
Photo of VH-III by Matt Savage
Photo Categories
Photo Categories include broad groupings of photographs, such as photos depicting an accident, cockpit shots, detail photos, and air-to-air images. Matt Savage's beautiful F4U Corsair shot above is categorized as Air to Air, Formation, and Warbird. There are also categories for aircraft in special paint schemes. Paint – Commemorative shows aircraft in special anniversary or commemorative liveries, while our Paint – Promotional category shows aircraft painted in advertising or promotional schemes. We even have a category, Paint – Retro, for photographs of civil and military aircraft painted in vintage and retro colours.
Aircraft Operator categories
Aircraft Operator categories relate to the specific types of operations that aircraft perform. Here you can find some very basic categories, such as Airline or Military aviation photos. But as with the other types of categories, we offer some unique photo categories for site visitors with specific interests. For instance, we make it possible to search for photos of Medical or Police/Law Enforcement aircraft. The Medical category is applied to pictures of ambulance aircraft from around the world, while the Police/Law Enforcement category can be used to locate all police helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Probably one of the most interesting categories at AirHistory is the Defunct Airline category, which already contains over three thousand historic airline companies that are no longer in business. For users in a nostalgic frame of mind, this category is highly recommended. It contains airlines that ceased operations decades ago, as well as those that failed last year.
Photo of N7317C from Udo Haafke Collection
Aircraft Type Categories
Photo of I-X052 by Augusto Laghi
Aircraft Type categories include photos of particular kinds of aircraft, such as Rotorcraft, Seaplanes, Gliders, and Airships. You can also perform aircraft category searches for Aerial Firefighters or Aerial Tankers if you have a more specialized interest. For military aviation aficionados, we offer separate categories for Fighters and Bombers. The newest category is the Electric-Powered category. Although there are limited numbers of electric-powered aeroplanes now flying, we are proud to be able to offer our viewers a sample of cutting-edge aviation and look forward to adding new types to the category in the years to come.
It is possible to select two or more different categories in a search, but note that the search results will bring up all photos that belong to any of the categories that you have selected. To give an example, if you select the Freighter Aircraft Type Category and the Paint – Promotional Photo Category, the results will contain all photos of cargo aircraft and all photos of aircraft with promotional liveries, rather than only cargo aircraft in promotional liveries.

If your find any photos not tagged within the correct category, please use the Submit Correction link on any relevant photo to send the editors a friendly email with your suggestion of which categories to include or exclude. We want flying with AirHistory to be as pleasant and fun as possible!

To help make this work, we would like to ask our esteemed photo contributors to take a moment when uploading to check all the applicable Category boxes on the upload page. Sometimes more than one needs to be ticked.
Tails with names
Photo of G-BNLK by Lewis Grant
In the last decades, commercial aviation enthusiasts have suffered through a notable reduction in diversity and complexity of airline liveries, with many airlines transitioning to so-called ‘Eurowhite’ liveries. Fortunately, a few airlines have bucked this trend by designing a variety of special tail designs. The most famous, or infamous example was British Airways’ ‘Utopia’ collection of ‘World Tail’ designs. BA have long reverted to a standardized brand image. Some airlines, like JetBlue and Air Austral, however, still carry varied tail designs on their aircraft today.

The BA World tail designs were assigned specific names that were almost always marked on the noses of the aircraft. You may have noted that at AirHistory, we now list these design names, such as Chelsea Rose or Waves of the City, in the Aircraft Name field in the database even though it might be argued they are not individual aircraft names, having been worn by multiple aircraft at the same time.

We think this is neat though as, when you click, for instance, on the design name Mountain of the Birds / Benyhone, you can see all the different aircraft that British Airways painted with that particular design. In this case, we have 85 photos that include images of Boeing 737s, 747s, 757s, 767s and 777s; ATPs, ATR72s, A320s, BAe 146s, Dash 8s, ERJ-145s, Saab 340s, Short 360s, and BN-2 Islanders; and even a 727 that was operated by BA franchise partner Comair in South Africa.
Photo of N308FR by Brandon Siska
It is also just practical to make no distinction between a tail design name and an individual aircraft name illustrated on the tail, such as Frontier Airline’s wild animals, and Norwegian’s famous people.

If there is no name on an aircraft with a special tail design, the Aircraft Name field is to be left empty, even if the design is known by a name among enthousiasts. It is quite simple really – it all comes down to whether a tail art, livery or individual aircraft name can be read somewhere on the plane. If there is no name on the plane, as is the case with Air Austral and used to be the case with Frontier, then an uploader can choose to mention the tail art in the Photo Comment field. JetBlue and Mexicana also did not provide names for the special tail designs on their aircraft – but nearly all their aircraft did carry a ‘regular’ individual aircraft name, which should be listed in the Aircraft Name field at AirHistory.  
Pakistan promotionals
From approximately 2006 to 2010, Pakistan International Airlines decorated its aircraft tails with a series of local fabric designs that were accompanied by special titles promoting a city or region of Pakistan, along with a slogan. Thus, for example, a Boeing 737-300, an Airbus A310, and a Boeing 777-300 all wore titles reading Gilgit – The Silk Route, plus a special tail featuring a pattern associated with that city. Because these titles include a marketing slogan, we list these special titles in the Promotional Titles field.

The latter case is a slight complication, but we think there is a commonsensical logic to this all, and uploaders can and should use the auto-suggest function on the upload page to help them out. Please remember, our goal is always to make it possible for visitors to easily find photos they are looking for – in this case, photos of aircraft wearing those interesting tail art designs.
Photo of AP-BEG by Chris Lofting
Alliances and promotional titles
Speaking of the Promotional Titles field, we took the decision to use this field to reflect indicating airline alliance markings. Thus, the alliances are no longer treated as 'Second Operators' at AirHistory – if an aircraft wears prominent markings of the Star Alliance, SkyTeam, Oneworld or a smaller alliance, the alliance name should now go in the Promotional Title field. We have about 1700 photos in the database of aircraft with prominent alliance markings, and the change has already been made for all.
Photo of OH-LWB by Juhani Sipilä
We don't consider an alliance an airline's own product and indeed, we would like to remind uploaders that the Promotional Titles field is not for an airline's various own services and slogans that may be painted on a plane, but only for advertisements for other companies and entities such as as events or tourist regions. It should be prominent displays, too. This is a bit arbitrary of course, but a small sticker certainly does not qualify.
Soviet Transports update
Photo of 01 yellow by Danny Grew
AirHistory is primarily a photo database, but we also endeavour to be a portal for research in the fascinating world of avation, particularly in the field of individual airframe identities and histories. We are proud to host the formidable Soviet Transports Data Files in the Reference section of the website. What not everybody may be aware of is that these files include Western aircraft used in the Soviet bloc, too. Did you know the Soviet Union got North American AT-6 Texans in World War II? The 84 airframes delivered are detailed in the updated files.
This is an invaluable resource, and should be anyone's first stop when research aircraft from the former Soviet realm. Danny Grew used it to identify the Ukrainian Tupolev Tu-134 in his 1995 photo above, for example.
Photos by Shaun Connor, Loomis Dean, Lewis Grant, Danny Grew, Augusto Laghi, Chris Lofting,
Matt Savage, Juhani Sipilä, Brandon Siska, Roger Syratt, and from Udo Haafke Collection