Tag: Aviation

The passion of flying

Another gem from Capt. Bob.

Many of you will have watched the video of the dolphins being rescued off a Brazilian beach that I published a week ago under the title of Wet eyes warning.  That was sent to me by Capt. Bob.  Bob, like my son, is a commercial airline captain.

Now Bob has sent me this.  Some day, I’ll natter on about my own amateur love affair with flying, both gliding (sailplane in USA speak) and power.  But for now just marvel at the skills on display as in the name of fire control these crews quite deliberately do all the things that most would consider suicidal in aviation affairs.

Man, dog and Piper Cub

Excuse the self-indulgence!

While going through previously published Posts, I came across two, first shown on the 17th & 18th August, 2009, that seemed a better fit being rolled into one.

So here they are.


This is not my dog but it brings out the same feelings in me as if I was looking at my German Shepherd.


And this is my German Shepherd!  The photograph was taken in 2006 when Pharaoh was 3 years old.  The aircraft, by the way, is an L21B, the military variant of the Piper Super Cub.  The aircraft was originally delivered to the Dutch Air Force in 1954 and has dispensation from the UK CAA to retain the original registration and callsign of R151.



More on the aircraft.

Originally when the first half of today’s Post was published separately readers asked for more information on the aircraft.

So here it is.

Piper Super Cub, L-21B, R-151

A/C Construction No. 18-3841, Frame No. 18-3843

Original Engine, Lycoming 135 Type 0-290-D2, 54/2441

Romeo 151 was one of a batch of 298 L-21’s delivered in 1954. There were 584 L-21B’s produced by Piper for military use, the ‘L’ standing for Liaison. The L-21B’s were PA-18-135’s with civil Lycoming 0-290-D2 engines, glasswork as most L-21A’s and L-18’s and a gross weight of 1760 lbs.

This aircraft was delivered to Koninklijke Luchtmacht, Dutch Air Force, on the 1st July, 1954 and registered R-151. After various homes R-151 transferred to the Dutch civil register as PH-GER, 1st April 1976 with 4,458 hours and shortly thereafter was registered to Vlieclub Hoogeveen, Certificate Number 2380.

On the 27th March, 1981 the aircraft was delivered to the UK with a total time of 5,043 hours and in September, 1981 became G-BIYR. In April, 1983 YR was the first of type to be given a Public Transport CofA and was used for training at Tollaton. YR reverted to a Private CofA in January, 1984 when purchased by Mike and Barbara Fairclough at 5,120 hours.

In 1992 YR was re-engined with a Lycoming 150HP, 0320-A2B No. L49809-27A (zero hours). Finally on the 2nd June, 1995 the a/c was repainted in original Dutch insignia and given CAA (UK Civil Aviation Authority) permission to use the original call-sign, Romeo 151.

The aircraft is based in South Devon, England and owned by the five members of the Delta Foxtrot Flying Group.

A few photos of the aircraft.

Approaching home in South Devon, England
Approaching home airfield in South Devon, England
Flying in the French Alps, Mt Blanc in sight
Flying in the French Alps, Mt Blanc in sight
9,300 ft up in the French Alps
9,300 ft up in the French Alps

Really takes me back does this!

Something to Make your Day!

Another gem sent to me by dear friend, Bob D.

While the C-5 was turning over its engines, a female crewman gave the G.I.s on board the usual information regarding seat belts, emergency exits, etc.

Finally, she said, ‘Now sit back and enjoy your trip while your captain, Judith Campbell, and crew take you safely to Afghanistan

An old Master Sergeant sitting in the eighth row thought to himself, ‘Did I hear her right? Is the captain a woman? ‘

When the attendant came by he said ‘Did I understand you right? Is the captain a woman?

‘Yes,’! said the attendant, ‘In fact, this entire crew is female.’

My God,’ he said, ‘I wish I had two double scotch and sodas. I don’t know what to think with only women up there in the cockpit.’

That’s another thing, Sergeant,’ said the crew member, ‘We No Longer Call It The Cockpit

It’s The Box Office.’


Quote for today:

‘Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she’ll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she’ll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she’ll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she’ll give you her heart.  She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit.’

Beauty of flight

There’s more to flying than many of us realise.

Thanks to Mike T who I have known for a few years now.  Mike is an air traffic controller as well as being a keen private pilot so if there is one person who can see through the telescope from both ends, it’s this man.

Anyway, GE Aviation are one of the big players in aviation.  Here’s a quote from the website that I am going to link you to in a moment.

GE Aviation designs engines, flightpaths, and advanced aircraft systems. And we wanted to share the intricate choreography of flying in all its glory.


Dancing in the air!


Here’s the video – just 1:48 long – it’s captivating.  This link takes you to the GE web page where there is much more of great interest other than the video.

If you only want to watch the video then, of course, there’s a copy on YouTube, as below.  Enjoy!

Thanks Mike.

By Paul Handover

Assessment by machine

We have ways of making you listen!

It is quite normal now to have diagnosis in hospital, by machine, the same as we have come to accept for cars and aircraft, but how about English Language Proficiency testing?

In aviation, the international language is English, and in 1997 the International Civil Aviation Organization recognised the need to establish a level of English Proficiency as it had been established that there had been numerous accidents and incidents as a result of a poor level of understanding between Pilots and Air Traffic controllers.

As of March 2008, a system of testing was introduced covering Comprehension, Pronunciation, Fluency, Structure, Vocabulary, and Interaction, with a rating of 1-6 where Level 4 is considered Operational. If of Level 5 you gain an extended period of 6 years between testing; and at Level 6 you are considered an expert, and the validity period is indefinite.

The method of testing is by an on-line computer voice activated exercise. You have a headset, and computer screen, and a keyboard, and a series of activities lasting around 30 minutes, and at the end you are marked by the machine and given your result.

The program is of American origin, my invigilator was from the Philippines, and the person in charge of the testing was German. Continue reading “Assessment by machine”

Rationing – the New Paradigm?

A World War II practice may reappear.

Some little time ago I wrote about the word “fair”, which I tongue-in-cheek referred to as a Word of Mass Destruction (WOMD) insofar as if one REALLY put into place practices that were truly “fair” then western capitalism would break down completely. (The story of the CEO of Goldsmiths and his $100,000,000 bonus is for another day ….)

Well, my OTHER WOMD is “rationing”.

I was drawn to this topic by the words of a British minister about the desirability of introducing rationing into AIR TRAVEL.  The thinking goes (and to be honest it is in fact obvious, isn’t it?) that IF we are serious about reducing climate change (a VERY BIG IF!!) then we cannot continue to hope to fly where and when we want to as in the past. For aviation is a growth industry despite the current crisis, and as people in developing economies in Asia in particular grow more prosperous they will want to travel more and more. I have seen estimates to suggest that within a decade ONE HUNDRED MILLION Chinese will be travelling to Europe EVERY YEAR.

This is of course totally incompatible with any hope of doing anything serious about climate change. The logical conclusion is that (until some boffin invents an emission-free jet) we MUST reduce flying. This is likely for most adults to be about as palatable as denying burgers and chips to British teenagers, but I really cannot see the alternative IF Global Warming is to be taken seriously (which it probably won’t be until it’s too late).

But let’s for the moment remain positive …. supposing it is decided by some courageous government (are there any?) that we must reduce flying then there are two ways to do it.

A) TAX it so highly that only the rich can afford it

B) RATION it – everyone has a quota of air miles per annum.

Now option A is the usual free-market/capitalist way. After all, Ferraris are rationed by their price; otherwise all males over 18 would have one, or in my case several. But – much as I recognize what the free market has done in terms of wealth creation – we are in a new scenario, aren’t we? Can we really hope to say that only the rich can fly? I think not, and therefore rationing is the only way to do this.

Now, there is a minority of people that abuse anything, and no doubt rationing would be abused by some, somewhere, somehow. But it is the only FAIR way to go about it, isn’t it?

In London and other big cities we are now seeing a TAX imposed on driving into the city centres. Yes, very sensible, but of course, the RICH aren’t bothered. In effect, schemes like London’s are simply a way of excluding the masses from the city centre. The same idiocy is seen on French motorways, which are becoming increasingly expensive. The rich are not bothered by the tolls but the less well-off certainly ARE and so drive on other roads which are less safe; survival of the richest …….

No, the free-market is not going to work in the Brave New World which we are entering. If you have a birthday party for your kids then EVERYONE gets an equal share of the cake. This principle is going to have to be applied in other areas of life, otherwise we are going to get serious social unrest. Besides, any other way is just not FAIR, is it?

Of course, once you concede the point on AIR TRAVEL there is – in a world of increasing populations and diminishing resources – no way of limiting the concept purely to air travel, is there?

I am just old enough to remember my Mother’s WWII ration card, which she used up to the very early 50s I believe. Will we soon start to see a modern reincarnation, and not only in carbon credits?

By Chris Snuggs

WWII Ration Card - UK

There are graveyards, and graveyards!

The almost surreal area where aircraft are ‘laid to rest’.

The Mojave Desert is one of the places in the world where aircraft, both military and civil, are placed when they are at the end of their life, whatever that means.

Anyway, came across some nice material and wanted to share it.

In an earlier copy of Mental Floss Magazine (seriously) there’s a very good article about this area.  Fabulous pictures, by the way. (Both pics in this Post are from that article.)

Next this is a YouTube video using Google Earth in flyover mode:

Finally, a reminder that it’s not all about dead aircraft.  The Mojave Air & Space Port is also the site of the privately backed SpaceShip enterprise.

All in all, not your average place.

By Paul Handover