Beating up the civvies

Cotswold Airport (the former RAF Kemble) getting beaten up by a couple of C130s

What? No. Wait. What?

After a weekend of slow news, made silly by the outrageously four-star idiocy that has fallen out of the mouths of some of our politicians, this story pulled me up.

A female passenger travelling, on BA, from Israel’s Ben Gurion airport to London’s Heathrow airport, has been thrown off the flight for…. having a dog in her cabin luggage.

I hope the airline passed the cost of the flight losing its take-off slot back to the woman concerned?

But the more I think about it the more I ask myself questions like:

  • ‘What has happened to the famed and draconian Israeli airside security checks?’, and
  • ‘What happened to the check-in procedures?’

Well, I suppose she could have fooled the check-in staff.

But fooled security?

Fooled Israeli security?


Weekend jolly

I’m trying to put together a little trip to Granada, for this weekend.

The problem is that I am very restricted in how much time I can take off from work on Friday (none) and Monday/Tuesday (none at all).

So I’m looking at flights out on Saturday, and return flights on Sunday.

Here are my destination airport options:

ThisĀ airport does not have direct flights to/from the UK.

If I caught a flight from LHR at 11am Saturday, I could get in to Granada at 5.30pm after one stop – and a total elapsed travel time of five hours. I would have to pick up a hire car and drive to my destination – a cool 1h 45m away.

The return journey would put me on a flight out of Granada at 1.45pm the next day, and would get me back to LHR – after one stop – at 5.20pm.

That’s not much time on the ground – especially when you factor in the hire car to/fro journeys and making it to departures in the advanced time that the airline demands.

At least this airport has direct flights to/from the UK – even though they’re EasyJet.

If I catch a flight from LGW at 6.20am I would get to Almeria at 10.10am. I’d have to pick up a hire car and drive to the village, which, from Almeria, would get me to my destination around noon.

But I would have to leave the village around 9pm, to drive back down to Almeria (two hours), to a hotel to spend the night, to ensure I returned my car and made it to departures in time to catch my return flight at 10.40am.

But this option would get me about 9 hours on the ground.

I’m not even going to look at using Malaga. I dislike that airport. And it is three hours’ drive away from my destination.


This is all a bit mentile, isn’t it?

Well maybe it is.

But it’s my daughter’s birthday.

Sometimes having knowledge is not good

The blockbuster film ‘The King’s Speech’ contains two massive continuity errors, and only really sad geeky people would notice them.

That would include me.

Within the first 15 minutes, we see a yellow de Havilland DH 82 Tiger Moth (‘A’ variant) land in the grounds of the royal estate at Sandringham.

The ICAO country-based registration painted large down the side of the fuselage identifies the aircraft as G-ANFM.

Straight away I’m knocked off balance because something is very, very wrong here. I remain slightly-off balance for the rest of the film.

When I get home I check the aviation database to find that G-ANFM rolled off the production line in 1942.

And yet, at that point of the film, Edward VIII hasn’t even taken the throne, let alone abdicated – his abdication coming, as it did, in 1936.

So we have a pivotal character flying an aircraft – G-ANFM – before it was made.

But the continuity errors don’t end there.

G-ANFM is owned by and registered to three trustees of the Reading Flying Group.

So you might have thought that the owners of G-ANFM would have known that the country-based aircraft registration scheme, which the aircraft G-ANFM is plainly registered under – didn’t come in to being until Article 20 of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation (which was signed in 1944), was introduced.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that Article 20 only applied to larger commercial aircraft.

Under Article 20, a Tiger Moth would have been exempt, at that stage of the legislative maturity.

It’s such a shame that an otherwise outstanding film suffered because of poor historical detail.

A DH82A variant Tiger Moth

One for the spotters

This afternoon, at about 15.35 zulu, I saw this aircraft land at EGVN:

It is an A320-212, registration mark JY-AYI, operated by the Jordan-based Royal Wings airline.

If anyone has information on this aircraft or the airline, could you please contact me.


Low fly, no fly, can’t fly?

First in this post, to Switzerland.

Land of the cuckoo clock (even though it was a German invention), numbered account and the world’s most secretive banking laws.

And green – in an environmental rather than rural way.

Anyone who has heard the TV journalist Jeremy Clarkson’s views on Switzerland will realise the country is an extremely green place.

And an extreme place.

The latest piece of green Swiss extremism is a proposal to ban the Swiss Air Force from low flying in Alpine areas.

The Swiss Air Force is only a defensive force – Switzerland isn’t even a member of NATO – and it solely exists to protect the bankers and cuckoo clock makers.

But the Swiss greens are saying that the noise of the Swiss F18s and F5s is harming the local economy and environment.

Switzerland has many Alpine areas and it’s not a massive leap of logic that one would want the national Air Force pilots trained in that kind of landscape.

The Swiss greens seem to think it’s not necessary.

It’s probably not another massive leap of logic to surmise that the Swiss greens probably want to do away with the Swiss Air Force.

I trained on exercise with the Swiss Air Force; it’s a service comprised of part-time, amateur servicemen and women.

But their capability and professionalism is worthy of – and in the case of some nations, exceeds – the same standards of most professional aviators.

Even though I have a very large video clip of a cockpit-filmed dog-fight that unfortunately shows 14 Sqn Royal Air Force comprehensively kicking Swiss backside all over their own airspace.

It would be sad if the greens became elevated to a place where they set national defence capabilities.

And now, to Guam where…

The world’s most expensive air crash has just happened.

A United States B-2 ‘stealth’ bomber crashed just after take-off from Anderson Air Force Base, Guam.

Thankfully both pilots ejected (I’ll tell you a true story about Royal Air Force ejection procedures in a minute) safely, but the aircraft is spread over a large area and will keep the wreckage-pickers busy for some time.

But at a cost of (count the zeros!) $ 1,200,000,000.00 each, this relatively unreported event masks the world’s most expensive air crash.

And now that anecdote…

The first time I flew on a low-level sortie as I was strapped in to my ejection seat the pilot said over the intercom:

And if I say ‘Eject, eject, eject’ I want you to reach down and pull that tag immediately, and if you say “What?” you’ll be talking to yourself’.

It crystalised my thoughts!