Call me sad, but there was this company making furniture from scrapped or otherwise discarded aircraft structures that I craved for a while. This house is the ultimate extension of that idea… or better still, a great place to put your furniture. All i have to do now it get the idea past the management… 10/10 for the guys who put this together, ‘living the dream’ or what!
As far back as the dawn of air transport, weather and other briefing information was delivered by a small army of meteorologists and what we might call nowadays, information technicians. In the intervening years labour it has become economically essential to use technology to remove labour from as many business and other processes as possible. Aviation, being relentlessly competitive feels the intense focus of efforts to remove people wherever possible.
I thought you might like to read the journal magazine, issue 2 2013 courtesy of the Haldane Group.
Publication date: Wednesday 10th April 2013
BA Flight Operations has had a friendship with the Red Arrows for a while and when something special happens we (as in one of our aircraft) meet up in the air for a little nifty camera work . This time it was the arrival of our first A380. Earlier at Manston the guys got together to practice for this very occasion, the Royal International Air Tatoo (RIAT). In this photo they are forming up prior to their flypast at Fairford. The show is a sell-out! The ’380 is no favourite of mine for a variety of reasons, but let’s not apply any Boeing prejudice here. Suffice it to say I think she looks very fine in our colours and with the Red Arrows alongside, she looks just a tad less ugly. The ride is very comfortable once you are inside though… I gather.
This short but sweet clip dips you in and out of a production test pilot’s day.
On the 15th July BA’s A380 trotted off to Manston to fly sectors to gain experience on the type. They also took the opportunity for a little air-to-air photography for publicity purposes. Flight Global have the news here plus a few more pictures of this very large flying machine. ‘It’s flight, but not as we know it Nigel.’
I have a Scoop.it channel based around Aviation based Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). Called generically a ‘mash-up’, this channel brings interesting snippets and developments from the TEL world as it broadly relates to aviation oriented learning. The initiative contributes to my understanding of another web technology in support of my Masters (ODE) study. It’s also fun searching out the articles, posts and other issues.
Please visit if the field interests you, here is the RSS feed to my page.
For some years now the science behind air breathing engines has been looking towards low earth orbit for the next big thing. HOTOL has been on the drawing board for years as a concept, and sometimes all it takes to hot the tipping point in a new sphere is the arrival of new materials and technologies. Engines are one such stop-go technology. This short clip from the Telegraph brings to light developments that have been churning quietly in the background. Just think if….
I wonder if they have considered concreting over the cobbled flooring in front of the test stand (the intake area). A chunk of sub-sonic cobble would rearrange the airflow within the motor rather significantly.
In Bedfordshire Shuttleworth was just down the road, we were almost within an extended circuit. Lazy Summer evenings with just the whisper of a breeze brought the most exquisite evening flying displays where the most ancient, most delicate craft were bought from the sheds to be offered again to the sky. They were times for picnics, shrimps and Champagne, sausages on sticks and quiche (for the ladies) with fruit to follow. All consumed with relish as the sun dipped and the heat of the day left the air. The atmospheric aeronautics followed the packing away of the tables and chairs which, with the first cough of the SE5a’s Wolseley, happened pretty swiftly. I could reminisce for ages but I must just say this; may the Boxkite, Bleriot, the Deperdussin and the rest continue to putter into the sky forever. Generations yet to be born must, as we have, be able to rest their eyes on the precarious but wonderful truth of early flight.
Here in Somerset the skies fill with something quiet different, Naval Wings of might and substance. The meaty Fury hurled aloft by the Centaurus, that double-banked eighteen cylinder monster of a power-plant that whistles and moans in its own wicked way. The Fury’s inertia makes for an almost jet-like performance at low level and bridges the gap between the pistons and jet displays – something it did in reality as she was the final development of the radial for Bristol’s.
No, the sky is a very different place down here, the quality of the light is wonderful in the evenings, particularly in the restful silence following Yeovilton’s Air Day which is coming to us tomorrow, the 13th July. The line-up is always fabulous, the Navy even lets the RAF grandstand for a while with their heavier metal in the form of the Typhoon etc, but for me it is the Swordfish that connects the past to the present.
This beautiful lumbering old girl just flew overhead my house with a Lynx on each wing posing for photographs (another photo-helo in formation). It’s impossible not to get a lump in your throat when you consider what it must have taken to fly at 90kts and 20ft or so in a straight line towards a battleship full of angry Italians with heavy weapons. The Wardroom at HMS heron (RNAS Yeovilton) celebrates Taranto Night with some vigour to this day, the last man standing from the attack I believe is still with us (but don’t quote me).
And then there is the Seafire, she spends a fair amount of time overhead practising for the big day, what more could you wish for on a Summer’s afternoon. Do I need to remind you of the twelve cylinder symphony that accompanies the Seafire? If I do then you, dear reader, have some serious listening to do for this is a sound that never leaves you. Even people ambivalent to flying machines stop dead and listen when a Merlin passes by, many needing to wipe away a small tear for reasons they don’t quiet understand. She is like that is the Merlin, the exceptional Rolls Royce product of all time that powered ships, tanks, aircraft and now tear-ducts.
Well, for one I am on my way to Barbados tomorrow and leaving this glorious weather behind me. I assure you I would rather be in the garden watching the fun overhead. But if you can make it, why not slip down to sun-soaked Somerset for the best day in the year’s aviation calendar. If you can’t make it tomorrow they have a very fine museum at Yeovilton, The Fleet Air Arm Museum which sits right in the thick of helicopter action.
As I prepare to pack my case a Hawk is practising over the airfield.
Careful transcribing and research is slowly bringing the underlying truth to the surface as it would from the tip of the archaeologist’s trowel. The process is a fascinating one, so much is there to be found, if only you know enough of where to start. On this journey you meet fellow time travelers, those investing whole tracts of their lives rustling through archives with an educated and sharply analytical eye, the often priceless detritus left for us to find.
Flight has always been a huge adventure, in its early years the danger lay at the surface facing them every day. Whilst often forgiving due to low mass and the frangibility of the machines, protection for the aviator was minimal and entanglement in cartwheeling wreckage often involved hideous injuries. The attrition rate among those learning to fly from those who could barely manage the feat themselves was grievous.
Like many of his compatriots Arthur Keen returned from the Front to Home Establishment (the UK) to recuperate from the stress and fatigue of combat. During the interval at home he and they were used as flying instructors to bring along their replacements. Until the sweeping changes brought about by Smith Barry were introduced, tutoring the ‘Huns’ as they called them was a dangerous and low status job. One that was often loathed by exhausted young men who, having survived the tumult over France and Belgium felt ill inclined to be sent to their maker by those they resembled but months earlier themselves. It is hardly surprising that a poor job was often done, students regularly spending little time actually handling the flying controls before staggering into the air themselves for the first time.
Captain Albert Ball presents us with a fine example. He completed his service training on the 29th January 1916 and was immediately posted to Gosport arriving on 31st. He took up duties as a flying instructor with 22 Squadron and wrote in a letter home on the 6th February “… thirty officers up for instruction, and out of thirty, six off solo…” and all in a single day (Bowyer, 1977. p.49). This was quick work indeed, we would love to know how many survived the experience.
A large part of Arthur’s story is entwined in the drama surrounding flying training. It is clear from the material that he was a talented pilot, what also emerges is the picture of the committed instructor. Someone who graduated from Smith Barry’s earlier Gosport instructor courses with ‘a final assessment exceeding all who had gone before’ (a statement taken from one of his letters that we hope to establish evidence for one day). What he might have done post conflict with that talent will never be known but he was spotted by those structuring the new Royal Air Force and given attractive options, one that he took, the rest he left behind to return to 40 Squadron at Bruay/Bryass, this time as its commanding officer.