Solar Impulse has set a new absolute world distance record for solar-powered aviation on the second leg of its trans-American journey (832 NM/ 1’541 km), helping to achieve the goal of promoting the use of clean technologies worldwide.
After an 18-hour flight from Phoenix, Arizona, the aircraft landed in Dallas Texas, after a journey of 958m.
British explorer Daniel Hughes has reached the summit of Mount Everest in an attempt to raise £1m for the charity Comic Relief.
Daniel spoke to the BBC from the top of the world’s highest mountain using his smartphone.
Everest has been used as both a dustbin and a dubious dudes’ ego-trip for years? Well, that’s what some people think slumped in their armchairs making their way into a case of ‘tinnies’. But do you know – I think those sorts of motivation (if you can call them that) probably run out of steam whilst you are humping your bags into the taxi on arrival at Kathmandu.
A colleague (‘proud to call him so) Dan Hughes was travelling in Bolivia on honeymoon and found something that simply wouldn’t go away. On his return the desire to help by doing something tough and selfless (he’s a Triathlete) he decided to try and raise a £1 Million by placing a Red Nose on top of Everest.
Why? It’s obvious isn’t it? No one had done it before, and you can do an awful lot for those who desperately need it with Million pounds Sterling. Dan is carrying an extra 7kgs of communications technology to enable him to broadcast his movement up the hill live across the Internet, most people keep their weight as low as possible as… It must be very, very hard work pushing your body to the limits of its endurance whilst whilst pushing for hours against an icy blast that chills to the core – all the way up, then down again. The weather is notoriously changeable. Explorer? I don’t think that title quiet fits but can’t think of another without getting sentimental.
Dan needs to keep a tight hold on his fingers and toes as he is not only risking his career flying for British Airways, he is risking his life. This is no mean statement either, around 10% of those who attempt to summit Chomolungma do not return alive.
The least we can do is pledge £1 to help him on his way. He is currently 80% of the way up that mountain and has raised 3% of the cash in his target window. Would you do this, would you breath cold oxygen that saps the heat from your core whilst every squeaky, snow laden step up burned each and every muscle in your cold, tortured legs? Or would you prefer to be there with him, be a part of it by making a small donation that will make it into the hands of someone who has little or nothing?
Go on, do it – you know you want to.
I had no idea we had material like this on YouTube, I recall the venue well but not the photographer.
‘Just picked up this interview from my colleagues on our forum. It concerns Captain ‘Winkle’ Brown (RN Rtd), a now retired test pilot from the second war years. By any measure he is an exceptional person, as a pilot he was, and probably remains unsurpassed in his trade both for types flown and his testing and evaluation skills.
If you would like to listen to a radio interview that has him discussing his experiences you could use the link below. Just ignore the BBC presenters banter that opens the interview and wait for gems and gold-drops from the man himself.
Since Top Gun and innumerable movies before it, sunglasses seem to have played a role in the way the public perceives aviators. The ‘cool’ of the huge pearl shaped Ray Bans™ turned TC into a cheesy icon, ‘kept the sun out of his eyes and emphasized yet again the importance of that essential accessory, sunglasses, ‘Sunnies’ as Australians call them. RBs don’t do it for me.
I have always had an eye on the Randolph® product, in the late seventies they were the height of cool and have always seemed to me to be practical with their flat side-stems and Mil-Spec construction standards. The USAF liked them and so did I, they would slide under a helmet without puncturing silicon filled ear pieces that then soaked your neck with body temperature guck. I have always craved a pair, and now that they have their own Classical position in history, they appeared on my doorstep!
It was a very pleasant surprise for me when John White dropped me a line to ask if I would be interested in ‘doing a piece’ on the Randolphs, he sells them through his website and as I discovered, believes in them. ‘Sure, why not’ I said. To my delight he sends a pair across from the US, in fact I have them on my desk in front of me as I write.
My plan was to write a review post on a trip to Buenos Aires, although flown mostly in the dark, the flight’s arrival and departure on the return sector happen in the sunshine – an ideal opportunity to nail together some feedback from colleagues. In the event it didn’t turn out that well as the whole crew (four of us) used corrective lenses and the others were a little shy. A quick ‘Chicago’ provided the next opportunity. Enter ‘Ivan’, my first officer and the perfect candidate to provide feedback. He never wears sunglasses, “never has” – he doesn’t like wearing them, Dang! After some begging and simpering from me he finally agrees to give them a try.
Those who understand the mysteries of how the world works will know that when flying East at jet speeds the sun sets very rapidly. When going West you are chasing the sun down, so it sets very, very slowly. In the process of setting we all know that the sun comes towards the horizon before slipping into bed for the night. What a useful characteristic this was on this flight as it gave Ivan plenty of opportunity to benefit from the power of tinted, optically perfect glass – Randolph® glass.
Ivan and I chatted for hours, did all the usual pilot stuff, reading, writing etc, eventually we started down across Lake Mitchigan towards The Windy City and 27L at O’Hare. We turned onto the gate and after rolling to a halt, shut down. I looked across at Ivan who on completion of the shutdown checklist had started to pack away charts and prepare for our exit. “Do you think I could have the Randolphs back now please Ivan?” I said. He was still wearing them…
I could give you a bunch of words that describe the sunglasses but I won’t, I will direct you instead to John’s and Randolph’s own websites with the graphic links below for you to gather your own research. What I will say is this, Ivan never took them off and was actually very positive about them. When I asked about comfort he had found them to be excellent, in fact ceased to notice that he was wearing them, even as dark approached. They didn’t change his mind about wearing sunglasses generally of course as he… well, he doesn’t ‘do’ sunglasses.
I love them, of course I had to pay import duty on them even though they were gift. I will be taking them to my optician and having Nikon grey tinted vari-focal lenses fitted, the frames are superb, I don’t think I have ever come across a better made set of Sunnies, period. I will be using them until I retire and beyond – with the flat stems they fit comfortably under a particularly uncomfortable headset made by <redacted>. Bearing in mind we often wear headsets on ultra long-haul flights for up to six hours at a stretch, I think that is quite a tribute. Had I not liked them I assure you I would have popped them in the post back to the USA and not written a word.
If you fancy a pair of these for yourself, why not talk to John, he has a fine, informative blog, ‘All things Aviation’ that’s well worth a visit. I discovered across a few emails that he is a man of his word, we used to live within five miles of each other in the ’80s when he worked for Uncle Sam and I flew charter. What a small world this is.
Thanks again John.
Please excuse me for rattling on about Arthur Keen, but as the story grows with incoming material, it becomes more compelling. We continue to transcribe the letters and delve deeper into the archive. As with archaeology it isn’t only the writing and the photographs that provide the interest. The backfilling from research, the exposure of context and cross fertilisation offered by events and other testimonies all become remarkably revealing. A bit like the gradual scraping of dirt away from an artefact with a trowel to reveal the underlying relic, in this case – the story.
Speaking generally, I find it difficult sometimes to automatically assign heroic qualities to a block of individuals on the basis they collectively rose to an occasion, as tough as that occasion may have been. Difficult until (in this case) you look at the facts, the daily statistics that were so much more than pure, cold numbers to them.
McElroy is a name we all recognize, Mannock is another. They were both well known to him being initially junior members of his Flight, and later leading lights in his squadron. Rest tours mercifully sent him back to ‘Blighty’ into the flying training system as an instructor, the most common source of respite.
In his own words;
Reading at the moment: ‘No Empty Chairs’ by Ian Mackersay
This superb book provides some of the best background reading available about the RFC and its struggle to become an effective fighting force. Alex Revell’s review is well worth a read, praise indeed from such a knowledgeable and talented writer .
I like this ‘thinklink’ system for marking up graphics used to create these embeds within images.
A great addition for the instructional designer’s toolbox.
I spend a very pleasant evening with Ronny Bar last night in Buenos Aires sipping Malbec and munching my way through a superb Argentinian steak. My discussions with Ronny may come later but one of the subjects brushed over was the wonderful way that the sky continues to fill with aircraft once thought to be either extinct, or certainly under threat. This short clip has inbuilt links, one to a news piece on the restoration to flying status of a Seafire Mk15. Ronny loves the Spitfire but his heart lies well and truly with those that were borne through unfriendly skies on wings of spruce and linen.
This one won’t go away, perhaps it’s the secret desire I have to have an office with a difference, or even the idea that its the weird and wonderful that makes the world go around. Who didn’t have a tree house or a shack they called the ‘gang hut’?
Luis dropped me a line from Florida asking me to pass the word around – ‘maybe raise a little interest. Does he have a good plan and do we think he will raise the green to see this project on the water with glasses tinkling, visitors tripping up and down the gangway – in out of what’s left of a Boeing 307 Stratoliner?
Suggestions on a postcard.