These pictures don’t require much in the way of explanation, do they? The photographer/loadmaster must have been roped in, otherwise he may well have been sucked in. Nasty….
I guess we all contemplate what it would be like working for another carrier, one that is substantially different to the one we currently fly for. Reading snippets from Southwest, I can’t help but admit to a secret longing to work for a company where conventions are broken and there isn’t a constant battle raging to keep the company’s hands out of your pockets.
Don’t misunderstand me, from previous posts you will know that I am very proud to fly for my current airline but since well prior to 9/11, conditions in this industry have been bloody all over the world. The translation of this pressure into a force for change has wreaked havok as differing management styles produce largely similar pressures within companies. Cost cutting has tuned into a religious fervor in some departments and owing to industrial pressure, a farce in others. I suppose companies are defined by the way that they react to these pressures with their characters being forged in the process.
Southwest has a model which is intriguing, Ryanair’s wunderkind O’Leary went to visit Herb Kelleher and returned to Ireland with his ‘unique’ version. I rather think he might have produced a more pleasing translation but that is for those in that highly successful airline to judge with their cheers or their feet.
This is a difficult trick to pull with sincerity, but wouldn’t I love to see just a bit of it on my home turf. Cool Mr Kelly, give Willie a call and lend him your ‘Alice band’.
Brrr Brrr, Click!
“Thank you for calling the British Army. I’m sorry, but all our units are out at the moment, or are otherwise engaged. Please leave a message with your country, name of organisation, the region, the specific crisis and a number at which we can call you.
As soon as we have sorted out Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia, Iraq, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, The Congo, marching up and down bits of tarmac in London, oh! and compulsory health and safety at work training – we will return your call.”
Please speak after the tone or, if you require more options, listen to the following:-
- If your crisis is small and close to the sea, press ’1′for the Royal Marines.
- If your concern is distant, with a tropical climate, good hotels and can be solved by one or two low-risk bombing runs, please press ’2′ for the Royal Air Force. (Please note that this service is not available after 1630 or weekends.)
- If your enquiry concerns a situation which can be resolved by a warship, some bunting, flags, a damn good cocktail party and a first class marching band, please write, well in advance, to the First Sea Lord, The Royal Navy, Whitehall, London SW1.”
A friend of mine recently asked me what to do with his cat having changed his social circumstances. Now with him being an aviator of quality, I felt that only the very best advice would do.
So here goes; you may have seen something like this before – but for those that have not ….
As an aviator of some standing you will have heard of the Cat, Duck and Chicken system of aviating. Perhaps your cat has uses beyond the ordinary.
The cat is use during instrument flight in cloud or very limited visibility.
Place a live cat on the cockpit floor, because a cat always remains upright, he or she can be used in lieu of a needle and ball instrument. Merely watch to see which way he leans to determine if a wing is low and if so, which one. This will enable you to your aircraft level in route with complete accuracy and confidence.
A duck is used for final instrument approach and landing, because of the fact that any sensible old duck will refuse to fly under instrument conditions, it is only necessary to hurl your duck out of the cockpit window and follow her to the ground.
There are some limitations on the cat and duck method, but by rigidly adhering to the following check list a degree of success will be achieved which will not only startle you, but will astonish your passengers as well.
- Get a wide-awake cat, most cats do not want to stand up all the time, so it may be necessary to carry a fierce dog along to keep the cat at attention.
- Make sure your cat is clean, dirty cats will spend all the time washing. Trying to follow a washing cat usually results in a slow roll followed by an inverted spin. You will see that this is most unprofessional.
- Old cats are the best, young cats have nine lives, but an old used up cat with only one life left has just as much to loose and will be more dependable.
- Avoid stray cats. Try to get one with good character because you may want to spend time with her.
- Beware of cowardly ducks, if the duck discovers that you are using the cat to stay upright, she will refuse to leave the aeroplane without the cat. Ducks are no better on instruments than you are.
- Get a duck with good eyes. Near sighted ducks sometimes fail to recognise that they are on the gauges and will go flogging into the nearest hill. Very near sighted ducks will not realise that they have been thrown out and will descend to the ground in a sitting position. This is a most difficult manoeuvre to follow in an aircraft.
- Choose your duck carefully, it is easy to confuse ducks with geese. Many large birds look alike. While they are very competent instrument flyers, geese seldom want to go in the same direction that you do. If your duck seems to be taking a heading to Ireland or Sweden, you may be safe in assuming that someone has given you a goose.
- Emergency procedures. If you have used your duck and lost it – If unsure of your attitude, you drop the cat overboard. Now as everyone realizes, cats always land on their feet and have nine lives. You can there retrieve your cat for use later after landing safely.
In your case Ian, only one life has been used so its resale value is degraded slightly. Perversely the feline’s value rises as the lives diminish as the cat has made successful descents, and been retrieved by saved pilots. How else would they reappear for sale?
Lady cats are best, they have intuition and cunning bundled as part of the package ….
That just leaves the the chicken…. grip the chicken before flight, they are good decision makers. If the chicken doesn’t want to go flying – don’t fly.
Here is one practitioner with his standby ‘instrument.’
Which airframe is attached to this cockpit? This great website is well worth a visit.
Oh all right then, a clue.
If you ever fancied knowing how black holes form take a peak at this link. A super little piece of educational flashware.
I was reading through one of my friend Rob Mark’s fine posts this morning when I came across a few lines that tripped a memory
Flying in the Old Days: ” Flying TWA goes way back in my memory banks because the old Boeing 707 you’ll see here was the first airliner I flew on at the ripe old age of nine.
Those Boeings may have been environmentally unfriendly by today’s standards, but boy oh boy, when a 707 took off heavy, the rumble made the dirt those old Pratts spewed out almost worth it.”
‘Killing time on the island of Malta inside the Luqa airfield boundary close to the runway threshold. The sun was blazing down from a hazy azure sky. It was was a hot summers weekday afternoon in 1973.
I looked up, squeaking and squealing its way around the taxiway (the brakes were pretty noisy) about a hundred yards away with four Pratt & Whitney double Wasps rumbling just above idle, came a rather tired DC6; white with a red stripe down the fuselage as I recall.
She was one of a number that plied Europe and the Mediterranean carrying fresh vegetables and anything else they could pick up to keep what must have been a threadbare operation running. Seeing her make her way towards the holding point was not an unusual sight, but though she had clearly seen better days, I couldn’t keep my eyes off her.
She squeaked and groaned to a halt just clear of the runway and the crew ran through their checks, their heads visible bobbing around behind the plexiglass. The captain caught a glimpse of me watching and chucked a quick wave in my direction before releasing the brakes. She moved forward towards the runway four sets of Hamilton Standards beating a wash of dusty slipstream and crackling exhaust across me as she turned away, lining up for departure.
Then after finding the centerline she rolled, the power rising relentlessly, then after a pause at around eighty percent – all four on song hit full power. The cacophony of sound was incredible setting off a deep resonance in my chest cavity. It brought tears to my eyes as four times two and a half thousand horsepowers rolled into the shimmering haze, there was a chunk of raw emotion there but mostly it was just reaction to the stupendous, magnificent racket.
After a sluggish initial acceleration she lifted her skirts began to run, disappearing momentarily into a mirage generated by the reflected heat from the runway. Atmospherics were defeated by reality – she reappeared just after unstick climbing away, the music dying slowly to a throaty murmur.
Silence returned as she slipped from the scene. What a ragged but enduring beauty; I remember wishing that I was going with them feeling slightly desolate at being left behind.
Jet noise may be the sound of freedom, but for me the piston’s roar will always be the sound of pure adventure.
The Boeing 777 ‘family’ consists of six aircraft: five passenger models and a freighter. Is it time for a 7th? The aircraft has been earning its crust from June 7th 1995. That is quite a time in the compacted life of a modern airliner though naturally with the cost of these devices, they need to earn their salt before they are flown to the desert for a rest.
If you look at the advances made with the 787, and then to the industry, there is a desire among operators reeling under inflating oil prices to see those economic and technical benefits available for a new 777. Quite what Boeing thinks of that idea is unknown to me, but the Boeing ‘head shed’ must have seen this coming. They will want the design to have ‘washed its face’ before it either leaves, or comes off the top of their offering, so maybe a few pencils are being chewed over that factor as well. One astute operator has floated the concept – others must be thinking the same way.
Looking at the possible motivations for Boeing to generate a new model, maybe we need look no further than the A350 XWB.
It looks a lot like you would imaging a 777 ADV would look doesn’t it, or perhaps a 787 XWB? Ideas anyone?
This particular corner of the market is going to be an intense battleground.