29 September 2012

Flash Mob @ Marston Green

...its gone out over Twitter - XH558 is going on a season's end tour of factory sites (contributing to the original Vulcan prototype, first flight 60 years and a month ago)

Birmingham contributed... tyres so we get a visit... take off from Doncaster was reported at 15:00 so I made a mad dash across town to be greeted by

1000+ folks waiting at the N end of our airport runway and a rather confused security man in a Land-rover

The airport goes very quiet - a pause in the scheduled takeoffs and then... "I can hear it coming"

There is it!

Not exactly a Stealth Bomber - but named after the Roman God of Fire and Destruction*

*according to Wikipedia at least - I always preferred to think of Vulcan as a blacksmith/forgemaster

A big wing waggle for the crowd

and a very low pass

and it is goodbye

and off to Wolverhampton
 Worth every penny of the £15000 in fuel it took for today's tour - in the time it took me to get from one side of 3 to the other XH558 managed 1-2-3 - you can donate here

Twitter feed - ran about 2 minutes behind

22 September 2012

...and I was about to book a flight to Malaga with Monarch...

Photo Credit: Birmingham Airport Photo Blog
I was on the cusp of booking a flight to Malaga on Monarch (to see Seville and Granada) - the total nightmare queues at BHX for Monarch check-in* and bag drop were putting me off - and now this has sealed the issue.

*The website seems to suggest that online check-in is only available to those choosing an upgrade package.  So if you just have carry on luggage but don't want to wait at the airport - that is £40 extra please.  OK I might have got this wrong but there is nowhere that shows you exactly what you get for the Standard Fare and the Essentials Pack specifically lists Online Check in as a benefit.  Anyway...

Its a Lithuanian plane chartered to Monarch.

Quotes from the BBC Website "its the oldest plane I have been on" (1988 apparently, which is only middle aged for a B737) and one bloke (jokingly but prophetically) texted his girlfriend the location of his current will before takeoff from France.

It is an ex-Germania, ex-Condor, ex-Delta jet now operated by Aurela - fleet consisting of two Boeings.  They also provide planes to Thomas Cook Airlines.

"Aurela is being the first Airline in Lithuania to acquire Airworthiness Management Organization Approval Certificate. " (In 2009 it appears)

13 September 2012

One in Nine (Be-200)

Another coincidence - a while ago I was reading about the forest fires in Serbia - and how the Russians (EMERCON)had provided a Be-200,  great grand nephew of the Caspian Sea Monster, to fight these fires - and what comes over my hotel but...

Be-200 over Kopaonik, Serbia, 13th September 2012
 We have been warned that there are active fires in the area - we saw one close up at the model event on Tuesday.  It looks like there is a big fire over the border in Kossovo/a - fingers crossed we have racing tomorrow at the World ARDF Championships

Lots of photos of the champs here (not mine, much better than mine)

01 September 2012

Strange sight over Selly Oak

Item 1

Walking home I saw a small-medium twin-prop aircraft circling low over Selly Oak. Very strange.  Not going anywhere - just circling.  Not a type I recognized - about the size of a Dornier 228 but a different shape.  Certainly not in police markings and not on any approach/departure/holding vector for Birmingham Airport

Not one of these (Source: Wikipedia)
Item 2

Seeking cockpit ornaments for my little SAAB - I came across this on Ebay

hmmm - Percival Pembroke - what does that look like?

That's the plane I saw yesterday (Source: Wikipedia)

and the explanation is that Air Atlantique Classic Flight operate Percival Pembroke (G-BXES/XL954) from Coventry Airport.  Seems likely that what I saw was a pleasure flight - circling over the home of one of the passengers.

The moral of the tale? Park the question in medium term storage and the answer will turn up soon enough.

Another coincidence - this news article...http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19451046
read this morning - and this picture seen while following links from the Air Atlantique Wikipedia page.

I suppose it is good for survival if part of your brain is always looking for links and causes - even if much of what is detected is nothing more than random coincidence.