Flying through

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Olympics London 2012

Main stadium
Went to the Olympics today. We had tickets for the diving but it was as much to see the whole Olympic park and to feel the buzz of the atmosphere.
It was a very interesting experience. There were some amazing pieces of architecture - not least the 'singing building' - and some less effective pieces. There were wetlands and concrete cages, there were definite attempts to get the rural feel shining through. In the aquatic centre it was very easy to see what was going on in the swimming pool below, even from the gods.
See for yourself - here are the buildings.

Aquatic centre
The singing building
Although it has been disappointing that helicopters have not been well used in the games - and we could have done with one to take us home - there was a Squirrel watching the whole day. It could have been police or press and it certainly had a camera in its nose.

I lifted my thumb  hopefully but no dice.

Velodrome and singing egg

Friday, 20 July 2012

Exam time

Been doing a few LPCs recently in the H300 - these are yearly checks which have to be done on each type of helicopter a person flies.
This one was a private helistrip which was once part of Denham Airfield. The owner has built this nice little pad to get the H300 in and out of the hangar. Quite testing to land on, but we did bettter than the last person. When we picked it up it was nearly falling off the back of the pad!

He passed his test, but we did have a bit of a problem with the flight plan that you are supposed to file for any airfield within the Restricted Zone. Neither of us realised that you need to become an approved person before you can file a flight plan.

Instead we did the test within the Denham Local area - which was fine and used Airbox Aero on my ipad to make sure we did not go outside the specified area.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Farnborough day two

Day two at Farnborough. Weather was still not kind and we don't really have anything new, but none the less it was an enjoyable day. A press briefing (we don't have press conferences anymore, they are now called briefings and yet some are far from brief - not least the Russian 2 and three quarter hours!) or two, a drink here and there and lots of company information but nothing actually new. The nearest we got to something new was the handover over the Wildcat AW159 to the British government - however 6 have already been delivered. Still, why not. You have a show so let's have something to show.
Blades Extras
Blades did a really good show in the four Extras, even if a little long.

And, of course, it is always nice to see the odd former politician in employment.

Bruno Spagnolini and Geoff Hoon

Farnborough Day One

A red arrows and Vulcan flypast at Farnborough on a rather dull day. Luckily at this point it was not raining, but a most other points it was!

Sadly, this is a recession Farnborough. There is very little new stuff in the helicopter world and many of the big players have given only a token appearance.  One of the journalists reckoned this is the start of a slow decline because there is so little new technology.... let's hope he is wrong and that as the economy gets stronger we have a burst of new aviation dreams!

There were some interesting things though, and this included the Virgin space traveller. See more in Helicopter Life Autumn issue.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Photos cheeting

Took this cheetah in the dark in the Mara conservancy in Kenya, but now the photo insists on putting itself into a negative! Why? I suppose with time I will find out but....

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Last Day of the Festival of Speed

Festival of Speed logo
The last day of the Festival of Speed. It has been good in terms of the number of visitors - they say 40,000 the first day and 80,000 on the Saturday - although official figures are yet to be released.
In terms of aviation interest - that is different. There were a lot of helicopters flown in to the airfield, but the riders and pilots went in the VIP entrance, which does not go through the aviation exhibition entrance. Moreover, there were no signs to the aviation exhibition from the main exhibition and many of the visitors were actually unaware of its existence. Another year I think it would be better to have 1. an exhibitors extrance; 2. someway of getting those interested in aviation through the aviation exhibition; 3. Better signs.
Otherwise it was good. I sold a lot of copies of Atlantic Warriors, my book about ferrying a small airplane across the Atlantic, which I did in 1988. I sold a few subscriptions, and all the magazines were given out. Will I get some new advertisers? I hope so. The true of test of how useful a show is for the magazine is only discovered in the weeks following the show.