Archive for February, 2009

Three in a row.

As the year started, we saw this near-disaster….

Date: January 15, 2009 Time: 15:31
Location: New York, New York
Operator: US Airways Flight: 1549
AC Type: Airbus A320-214
Reg: N106US cn: 1044
Aboard: 155 Fatalities: 0 Ground: 0
Details: The plane was taking off from La Guardia Airport when both engines were disabled after striking a flock of geese. The crew was able to make a soft landing in the Hudson River. All 150 passengers and crew of 5 made it out safely before the plane began to sink. No one was reported to be seriously injured.

Soon after, we had another incident, this time with 50 fatalities

Date: February 12, 2009 Time: 22:17
Location: Clarence Center, New York
Operator: Continental Connection/Colgan Air Flight: 3407
AC Type: Bombardier DHC-8-402 Q400
Reg: N200WQ cn: 4200
Aboard: 49 Fatailites: 49 Ground: 1
Route: Newark, N.J. – Buffalo, NY
Details: The commuter plane crashed while attemptiong to land in rain and sleet, 6 miles northeast of Buffalo Niagara International Airport, were it was scheduled to land. Forty-four passengers and a crew of five were killed aboard the plane and one person on the ground. Ice buildup on the aircraft may have led to the accident.

Then yesterday

Date: February 25, 2009 Time: 10:31
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Operator: Turkish Airlines Flight: 1951
AC Type: Boeing 737-8F2
Reg: TC-JGE cn: 29789/1065
Aboard: 135 Fatalities: 9 Ground: 0
Route: Istanbul, Turkey – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Details: The plane was on final approach to Runway 18R when it crashed 1 mile short of the runway into a field and broke in three. Nine people were killed and 55 injured.

It seems, after the recent few years, which have seen far less incidents than average, that airplanes are falling from the sky on an almost regular basis.

Looking closer, though, there have been a lot of lucky survivors, surely far more than average. Every passenger survived the Hudson River crash – partly because of the pilot’s superb skills, and partly because of luck… had the incident occurred after nightfall, the story would have been very different… as well as darkness hindering the rescue operation, the surface of water is far harder to see at night, so it would have been almost impossible for the pilot to put the plane down on the water so gently.

The recent Amsterdam crash saw very few fatalities, because there was no fire follwing the crash. Obviously this raises the question was the plane out of fuel…..

But what can we deduce from these three incidents happening so close together?

Are airlines responding to the credit crisis by cutting expensive maintenance?

Are they cutting equally expensive dutting de-icing procedures?

Are they cutting expensive reserve fuel?

Probably not. We have had no holiday bookings for the last 10 days. Then yesterday, 4 bookings were made on the same morning.

Do we deduce that people prefer to book holidays on Wednesdays near to the end of the month? No.

Do we deduce that three recent aircraft incidents are due to cost cutting? No.

No maintenance engineer wants to cut corners on his work. It’s not even his money he’s saving.

No Pilot wants to fly an unsafe aircraft. It’s his neck he’s risking.

I guess it’s just a statistical anomaly which will average out by this time next year. Then again, I’m flying off on holiday soon. So if this blog suddenly stops… you’ll know I was wrong.

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Buy me and stop one!

Schoolboy father Alfie Patten, 13, has joined “Fathers For Justice”.

He’s not sure what the organisation is about, but he loves the Spiderman costume…….

Maybe his parents should have bought him these-

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Less freedom of speech – but a trumph for common sense

From BBC news:

A Dutch MP who called the Koran a “fascist book” is to be sent back to the Netherlands after attempting to defy a ban on entering the UK. Freedom Party MP Geert Wilders was invited to show his controversial film – which links the Islamic holy book to terrorism – in the UK’s House of Lords. But Mr Wilders, who faces trial in his own country for inciting hatred, has been denied entry by the Home Office.

Good. The last thing we need is people inciting racial hatred.

Hopefully, when the likes of Abu Hamza are refused entry to the UK in the future, moderates of all faiths will remember today and understand that denying entry to radicals is in the interests of peace and friendship.

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Happy Birthday!

Yes – the Boeing 747 is 40 years old. Probably the most distinctive-looking aircraft at the moment – while every other 7-something-7 and airbus looks pretty much the same, the Jumbo’s distinctive hump makes it easy to spot.

Last month I flew to Miami on a British Airways 747 – and a big “thank-you” goes to the “upgrade fairy” who waived her magic wand and got us upgraded to World Traveller Plus… that’s one up from economy or “sardine” class. A slightly bigger seat made all the difference – but it made us notice the difference on the return leg – cramped middle seats on an American Airlines 777.

Still – the return journey only took just over 6 hours – we had a tail wind of over 150 mph – so our ground speed was actually supersonic – just.

Off to Miami again next month…. British Airways again for the outbound flight…. so…. pleeeeeease can we have an upgrade again ?????

Return flight is with Virgin Atlantic – I’ve never flown with them in the 25 years they’ve been operating – I’ve heard good, and I’ve heard bad. I guess it’s the luck of the draw – with any airline you get good flights and bad flights.

Anyway – all together –

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Boeing 747 Jumbo
Happy Birthday to you

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BBC & Carol Thatcher – “Gollygate” – or “a storm in a jam-jar”

How dare the BBC dismiss Carol Thatcher for a remark she made in a private conversation?

Equally, how dare the BBC continue to employ Jonathon Ross after he deliberately made far more offensive remarks and broadcast them?

As a child of the 60’s, to me a Golliwog is the cuddly toy that sat on the chair in my bedroom, and it is the china figurines that I collected, distinguished by their curly hair and large eyes… as a child I saw no racial overtones. I had cuddly toys in green, blue, yellow and pink. Whilst the word may have acquired other connotations in modern society, the fact remains that it was once a word used in everyday conversation.

On the other hand, Ross’s comments to Andrew Sachs could never be anything other than offensive. “I’ve had your daughter” has never been used in polite conversation in any age.

To add further incredulity to an already ridiculous situation, the BBC broadcast Ross’s foul tirade.

Clearly the reason behind the decision to forgive Ross is his audience figures – so the days when the BBC had principles are sadly over.

I’ve already sent a complaint to the BBC – and I’m tempted to go and retune all the TVs in my hire vans so they can only get ITV!

The Director General of the BBC should be nervous – there has to be a danger of a “handbagging” from Carol’s mum…….

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I am Not Alone!

Since the demise of “Night Warden”, I’ve felt a bit alone, blogging about caravans. No Longer. A big HELLO! goes out to Warren & Lin Dentith, who are Wardens at Treyarnon Bay Caravan Park in Cornwall.

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