MH17

July 19th, 2014

Apologies, again, for a non-ultralight post…

And please excuse my slightly philosophical ramblings.

If you’re like me, you often watch the in-flight map on the screen in front of you when travelling internationally. And many times have I wondered just why we were flying over areas which are known hotspots.

Just 5 weeks ago, Sandra and I returned to the UK, on a Singapore Airlines flight. At the time there was some serious shooting going on in both Syria and Iraq. Nevertheless, the track took us over the southern part of Iran, into Iraq and then a little northwards, finally coming out near the Black Sea coast of Turkey. From there, across the Black sea, and over Bulgaria, I think.

When over southern Iraq, I noticed a fighter aircraft departing an airfield towards the north. What was his mission? Who knows. I was probably the only one with his window shutter open, watching. Such is the curse of the “somewhat knowledgeable” aviation passenger.

We were not too far from the Crimea, although safely out of range of surface-to-air missiles, but it did make me wonder how the world’s airlines decide where it is safe to fly. An article in today’s news suggests that there was a Singapore Airlines flight only 17 miles from MH17 when it was shot down.

Had the timing and the jetstream been slightly different, it could easily have been us.

A little over a year earlier, we were on a flight from Beijing to Amsterdam, and I recall passing to the north of a town in Russia where about 3 days later, a meteorite entered the atmosphere and disintegrated, resulting in a blast that caused over a thousand injuries. Just a matter of timing; lucky us.

Or there’s the time I departed Washington Dulles for Heathrow on a United Airlines flight. When? Sept 10, 2001, 8pm.

I have to say, I wish travel by ship was more affordable.

Happy flying ’til next time. Or maybe we should all stay on the ground?

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Boeing 787-9

July 18th, 2014

I received a few emails this morning about the Boeing 787-9 and it’s presumed aerobatic abilities. Some people even questioned that the video they saw was real.

Apparently, it was.

Here’s the original link I was sent: Time video

And here’s another video from the Sydney Morning Herald: SMH Video

Looks fairly convincing to me.

I have to say, when we attended Farnborough a few years ago and watched a demo flight by the then new A380, we were very impressed by it’s handling abilities. And the crew was pulling very much the same sort of stunts as was the crew of the 787-9.

We were amazed by the 380′s “low and slow” abilities. It looked like it was just going too slow to fly. But no, it really is a great aeroplane, as, it appears, is the 787-9.

Apologies for the non-ultralight nature of the post. I just thought you’d find it interesting.

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Scott Winton

June 24th, 2014

Another article reproduced by kind permission of Arthur Marcel, about ultralight aviation pioneers, this time about Scott Winton.

Please click on the box at the top right of the post to view with Google Docs.

Thank you Arthur.

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In Case You’re Sometimes Tempted….

June 16th, 2014

Here’s a photo and text emailed to me recently. Don’t try this at home, kiddies!

How low can you go?

Time for an old fashioned beat-up? The price of irresponsibility can be high. This is a real photograph!

Sometimes the regulatory authorities seem to over-do the restrictions on pilots at Airshows, Races and Displays. There are some sound reasons they do this. A review of the fatal crashes at such events in the last ten years is sobering. Go back 40 years and it is staggering. Some really horrible crashes have occurred. Some pilots do get carried away with showing off. Collisions occur, mechanical failure can be catastrophic (especially near the crowd) and low level aerobatics have frequently turned fatal. Thinking you are nearly as good as Bob Hoover, Lefty Gardiner or Steve Hinton in their prime is a fast way to die. Give it a big miss!

Leave Airshow flying for the experts.

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LGT Stratos History

June 13th, 2014

Another article reproduced by kind permission of Arthur Marcel, about ultralight aviation pioneers, Charles and Helena Ligeti.

Please click on the box at the top right of the post to view with Google Docs.

Thank you Arthur.

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Jump for your Life

June 9th, 2014

Found another really nice base jumping video…. just thought I’d like to share it with you. Enjoy…

 

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Ultralight Pioneer Sander Veenstra

June 8th, 2014

Today, an article reproduced by kind permission of Arthur Marcel, about ultralight aviation pioneer, Sander Veenstra.

Please click on the box at the top right of the post to view with Google Docs.

Thank you Arthur.

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Did you even know it Existed?

June 5th, 2014

Of course you’ve heard of “thinking outside the box”, right? How about “thinking outside the planet”?

Once again, not exactly ultralight related, but really interesting and a bit of a puzzle…. a US X-37B spaceplane in orbit for more than 500 days, and it barely gets a mention in the press. In fact, I simply stumbled over this article; wasn’t looking for it, was supremely surprised when I read it and considered the implications.

Makes you wonder, no?

Click on the link here: Thinking Outside the Planet

Interestingly, it turns out it’s not that different in size from our little CT!

 
 

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Watts Bridge All-in Fly-in, 2014

June 3rd, 2014

As in past years, May means the All-in Fly-in at Watts Bridge, NW of Brisbane. So it was, on the last day of May, that this year’s All-in Fly-in was held.

The weather was fairly benign, although sadly, low cloud kept a few potential visitors away. The cloud was down to the mountain-tops immediately east of the field, which meant anyone from Caboolture or Caloundra area would have had difficulty making it in. And the “Boonah Boys” were said to be huddling in their hangar, being pounded by rain.

Still, for those who made it in, it was worth the trip.

Mallard & Harvard

Mallard & Harvard

There were a few aircraft I hadn’t seen previously at Watts Bridge, including a homebuilt jet aircraft. It really turned heads! Not the sort of aircraft we “lightie” pilots are accustomed to seeing around the place, and quite a treat to watch. Not exactly neighbour-friendly, we decided…. we tried to imagine how the locals at Gatton Airpark might respond to the noise produced, and decided it probably wouldn’t be well received. Gave us a nice fly-by as he departed.

Also in the interesting and rare category was a nice example of a Grumman Mallard. I seem to recall building a Airfix Mallard ‘way too long a go – am I really that old? – and I’ve always thought the Mallard as well as the Catalina & of course, the Sunderland were some of the most beautiful aircraft ever built. Always fancied taking a Mallard or similar and turning it into a flying motorhome… what a fun way to explore the remote parts of the world something like that would be.

Was it a genuine “Pou du ciel” – a flying flea, or was it a copy of the design? More than a passing glance tells me it’s not a flea. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a real flea here in Australia; several in the UK and Belgium, yes, but not here. A bit of a handful to fly, I’m told, and been the end of a few pilots because of it. I hope this one is a bit easier and safer to fly.

Other notable aircraft were a DH Dove, a Harvard or two, a few Tiger Moths, a few Chipmunks and an L4 Cub. And are they the Andrews sisters?

Catering was excellent, with good value for money burgers and sausage sandwiches, not to mention the delicious baked on site scones with jam and cream. Hard to beat.

A fun day, and we finished up staying much longer than expected.

Photos by kind permission of Arthur Marcel. Thanks, Arthur.

 

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Yes, we’re still here!

May 21st, 2014

Hi All.

I received an email from Brian G (he knows who I mean) this morning asking if he’d been dropped from the mailing list of this site. Well I have to say, I was pleased to get his email. It means, I’m happy to say, that someone reads my blog, and apparently looks forward to receiving the latest from Ultralight Aircraft Australia. So to answer Brian’s question, No, He hadn’t been “dropped”. Here’s what’s happening:

My wife, (the lovely Sandra) and I have been away overseas for the last 13 months, so sadly, you may have noticed that the website has been a little neglected. Not entirely, but fairly substantially.

I’ve done a post or two about places and events in the UK, and quite probably will do some more of Uk/Euro places in the future when we resume our travels. But not being in Oz and on-the-spot to hear what’s happening there has inevitably meant that the blog has suffered.

I’m sorry, folks. I’ll try to do better!

You can help…. I’ve often wondered if anyone reads the blog. When I started it, I also had a forum for use by the members, but it received such a small amount of traffic that I didn’t feel it was worth the effort maintaining it. So you can see that I’m encouraged when someone actually seems to be looking forward to hearing from me.

If you have some news you think is worthy of publishing, or a photo or two you might like to share, please let me know. It would be great to expand the site and make it better for all. Above all, It would be nice to see you make the occasional comment. Don’t be shy about making fun of my mistakes/stupidities, etc, it’s all grist for the mill, and I really don’t mind. Above all, I don’t think the blog should just be a monologue.

If you’re a real masochist, and for some crazy reason may want to follow the continuing adventures of Colin & Sandra, adventurers extraordinaire, you might also like to take a look at Euronomads.com … nothing at all (or very little) to do with aeroplanes, but much ado about our European motorhome travels. I don’t yet have it set up so that you can subscribe to it directly, but when I do, I’ll let you know. At the moment, we’re planning to go to Turkey and Greece this (northern) winter, and tossing around the idea of spending some time in the US, getting a motorhome there and visiting such places as Oshkosh, Fun ‘n’ Sun, etc. Maybe you’ll enjoy reading about it.

I try to be careful and stay on topic, which here is Ultralights. So that’s all I’ll say about Euronomads this time around.

But I thank you for your continued interest in this site and hope that I can entertain you with more aviation stories into the future.

Thanks again, Brian. :o)

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