Welcome, from sunny Australia!
My Aviation Page -
|Here's my Cessna Citation when I
was flying in Papua New Guinea, at a small WW2 airstrip called Vivigani.
(Viv-i-ga-nee) I just thought that it'd give you an idea as to what
flying a jet in PNG was like - Culture clash! The locals, who had never
seen a jet powered plane before, would come out to see if they could
find where the propellors were.
||Here's a typical bush airstrip in
PNG, cut into the top of a mountain. This one is called Ononge.
(On-non-gee) It's about 450 metres long and is nearly 6,000ft in
elevation. After take-off, you have to turn right to avoid the village
that you can see in the right foreground. (On strips like this, you MUST
land uphill - As we're about to in the picture - and take-off
downhill) I wasn't flying the plane, a DeHavilland Twin Otter, in
this pic, I was just a passenger.
|This is a fairly good airstrip,
called Tapini. (Tar-peenee) Again it's a one-way strip, though from the
middle 'outwards' it's quite flat, a contrast to the part where the
plane is parked, which has about a 10° slope to it. With the weather
the way it is that day, if you take off in the direction I'm facing
there and go left (The most obvious choice) then you'll quickly find out
that the valley is a dead end. A right turn is the only way out.
||This is another PNG strip, Fane
(Far-nay) and is one of the steepest, at an average gradient of over
12°! (The middle section is a LOT steeper) It's pretty
obvious to even non flyers that this is a one-way strip! Just below
where the aircraft is in the picture, there is a 2,000ft drop, so
getting airborne again isn't a bother. Landing is a bit tricky though,
as you have to add a lot of power to make it to the top of the runway,
to the only flat part where you can park the plane.
|The hazards of incorrect
chocking!!! This is an Air Niugini DeHavilland Dash 7 aircraft
that was pushed back out of the hanger, and then not chocked correctly.
The plane started to roll backwards, and so the engineer in the cockpit
tried to put the brakes on, but since there was no power it had NO
brakes, and kept on rolling. He then jumped out, and you can see the end
result. It took ANG a couple of months to fix it, but it was put
back into service again. Also, as fate would have it, as it rolled into
the drainage ditch the right hand wing also took out the only windsock
on that side of the airport. So for about a week after that we didn't
have a reliable indication as to the wind direction. (It took the
airport a while to save up for a new windsock!)
||I flew in PNG when the volcano at
Rabaul (Ra-bowel) was erupting. There was a restricted area around the
volcano, of course, but since we were flying in & out of a strip
near there, called Tokua (Tok-you-ah) I decided to have a closer
look anyway. This is about as close as I wanted to get, and in fact it
wasn't too far outside the circuit area for Tokua anyway. To pass the
time on the ground at Tokua, I used to feel the ground rumble a little,
and watch the boulders as big as a house pop out of the top of the
volcano with my binoculars. Fun.
|When I was in the US doing my
initial 747 training, I visited a friends place in San Jose, California.
We were standing outside in the carpark, when much to my surprise a U-2
spyplane flew right over our heads! As fate would have it, I had
my camera with the big lens on it and this is the picture I took. This
plane is used by NASA, (called a TR-1 by NASA) for some sort of
research, but none the less it's interesting. (If you look carefully you
can see all sorts of sensors covering it)
||Here's one that you normally don't
see - It's an Air France 747 landing on the island of St Martin, in the
Caribbean. And no, it's not a faked photo! (please excuse the
quality of the pic, as I took it from a poster on a wall) The caption
below the pic on the bottom left says: "Hey, where'd the runway go ... ?
On the tiny island of St Martin in the Caribbean, it's sometimes hard to
get a little bit of peace and quiet by the water - Not to mention the
risk of catching more than you bargained for when you play beach
volleyball. But things aren't as bad as they seem here - fortunately,
the Air France 747 flies in only once a week."
|On one of the Metro's I flew, I
had a problem when starting it once - It just refused to finish spooling
up, and so I aborted to start. A friend came rushing up the steps and
said that, "Some red-hot bits of metal just came out the exhaust
pipe!" I figured that this couldn't be good, so parked the plane
for the day. To cut a long story short, what the problem was is that
some of the other pilots hadn't been cooling the engine down properly
before shutdown, and so the fuel injector nozzles were coking up with
unburned fuel. So, five of them (You can count five burn-throughs in the
above pic of the second stage stator) started to 'torch', and thus
inject fuel in a stream instead of a spray, causing dangerous hot-spots
in the turbine section. These Garrett TPE-331's are a very tough engine,
but what was happening was rather bizarre - The 12 Turbine Temp
Indicator sensors are located around this stator section, and they were
also being melted along with the turbine blades and stators themselves,
so, as fate would have it as the turbine burned away so did the temp
sensors, which caused both a loss in temperature indication AND a loss
in torque - Just as is you'd pulled the throttle back - So it was quite
normal to simply push the throttle back up to get the right amount of
torque back, which amazingly corresponded to the right temp reading! The
problem was, that instead of a temp of 870°C, the engine was
actually running at around 1,100°C! So, to no-one's
surprise it shat itself big time. The problem was that it decided to do
it when I started it ... Boy, did I get in trouble! That is,
until the engineers convinced my bosses that it wasn't me. (I'm as
gentle as a kitten on engines) So, anyway, about $100,000 later the
problem was fixed, and a stern warning to all the pilots to COOL THE
BLOODY ENGINES DOWN PROPERLY!!!
Yeah, I knew that ...
||Here's and interesting picture
that I've found - It's of the World War 2 German Horten Brothers flying
wing bomber. It was intended to be a '1000' bomber, ie, it was supposed
to fly at 1,000kph for up to 1,000kms, carrying up to 1,000kgs of
The wing skins were made of a wood-carbon powder composite that
radar pulses, so it would have been largely invisible on radar. Quite a
project, but the war ended before it was fully developed. The Horten
Flying Wing got a sort-of cameo appearance in the movie "Raiders of the
Lost Ark" though, near the end of the movie though I believe the movie
aircraft was more loosely based on the Northrop flying wings.
|In my job with Air Atlanta
Icelandic, I get to fly to some odd places. On one particular flight, I
flew quite close to the southern end of the Seuz canal. The atmosphere
around there is usually very hazy, so this is the best picture that I
||On one of the flights from Canada
to Germany, we flew at 35,000' over Baffin Island, which is the very
top-right hand corner of Canada. This was perhas the most impressive
valley that I've ever seen in my flying career, and although it's very
hard to judge how deep it is, I would have to say that it would be at
least 6,000' deep, or nearly 2,000 metres.
|We were operating through
airport in mid-2001, and I noticed an old Comet 4 airframe sitting
there. It's apparently used for the tug crews to practice pushing and
pulling planes around with. It has no wings anymore, but still cuts a
||We did a charter to Washington
D.C. in the US in May 2001, and there was time to pop down to the
Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space. This is the hatch from the Command
Module of Apollo 11, the first manned spacecraft to land on the Moon.
A real piece of history here.
|I found this item on display also
very impressive indeed. It's the lunar suit worn by one of the Apollo 15
Astronauts, Dave Scott, and so this space-suit has walked on the Moon!
I was just so impressed to see real
lunar dust on the legs.
||This is one of the mighty Saturn V
first stage rocket engines. Each engine made a good 1,500,000lbs of
thrust and there was five of them. In the picture on the left you can
see the nozzle of the rocket, and nearly four people standing
head-to-toe could stand in the end of the nozzle, it's that big!
The middle engine of the five could be
steered to keep the big spacecraft on track and on the right you can see
how many of the connections have bellows and flexible connections so
they let the engine move around. All the engines were much the same
though as they jumped around a fair bit anyway.
|Air Atlanta Icelandic do a lot of their
ground maintenance at Mansten, on the east coast of the United Kingdom. It's
an old World War Two military airport, and so it has plenty of room to park planes
in odd corners. One of those corners is on the end of a long taxyway that cuts
right across one of the the main roads to the south out of Margate. The taxyway
is so narrow that we can't actually taxy under our own power, and so have to
get towed for I guess about a kilometre to where we can start the engines. To
get there, the airport staff have to take down part of the fence that surrounds
the airport and block off the road traffic. Again, apologies for the poor quality
of some of the pics but the windscreens were a little grubby on the right hand
|I did a short tour in Paris, flying for Air
France, AOM, and a couple of other smaller charter airlines. Naturally,
I had to do the tourist thing and walked an hour or so and took a close
look at the Eiffel Tower. The photos I'd seen of it really don't it
justice as to how large it is. To get a better idea, I took a photo of
the base of it, and in that photo you can see a lot of people wandering
around the legs - See how small they look?
To give another idea of how large it is, in the 1970's (I think) a
daring pilot decided to fly a Beechcraft Bonanza under it!! And he
had the presense of mind to take a video of it from inside the plane -
That video is in the link to the right.
Here's some funny cartoons that
I've found in the various pilot's briefing rooms around the world.
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