This report in the Standard speculates that Sir Howard Davies report on London airports might be recommending a second runway at Gatwick.
I think this could be a sensible solution, to providing more runway capacity in the South East of England.
I said in this post, that Gatwick’s second runway, if it is built, should be North South. Here’s what I said.
I used to fly a lot and was an avid reader of Flight International. Years ago, an airline pilot proposed building a second runway at Gatwick, by building over the M23 and putting that in a tunnel underneath. The runway would have been North-South, which is an unusual direction for the UK, but would only have been used for take-off in a southerly direction.
He had a point and it shows how if you think radically, you may come up with better solutions.
I still think that this North-South proposal should be seriously examined.
Gatwick also has good rail links to London. My only questions are, are the links as good as they can be and are doing enough to make Farringdon a proper hub with restaurants, hotels and offices? I mused on the latter here!
We need some radical thinking to link the major airports together and also to the Channel Tunnel and HS2.
This old chestnut keeps coming round and the London Assembly has produced a report, as is discussed in the Standard. Here’s the first few paragraphs.
The Government’s claim that the South-East faces an aviation capacity crisis was thrown into doubt today after an influential report suggested London has enough runways already.
The London Assembly study found the capital’s airports are currently underused with two — Luton and Stansted — having around half of their runway slots free.
Even Heathrow, at 99 per cent runway capacity, could fly an additional 20 million passengers a year if larger aircraft were used, it claimed.
Let’s face it, if I fly again, I’m not going out of Gatwick.
But in spite of that, I did use the airport to go to Budapest, where I had an excellent meal at Jamie’s Italian.
Gatwick seems to have improved immensely in the last couple of years, since the change of ownership, and it’s all been done by lots of small steps. The other thing that helps me is the direct link from Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction.
I’m going out to Geneva on the 17th and it’ll be interesting to see how it goes. On every trip, Gatwick seems to get better.
I was asked this question by a journalist this morning. But somehow it must be in the genes.
My father had been a great traveller before the Second World War and I know he’d gone all the way to the South of France and Geneva by train. One tale, that I can verify is that when he needed to buy a new guillotine from Griegs in Glasgow, he drove all the way up with his Scottish deputy and guillotine operator; Frank Black, of Mack the Knife, to see the machines in the factory. That was something not many people did in the 1950s.
Even at University, I was a bit of a traveller and one summer, I hitched to Glasgow to see a football match, before taking the train down to Manchester and then Paignton, to see friends.
C might have picked up the bug from me, but we were not beyond hitch-hiking together, as we did once to come to London, to tell her parents we were going to get married. I was 20 and she was just 19.
Package tours were not for us and some of the first real holidays we had were when we took our Austin Maxi, down to the South of France, with the three boys in the back. And that was generally before they’d built the Autoroutes.
Later we would drive to Syros and Crete in Greece and Rome in Italy. On one trip we went over the St. Gotthard Pass in August in a severe blizzard and then came down the other side into Italy with rocks falling off the mountains in heavy rain.
We also swapped houses with a couple of Americans and we were in the States for six weeks, travelling as far East as Boston and as far West as Minneapolis.
We didn’t do boring.
After the children got fed up with us and left home, we continued to travel. We drove around Malaysia, took the train from Bangkok to Penang and I flew C and myself, all round Australia in a light aircraft.
We also had some memorable trips in my own plane. Perhaps the longest was going out of Southend and reaching Naples.
Even when C was dying, she was planning another trip, where we would drive around Thailand. Sadly, she hadn’t realised how ill she was, so this trip never came about.
Since her death, I have continued to travel and in fact, my stroke happened on a round the world trip in Hong Kong. I have visited every ground in the English League in alphabetical order by public transport and now I have started a series of fly out-rail home journeys. The first was to Budapest.
Pencilled in to be done over the summer are Palermo, Sumburgh, New Quay, Lisbon, Stockholm, Odessa and Ferranfore.
This weekend it’s more mundane, in that I’m going to Burnley to see Ipswich in the last match of the season, by train from Kings Cross.
I found this article on the Daily Mail website. The headline is alarming.
Look away now if you don’t like flying: The terrifying moment a plane came in sideways as Britain is battered by 70mph gales
But the pilot just flew the plane, how it was designed to be handled in the circumstances.
I’ve only ever been a passenger once, when an airliner landed in a severe crosswind and that was coming back from India quite a few years ago on a Thai Airlines Boeing 747. The pilot made one approach at Heathrow and then asked for permission to land on the cross runway 23, which has now been removed. The landing was rough and a bit bumpy, but safe. There were a few screams.
The Boeing 737 in the picture is showing what happens in a text book crosswind landing.
I think people don’t realise how manoeuvrable most airliners are. Remember too on landing the weight is low, as a lot of fuel has been burned up and they still have full power to if necessary climb away safely and go to another airport, where conditions are better.
Perhaps the most famous crosswind landing was performed by Captain Eric Moody in the Jakarta Incident. Although it technically wasn’t a genuine crosswind landing, it probably used similar flying techniques. A British Airways Boeing 747 had lost all power because it flew through clouds of volcanic ash. Three engines were restarted, but when it came to landing at Jakarta airport, Captain Moody found that some of the navigation aids on the ground had failed and he had no forward vision, as the volcanic ash had etched the windscreen so it was opaque. By effectively bringing the aircraft in to the runway slightly sideways he could get limited forward vision through the undamaged side window of the cockpit. At the last moment he straightened everything up and landed. Captain Moody described the approach like this.
a bit like negotiating one’s way up a badger’s arse
But it was a genuine case of all’s well that ends well.
One of the reason, I don’t fly with Air Neck End and their ilk, is you can’t be sure of their pilots. I’ve never had any problems with any British, Dutch, Scandinavian or Irish airlines in Europe, but there are some national carriers I just won’t fly.
In my own flying, I only ever had to perform, one extremely difficult landing and that was at Cardiff Airport, where the wind was gusting over fifty knots. but at least it was virtually straight down the runway. It was raining very heavily and the cloud base was about eight hundred feet. I was in my Cessna 340A twin and the aircraft in front was a Boeing 737, that because of the rain and strong wind, was having difficulty keeping the engines alight. I did a very good landing in the circumstances and seem to remember that I cheated by putting the plane down straight into the wind, rather than due straight down the runway. But then Cardiff is a big, wide runway!
Today, I’m off to Budapest at lunchtime on my trip away by air and back by train.
As I went across the cable-car yesterday by the City Airport, I wondered if I could start from there. The only two interesting places are Stockholm and Faro.
All the others aren’t far enough away.
Next Monday, I’m flying to Budapest and then getting the train back. Or rather several trains back!
I booked the air ticket with ease on Easyjet, but I could have gone for either Ryanair or British Airways.
I chose Easyjet because the flight left at a time, that gave me a full evening in Budapest, despite being more expensive than Ryanair. I would have chosen British Airways, if their cheapest flight had been better timed.
I didn’t incidentally choose my seat on Easyjet, as I find this something that doesn’t appeal, as I generally travel alone. I always used to get on last and then sit in the aisle seat, with the least troublesome-looking or most attractive passenger next to me. As I only take a case that goes under the seat in front, this means I get easy boarding. I also get easy disembarking, as I’m in an aisle seat. Strangely, the seat that I was allocated by Easyjet, is probably one I would have chosen by my last boarding method.
All of these posts will be tagged with “Home Run From Budapest”, so they can be quickly found.
As someone built like the Aldgate Sphinx, I’m all in favour of this action by Samoa Air. It’s reported here in the Guardian.
A Samoan airline that has become the world’s first carrier to charge passengers according to their weight has defended its policy. People wishing to travel withSamoa Air have to submit their weight, including their luggage, when booking to calculate their fare.
They describe it as the concept of the future.
I think that it has some advantages. I remember getting on an EasyJet flight and an enormously obese man was in the queue. Everybody wanted to avoid sitting next to him and being swamped as all that fat overflowed into their seat. In the end everybody’s fears were unfounded as a stewardess squeezed him into two seats and made a big show of getting the seat belt extension much to all the passengers’ delight. What would have happened if the flight had been full, I don’t know, as the window seat, which was unoccupied, would have had to have been used! They would have been trapped there for the duration of the flight!
So weighing passengers would in this case have charged him for the seats he actually occupied.
There is always the story about the charter pilot, who during the week, flew jockeys to the races. At the weekend, he took a party of four somewhat larger passengers to somewhere exotic and realised that he was overweight for the aircraft and had to unload some of the fuel.
Charging for passengers by weight may not happen now, but say if you were flying from London to Budapest, which I am on Monday, where there is a choice of three reputable airlines and one airline charged by weight, small and normal sized passengers would probably find it was an advantage to choose the pay-by-weight airline, as they wouldn’t then be sitting next to some enormous lump of solid lard. So to charge by weight, might attract more passengers.
On a serious note, have any studies been done on evacuating an aircraft in an emergency, where there are some seriously overweight passengers? Some I’ve seen wouldn’t be able to get through the emergency exits.
There’s also some interesting comments on obese flyers here in the Economist.
I think that this issue will be solved when Michael O’Leary of Ryanair decides on a controversial policy. Love him or loathe him, he usually makes the right decisio, for both his airline and most of their passengers.
I went on a cruise a few days ago, which started at Southampton on the 18th of March. As I got to the terminal at the port to pick up my ship, I ended up in the queue for registration and boarding.
It then struck me that it is almost impossible to travel anywhere on anything without some form of queue.
In some ways the most queue-free travel, that I’ve used extensively is a light aircraft, although you often have to queue for taxi, take-off and landing. But I suspect that with this type of flying the proportion of time wasted is one of the lowest, except perhaps for walking. But even walkers have to queue up to cross the road!
But not all pilots queue!
I remember, waiting to take-off back to the UK, after a day at Deauville races, when a large business jet owned by Allen Paulson; the entrepreneur and racehorse owner, passed the queue and took straight off, despite volumes of Gallic abuse from French Air Traffic Control. C who was sitting next to me at the time, thought the behaviour was very rude and even dangerous.
It certainly was the sort of behaviour that would often have resulted in a reprimand.
To return to my cruise, after the first queue, we then had to queue a second time to get through security to get on the ship.
Note that so all of the cruise posts can be viewed together they have been given a tag of X304.
It has been said, that we need a decent whistle-blowing system for the NHS, to give warning of serious problems, for as long as I can remember.
Such a system exists in the aviation and maritime industries, where mistakes can be equally tragic. It is called CHIRP and it has been in operation since 1982. Read about it, on the organisation’s web site.
It would appear to me, that to apply the CHIRP methods to the NHS would be extremely beneficial.
Perhaps, as they are the experts, CHIRP should be tasked with designing and operating the system for the NHS. Thirty years of experience must count for something!
Having read the article my safety first brain, says that the batteries are not proven technology for use in applications such as aviation. This piece to me is crucial.
Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, a former US Airways pilot famed for his precision flying that enabled passengers and crew to survive an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York, said in an interview that he wouldn’t be comfortable flying an airliner that carried lithium ion aircraft batteries in its cargo hold.
“The potential for self-ignition, for uncontained fires, is huge,” he said. The new regulations “need to be looked at very hard in the cold light of day, particularly with what has happened with the 787 batteries.”
Pilots generally don’t accept unnecessary risks.
So lets get out and do more research and testing. I have a feeling though, that this problem will be solved by the re-engineering of some old technology or a completely new and novel one, that is easily proven to be safe. But it won’t be solved quickly!
Incidentally, I just had a count up and there are five small lithium ion batteries on the table as I type this.
About This Blog
What this blog will eventually be about I do not know.
But it will be about how I’m coping with the loss of my wife in 2007 and how I manage with being a coeliac and recovering from a stroke. It will be about travel, football, horses, food, dogs, computers and family, that are some of the other things that fill my life.
And hopefully, it will get rid of the lonely times, I still suffer.
Why Anonymous? That’s how you feel at times.
- Edinburgh to Inverness in the Cab of an HST
- Erica Roe
- Ektos City
- Could the London Overground Call at Brixton?
- Cambridge Guided Busway
- What Happens to a Homebase Fuchsia
- Jamie Oliver's Fish Pie
- Walking from Trebarwith Strand to Tintagel
- Football Shirt Sponsorship
- The New London Overground Platform at Clapham Junction
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