Back down to earth

Even as I begin this blog post, I have no idea what it will be about. How exciting is that?
“What a rebel! What a firebrand! How does he do it?” I hear the audience marvel.

I do know what it won’t be about though: flight. It suddenly struck me that my last three posts had all involved flight, and that I was inadvertently drifting higher and higher: 120m with my Mavic, 40,000ft on that Dreamliner and then about 408km for the International Space Station. This wasn’t at all intentional, it just happened that way.

Anyway, it could be that this post actually ends up being about not knowing what it is going to be about. I’ve been sidetracked so many times since I began writing it (picking fantasy football side, answering emails, doing lab work), that I’m now running out of time to complete it before I have other places to be.

Quota photo?

Quota photo.

How about another one of those Brittany lighthouses?

This one is La Vieille – the Old Lady – off the Pointe du Raz, and forms part of a chain of lighthouses guiding ships safely around the end of Brittany:

There you go. Not a wing, rocket or rotor blade in sight.

Homeward

In which I find myself on a teeny-tiny plane heading back to Cape Town. This is no A380.
It’s actually an Express Jet CRJ200.

And that’s twice as good as a CRJ100. So it’s not all bad news.

Tomorrow’s post will bring photos. As will the following thirty-seven posts, because I took loads and loads.

Right. Now let’s see if this thing can actually fly…

UTA772 Memorial on Google Maps

Caught sight of this one while getting the car washed after the dirt roads of Agulhas had had their wicked way with it.

Here’s the background:

On Tuesday, 19 September 1989 the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft registered N54629 took off from N’Djamena International Airport at 13:13. 46 minutes later, at its cruising altitude of 10,700 metres (35,100 ft), a bomb explosion caused UTA Flight 772 to break up over the Sahara Desert near the towns of Bilma and Ténéré in Niger. All 155 passengers and 15 crew members died.

That’s less than a year after the Lockerbie bombing, but I don’t even recall hearing about this. I’m looking at you, Western-centric Media.

Here’s the wikimapia link, so that you can go and see the actual memorial, which is fairly amazing in itself, but what makes it even more incredible is the story behind the memorial:

The memorial was built mostly by hand and uses dark stones to create a 200-foot diameter circle. The Ténéré region is one of the most inaccessible places on the planet. The stones were trucked to the site from over 70 kilometers away.

The amazing thing is that because the location is so remote, even 18 years after the crash, much of the wreckage was still to be found at the crash site. Part of the starboard wing makes up the monolith at the north tip of the memorial.

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An extraordinary tribute to those who died, but one which only a handful of people will ever actually see.

Cool Flight

It was an emotional time for family 6000 yesterday afternoon, as we said goodbye to Grandma and Granddad, who were (well, are, actually) flying back to the UK via Dubai. Checking on their check in though, I spotted this:

DSC_0053

Yes, at 2330 yesterday evening, you could get a flight from Cape Town to Amsterdam or… Antarctica.
Who knew?

Better make sure you get on the right plane to avoid confusion though:

Hey. Shomething ish not right. Why ish dare sho much shnow at Schipol?
Where are the buildingsh? And where did doze penguinsh come from?

The whole destination thing is a bit vague, and since the total area of Antarctica is 14,000,000km², you might find yourself some distance from the bit of Antarctica you actually want to be in, but on the plus side, at least you’re virtually guaranteed a daylight landing.