The TWBrit 2013 Christmas List

christmas-tree-inside-the-house

Sorry it’s been sooooo late but to say I/we’ve been a little busy is an understatement. So, lets get on with it – at the end I will list some of the things now removed from previous lists and please do comment on it all. Sadly last year I missed doing it at all, but the last 2 Christmas’s New Years were spent in the USA.

Without further ado – here is the 2013 TWBrit Christmas List:

Virtuix Omni

Omni-Kickstarter

Oculus Rift Gaming kit

oculus

DJI Phantom 2 Vision

Phantom2Vision-Kit-600

Amberley Court
Yes it’s back again…. why? because this house is STILL awesome!!

Amberley Court

Battenberg Cake

Battenberg

Land Rover 110 County Station Wagon
Actually I want a 130 stretched County Station Wagon with a standard pick-up rear but larger internal cabin space (obviously a special order)

Landy

Accuracy International

.338 with a x24 Schmitt und Bender scope ( I would say an AS50, but they’re not legal in the UK)

ai.338

A life time supply of Coffee

coffee2

A Knighthood: KBE

for services to Britishness and Commonsense

TowerKinght01

An invite to become a member of White’s

whites-club

UPDATE

Now, there is no way I can continue in leaving this list without an update for my weird and wacky wants… But due to the nature of manufacturing issues I have revised my dire wish for a personal Boeing 787 Dreamliner and opted for my most favourite plane the 777 and on a tight budget a 767.

Below are two pics of planes for sale (click on them to enlarge). It’s worth noting that a new 767 is about $185,800,000.00 and a new 777 is around $261,500,000.00 (Boeing 2013 list price) so can see these are greatly reduced as they’re older and have probably changed hands a bit.
Now the 777 is fly by wire with a mechanical back up, making it very cost-effective and much easier to service, however the 767 is ALL Mechanical except for a couple of little bits – this means things like control cable replacement on a 767 is quite a big and expensive business.

Also there is the cost of refitting them with bedrooms, bathrooms etc. Frankly an engine of a 777 is around the $18m each mark so I really don’t know how many cycles the airframe has left – but either way, two rock solid planes make the list :-)

767 for sale777 ad

Things now removed:

Taylor K24CE – Got One

Taylor Guitar

A REAL Tablet: Motion Computing J3500  – Got One

j3500 copy

Drum Kit – Got one

Drumkit9pc

Theakstons Old Perculier – Got plenty :-)

theak_op_logo3

Millions of personalised guitar picks – Got Them

PIC OF PICK 2

Back of Pick 1

Give up Smoking – Did it, one year ago today

no smoking

Adobe Master Collection CS6 & Lightroom – Got them :-)

adobe-logo

Heavy Duty Footwear – Got them all

large_caterpillar_colorado

Photo from the BIG BLACK BOOTS website at www.boot.com

Laptop with i7 CPU – Got It

dell-logo-big

Battlefield 3

battlefield3

So there you are… the craziness that is me and-some :D

Merry Christmas

 

About these ads

The people behind the Plane you fly on… The 1000th 777

I’ve never actually liked flying much… oh they can gloss it up all they like, but if you have to sit in Cattle Class for more than 5hrs…(especially after the consumer, security and over priced hell they call the airport) the joy, or,  in some people’s cases fear – soon ebb away to discomfort and boredom (or should I simply say they’re stomped into oblivion).

For me I guess it’s probably because I’m not driving it, giving over supreme trust to the men or women at the front to do their job to extreme excellence every single time they do it. Unlike the pilots who flew that Airbus into the Atlantic a couple of years back!

But way back when, I watched a documentary around the design and extreme testing of the then all new Boeing 777…
From the outset they were designing failure and known crash causes out of it. Not just a little, but totally.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of sitting in the cockpit of a Saudi Arabian Airlines 777 as we travelled over the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus, Syria/Jordan and on to Riyadh. At 44,000 ft these guys office is another existence all together! And I spent a few hours talking with and listening to the pilot, a former fast jet instructor, tell me about his passion for the 777.

To date, only one has ever really crashed. This, as many will know, was due to near impossible set circumstances to recreate – and no one died… This issue has now been completely designed out of all of the 777 systems and engines – thus making the 777 the most reliable and safest passenger aircraft ever made.

Today as an engineer at heart, as a passenger I ride on 777′s and marvel at the concept, the amazing complexity and power from engines with the metal fans blades that are actually grown molecule by molecule and how the fly by wire systems fly the aircraft better than any human could.
I note the smoothness to which a pilot levels off a climb, or responds to cross winds as we are on approach… and wonder if the person sitting next to me truly believes they actually have normal eating habits.  Nowhere will you find more confident pilots and crew than on a 777.

Courtesy of Boeing  here is a video of the people and the passion who make this frankly amazing aircraft.

And finally, just a few days ago  the 1000th 777 rolled out of the Everett Hanger….

So why then have Boeing refused me downloads from their Hi-Res image library…
Oh yeah, 10,000 Boeing related hits on this blog last month just can’t be enough!  The irony? Quite a few hits every month come from Boeing themselves!! Lets hope their over sized heads wont get in the way of building great aircraft!! ;-)

Published in: on 6 March, 2012 at 13:27  Leave a Comment  
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Boeing receives a few certificates

Yup, in the ever expanding global competitiveness of new aircraft, Boeing has had a few things to shout about regarding the new 787 Dreamliner.
In fact : Jonathan Gaffney, president and CEO of the National Aeronautic Association, presented Boeing with two certificates confirming the official status of the two world records earned by the 787 in 2011.
The airplane earned records for completing the longest flight for an airplane in its weight class with a 10,336 nmi (19,142 km) flight to Dhaka, Bangladesh. This record had previously been held by the Airbus A330 with a 9,126 nmi (16,901 km) flight in 2002.
I’d say the extra 1210 nautical miles pretty much smashes it :-)

Also in the last few days, Boeing delivered its first VIP format 747-8 to an undisclosed customer.. The VIP product line is of course in the “Private Jet” class and all I can add is “Wow!!”
However, it’s reasonably well documented that a well known Russian billionaire has actually ordered an Airbus A380 for a staggering sum of money – but I gotta ask; “what the hell do you do with all that space?”

Of course, regular readers will have noted that just before New Year I spent a little time in Roswell, New Mexico.  Now, with all the usual fun tourist stuff going on, I forgot to go the former Walker Air Force Base just to the south of Roswell. Of course this base was significant in the Roswell legend and while buying up t-shirts as proof of my visit, I simply forgot. You see while the former Walker AFB is now a parking site for many airliners, it’s also a place Boeing carries out many of its tests on new aircraft, especially regarding the 777 and 787.  Obviously Christmas week wasn’t the ideal time to catch anything cool going on, but nevertheless, I think i’d have liked to stop by.

I’ll finish this aviation post with news that if you wish to get a look at the 787, it’s actually on tour and details can be found HERE

The Eagle City and watching the generation of Pain

(do click on pics to expand – most pics taken with a Motorola Atrix 2 phone)

So… after my face finally tried to explode then got better, I jumped on a 747 for DC, thanks to finally having a decent Dentist and his assistant. Into Dulles and transport into DC was straight forward: for the exact fare of $6 (no change given) the 5A bus on the far right of the upper level gets you to the Rosslyn Metro Station… for the Blue and Orange Metro lines..In my case, I was heading to Foggy Bottom and where my first frustration of DC took place. My sense of direction is good in the very worse case… so how did I end up outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy? :(

Well DC Metro could better their “You are here” directional maps and maybe even put a North, East, South, West mosaic on the pavement outside the stations – because it seemed every one was getting lost lol….

Kit dumped, and off in search of food, beer and delights that this city had in… which yielded results in the form of Marshalls Bar and Grill – wonder why I chose that place lol.
The Following day, sunshine was gone and in its place sleet and snow and the presence of the one I’d come to trip up – @gabsatrucker on the 36th USMC Marathon… Then on to apparently pick up what they call “The Packet” in Marathon circles – aka sign in, get your t-shirt and loads of freebies. This took place right across the other side of town at the Stadium Armory.

And what a Marathon…. 30,000 people willing to suffer, including a load of guys from 3 Rifles and 16 Air Assualt..
The 16 Air Assault guys were staying at the same hotel and the locals were bemused to see 12 guys getting ready to run 26 miles with beers and cigarettes… I pointed out that it was just the way things are in the British Army, if you can’t run a marathon drunk – where’s the fun of running a marathon at all  ;)

Washington DC is a bland city in many respects, there aren’t shops obviously located, Malls are so hidden, you walk right by. If it wasn’t for the amazing monuments and its historical and political heart, I fear it’d be boring…

But amongst the bland grey limestone, DC is incredibly colourful… with autumn kicking in fast, the sun rising and illuminating the features of a city known throughout the world… it was a majestic sight and a place of real presence.

The Marathon was getting underway, and the sheer numbers were impressive if not retarding by the sheer mass. In fact I would say that because of it, no one could seriously consider making a good time. The amount of people out cheering was stunning and the support, totally outstanding.

I headed from Arlington Cemetery across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to the Lincoln Memorial…


Cheering crowds behind me I started to come across memorials which for some reason I thought were elsewhere.

First was the Korean War memorial… the statues here tell their own story, and while fantastic to see in this light, I kinda wish there had been a ground mist or mild fog to enhance the atmosphere of it… Awesome…

So I walked on and came across the one memorial you can’t not have heard of… The Vietnam War Memorial.
With so few people around I took my time, looking at the simplicity of this slit in the ground, bearing witness to a hard fought fight for what many believe was a bullshit war… So much so, the veterans had to fight tooth and nail for this memorial and the fact that this place exists at all. It is witness to the determination of those whom witnessed this war first hand and knew it must not be forgotten.

Here the names mean nothing to me at all… (other than the names of the 7th Cavalry) here, a monument that had nothing to do with my own nation and a war that has seen the inside of Hollywood and the butt of much sarcasm… but I can’t help but say that when I drew close to the centre of this place, I became choked…

It’s powerful to stand in the shadow of monolithic black slabs bearing the names that few truly care about.
It’s a message as well as a remembrance… and one we today are so ready to ignore…

The Nam memorial to me – was indeed a moving experience and something a nation should be and is proud of… for every name, there is deep suffering, and you start to feel it standing there. As many of my regular readers may have noted, I have immense respect for the retired Lt General Hal Moore… It is through his experiences and the testimony of his men that I have come to learn so much more about this war and what it was truly about. Yet I cannot, not even for one minute, imagine what these men went through, or how the living must feel when standing here.

On then… and walking east I noticed that in the sun it was warm and in the shade – bloody freezing.. And if I stayed in the sun in any one place too long, I suddenly got cold again… the reason was this…

I never really thought about how big this sucker was – but it’s Bloody HUGE!!!!!

Also with the help of a park ranger we managed to hold my new phone steady enough to zoom in half a mile to grab a pic of the White House – so I didn’t have to walk the mile there and back to get it ;-)

Back to the Marathon and noticing that the USMC really like to fly their helicopters low – at tree top level (especially when it’s a Huey)…
The stream of colour and encouragement that was the marathon, was broken intermittently by the hard punching sound of rock in the form of live bands and on this occasion – the School of Rock itself.. In other areas, there was Blue Grass and just about every style of music being performed live!

Another pic I only just got was of two marines running, one was blind and being chaperoned by his buddy – that to me is dedication and the force of will to carry on, be a part of society and something I just felt moved by.

Gabby stopped by for a photo opportunity (show off) and I headed towards the Metro…
Seriously… The DC Metro, dark, dingy and VERY badly sign posted and probably the worse ticket machines on the planet – lol… If you go, here’s the trick – shove your cash in first ;-)

Off to the finish line where I met loads of amazing people, most looking salty and crusty… I spoke to one guy who was trying to stretch his muscles out. He had come in from Nashville for the race and the night before had proposed to his GF, who also came over – now having a “Just Engaged” label covering her back… Of course as a guy I do know to ask to see her ring ;-) and frankly I can honestly say I really don’t think I’ve seen a rock that large that wasn’t fitted to a royal crown… I can only assume that guy owns a carrot farm ;-)

With @Gabsatrucker finishing I couldn’t help notice the sheer number of US Marines limping…. But being fair, they were accompanied by 30,000 others whom all seemed to have learned the same dance – this is apparently called the MCM Shuffle :-)

One thing I will also add, the Medal for this Marathon was stunning!! Seriously!! even the little blue globe thing spins around – other marathon organisers should take note!!

Well the numbers were large, the organisation was good, the long walk around the Pentagon to the start line yielded some things of interest… a couple of Osprey’s flew over and everyone took pics. It was all very Sci-Fi really with a thought of – that’s the future of modern policing right there..
Another thing was, they apparently don’t like you taking pictures of the Pentagon.. except from the memorial side… But the thing is, no one went past that side and we were far enough from the building to honestly state that all sides look exactly the same – but apparently it’s ok to to take pics of the prime area of where terrorists prefer to attack…
Basically, in Washington I became all too aware (as did some of the 16 Air Assault guys) that they are paranoid about security and frankly know fk-all about it… I would elaborate, but that would be just wrong.

But in no way is this a whinge, DC is great… the people are fantastic and true to fine American hospitality at its very best; Gabsatrucker got booted and suited after the Marathon and took me to dinner and showed me around and got me to see and do all I wanted.

A great weekend, good to catch up with Gabby again (after all, she bought the food – yet…. no cake) and the one thing i’ll remember is DC is a city of bright colours :-)

Back to Dulles for me, sit staring at the BA 777 until such time to board… It turned out we had a helluva following wind and hit London in 5.5hrs!! doing 760 mph only to sit in a stack for what seemed like an eternity…

I was brought to the attention of this when I heard someone state “but a 777 can’t go this fast”  We soon reduced speed – but it left me wondering what the structural limit of the 777 truly is.

Hey ho, life’s like that lol…

Especially after Gabby posted this picture of me looking bewildered around Rosslyn when I really try to stay anonymous ;-)

Psst…. I have a dream…

boeing_bbj1

It’s true, which is of course that I one day wake up and find myself very wealthy.
You see, there is a pleasure that only the very wealthy can afford, you know, those who probably make 100 million a year in interest alone.
It’s to own my own BBJ and that my friends is a Boeing Business Jet. Well while that depabbj carrtment are called that, the aircraft can be anything thing you want them to be.
The original BBJ is the Boeing 737, and while it is priced very competitively against far smaller aircraft, in the region of $50m – it’s not really a super long range cruiser. Also the 737 is up for redesign, so what’s left?
Well the 787 Dreamliner isn’t quite ready, so this leaves us wboeing_bbj2ith two – the 777 and the 747.
Now personally, I think the 747 is a little excessive, even if I did have the money to burn, but as for the 777, well apart from the fact I like them a lot, it’s seems to be just about the right size – even If I do need to take the car along too.777bbj
But sadly, with the whole global warming thing, running a few staff, burning a lot of fuel and money on servicing etc – it’s a lot just to cart one person around.
NOT!! 787bbj
Of course I’d have one, heck I’d go and get my wings so I could fly it myself!
I’d be a complete menace in it too.
The crazy part is, I’d really get a lot of use out if it!
Oddly, when you think of the 747,747bbj you’d probably think about Air Force One, but that’s a different thing all together – it’s more like a flying office block.bbj 747
Of course, that other company (airbus) also makes them, but buying one is more a question of how long you want to live – if you’re in your 80s, then sure, buy an Airbus.

777 bbj ensuiteNo, if money wasn’t a consideration – one of these suckers would be my ride – for sure!

Published in: on 16 July, 2009 at 22:46  Comments (1)  
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ANOTHER Airbus Down?!

News is coming in fast an furious about the loss – or probable loss of an Air Fr*nce Airbus 330-200 with 228 people onboard.
The aircraft was last seen 186 miles north east of the Brazilian coastal city of Natal and was due to land at Paris 09:10 GMT (2hrs ago at the time of writing).

It really is no wonder that Air Fr*nce has taken to buying Boeing 777’s of late. Here is one at Boeings factory at AF777Everett unveiling the new Air Fr*nce logo. After all, who on earth would want to fly Airbus?! and general opinion is that the new A380 will just be a better way of killing more people at the same time. Heck, on it’s first landing at Heathrow it cracked a wing spar.

Obviously, I’m not talking from a professional point of view, and we certainly have no idea what brought  this particular A330 down with so much probable sad loss of life. But never the less, I just don’t trust  Airbus’s and these days, I simply refuse to fly on them, but I will happily fly 777′s.

After all, the production of the A400M is simply turning into a farse. The A400M is the replacement for the C130 Hercules, and lets be honest here – not only is it needed, but with present military operations they’re needed yesterday! Already 5 years after the first order was placed, the A400M hasn’t even flown yet. They claim they might be able to deliver the first one sometime around 2012… Nice one, I doubt we’ll need them so much by then.

 

AFB7773

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Published in: on 1 June, 2009 at 11:15  Leave a Comment  
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The Boeing 777 crash ‘may’ finally have a cause

You don’t have to read too much of this blog to know that while I love traveling – not so much a fan of the flying part. However, there is one aircraft type I do trust and actually enjoy flying on – the Boeing 777. When we take a moment to compare the flight, systems, build quality and record of this aircraft you learn one or two fundamentally important facts; 1) this aircraft was designed and built by trying to crash and destroy it at every opportunity. 2) they don’t crash – unlike Airbus’s!!!

So, while I was shocked, it compared little to how shocked the entire aviation community were when one fell out of the sky while landing at Heathrow Airport in London.

Firstly, the aircraft fell nearly 125 feet and the cabin remained fully intact, then with the exception of one broken leg – everyone got up and walked out.

It didn’t take long for investigators to rule out the 777′s fly-by-wire computer systems – indeed, everything started to look like some sort of fuel issue.

Now lets put this into perspective, the entire industry has been waiting for the results of the investigation, an investigation that is being carried out in places all around the world.

So What happend?

BA038 had been descending gradually into Heathrow, the autopilot and the automatic throttle system controlling the aircraft.

As the handling pilot, first officer John Coward would have been preparing to take manual control below 1,000 feet.

The trouble started two miles out at 600 feet, as the plane was slowing down in its landing configuration.

At this point the engines would have required more power to keep the plane from sinking below the glideslope – an invisible three degree path down to the runway, generated by radio waves.

When the automatic throttle demanded more power, the engines initially responded. Then first the right engine, followed eight seconds later by the left, powered down – to a level below the thrust needed.

Warnings would have flashed up on engine monitoring screens in the centre of the control panel, showing the power was below that required.

A lower screen would have shown more detailed information about the flow of fuel around the aircraft. Other displays would show the likely speed and height the plane would achieve over the next minute.

Faced with the knowledge that a disaster was in the making, the crew had around 40 seconds to save their aircraft. It’s understood the captain Peter Burkill quickly reduced the amount of wing flaps deployed.

This was as important as the skilful manipulation of the control column by John Coward, in saving the aircraft. It cuts drag, speeds the plane up a little, and when a pilot has speed, he can maintain altitude.

But it would only delay the inevitable – the plane would have been losing both speed and height, a potentially catastrophic situation.

The 150 tonne Boeing just cleared the busy A30, the airport perimeter fence, and a radio mast before crashing to the ground in a stall – where the plane can simply fly no longer.

There would have been further warnings in the cockpit, including the stick-shaker, where the controls vibrate to alert the pilots.

ICE in the fuel??!!!

Yep, thats right, according to THIS report by the AAIB over on the BBC website, this is indeed what they believe caused the problem.

Frankly, I’d wait and see what everyone else reports in too.

 

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Published in: on 4 September, 2008 at 14:58  Comments (4)  
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Will the A380 due in to Heathrow today, come crashing in?

 

I’m not a fan of Airbus, I’m not a great lover of flying really – but it’s a necessity.

Airbus have this persistent knack of crashing stuff, I dunno, maybe it’s just a Fr**ch thing.(other than the A340 which appears to be almost as good as a 777).

The first time the A380 landed at Heathrow two years ago to test the airport out, almost ended in tears when one wing only just missed the ground, landing so hard it cracked some wing spar’s.

If you want safe air transport – look no further than the Boeing 777. The first and only incident happened at Heathrow a few months ago and it was the first in the aircrafts 13 year history… Now that is safe!

The 777 was designed from the outset to be un-crashable. They started with all known reasons for mechanical failure, designed them out then actually tried to crash the aircraft. This was a whole new approach to aircraft design and construction.

The incident at Heathrow looks at the moment not to be related to the actual aircraft i.e. contaminated fuel. But that 777 dropped over 100ft into the ground and while the damage was obvious – the fuselage never even got bent out of shape.

Here are a couple of videos of some of the tests carried out on the 777.

 

777 Maximum Load Rejected Takeoff – If this video does not play, you can watch it HERE in YouTube. Link willopen in a new window. The others should play fine.

 

Same test with a A340 which catches fire.

 

 

777 Wing load test to destruction (how to write-off a $270m aircraft)

 

 

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