M5…. Again and getting worse!!

For most people who come by the way of this blog, know that after many years of Comms and IT work, I took a few years out in Devon and for the most part drove a milk tanker for a living..
As such, taking 28,000 ltrs all over the country was the main task, to such places as Oakthorpe, Hanworth, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Taw Valley, Yeo Valley, Droitwich, Severnside, Wyke Farm, Davidstow, Westbury, Castle, Cotswold Dairy, Chadwell Heath, Cadbury’s Bridgwater and oh so many more…

As such I used the M5 a lot, it is after all the main artery to the South West of the UK.
The summer carnage on this road is what brought me to post the very badly written Motorway Driving Survival Guide over there on the right.

But last night, at around 8.25pm and the north bound section of Jnc 25, a 34 vehicle pile-up, a minimum of 7 people died along with over 51 injured…

Why oh why is this not a great surprise to me, or anyone whom actually drives this section of motorway…

Jnc 25 is a place that has always needed a half mile two lane nth bound exit slip.. and a far, far longer entry ramp…

People do for the most part cut in at the very last minute, the roads from the junction are impeded on the Taunton side and single lane into a village on the east side. It is, frankly, at certain times of day and even year, a tough section to drive – even for the most experienced. Add to this, weather, events, short entry ramp on the northbound and an inexperienced driver and you have a continuing catalyst that brings traffic to a grinding halt several times a year in this area due to accidents.

I’ve actually had several near misses there and at the southern turn off for Western Super Mare… is a case where drivers have raced up the 3rd lane and cut across right at the last minute to try and exit onto a stationary and congested ramp… Thus effectively half stopping in the 1st lane… trust me – it’s heart in the mouth stuff…

And for some reason, people joining the motorway believe that they can just come out into the traffic – it’s a Bloody GIVE WAY….

So, while I don’t know what caused this crash, I can say that Taunton, Weston Super Mare and Clevedon Hill have always been places waiting for such carnage to happen.. They are huge fog traps and are highly prone to black ice which I believe I mentioned before, that in the early hours of Christmas morning two years ago, I fought off jack knifing 5 times between Jnc 25 and 26 sth bound.
It’s why I came to hate driving so much and yes, for someone who has driven in most environments in the world, a qualified Land Rover instructor, a class one (CDL) holder and has always enjoyed driving – that’s a bit of a deal.

So, no matter how sad this event is, how much loss and heart ache will be felt over the coming days and weeks because of it…. I’m sadly not surprised at all  :-(

Published in: on 5 November, 2011 at 16:22  Comments (8)  
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Proving that old sayings aren’t that wrong

WKD was telling me the other day how her father had been looking forward to WKD icon1going flying with a mate of his. This friend has his own light aircraft and he had been keen to go along and see Devon from the air.
However, upon landing the aircraft wing tip came into contact with some vegetation and, well, I think the words were, ‘ they had a bit of a hard landing’.

Last night, WKD sent me a photo of this ‘hard landing’.

Now in the aviation world, it is said that ‘any landing you walk away from – is a good one’.

I think it’s fair to say that in true British fashion, they proved the point very accurately – but bloodyhell!!!



Published in: on 15 September, 2009 at 17:16  Comments (2)  
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Here’s something you don’t see everyday

While not a great fan of Airbus because to me the Boeing 777 is about the best aircraft to fly on, I received an email this week that has been doing the rounds that left me gobsmacked!! check this out…A-340-600_5

This brand spanking new Airbus 340-600, sat just outside its hangar in Toulouse , France without  a single hour of airtime. Now paint it in Airline colours and continue reading…

From what I’m lead to believe :

Enter the flight crew of Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) to conduct pre-delivery tests on the  ground, such as engine run-ups prior to delivery to Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi .
The ADAT crew taxied the A340-600 to the run-up area.

Then they took all Four engines to takeoff power with a virtually empty aircraft. Not having Read the run-up manuals, they had no clue just how light an empty A340-600 Really is.

The takeoff warning horn was blaring away in the cockpit because they had All 4 engines at full power. The aircraft computers thought they were trying to take off, but it had not been configured properly (flaps/slats, etc..)

Then one of the ADAT crew decided to pull the circuit breaker on the Ground Proximity Sensor to silence the alarm. This fools the aircraft into thinking it is in the air.

The computers automatically released all the Brakes and set the aircraft rocketing forward. The ADAT crew had no idea that this is a safety feature so that pilots can’t land with the brakes on.

Not one member of the seven-man crew was smart enough to throttle back the engines from their max power setting, so the $200 million brand-new Aircraft crashed into a blast barrier, totaling it.
The extent of injuries to the crew is unknown due to the news blackout in the major media in France and elsewhere.
Finally, the photos are starting to leak out.






I’d like to add something here, you see when they designed the Boeing 777 – they did so around one basic idea; trying to break it, crash and just generally destroy it, thus designing that exact possibility out of the basic aircraft. Airbus on the other hand, simply do not do this, there first Airbus crashed at the Paris Airshow for that very same reason sadly. Boeing 777’s – with only one real incident that was not even related to the actual 777 systems has not had such silly mistakes happen to it.

That said – what confidence does it install in anyone that a flight crew is more than happy to start pulling breakers out just to silence and alarm?!

As they say in the world of aviation:   Flying, 99.9% boredom,  0.01 % shear bloody terror!!


Published in: on 8 May, 2009 at 14:00  Comments (2)  
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A terrible news day


I’m afraid there is simply no humour in this article. I get up, check the news and see David Cameron’s son died overnight in hospital after becoming ill. I simply can’t imagine the pain of losing a child, I really can’t.


Then news comes in of a 737-800 falling apart on landing at Amsterdam killing at least 9 people..


Not a good beginning to a the day.

Lets hope there is some better news later.




Published in: on 25 February, 2009 at 13:50  Leave a Comment  
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A night out trying to kill myself

I thought it was funny when my mobile rang at 11pm last night, as I answered it I simply said “who’s slid off the road”? It turned out (at that point) that no one had and I was asked if I could take an urgently required trailer (reefer) to Sparkford.

11:30 I open my front door, I look down at the four inches of fresh snow and noticed no tire tracks down the road or foot prints. Bemused I thought to myself “hmmm, that wasn’t there before”.  As I step onto the snow my foot started to slip straight away, and noticed the snow didn’t actually look like the normal stuff, the flakes looked like inch and half flat pieces of ice and there was also a layer of ice below it.  So I start walking to where I had parked my car at the bottom of a hill and pondered (looking down at it) how easy this would be to get out of. Thankfully and armed with previous Land Rover knowledge I got up the hill and onto the main road.  Stopping the car was an issue, so it was down to first and second gear as I opted for the main highway route to work avoiding the countryside’s back roads. So, I arrive to a yard covered in one inch of clear ice and got a truck sorted out. Raised my tag axle, selected traction control, diff lock on and away we go.

No problems at all, made good time and arrived in Sparkford to 8 inches of snow and bedlam! Sparkford yard is very small and is the local areas main Milk (ex-farm) collection hub. Normally you would expect that enough movement of vehicles would melt the snow but not today, and for some reason I could not fathom, no one had gritted (salted) the yard. I could not for the life of me get the trailer anywhere near where I needed to put it as the ice simply would allow for it. Eventually I found a place out of the way and set off on my way back ‘bob-tailing’ (without trailer).

I don’t think I’ve had more fun driving a truck in my life while driving back, and if it wasn’t for the trucks last night, the road would be impassable for cars now. But as other truckers know, with no weight on the back, you get the fun of all the horsepower straight to the drive wheels (albeit our trucks are limited to 56mph and average 8.4 to 12 mpg because of it). Back at the yard 3 hours after I left, 3 and half hours total work and get paid for 8hr work – result!…

After talking with a couple of guys who live near me I decided to take the country road home as they said it was ok with care. Now the road has tight bends, it’s narrow – not to mention hilly… The main hill is called Henbury Hill and once on top it’s time to lose all speed as there a small ‘wannabe’ hairpin bend on the way down. I select first gear and let the tick-over of the engine take me down. But it was to no avail as the road entered the cutting and bend. At the last minute before I thought I was about to hit a telephone pole while I worked the wheel and added a little gas (IRF, all important right foot) , the car went sideways and broadsided the embankment in which it then bounced me around to hit the opposite embankment head on. Thankfully no air bag deployment but I was now stationary, In the dark  and under the blind spot of this bend. Quickly I reversed back and carried on my way. As soon as I got back under street lights I stopped to survey the damage. Other than a cracked head light lens – no damaged at all!!! I drove home and pulled in. A moment later one of our milk tankers appeared and pulled in behind me. He asked if I seen anyone trash their car because of all the marks on the road he’d seen. He laughed when I told him it was me and then asked if thats why a buy crappy old cars – I simply said “yup” and smiled.

But the guy was on his second £140,000 milk tanker of the night – as he left the first one in a ditch.

It’s odd that I can drive ‘Ar-tics’ (semi) to hell and back, yet I appear useless at driving my own car – go figure!



Published in: on 3 February, 2009 at 16:57  Comments (2)  
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Do you remember when?

Earlier this year I had an accident, in fact I shut two lanes of the M42 for two and a half hours during a Friday Rush-Hour.

Today I received a letter from the Central Motorways Police Group stating that there is no evidence on my part of any contravention of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and as such the matter is closed.

It’s pointless me trying to explain what happened, so after much searching of crash videos I believe I have found the closest EXAMPLE of what happened.

Now, I’m just about to start publishing serious driving info, so watch out for articles to start appearing under the ‘DRIVING’ heading on the right.

Published in: on 30 June, 2008 at 21:22  Comments (3)  
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