Golden Hour Time

That’s definitely “hour” and not “shower” in the title of this communication. What kind of site do you think this is?! Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford Airfield. Now, I’m going to skip all the issues I have with museums of war and empire, there’s plenty of time for that in future and past communications. However, I do love a pretty aeroplane and Duxford has fucking loads. In the last week I have spent three days at the airfield.

Camp Duxford
Camp Duxford

2523 (Linton) Sqn invited some of our cadets along to a weekend assisting Duxford in the smooth running of their Battle Of Britain airshow. We arrive there early(ish) on the Saturday and helped them out. We were allowed entry to the airshow once we’d done our jobs. It was a splendid day with plenty of propeller drive aircraft rumbling through the skies. For me, gas turbines hit the spot and so while not WW2 era, it was a delight to see a Whirlwind, Wessex and Sea King flying above Cambridgeshire.

Fighter Squadron
Fighter Squadron – you need to look a little closer for full effect

Once the show was over we managed to get up close and personal with the three helicopters of the Historic Helicopter flight. If you ever thought your hobby was a touch expensive and not much gained from it, but you enjoy it anyway, then imagine trying to keep helicopters airworthy, for the hell of it. Photographs were taken.

Historic Helicopters
Historic Helicopters

It seems to me that a good photograph is all about being in the right place and having the right amount of nudge with the big man in the sky to make the heavens look absolutely glorious. The golden hour in the communication title refers to the hour before sunset when the lighting for photographs is bloody amazing. The grand finale of the airshow was a flypast of fifteen WW2 era fighters. Such an amazing sight and sound.

Battle Of Britain Fighter Wing
Battle Of Britain Fighter Wing

I do worry slightly about a country celebrating not-losing a few battles. It is something the UK seems to do a lot. It’s as if it reinforces the natural superiority of the British above everyone else. The Brits have such nostalgia for things that only went their way though luck and good fortune that I guess it’s about time for that luck to run out. Oh, wait, now I remember the last five years.

I also spent a day at Duxford on Wednesday, just as a day trip to give some newer cadets the experience of a CCF trip along with seeing some amazing planes. We got up close to the Bristol Blenheim and some cadets even helped push a few Spitfires around to clear Shed 3.

Bristol Blenheim Up Close And Personal
Bristol Blenheim Up Close And Personal

There’s something about standing in a hangar staring at the only Blenheim in the world while surrounded by a collection of airworthy Spitfires, Hurricanes and Buchons. Some places are just a bit special. Much like the exhaust view on the Spit. Thanks BW.

Merlin - The Magical Kind
Merlin – The Magical Kind

If You Have To Ask The Price . . . .

As we have one very busy week end it’s only two more weeks and then I can probably think about organising all the other stuff that needs to be done. In the past seven days I’ve been i/c of two cadet trips, both of which weren’t even known about four weeks ago. If you have any idea how long it takes for authorisation for trips to come through from the “higher-ups” then you’ll know that I’ve pretty much been a one-man miracle for the last month. On the Aerospace Camp I met BW and he had some events in the pipeline and invited us along. It would have been rude to say no and so I got to sorting them out.

The first of these joint trips was to attend the Air Charter Expo at Biggin Hill. It’s a hanger and hardstanding area full of executive jets ready to be chartered. It’s like a car show but for more expensive items. The cadets did some work and I drank some coffee so all was good in the world. I could have done without the rain storms on the way to Biggin Hill and slightly less exciting weather would also have meant the traffic might have flowed a bit better but we got there and everyone enjoyed themselves.

Gulfstream G450
Gulfstream G450

My favourite aircraft for interior, comfort, and friendliness of staff was this G450. I neglected to ask how much it was to charter but then, if you ask those things, then you can’t afford it. The cabin crew I spoke to wouldn’t tell me who the most badly behaved celebratory was, but then again, they wouldn’t tell be the best behaved either. The crew were lovely, really nice people.

I got to sit in the cockpit of a King Air and this was quite strange as I’ve spent a lot of time playing the flight simulator and learning my way around the buttons and switches of this exact type. I didn’t have a go at starting the engines!

King Air Cockpit
King Air Cockpit

While the King Air looked the poorer cousin of the display I would like to mention that the pilot of this craft seemed the most honest and genuine flyer there. He was really chatty and love talking to the RAF Cadets, it’s almost as if he ignored the actual people with money. I suspect he was just pleased to talk aviation and flying rather than trying to sell the plane.

A great time was had by all and the day went smoothly in the end. It’s hard life sometimes.

Name Three Things That Shouldn’t Be In The Same Neighbourhood

Had a lovely day out in the “it turned out to be nicer than expected” weather for a cadet trip to Lydd to use the long ranges there. A long range is anything over 25m. I have my range conducting officer ticket for short ranges and would like to get my ticket for long ranges but, one day. Lydd Ranges is a base with lots of space for shooting things down on the Kent coast within the Romney Marshes site of special scientific interest. As you might expect there is a Danger Area which extends out into the sea. If you are thinking “What else could we put near here to ensure almost the perfect disaster” and if your answer is: an airport and a nuclear power station, then you are in for a treat.

Lydd Dangerous Things
Lydd Dangerous Things

The three things that I have circled are, from top to bottom, an airport, Lydd live firing ranges and a nuclear power station. I suppose it doesn’t get worse than that for potential danger. This is a funny end of the world, some unique habitats and plenty of open space. The fact that access is restricted a lot also means that the wildlife has the space to get on with it.

At The Far End Of Lydd Serial 34
At The Far End Of Lydd Serial 34

Serial 34 is a gallery range with manual targets. We had some firing practice from 100m where we zeroed the weapons and then did some firing from other positions from 100m and 200m. The wind was a bit much for newish cadets to have a go from further distances. We’d also want slightly better grouping sizes to be able to progress. If you double your distance then you double the size of your grouping [Theory Of A Group]. So, we’d be hoping for 100mm at 100m which would then lead to 200mm at 200m. Once you are beyond those sizes you aren’t really going to be hitting the target that much.

Lydd Ranges Serial 34
Lydd Ranges Serial 34

The morning was mostly cloudy with a little wind. In the afternoon the wind increased but the sun came out and so I have mildly weather affected skin on the parts of my body which were exposed – mainly my head. It feels OK about twelve hours later so I think I’ll be fine but I might look silly as I was wearing a baseball cap and so half my head is burnt along with a little rectangle where the cap size adjuster lives. Oh well.

This is communication number 1960. In keeping with recent tradition [not sure what happens when I get beyond the current year] here are some things that happened in that year as curated by me:

  • Humans descend to the lowest point on Earth.
  • 12,000 dead after an earthquake in Morocco.
  • Blue Streak is cancelled in UK.
  • A U-2 is shot down over USSR.
  • Mauritania [the crappiest country you’ve not heard of] becomes independent from France.

Follow Me Around The World

I’m not sure when I started this journey but I’ve been flying [in a Sim – X-Plane] around the coastline of the world. I started on Anglesey in Wales and am currently in Iran. I suspect a future communication will just be a big long list of the airports visited as I complete this journey. I nearly turned around once I reached the Red Sea but have decided to see what happens as I head further east.

As I pass through airports I’ve been tweeting my journey. I’m not sure when I started doing that, I think I just wanted a record of the flights somewhere. They are in my virtual log book and also on a scrap of paper on the table next to me. The first one on the paper is Bamenda. I completed that flight on 13 July.

I’m not sure in what format to have all the airports listed in the end. Watch this space and see what I say. If you are lucky and go to this MAP when I am flying then you’ll be able to see where I am and what I’m doing. My aircraft user name is Kertz. Click on the aircraft to see which one is mine. You might be told it’s a Cessna. I can assure you it isn’t. Because the JoinFS software I used works across platforms you have to tell it what you are flying. There are some categories, but over all I have found that the system works well and I’ve flown with a friend while they are based in Texas IRL.

You Can Track My Flights
You Can Track My Flights

Above is what the maps will look like if you can find me. When you click on the aircraft there is information about them that pops up. It’s quite a neat little trick.

This is communication 1959 and here are some things that happened in that year:

  • Alaska becomes the 49th USA state.
  • A referendum is Switzerland turns down women’s suffrage.
  • British Empire Day is renamed Commonwealth Day. Why do we still have MBE medals??
  • The X-15 makes its first powered flight.
  • The first known human with HIV dies in the Congo.

It’s A Shame I Wasn’t More Awake

The hot weather of the last few days has broken and I think it’s meant to be more “normal” over the next week or so. I don’t mind really. As long as I can drink enough water I’m generally happy in any temperature. So, last night I woke with the clapping of thunder and I pulled my window shut. I slowly decided whether to properly get and and watch the lightning as there is a decent vista from the back bedroom but my decision was – go back to sleep. I’ve seen storms before.

When I woke and eventually checked my phone there were loads of notifications of movement detected from my home security system. I wrote about this in this communication. It turns out that the lightning set off the record feature of the cameras and I got some shots of the sky being lit up by electrical discharge.

The green bits and pieces in the video are where the camera thinks there is movement so generally they are best to ignore. Of the videos the camera recorded this one was the best with a decent image of the strike.

This is communication number 1958 and so here are some things, curated by me, that happened in that year of the common era:

  • Sputnik 1 falls to Earth and burns up.
  • Bertrand Russell launches CND.
  • BBC Radiophonic workshop is established.
  • The last fully rigged sail trading ship sinks carrying guano.
  • The first motorway opens in the UK.

Tres Hombres – ZZ Top

I have played this album precisely three times in its entity. I was given this by Shredder as a recommended thing to listen to. He was not wrong. I have played this album when I drove some pupils to Canterbury for a school visit – you want something you think most people will appreciate when driving others around. I have so much obnoxious music that it’s hard sometimes to find something suitable. I played this album over my Sonos system when building a climbing frame for the kids and then finally I played it the other day in preparation for this communication.

This is a brilliant album full of dirty, gritty, blues inspired songs that all sound great. It has a real down low feel to it whilst not being obnoxious. I do like it. I think it’s an album I will go for more often when I need something decent in the background.

This album is not anything like you would expect if all you know about ZZ Top is their songs from the eighties. It’s actually way better and I even like their rock stuff.

This is communication number 1957 so here are some things that happened then in the year of our lord:

  • The first frisbee
  • A hydrogen bomb accidentally falls from a bomber near Albuquerque.
  • A hurricane killed 400 people in Louisiana.
  • The Wolfenden Report was published in the UK recommending the legalisation of gay sex between consenting adults.
  • Gordon Gould invents the LASER.

Not Sure How I Feel About This

The village in which I live is under attack. The attack is probably the thing that is needed for the country. But I don’t like it and it’s raising lots of horrible feelings and selfishness. Part of the local council plan involves adding 900 houses to the village where I have lived for almost twenty years. I wrote about this before in this communication. 900 houses. Right outside my garden. It makes me angry while at the same time I know housing has to go somewhere and I’ve always thought that people who protest should accept progress for the greater good.

So, first I want to recognise the need for new housing. Apparently there is a need for lots of homes for people and they need to go somewhere. I suspect it is easier to build on fresh ground than to rework brownfield sites to make them habitable. We all know that the housing developers and land owners are in the back pockets of many Tories and probably lots of other MPs too. Where I live is like Tory world centre and most of the local councillors are that way inclined too. So I do believe that the housing companies get the easier route for more financial security rather than actually doing what is right for the environment and local communities. That said, there is a need for housing.

I live in Tonbridge and Malling local district. I live almost at the northern tip of the district. I live in the relatively poor part of the district. The southern area is much wealthier. Do I think there’s a correlation to where the new housing is going and the relative wealth of the area? Of course I do. The wealthy have the ability to fight these things or at least bribe their way to not having the new houses nearby. It’s always the poorer people who get fucked over by those in power because for the powerful it’s about power and money and nothing else really.

The Medway Gap area has had masses of housing development over the last twenty years and it continues. The company that owns the land, Trenport, I’ve written about before. They like to think they are doing good things I suspect but ultimately don’t care as long as they can make themselves more powerful and more wealthy. Here’s a picture of what land is going to be developed:

My Feelings Are Unsure About This
My Feelings Are Unsure About This

As you can see in the picture Eccles is the blob of housing just right of centre and the pink land is the area going to be developed. I’m pretty sure you can see that it’s all fields. Arable land for growing crops to feed this country. Now, to be clear, not all that land is going to be housing. Some of it will be made into recreational land along with a village car park and community centre. We already have a community centre, it’s the church and hall which can be used by locals. Parking is utter shit in my village but the new car park won’t be big enough, they never are. I think there’s a new shop involved there too but what happens to the current village shop?

All the land heading SW from the village of Eccles is my current view out the back of my house. I don’t really want that to change. I can see for miles. I can see fields and trees and the woods in the distance. It’s a calming positively enduring view that helps my mental health. It’s one of the reasons I bought this house.

I’ve looked at the “consultation” online and the questions are clever. One of them asks what I use the field for currently. Well, in reality I walk or run or cycle on the footpaths. The developers are going to keep the footpaths so that should make me happy but it doesn’t. The reason I walk along those particular footpaths is that the outdoor experience is best there. Wide open spaces in the middle of a barley field really make you feel good. Just having the footpath there through houses isn’t going to be the same.

I’m stuck. I don’t want this development. For mostly selfish reasons. I like my view. I like the fields. I like the ambiance of the village. It feels “country” while entirely surrounded by massive urban sprawl. I know we need houses. I just think there’s somewhere else they could go.

This is communication number 1956 so here are a couple of things that happened that year:

  • IATA finalises the phonetic alphabet.
  • 96 US congress members sign a manifesto against de-segregation.
  • The last British troops leave Egypt.
  • The world’s first industrial scale nuclear power plant is opened at Calder Hall in England.

Where Is Everything?

Just logged into 360 Radar to see what’s flying around [not that I hear anything]. I was just curious but I was shocked at what I found! I wasn’t shocked. I was pleasantly surprised but not shocked. I was trying to write in a click-bait format then, but I should’ve made the title completely click bait. Now I think about it, a lot of the titles of communications on this site are a bit click baity. I don’t really say what the communication is about I just write an obscure title. I can assure that writing them that way makes things much harder to look up in the future.

Nothing Over Kent
Nothing Over Kent

Nothing up there really. The Kent skies seem rather empty. Oh well, the flights will be heading over soon.

This is communication number 1955 and so here are some things that happened in that year of the common era:

  • 60,000 non-whites are forcibly evicted from their homes in South Africa.
  • 83 people are killed in a crash at Le Mans.
  • Ruth Ellis is the last woman to be executed [murdered by the state] in the UK.
  • Cardiff is declared as the capital of Wales.

Trebuchet – George Hrab

I like this album. I don’t really like the production of the album and I know that’s a personal thing and Hrab is the person who is in charge of the whole thing. George Hrab has a podcast, or used to, called Geologic which I have spent some time listening to. He’s a science communicator and skeptic along with being a talented musician and song writer.

All the songs on this album are extremely well written. They cover lots of ideas from the skeptical community and make me smile whenever I listen to this album. Some ideas of the titles on this record:

  • God Is Not Great
  • Everything Alive Will Die Someday
  • When I Was Your Age
  • Death From The Skies – highly recommended
  • Small Comfort

This album has a lovely style and a great message to push to the listeners. I enjoy it. It’s not metal and that’s fine.

This is communication number 1954 and so here are some things that happened that year:

  • Eisenhower warns against his country’s intervention in Vietnam.
  • The first subway line in Toronto.
  • The Boeing 707 is released.
  • Food rationing ends in the UK.
  • Lord Of The Flies is published by a writer who worked previously as a teacher at MGS.

Gosh, It Looks Beautiful

I think I’m going to stop. I’ve bought a beast of a machine with screens to match those abilities. I remember I first bought a PC for making music and I wasn’t really bothered about gaming performance, and that’s still mostly true. I’m not a hardcore PC gamer but I am very interested in flying. It just happens to turn out that the flight sim of choice – X-Plane is quite consuming of PC power. It’s also an odd program with the way it utilises the cores of the PC. Anyway. I’ve been trying to get the best flight simulation screen-age. I think I’m there although to use all the pixels to the maximum I will need another PC but that’s going to have to wait.

The Beautiful Front View
The Beautiful Front View

I’m not going to go through the specification of everything. Needless to say I’m very happy with it all. The curved monitor is very bright! It also chucks out a lot of heat so I think I’m not doing my bit for the environment. To keep everything in this position there’s a level of chaos to the reverse view:

What It Takes To Have Beauty
Takes To Have Beauty

The curved screen has its own stand and the two top monitors are connected via 100mm VESA things to different arms on the metre high pole screwed to the desk. Look, it all works fine and is lined up to within tolerances.

This is communication 1953 and so here are some things that happened in that year of the common era in keeping with recent tradition:

  • Derek Bentley is executed [murdered by the state] in Wandsworth prison.
  • The North Sea flood kills over 2000 in coastal countries.
  • The Polio vaccine is announced.
  • The first RO-RO crossing of the English Channel.