Saturday, 6 March 2010

Met Office to give up

I see from this story that the UK Met Office is about to give up on its seasonal forecasts. Wha'ever. They're stopping because the forecasts were basically wrong. When it didn't turn out to be a hot summer or a warm winter they came in for a bit of stick. Criticism rarely makes you feel good, but surely they're big enough to take it?

So, rather than work on getting it right, they're just giving up, but I think the PR defeat they've suffered will have further consequences. In addition to giving up the hiding-to-nothing forecasts, my bet is that they'll err even further on the side of caution when it comes to the daily stuff. Expect long range stuff to sound worse that it is, expect METARs to be better than the TAF, well for most of the time anyway.

FWIW, I think the RN does a decent job of weather forecasting followed closely by the RAF.

Edit: It seems (Thanks Tony) that the RAF makes use of UKMO people on their bases, while the RN uses its own forcaster who themselves make use of UKMO data. I still think that military forecasts are better/more accurate, so I'm going to see if there's any data to back up that feeling.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Cessna chalks up number 9000

Cessna has delivered the 9,000th single-engined aeroplane to be built in its Independence, Kansas, factory. The aircraft, a C182T, was picked up by Robert Logozio following a short ceremony.

The Independence factory's first C172 rolled out in 1994 after Cessna restarted manufacturing singles following the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994. This limited a manufacturer's liability to 18 years.

In addition to the traditional Cessna singles (C172, C182, C206) the factory is home to the Citation Mustang production line and now the Corvalis line. Cessna caused a great deal of angst in the US when it decided to build the SkyCatcher in China, and more recently when it exported some jobs from Independence to Mexico.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

ATC on gardening leave

Tonight there are a couple of JFK Tower controllers on enforced leave. One of them took his son to work and let him do a little of the RT.

The tapes made the Internet, then the press, and the FAA acted. Even the controllers' union spoke out against the controllers.

If you listen to the tapes the pilots seemed to enjoy it, as did the kid. I'm not sure that I'd appreciate it if every frequency had radio transmissions made by the controller's children, but I really wish that everyone involved (by which I mean the FAA and the ATC union) could see the event with a little perspective, tell the controller(s) not to do it again, and then move on.

IAOPA Newsletter

This month's IAOPA newsletter carried a short item claiming that EASA were minded to regulate microlights. It turns out that somewhere, someone got the wrong end of the stick. The facts are explained here in a post by David Roberts.

Mistakes happen, but there have been a few too many factual errors in IAOPA's newsletter of late. I don't know if there's an editorial edict to scare people in the hope that they'll join, or someone who just doesn't understand some things (discussions concerning the UK's IMCR often introduce errors) but I fear that the monthly newsletter is doing more harm than good right now.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Shoreham's future

Shoreham Airport has announced that it is withdrawing the two grass runways. A spokesman denied that there will be cuts in ATC availability or a downgrading in service, but rumours continue, and in this economy long-term guarantees should be taken with a pinch of salt.

It's obviously a shame that the grass will no longer be available (the grass will be grown longer in order to reduce bird hazards), but if it reduces costs significantly, as the airport suggests, then it's understandable. These days, the name of the game for aviation companies is survival, and that means maximising revenue and minimising costs.

So how come Shoreham is coming in for a bit of stick when you might otherwise expect aviators to be sympathetic to their plight? Perhaps it's the fact that pilots like to moan, but perhaps it's also the fact that Shoreham has a bit of a strange personality. Most of the time it is a great little GA airport; it has an instrument approach, some of the best GA ATC around, a nice airshow, a great pilot shop and a lot more besides. On the other hand, it introduces weird parking charges, has frequent bouts of jobsworth attitudes regarding yellow jackets and employs some people who have forgotten how to smile.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

This is flying

Adrian posted this link on the FLYER forums.

Vol Montagne Chapitre 1 from Julien JAY on Vimeo.

It's an amazing place to fly, and the D140 Mousquetaire is a pretty special aeroplane. If you want to experience the combination of breathtaking views and great flying then the Aeroclub de Megeve is the place to go.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Time to remember the fun

A quick look through some recent posts makes for some depressing reading - the weather's bad, the industry's struggling the lawmakers are circling etc.

So time for some light relief, and time to remember a bit more about the joy of flying - so here are some pics, either taken from the C182, or while on a flying or flying-related trip somewhere.

1. Tunisia
2. South of France
3. Jack Brown's Seaplane Base, Winter Haven, Florida
4. Mont Blanc
5. RVs at Oshkosh
6. Southern Tunisia
7. Calvi, Corsica
8. Corsica
9. Duxford

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Quick strip check

The sun was shining, at least between the showers, and the visibility was excellent. Sadly the waterlogged ground and some more rain means no swift return to the strip, not even for a quick visit or touch-and-go.

I'm not complaining. The floods currently hitting Haiti and the storm deaths in Portugal, Spain and France put things into perspective somewhat.