Friday, December 12, 2008

Tracking aircraft movements in real time

I was only wondering the other day if anyone does this... I've seen a similar thing done with US flight data mapped against Google Earth. As a kid (believe it or not) I used to do exactly this - but manually! - with a VHF radio and a sheet of tracing paper laid over a map. I'd plot aircraft movements as they left the gate at Sydney and tracked them as far as I could, switching frequencies as they handed over to different controllers, from the ground controllers until as far away as Hawaii at times... well it fascinated me at the time (and I was a weird kid)!

Check it out:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

VH-JMO takes off

VH-JMO going_0372
Originally uploaded by gtveloce
Just one of those days when you see a helicopter land on a football field and your 2 y.o. boy wants to have a look. And then it takes off. Gosh he got excited!

It's a Robinson 44 from Morpeth; here it's seen at Pokolbin. There are more pics if you click on the image.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ansett 727 VH-RMK

I think this is one of Steve Hill's transparencies. He took a few shots for me in the early 80s when I was making airliner postcards (would you believe!) and this may be one of 'em. It's certainly a great shot, crisp, filling the frame. Nice that the rego is in view and that the wheels are coming up. Interesting also as it captures a now-defunct airline (plenty of those, eh?) A pic worth keeping!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

DH 86 Wangaratta 1997

DH 86 Wangaratta 1997_w008
Originally uploaded by gtveloce
Not a great scan of the original shot, but as it's the only DH86 image I have, here it is...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Trans International DC8 Sydney 1976

There I was sitting atop a shipping container near the Adastra hangar when this TIA DC-8 Super 63 thundered past my lens. It's runway 25. This was the most interesting part of Sydney Airport in many ways, with a great view of the short runway plus the old Lincoln fuselage to look at across the swamp (used for firefighting practice).

JAT 707 76_836

JAT 707 76_836
Originally uploaded by gtveloce
It may be my fading memory at fault but I seem to recall one JAT proving flight into Sydney where the tower asked the 707's captain to confirm altitude. The conversation was along the lines of "you are too low" and "you are below the glideslope". The approach was from the west over Bankstown and indeed the pilot had mistaken Bankstown Airport for Sydney. Or so the story goes! (No harm done, they found runway 07 eventually.)

That same DC2 at Bankstown

Now I could be wrong but this is the same DC-2 as the one posted earlier in a backyard in Narellan, late 1970s. This shot is dated about 1972 (pardon the dust). I believe this was Sid Marshall's place - it abutted Bankstown Airport and was full of interesting airframes, and if memory serves me well even an old Sydney bus. Sid ran an airline from Bankstown and then a museum. Eventually the Aussie Dept of Civilian Aviation (or whatever they called themselves back then) decided to give museums the boot, to free up hangar space for flyable aircraft. Thus ended the good old days of poking around musty hangars looking at Spitfires and Mk 1 Electras.

Another look at that DC2 at Narellan

Another view of that DC-2.

DC2 ex-Sid Marshall at Narellan

It was trucked here from Sid's backyard at Bankstown, but I don't know what happened next. I think the idea was to move the Camden Museum of Aviation to Narellan but I'm not sure if that actually happened. Anyway, it's a DC-2. IT's probably about 1978 or so. I could be wrong!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sandringham wingtip 1975_330

OK, last wingtip shot for today....

Sandringham wingtip 1975_347

Yes, it's that wingtip again...

Sandringham wingtip repair 1975_329

Crashed your flying boat on a Pacific Island? Need to get back to base and repair it? Well that happened a few times, once that I personally remember to Ansett Airlines' Short Sandringham VH-BRC "Beachcomber". It was damaged by a storm that tore it from its moorings whilst overnighting at Lord Howe Island on June 9, 1974.

"Beachcomber" ironically ended on the beach with a damaged starboard wing, the float torn off and wingtip and leading edge crumpled. Temporary repairs were made on site and the 'boat was ferried back to Sydney for permanent repairs at Rose Bay on or about July 3, 1974.

The damaged wingtip was removed, as you can see in this and subsequent pics. Beachcomber was repaired and test flown from Rose Bay on August 29, 1974 and operated the final flying boat passenger service to Lord Howe on September 10 that year. A permanent short field runway had been built by then and land-based wheeled aircraft (how unromantic!) took over the service.

Special thanks to my friend the late James Davidson and his father, a flight engineer on the 2 Ansett 'boats in the 1970s for access to the Ansett base - and to 'BRC and sister ship 'BRF ('Islander') way back when.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Adastra Hudson Sydney BB c1969_369

It's VH-AGX at Sydney. Note the high security in place at Sydney Airport... I walked out and just took a shot. OK, it is the quiet 'light aircraft' side of the field... and I looked innocent enough at 11 years old with a Box Brownie in my hands.

CF-CPT CPAir DC8-55 Sydney BB c1969_367

CPAir, or Canadian Pacific Airways if you like. It's 1969 again, taken with a Kodak Box Brownie... once more not great quality but (once more) a rare bird worth sharing. Again I simply walked through the gate and literally walked all around this bird.

Voyager 1000 DC7C N287 Sydney BB c1969_365

Yes folks, an 11 year old with a Box Brownie could go anywhere in 1969... note the "old" Sydney International Terminal on the left with a gaggle of 707s, notably Pan Am and Air India.

QF 707-138B and JAL DC8 Sydney BB c1969

The "new" Sydney International Terminal when it was actually new... taken with my Box Brownie in around 1969...

RAF Comet Sydney BB c1969_366

RAF Comet Sydney BB c1969_366
Originally uploaded by gtveloce
Get set for some old, blurry pics taken by yours truly with his Box Brownie, age 11 or so...

Yes, it's 1969 again folks. Not great quality but (once more) a rare bird worth sharing, and to think I simply walked through the gate and literally walked all around this RAF Comet without question. Can't do that these days.

Friday, April 18, 2008

OK, here's a weird one

I had a dream last night where I was watching traffic at Heathrow airport in what appeared to be the late 1950's. Now I was only born in '57 and have never been to London, so that's weird enough alone. Anyway, 2 Vickers Vikings collided mid-air and brought down what I thought to be a Boeing C-97. I looked it up and that's exactly what it was. (At least I got my plane recognition right on both counts.) Now I don't recall a 3-way crash like that ever happening, but there you go. And I've only ever seen pictures of Vickers Vikings, so why I thought of that aircraft I don't know. The same goes for the C-97, which is of course a Boeing cargo version of the Stratocruiser.

The rest of the dream involved family and friends, none of whom were of the correct age for the period, but then again it was a dream so anything is possible. But one of the characters in the dream is English and could have been either a 10 year old plane spotter or possibly lived near Heathrow at the time. I haven't seen him for 20 years and can't check.

What else could I do, I had to search for this crash. I found the crash stats for Vickers Vikings (24% survival, not bad; 54 hull losses, which sounds a lot). I also found Madden's excellent Air Transport Safety Resources, with 3 mentions of the Viking:
Interesting that it was an "Airnautic" Viking as one of the characters in my little dream ran an operation called "Aironautica". Hmmm. Still, no exact matches, and no C-97s nearby at all. But if nothing else it gave me something more to search on. So I did.

If that wasn't interesting enough, the Longford Residents Association tells the tale of the Vulcan bomber - the very first - coming back from what must have been a simply wonderful trip to Australia, with the Air Vice Marshall so keen to greet the dignitaries awaiting the craft at Heathrow that he had (a) displaced the co-pilot from his seat and (b) over-ruled warnings not to land in a thunderstorm... you can guess what happened (it includes Brussel sprouts, btw) or read it all here: On 1st October 1956, the first Avro Vulcan bomber taken on charge by the RAF, returning from a successful flight to Australia and New Zealand, crashed on approach to Heathrow Airport (then called London Airport).

According to the aforementioned LRA Heathrow's history as an airport is in itself quite alarming: The British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) was party to the whole plot but complained about the unsuitability of the proposed layout of runways for their civil aviation requirements. To maintain the ruse, a runway was built which was totally unsuitable for civil purposes and which was subsequently abandoned without ever having been used... ...The airport was formally opened on 31st May 1946. According to that reference Stage 1 was a military use, but it didn't happen. And Stage 2 didn't happen either, btw. So the lucky residents got a wonderful set of long concrete strips and massive traffic jams instead.

In short, no luck so far on the search but some interesting research there... well I'm interested, anyway!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Not about airliners, but anyway

But anyway, here it is. The US Defence Dept has bought a planeload of jets from a consortium that includes both US and Euro planemakers. Big deal? Well apparently it's caused a stink: they should've bought the all-American Boeing plane. Yeah, right. As this B-NET blogger points out, Boeing ain't so pure 100% U S of A as you'd imagine, not when it sub-contracts work all over the globe... (mind you, it's still a US corporation, not a consortium). Gets my vote as non-issue of the week.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Marshall Airways Electra at Bankstown, 1976

Airport security at Bankstown airport was even looser than at Sydney. To get this close to a Lockheed Electra (the twin-tailed piston-engined original, not the turbo-prop L188 I just showed you) involves stepping over a similar-to-Sydney low white fence.

Airport security in the 70s... a different world

Here's a nice shot of airport security at Sydney in around 1975. You can see the openly accessible Ansett supply division to the left and all that separates me - a callow youth of 17 armed with a 35mm camera - from that Ansett L188 Electra is an unimposing wooden fence. Indeed that is barely a fence at all, rather it's an indicator of where the airside access road is, so watch out for baggage trucks! If I took off at a run I'd certainly get to the Electra, if not to the old control tower/fire station visible in the shot, before being spotted and rounded up. To the right, out of shot, is the Ansett passenger terminal, long gone now (like the Electra and Ansett itself). When you think about it , there's not much between me and that tower, let alone the taxying 727 in the distance. Of course it's an active airfield with a main runway between me and the 727, so I'd get squished or blow-dried by a passing 747 , but it does illustrate a lovely, relaxed feel about society in the 1970s (and earlier). It's something sorely missing these days.

These posts represent my opinions only and may have little or no association with the "facts" as you or others see them. Look elsewhere, think, make up your own mind. If I quote someone else I attribute. If I link to a web site it's because I have visited it myself and wish to refer to it, however that linking doesn't denote, imply or suggest any ownership, agreement with or control over that content. If an advertisement appears it's because I affiliate with Google, Amazon and others similar in nature and usually means nothing more than that... the Internet is a wild and untamed place folks, so please tread warily. My posts do not constitute consultation, advice or legal opinion of any sort.

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