English speaking passengers, remain calm. Those who speak French, feel free to panic.

Flying Is Fun

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Passengers on board an Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Paris certainly received mixed messages.  A flight attendant made an announcement in English asking that seat belts be fastened due to turbulence.  They then played a recorded announcement in French that warned that the plane, which was over the Irish Sea, was about to ditch.

Quoting from an article in the online version of the Telegraph.UK;

Terrified French passengers, who made up most of the 70 travellers on board, were said to have “freaked out” with many crying out and bursting into tears.

A spokesman for the airline said:

The was a malfunction of the public address system and we apologise to our passengers. This sort of thing happens very rarely.

I would say that’s probably a good thing.  The event occurred on August 4th.

Today in aviation history – September, 11 2001

aviation history

Of course today’s post remembers the day the world of aviation changed forever. 

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American Airlines Flight 11.  Boeing 767-223ER, registration N334AA. 81 passengers and 11 crew members departs Logan International Airport in Boston at 7:59am for a flight to Los Angeles.  Fifteen minutes later, the plane is hijacked by Mohammed Atta and others.  Atta flies the plane towards New York City and at 8:46:40 they crash into the northern facade of the North Tower of the World Trade Centre.  The aircraft is traveling at about 466mph and carries about 10,000 US gallons of jet fuel.  At 10:28, the tower collapsed.

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United Airlines Flight 175.  Boeing 767-200ER, registration N612UA. 56 passengers and 9 crew members leaves Boston, also bound for LA.  Take off at 8:14, hijacked 30 minutes later.  At 9:03:06, it crashes into the South Tower at 545mph.  Approximately 600 people in the tower were killed instantly or trapped.  Although hit after the North Tower, the South Tower collapsed first – 9:59am.

In all, 3,017 people are killed and over 6,000 injured as a direct result of these two hijackings.

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American Airlines Flight 77.  Boeing 757-223, registration N644AA. 58 passengers and 8 crew members leaves Washington Dulles International Airport for Los Angeles at 8:20am. It’s hijacked 30 minutes later.  At 9:37:44 it hits the western side of the Pentagon in Arlington Virginia.  125 people in the building are killed along with the crew, passengers and hijackers.

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United Airlines Flight 93.  Boeing 757-200, registration N591UA.  Only 37 passengers and 7 crew members depart Newark International Airport bound for San Francisco at 8:42am.  In flight, the crew is warned about the hijackings that are taking place but they are overcome by the 4 terrorists aboard their jet at 9:28. UA93 crashed into a field near Stonycreek Pennsylvania at 10:03:11 at 563mph leaving a crater 10 feet deep.  Although it is thought that the hijackers were heading for Washington, DC, evidence points to a revolt by the crew and passengers leading to the crash.

These aircraft, their brave crews and all the people on board and on the ground who died that terrible day are remembered today.  Aviation changed and the world changed that clear, sunny morning 8 years ago.

Bjarni Tryggvason

"Canadian Air & Space Museum", aviation history, Space

 

bjarniWorking at the Waterloo Air Show yesterday I had a chance to meet Bjarni Tryggvason, former Canadian astronaut and pilot of the replica Silver Dart that will be coming to the Canadian Air & Space Museum later this year.

Bjarni flew on the space shuttle STS-85 as a payload specialist from August 7-19, 1997 where he conducted fluid dynamics experiments designed to examine sensitivity to spacecraft vibrations.  He flew 4.7 million miles in 284 hours and 27 minutes.

This year, Tryggvason has been travelling quite a bit slower.  The Silver Dart replica has been flown 4 times.  In between, he’s been flying as part of the Harvard team and teaching at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.

To Bjarni’s left is Rod Jones, a member of the museum’s Board.  We talked for a few minutes about the flying conditions and some ideas about how to coordinate all the events across Canada like the Waterloo show and our own Wings & Wheels.

Thanks to Bob Bourke, fellow volunteer, for taking the photo and sharing it with me.

My first true love

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Yesterday, my mother “celebrated" her 80th birthday.  The quotes signify exactly how bittersweet the day was.

Maxine spent 2 weeks in hospital up in Midland Ontario and was finally released yesterday.  Her life is changing dramatically as a result of the tests that were run with not all the questions yet answered.  But we won’t dwell on that now.

Mary Maxine Gorman was a young woman in Peterborough when Ted Mist swept her off her feet.  They married and 2 years later I came into the world.  Susan arrived 3 years later.  The next few decades flew by as the family moved from place to place all across Canada driven by a man who was never really content with his lot and was always looking for that one big move that was going to make everything just right.  Maxine followed dutifully bringing up the kids and experiencing all the highs and lows of this nomadic existence.  There were good times and a whole lot of bad times but she’s always been the stoic one.  She made the best of what we had.

She’s been through the death of a husband, a daughter and a partner.  She put up with me in my wild teen years and all the hell that I dished out.  She’s proud of how I turned out.

Years ago she supervised the building of a house outside of Wasaga Beach and she came into her own as it was constructed.  Maxine blossomed.  She became an accomplished artist, she rediscovered her love of tennis.  New friends, new travels, a new woman.

The first day I visited her in hospital, one of the nurses thought I was her husband.  Even in extreme pain that’s how good she looks.

So she’s back home with David and the zoo – Alex, Nicky, Patrick and Fancy.  Now we have to get her back on her feet and ready to face the challenges to come.

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Happy Birthday Maxine.  My mother, my love.

February review

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The first of March.  I guess it came in as a lamb.  Way too cold but sunny.

As February gets smaller in the rear view mirror it’s time for a quick review. At work it lived up to the standard that a full month’s work gets crammed into however many days there actually are.  The trip to Switzerland ate up a week in the wink of an eye so it put more pressure on the other three.  Bad economic news and minimum prospects were the order of the day.

Busy, busy month at the Museum.  The kick-off for the capital expansion plan on the 20th was the highlight but it doesn’t appear to have brought in the money or the crowds we were hoping for.  It’s going to be a tight year.

Lots of meetings in preparation for the Wings & Wheels Festival in May.  It’s really difficult  to make plans when you’re unsure that you’ll have all the space you need and you have absolutely no funds with which to get started.  So, you bull ahead expecting that everything will get resolved.  This is not the way my projects usually work so the learning curve has been immense.  Volunteers have all the best intentions in the world but, sometimes, it really is like herding cats.

What will I take away from February?  The TSX opening was fun and definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Who knows when I’ll get to travel overseas again so I’ll hang on to the memory of a snowy little Swiss town.  I still have a job and my health.  I love working at the museum, even if it sometimes gets a little frustrating.

We’ll wait to see how March shapes up.

From Einsiedeln to Schindellegi to Kloten to home

Travel

Moving day. Woke up this morning in Einsiedeln to the sound of a band crashing and banging up the street at 5am. It’s some sort of winter carnival here in Switzerland but it really doesn’t seem to have a timetable.

A day of meetings (last one!) so I had to make the trip from Schindellegi to Kloten so that I’m closer to the airport for tomorrow morning’s flight. For the first time in all my travels here I boarded the wrong train in downtown Zurich. Figured it out within one stop but it left me a 45 minute wait until I could get the right one going the other way.

Finally made it to the Allegra Hotel in Kloten – surely my favorite hotel here. Bright, colourful, comfortable and smoker friendly!

One more sleep and then Air Canada can get me the hell out of here and back home where I want to be.

Here we go again

Travel

At 6:20 pm tonight Air Canada 878 lifts off from Pearson Airport and I’ll be tucked into seat 25K. In just under 8 hours I’ll arrive in Zurich Switzerland. Big farking deal. I’ve made this trip about a dozen times and usually I’m excited, but not this time. I never thought I’d ever feel nothing about traveling but I could really do without this one. It’s another week of training and meetings – been there. It’s another couple of flights in economy – definitely been there. Staying in the Hotel Drei Konige in Einsiedeln – ditto. Everyone thinks that being able to travel overseas on business is the greatest perk available. Everyone, that is, except those who have done it a number of times. Airports are a hassle. Aircraft are cramped, uncomfortable and either too hot or too cold. Trains, even the excellent Swiss trains, just roll along. I’ve seen the scenery and it’s pretty but no longer exciting. Walking to the hotel in snow – hell, I could do that here. Day after day of meetings. No fun there. This could very well be my last trip to Switzerland for quite a while. The economy has my company seriously looking at curtailing these trips. Conference calls, video conferencing or good old emailing are being looked at as alternatives. I don’t blame them. I’ve sometimes felt guilty about wasting their money. I’m not even taking my big DSLR. When the possibility of grabbing pictures of the beauty of Switzerland doesn’t get a rise out of me, then you know the magic is gone. Perhaps I’ll get more excited as departure draws near. Right now, I’m doing laundry and packing – as usual. *SIGH*