Tag: plane

Back home in England.

It is now 19.30 on the evening of the 7th and I am back home, surrounded by washing, empty suitcases, clothing, postcards and heaps of other odds and ends that I brought back with me. My flight left last night at 9 pm, and we landed just after 6 this morning. I have spent the time between then and 4 pm in queues, trains, buses and Paddington Station. 

A lot happened between my previous post of the 24th of February and now. I split my time between my brother’s house and my friends on the West Rand, although was not as active in the local cemeteries as I was previously. My mother is surprisingly strong, but I fear that she is trapped inside her body and is probably hating every minute of it. Unfortunately we had to make the decision that we made in 2017, there were no more options available to us.  Sadly she is surrounded by other elderly women of various ages, many never get visited and lead out their lonely lives in the home. I am afraid that in some cases they have outlived their children, or their children are no longer in the area or in the country. 

Menu from my return flight

There is a lot I can say about South Africa. Corruption has seriously damaged the economy, and the continued demand by Eskom for higher tariffs is met with disgust as the public recalls how easily Eskom and the corrupt in it seemingly burnt money with impunity. To this date no high profile crooks have been arrested for corruption and  they continue to lead the high life, safe in the knowledge that they got away with it.

The few malls that I visited were also showing the effects of the economic downturn, with empty shops and fewer buying customers visiting them. Generally though I had good service from 99% of the people I encountered in my travels in and around the West and East Rand. The petrol price continues to bite though, and of course the traffic jams in Johannesburg are even worse as a large portion of the one freeway has had to be closed to repair some of the supports and bridges that are part of it.  

Muffin the cat continues to amuse, at this moment he is thinking of entering politics and is trying to register his own political party called “The Fishycookie Party”. By his reckoning he could be the chief poohbah in the next election because at least he wont be corrupt, although is liable to sleep in parliament. 

Again I got to enjoy the pets of my brother and friends during this trip, and it is amazing how they enrich our lives; there is never a dull moment when you have a cat or a dog.

The weather back in South Africa was hot and very uncomfortable as I really prefer the relatively cooler summers of the UK. I do not do heat well! We did have a typical highveld thunder/rain storm in my last week, and I had forgotten how much water these could dump and how bad the thunderstorms can get in Johannesburg. Back in the UK it was overcast and drizzly where I live, but the march to Summer continues.  

Suburbia (1500×671)


Food prices continue to rise and I did quite a few comparisons with the prices I gathered way back in 2017.  These are just a few examples that I spotted, and some items may have been on sale. The items are not indicative of my own personal preferences and are sourced through leaflets and shops I visited in the West and East Rand. Petrol was R14.08 pl 95 octane and R13.86 for 93 octane (02/03/2019)

6 Eskort Gold Medal Pork Sausages: R44.91

Kellogs Corn Flakes (750gr) R49.99

Beef Biltong R320/kg

Oreo 16’s R14.99

Sedgewick’s Old Brown Sherry 750 ml R44.95 (R39 in duty free at ORT airport)

Milo 500gr tin R51.99

2 Litres Coke R16.99

Cadbury’s Chocolate (80g slab) R19.95

Oral B electric toothbrush R499.95

Jungle Oats (1kg) R26.99

Weetbix (900 gr) R38.99

Wellingtons Tomato Sauce (700 ml) RR18.99

Baby Soft 2 ply toilet rolls (18’s) R124.99

Lipice (4.6 g) R22.99

Sunlight dishwashing Liquid (750 ml) R32.99

Joko Tea (60 bags) R32.99

Milo (500 gr) R54.99

Ricoffy (750 g) R79.99

Mrs Balls Chutney (470 g) R28.99

Douwe Egberts Pure Gold coffee (200 g) R119.99

Crystal Valley salted butter (500 gr) R47.99

Nature’s Garden mixed veg (2,5kg) R25.99

30 Large eggs R49.99

Stork Country Spread 1kg R29.99 

Dewfresh milk 6×1 Litre R69.99 (R11.99 ea)

Gordons Gin 750ml R99.99

Hunters Dry 12x440ml Cans R129.99  

30 Extra large eggs R44.99  

Ultra Mel Custard 1 Litre R22.99

Enterprise Back Bacon 200gr R23.99

Fresh chicken breast fillets (R59.99/kg

Huletts white sugar (2.5 kg) R39.99

Lipton ice tea (1,5 litre) R17.99

King Steer burger R64.90, Regular chips: R15.90  2019

95 Octane petrol R14.08, (/02/03/2019)

4 Finger Kitkat R8.99

48 Beacon Mallow Eggs R79.99

Tabasco Sauce (60ml) R38.99

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DRW © 2019 – 2020. Created 07/03/2019

Updated: 12/01/2020 — 13:50

RAF Museum Cosford (3)

Continuing where we left off….

Hanger 1 was not as spectacular as the others were, but there were some very interesting aircraft here, and a number of the types did serve in South Africa too.
This was also Munchkin Headquarters, and the one corner of the hanger was off limits to non-munchkins so photographing the biggest exhibit in its entirety was once again impossible.
Hawker Siddeley Comet 1XB (XM823)

Hawker Siddeley Comet 1XB (XM823)

This was really one of those moments when you see something that you read about in the history books, and is now right in front of you.
I really did try getting an image of her from the corner of the hanger but just could not get it right.

The Spitfire in the image is quite an  interesting one too, as it was the end result of a TV Program called James May’s Toys. In this particular episode James May and his helpers successfully constructed a 1-1 replica of an Airfix model of a Spitfire. The pieces were built out of out of fibreglass. Unfortunately the fibreglass pieces couldn’t support their own weight without internal supports, which were added to ensure it would be strong enough so that it did not collapse.  

The other interesting bird is an Armstrong Whitworth Argosy, a 4 engined twin boom transport that was in use by the RAF, 74 of which were built. 
The short haul passenger shuttle aircraft were also represented, and the Avro Anson C-19 (TX214) was representing her line. The Anson really gained fame as a training aircraft as well in the maritime reconnaissance role. The green aircraft on the left is a Fairchild Argus II. 
 The other classic was hiding at the back of the hanger, and we have a similar one in South Africa. The Casa 352L (Ju52/53), A post-war Spanish version of which 106 were built.
I had seen the South African Casa in flight many years ago, but she seemed to stopped flying awhile ago, and it is quite sad because she was really fantastic to see and hear. This Casa was the first I had seen up close and personal, and frankly I did find the corrugated skin fascinating.
Helicopters are also represented here, there are three examples in the hanger.
Westland Dragonfly HR3

Westland Dragonfly HR3

Bristol Sycamore HR14

Bristol Sycamore HR14

Westland Wessex HC2

Westland Wessex HC2

There is a display of German rockets and missiles, and the V1 was of interest, although I have not been able to find out whether this is the real thing, or a replica. Behind the V1 is a V2, and the dayglo aircraft to the left is a Boulton Paul Balliol T21 advanced trainer. 

This aircraft rang no bells in my head, but further reading suggests that they were replacements for the Harvards used for training. This particular version is a naval version with fold up wings and arrestor hook. The other dominant aircraft in the hanger is the Hawker Siddeley Andover, and this was the first complete one that I had seen (a cockpit exists at Boscombe Down Aviation Collection).

There were a number of smaller aircraft scattered around the hanger, and these range from a Chipmunk,
To a de Havilland Devon,
To a Trans Antarctic Expedition branded Auster T7 that was fitted with skis for the 1956 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Dr Vivian Fuchs. It was known as the Auster Antarctic.

It was getting late and time was marching. I had two more places to visit, and these were a Lockheed Hercules C130 MK3 that was parked outside and close to the hanger.

and the Bristol Britannia 310 close to the visitors centre.

And then we were done. There are a few aircraft that I have not shown here, and of course my images are very variable because of differing light conditions or angles that I was forced to use.
As for the munchkins? well, they are an irritation, however, it was nice to see children being enthusiastic about what they were doing, sprawled on the floor scribbling furiously on paper, or sitting quietly at tables concentrating on some task that had been handed to them. They were all of an age where everything is a new discovery, and probably very few will remember this visit when they are older. However, inside those developing minds may be a pilot, or an engineer, or maybe a designer of the new supersonic airliner. You can never tell with children.

The museum is wonderful, although the food does tend to be expensive, and the shop has an excellent selection of goodies. My only gripe is about how difficult it can be to see an aircraft in its entirety. But, a good day was had, and old friends were seen “in the skin”. It never ceases to amaze me how different some aircraft are in real life compared to pictures, those V Bombers were probably one of four highlights, the others being the Catalina, the Casa and the Comet.

Maybe one day I will return, but if I never do at least this blogpost will serve as a reminder.
© DRW 2015-2018, created 29/03/2015, images migrated 29/03/2016

Updated: 31/12/2017 — 16:05

An Aeroplane up in the Sky…

There is something about an aircraft flying overhead that instinctively makes me reach for my camera. They are not always easy to photograph at the best of times and photographing aircraft overhead is often a pot luck thing. I have been doing it for many years, and even today amongst my many images there are strange pics of aircraft from underneath. Most I can’t ID, some I can. The one limitation however is image resolution, many images are zoomed in at their max and then cropped, so quality may be iffy. Here are some of my favourites.

A Robinson with floats!

The aircraft is an Embraer 195, operated by Flybe.

Embraer 195

Bombadier Dash 8 Q400

Bombadier Dash 8 Q400

These twin engined turbo props seem to use Southampton as a base as they are forever hauling their rear ends over the harbour.  I hadn’t seen too many business jets here though, so this was a first for me

This chopper I spotted in Portsmouth, and I was hoping that it would do a few more passes overhead, and maybe even call a friend or two, but alas it did not. Instead a Chinook came over and I was really happy. I had first seen, or rather I had first heard a Chinook in London but could not pinpoint it to try get a pic. Since then I have had my ears open for their very distinctive sound. This was however, not the last Chinook I would see. Keep reading this blog!

Chinook jackpot time arrived when we were near Salisbury and I heard that familiar egg beater on steroids sound…. 

And he had two friends as well.

I have also seen this strange bird on a number of occasions, and it does appear to be a Britten Norman BN2A MkIII Trislander.

However, everything really was overshadowed by the best flypass of all. On 5 and 6 May Southampton held a Maritime Festival, and we had a visitor on both days.


And after seeing that, everything else seemed mundane.
However, even when I was in London I would score the occasional great shot, and my pride of place is this one.

He was flying so low I doubt whether I even used the maximum zoom of my lens to take the pic. I also saw much larger aircraft en route to or from their destinations.

I was quite surprised to find out that this is an BAe 146,  similar to the one I had flown in while I was in the USA, and one of my favourite passenger jet aircraft too. And having seen one, I was hoping to see another.
And the inevitable business jet, or maybe some celeb?
Or on their way to Southampton perhaps? 
And my old friend the Avro-Liner. It is hard to believe that the 4 pics above were all taken on the same evening within an hour of each other. 
At at very long range, the contrails of a 4 engined aircraft heading somewhere.
And disturbing the peace in the cemetery.
Or photobombing an arriving cruise ship, or just flying overhead.
I also spotted this air ambulance coming in to land at Southampton General Hospital, she was low enough to get semi decent pics of without using a zoom.

On a steam trip to Boskburg, I was also able to catch an SAA and Mango aircraft on the approach to ORT,

rsdepotday 076 
And at Rand Airport I grabbed this Cessna:
And while grave hunting up at Kromvlei I was fortunate enough to catch a Tiger Moth in flight, as well as a yellow thing.
kromvlei 179  And finally, the first time I saw one of those new fangled airbus A380’s was back in South Africa; flying over Boksburg. I have since flown in one and frankly they are still like sardine cans, but with more sardines.
In late August I was in South Stoneham Cemetery, which is where RJ Mitchell is buried, and it is on the flight path of Southampton Airport. I was photographing his grave when an aircraft took off. Unfortunately it was hidden by the trees, and I only spotted it when it was quite far away; it was the first time I have ever seen a stringbag! These dated biplanes were involved in so many battles and the records of bravery amongst their crew is outstanding, and it is a testament to the aircraft and their design that they outlived their replacement.
and I managed to get another shot of the Trislander
and I have no idea what this is.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that the skies are rarely empty, there are always aircraft around us, it just happens that now and then we must cross paths.

Some new additions since this post..
This morning a B52 from the 2nd Bomb Wing-Barksdale AFB Louisiana was circling overhead for quite some time (and still is by the sounds of it) 
At the Medieval Festival in 2017 this large transport was circling too. Not sure what it is though. 

In 2014, while in South Africa a DC4 Skymaster, ZS-AUB “Outeniqua”, overflew us and she is one of the few airworthy Skymasters in the world. It is amazing to see and hear oldies like this, they are becoming increasingly more rare as time passes.

The Midlands Air Ambulance usually sends a chopper to the Vintage Car Festival in town and I have managed to spot them in the air too.  So far I have seen 3 in their livery 




In January 2018 we had one land on the playing field where I stay and I managed many closeups of the choppers. http://allatsea.co.za/musings/photo-essay-eurocopter/

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Updated: 28/08/2019 — 10:44
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