Monday, 30 May 2011

Weekend over

Another busy weekend finished and another busy few days ahead. Post may be a bit interrupted as I'm flying to Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday but see how we go.

Taken near the Giles weather station, just watch out for that camel on the runway.

Warakurna, Australia

Friday, 27 May 2011

Russians, Can't live with em can't live without em

Besides the Chinese and Lebanese, Russians are probably the next most common expatriates to be seen around large african towns. They come for one reason and that is to make large amounts of cash flying freight in old Antonov's.

Due to the road/rail infrastructure being so terrible and slow outside of major towns there is a very lucrative business flying freight between major hubs. Large Antonov aircraft can be bought in cheap, the rules on air-worthiness are greatly relaxed, almost abandoned for a price. Biggest problem being is they are the cause of many, many fatalities in African airports due to overloading and poor servicing.

Pointe-Noire, Congo  
This photo was taken late 2009. All of the aircraft pictured here flew several flights of freight each day back and forth to Brazzaville. Every single take-off I watched it was easy to see the aircraft was carrying too much weight, such as 40t instead of 30t. No surprises when I came across the following article recently.

Terrible accident, especially for the locals who lived in the areas. I'm wondering which of the aircraft it was, I can't find any photos with the tail-signs visible unfortunately.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Don't lose a drop

A bit of a quick background on this photo. JetA1 / Jet fuel is used by all turbine (jet) aircraft around the world compared to piston aircraft (similar to a car) which takes AVGAS (similar to high octane petrol). JetA1 is basically regular kerosene with some extra additives. In most poor (usually Africa) nations kerosene is used as both a light source in lanterns and for fuel in simple gas stoves.

Now because of their similar properties many dodgy (again usually African) fuel operators substitute cheaper kerosene for the JetA1 counterpart. There is nothing massively wrong with this and I've seen many aircraft operate on JetA1 for several months daily with no ill-effects on engine or flying capability. It tends to happen when the wholesale price is about 0.30c vs 0.70c for kero/JetA1, turns into a lot of dollars when you are selling almost a 1000L+ each refuel.

Now the cash-strapped locals of a lot of nations are very ingenious if they work at the airports. Working out that there are several liters of JetA1 basically going to waste when aircraft are re-fueled due to spills and drips from the wing-drains. The driver we had in Pointe-Noire was on the money due to use needing to change the fuel nozzle each day on the truck and the fuel hose holding several litres of waste would come gushing out onto the ground. He would catch about 2-3L a day to take home for his family or sell to friends, possibly making an extra 3 days wage in the process.

Pointe-Noire, Congo

 The driver, re-fueling guy, another re-fueling guy, a random guy helping and some other guy who seems to be 'supervising' the operation. I think they all shared in their glorious kero booty this day

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Let's go Heat

I haven't run out of content (by a long way) but I felt I should make this post and break it up a little

I am so thankful that because of several factors:
Large amount of time off work
Australian time zone
Australian free to air TV

I can wake up in the mornings and watch NBA playoffs, live, in HD while drinking coffee. Made even sweeter that all my friends need to wait until later tonight to come home from work and watch a capped replay. This is of course if they have also managed to not have the results spoiled by various internet websites or radio.

It's going to be a bit tough for the next few weeks in June where I am in Vietnam and unsure if the ESPN feed there will have any coverage. I don't even know at this stage if I will even see any of the finals games at all, will be epic if Heat make it through. Enjoying it while I can

No doubt I will also be doing some more waiting at an airport as well.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Check-in a Windhoek

Checking in to head back to Johannesburg recently was the worst experience I've had in the past 4 years of flying. I've never seen a check-in line move so slowly or see so many pissed off people. 2 hours in line moving at the rate of 1 person every 15mins. By the time this was completed and immigration/customs passed through I walked straight out and onto the aircraft.
A full A330 (approx 270pax) all went through the same experience. Good thing it was only a 1.5hour flight.

Good job South-African Airways, terrible service as always

The first post

The first post is always the most important one. I better post a photo of some airport waiting to show that the blog title is indeed true.

Eros, Namibia