Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It was only a kiss!

I am writing this as I hold Jack in my hand. Jack who brings the warm and the calm back to me, Jack my saviour. Jack who cost me a load of pennies at the bar. For Jack's sake, no, he is not my boyfriend and neither he is my nephew. Jack is a drink, a hot whisky of sorts, a welcome alternative to your average Glühwein available on the Christmas market.

Just, why did I need to meet Jack so desperately then? Put it all down to a kiss. I had a ride on this yellow big little something we call tramway, just slightly out of town towards the shopping mall. Casually stood in the alley (as I am meant to be for another 30 years for sure), I surely did not expect what was coming our way. A soft braking action towards my stop turned into something nastier. The pilot up front seemed to have gone the way of full reverse thrust and blown tyres in my book.

At the back, the pedestrian self-loading cargo was starting to shift slightly towards the front. Half a millisecond after the braking got stiffer, I held on the handrails a bit tighter. Only to let go another millisecond later, assuming that if not, my wrist or my arm could soon point into a slighty uncomfortable direction. Just as I kind of regained control, the lady to my right came closer and closer and … oh, well, lucky enough she did not hit me at full tilt. Nothing against a fair lady on top of yours truly, but let it be another one. Please!

The yellow 40-metre chariot turned awkwardly silent, with the entire population of this microcosmos waiting for things to happen, the tram to make the last ten metres to the station. Things probably lasted five minutes, but in proper football terms, this rather felt like 45. It may have been six or seven minutes even, given the necessity for people to start calling their close ones. Not feeling that need just yet, I tried to have a look outside, where somewhere up front I saw a van in an unconventional position, right on the opposite direction tracks.


Said van soon retreated and the driver swiftly got called over for an open-air meeting over paperwork. Not much bad blood ma'am, but if you are smart enough to put yourself and your van into the tram hit zone, you pretty much deserve a good shellacking out in the breeze. She might argue that her front numberplate got headbutted by that yellow monster that had just eaten 150 humans before. Lucky enough, apart from that, nothing of note happened. As far as the tram and the van are concerned, it was only a kiss.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Fifty shades of grey

While others are just sailing the seven seas of booze and visiting places that make my heart (yes, I do have one!) go wild, I am sitting here in the freezing fog and once more pointing my verbal gun at my sorrows … ;)

It has been a shit few days if you allow me some colourful language. For the first time in what has felt like half a century I found my way out to the airport this week. I arrived there in half sunshine, half fog, expecting the latter to clear, given it was hardly lunchtime still. That grey old bastard had other plans though, but being as optimistic as only I can be out there, I was not yet ready to give up. Meeting a few old friends can make waiting time exciting time too.

That time became longer and longer and to be frankly honest, my friends were about everything I could see. Hats off to those flight crews who made it down in one piece and hats off to those who made the right decision not to force things when maybe they could have and caused trouble in doing so. Flying must have been a nightmare that day and so was taking pictures.

F-GLZR, Air France, A340-300

On the way back I met another old friend of mine and we had a chat over a coffee about what we had just seen - or more essentially, about what we could hardly see in the mist out there. If you have any doubts about that grey rectangle above, this was as bad as things got and let me tell you, it was not only dull, it was windy, moist and freezing!

The next day things did not get better. In fact, they got dramatically worse. This time the talk about courageous flying with hardly any visibility was not the talk of disappointed planespotters, this time death had struck. Over dinner I found out about a homebased Piper PA-34 aircraft that as it would turn out to be crash-landed within the airport boundaries. They say pilots don't die, they just fly away and don't come back. But what exactly can you say if he actually comes back but does not make it from the airport fence to the terminal?

HB-LSD, Piper PA-34, crashed at BSL, 7 Dec 2016

I spent considerable time trying to gather information to have some basic imagination about events. Said information includes straightforward things as maps, weather, radar tracks, but also tougher stuff such as an airband radio transcript from right when the accident happened. To the trained ear, airband radio is nothing special unless there are non-standard proceedings or for those who like it, particular language accents. This time I was listening to a record knowing that one of the voices would suddenly drop out for all the bad reasons. I have listened to the same record again since, but the first go was a really tough one.

Crashes do happen and I do not have any illusions about that whatsoever. It is the particular context that made me slow down just a bit now in this case. Having been just a few hundred metres from the crash site not only the day before, but on so many other occasions, some wild thoughts came across me. What if this had happened on a sunny Sunday afternoon with so and so many people watching live? These are a kind of thoughts that comes up naturally, but should still not lead to knee-jerk reactions. I can definitely assure you that I will be back at the Belvédère, even if there is proof now that the sky may fall down on you.

A night and a day have passed since and the sky has cleared, at least for a few hours. The authorities have done their job and got their evidence on the spot which appeared to look as messy as messy can be. Where exactly on the scale of messiness this will, only they will know for now. As for everyone else, it seems appropriate to take a deep breath and look into the future. Time is moving on and I sincerely hope that the blue skies of today were only the start. I did not go without some more grey though, owing to one of those aircraft that had to avoid the crash site last night and got diverted as far away as Liège in Belgium:

A7-AFV, Qatar Airways Cargo, A330-200F


That basically should have been grey as their aircraft are very grey, but for some reason, this fella decided to show me the belly only …

Monday, December 05, 2016

The Alpha!

Vittu, perkele and saatana! Another one of those planes that has haunted me in my dreams and even more in my nightmares.

A is commonly known as the first letter in our alphabet. The Alpha, this is where it all begins. In planespotters terms, A is the first one of most fleets. Any registration number that ends on A is the oldest one in the group, the great-grandmother of all … of all those planes, eh!

Not matter how crazy they might be up north in Finland, even they stick to that principle. In a fleet of Airbus A321s that counts eleven units, I managed to catch the B, C, D etc. with no problem whatsoever. Even the more recent batch, that was not really meant to be flying the easy continental European routes, found its way into my collection as if it was the easiest thing in the world.

One of those bastards misbehaved. A!

When I first started to list my sightings about ten years ago, things seemed to be falling into place quite nicely. One gap after another was filled quickly and quite frankly, if five out of six get done within a year or two, why should the sixth as it were not pop up in front of me? Some vodka-drinking dispatcher must have stalked me from his office sauna and kept sending A anywhere, but not where I had my pixel gun ready to shoot the thing.


An unplanned run-in in Barcelona must have lead to that guy having been sacked now. Just as I was about to leave Barça this summer, I managed to catch a glimpse of what I just thought that it could be A. Upon verification through my very own stalking software (which only works for aircraft, just to make that clear to you girls out there!), it turned out to be A. Things turned around sharply. Within ten days, A decided to come and see me again, this time in London. And this time there was no escape from my camera any more …

OH-LZA, Finnair, Airbus A321
On that note, happy Independence day to all my friends from Finland!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Better safe than sorry!

"Better safe than sorry!" they say. For a good reason:



Going around was the best option in this case, despite the landing gear already touching the runway (18R at Amsterdam that is, for those who might be interested). The possibility of causing extensive damage is just too high when you try to roll out the correct heading on the ground at some stage and at this angle, this was just too much. Hope they had more luck upon their next attempt ... :)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The last mohican

The last mohican of special-coloured Swiss Avro RJ100s is one HB-IYU in the colours of Star Alliance. All its brothers and sisters in the same design as well as that outfreaked alpine cow parade fella have left the scene. If you want to keep IYU some company or just take a picture of it, follow this post:

Schedule for 08/12/16:

LX442 GVA 0720-0800 LCY
LX443 LCY 0830-1115 GVA
LX2813 GVA 1545-1640 ZRH
LX758 ZRH 1725-1825 LUX
LX759 LUX 1900-1955 ZRH
LX818 ZRH 2055-2210 HAJ

Schedules should usually be available after 19.00 CET, except for when I have no time to take care of them. And yes, they are extremely subject to drastic changes, but please don't blame me for that. ;)


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Endstation!

Vor rund zwei Jahren hatte ich das Glück, gleich ein paar Monate am Nabel der frankophonen Welt zu verbringen. Paris war mein Zuhause weg von Daheim. Ich war also dort, wo andere bloss ein paar Stunden oder mit viel Glück ein paar Tage Zeit haben.

Paris in ein paar Stunden gesehen haben? Das reicht für ein paar Touristenhochburgen, aber nicht für das volle Programm. Wie überall auf der Welt empfiehlt es sich auch in Paris, in den Alltag einzutauchen, um alle Facetten dieser nicht enden wollenden Stadt kennen zu lernen. Während manch einer vom französischen Essen und den hübschen Mädchen schwärmt, sind andere Pariser Gegebenheiten viel eher als Plage einzuordnen.


Eine dieser Plagen ist die Musik. Nicht die Musik allgemein, sondern jene in der fahrenden Metro. Im Gegensatz zu den (vom Betreiber) organisierten Musikanten in den Gängen sind jene in den Zügen wild unterwegs. Sie haben keine Bewilligung und allzu oft wohl auch keine Ahnung, was sie da gerade spielen - oder noch schlimmer - singen. In den Worten altbackener Eltern: Organisierter Lärm.


Wer von dem schaukelnden Gefährt oder den unvorsichtigen Mitfahrern quer durch die Metro geschleudert wird hat ohnehin meistens nicht die Gelegenheit, eine gepflegte Konversation zu führen. Dies funktioniert eigentlich fast nur in Form einer innigen Umarmung. Was nun, wenn man alleine unterwegs sein sollte? Musik übers Handy ist durchaus eine gängige Option, aber gegen das Getröte im Wagen kommen zumindest die einfacheren handelsüblichen Kopfhörer nicht an.

Ausnahmen bestätigen die Regel. Alle paar Wochen einmal konnte ich mich dabei ertappen, wie ich mit dem Gebotenen im Gefährt mitging. Eines Abends, auf dem Weg zu einer rauschenden Fete im Domizil eines österreichischen Kollegen, kam es gar so weit, dass niemand mehr aussteigen wollte. Die Musik, der Gesang, die Intrige, der Moment war zu interessant für alle Mitfahrer, dass sie das Drumherum für ein paar Minuten völlig vergassen. Dass selbiges in der Metro aus Mauern, Dreck, Gestank und Dunkelheit besteht war mal kurz Nebensache.


Der Zug bewegte sich einfach nicht mehr weiter und vorne wie hinten stiegen die Leute aus. Warum bloss? Die elektronischen Anzeigen in den Bahnhöfen beschränken sich auf die paar Ziffern, die es benötigt, um anzuzeigen, wann der nächste Zug fährt. Eine Durchsage vom Chauffeur war auch nicht zu hören. So lange nicht, bis dieser höchstpersönlich diese musikalische Seifenblase platzen liess. "Fin de service, tout le monde descendre s'il vous plaît!" - "Endstation, alles aussteigen bitte!"

Monday, November 14, 2016

I hate Qantas!

When little Joel first took to the air, he was a little fella who probably knew one train from another, but did not know much about airplanes. So, when he first arrived in Frankfurt, he thought that all those fancy Starlifters and Galaxys on the far side of the runway were from the Swiss Air Force. After all, the term "air force" was mentioned and to his knowledge, there was only one air force in the world.

That Frankfurt place felt like one big jungle and to be honest, things have not changed a great deal since. That airport has just grown bigger, but mind you, there are some other places in the world where an airport is a lot more associated with a nightmare. At least everything was still pointed out in German (so little Joel could read it) and the shopping was awesome. Oh well, yea, the things little Joel could look at, such as model trains and maybe something else, which pretty sure was nowhere near as fancy.

Bedtime approached, but there was no bed to be seen anywhere. Instead it was time to head towards the gate lounge to wait for one massive steel bird to arrive from Paris. Those were the days when one long-haul aircraft would still cover several destinations far away from home. Or en-route, as little Joel was about to find out. Whether little Joel knew about the Jumbo at the time is unknown, but one thing is sure, he does now.

About 24 hours later, little Joel arrived in Sydney, having found a way through a package of pretzels, through some airline catering and surely one or the other can of coke. To be an addict of said deliciously refreshing black poison does not come by chance, one has to start early! Things went as bad an overly-caring flight attendant asking whether it wasn't too early for little Joel to have one of those mean cans at 8am a few weeks later. Little Joel still has not forgiven her.

To imagine that the big cabin screens on aircraft are slowly becoming a dying breed in the wake of the introduction of on-demand entertainment on a personal screen was absolutely unthinkable in those days. To little Joel and many other six-year-olds in this world, being able to watch movies (albeit in that strange language they call English) hour after hour was just great. Particularly if those movies involved intellectual icons such as one Mr. Bean.

I bet, little Joel would never ever have said this:



;)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dangling the carrot!

Just in case you have been wondering where all the fancy easyJet aircraft with their special colours are flying around, here is the magic list of their current bases, last update 6 June 2017:

A319:

G-EJAR (UNICEF Change for good) -> Lyon (LYS)
G-EZBF (Tartan) -> Paris (CDG)
G-EZBG (Hamburg flag) -> Hamburg (HAM)
G-EZBI (Romeo Alpha Juliet - Shakespeare portrait) -> London (LGW)
G-EZDL (Europcar) -> Glasgow (GLA)
G-EZDN (Amsterdam) -> London (LGW)
G-EZDR (Europcar) -> London (STN)
G-EZDW (Venezia) -> Naples (NAP)
G-EZEZ (Napoli) -> London (LTN)
G-EZIO (UNICEF Change for good) -> Southend (SEN)
G-EZIW (Linate-Fiumicino per tutti) -> London (LGW)

A320:

G-EZUA (semi-new colours, small titles) ->  Manchester (MAN)
G-EZUG (Moscow) -> London (LTN)
G-EZUI (all orange, 200th Airbus) -> Paris (ORY)
G-EZOL (250th Airbus) -> London (LGW)
G-EZOX (how 20th years have flown) -> London (LGW)
G-EZPC (Europcar) -> Manchester (MAN)
G-EZPD (Europcar) -> Porto (OPO)
G-UZHA (NEO) -> London (LTN)







A click on the registration leads you to a fancy picture of the respective aircraft. Bases can change any time upon short notice, though I really try to keep this as up to date as somehow possible.

Credits go out to all the valuable sources like flightradar24.com, jethros.co.uk or skyliner-aviation.de

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Achtfuffzig!

Das Zahlungsverhalten des Durchschnittsbürgers an der Kasse? Ganz einfach! Auf das Kommando "achtfuffzig" der Kassierin hält er wahlweise einen Zehner oder einen Zwanziger hin. Münzen darf dann sie herauszählen und man ist auch gleich wieder mit selbigen bestückt, falls man tatsächlich mal wieder Lust darauf hätte, die gestresste Meute hinter einem an einer Kasse warten zu lassen. Der ganz Clevere hält auch mal anfangs Woche einen Zweihunderter hin, um dann für den Rest der Woche handliche Einheiten in der Hand zu haben.

Nun stelle man sich vor, genau die Zehner und Zwanziger wurden von einem Tag auf den anderen aus dem Verkehr gezogen und dürfen nicht mehr verwendet werden. Man bezahlt nun entweder in Münzen oder mit den grossen Noten. Neue Zehner und neue Zwanziger kommen, verspricht die Notenbank. Nur wollen da jetzt grad alle hin, weil bis in ein paar Stunden kann man da wenigstens noch die alten Noten zurück geben.

Offenbar haben ein paar noch Cleverere als der ganz Cleverere mit den alten Noten ein Spiel gespielt. Monopoly war es nicht, aber betrogen und abgezockt wurde dennoch. Anders wäre ja nicht zu erklären, warum die Notenbank alle ihre Babies sofort zurück haben will, egal ob tot oder lebendig.

Klingt absurd? In Indien stehen sie gerade Schlange vor den Banken …




Mehr dazu gibts auf Englisch hier:


Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Über Nacht

Da sitze ich doch dieser Tage in einer Runde mit ein paar gleich gesinnten Grosswildjägern und diskutiere über etwelche Blechvögel, die mal einen gepflegten Blattschuss verdient hätten. Grosse und Kleine, schöne und hässliche weniger schöne, fliegende Nervensägen und extrem seltene Gäste. Vor allem ging es dabei um dieses eine Teil da, das mir in der Tat noch nie begegnet ist:

Donald Trumps Boeing 757.

© Westley Bencon / planespotters.net
https://www.planespotters.net/photo/374799/n757af-djt-operations-boeing-757-2j4wl



Gleichzeitig drüben im Land wo alles grösser, lauter und fettiger ist: Das Volk versteckt sich in irgendwelchen Kartonhäuschen, kritzelt irgendwas auf ein Stück verarbeiteten Baum, sucht sich aus welches Brett die nächsten vier Jahre vor dem Kopf hängen soll. Über Nacht wird klar, dass schon lange möglich war was man offenbar in Europa krampfhaft für unmöglich halten wollte und am Ende ist Trump gewählt.

Das mit Trumps Boeing 757 hat sich über Nacht geändert:




Auf einmal kann ich da viel besser mithalten! :)

Oh and ...

... I did not vote for Trump either.

My election consisted of a bunch of aircraft pictures spread on a table, waiting to be elected into a magazine. Results took a while to be confirmed, with many candidates deemed unsuitable and very few candidates really standing out. Some rather orange stuff (coincidence!) was brushed aside and there were some other candidates of all sorts of colours that split the opinions. In a proper Swiss compromise, some candidates were allowed to join a repechage round that allowed the electors to fill all the spots available.

Add to that an "elephants' round table", where we had a chat over a beer about plane spotting hotel politics (the famous question about guests joining the facilities from outside) and about how to break the old bad photo law by using the means of Photoshop. Unanimous result: increase the quotas for black and white and the landscape will be as green as it has never been before.

You see, just like any given Tuesday ...

Sunday, November 06, 2016

The friendly giant

There was quite a bit of chatter just recently around my homebase about some friendly giant from Russia. For the first time in a while (almost three years in all) we got to see one of those Antonov An-124 planes, very useful for hauling around big and heavy stuff, but also the kind of aircraft that makes people go absolutely bonkers.

Face it, it is just another aircraft. It has about the same size and weight of a Boeing 747. Its shape and specifiations allow the transport of bulkier and heavier cargo and the fuselage can be lowered in order for the aircraft to be loaded by trucks from ground level. While a cargo 747 is just an adaption of the passenger model, the An-124 obviously had been designed for heavy loads from the beginning.

The 100 metric tonnes of cargo that were supposed to be loaded into our Antonov were not an issue at all. The plane could take another 50 tonnes on board, albeit with a range penalty for every bit of weight added. Flying from Basel to Korea with stops en-route sounds slightly old-school, but for our giant with 100t of cargo on board, it looked a fair deal. So much for all the technical aspects.

RA-82078 of Volga-Dnepr Airlines, Basel-Mulhouse, November 2005


As for the photo romantics out there, as soon as rumours start to spread about "the Antonov" (fyi, there are many other kinds of Antonovs and dozens of most variants out there!), patience is a word that gets deleted from peoples' minds and dictionaries. One question comes after another, as if there were different rules, regulations or conditions for "the Antonov". Any question that is answered by "no" or "I don't know" gets repeated a thousand times. Try to be one of those people in the know in these situations and your life will get utterly painful.

Those asking for things about "the Antonov" will most likely be people who only just recently shot out of the ground. They might be tourists (i.e. traveling from other airports or regions), newbies or a bit of both. Basic knowledge about air operations (and cargo ops in particular) may not be something you should count upon with such people, but even the slightest glimpse of common sense usually seems to be missing. All that results in yours truly having to answer questions about timings, runway use (even if there are hardly more than two proper options), sun position, parking position, the pilots' shoe sizes, their girlfriends' phone numbers as well as the exact vodka preferences of the loading crew.

"Mir wei luege" ("We'll see as we go") is a sentence often used where I come from and implies a relaxed attitude towards just about anything you can encounter in life. Air cargo operations are no different to that. For all the attempted persuasion to make our tourists and newbies believe that the information I gave them was purely indicative and that I still don't have any power in that, of course things had to go wrong on the final straight. The Friday afternoon arrival turned into a Thursday evening arrival. People had taken time off (from work, school or even their boyfriends or wives) to see "the Antonov" and in some cases to no avail. Maybe it teaches them not to get carried away to easily.


Do not get me wrong, I am not against people having fun or their dreams fulfilled (unless those dreams involve the wrong football teams, but that's an entirely different matter). But once more I am glad that the frenzy is over. At least until the next visit of a friendly giant … ;)

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Telefon!

Dazu braucht es nicht viele Worte:


Des Gerätes Tage sind gezählt, aber es funktioniert immer noch einwandfrei!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

#aGermanTeam

Es begann alles im Oktober. Eine Ansammlung Fussball spielender Fohlen machte sich auf den Weg nach Schottland und wurde dort freudig erwartet. Celtic nahm den Klub freundlich in Empfang und für Speis und Trank für die mitreisenden Fans war bestimmt auch gesorgt. Doch wie hiess dieses Fohlenrudel schon wieder?


Zugegeben, der Name ist echt lang und dieses Möchte … München … äh, Mönchengladbach klingt schon fast ein wenig finnisch. Aber hierzulande kennt diesen Namen jedes Kind. Kunststück, wird auch jede Woche x-mal am Fernsehen aufgesagt. Auf der Insel kennt man solche Namen höchstens aus Wales. Und dort ist trotz der EM 2016 der Fussball immer noch eiförmig.

Am Niederrhein ist der Fussball allerdings Religion. Da mochte die Social Media-Abteilung der Borussia Mönchengladbach nicht hinten anstehen und rief spontan einen neuen Hashtag ins Leben, #aGermanTeam. Das klingt nach einem Allerweltsname, aber eben, wenn man die Geschichte dahinter betrachtet, bleibt nur Anerkennung und Lob für die Kreativität übrig.

Andernorts spielt heute meine lokale Mannschaft aus Basel gegen meine ehemals vorübergehend lokale Mannschaft aus Paris. #aSwissTeam wäre irgendwie logisch, aber gerade so auch ein wenig heikel. Die Identifikation zwischen Basel und dem Rest der Schweiz ist eine sehr diffizile Angelegenheit. 

#aFrenchTeam für den Gast aus Paris? Macht genau so wenig Sinn. Abgesehen davon, dass die Schlüsselrollen (wie übrigens auch in Basel) ohnehin von Söldnern besetzt sind, sind die Besitzverhältnisse dort dermassen arabisch, dass man viel eher von #aQatariTeam sprechen sollte.


Hätte, könnte, sollte, wollte … Die Welt der Hashtags wäre besser beraten, der Borussia ihr #aGermanTeam zu lassen. Alles andere wirkt schon abgedroschen, bevor man es fertig getippt hat.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

ER!

Es fühlt sich an, als wäre es irgendwie vor Kurzem einmal gewesen, dabei sind schon ein Dutzend Jahre verstrichen, seit ich in meiner Heimatstadt einmal das Finale des grossen Tennisturniers besuchen durfte. Merci, Swiss, ich erinnere mich immer noch gerne daran!

Jiri Novak aus Tschechien spielte gegen den damals kaum zu bändigenden Argentinier David Nalbandian. Das Spiel plätscherte vor sich hin und weil man sich in der Halle wirklich etwas besser konzentrieren muss als zu Hause, wo einem die Stimme aus dem Flimmerkasten immer wieder sagt, was gerade Sache ist, gingen die fünf Sätze auch im Nu vorbei. Nalbandian gewann zwei Sätze, Novak einen mehr und somit das Turnier.

Doch ER fehlte.

Unmittelbar vor Beginn des Turniers fiel der Topfavorit verletzt aus. Ein Zwicken im Oberschenkel machte seine Hoffnungen zunichte, und das bevor noch überhaupt ein einziger Filzball geschlagen war. ER, der Star von Weltformat, dem man auch auf einem Bein zugetraut hätte, seinen Gegnern eine Lektion in zwei oder eventuell drei Sätzen zu erteilen. Bei ihm sah (und sieht ehrlich gesagt immer noch …) alles so einfach aus, da konnte doch nicht … Egal, alles Lamentieren half nichts.

Und dann stand da auf einmal Roger Federer!

Die Halle tobte. Die beiden Finalisten (wer mag sich an die Namen erinnern?) waren plötzlich mit etwas Glück noch die Nummern zwei und drei im Haus. Da stand sie, die Nummer eins, nicht nur zu St. Jakob, sondern zu jener Zeit auch weltweit, und das unangefochten. Federer hatte mit einem Satz Verspätung doch noch den Weg zu seinem Platz in der Halle gefunden und erhielt dafür eine Ovation wie die beiden Finalisten während des gesamten Matches zusammen.


Nun ist wieder einmal so ein Jahr. Federer verpasste nach dem Event 2004 auch jenen 2005, wiederum verletzt. 2016 hat er sich schon frühzeitig aus dem Betrieb zurück gezogen und bereitet sich darauf vor, nächstes Jahr mit 35 jungen Jahren auf dem Buckel noch einmal voll anzugreifen. Doch wehe, er taucht einmal in der Halle zu St. Jakob auf. Wawrinka, Nishikori oder Del Potro könnten sich auf einmal so fühlen wie einst Novak und Nalbandian …

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Life in 2016

Business news in 2016 - from the busiest places you can imagine straight to your pocket!



Oh well, the upper part was obviously added by myself ... ;)

Monday, October 24, 2016

All naked - all normal!

There is nothing special about nudity. There are even places in this world where most people have seen their boss naked in the sauna and think this is 100% normal. Well, normal for them. To most people, nudity still has this something special attached to it. This counts for aviation as well. No. This is not going to be about flight attendants entering cockpits to apply for the mile-high club. This is about "new-born" aircraft that take to the air with just some protective layers applied to them, but without a proper fancy (or boring for that matter) paint job. It is a phenomenon that can usually be seen around aircraft manufactures like Airbus in Toulouse and Hamburg or Boeing in the US. I am lucky enough to live close to a couple of outfitters of private jets, so I get some exposure to flying nudity every now and then. So, if your average billionaire goes shopping for a new toy, they might initially look like these beauties seen in Bordeaux, France:


Should he however choose to go a bit bigger, he might end up with one of those Boeing Business Jets (the famous BBJs), just like this example that is now flying for the ruling family of Abu Dhabi:



And for I had not seen a proper big one in just its primer colours, this Airbus A330-200 rocked up at my homebase just the other week:


All of this just goes to say that there is absolutely nothing special about nudity. It is just for some bloody reason that people still tend to get a lot more horny about these planes than others … ;)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Nachruf auf ein Vierloch

Nichts bleibt für die Ewigkeit. Dieser Grundsatz bereitet vielen im Metier der Planespotter offenbar erheblich Mühe. Flugzeuge sind im Prinzip vergängliche Materie wie vieles anderes auch, aber manchmal sind sie offenbar nicht. Sie haben auch eine Seele. Oder eine spezielle Bemalung.

Ein solcher Fall hat letzte Woche seinen letzten Flug angetreten. Zugegeben, daran, dass ein Airbus A340 den Gang zur Verschrottung antritt, da muss ich mich als gefühlter Jungspund schon auch noch gewöhnen. Aber wenn das Teil seine Schuldigkeit getan hat? Warum eigentlich nicht. Anderswo würde es ja nur noch dumm rumstehen und eventuell gut aussehen.





Begonnen hat es mit der HB-JMJ an einem grauen Frühjahrstag 2007 in Basel. Der Aufruhr war gross, bewegte mindestens ein Dutzend Leute an den Pistenrand. Der Flieger schlich sich von England her an und hätte der erste sein sollen, der statt in Zürich in Basel zum ersten Mal auf Schweizer Boden landen sollte. Sollte, weil er seine Nase gleich wieder hochzog als die Piste ihm zu nahe kam.

Drei Jahre zogen ins Land, da hatten die Verantwortlichen urplötzlich eine geniale Schnapsidee. Zur Wiedereröffnung der Linie nach San Francisco sollte eine Hippie-Bemalung her, welche diese Neuigkeit durch die Flowerpower-Blume in alle Welt hinaus tragen sollte. Zugegeben, farbiger war ein Swiss-Flugzeug noch nie. Da konnten selbst die Kühe auf dem einen berüchtigten Jumbolino nicht mithalten.






2011 war dann genug mit Scott McKenzies Gedudel und Anfang 2013 gab es noch einen kompletten Neulack, von oben bis unten, inklusive Aufschriften in Plakatgrösse, auch bekannt als Billboard-Titel. Die alte Lady (ja, sie war bei Swiss die Älteste im Stall) sah noch einmal aus wie ganz ganz jung. Bis diese aufgedrehten Riesenstaubsauger aus Seattle kamen. Seither gings zackig. Kurz nach dem letzten Linienflug kam die Aufschriften und die Schweizerkreuze runter.

Vor einer Woche übersiedelte die HB-JMJ nach St. Athan, in Wales, nahe bei Cardiff gelegen. St. Athan klingt schön, ist aber ein Ort, den Flugzeuge in diesem Dienstalter höchst selten in einem Stück verlassen. HB-JMJ wird es gleich ergehen. Es ist lediglich eine Frage der Zeit, bis von ihr nicht mehr viel übrig sein wird.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Afram Island!

One thing about those EURO bandwagons is that you should not jump on too late. My early decision to go for Iceland has been vindicated last night now, with Aron Gunnarsson's blue army beating England to a place in the quarterfinals. In typical nordic understatement, nobody from within that camp in Annecy would have predicted this, but then again, nobody would have said that it was impossible. Now they are off to Saint-Denis again, up against hosts France, with arguably nothing to lose. Their no-nonsense style of play has even impressed my grandma, and I am still not convinced whether she watches football or just footballers' hairdos. At least she knows that there is a difference between football and woodpecking - some TV commentators apparently don't!

Of course I kept supporting my own team, Switzerland, until they were out of the tournament, but once again we seemed to choose a pretty innocuous way of getting out, losing a 50-50 arm wrestle against Poland on a day of football most people would have forgotten already. Unless they are from Poland, Wales or Portugal that is. They say Granit Xhakas ball that he sent wide in the shootout has not been found yet. Wait for it to collide with the missile one Lionel Messi sent out of the Met Life in East Rutherford at the end of the Copa America final against Chile, a testosterone-laden battle that made a few of the EURO games look like womens' games.

Much has been said about Spain and Italy colliding early in the EURO tournament, an occasion that would have made quite a few people chuckle. Though, let's be frank, Spain should have done better than to slip against a Croatian outfit that did not survive against a perennially mediocre Portuguese side and Italy for once were just too good early on to have their R16 destiny in their own hands. Finally, Belgium have finally arrived at the tournament, beating Hungary by plenty and making it look ludicrously easy in the process.


As we look set for another couple of days without our daily dose of the green screen, let's bask in the joy of Icelandic folk. They say, big men don't cry (or similar). Last night I could not help it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Thor's Army

Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in St-Etienne is usually known as a hell's entrance disguised as a football ground. When the local team of AS St-Etienne plays there, it is also known as the "green cauldron" or as our german friends would probably call it - the green hell. After events last night, we should ask ourselves whether the blue fairies of Iceland changed this.

Icelands's travelling support turned up in vast numbers, making people wonder whether anyone has stayed at home. Quite unusual for a football team's tournament support, families and children were out in style. It seemed as if an entire huge village community went on holiday together, all proudly wearing their blue shirts. And then they all celebrated their anthem, which unlike the Portuguese counterpart is a never-ending chant just about the beauty of a country and not a blood-filled rousing war cry.

The storyline continued on the green pitch of Geoffroy-Guichard, where the men in blue were initially outplayed, conceded a goal to one of those Portuguese Hollywood actors and to add insult to injury, they were discarded by some TV reporters as a bunch of woodpeckers. Fair enough, their tackling style may be agricultural at times, but then again, some of the much hyped sides from South America tend to play the beautiful game just as beautiful.


Portugal being their usual mercurial self, they went off the boil in the second half and Iceland did not take not to capitalize. Birkir Bjarnason, a born hero (he plays for Basel, that's why!), latched onto a cross and put it past the Portuguese keeper for the equalizing goal. And as hard as Portugal, helped by their Turkish friend in the referee's jersey, tried, they did not manage another goal. It may have been a draw, but it felt as if Thor's cast had just beaten Hollywood to the Oscar.