A mate has documented, in blog form, his Fathers flying career which spanned Sunderland/PBY Catalina flying boats to DC8 jets (including survey flights for the Coral Route). The blog has many diary extracts and photos from a time when aviation in NZ & the Pacific evolved from an adventure to a business.
His historical record as written by one of his sons
Cliff Le Couteur was my father. My name is William Le Couteur and I have decided to write what I know of his life mainly to provide a record for interested parties
With this story goes many black and white photos, which I hope to post on this blog, or on the online photo storage Flickr. The above photo is one I found in his collection and I believe it would be the Catalina used on the Pacific Island Survey he went on in 1951…
Last Friday Salisbury Police arrested 46 year old Robin Capper on an outstanding warrant. Capper is charged with threatening an elderly man that unless he gave her money she would report to police that the man had assaulted her.
During an idle moment, waiting for something, a noise drew my gaze toward the sky. It came through the solid cloud cover and I strained to identify the source. I had a good idea but wondered how you’d explain it to someone who didn’t, who knew nothing of our modern world?
Of these alternatives I doubt they would pick the correct one:
Angry Sky Gods?
Thunder, from lightening I couldn’t see?
Several hundred people (and hundreds of tonnes of metal, fuel, luggage) high above the cloud watching movies and, possibly, about to tuck into a late lunch while doing about 900 km/h as they head to the over side of the world.
The man with his bag of secrets far above the clouds
I can’t prove it wasn’t 1, it is perhaps the simplest answer and some might say with faith it is all you need. 2 makes noise in the sky but this was different, longer lasting and far less dramatic.
If you didn’t know about modern aviation then 3 would be absurd. However visit to an airport would provide enough evidence to suggest it was not only possible, but also the most likely.
4: Far Above the Clouds
It also reminded me of this:
And the man in the rain picked up his bag of secrets, and journeyed up the mountainside, far above the clouds, and nothing was ever heard from him again, except for the sound of Tubular Bells
It was an aircraft up where the sun or moon always shine. I never saw it but from the engine noise I suspect a 747-400 as was louder than I’d expect an A380 to be. The simplest solution is not always the correct one, faith is not the answer but evidence provides one.
Undoubtedly the top wish of any traveller is an upgrade, but let's face it: unless you shell out cash or miles, your chances are slim. But that doesn't stop some people from trying… [but they do]
Can I change to an exit row?
It reminded me of something overheard while waiting to board a flight from Auckland to LAX. I don’t sit in the gate lounge as leaving New Zealand a compulsory fourteen hour sit is just minutes away. While looking out a window near the gate counter I heard numerous requests for seating changes, upgrades, exit rows etc. During a lull I suspect I wasn’t supposed to overhear one agent say to the other:
“It’s a pity they don’t make aircraft with all exit row spacing.
You wouldn’t fit many passengers, but they’d all be happy!
I have an idea to try for an upgrade next time I fly:
“I’m a single short nobody who doesn’t fly frequently.
Since you give most upgrades to newly weds, celebrities, frequent fliers and tall people why not try the opposite for once?
A tactic that did work for me, once:
While you should always get to the gate on time don’t rush to board the plane. Once I didn’t at LAX and they found my seat had been double allocated. With no spare economy seats left, and a time constraint on loading, the result was I got a business class upgrade. First in isn’t always best served!
It was great to meet the Skepticbros, Tom and Nick, at the TAMOZ fringe Bloggers Breakfast (seen below being interviewed for Token Skeptic #42 Podcast by Kylie "Podblack Cat" Sturgess). Inspired, more accurately appalled, by dubious claims & massive profit margins made by plastic hologram bands they did something about it and made their own.
The Placebo Band
Placebo Bands are a stretchy silicon band with a hologram & embossed text. They don’t claim to rely on mystical qualities as any effect is entirely from the mind of the wearer (as described in this quote from the Placebo Band site):
No more popping pills, painful needles or smelly ointments. Simply pop Placebo Band on your wrist and you’re good to go.
Placebo Band features two eye catching holograms that not only attract and impress others but also remind you that you’re wearing Placebo Band long after the sensation on the wrist has subsided.
Placebo Band uses two powerful, scientifically proven effects, the placebo effect (Placebo) and confirmation bias (Confirmation Bias), that, combined with a subtle alteration in your own activities, help to strengthen your own personal desired outcomes and even desired outcomes in others!”
They are $2 (about 1/20 – 1/40th the cost of similar products) and profits, yes at that price they make a small profit, are being donated to charity. Already Placebo Bands have helped the fight Polio with a donation to a Rotary End Polio campaign.
I have felt much better since wearing a Placebo Band, at least I think I have!