I don’t remember precisely when I was given this book but, judging from the 1973 publication date, it was probably some time in 1974.
It was, is, a comprehensive guide to the (then) history, current production (70s) and possible future (about the mid 80s-2000s!) of Jet Aircraft. The ‘future’ predicted then included vertical take-off domestic flights from city centre airports and supersonic/hypersonic international flights. If only!
In addition to aircraft and airports it featured lots of pictures of aircraft being designed and built. I found it fascinating, even obscure technical topics like navigation and approach systems which it covers in a surprising level of detail.
I would have bet the Boeing factory was in there but, although their aircraft feature prominently, the assembly pictures are all from McDonnell Douglas, Airbus or BAC! Nonetheless, decades later… the eight year old who read that book was not going to miss his only chance to see a US commercial aircraft plant.
Getting there, my first drive in the USA!
The Boeing Factory is about 40km North of the city, where I was staying, but I also wanted to visit the, completely independent, Museum of Flight which is about about 15km South.
Although there were a tours for both the Hotel concierge recommended renting a car as better (and cheaper) option.
I’ve cycled in the USA, so ridden on the ‘wrong side’, but never driven there before. Although I would have liked to try the Mustang I parked next to in the Boeing carpark (below) it was probably better my rental was the rather staid Nissan Sentra, no longer sold new in NZ, beside it.
It was fine, if forgettable, and certainly economical enough. They were rather generous reading the current fuel level on collection, it was nearer half than the quarter tank noted, so after about 100km I didn’t get billed for gas even though I didn’t add any.
I found adapting to ‘wrong’ side driving fine. Having HERE maps (my preference because they use off-line data) phone GPS and voice directions helped immensely. Suspect I was the only one on the road being told about motorway exits (thanks to ‘British’ voice) and turn distances in metres/kilometres but I found it easier to relate to them irrespective of the miles on signs! The HERE speed limit warnings also worked flawlessly, no tickets!
By the end of the day I was glad to have taken this option. The flexibility of not being locked into tour time restrictions was great.
Future of Flight & Boeing Tour
The Future of Flight Foundation (non-profit) run the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Factory Tours. Their Center has a theatre (for a short intro film to Boeing Tour), store, café, roof top observation deck and an exhibition space. It contains some small aircraft, aircraft components (and part fuselages), engines, a Space Station module and educational displays on aircraft production. From there you jump on a bus around the Paine Field Airport airside perimeter to the Boeing factory itself.
Unfortunately they don’t allow photos on the airfield tour bus or inside so only have a few of the outside. Although the pace is regimented, due to security, you do get a good view during the tour, from walkways above the factory floor, and plenty of time to take it all in.
The scale of the place and complexity of the assembly jigs was impressive. The engineering of the production process is as impressive as the final product.
We saw 777, 747-8 freighters and 767 (actually KC-46A Pegasus tankers for US Air Force) being assembled in one bay and 787 in another. The 737 are assembled at other sites. The differences between the old ‘riveted’ metal aircraft and ‘spun’ composite 787 production process is very noticeable.
It was awesome to see; although flying is ‘routine’ the skill, technology and dedication which make it possible is far from that. One thing I didn’t mention; having flown to the US on Hawaiian Airbus A330…
The main Everett assembly factory. The (tiny looking) aircraft parked outside (rh corner) is a 787-9 like Air New Zealand fly.
This departure was my first chance to see (apart from in design models) the airside changes at Auckland Airport. Although still in construction the finished parts look great and the new security/emigration area is much better.
Via Hawaii, a good way to go
Although about 15 hours total a stop-over in Hawaii, after 9 hours, made the flight to Seattle much more pleasant than the usual long-haul.
The Hawaiian entry to the US wasn’t terrible but I found the ‘new’ machines, of which they seemed very proud, to be of little advantage. Nowhere near as slick as the Kiwi system.
They still gave us visa waiver entry forms on the aircraft and said they needed to be filled out. In the immigration hall, which was packed, some were put through the old way, queue for an officer, while others - including me - got to queue for the new machines.
It scanned your passport, fingers and asked the questions on the form and some the officers used to do (reason for travel, where staying, anything to declare like are you a terrorist…) then printed a receipt. Then you queued again to see an officer who reviewed the receipt, your passport and asked a few more questions. Overall the whole process seemed to take much longer and that form from the aircraft wasn't needed!
I found the airport layout, and way-finding signage or lack of, a bit baffling but eventually got from the international arrivals to my domestic flight to Seattle. I did like the airside gardens, much nicer than hanging around in a terminal, and the great airfield views. It amazes me how many airports hide the business of flying which (am I odd?) I find interesting to watch!
Seeing 6 stealth fighters taxiing, and quite a few travelling in military uniforms, was odd for a Kiwi but a reminder this is a partially military facility.
It was late at night when I arrived. A long diversion on approach (almost to Portland!) meant the tailwind Jetstream benefit, we were at 40000 ft doing 900km/h, was lost again. The Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-200 was fine, would happily fly them again which is fortunate because I will be.
Awoke after a bit of a sleep in to find Seattle cold’ish (6oC) and damp. No surprises there so I layered up (yay Icebreaker merino thermals and jacket) and headed out to explore the city.
I didn’t have a plan, other than to see the usual key sights, so just wandered towards the waterfront from the Mayflower Park Hotel where I was staying.
Seattle will be transformed when a tunnel, in construction, replaces this waterfront overhead highway. Note the temporary accommodation, Seattle must be a tough place to be homeless in winter. That aside I found the city to be clean and seemingly safe, certainly no problem wandering in the areas I visited.
No, I didn’t go in but it was interesting/odd to see (below) legal cannabis sales. When I got home NZ legalised limited medical use (a sensible change from the previous governments policy) but I think it will be a while before we see the likes of “Herban Legends”.
Yes, went up The Space Needle because, well, you just have too! The cap was to keep the drizzle off my glasses, not shade!
The view was a bit gloomy, but clear enough to see a reasonable portion of the city.
A glimmer of sun in the distance made this photo more interesting but came to nothing. It was mostly fine enough for walking, just light drizzle if anything.
Loved the Chihuly Garden and Glass and although photos don’t do it justice I took plenty! About a week later wandering through the Bellagio I twigged that the ceiling of their lobby area was by the same artist. It is a mass of glass ‘lilies’ similar to the installation below.
I stayed and watched the glass blowing demo because it was interesting and coincided with heavy rain so no incentive to leave!
After a late lunch, just a burger, at the MoPOP I didn’t really have enough time to do their exhibitions justice. Spent most time in the music spaces, the guitar and related memorabilia collection was amazing!
He was considering getting a new car so, after a meal, we wandered around the Seattle motorshow, in the bowels of the Seattle Seahawks home stadium.
It was great to catch up with Buzz and help him not buy a car! Hopefully he’ll get out to New Zealand for our next rendezvous and it will not take over a decade. My turn to show him some locations from the Aussie/NZ TV series 800 Words, shot near Auckland, which somehow he’d seen!
Was odd to talk about places I know so well, and him only from TV! For Kiwis visiting the US it’s mostly the other way around!
Once I decided to go to Autodesk University 2017 (November 13-16) in Las Vegas thoughts turned to how to get there.
The usual route, from New Zealand, is via Los Angeles or San Francisco. While I love San Francisco I have been there several times and while I have been to Los Angeles almost as often I have never had any desire to stop there.
Last time I went to Autodesk University, in 2011, I was supposed to visit Seattle and Vancouver on the way home. A family emergency, while I was at AU, meant had to ditch those plans but airfare restrictions meant I still had to come home via Seattle.
Having been to the airport, and no further, I decided it was time to go back. After trying to book via websites I found the whole process frustrating (muilti-leg with international and domestic flights) so gave my travel agent a call. They came back with a few options, via S.F. or L.A., and one very tempting one I’d never have thought of; via Hawaii.
Not only was it simpler, less internal flights, it was also significantly cheaper! Even better I could stopover in Hawaii (where I hadn’t been) for little more than the other fares on offer. Sold!
Then there was the matter of timing. I couldn’t leave until November 8th, already had tickets to see Physicist Brian Cox on the 7th, and back by November 25th for the NZ Skeptics Conference.
So it was I went (via Hawaii) to Seattle for a few days (8-12/11), then Las Vegas for AU (12-18/11) and home after rest in Hawaii (18-23/11) arriving, thanks to the dateline, late on November 24th.
It was sobering reading an email today (reproduced below) from Tibet Watch marking the 30th anniversary of the 1987 Lhasa protest uprising.
It is impossible to visit Tibet without confronting the oppression Tibetans live with and wondering if you are supporting it. In addition to information and current news on the Tibetan struggle freetibet.org/about/travel-in-tibet has information on ethics of travelling in Tibet and recommendations for travellers.
Stand on the roof top of Jokhang Temple and you can gaze at the square where much of the 1987 protest happened, albeit since surrounded by a new city. In the distance the Potala Palace stands apart—as iconic as ever—but decades have passed since it served its real purpose; home of the Dalai Lama.
You can’t fail to notice military/police presence (below) and literally hundreds of CCTV cameras watching every move. None of it is to protect the people of Tibet.
There are regular Police ‘Checks’ which impede travel between towns, much more for locals than tourists, as permits are checked. In a medical emergency our vehicles could not backtrack to (much closer) Lhasa and had to drive hundreds of kilometres to the Nepalese border because of ‘paperwork’.
Vehicle movements were being photographed at the entry to this town.
Although the oppression was evident in cities and at provincial borders it was at the Tibet Nepal border where it really hit home. After the usual border bureaucracy we just walked across “Friendship Bridge” and out of Tibet.
Something many Tibetans will never do, something Free Tibet.org works to change and something I support.
(Bizarre border as we left Tibet, photo above by braver than me Kirsten)
Today from Tibet Watch
Email From: Eleanor - Free Tibet Sent: Thursday, 28 September 2017 06:32
Subject: Today is the 30th Anniversary of the 1987 Tibetan uprising (and the founding of Free Tibet)
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the first protest of the 1987 uprising.
30 years ago today, a series of protests calling for Tibet's freedom began in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. China retaliated with brutal force, and many lives were lost as a result. This kick-started a series of protests over the next few years and was a major milestone in the international movement for a free Tibet. In fact, our organisation was formed in the aftermath of these horrific events. A new report from our research partner Tibet Watch publishes never before seen images from the protests and reveals previously unknown details about the brave individuals involved. We must warn you that the report contains extremely graphic imagery of the violence that ensued on that day and some readers may find them upsetting.
The photos, which were obtained from a relative of one of Tibet Watch’s researchers who had worked for the Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA) Department of Security, capture the strife of individual Tibetan protesters who were beaten and killed during the uprising. Additionally, the report highlights the coverage of the protests in the international media and how Free Tibet was founded in response to the crackdown.
Filmed by: John Reynolds Directed by: Craig Grant Riders: Shaun O' Connor & Kashi Leuchs Music: "Capture the Flag" by Broken Social Scene "Forced to Love" by Broken Social Scene "The Same to You" by Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves
I had hoped to have a look around the Hicks Bay Motel grounds before I left but the weather was still lousy. It is on a point overlooking the bay, has a bush walk down to a small beach, apparently!
I headed for the East Cape Lighthouse, about a 22km diversion from the main highway along a coastal road from Te Araroa.
It was very exposed with gale force winds (90km/h ~50 knots according to weather forecast) battering the car all the way there. The slowly clearing overnight storm weather made for a dramatic, almost spooky, scene.
It is a mixture of sealed and gravel road, one lane in places where it hugs the cliffs with the sea gnawing away at it! No problem taking the Bravo HGT out there but have to be a bit careful not to 'ride the crown' on gravel as the sump clearance isn't the greatest. I think Grand Touring is more suited European highways than Kiwi back roads! It survived ok, although maybe a few new scrapes under there.
The climb to the lighthouse was good, 750 timber steps the whole way up made avoiding the mud easy, and the surrounding brush made the gale tolerable. It was still very windy, combined with the sea fog/cloud made for a good demonstration why this lighthouse is needed!
From there it was back to Te Araroa to see Te Waha o Rerekohu (one of the largest pohutukawa tree in NZ). I grabbed some food and drink for lunch at the general store. The following week it featured on the news, stock falling off shelves as the region was rocked by a large 7.1 earthquake! Thankfully nobody was injured and there was minimal reported property damage.
The rest of the day was bay hoping to Gisborne. I stopped at all the main beaches and a few other attractions like this Mercedes slowly turning into a work of roadside art.
Tokomaru Bay impressed with some fine, some fading, architecture.
Contrasting with earlier in the day summer had arrived for the obligatory walk to the end of the 600m long Tologa Bay Wharf (NZs longest). The gale had blown away the rain leaving fine sunny day, 20ºc almost summer warm!
This wharf was the main access before the roads reach Tologa Bay, extreme length required due to the shallow bay.
It is impressive how a community trust is funding on going restoration to keep this historic structure, no longer used commercially, open.
The nice weather stuck around for the drive to Gisborne, lovely roads and little or no traffic!
I spent the night in Gisborne, nice Motel near the beach (Ahi Kaa Motel) and (more) fish for dinner!
(Initially sent from Outlook Mail for Windows 10 phone, additional text and photos added later)
After a wet night I was quite glad I'd got the cycling done and dusted. Had a self catered breakfast (an Up n Go and a JED'S coffee bag) then hit the road heading for Hicks Bay. For the first time this trip I emailed ahead to check there was accommodation, limited options and 150km from there to Gisborne meant having a bed would be useful. Not necessary as it turned out but the owner admitted this time of year it was feast or famine and they'd had several coach loads the night before. That explained the those I saw on the drive there.
Thought pig dog training and bookbinding an unusual combination of skills!
Lovely drive, although not in a hurry I had some opportunity to exercise the Fiat which had been idle all day yesterday while I mountain biked. Not far before Te Kaha had a brief stop while they recovered a truck from what looked like a nasty crash. Flat bed truck with a tractor on it had understeered off a hairpin, the roads were damp, and looked pretty smashed up. Hope the driver was OK, the stop ‘n go man didn't know, but there was nothing mentioned in the news.
Lovely coastline even in less than wonderful weather. Had heard about the Raukokore’s St Paul's Church with its special residents, penguins which nest beneath the floor. Worth a stop even for this non-believer.
It was sad to see several burnt out cars, some looking quite new, on the roadside. Evidence of a tough life in this remote area?
I took a several km diversion down the road to Litten Point, just curious to see what was at the end, all sealed, but they were felling some old pine trees so couldn't go all the way.
Had lunch, nice filled roll and last of my 3kg bag of Oratia apples, at the Hicks Bay wharf.
Nice viewpoint but closed as looked, as the sign said, on the verge of collapsing!
Thankfully the Hicks Bay Motel was much more solidly constructed*. The wind increased to a howling gale, joined by torrential rain, overnight literally shaking the whole place. Other than the weather it was a good place to stay. I had a nice dinner in the restaurant, pan fried fish and salad, where I beat the evening rush. There were a few people in the bar but I was alone in the restaurant but as I left the crowds arrived. 2 more!
* The integrity was really tested when the area was rocked by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake the week after my trip! Thankfully, although a big shake, the epicentre was offshore so there was little property damage and no injuries.
Sent from Outlook Mail for Windows 10 phone and updated later
I rode (most of) the Motu Rd and the Pakihi Trail today. Awesome riding, fairly flat to start with a climb into the hills before a long descent back to Opotiki. You can ride the dunes trail to the start of the Motu Road Trail but, having ridden it the previous evening, I just took the highway. Anyway, at 7:30am there wasn’t much traffic on the road!
The trail starts on a tarmac side road, Jackson Rd, before transitioning, via a short cycle path bridge, to the Motu Rd itself. I wondered why but, next morning driving the same way, saw it avoids a narrow bridge on the main highway.
The Motu Rd is hard pack clay road, not too much loose gravel when I rode it. After following the valley the first climb, to Meremere summit, goes up 360m but the grade is OK. I was happier than I look in the selfie!
Lovely scenery climbing up from the river valley to the ridge.
One slightly used truck on the roadside or farm art?
From the Meremere summit there is a nice downhill to a plateau before another climb, Papamoa Hill, rises another 260m in just 3.5km. Until here the road is fairly NZ typical gravel back country giving little indication why the Motu has such a reputation as a rally car wrecker.
On Papamoa Hill you encounter narrow, tight twisty corners (with huge drops if it went wrong) and in places the road is raw serrated rock. It looks like it would shred tyres and sumps! This is the Motu of rally fame!
View from near the top
The Pakihi trail is just amazing. 25km of flowing downhill single track through beautiful bush from the ridge to river valley.
I do take issue with this sign at the top of the Pakahi Track. The Motu Road ride up to here is superb too!
Although not very technical, some of the 27 bridges do have tight approach/exits, in places the track is quite narrow and a huge fall, tens to hundreds of metres depending where, awaits if you go off the wrong side! That said, the track condition was great and the grade means you hardly need to pedal or even brake very hard. Just take your time and enjoy a lovely flowing downhill ride that goes on for kilometres!
The bridges and slip repairs are just some evidence of the tremendous work done both establishing and maintaining this track. The signs ask you to report any recent looking damage and I sent a photo of a newly fallen tree I had to climb over.
I was really impressed to get both an immediate email response and (waiting when I got home) a package with a ride certificate, magazine and brochures from the trail committee. Even more impressive, about a week later I had a call from DOC confirming they had cleared the track!
I was surprised how dry it was, hardly any wet or bog areas even though I rode in late winter. There are spectacular views over the river valley as you descend. About 10km from the end you cross the river on a high suspension bridge and then the track follows the river bank.
Amazing riding ending up at a car park about 22km from Opotiki.
The ride back to Opotiki is almost level. Although there is a trail option (a mix of gravel road and stop bank path) I took a look at the approaching weather and chose the quicker road route. Only the last 10km or so was a bit dull, arrow straight roads pass through farmland, but mainly because I had my head down pushing to get back to town.
The odometer showed 90.5km distance by the time got back to the motel late afternoon and, although it got increasingly cloudy throughout the day, I just beat the rain!
The day ride seen here is just one option for riding the Motu. Plan your own Motu Trails Adventure, including multi-day or shuttle assisted rides and other tracks in the area, at www.motutrails.co.nz. I’ll certainly be going back!
Initially sent from my Windows 10 phone, edited and extra pictures added later.