Just editing BLACK BOX – Nick Faith’s retelling of the history of aviation disasters. Not one to buy at the airport (should I be saying that?).
Apparently, and perhaps appropriately, vultures are the most dangerous critters, from a bird-strike point-of-view. Geese and pelicans are two and three, though flocks of smaller birds are also dodgy:
The earliest known collision between bird and aircraft came in 1908 (some sources say 1905), when flight pioneer Orville Wright collided with a bird over Dayton, Ohio; it died, while he survived. The first fatal crash came in 1912 when Cal Rodgers, first man to fly across the USA, hit a gull over Long Beach. His controls were jammed, and he hit the sea where he drowned, pinned upside down in the wreckage of his Wright Flyer.
As the skies have grown more congested, so has the incidence of bird strike. Up to 2,000 incidents of birds colliding with aeroplanes have been reported annually in the United States alone; many more are recorded worldwide (indeed, the International Bird Strike Committee was set up some years ago by commercial, military and private aviation bodies to investigate such incidents and find ways of reducing of the frequency and risk of collisions between aircraft and birds).
Obviously, the larger the plane the more likely it is to be hit. Light aircraft and fighter jets are struck occasionally, while a 747 averages one hit per 1,000 hours in the air, which is eight times the rate for its smaller predecessor, the 707. The most famous recent episode involving a large airliner is that of the New York City A320 piloted by Captain Sullyberger and described in Chapter 9. Thanks to Sullyberger’s astonishing skill, no one died in that incident. But inevitably, over the years, many such encounters have proved fatal to passengers and crew (and always to the birds).
One early instance involving a passenger jet came in 1960, when an Eastern Airlines Lockheed Electra crashed at Boston after hitting a flock of starlings on take-off; three of the four engines were damaged, and the plane plunged into Winthrop Bay, half a mile or so from the Logan International runway, killed 62 of the 72 people aboard.
Meanwhile, a solicitor called Sophie Khan is whipping up a Twitter storm to try to ‘out’ Inspector Gadget, following this post, where he (or she) calls her out on her suggestion that all police officers are racists and members of the BNP. Interesting, not least because there are several thousand black and Asian officers in the police. Insulting, too; Copperfield is married to an Indian, Bloggs is no racist and Gadget could not be a BNP supporter for reasons I won’t go into. Plus, if s/he was, we wouldn’t publish her/him. Ms Khan isn’t the first to try to find the good Inspector, and I doubt she’ll be the last. (If you’re reading this, I have a price, Sophie: £50k should do it.)
The former head of St Paul’s says the NUT are ruining education.
What’s most worrying is that in all the public bluster from the teaching unions I haven’t once heard a mention of children, or their needs. It reminds me of when I was carted off to hospital with a major stroke and realised that the nurses had fallen in to the trap of thinking the hospital existed for their benefit, not that of the patients. They hung around the nurses’ station, chatting to each other, texting and joking, while opposite me an old man went without food for 24 hours.
We had a leak at home recently, and the plasterer who came to repair the ceiling is working all hours he can to send his daughter to this private school (as is the bloke who sweeps our chimney). This may say something about the rates plasterers and sweeps charge in Warwickshire villages, but I suspect it says more about their horror of the local state comps. There are obviously many brilliant teachers (my own children have been taught by some) but the unrepresentative hard leftists in the unions seem desperate to lead them over the cliff. Frank Chalk would certainly agree, and it’s probably no coincidence that It’s Your Time You’re Wasting is still our best-selling eBook.
Finally, from Reddit.