Valediction for the Vulcan
Sad confirmation reaches us that the last airworthy Avro Vulcan bomber will complete its final flying season next year.
The departure from the skies of XH558 has, of course, been long predicted and only the valiant fundraising efforts of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust has kept the aircraft delighting the crowds at air shows for so long.
However, 2013 will be its valedictory season as the bomber is reaching the end of its finite flying life.
Since its restoration in 2007, XH558 has been seen by more than 10 million people at 60 air shows and other locations, including during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
The Vulcan's retirement is not inevitable. Another £200,000 ($320,000) would have been needed to modify the aircraft's wings and increase her flying life, but Vulcan to the Sky Trust chief executive Dr Robert Pleming has told supporters such an effort would not be worth it.
"We know that you would do your upmost to fund this work, but for a number of reasons we have decided not to ask you to take this risk," he says.
So next summer, if you are in the UK, see and hear one of the Cold War's true surviving icons in its natural environment for the last time... if you can.
In a magnificent demonstration of the multi-party integration on which its entire operation depends, Airbus's canteen in Toulouse gave a certain amount of grief to the host of a press pack which, having toured the assembly line in mid-October, had taken the opportunity to drop in for lunch.
Something about the canteen in question being allocated to Airbus France while the host was officially from Airbus Central Entity.
When it's tricky to sort out the workshare between the kitchens, it's hardly surprising that the EADS-BAE merger proved too much to swallow.
Where in the world?
Book a flight with this Australian travel agency (below) and you might find yourself on a proper mystery tour.
The seemingly generic aircraft photo World Flight Centre has chosen for its publicity is none other than a Janet Boeing 737.
Janet is the charter airline that shuttles employees from Las Vegas to the US government's highly secretive Area 51 in deepest Nevada. Janet - its radio callsign - doesn't go in much for publicity. Its aircraft are identifiable only by a single red stripe - there is no other insignia - and they ferry passengers from a secure terminal at a far corner of the city's airport.
Thanks to Andrew McLaughlin for the photograph.
Impressive though Felix Baumgartner's recent jump was from a balloon more than 38km above the earth - a stunt that saw him fall faster than the speed of sound at one point - it was not as physics-defying as media network NBC suggested.
"Fearless Felix travelled faster than the speed of light," the MSNBC website caption proclaimed.
To NBAA this week, where, among the cocktail bashes and pool-side splashes is an invite to a party being hosted by UAT.
It is launching an unusual attitude training course for pilots at the convention.
We suspect some of the NBAA delegates who tread the cocktail circuit a bit too enthusiastically may need some help in coping with unusual attitude themselves.