Straight & Level 26 February

Boris’s hub is short of billions

Some confusion over London Mayor Boris Johnson’s planned tour of the Middle East to raise funds for a new super-hub airport in the Thames Estuary, with the London Evening Standard claiming he will attempt to raise up to £80 million ($145 million) from Gulf states to cover “the cost of terminals, runways, ancillary facilities and rail and road access”.

Now £80 million might seem a number with a lot of noughts in it, but it is not going to get you very far when it comes to building an international airport: Heathrow’s Terminal 5 alone cost over £4 billion.

We reckon £80 million might just about see Boris right if he had a landing strip with a few prefab hangars in mind for his global hub.

The Standard’s online version makes a bit more sense, adding three noughts to the £80 million estimate, although by the time you get to paragraph three, it’s back to seven figures again. Oh, well, Boris, there’s always “London” Manston.

A fare bet

Ryanair’s latest revenue wheeze? Giving passengers their money back. Just one hitch. For a chance of winning the price of your ticket, you have to stump up an extra €3, €4, or €5 when you make your booking…assuming – before taxes, baggage and booking fee – your original ticket cost more than that.

Ryanair is pretty cagey on what the odds are, although it says it guarantees three winners a week.

Having a flutter on one of Mr O’Leary’s horses might be a better bet.

Count them in

The latest aircraft to arrive at  the soon-to-open Classic Air Force collection at Newquay Cornwall airport is this former Swiss air force de Havilland Vampire twin-seat trainer, G-HELV (below).

The Vampire, with its distinctive twin boom, was the second jet fighter to enter service with the RAF, although it arrived too late to see combat during the Second World War.

Almost 3,300 were built, a quarter of them under licence overseas. The Classic Air Force opens at the end of March.

head on.jpgWellington boost

On the subject of museums, some good news from Brooklands in Weybridge near London, run by Allan Winn, formerly of this parish.

It has been awarded £4.85 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project to relocate and restore the museum’s listed Wellington Hangar as the Brooklands Aircraft Factory, with a new annexe to house more of its collection of historic aircraft.

As part of the plan, the original racetrack – on which the hangar currently stands – will also be restored.

Snail mail

Hooray for air freight! A US aircraft manufacturer’s Christmas card – envelope stamped “International priority airmail” – arrives at our offices on 11 February. Perhaps it was simply 10 months early.

Wicker warbird

Following the unveiling of the Iranian stealth fighter, we are assured this is not North Korea’s attempt to raise the Cold War temperature with its own high-tech version. Thanks to Lyndon Yorke for sharing this imaginative rework of a Piper Colt – in the process, he assures us, of being booked for knocking off a policeman’s helmet during low-flying testing over Booker Common

wicker stealth fighter.jpg

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One Response to Straight & Level 26 February

  1. Source 31 October, 2013 at 2:33 am #

    Excellent post. I will be going through some of these issues as well..

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