Straight & Level 28 January

Kilimanjaro and how to spot it
Following our piece last week about the two Ethiopian 767 pilots losing their way to Kilimanjaro and ending up at Arusha, Tim Harrison – who works at the tiny Tanzanian airport – gets in touch to clarify a few points.
While Kilimanjaro airport, of course, is perhaps hard to miss thanks to its rather imposing neighbouring natural feature, it is not unique in that respect. “Arusha sits at the base of Mount Meru, the third-highest mountain in Africa, in a very similar relationship to that of Kilimanjaro mountain and airport,” Tim points out in defence of the flightcrew.
However: “Kili airport is well away from habitation. Arusha sits on the edge of a large and visible town surrounded by green farmland, while Kili is in the centre of an extremely dry area, even now just after the rain season.
“You also have to factor that Kili has much larger, more visible buildings and the total lack of working navaids at Arusha. The fact that GPS should have still been showing 27 miles to Kili should have been a further clue.”
“All that said,” he concludes. “It did provide all of us in Arusha with much entertainment and a good wake up call not to get complacent with navigation and GPS.”

David Nixon recalls preparing for a talk on aerodynamics he was due to give the local Rotary Club. He decided to call the public affairs office of his local NASA centre.
The conversation, he says, went something like this:
“I have to give a talk on aerodynamics to the Rotary Club. Can you give me information on any interesting NASA research?”
Long pause…“Well we do have a helicopter division.”

We loved the European Space Agency’s explanation of how rousing its Rosetta probe from deep-space hibernation was not a straightforward process: “It’s like a teenager. It takes a while to wake up.”

DC-10 farewell
Fancy making an onboard farewell to the last DC-10 in passenger service?
Biman Bangladesh Airlines is retiring its final McDonnell Douglas airliner, 43 years after the type entered service. Biman’s example was one of the last off the Long Beach production line, in 1988.
At 08:30 on 20 February, Biman flight BG1015 will take off from Dhaka to Birmingham, and the airline is offering seats for £500 ($830) (plus taxes) or £600 for a window seat.
“We have kept pricing at minimal levels to ensure the flight is accessible to as many as possible,” says Biman.
However, if getting to
Dhaka is a problem, you can
buy tickets for a series of 1h scenic flights on 22-24 February from Birmingham following, says the airline, “an overwhelming response from aviation enthusiasts around
the world”.
Initially, flights at 09:00, 12:00 and 15:00 on Monday 24 will go on sale, priced at £100 (£150 for window seat).
“If, as expected, they sell out quickly we will open up 23 February flights for the same times on Sunday, and as they sell out we will open up the Saturday flights,” says Biman.
Only 152 of the 319 seats will go on sale for each flight, ensuring no one gets the dreaded middle seat.
Book online at or ianallantravel/com/aviationtours

Akbar Al Maker
From one of the other aerospace periodicals: “Qatar Airways is planning to build a fleet of 50 Airbus aircraft for a new airline in Saudi Arabia.”
What, has the omnipotent Al Baker got so sick of delays at Toulouse that he’s decided to go into airliner manufacturing?


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