Straight & Level 1 July

Prestwick plea to turn to Burns
Glasgow can claim a true aviation pioneer in the form of Arthur Whitten Brown, who navigated the first nonstop transatlantic flight in 1919.
So it’s natural that Scottish folk should press for Glasgow’s Prestwick airport to be renamed after, er, a poet who wrote about haggis and dropped dead a century before the first aeroplane was built.
“Many people are against the current slogan attached to the airport – ‘Pure Dead Brilliant’,” says the petition, which formally proposes the designation as Robert Burns International airport.
“Many feel that the word ‘dead’, with all its connotations, is not consistent with the travelling public and not one you wish associated with an airport,” it adds, overlooking the fact that “burns” does not necessarily sit well with air passengers either.
Unfortunately for the Robert Burns World Federation – the organisation behind the bid to have the local bard immortalised in the air transport sector – the country’s deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon is yet to be convinced by the effort.
Sturgeon says that she has had “more emails and letters on this point than any other” since the government took over the airport last year, but insists that the Prestwick name should be retained for commercial reasons. Proving that the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men really do gang aft agley.

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Hived off
Old aviation wisdom says never fly the ‘A’ model, but that also applies to the ‘bee’ model after a swarm commandeered an Embraer ERJ-145 at Kiev Boryspil airport.
Ukrainian operator Dniproavia, its phrasing perhaps influenced by events further east, says an “organised group” of bees “occupied” the end of the left wing.
“To resolve the situation, airline representatives made attempts to enter negotiations,” the operator says. “But they were subjected to attack by aggressive members of the group and forced to take refuge.”
If the bees were planning a meaningless referendum on annexing the wing-tip, it didn’t emerge, and the swarm eventually dispersed.
“Intentions of the attackers remain unclear,” says Dniproavia, which took the sting out of the 12 June incident by claiming that its fares were so attractive that even bees would rather fly with the airline than on their own.
One wag, who wisely chooses to remain anonymous, suggests the ERJ had Honeywell avionics. Presumably, unlike the bees, he’s here all week.

Ex-helicopter
From first flight to museum piece in less than four years, Airbus Helicopters’ X3 high-speed rotorcraft is taking its place alongside the Concorde in the Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace at Le Bourget.
The twin-engined X3 has a five-blade main rotor and two propellers installed on short-span fixed wings, and in its short life made 199 flights, including a record-breaking one of 255kt (472km/h).

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Mixed up
We were intrigued by this extract from a Saab press release about its ESTL self-protection system: “ESTL can be configured for different threat scenarios. ESTL provides covert sustainable pre-emptive dispensing, missile warning, forward firing of flares and cocktail dispensing.”
So if it’s a quiet night on the frontline, you can depend on the technology to mix you up a great margarita.

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