The lighter side of Flight International.

Ride Jarre-ing

There’s nothing like the Oxygene of publicity. Electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre has become the first passenger to take off in the AirCar, the flying automobile developed by Slovakian start-up Klein Vision, giving a boost to the developer as it endeavours to bring the quirky design to production.

The French composer – who hit fame with his top-selling, home-recorded debut album Oxygene in 1976 – flew with Klein Vision founder and pilot Professor Stefan Klein at Piestany, Slovakia in April, ahead of performing in Queen guitarist Sir Brian May’s Starmus concert in Bratislava.

Jean-Michel Jarre

Source: Klein Vision

Jean-Michel car…

Klein Vision has logged 130 flight hours with the single push-propeller, dual-mode aircraft, which was given its certificate of airworthiness by the Slovakian authorities in January 2022.

A video on the Klein Vision site shows the king of synth making his short trip.


Runaway plane

From the Ontario backwoods comes a tale of woe – or, more accurately, a tale of ‘Whoa!’ – involving a Cessna 185 preparing to depart Slate Falls airport.

According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, the pilot of the aircraft, operated by Bamaji Air on 7 April, had attempted to start the engine by manually turning the propeller.

“The engine started,” it says. “But the pilot was unable to enter the aircraft in time.”

With no-one in the cockpit, the Cessna freely sped across the apron until it collided with trees and a snowbank, sustaining substantial damage.

The hapless pilot received minor injuries while “attempting to arrest the movement of the aircraft”, adds the safety board.

It states that the Cessna was originally due to fly to Sioux Lookout airport. Which is named for a vantage point from which guards would spot approaching canoes, and not because you might be flattened by a runaway aeroplane.


Defence cuts

Turns out NATO has its own barber – the somewhat aptronymic M Baldi.

Patrice is the third generation of the Baldi family – who originally hail from Sicily – to trim the hair of the alliance’s employees at its headquarters in Brussels. His grandfather, Vincenzo, established the salon in 1962, at NATO’s former offices in Port Dauphine in Paris after hearing of a vacancy from an acquaintance working at the Italian embassy, later moving it to the Belgian capital.

According to the alliance’s website, when Vincenzo died in 1986, his son Giuseppe took over the business and ran it for 30 more years, before handing the scissors to Patrice.

The Baldis’ customers over those more than 60 years include several Secretaries General, including the incumbent Jens Stoltenberg.

People often share intimate secrets with their hairdresser, so does working at NATO lead to any potential security breaches?

“For me, trust between a client and the hairdresser is paramount,” states Patrice, who goes on to say that his conversations with clients range from sports and family and holidays – never professional work.


Cold War memories

Reader B Blustone writes in response to our item about criticism directed at Prince Harry being inducted into an aviation hall of fame, noting that it reminded him of a television interview the then-young royal gave during his service in Afghanistan some years back.

“A flurry of activity causes him to suddenly turn around, spot his fellow aircrew running for their Apache helicopters, and leap out of his chair and run after them,” says our correspondent.

“Watching that I am reminded of a time 60 years ago sitting in a snowbound movie theatre on a Strategic Air Command base close to the Canadian border, when a silent red light started flashing and suddenly half a hundred aircrew in flight suits are charging out the exit doors towards a full line of loaded B-52s and KC-135s, not knowing if they would be doing a perfunctory radio check or scrambling down the runway pointed to the Arctic North and a very imaginable unknown.

“So for a few fleeting seconds we got to see the Prince doing what soldiers have done for millennia, standing watch so others could sleep easily.


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