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Luf at Large 15

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And here are the latest words of wisdom from Australia's illustrious, half-witted Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander 'Shirley' Downer. This is what he said about David Hicks, the Guantanamo Bay detainee who has just pleaded guilty to a 'provide material support for terrorism' charge, whatever that means. "David Hicks has just pleaded guilty to a charge that he was guilty of a charge of providing material support for terrorism, of which he was guilty and has pleaded guilty to be guilty of this guilty plea to support his guilty verdict. As he has now pleaded guilty, he is now guilty of a guilty verdict". That must mean that Downer believes Hicks was guilty.



A Lan-Chile had a rather interesting experience recently when he encountered a piece of space junk during a trans-Pacific flight. It turned out to be part of an old Soviet satellite that was re-entering the earth atmosphere. Must have been an interesting feeling seeing the bits coming down to earth in front of your aircraft in an uncontrolled fashion.



Etihad Airlines have just commenced direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Sydney. The first landing in Sydney was not a great success. Coming in to land the A340-500 overshot the taxiway off the main 34-left runway and the aircraft had to potter along to the end of the runway before turning in towards the international terminal. Poor Sydney Airport aircraft controller inadvertently left his microphone open and was heard to say. "Bloody hell. Here it comes, another bloody Sunday driver". Perhaps he was not amused? Another comment was. "Where the hell is he going, the Opera House?"



After many good years of operations, the Royal Australian Air Force will soon replace its F111's with F18 Super Hornets as an interim and ultimately to be replaced by F35JSF. The Australian F111s became operational in 1972 and despite a couple few aircraft losses, the aircraft has performed extremely well over the years. The F111 was one of the first 'swing-wing' aircraft and one the first equipped with 'terrain following radar' allowing flight at very low altitudes. Many, most now retired, RAAF pilots gained enormous amounts of valuable flying experience on the aircraft and I do hope that a few F111s will be able to be retained by the various aircraft museums.  I want one.



And while we are on the subject of aircraft museums, there are now a number of museums in a substantial number of countries that are holding examples of the DC3-C47 Dakota in flying condition. Some private tour operators also have some examples while, in some countries, the military still use them. For those interesting in old pieces of flying equipment, getting aboard one of these for a flight is a worthwhile experience. Flying them is interesting. They are slow, fly like a truck and turning a DC3 around on a runway requires 'skills'.


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