Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Little less talk, litte more action please...

Well there has not been much action here for a while because, in my real world there has not been much action to write about...

After all of my fun and games with the Nationals and Sailing it has been head down bum up here at work and not much else has happened.

The weather for flying has been generally poor and the few days I had allocated for some commercial flying have turned out to be windy, wet or both.

Last weekend I finally got to go and play and had two interesting flights.

Saturday we had a large corporate group from Canon to fly up in the Hunter Valley. It consisted of journos and photographers from all over the place on a junket to test out and review the new EOS40D digital SLR. It was an interesting mix of people and they were having way to much fun. The toys they were playing with were absolutely fantastic and I could hardly hear myself think while the shutters clicked away for the entire flight.

I worked out I had about $30,000 worth of cameras and lenses in the basket between the 10 passengers. I was really glad that when I pulled my camera out it was a Canon too. I might have been lynched if it was anything else.

After the flight we got to hang around while they printed out the best shots on a fancy new Pixma printer - the results were fantastic and fast for an inkjet printer spitting out high quality A3 sheets.

As much as I enjoy meeting new people on commercial flights, this group were wonderful in that they entertained themselves, had lots of interesting stories and were busy telling them to anyone who would listen.

The next flight on Sunday was interesting for different reasons.

With the visit of the great errorist* Gerorge dubbya Bush and the rest of the APEC gang, Sydney is in lock down. The entire Sydney basin has been declared a restricted zone for aviation and special flight authorisations are required.

All this has been in place for months with people expecting to operate in the area having a registered operator number and needing to file flight plans etc. The really cool bit is that on the day of your flight you need to get a special authorisation code from the defense force.

If you can't quote the flight authorisation code and registered operator number when contacted in flight, you will end up getting escorted out of the zone by and FA/18 fighter or Blackhawk helicopter.

Now I don't know the last time someone tried to escort a balloon anywhere, other than the tragic events in Belarus, but I was really hoping they would give it a go. I am annoyed enough about the waste of money and time that this little APEC party is costing us that I was ready to be martyred to show how stupid this whole situation is.

My passengers were amused at the whole concept, then a little concerned that we may get shot at and finally bitterly disappointed when we didn't see a single bit of military hardware for the entire flight. You can't win.

Next weekend will be more interesting because they APEC crowd will actually be in town so with some luck we will get a decent air show for all our tax payers dollars being spent on fortifications and dinner parties for the various world leaders.

* follow the link for a definition - language may offend but we are talking about an offensive individual.