Odd examples of price discounts

A quick post to share a couple of odd examples of price discounts based on quantity that I recently found:

Mugs prices at the Museum Espace Air Passion.

Mugs prices at the Museum Espace Air Passion.

The advertisement clearly indicates that preferential prices are given from the 3rd mug. Let’s see: the first and second sell for 7€ each. The 3rd one comes for an extra 4€. So far, so good. Then the 4th mug is sold for another 7€… (!?) where is the preferential pricing? The fifth and subsequent mugs come for extra 5€ each. See it graphically below:

Mugs' prices.

Mugs’ prices.

Think of a group of friends wanting to pool their purchase to lower the cost. If three friends had already decided to buy a mug, they would pay 18€, or 6€. If then came a fourth friend saying that she also wanted to join the group to buy a mug cheaper than the single one for 7€, the other 3 would have an incentive to reject her, as they would then have to pay 6.25€…

Let’s see this other example.

Flight prices at the Aeroclub du Sarladais.

Flight prices at the Aeroclub du Sarladais.

It comes from the colleagues at the Aeroclub du Sarladais. Here there are prices for short flight excursions. They offer 3 different flight durations with different prices for 1, 2 or 3 passengers. If more than 1 passenger flies, there is a discount. As there are several options, I prefer to use a table rather than a graphic to show what caught my attention:

Flights prices.

Flights prices.

In this case, in two of the cases, the marginal price to be paid by the 3rd passenger is more expensive than that to be paid by the 2nd passenger (I highlighted them in red). However, the oddity is not so striking as the average price to be paid by 3 passengers is always cheaper than the one to be paid by 2 passengers, thus, there is no economical incentive for 2 friends rejecting a 3rd wanting to join them in the experience of flying (good!).

I also found a more subtle issue with the pricing per minute for the 30 minute flights. Let’s see it with the flights for 1 passenger:

  • 15′ sell for 45€, that is 3€ per minute.
  • 20′ sell for 55€, that is 2.75€ per minute.
  • 30′ sell for 80€, that is 2.67€ per minute.

So far, so good, however, if you look at the marginal prices of the added flight time:

  • 20′-15′ = 5′, for 55€- 45€ = 10€, that is 2€ per minute.
  • 30′-20′ = 10′, for 80€- 55€ = 25€, that is 2.5€ per minute. Why are these minutes more expensive? :-)

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Musée Espace Air Passion (Angers)

In the last post I described the Fly Out to Les Châteaux de la Loire that we made the last weekend. In that post I mentioned that we visited the museum Espace Air Passion in Angers airport. This post will be dedicated to that beautiful museum.

This museum is owned and run by an association, the “Groupement pour la Préservation du Patrimoine Aéronautique” (GPPA), created back in 1981 by a group of friends around the project of restoring an old aircraft (a jewel) from René Gasnier, a local pioneer of French aviation who flew in 1908 along 1km in an airplane built by himself. That airplane is the first one you get to see in the museum:

Rene Gasnier III, built in 1908, restored in 1988.

Rene Gasnier III, built in 1908, restored in 1988.

René Gasnier built his first airplanes between 1907 and 1908. This model, the III was built in 1908. As you can see it was made of wood and cloth. It mounted an Antoinette engine with 8 cylinders in V, with a power of 48hp, wingspan of 10m, less than 500kg at take off. It took the enthusiasts of GPPA over 1000 hours to restore it.

This airplane is surely not the only unique piece of the museum. Take a look at the following two airplanes.

The Gérin “Varivol”, built in 1938 (by the Compagnie Française d’Aviation), was based in the concept of using moving wings which extended themselves increasing the wingspan at the time of take-off when more lift was needed and reducing the wingspan to decrease drag at cruise. A prototype was successfully tested in the wind tunnel of Chalais-Meudon in 1946, however the actual airplane seems to never have flown. Had it flown, it was to have a cruise speed of ~455km/h while only 92km/h for landing speed. The wings were to be extended/retracted 2.75m per side out of a total retracted wingspan of 8.10m.

Alerion Riout 102 T.

Alerion Riout 102 T.

Built in 1937 by René Riout (at the workshop of Louise Breguet) with duralium, the 102 T explored the concept of flying by batting its wings (4, two at each side of the fuselage). During its test in 1938 when the pilot increased the engine regime up to around 4500rpm, after a few seconds, the observers saw torsion vibrations in the tip of one the wings before it broke, closely followed by the other 3 wings. It was then dismounted and forgotten till 2005 when the restoration at GPPA started.

This reminded me of a quote attributed to Igor Sikorsky that goes like:

Our engineers have determined that aerodynamically, the hummingbird shouldn’t be able to fly, but the hummingbird doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway.

Another oddity of the museum is one of the only two prototypes (1) ever built of the Moynet Jupiter (designed by André Moynet) which had the rare configuration of two push and pull engines, one in the front and one in the back of the fuselage. It was never sold to any customer, but it flew for the first time on December 17, 1903 (60 years after that glorious day in Kitty Hawk).

Moynet Jupiter.

Moynet Jupiter.

The museum has these other two sailplanes which have been declared patrimoine de l’aviation française due to the records they collected in their high time, the Caudron 800 Épervier and the Avia 40P:

We also enjoyed the visit to the workshops where they restore the fuselages and the wings. Take a look at the pictures and notice the wood and the cloth. Forget about those pictures the next time you get onboard a general aviation airplane.

We were given a guided tour by two members of the association, their explanations, anecdotes, connection with French famous pilots (including former Airbus’ test pilots) were invaluable. On the other hand, the audience couldn’t have been more responsive. Take a look at the pictures above: scores of years of aerospace engineering experience (flight testing, training), thousands of flying hours as pilots, real aviation geeks at its best.

The museum also has playing area for children, a MH-1521 Broussard for children (an adults) to get on and play, and some other beautiful aircraft including a Caudron PC431 Rafale, a Morane Saulnier 505, a Piper L4H Grasshoper, or the car Marcel Leyat Helica… see them below:

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(1) The other prototype is at  the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace, at Le Bourget.

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Fly Out: Les Châteaux de la Loire

Last weekend we took part together with my friend Raphaël and about 20 other members of the Airbus Aviation Society of Toulouse in a Fly Out (1) to Les Châteaux de la Loire. 7 aircraft departed from different airfields around Toulouse to reach Angers, some on Friday evening, some on Saturday morning. From then one we would enjoy some joint activities. In a nutshell:

  • On the way to Angers (LFJR, 2h50′ flight), we flew over some very beautiful villages such as Bruniquel, Saint Cirq Lapopie, etc.
  • On Saturday morning, in Angers we visited the castle and walked around the city. We then visited the museum Espace Air Passion.
  • We then took our aircraft and flew over dozens of castles along the Loire valley, from Angers to Chambord and back to Amboise (LFEF).
  • In Amboise we had an evening event with the local aeroclub.
  • The morning after and due to worsening meteorological conditions we decided to skip the “ground” visit to the Chenonceau castle (next time) and depart early back to Toulouse. In the way we stopped for lunch at Sarlat-Dome (LFDS) where we were very warmly welcome by some members of the local aeroclub.

I believe than rather than wandering with long texts explaining all of these experiences it is better to share some of the pictures we took and let you fly along with us with some captions:

Waiting for the departure time at Toulouse Lasbordes (LFCL)

Waiting for the departure time at Toulouse Lasbordes (LFCL).

Dashboard of the Robin DR-48 we flew (F-GGHT).

Dashboard of the Robin DR-48 we flew (F-GGHT). (2)

Bruniquel.

Bruniquel.

Saint Cirq Lapopie.

Saint Cirq Lapopie. (3)

La Roque Gageac.

La Roque Gageac.

Beynac et Cazenac.

Beynac et Cazenac.

Rapha, concentrated in his piloting.

Rapha, concentrated in his piloting.

Arriving at Angers (LFJR) rather late.

Arriving at Angers (LFJR) rather late.

If you arrive at Angers airport in the evening, you'd better know the theory if you want to get out.

If you arrive at Angers airport in the evening, you’d better know the theory if you want to get out.

Château d'Angers, founded by the Counts of Anjou.

Château d’Angers, founded by the Counts of Anjou.

"Apocalypse Tapestry" at Angers castle.

“Apocalypse Tapestry” at Angers castle.

Visiting the museum "Espace Air Passion" at Angers airport.

Visiting the museum “Espace Air Passion” at Angers airport. (4)

"Why is Rapha at the controls again, daddy? When do I get to pilot?!"

“Why is Rapha at the controls again, daddy? When do I get to pilot?!”

Chenonceau.

Chenonceau.

Chambord.

Chambord.

Andrea, a born flyer, and Luca, getting over it.

Andrea, a born flyer, and Luca, getting over it.

Great evening event organized by the "Aéro-club Les Ailes Tourangelles".

Great evening event organized by the “Aéro-club Les Ailes Tourangelles”. (5)

Our commandan de bord, Raphael preparing the next flight.

Our commandant de bord, Raphael preparing the next flight.

The fellows from the "Aeroclub du Sarladais" got out those table, parasols and chairs for us to have lunch with them.

The fellows from the “Aeroclub du Sarladais” got out those table, parasols and chairs for us to have lunch with them. (5)

Relaxing at Sarlat-Dome aerodrome (LFDS).

Relaxing at Sarlat-Dome aerodrome (LFDS).

Initial climb at Sarlat-Dome (LFDS), wonderful view of the Dordogne valley and Dome village.

Initial climb at Sarlat-Dome (LFDS), wonderful view of the Dordogne valley and Dome village.

Rocamadour.

Rocamadour.

(1) The term we use for an organized activity in which several aircraft depart together with a common destination.

(2) Check out about the DR-48 here.

(3) Recently selected as the most beautiful village of France.

(4) Be sure that I will dedicate another post about this museum.

(5) If you plan to fly either to Amboise Dierre or Sarlat-Dome, do not hesitate in contacting the local aeroclubs (Les Ailes Tourangelles and Aeroclub du Sarladais, respectively), they will give you a more than warm welcome!

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Official Development Assistance 2014 (OECD report)

Four years ago, when I first wrote a blog post about the different NGOs that I supported, I briefly discussed the dire situation of Official Development Assistance (ODA) based on the OECD report from 2005.

OECD 2005 Development Aid

OECD 2005 Development Aid

Just 5 countries were then above the 0.7% threshold, that I recall was first suggested by:

[…] Lester B. Pearson (PDF, 40KB), former Prime Minister of Canada, who in 1969 recommended that resources equivalent to a minimum of 1% of the GNP of developed nations should flow to developing countries.

This 1%  would be made up of official development assistance, other official flows from the government, and private sector flows; the official development assistance component of the 1% commitment would be equivalent to 0.7% of GNP.

In this post I wanted to take a look at the latest data from the OECD which was released in a note published a few days ago, “Development aid stable in 2014 but flows to poorest countries still falling“. Together with the note you can download a file with all the statistics [XLS, 329KB] and a brief report explaining the figures [PDF, 349KB]. In my opinion the best way to understand the situation is to play with tool, of which I give a screenshot below:

OECD Official Development Assistance, 2014 data.

OECD Official Development Assistance, 2014 data.

In the graphic you can see that still today, as it was the case 10 years ago, only 5 countries (Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the UK) exceeded the United Nations target of keeping ODA at 0.7% of GNI (the UK has taken the place of The Netherlands). In absolute terms, the bigger donors are the USA, the UK, Germany, France and Japan. The total net ODA from member countries of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) was 135.2bn$ (practically the same as in 2013) or a 0.29% of the gross national income (GNI) of those countries.

OECD ODA 2014, target, average country effort and total DAC.

OECD ODA 2014, target, average country effort and total DAC.

In the graphic below you can see the evolution of the total ODA in the past years, which with the crisis has suffered from continuous up and downs.

OECD ODA 2014 evolution

 

Finally, using the tool, I dived into the case of Spain (my country of origin). You can see that Spain’s official development assistance contributions peaked in 2008-2009, when it reached 0.46% and 6.41bn$. The crisis then took its particular toll in Spain and priorities were redefined by the political class, almost completely forgetting about ODA. In the 2014 it contributed 1.89bn$ which represented 0.14% of the GNI, or a fifth of the UN target.

Spain's ODA evolution in relative (% of GNI) and absolute ($bn) terms.

Spain’s ODA evolution in relative (% of GNI) and absolute ($bn) terms.

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Maratón Popular de Madrid (2000)

Hace 5 años escribí unas lineas describiendo mi experiencia cuando en el año 2000 corrí mi primera maratón, en Madrid, la Maratón Popular de Madrid (MAPOMA).

El 30 de abril de 2000, tras varias experiencias corriendo por las calles de Madrid: olor a réflex un domingo por la mañana frente a la fuente de Neptuno, empezar a correr sin saber hasta donde iba a llegar, escuchar Carros de Fuego sonando desde un balcón de la calle Fuencarral, cruzar bajo el arco hinchable de la Puerta del Sol, los primeros dolores musculares en la Ciudad Universitaria, el saltarse las lágrimas con las caceroladas de los vecinos en la calle de la ribera del Manzanares, la soledad del lateral de la M-30, respirar el aire del pulmón de Madrid, ver el Paseo de los Pontones como una pared vertical desde el Puente de San Isidro, el Paseo del Prado, los últimos metros empedrados… mi primera maratón, MAPOMA (1). De nuevo por tus calles, Madrid.

A aquella carrera me inscribí porque unas semanas había visto por televisión la maratón de Londres (11 de abril) y pensé que no podría perderme una experiencia similar. Aparte de las líneas que he copiado arriba, de aquella experiencia tengo muchos más recuerdos bien grabados: un corredor que, viendo mi cara de sufrimiento, me paró en torno al kilómetro 37 para darme un pequeño masaje en las piernas; los paracaidistas de la BRIPAC descendiendo en la Castellana antes del comienzo de la carrera…

Hoy, 15 años después, de nuevo participaré en dicha carrera. Esta será mi cuarta maratón en la ciudad. Y tras una parada de 2002 a 2010, sera la 14a vez que tome la salida en una maratón.

El recorrido es parecido, aunque a lo largo de los años ha cambiado un poco. La dureza será la misma. Por otro lado, yo llego ahora mucho más entrenado que entonces, cuando apenas si preparaba la carrera y basaba todo en la creencia de que siendo joven y deportista podría acabar la carrera. Y de hecho la acaba, pero con mucho más sufrimiento y tardando más de una hora más que hoy en día.

Esta vez de nuevo correré con mi hermano Jaime y mis amigos Jose y Juan. Esperemos que por la tarde solo tengamos motivos para celebrar.

(1) Maratón Popular de Madrid (MAPOMA), 30 abril 2000, 42.2km, tiempo oficial 5:00:36; tiempo neto 4:59:23. [6083/6552, 93%]

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Social Progress Index

A few days ago I read an op-ed at Project Syndicate by Harvard professor Michael E. Porter titled “Why Social Progress Matters“. In it he defends the case for seeking social progress not as opposed to economic progress but to complete it.

Where there is an imbalance between economic growth and social progress, political instability and unrest often arise, as in Russia and Egypt. Lagging social progress also holds back economic growth in these and other countries that fail to address human needs, build social capital, and create opportunity for their citizens. Countries must invest in social progress, not just economic institutions, to create the proper foundation for economic growth.

In order to measure social progress he introduces the Social Progress Index (SPI), created in collaboration with Scott Stern of MIT and the nonprofit Social Progress Imperative, which measures 133 different countries in up to 52 indicators from child mortality, to affordable housing, tolerance for homosexuals, freedom of speech, greenhouse gas emissions… see them below:

Social Progress Index indicators.

Social Progress Index indicators.

I invite you to play with the tool available at Social Progress Imperative website. You can see what place your country of origin or residence ranks in each of the indicators, the consolidated indicators or the more global SPI (DEN #8, NL #9, GER #14, ESP #20, FRA #21).

Coming back to Porter’s article, it is important to note:

Focusing on social progress in this way leads to better development strategies, and builds political support for the controversial steps sometimes needed to increase prosperity. Rigorous measurement of social performance, alongside traditional economic indicators, is crucial to starting the virtuous circle by which GDP growth improves social and environmental performance in ways that drive even greater economic success. […]

[…] Paraguay, for example, has adopted the SPI to guide an inclusive national development plan for 2030. And the SPI is being used not just at the national level, but by regional and municipal authorities as well. States such as Para in Brazil, along with cities like Bogota and Rio de Janeiro in Latin America and Somerville in the US state of Massachusetts, are starting to use the SPI as a measure of development success.

This year, the European Commission will roll out regional SPIs across Europe. […]

[…] Measuring social progress offers citizens and leaders a more complete picture of how their country is developing. And that will help societies make better choices, create stronger communities, and enable people to lead more fulfilling lives.

I see that the debate on inequality is picking up, the concern for climate change is widespread, interest in sustainable development goals is rising… hopefully all these converge into increasing social progress and the dividends of the technological advances can be enjoyed by more. I see this SPI can indeed be an interesting and useful tool.

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Ailes Anciennes Toulouse, Visites Cockpit (April 2015)

Ailes Anciennes Toulouse is an association that preserves and restores old airplanes and helicopters. It is located in Blagnac, close to the museum Aeroscopia. In its collection has over 50 aircraft, some of which are being worked on, some are displayed in their field and others are ceded to Aeroscopia (e.g. the Super Guppy being one of them).

PosterVisiteCockpitApril11About three or four times a year, Ailes Anciennes organizes what they call Visites Cockpit events. In those days, most of the aircraft on display are opened for visitors to enter in them, sit in their cockpits, experience them, get explanations from enthusiast volunteers of the association, walk through their cabins and cargo hold compartments. Last April 11th was one of those days and we took the opportunity to visit it.

If last year we got the chance to see the only airworthy Noratlas flying in Francazal, this time we got to enter in one:

Loading plan of a Nord 2501 Noratlas.

Loading plan of a Nord 2501 Noratlas.

Side view of a Nord 2501 Noratlas.

Side view of a Nord 2501 Noratlas.

View of a Nord 2501 Noratlas

View of a Nord 2501 Noratlas

Cockpit of a Nord 2501 Noratlas.

Cockpit of a Nord 2501 Noratlas.

View of an Airbus A350 from the cargo hold of a Nord 2501 Noratlas.

View of an Airbus A350 from the cargo hold of a Nord 2501 Noratlas.

There were some aircraft which I believe I had never seen live before, such as:

Breguet 765 "Sahara".

Breguet 765 “Sahara”.

Andrea inside the trainer Fouga Magister.

Andrea inside the trainer Fouga Magister.

Max Holste MH 1521 "Broussard".

Max Holste MH 1521 “Broussard”.

Panel with limit velocities of a Breguet 941S.

Panel with limit velocities of a Breguet 941S.

Some of the other aircraft we enjoyed include the Sud Aviation Caravelle, the Douglas DC-3 (3), the North American T-6 Texan, the Mikoyan-Gourevitch MiG-21

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21.

Main dashboard of a MG-21.

Main dashboard of a MG-21.

Side panel of a MG-21.

Side panel of a MG-21.

Luca and Andrea inside a Cessna 310.

Luca and Andrea inside a Cessna 310.

Douglas DC-3.

Douglas DC-3.

Circuit breakers panel of a Sud Aviation Caravelle.

Circuit breakers panel of a Sud Aviation Caravelle.

Posing from the cockpit of a North American T-6G Texan.

Posing from the cockpit of a North American T-6G Texan.

Douglas DC-3 as seen from a North American T-6G Texan.

Douglas DC-3 as seen from a North American T-6G Texan.

Dashboard of a North American T-6G Texan.

Dashboard of a North American T-6G Texan.

Andrea playing around.

Andrea playing around.

I recommend the visit to Ailes Anciennes in its Cockpit days (10€ for adults). Take a look at their website to see when the next one is scheduled (normally in spring).

(1) See here a video of the Patrouille de France air show in Francazal 2014.

(2) See here a video of a Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior radial engine in operation at the National Air & Space Museum of the Smithsonian institution in Washington DC, at Dulles.

(3) Read more about the origins of the Douglas DC-3 here.

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