Ronde des Foies Gras 2014

Mauvezin is small commune at the west of Toulouse, in France. It is located in one of the many small hills of the department of Gers. In the village a fortress was built, which apparently was dreaded elsewhere in the surroundings, and that gave the name to the village “Mauvais voisin” (bad neighbour or “mau vesin” in Occitan).

The village counts with about 2,000 inhabitants, who every second Sunday of October organize the race Ronde des Foies Gras. Today, it has been the 3rd time I have run this race. Simply great. It is a moderate (just almost 300m of positive elevation) trail along 25km around the village. It counts with several supply posts and that is what takes this trail apart.

Route of the race as recorded by my Garmin GPS.

Route of the race as recorded by my Garmin GPS.

Even if the race is in October, every year thousands of runners rush to fill in the papers in June in order to book a place in it. Only 2,000 are accepted and get to eat the foie gras made at each of the 7 farms that the race crosses. This year I decided to run dressed up in a costume of a prisoner as there was a gift for those completing the race in disguise. I also decided to take a photo camera with me and take some pictures along the race, so you can get a glimpse of the experience.

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The experience itself was terrific. Lots of fun and delicious foie gras, plus a great meal afterwards. It was however too hot to be running in costume (the gift at the end was a t-shirt, so the next year I’ll leave the costume in the drawer).

See this other video of the music band playing at the 5th farm:

I finished in 2h21′, 5 minutes more than it took last year but taking into consideration the costume and time employed in taking the pictures I am happy with the run (especially the first 12km), as a training for the coming NY marathon.

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Trail du Cassoulet 2014

Verfeil is a small commune at the North-East of Toulouse. It is difficult to date its origins though Celtics were living there some centuries B.C. It was built at the top of a small hill, with fortified entrances and a castle from the VIII century at the top. Today about 3,000 inhabitants live in Verfeil and they do their best to make the Trail du Cassoulet a great running event.

This year was the first time that I took part in this race, together with other 2,000 participants: 300 of us would run the 32km trail, about 1,400 the 15km trail and the rest walking routes, races for children, etc. The organization was superb.

Every runner got a can of cassoulet. If got to the finish line we received as well an apron (plus a bottle of wine if the runner arrived disguised with a costume). After the trail, we all gathered to enjoy a delicious and energizing bowl of warm cassoulet.

The trail departed at 9am. I took it as a training session for the New York marathon, which I would run 4 weeks later. My training plan indicated that the day of the race I should train 3 hours, 1 of them at marathon pace. Thus a 32km trail would be perfect.

Route of the race as recorded by my Garmin.

Route of the race as recorded by my Garmin.

The trail had just over 500m of elevation gains, spread along many ascensions, none of them very long. In the last ones I had to walk parts of them. The race ran along 2 lakes, crossed small rivers over tree trunks, went through lots of arable fields, some dense forests and the stables of a castle (not in use anymore). I include here some pictures I took during the race:

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In the it took 3 hours and 21 minutes to complete the trail (my Garmin measured 33.4km instead of the announced 32). I finished the 131st out of the 277 runners who completed the long trail (that is 47% percentile, not bad). As mentioned above, to recover from the trail, Luca and I enjoyed a very tasty cassoulet. And just before that I got to donate my running shoes to a NGO so they can have a “second life” in Morocco; a good destination for a pair of snickers with which I made some 3 personal records, 2 in 10km and 1 in marathon. :-)

Donating my old running shoes.

Donating my old running shoes.

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Swiftair MD-83 EC-LTV, BEA interim report

Some weeks ago I read the first interim report from the “Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses” (BEA) on the accident suffered by the Swiftair MD-83 matriculated EC-LTV on July 24th in Mali (find the report here, PDF 5.2MB). The last 1’30” of that flight must have been scary.

Take a look at the records of altitude, attitude, bank angle:

EC-LTV parametres

MD-83 EC-LTV parameters (2014, Mali).

Probably you are familiar with this other graphic that has appeared in the press:

EC-LTV trajectory worked out by BEA from FDR.

EC-LTV trajectory worked out by BEA from FDR.

Today, at lunch while on a training course, I had the chance to discuss about the accident with the course instructor (a retired former Airbus senior vice president in customer services) who pointed me at a similar accident undergone by a MD-82 HK-4374X in Venezuela in August 2005.

I went to the BEA website to check for the report of that other accident (here, PDF 20MB, in Spanish). While the investigation of the EC-LTV will most probably reach to the conclusions of the root causes of the accident, the are many similarities between the cases:

  • Hot weather conditions (ISA+10 or above, that is temperatures not below -30 degrees at FL31),
  • proximity of thunderstorms,
  • use of anti ice (inducing a penalty measured in about 3,000ft penalty for available engine thrust),
  • autopilot engaged in “Speed on Thrust” mode in “Altitude Hold” (making the aircraft pitch upwards when losing speed due to the lack of available power at FL310 due to hot weather and use of anti ice),
  • engine EPR close to maximum values for both engines (followed by a oscillations when the airplane starts to lose speed),
HK-4374X parametres.

MD-82 HK-4374X parameters (2005, Venezuela).

The report of the 2005 accident included a study from NASA and a presentation by Boeing then chief pilot covering similar incidents and showing a 2002 Boeing Flight Operations Bulletin warning flight crews of this kind of situations.

Boeing Flight Operations Bulletin MD-82-02-02A.

Boeing Flight Operations Bulletin MD-82-02-02A.

I’m looking forward for future reports from the BEA to see what are the findings they reach.

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Airbus vs. Boeing, comparison of market forecasts (2014)

Yesterday, Airbus released the new figures of the 2014-33 Airbus’ Global Market Forecast (GMF, PDF 7.5MB).

In previous years, I have published comparisons of both Airbus’ and Boeing’s forecasts (Current Market Outlook, CMO, PDF 5.3MB). You can find below the update of such comparison with the latest released figures from both companies.

Comparison of Airbus GMF and Boeing CMO 2014-2033.

Comparison of Airbus GMF and Boeing CMO 2014-2033.

Some comments about the comparison:

  • Boeing sees demand for 9% more passenger aircraft (excluding regional a/c) with a 10% more value (excluding freighters). The gap is closing, as in previous years Boeing forecasted up to 14% more aircraft.
  • In relation to last year studies, Airbus has increased demand by ~2,000 aircraft whereas Boeing by ~1,000.
  • Boeing continues to play down A380 niche potential (59% less a/c than Airbus’ GMF). This year, both companies have reduced in about 100 units their forecasted demand for the VLA segment.
  • Both companies’ forecast for the twin aisle segment is nearly identical: 7,260 aircraft. The mix between small and intermediate twins varies, 700 units up and down. However, Boeing’s wide-bodies mix is not to be taken as engraved in stone, see the erratic trend in the last years here.
  • On the other hand, Boeing forecasts about 3,600 single-aisle more than Airbus (the gap has closed in 800 units this year). The largest part of the difference comes in the single-aisles over 175 seats (A321, 737-9).
  • In terms of RPKs (“revenue passenger kilometer”), that is, the number of paying passenger by the distance they are transported, they see a similar future: Airbus forecasts for 2033 ~14.5 RPKs (in trillion) while Boeing forecasts 15.5 RPKs.

The main changes from last year’s forecasts are:

  • Both manufacturers have increased their passenger aircraft forecast, ~2,000 a/c Airbus and 1,000 a/c Boeing,.
  • Both manufacturers have increased the value of RPKs in 2033  (about 5-7%).
  • Both manufacturers have increased the volume (trn$) of the market in these 20 years, about 6.7% Airbus (to 4.4trn$) and 5.7% Boeing (to 4.86trn$) (excluding regionals and freighters).

Some lines to retain from this type of forecasts:

  • Passenger world traffic (RPK) will continue to grow about 4.7% per year (5.0% according to Boeing). This is, doubling every ~15 years.
  • Today there are about 16,855 passenger aircraft around the world (according to Airbus), this number will nearly double in the next 20 years to above 30,555 a/c in 2033 (over 33,000 as seen by Boeing).
  • Most deliveries to go to Asia Pacific, 39% or over 12,200 passenger aircraft
  • Domestic travel in China will be the largest traffic flow in 2033 with over 1,500bn RPK, or 11% of the World’s traffic.
  • Over 12,000 aircraft will be retired to be replaced by more eco-efficient type.
Trips per capita vs. GDP per capita (source: Airbus GMF).

Trips per capita vs. GDP per capita (source: Airbus GMF).

As I do every year, I strongly recommend both documents (GMF and CMO) which provide a wealth of information of market dynamics.

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Patrouille de France, Francazal 2014

Yesterday I wrote about the air show in Francazal last Sunday. I finished that post with the following picture:

La Patrouille de France, beginning of the show.

La Patrouille de France, beginning of the show.

… and this comment:

Other day, I will devote one post just with a video of the Patrouille de France performance.

… enjoy it here:

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Francazal air show 2014

Last Sunday, we attended the “1st meeting aerien” (air show) in Francazal, an initiative launched by the association Des Etoiles et des Ailes. The event, in my opinion, was a success measured by the aircraft it gathered and the audience that came to it, despite some logistics issues that need to be improved for a future edition.

More than 50 aircraft were gathered in Francazal, a small airport South of Toulouse. Most of them took part in the dynamic display, not only in the static one. As we came with the baby, we only spent about 2 hours. Nevertheless, we had time to see the following highlights:

  • The 11th brigade of parachuters jumping from a N2501 Noratlas.
  • The Noratlas itself flying (this model was announced as the only Nord Aviation Noratlas in flying condition in the world today).
  • A Japanese Mitsubishi A6M (Zero) and a North American T-6 Texan chasing each other, memories of WWII.
  • A North American P-51 Mustang flying, for many aficionados one of the most beautiful airplanes.
  • A former Air France DC-3 flying, once a common view, not so nowadays. (a joke a local told me in relation to current AF pilots’ strike: “this might be the only Air France taking off today”, a DC-3 in 2014 ;-)).
  • The “Patrouille de France” from l’Armee de l’Air in action, made up of Alpha Jets.
  • The “Breitling Jet Team” in action, made up of L-39 Albatros.

I wanted to share here some of the pictures and videos we took:

Nord Aviation Noratlas.

Nord Aviation Noratlas.

Nord Aviation Noratlas in static display.

Nord Aviation Noratlas in static display.

Mitshubishi Zero.

Mitsubishi Zero.

North American T-6 Texan

North American T-6 Texan

North American P-51 Mustang taxiing.

North American P-51 Mustang taxiing.

Listen to it here:

North American P-51 Mustan in static display.

North American P-51 Mustang in static display.

Andrea and I posing in front of a DC-3.

Andrea and I posing in front of a DC-3.

DC-3 with engines running.

DC-3 with engines running.

Listen to it here:

… see it taking off here:

… and see it overflying Francazal here:

Boeing PT 18 Stearman

Boeing PT 18 Stearman in static display.

Douglas AD-4 Skyraider in static display.

Douglas AD-4 Skyraider in static display.

The Breitling Jet Team L-39 Albatros.

The Breitling Jet Team L-39 Albatros.

La Patrouille de France, beginning of the show.

La Patrouille de France, beginning of the show.

Other day, I will devote one post just with a video of the Patrouille de France performance.

Note: the last time I had attended a show here in Toulouse vicinity was in Muret 2011, you may see the post I wrote then about it.

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Semi marathon Toulouse 2014

Yesterday, I took part in the half (semi) marathon of Toulouse, which is run in the neighbourhood of Sept Deniers. This was the 3rd time I ran the race. Last year, it was there where I set my PB in the distance.

Since a couple of weeks ago I had not been able to set a new PB in 10km in Colomiers, I knew I wasn’t in the fastest shape and thought it would be difficult to beat last year’s time in the 21.1km. I would nevertheless give it a try.

With Andrea before the start.

With Andrea before the start.

I started running at about 4’30” per km, completing the first 10km in about 45’30”. From then on, I was not able to keep that pace. I made some numbers and saw it would be difficult to beat my PB and I went for a plan B, clocking a time below 1h40′.

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At some point of the race, my running bib started to fall from the safety pins I used to hang it from the t-shirt. That might be the reason why, up to now, my time doesn’t appear in the classification, despite of having carried the chip and bib (even if not visible) through the end.

Final sprint.

Final sprint.

My Garmin watch recorded a net time of 1h39’34”, thus plan B accomplished! With that time, plus some more seconds to account for the official time, I would have placed about 237th out of 1257, or percentile 19%, not that bad for a tough morning run (under 20C and 80% humidity).

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