Monthly Archives: July 2018

Vienna City marathon 2018

On Sunday April 22th, together with my friend Juan and brother Jaime, I took part in the Vienna City Marathon.

Riesenrad

At the Wiener Riesenrad in the Prater amusement park.

Since some years ago, I always follow the same 16-week training plan to prepare for the marathons. That lead to a start of the plan at the beinning of January. However, I got the flu at the end of January and that got me for a week in bed. It continued with an otitis and then skiing holidays at the end of February. It was not until the beginning of March that I managed to clock some serious training for some weeks in a row. By then the objective had come to get a level of fitness to finish comfortably the race, no more. In the two half marathons I did in the month and half before the race I could already see that my fitness level was the worst in years…

Vienna_mileage

During the 16 weeks of the nominal training plan, I completed:

  • 447 km of running, thanks to a streak of 5 weeks from March in which I averaged 58 km per week.
  • 13 series / intervals training sessions, out of the 28 included in the plan, and many of those I did were not the ones included in the plan but softer sessions trying to catch up.
  • 4 long runs of over 20 km, 2 half marathons and one session of 28 km plus one of 31 km.

The circuit of the marathon would take us from the International Centre to the Prater, the parks by the Danube river, and then to the city centre to make another excursion through the outskirts of the city, this time to the Schönbrunn Palace and back to centre, then back to the park by the river and back again to the centre to finish by the Rathaus. The organization wanted to show off a bit of the centre and mix it with classical music being played at some points, to match their motto Theatre of emotions.

Circuit

The circuit was flat. The only inconvenient of the race was the heat of the day. That Sunday several marathons took place in Europe (Madrid, London…). In all of them the main issue was the heat. We had almost 19° C when I started, it went up to 27° C or more by the end. The organization did not spare the provision of water but when the heat hits like that you need to focus on not getting suffocated and run at a softer pace.

Vienna_3

My race strategy was clear: to complete the marathon comfortably at a pace slightly slower than the one I am used to; for that purpose I would try to run a 3h45′ marathon for while to fall back at the second half of the race targeting a 3h55′ or 4h marathon. I quickly found that it would be hard to be under 4 hours. Just before the half marathon point I had to make technical stop which cost me a few minutes. Since then I ran at about 5’45” per km for a few more kilometres.

Pace_Vienna

In my mind I started figuring that I could encounter my brother Jaime, since he had started about 15 minutes before from a different block and was shorter of training. And so it happened. At about the km 30 I saw him at a cross road and I caught him about 5 minutes later. He told me to continue ahead as he was suffering and struggling with the pace (see here his post about the race). I told him that by then I would no longer be under 4 hours but rather 4h06′, 4h16′ or 4h26′, so I’d rather stay with him and finish another marathon together as we had done in Madrid in 2015 or in Millau the same year.

Vienna_5

From then on we ran at about 7’15” per km till the end. They were about 11 kilometres of keeping a soft but steady pace under the sun, drinking at every supplies post, chasing the few shades along the circuit and getting prepared for the finish line.

Vienna_4

In the end, I clocked a net time of 4h23’08”. It was my 18th marathon completed. It is  great feeling of accomplishment to finish a race in such conditions even if with a discrete time, and always happy to still be able to complete them, even more together with my brother and friends.

Finish

With the 4h23’08”, my worst marathon since 2001, I finished in the 3236th place, out of 5434 finishers, in 40% percentile, down in the lower half.

At the finish line we took some pictures with Jaime and with our friend Juan and Balint, a Hungarian fellow that Juan had met in a previous marathon in Madrid.

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Review of Boeing Current Market Outlook 2018

Two weeks ago, on the second day of Farnborough air show, Boeing Commercial published its yearly update of the Current Market Outlook (CMO) for the next 20 years of commercial aircraft market (2018-2037).

I have just compared the figures for passenger aircraft of the last two years’ CMOs:

CMO 2018 vs 2017 comparison

CMO 2018 vs. 2017 comparison.

Some comments to it:

  • You can see that the total number of new aircraft delivered has slightly increased from 40,110 to 41,750, a 4.1%, which is consistent with the 4.7% traffic increase (1) that Boeing predicts (2).
  • The volume (Bn$) increases by a higher percentage, 4.8% (280 Bn$) up to 6.07 Trn$. This is due to the increase in the single-aisle aircraft expected sales in volume (9%, +300 Bn$) and aircraft (6.2%, +1,830), as the other segments see both a forecast decrease in terms of volume and aircraft.
  • For years, Boeing has been dowplaying in its CMO the demand for the segment of the large aircraft (seen as mainly 747, A380 and some other high capacity aircraft, depending on the manufacturer). Last year, Boeing stopped to consider them a category by themselves and merged that category with the “intermediate twin-aisle” (i.e. 777, A350…). This year, Boeing has further reduced the detail provided in the wide-body category by merging large aircraft with the small wide-body (i.e. 787, A330…) segments and now provides a single forecast for wide-body.

This year presentation did not include slides showing the accuracy of Boeing’s CMO of 20 years ago in predicting today’s fleet. They used to include such a slide in previous years’ presentations. I will come back to that in a following post.

Find below a slide from the excutive summary [PDF, 263 kB] that provides a good snapshot of the forecast that the guys from Boeing have put up together:

BoeingCMOinfographic2018.png

As always, I recommend going through the CMO, as you can learn a lot about the business: from global numbers, to growth, traffic figures, fleet distributions, forecasts, etc… You may find the presentation [PDF, 5.1 MB], a file [XLS, 0.6 MB] with all the data or the full CMO report [PDF, 11 MB].

(1) Traffic increased measured in RPKS (revenue passenger kilometers) in trillions.

(2) These two ratios, 4.1% fleet demand and 4.7% traffic growth, point to an implicit increase in the average size of the aircraft in fleet and / or a higher utilization of the aircraft (higher availability).

(3) Find the reviews I wrote comparing 2017 CMO with 2016 CMO2016 CMO with 2015 CMO2015 CMO with 2014 CMO2014 CMO with 2013 CMO and 2013 CMO with 2012 CMO.

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Flight excursion to the Flying Legends airshow at Duxford.

Two weeks ago, Albert, a work colleague, and I took one of the aeroclub’s DR-400 airplanes to make a flight excursion from Toulouse to Northampton Sywell, Old Warden and Duxford (England) as part of a “Fly out” organised by the Aviation Society of the Airbus Staff Council, in which 6 aircraft would make the trip.

The main purpose of the flight was twofold:

  • Visit the Shuttleworth collection and their evening flight display on Saturday 14th July.
  • Visit the Flying Legends airshow at Duxford, hosted at the Imperial War Museum, on Sunday 15th July.
Mont Saint 34_Michel

Mont Saint Michel.

During the trip we were to make 6 flights: Toulouse Lasbordes (LFCL) – Cherbourg (LFRC), Cherbourg – Sywell (EGBK), Sywell – Old Warden (EGTH), Old Warden – Fowlmere (EGMA), Fowlmere – Laval (LFOV), Laval – Toulouse Lasbordes. In all about 14 hours of flight time, which we split among the two of us, together with sharing the navigation and radio communications workload.

Flights_picture

We prepared the flights using Mach 7 online tool, with which we generated the flight logs and routes for GPS, which could only be charged onto Albert’s smartphone, I replicated them in my Air Navigator app on my phone as well, however we did most of the navigation by way of following the paper charts.

Chart

Having to fly most of France from South to North, we decided to overfly some castles of the Loire Valley (Chenonceau, Cheverny and Chambord), the racing circuit of Le Mans and Omaha beach in Normandy (which we couldn’t see well due to the presence of clouds at the time we passed). See below some of the pictures we took of those places (with the smartphone, no pro cameras on board).

1_Chenonceau

Château de Chenonceau.

2_Cheverny

Château de Cheverny.

3_Chambord

Château de Chambord.

4_Le Mans

Racing circuit of Le Mans.

We then made a stop, refuelled the airplane, ate some energy bars and departed for England. The weather seemed uncertain and there were several air traffic restrictions due to the Royal International Air Tattoo going on at Fairford, preparations for Farnborough air show, and the visit of Donald Trump, staying at Buckinghamshire. However, our colleague found a corridor through which we could fly smoothly past 15 h local time. We over flew the English Channel (La Manche) and approached the islands by first flying over the Isle of Wight (where I stayed one month during the summer of 1999 working at Camp Beaumont in Bembridge, at the eastern corner of the island, pictured below), the Hayling island leaving Portsmouth to our left, then up North by way of Winchester, Reading, Oxford and then Northampton. But as you can imagine, as there are not sign posts in the sky we were flying following the instruments and different navigation references close to those places. We took the opportunity to over fly Silverstone racing circuit.

5_Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight.

6_Silverstone

Silverstone racing circuit.

We then landed at Sywell, where we stayed for a night at the Aviators hotel, by the aerodrome, an ideal place to make an overnight stop.

 

The following morning we made a short flight to Old Warden, a small grass aerodrome where the Shuttleworth collection is based.

I found about the Shuttleworth collection some years ago in Twitter and started following their account (@Shuttleworth_OW). They happen to have arguably the largest collection of flying aircraft from the 1910s and 1920s. They do have the oldest flying machine in airworthy condition, a Bleriot XI from 1909. Rather than introducing the collection with a few paragraphs, I share here this video from their site:

For me, visiting the collection was a dream come true, moreover on a day in which they would fly most of their airplanes. See below a few pictures.

10_Bleriot XI

1909 Bleriot XI. The original oldest airplane in airworthy condition.

11_Triplanes

1920s biplanes (DX60X Moth, Southern Martlet).

12_Bristol Boxkite

Bristol Boxkite 1910 replica flying.

9_Avro Triplane

Avro Triplane 1910 replica.

I wanted to share a short video I took of the Bristol Boxkite 1910 replica flying just after taking off (a replica built in 1965). It took its time to gain some altitude, always at quite low speeds. It never went much higher than 50 ft. It was wonderful to see it flying.

We stayed the night over at the camping by the aerodrome and in the morning we departed for Fowlmere, another grass aerodrome a few miles from Duxford. The taxiway at Fowlmere was fully packed of small airplanes (including the Antonov An-2 coming from Germany that you can see below) and tents of pilots that had been camping the previous night or would camp the following one, as we did.

 

We got a faboulous breakfast at the airfield and then drove to Duxford to attend the Flying Legends air show and visit the Imperial War Museum.

Flying-Legends-2018Our Fly out was organised by a fellow British colleague, Derek. He recalled how being brought to Flying Legends as a child by his father had been a marking moment. He only came again decades later. The air show is one of the biggest and best classic aviation events in the world. If you have the chance to visit it once, do not hesitate, go.

This year the show commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force and the 50th anniversary of the filming of Battle of Britain which had Duxford as one of the locations and some of those very airplanes as main characters of the movie. Other locations of the filming were the Tablada airfield in Seville (where Airbus Defence has facilities), the coast in Huelva passed as Dunkirk or San Sebastian as if it was Berlin.

There are plenty of aircraft to see up close, from the flight line, many exhibitors come with  books, models, clothing, memorabilia, etc., you’ve got the museum in itself (!) to visit, you have literally dozens of WWII birds flying, among them: Supermarine Spitfire (we saw a formation of 11 of them flying), Hawker Hurricane, North American P-51 Mustang and resident Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B (only B-17 in flight in Europe)… By the end of the day you will be more than overwhelmed, exhausted, but with that smile of wonder when watching those jewels fly up in the air while you hear the engines roaring, the music and the explanations from the commentator of the show.

21_Flying Fortress

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B.

20_Flying Fortress

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B.

 

See this short video of the Balbo formation flight at the end of the display with 25 single engine WWII birds flying…

After the show we headed back to Fowlmere where we had dinner with three other colleagues (French and German) before walking to the airfield to camp by our airplane, which felt as the aviation of the beginning of the XX century.

22_camping

Fowlmere_4

Monday 16th July, feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, was the day to come back to Toulouse. The weather seemed good in England and to cross the channel but not so in France, so we took it with calm. We flew through the East of London, crossed the channel and then overflew all the coast of Normandy down to Omaha beach, then we headed South West to the Mont Saint Michel and then to the airport of Laval. There we rested for a couple of hours, ate more energy bars, studied the meteorological conditions to go further South and finally departed back to Toulouse Lasbordes.

24_London

London skyline.

25_Qeen E II bridge & Littlebrook Power Station

Queen Elizabeth II bridge and Littlebrook Power Station.

26_Thames

Thames river estuary.

27_Cliffs d'Etretat

Cliffs of Étretat, Normandy (France).

28_Le Havre Pont de Normandie

Le Havre. Pont de Normandie.

29_Oil tankers

Oil tanker ships departing from Le Havre.

30_Sword beach

Sword beach (British). Normandy Landing.

31_Arromanches

Remainings of Arromanches mulberry bridge.

32_American cemetery Omaha

American cemetery at Omaha beach.

33_Omaha beach

Omaha beach.

Mont Saint 34_Michel

Mont Saint Michel.

Main takeaways and afterthoughts:

  • The airshows and visits were totally worth it. Dreams come true.
  • Over flying those castles, circuits, beaches, historical landscapes… you can imagine, breathtaking.
  • Radio communications: much easier than expected, in England as well (even if the there were lots of radio frequency changes to be made around London). French in France, English in England.
  • We made ourselves follow in each air space. It forces you to interact more with the control but it adds to the safety of flight (traffic information overflying Saint Michel or the castles is advice-able).
  • Flight plans: in France they are not required for the long flights we did South-North flying spaces E and G. But we filed them. It allows the control to better follow you. They know your plans, they give clearances for D spaces without hesitation.
  • All the terrains we visited in England required PPRs (a colleague took care of this).
  • To fly into England a GAR report must be submitted in advance.
  • We didn’t touch a single sterling pound in the four days, credit cards almost did the trick for everything. A colleague had to pay for a taxi and a meal. We could have avoided that by selecting alternatives which accepted credit card payment.
  • We had to divert due to the meteorological conditions when arriving to one of the destinations. Clouds and fog were closing our visibility. We found ourselves with no more than 3-4 km of visibility and flying very low, so we turned back. The two diversion aerodromes we had initially selected would not do the trick (in the middle of the cloud region). We had to look for a third one in flight. That was stressful. Luckily we were two pilots on board: one keeping the airplane on air, the other navigating, looking for a suitable aerodrome and downloading the aerodrome chart (we carried about 30 on board, but not the one we finally needed). Lessons learnt: never spare charts, you may need them; ensure you’ve got batteries and chargers on board (you may need them in the worst situation), if you are the only pilot on board, but have passengers with you, try to get one of them briefed in advance of what can he or she do if something happens.

After this excursion I have completed just above 120 flight hours, and I am quite happy with the flight training provided by the aeroclub and system in France. Before the excursion we had some uncertainties about some aspects of the flight. In the end all of it was much easier than expected.

 

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