Biggles Byrnes Browneye

Fly me to the moon
Flight manual
Frank Byrnes has just submitted these photos for the Welcome to Wallyworld Photo Caption Contest. Interestingly the "Flight Manual" came as a "bmp" file. I've been sitting here wondering what "bmp" stands for. I'm sure someone will tell me. "Bum Photo"? "Beginners Manual Photo"? I dunno. Thanks Frank. You've given Pervy a new screensaver. Now if it were mex's bottie I'm sure fingers would be whacking it up on his screen as well, faster than you can say "Buy dinars". As it is, he's just "whacking it up".

And then Mountjoy got excited and sent us this shot of an F4 moondoggie. "Moon Over the Pacific"
kiss my arse

This photograph was taken in the late 70’s on a mid-winter flight from Okinawa to The States for delivery of a RF-4C.

Sometime after the fifth or sixth in-flight refueling, the normal boredom began to set in and to keep occupied the Phantom crews talked to the crew members of the tanker Aircraft on the HF radio just to chit-chat. During the conversation it was revealed that the tanker had some additional passengers on board, which included a flight nurse that was catching a hop back to The States. The nurse was then invited onto the flight deck, and talked to the crews of the F-4s and instantly became quite good friends with the pilot of the F-4.

It was during the next refueling, when after the F-4 had "hooked-up" and began taking fuel, that the boom operator suddenly went out of view, and was replaced by a totally naked flight nurse, that then pressed her breasts against the refueling window. The pilot of the F4 almost had an emergency "break-away" but hung in there and took the full off-load.

Following this flashing, the crew of the F-4 decided to retaliate and took a high position on the tanker’s left wing. Since it was a winter flight, the crew was also required to wear the famous "poopy suit," or anti-exposure flight suit in addition to the normal clothing. Luckily the pilot had first pinned the ejection seat before he began to undress. Anyone that has ever flown the Phantom will appreciate the degree of difficulty in performing this manoeuvre.

First the leg restraints had to be released, then the parachute was unbuckled, along with the seat pack and lap belt restraints. Next, off came the winter flight jacket, the normal flight suit and gloves, then the poopy suit, the thermal underwear and so forth. Then he had to stand on his head.

The picture was taken by the pilot of the other F-4. The nurse, by the way, loved the gesture and met the pilot of the F-4 that night at the Officer's Club, but that’s another story.

Mountjoy has the last word with this shot. And no, Frank, it hasn't been photoshoped.231239-279101-thumbnail.jpg
click to fly


A Sticky Situation for Renault

Renault Megane
I didn't have time to find a good shot of the new Renault Megane but this Ad on the Renault website is a goodie. I dedicate it to my mate Wendy with love and kisses. Have a look at this (yeah, yeah...workplace safe) Play the Webfilm in the top left corner after entering the site. Does that make your day Wends? You can even call the guy "fingers".


Paris Retromobile

231239-275623-thumbnail.jpgParis Retromobile (An exhibition of old cars, motorbikes and model cars) is on at the moment. I like this poster. Every year at this time, for the past five years, I've been going out late at night and swiping these from billboards to send back home.

Have a look at these beauties. The first one is a Citroën CX Break (stationwagon). Designed by Pinanfarina. They used them as ambulances and hearses in France. I had a 1977 model in Australia. Loved it. You could fold the seats down and slide a mattress in. And the suspension was the pump-up green dragon's oil number - best ride ever. At rest the car sat really low. When you started the motor it would rise up off its haunches to the pre-selected height. I once forgot about this feature and stashed three surfboards under the car before falling asleep on a deserted headland south of Bermagui. I woke up in the morning to squashed surfboards.
The next shot is a early Seventies (I think) Citroën Safari. They were cool. Not many made it out to Australia.231239-275626-thumbnail.jpg
Citroën CX Break
What's this?
Panhard all-terrain
Surf woodie?
le Easy Rider

More photos here - Retro


Onboard M/V Orion to Antarctica

pho.orion.gifMy mate Michael Davies and his son Lewis are aboard this luxurious small ship en-route to the Antarctica from Sydney. Unreal. orion cruises Tuesday 17th 10.00 am

We are getting close to Macquarie Island now, expect to go ashore soon after lunch. We have been travelling at around 13 knots on a south easterly course with a 25 knot westerly wind and a swell of 2 – 3 metres since we left Hobart on Saturday night. Pretty mild conditions for the Southern Ocean but some of the passengers have been not been travelling well. Hope they get better before we get to the rough stuff.

click to enlarge
We have had 4 or 5 albatross following for the last couple of days and saw 4 whales yesterday. They disappeared pretty quick though – probably mistook us for the Japs!

The ship is amazing. Built in Germany 3 years ago it has been to some really out of the way places before coming to Australia including up the Amazon and Orinoko Rivers as well as 2 previous trips to Antarctica from South America. It carries 100 passengers and 75 crew, has a restaurant, 2 bars, gym, theatre & beauty salon.

The food is 5 star and dinner is a full a la carte affair. Our cabin is fantastic and we have a full ensuite and plasma screen with an av feed from the bridge with a GPS plot of our position, cameras around the ship so you can see where we are going, satellite tv, in house movies and DVD player. And internet access as well. We are definitely not roughing it.

Here's a couple of pics – I'll send some more after we've been ashore.

Tuesday 18th 8.00 am


We arrived at Macquarie island yesterday afternoon.

We couldn't go ashore there unfortunately because it was too windy. As in smoking windy. It was gusting well over 60 knots and blowing the tops off the waves in puffs of sea smoke so we all retired to the bar for cocktails.

Before long the experience became more than a little surreal when it actually started snowing. There we were sitting in the Leda Lounge sipping Cubre Libres and Gin Slings as we cruised the lee side of the island while the snow fell down between the gusts and the pianist played a medley of Cole Porter classics.

It felt for all the world like a rainy afternoon in the lounge of the Hydro Majestic in the Blue Mountains except instead of looking over the Megalong Valley the view was of white caps, cliffs and millions of penguins on the beaches.

On one of the beaches about half a million penguins were shoulder to shoulder around these huge rusting iron tanks called steam digestors which were once used to boil the penguins up for their oil. That is after they had wiped out the seals and sea elephants. Hard to believe that people used to sail all the way down here to boil up the local wildlife, but I guess you could say that this time the penguins won. It's a fairly stark reminder though that the history of the southern oceans was (and still is) one of absolutely indiscriminate exploitation.

Speaking of which, one of the places we are going is the Commonwealth Bay area so there's a good chance we'll see the whaling fleet and the Greenpeace boats down there.

We headed south from Macquarie last night into the tail end of a low pressure system so we copped a bit of a pounding overnight. With a bit of luck we'll get down to the Antarctic latitudes before the next low comes through.


Macquarie Island
231239-250996-thumbnail.jpgFriday 20th 11.00 pm

Took this pic a few minutes ago. We will be in the pack ice in a couple of hours and go ashore at Cape Denison (site of Mawsons HUt) tomorrow. Should have a few good shots then.

No cloud and glassy seas with a long low swell - conditions couldn't be better.

Only problem is that the sun takes from 6.00 pm to midnight to go down so afternoon cocktails can get a bit messy!

22nd Jan

Internet access is pretty intermittent here so I'll make it quick.

Went ashore at Cape Denison (Mawson's Hut) yesterday.

Stuck in a 60 knot blizzard surrounded by pack ice all day today!

Here's some pics and I'm back to the bar.

"Orion" odd Cape Denison


Getting Any Bites?

Gidday fella
food chain
Any sharks around here mate?

This tiger shark was landed last Monday after it latched onto this smaller shark, which was caught on shark lines off Tannum Beach, North Queensland.


This Ship Has Flipped!

click on FLIP
FLIP: The World's Strangest Research Lab

Doors in the floor, portholes in the ceiling, tables bolted sideways to walls, stairs leading to nowhere! What kind of a research lab is this?231239-215393-thumbnail.jpg231239-215395-thumbnail.jpg

Meet FLIP, a very strange piece of oceanographic equipment used by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. FLIP isn't a ship, even though researchers live and work on it for weeks at a time while they conduct scientific studies in the open ocean.

FLIP stands for Floating Instrument Platform: it is actually a huge specialized buoy. One of its creators described it as looking like a 355-foot long ( 108 m) baseball bat. If that isn't unusual enough, it really flips!

Go HERE for more on FLIP.


Fishin' Photos


Saturday October 1
Wet Old Day in Paris

I came across these terrific old photographs of Zane Grey, the Western writer and big-gamefisherman. These are from the 30s when there were still plenty of big fish left in the sea. Zane Grey held numerous game-fishing records that weren't broken for another twenty or thirty years. He sailed all over the Pacific slaughtering big fish wherever he found them. He had a particular hatred for sharks and took great delight in shooting as many of them as he could.

He once battled and nearly landed an estimated twenty-five foot long Black Marlin in New Zealand (possibly weighing as much as 2,500 lbs). Those days are over. The B/W photo to the left is a Tahitian Chieftain congratulating Zane Grey in 1930 on landing a world record 1040 lbs Marlin. The fish next to it ( a tuna I think) has been attacked by sharks.MVC-059L-mini.jpgMVC-082L-mini.jpgzg107c-1.jpg


WWII Spitfire Flies Again

click on thumbnail
Saturday September 17

Regular readers of this site will be familiar with my tale of a nutty bloke I met who was, amongst other eccentricities, somewhat of an expert on the specifications of the Second World War Spitfire aircraft.

So I was interested to see in today’s (English) The Daily Telegraph a Letter to the Editor concerning the Spitty.

SIR – By all means let us have some posthumous honour for RJ Mitchell, the engineering genius behind the Spitfire. However, there are at least two men of equal genius without whom the Spitfire would have been just another aeroplane.

Joseph Smith, who became chief designer at Supermarine after Mitchell’s tragically early death at the age of 42 in 1937, had been Mitchell’s assistant. The Spitfire, though superbly elegant and agile with its elliptic wings and slim, stressed-skin body, was a nightmare to manufacture. It verged on impossible to mass-produce accurately in different factories so that all parts, wherever made, would be interchangeable for service and repair in the field.

Smith solved all these problems during the war for the production of more than 20,000 Spitfires. In addition, he produced a constant flow of modifications to keep ahead of the brilliant and sometimes temporarily superior fighter designs produced by Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf to challenge the Spitfire throughout the war. Smith had to develop three or four new types of Spitfire every year from 1939 to 1945 to keep pace with operational needs. He did so while retaining his mentor’s signature of clean aerodynamics, agility, gun power and sensitive handling.

The genius of Mitchell and Smith would not have been realised without the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, which excelled in producing enormous reliable power from a unit slim enough to fit into a highly aerodynamic body. The Merlin powered not only the Spitfire, but also the Hurricane, as well as thousands of Lancaster and Mosquito bombers...

Peter Lloyd

Blacker Hill

S Yorks

I’m proud to say that the Spitfire is being built again in Brisbane, Australia, albeit as a 80% scale kit plane.

Mike O’Sullivan, a flynut from Outback Queensland has been building them since 1994. They come with a twin overhead cam 24 valve GM V6 of 260 H.P. at a cost of around A$120,000 depending on configuration.

See them here – 231239-171973-thumbnail.jpg
Spitfire factory231239-171989-thumbnail.jpg

The original prototype Spitfire made its maiden flight on 5 March 1936 and went into production, as the Mark 1, in July 1938. It was the first all-metal stressed-skin fighter produced in Britain.

When Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939, RAF Fighter Command fielded 187 Spitfires in front-line units. Its large elliptical wing gave it the ability to turn very tightly. This was its one major asset when it met the otherwise comparable German Messerschmitt Me109E in the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940. However, for a time, the ability of the 109’s direct-injection engine to keep running under negative gravity – as when suddenly going into a dive – proved an embarrassment to the spluttering Merlin with its float-chamber carburettor.

By 1941, the Spitfire VB had been fitted with the more powerful Merlin 45 engine and also much-needed cannon and was a match for the Me109. By the end of the war, the Spitfire was available in 19 different versions. It later served in North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Far East. The final delivery of this legendary plane was made in October 1947.

Now what have I done with that spare $100K I was saving for a rainy day...I’m gonna need a large shed too. And some flying leathers.


Hot Diggity Dog! - it's Frankfurt time.

Tramonto rear

Smart Crosstown
mini countryman
Tuesday September 12,

Frankfurt, Germany

Press day at the 61st Frankfurt Auto Show. Three concept cars in particular turn my crank this year - the Mini Traveller Countryman, the Smart Crosstown and the immensely elegant Tramonto. Forget the specs for a moment and drool over the bodies.

The Tramonto is from the design pad of Henrik Fisker who brought us the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9. Now he's adding panels to a Mercedes Benz SL55 AMG to give us the Tramonto. Specs? 610 h.p. supercharged 5.5 Litre V8 giving 0-60 m.p.h. in 3.6 seconds and a top speed on the autobahn of 202 m.p.h. - Yee-hah! (unless the cops get you like they did the Cannonball Runners recently(drug tested, busted and jailed as well as heavily fined for speeding). Drool over these shots. The Mini's cute n'est-ce pas? I can see myself driving around the Palm Beach bends in that one. And the Smart is straight out of a cartoon. 231239-170373-thumbnail.jpg231239-170139-thumbnail.jpg231239-170150-thumbnail.jpg231239-170376-thumbnail.jpg231239-170162-thumbnail.jpg231239-170183-thumbnail.jpg231239-170384-thumbnail.jpg231239-170432-thumbnail.jpg231239-170436-thumbnail.jpg


Fly Mickey Mouse Airlines...and Die

Thursday September 8, 2005

After six major air crashes in as many weeks it’s time to ask yourself – is it safe to fly?

A report this week in the U.K.’s The Independent  ( ) quotes one of the world’s leading experts in air safety as saying “It’s a very, very long time since we’ve had this many (accidents) even in one year. It’s a really freakish time.”

David Learmount, operations and safety editor of the respected Flight International magazine says, nonwithstanding the recent spate of accidents, modern aircraft are much safer than their predecessors. They incorporate important new key features such as the enhanced ground proximity warning system which has eliminated what was the major cause of air passenger death – planes flying into mountains hidden in cloud. Modern planes also have digital instrument technology in the cockpit which is much more informative and reliable than the old analog dials.

David Learmount says “You don’t have a lot of little electrical and mechanical instruments, each one of which can misrepresent things, or fail. You now have far more capable technology, screens which can tell you more things, more quickly and more accurately and will not fail.”

The problem of planes crashing is a cultural one – the less-developed countries have a much less strong safety culture. They often have a cavalier attitude to road safety, building safety, personal safety and airline safety. So flying on airlines other than the “majors” is simply not as safe. The tickets may be cheap but what's your life worth?

Learmount says “Statistics tell us that it’s safe to fly, but they also tell us who it’s safe to fly with.”

“If you take these recent crashes, apart from the Air France one, where everybody got out safely, as they were meant to do, ask yourself if you have heard of the airlines concerned.” 231239-166124-thumbnail.jpg
"up, up and away"

(They are, respectively Turinter from Tunisia, Helios from Cyprus, West Carribean from Columbia, TANS from Peru and Mandala from Indonesia. (The Mickey Mouse Club.)

“The answer is that you haven’t heard of them. This is not surprising, this is fact. There are massively different standards of safety achieved by airlines in different parts of the world. African airlines have always been the least safe to fly with: there are exceptions like South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, interestingly enough, is another. But on the whole they have a pretty awful record. Latin America had been getting better than it used to be recently, but perhaps it’s reverting to type, I don’t know, and Indonesia has always been poor.”

Fly with the majors. They have a superb safety record (our own Qantas included). Countries which are more modern, politically and economically, have the luxury of a safety culture, which applies to everything, such as road safety, and not just aviation.

All modern airplanes are safe. But they may not be if they don’t get proper maintenance and proper crew training. In some countries crews are trained to a minimum standard. The major airlines train their crews much better.

And it’s the same with aviation regulatory authorities. Learmount says “In most of the Western world, civil aviation authorities do the job they’re supposed to do. Any airlines trying to break the rules might get away with it once in a small way, but if they keep on trying they’ll lose their license. Yet in some countries the civil aviation authority doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, and you have a watchdog only in name.”

Learmount assures us “There’s no doubt about it, aviation is a lot safer than it used to be.”

Just don’t fly Mickey Mouse.