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VIJAY SHAH (writer) and SUNNY ATWAL (contributor)
From the earliest days of human civilisation, people have dreamt of taking to the skies. Our ancestors watched birds, insects and bats dominate the world above us, and imagined that one day, they too could travel above the ground and above the clouds.
The desire for flight was a dream of many ancient peoples. The Hindu epics of ancient India, particularly the Vedas, mentioned flying machines known as vimanas, airborne chariots of the gods. The Greek legend of Daedalus and Icarus, prisoners of the island of Crete who made a bid for freedom with wings made from eagle feathers and wax, only for Icarus to fly too close to the sun, melting his wings and falling to his demise. The Saqqara bird, a bird-shaped model made from sycamore wood, dating from 200 BC and found in the tomb of the ancient Egyptian Pa-di-Imen in 1898, is in the shape of a falcon, but with wings uncannily similar to that of a modern glider aircraft.
However it was not until the technological awakening that accompanied the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century did flight by humans become more than just the stuffs of whimsical legends. At the turn of the 20th century, the skies above Europe and North America were dominated by the dirigible, also known as the airship or Zeppelin. These huge balloons, filled with hundreds of tonnes of hydrogen, became the first commercial success of the new aviation industry, ferrying both passengers and cargo across the world. The airship was prominent enough by the 1910s, that during the First World War, the Germans fitted out fleets of Zeppelins with bombs for attacks on cities in the U.K.
Sadly the popularity of airships as passenger transportation came to a sudden end with the Hindenburg disaster of 1937, when the passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg, which was on a Transatlantic route from Frankfurt, Germany, to New Jersey, USA, crashed as it moored at the Lakehurst Air Naval Station. The Hindenburg burst into flames and was burnt to a shell, killing 36 people. The ill-fated aircraft, which had previously undertaken several journeys across both Atlantic Oceans, was carrying 36 passengers and 61 crew. For a long time, this was the worst air disaster in history.
As the use of airships declined, a new beast was taking to the skies. The first manned flight was the simple wooden biplane flown by the American Wright brothers in 1903. The brothers, Orville and Wilbur, first began experimenting with gliders at their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio in 1896, and by 1902, had made more than 700 successful flights with their homemade glider, using the gentle winds at a beach in Kitty Hawk. On December the 17th, 1903, Orville Wright sat in the cockpit of his biplane in North Carolina, about to make aviation history. Though the flight was small in both elevation and duration, with the pilot travelling for 12 seconds at 20 feet height for a distance of 120 feet, an important milestone in human flight was marked for ever more.
Eleven years later, the first ‘airliner’ appeared. The Sikorsky Ilya Muromets, which was a large model of biplane built by Russians, made its maiden flight on December 10, 1913. Historians largely consider the Sikorsky the first definitive passenger plane, as it has a separate cabin for travellers, with on board facilities such as toilets, bedrooms, and even a set of wicker chairs. It was frequented by the wealthy elite of pre-Soviet Russia but its time was cut short by the outbreak of the First World War, otherwise Russia would have probably become a world leader in intercontinental aviation.
The United States, now a dominant force in commercial aviation in terms of plane manufacturing, quickly picked up where the Russians left off. The first U.S. commercial plane was a Curtiss JN 4, operated by the Elliott Air Service, which was used as a touring plane as well as for training.
Commercial flights for tourists began to appear by the 1930s, with the establishment of national airlines with their own fleets of branded planes, as well as the first full-scale construction of airports for handling holidaymakers and their cargoes. Flights at that time though were incredibly expensive, with only the very rich being able to afford the fares. A transatlantic flight from London to New York costed in the region of £300,000. Nevertheless, new airlines began to spring up, such as Imperial Airways (the forerunner to current flag bearer British Airways) in the U.K., Lufthansa (which still operates) in Germany, KLM in the Netherlands, and America’s United Airlines. Planes moved into having multiple engines which allowed for larger craft carrying more passengers.
By the end of the 1940s, the first true jet, the de Havilland Comet (DH 106 Comet) was developed and flown here in the U.K. in Hertfordshire. Debuting in 1952, the early jet became renowned for its comfortable and quiet passenger cabins, however its success was impeded by numerous faults, flight problems and Comets falling apart during test flights. The Comet was however the first multi-passenger aircraft bearing a strong resemblance to today’s planes, with a separate cockpit, galley, washroom facilities and seats separated by a central aisle for passengers and crew to walk down.
The Fifties and Sixties saw not only the consolidation of the modern airline industry as we know it, but also the appearance of the first ‘package holidays’ offering people on more modest incomes to travel to holidays, opening their world to a luxury previously only afforded to aristocrats and flight engineers. In the U.K. tour operators started offering cheap breaks to places like Spain and Italy.
The Seventies saw the dawn of the aircraft we know and love today, the Boeings and Airbuses. The Boeing company, with roots dating back to the wooden biplane era of the 1910s, began constructing airliners in 1958, with its first model christened the 707. In service until 1979, the Boeing 707 could carry up to 219 passengers. It beacme a hit commercially and dominated the nascent air travel industry, ushering in the ‘Jet Age’.
Planes began to get a lot more interesting when Concorde landed in March 1969. The Anglo-French creation was the world’s first supersonic jet, with a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.04 (1,354 mph or 2,180 km/h at cruise altitude), with seating for 92 to 128 passengers. Frequented by British Airways and Air France, who were the sole permitted users, Concorde, with its distinctive pointy nose and highly aerodynamic wings, could reach the US in half the time of a competitor airliner, and it became a by-word for airborne luxury. The plane last flew in 2003.
Nowadays most commercial jets are from the Boeing hangar, comprising 777s, 727s and 767s. The European consortium Airbus has recently challenged Boeing’s supremacy, and is also the company that has heralded what could be the biggest change to the jet industry since the Jet Age began.
Airbus is the firm behind the A380, which is quite unique among modern plane in that it has two floors, a double-decker structure, similar to buses like London’s Routemasters. The A380 was born from top-secret plans first begun in the 1980s for a future series of ultra-high-capacity airliners (UHCA). At a cost of €8.8 billion, the first delivery of a live A380 took place in 2007, with Singapore Airlines the buyer, and the 200th was sold in 2016. Most of the main parts of the aircraft’s fuselage and operational elements are constructed in four countries (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) and many of these parts are so large that special transportation equipment had to built to carry them to various plants.
The A380, which resembles a chubbier version of a normal Airbus jet, can carry up to 888 passengers and can fly from Hong Kong to New York non-stop. The wings alone are an impressive feat of engineering, with 32,000 major parts, 750,000 rivets, 23 miles of wiring and, when assembled, a pair will have a span wider than a football pitch. Each plane costs USD $436.9 million (£359 million). It is much quieter inside than other commercial airliners, with fifty per cent less cabin noise, and has fifty per cent more space and legroom too. This fits up to 10 seats across in economy class. The two levels of the A380 are connected by wide stairways. Many are said to be equipped with bars, restaurants and duty-free shops. Planes owned by Emirates airlines come with showers and Qantas A380s are equipped with relaxing bar lounges. The plane’s wide aisles and plentiful space make it much easier for passengers to mingle and socialise, with 220 or so windows, providing a lot of natural light in the plane. It is also the greener alternative with the lowest cost per seat and the lowest emissions per passenger of any large aircraft. The planes also spend less time occupying runways in comparison to older models.
The A380 and its descendants could well be the future of air travel, drastically opening up international journeys to a wider audience and making an already small world seem even smaller.
“Saqqara Bird” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saqqara_Bird
“Hindenburg disaster” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindenburg_disaster
“The Wright Brothers – First Flight, 1903”, EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2003). http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/wright.htm
“Airliner” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airliner
“de Havilland Comet” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Comet
“Boeing” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing
“Boeing 707” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_707
“Concorde” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concorde
“Airbus A380” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A380
“Top 10 Most Commonly Sold Commercial Jets to Airlines” – Sammy Said, TheRichest (24 May 2013) http://www.therichest.com/business/technology/top-10-most-commonly-sold-commercial-jets-to-airlines/
“Wings of desire” – Aida Edemariam, The Guardian/Guardian News and Media Limited (23 February 2006) https://www.theguardian.com/business/2006/feb/23/theairlineindustry.travelnews
“The 10 best features of the A380” – Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi – Innovation Hub/Etihad Airways (14 November 2014) http://innovation.etihad.com/the-10-best-features-of-the-a380/
“Wright Brothers’ First Flight” – David Erickson, Flickr (8 August 2007) https://www.flickr.com/photos/e-strategycom/1053324103
mrminibike, Pixabay (20 July 2008) https://pixabay.com/p-788573/?no_redirect
A Facebook post I shared five years ago. It reads “When people ask me to share the candy I’m eating, I give them the flavor I don’t like” and comes with a forever alone type meme. Truth be told, I just share the sweeties regardless of flavour, unless I’m eating Quality Street, and they’re someone I don’t like, then in that case, they get all the toffees!
I finally stop laughing. look back over at you and start all over again, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/laughingclub/
A furry and fluffy blast from the past. On the 8th of January, 2013, a friend and former colleague of mine received this teddy bear as a gift. With his chunky paws and smart tartan bowtie, Foxy Bear, as he came to be called, took pride of place on our bank of desks in Fitzrovia, while doing sweet-all work himself. Sadly the bear went walkies some time later and his current location is unknown, although I suspect he took off with another ex-colleague. Farewell, Foxy Bear.
P.S. You might spot someone familiar peering at Foxy in the background.
“You have to fight through the worst days in order to get some of your best days”
HEM Businesses, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-businesses
musicukacts, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/musicukacts
“Calendar*” – Dafne Cholet, Flickr (20 January 2011) https://www.flickr.com/photos/dafnecholet/5374200948
Today’s quote, from my aunt, is about life and certain things we should always be mindful of in coping with it.
“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”
“File:Thomas Cole – The Voyage of Life Old Age, 1842 (National Gallery of Art).jpg” – Thomas Cole via Crisco 1492 and National Gallery of Art (27 October 2014) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Thomas_Cole_-_The_Voyage_of_Life_Old_Age,_1842_(National_Gallery_of_Art).jpg
Baltimore rapper and street poet Sullee J has this week kindly submitted an article regarding the US presidential elections taking place on the 8th November, one of the most contentious the country has even seen. As there are so many things and controversies happening in America and across the world with the elections being right around the corner, Sullee J has penned this article as he considered it vital to open up people’s minds before they go out to the polls, and that it will influence them towards a positive decision.
I initiate this with a few words to Trump –
A man who has changed his belief more than he’s changed his undergarments. What has happened? A man who is trapped in a self-made illusion in such a level of hate finds it to be a form of satisfaction. A man whose word reflects spasticity but actions remain flaccid. A man who’s focus is worse than Dick Cheney, no matter what brand his glasses. A man who’s addicted to a lifestyle inspired by ignorance wants to tame the masses? A man who, back in 1999, went from activist to Democrat to Republican and whatever next seems to look attractive! Distractions. Distractions.
War over seas, and you’re here playing Pokémon, what happened? “War against blacks” “all lives matter” “prays for humanity”, which is the caption? Syria faces bloodshed, Yemen is being massacred. World War 3 has already begun, poisonous waste in the vascular. Brilliant vernacular but actions real amateur. Sounds like the most wicked have taken over the vehicle and kill off any awake passenger. The ambassador of evil, faith vanisher. Quite interesting, as this next subject is tempting.
One Kardashian falsely robbed and the worlds in a frenzy. My skin isn’t bright enough for that action; they’d have me burned before they exempt me. I learned that reaching for your wallet could have you murdered, and that the law isn’t friendly. I learned that protect and serve was for a certain group, now I understand how nepotism affects me. I also hate that my religion is the reason they won’t accept me. Distractions, distractions, how dare they neglect me!
Biased traditions, force fed capitalism, torched heads for alliances, which allowed tyrants to be risen. Manipulate science to where they afflict the most pious chemical and spread disease for monopoly. Programmed virus in the vision and this is by default they flaw the nucleus, more signs of division. The origin of all new creation, motto: keep you as far from the cure, healthy lifestyle deviation. Aggravate the internal, solution alleviation. This is pollution with a constant reign, who’s mediating. I watched the debate recently, saw fools in the making. Money rules, if you haven’t picked up on the clues, and the news is just a tool to distract you from the truth. The view is all faking.
Magnitudes of abuse, racial feuds, and cruel hateful fumes. Can we really count on anyone in power right now to change this fuse? Who dare save us from this flagrant noose? Systematic slavery, what a game they choose. How can we win when the way they set up the rules have us aimed to lose. Confused. Avenues tainted with a heinous lube. Oh, and how many strange things to attain fame, that they would do. This is all entertainment now; everything from the election to Isis. False created groups to spread hate amongst nations. If you didn’t know, your tax money is supplying the mass murders overseas, you probably think you aren’t apart of the crisis. I still don’t understand the power of paper, money isn’t real, where the f*** do they get these artificial prices. How do you sell a star, something nobody owns, I swear greed makes you lifeless. Distractions, distractions. This is a call to all the righteous.
I hope you picked up on the last ring. This message is to alter your rhythms and get the lights flashing. Awaken all the sleep; life is too short to stay a sheep. We can’t allow them to keep separating us through lame tactics, quit obeying the freaks. They got money in their pockets, but surely the character they display is weak. I will starve before I eat off the plates they offer. Some of the realest speakers are the fakest authors. You may have the same watch as me but our time is different. I’m on a mission to lift my generation and my grind’s consistent. I rebut not with a roguish mind full of puckish thoughts. It’s as if Trump was designed for an atrocious crime, what a sucker’s plot. We can stand up now and prevent this. Otherwise future demise is endless. You think they really care if we die? That’s senseless. Just one more question before I end this. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a politicians intention?
DISCLAIMER: Views are of the author only. The Half-Eaten Mind is impartial.
Sullee J Management.
The Half-Eaten Mind wishes all its readers and community a very happy Diwali.
“File:Traditional Aakash Kandil, Diwali, Pune India 2013.jpg” – Ramnath Bhat, Wikimedia Commons (24 October 2013) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Traditional_Aakash_Kandil,_Diwali,_Pune_India_2013.jpg
“Wish Happy Diwali To Your Website Visitors!” – Mehul Mohan, Happy Diwali http://diwali14.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/happy-diwali-blog-widget.html
VIJAY SHAH via L’Express
The daughter of a member of parliament on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has died from injuries caused by a lamp she lit during prayers, local French-language publication L’Express reported yesterday.
Vandana Devi Ranjat (née Koonjoo), 40, the eldest daughter of Oceanic Economy Minister, Prem Koonjoo, was admitted to the Burns Unit of Victoria Hospital in the western town of Quatre Bornes twenty days ago in critical condition, following a tragic incident while participating in family prayers at the family home in Plaine-des-Papayes, a small village near the town of Triolet in the island’s north.
Ms. Ranjat, also known by the nickname Poonam, had been lighting diyas, traditional lamps used for prayers in Hinduism, on October 3. She had been replacing a diya, when its flames came into contact with her clothes after she spilled the lamp’s fuel contents on her hand. Overwhelmed with panic, she attempted to put out the flames but to no avail and they quickly spread.
Her funeral was held today in her hometown, and was attended by national luminaries, friends and family, including former prime minister Aneerood Jugnauth and his son Pravin. According to L’Express, she leaves behind her husband and one child.
Her father is a former teacher who is also a constituency member for Vieux Grand Port and Rose Belle. He has been Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands since 2014, and previously was in charge of ministerial portfolios for commerce, cooperatives and local handicrafts, and had also worked as a private parliamentary secretary.