08/27/2010

All "creatures" great and small

The aircraft of Thursday 26 August showed many levels of "great and small". One intrepid Geneva spotter got up early to photograph a great transport aircraft, but not a small flying bicycle!


The aircraft which made headlines on Thursday 26 August was without doubt the aircraft of the day, week, even month: it was the US Air Force Lockheed C-5M Galaxy. One (maybe more) of our regular Geneva spotter/photographers got up at 5h30 to be sure of seeing it leave (it left at 7h25).

As reported in the media, this aircraft was the only cargo plane large enough to transport the enormous and unique particle detector, built at CERN over the last two years, and which is intended to be sent into space next year to look for anti-matter and dark matter. Not being a physicist, I just refer you to the CERN web site for better information.

Perhaps surprisingly, since it is a very big and very old (built in 1986) aircraft going a long way with a heavy load, it only registered a noise level of 91 dBA as it went over Vernier: this is half that registered last Friday by the Jade Cargo Boeing 747 freight aircraft. Perhaps the pilot was trying to be as careful as possible witht the very valuable detector.

And the small? Well, the particles it is looking for are certainly small (and space is very large!), but it is nice to have something with which to compare the Galaxy aircraft (as I type that, I realise how suitable a name that is!) i.e. with a small aircraft. I found one particularly small one, which came here, though I cannot be sure whether it landed at our airport or at a smaller one.

The aircraft with Swiss registration HB-YHV is, according to the official Swiss web site, something which is called a VELOCITY 173 FG. This Swiss site registers it as homebuilt and the certification basis as "Special Category". Its owners and operators, who are in Berne (I guess that suggests that it flies slowly!) are the CAT City Air Team and the COPA (Canard Owners + Pilots Assoc., so duck when it comes overhead!). It has actually been photographed, and looks a little bit different from many other small aircraft.

Every aircraft has a short designator identifier of at most 4 characters. For the Galaxy this designator is simply C5, which is pretty short for a long aircraft. The VELOCITY 173 FG, however, has the designator VELO.

A space flight aircraft and a flying bicycle in one day!

09:50 Posted in Special days and notable incidents | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: geneva, airport, cern, galaxy | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

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