01/07/2011

England retained the Ashes!

The England cricket team beat the Australians in Australia to retain the trophy called "The Ashes". Here are some reasons to connect that to aviation.


There could be many people reading this blog, to whom the game of cricket is a complete mystery. The English like to tease the Americans by saying that it is like baseball but with intelligence and sophistication added. Almost all non-cricketers get completely confused when told that a chinaman is a googly delivered by a left-handed bowler, or that a third man is often positioned near a fine leg, or that bowlers like to bowl a maiden over!

So what is the link to aviation. Well, when I was young, the English team travelled to Australia and back by boat, leaving their family behind. Whilst in Australia (a big country!) they mostly travelled around by overnight train, as air travel was still a luxury. However, during this latest series of 5 matches, each lasting up to 5 days, one player was able to fly back to England for the birth of his child and then return to Australia. At times, other players could enjoy the company of their partners, commonly known as WAGs (Wives and Girl-friends) between matches.

The main airline in Australia is Quantas, who recently had a serious problem with the new Trent 900 engines from Rolls Royce. At the same time, there were problems for the new Boeing Dreamliner. One commentary of an old-timer in the aviation industry compared the story of the Merlin engine which powered the Spitfires, for which the single designer knew every part, could himself build a complete engine from scratch and knew every one of his workers by their first name, with the immense complexity of the current jet engine design process requiring lots of computing power. This tends to suggest that the next range of intermediate range aircraft, intended to be quieter and less polluting, might also hit problems and hence not appear until near the end of the current decade.

Australia is a big country that is currently suffering floods described as being of biblical proportions, covering an area many times that of Switzerland. However, last December the members of the English cricket team touring there could read of the coldest and snowiest start to December for a very long time. Do these incidents have anything to do with global warming: my gut feeling says yes. Does aviation make a significant contribution to this global warming, in particular because of the very large number of jet flights high above us: I tend to think so.

Have people of my age been fortunate enough to live in a golden era? Quite probably, but we should perhaps feel guilty at having contributed to problems which our children and grandchildren will face!

12:04 Posted in Potpourri | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: cricket, pollution, jet, aircraft, floods, snow | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

The comments are closed.