An aircraft that flies backwards

In Versoix last Thursday, February 3,  I saw an aircraft that looks to be flying backwards. I also heard its annoying high-pitched whine!


When I looked up what aircraft it was, I identified it as a Piaggio P180 Avanti which landed at 5h50 pm. I also found that, as usual, our intrepid spotters at Geneva airport had photographed it: in this case the photographer was Christoph Nobs.

When you look at the photo, it is only the tailplane which shows the direction of flight: take that away and you could think it was flying in the other direction. However, when you start to hear it you might wish it actually was flying in the other direction, as it makes a very annoying high-pitched whine. It also seems to fly slowly, so the whine lasts much longer.

I did look up the noise that it made, as registered on the ARAG noise measurement station in Versoix. This showed that during the 2-hour slot 4pm-6pm it made more noise than virtually all the other aircraft which landed then: the only one to equal it was a big Airbus A321 of Swiss (which, in turn, made four times as much noise as a similar A321 of British Airways!).

Although the aircraft has no visible identification on it, the Web lookup shows it as belonging to a private German company called AirGO Flugservice. On their web site the company eulogises this aircraft, describing it as comfortable, efficient, smart and safe and delicious. What a pity that it cannot also be qualified as quiet!

The aircraft registration, D-INKY, looks to be one of the personalised registrations that companies can pay for (even in Germany!). People of my generation can perhaps remember the era of Dinky toys, which were miniature models of cars and trucks made by Meccano Ltd of Liverpool. I do not know if they still exist, but I did see in the toyshops here before Christmas that Meccano has made a come-back for toys that kids (or their parents!) can construct, but which require a little more work and intelligence than the Lego-style toys: you actually have to screw bolts onto nuts!

I do not think that there is a Meccano Piaggio Avanti: there is a Meccano Concord[e], but it is difficult to obtain!

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