Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Try Jumping

Not so long ago I watched an experiment on the Discovery Channel's 'Mythbusters' programme.

If you are trapped in a falling lift, would jumping at the exact moment before it hit the bottom of the shaft save your life?

It did rather remind me of the UK's economy and the desparate measures being taken by the Government to solve the rapidly accelerating problems of the national finances(the falling lift) as we plunged into 2009.

A wise man once said that a recession is what happens when people you know become unemployed and a depression is when you lose your job as well! Each week that passes delivers what appears to be a new record number of workers being handed their P45s and I know at least three of these in the last month.

If we watch the profitable steel industry collapse then we have a huge problem for the future when the demand for raw materials in the Far East recovers, which it will. Unfortunately, thanks to the EU we can't protect our domestic industries anymore; it's illegal, although you can bet that other EU countries will be creative about such things.

Last week, I heard a story about a pilot who recently applied for a job flying for Air France, who have been recruiting. He had an Airbus rating and the airline reportedly told him that they would employ him but he had to visit the French equivalent of the CAA first and have his license endorsed for employment by a French airline.

In Europe, pilots are covered by something called the JAR-FCL, which means that all States are bound by the same common flight crew licenses and exams, much the same as driving licenses. Anyway our pilot tripped into Paris and was politely informed that his CAA issued JAR license wasn't in order until he re-sat the JAR ATPL exams, in French. - English is of course the language of aviation.

Back to the lift experiment then and 'Mythbusters' demonstrated quite conclusively that the small upward acceleration involved in jumping vertically was quite insufficient to offset the larger acceleration of the lift hittting the bottom of the shaft and wrecking the crash dummy.

I wonder how high the Chancellor, Mr Darling, can jump?

My thanks to one of our readers, Rob, for sending in this photo of the high-speed Javelin train, sighted in Thanet recently. I can't wait to see how fast it will whisk me into London.


Michael Child said...

Simon I am told that the bit between here and Ashford wont be that much quicker, as our dared signalling system means that very long areas of track can only have one train in at a time in them and that some of the curved run-ins to stations will slow it down too.

Michael Child said...

Sorry I meant dated not dared

John said...


Why are the Tories so against the idea of a new airport in the Thames? I can understand a local desire to protect Manston (which presumably would be too close for air traffic control and would therefore not be able to exist alongside the new airport) but as a replacement for Heathrow it ticks just about all the boxes. I heard a KCC cllr yesterday suggesting that all the aircraft would be stacked over Westgate and Birchington under the probable new ATC rules. I think this is just scaremongering. But why?

DrMoores said...

Certainly the estuary plan ticks a number of boxes but on a personal note I don't think it's a good idea because of the environmental impact it will have on both Essex and North Kent and the stacking effect as suggested. Manston could of course accomodate more traffic and pick up some of the slack to the broader economic benefit of people in Thanet I would hope, but the broader problem is one of turning Southern England into an aircraft carrier. At present Gatwick and Heathrow dominate huge areas of space and we really need to ask if we need more huge concrete runways, islands or otherwise?

Michael Child said...

John, Simon, the biggest problem with Manston airport is that if we get a fuel spillage on the green part of the airfield, the contaminated soil has to be dug out before it soaks down and damages the aquifer. The Airport has a digger standing by for this purpose, without prompt action it’s no agriculture in Thanet and no Thanet Earth, lots of hosepipe bans in the summer and increased water bills.

The digger contingency plan isn’t adequate for larger planes, in fact I doubt it is adequate for the current traffic. In the case of an air accident, which is though to be caused by criminal or terrorist activity, or where people are killed it seems very unlikely that the police or air accident authority would allow them to dig up the evidence on the site. With out an answer to this one I can’t see how there can be any airport expansion.

The Refuser said...

Mr. Childs I think I would be more concerned about the cyclohexane that disappeared from Sericol's underground storage tanks than the slim possibility of soil contamination from an aircraft crash at Manston. How's the remediation work going these days?

If an aircraft crashes at Manston where would it be more likely to crash? On the grass or the concrete? If the airport was expanded they wouldn't have 747's trundling across the grass they would put in new aprons with the necessary sewer systems to manage spills. You seem to have a bit of an obsession with soil contamination. If the problem is as serious as you imply surely Southern Water or TDC should step in and stop the airport operating.

Michael Child said...

Refuser the three big Thanet ground water pollution incidents that I know of and have been accepted by the EA are Sericol, Thor and the weed-killer one near Ramsgate station none of these are near any water abstraction points.

The problem with the airport, Thanet Earth and China Gateway is that they are all very close to water abstraction points. Thanet Earth had no environmental impact study, China Gateway’s 106 agreement looks impossible to comply to in terms of surface drainage and the airport isn’t complying to its 106.

It is the cumulative effect of all of these cranking up the level of risk that worries me, rather like driving a car brakes, tyres and suspension all of which just passed the MOT.

There also appears to have been a pollution incident at their bulk storage installation with the cleanup soon to start. I have published documentation to support this on a series of linked internet pages at http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/drink/ including letters from the EA to the airport operator expressing their concerns.

I have also published a considerable amount of information about the arport expansion on my own blog http://thanetonline.blogspot.com/ including the views of Steve Ladyman and Laura Sandys.
I hope this helps to clarify the importance of this issue, a serious pollution incident in the middle of where all the abstraction points are would put an end to agriculture in Thanet.