Happy birthday Mighty Tri-Pacer

A couple of unusual aircraft this week and a first for me in the shape of G-APXU, a PA22 which was 60 years old on friday.

This aircraft is the only one of its type in Scotland and one of about 10 still flying.  It was the first evolution model from tail dragger to tricycle and the last of the models with the wings above the cockpit.




And the inside


Thanks to the owner and co for the guided tour.

We also had a visit from G-KSFR, a CL30 operated by London Executive Aviation.  I never got a chance to look at the inside sadly but at least the sun came out for a minute for me to take some pics.



The poor weather on friday brought a few extra aircraft in and I snapped this one in between the fog, G-CERZ which is obviously a Saab 2000



As you can see it is much bigger than the Saab 340’s we are used to.

Finally, I got a chance to catch up with the Watchdog crew on Friday morning.  I met Dave and Will who are regular visitors and was pleased to meet Jake Thackeray who is now with Directflight and was previously based at RAF Kinloss on Nimrod duty.

That’s it for now, have a nice weekend if you see the sun and as always, thanks for reading

Neil 😉


A note from the Antarctic

In my time I have met some fascinating people and learned some fascinating information and none more so than this next post which I have permission to share with you.

One of the Loganair Islander pilots left us some time ago to join the British Antarctic Survey Team and over the last few years has sent some fantastic images and notes.

I bumped into him last week as he was about to head off for a well deserved break with his wife, Petra .

What you are about to see proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Gene Roddenberry was right when he created Star Trek in the 60’s.

The building is extremely high tech and could be used in any sci-fi movie.  I have just checked my em-mail client and there are many fascinating pictures which I will share with you.

Anyway over to Ian

Hi All

Now that I’m on my way home again (day off in Cozumel today), & have a fast internet link (Rothera has got very slow). I’m taking the chance to catch up on a few emails that I really meant to send days or weeks ago.


On 10th of Feb I went over to Halley base on the Brunt Ice Shelf for my last visit of the season, & I had the privilege of overnighting on the new Halley VI station on the first night that it had residents. Especially privileged as there were only 6 of us on that first night, & the other 5 were all people who had been heavily involved in designing & building the base for several years. I think the Base Commander referred to us as the guinea pigs.

It still was n’t quite finished though. The building work continued around us during the day, & most other people were still staying in the temporary construction site accommodation (modified shipping containers). This work will be going on until the ship leaves at the end of February.


Going from left to right. The first 2 modules are bedrooms. Third is the Command Module, with Base Commanders office, comms centre, computer servers, & doctors surgery.


The big red 4th (Robert Falcon Scott) module is a 2 storey structure. Downstairs is the dining room, kitchen, & bar. Upstairs is the gym, film watching area, & reading area.

5th along the line is the power module. As the name implies this has the generators. It also has hydraulic pumps for adjusting the legs of all the modules. Lastly it deals with water, drinking water, waste water & sewerage (all being kept separate of course).

The open bridge in the middle of the platform is of both aesthetic & practical benefit. Aesthetically it provides a gap between the living areas on the left & the working areas to the right. Practically it is a fire break, so that a fire occurring on the living modules would be unlikely to pass over to the work modules. The work modules are designed so that they could provide safe (albeit cramped) emergency shelter for all base members for up to 10 months.

The 6th module is another power module, which is a backup & near mirror image of 5th module.

Module 7 is the science offices. With emergency food & clothing store.

Module 8 is laboratories. There also other smaller laboratories & facilities such as the Clean Air Sector Lab beyond the area of this pictures.


As well as getting to stay on Halley VI on it’s first night, I also claimed the first landing at the new skiway.


New bedroom accommodation


Various views from my bedroom window during night & day (Weather deteriorating).



Dining room. Which had been in use for just over a week for all people on site. The upstairs was still work in progress at the time.


Kitchen. Washing up view!


No 8 Science module. This the upper floor Meteorological Observatory. The instrument at the back of the pic’ is the Dobson Spectrometer. Which was crucial to the discovery of the ozone hole in the 80s, & continues to monitor it now.


I was also interested to see the building getting it’s annual jacking. The process which keeps it all above the snow. At Halley V this used to require the efforts just about every one on base, & all other work stopped for 2 days. Now at Halley VI most folk get on with their regular work. Whilst jacking requires only 7 people, plus some big machines, & a bit more technology.


The tripod was pushed under the module by a dozer, so that the module did n’t tip as the legs were lifted. Then the internal hydraulics lifted each module leg/ski in turn, whilst a second dozer packed snow under the raised leg/ski.

Finally after all legs of all modules have been raised & under packed. The whole structure can be raised to it’s new height.


This final bit of the raising process is achieved from a control panel within the modules. It was gratifying to see a few low-tech spirit levels amongst the technology. Some things just can’t be beaten.

Overall I was very impressed by the new base, even though I was n’t quite seeing the finished article. To me it has a space station feel (not that I’ve ever been on a space station of course), both outside & inside. It seemed quite surreal to stand by the big dining room windows watching a blizzard out side (wind chill -40) whilst comfortably dressed in a T-shirt.



I trust you are all well.

Very best regards


I told you it was fascinating stuff.  Hope you have a great holiday, Ian and Petra and look forward to seeing you on your return.

All the best and thanks for reading

Neil Winking smile

Congratulations Are

No, I haven’t missed a word or words.  It is amazing what a small world it is.  I was speaking to Captain Garth Morgan of Bergen Air Transport and discovered I knew their new recruit who was joining as First Officer the following week.

Are Stangeland has been coming to visit us for a number of years collecting Orkney lobsters for the tables of Norwegian restaurants.

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.  What is disconcerting is that Are speaks english much better than I do and its not his native language.

Anyway well done and it was nice to see you at Kirkwall this week in your new role.

I just have a couple of pictures this week. First of al G-CGUZ, a A Gama Cessna 525 dropped in on thursday for a few hours.


And the second picture is the same Aircraft with LN-BAB, King Air 200 on its way to Haugesund and Bergen with the Norwegian element of the Subsea Viking.


Thats it for this week, as always, thanks for taking the time to visit.

Cheers for now

Neil 😉

Busy march

As always, things start to get busier in march.  As well as a couple of new aircraft arriving, we have also had the first of our school visits.

St Andrews nursery has visited us over the last two thursdays.  We hope you enjoyed your visit.

Many thanks to the children for being so well behaved and thank you to the Airport Fire section, Loganair and AMSL for your assistance.

Thank you also to the children for the lovely cards and the goodies which I promised I shared with everyone else.

At the beginning of this week a group of young Orkney dancers jetted off to London for their annual workshop.  The group was led by Jo Davis who most will know owns the Just Dance studio at Hatston.

Find out more about Just Dance at http://www.justdanceorkney.co.uk

And now for something completely different.  We had a short visit from an aircraft en-route from Iceland to Jersey in the shape of an Eclipse Aero EA50.  Reputedly the most economical jet on the market.  I had never seen one before but was surprised at just how small it was.

And finally a visit from A Bristows S92, G-CGUX

That’s it for now.  As always thanks for taking the time to read

Till next time

Neil 😉