Glasgow Airport Movements 2020
The anticipated second wave of Coronavirus is now said to be under way. As autumn turned to winter, countries throughout Europe struggled with rising infection rates. The continent`s cases rose to 200,000 just 10 days after they first surpassed 100,000. France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria and others set daily records. All were deemed to be high risk for UK travellers, as was Spain, although flights to Tenerife and Lanzarote were able to resume after the Canary Islands were taken off the self-quarantine list for returning passengers. This was welcome news for many airlines, especially Jet2 and TUI which together make up the largest share of the UK`s winter sun package holiday market.
Daily COVID-19 deaths in France are at their highest level since April. On Thursday 29 October, authorities reported 47,637 new cases and 250 more deaths. President Emmanuel Macron said the country risked being overwhelmed by a second wave that no doubt would be worse than the first. An overnight curfew was extended to dozens more areas in a bid to slow the spread but the tally continued to spiral. By month`s end the total number of confirmed infections in France stood at more than 1,300,000 with over 36,000 associated fatalities prompting Macron to introduce a new 4-week long national lockdown.
The latest measures came into force at midnight (23:00 GMT) on Friday 30 October, at the end of a French school holiday, and traffic around Paris hit record levels as the deadline approached. A dash by Parisians to either escape the new measures or scramble back home to the French capital to prepare for the restrictions stretched to a cumulative 430 miles (700 km) of traffic on the region`s roads. This total surpassed the previous record by nearly 200km. Heavier-than-usual traffic and long tailbacks were also reported in and around the major cities of Lyon and Bordeaux.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that Brussels had set aside €220m (£200m) in order to transfer COVID patients from hard-hit member states to other nations with spare hospital beds. She also called for European Union countries to pool their Coronavirus data, and urged them not to close their borders to each other. (Paris images (above) © AFP / BBC / The Guardian).
Last month Glasgow Airport recorded just 150,736 passengers compared with 882,434 during September last year which is a difference of -83%. Edinburgh Airport fared only slightly better this September seeing 265,600 passengers which equates to -80.7% when compared to September 2019. With the frequency of the majority of the already limited scheduled services from / to Glasgow currently on offer reducing even further as the autumn / winter period approaches, football charter flights added a bit of interest this month. Titan Airways, Israir, Travel Service, Smartwings and Alba Star, were all involved in transporting teams to meet their opponents, mostly in the Europa League, although the Scotland international team was also in action.
As the COVID situation continued to deteriorate, Europe reported more cases per capita than the United States for the first time since America's outbreak began to spiral out of control in March. Late on Halloween, with just hours left before October became November, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced England`s second national lockdown which will take effect from Thursday 5 November and last for 4 weeks. The latest measures will see public hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants close throughout the country once again, and people asked to stay at home wherever possible, except for exercise, and essential purposes. Schools will be able to stay open providing they have strict hygiene protocols in place. English universities were also given the green light but will mainly rely on online teaching. On-campus students have been barred from going home.
The latest lockdown will not apply in Northern Ireland, Wales, or Scotland as these countries implement their own Coronavirus restrictions independently. Scotland`s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stressed the prevalence of the virus is currently lower in Scotland, which has recently introduced a new five-tier Coronavirus restrictions system, than in other parts of the UK. Ms Sturgeon said there are early signs that the tough restrictions in place from late September have started to slow the rate of infection. She emphasised that people should not travel to or from level 3 areas in Scotland and for the time being, not travel to or from England at all, except for essential purposes. (FM image © Daily Record).
With restrictions on travel expected to become even more stringent in the months ahead, it seems a strange time to relaunch an airline. But, after a former shareholder stepped in to buy collapsed regional outfit Flybe`s remaining assets, the troubled carrier could restart operations as soon as next year. Its new owner Thyme Opco did not go into detail, but said that if the proposed deal is approved by regulators then Flybe will be significantly smaller than it was before.
Prior its collapse in March, Flybe carried eight million passengers a year and operated 40% of the UK`s total regional flights. But it didn`t own any aircraft after it went into administration. Thousands of jobs either directly or indirectly were lost. Its new owners have principally agreed to purchase the airline's brand and web address but it`s unclear at this stage as to whether the carrier`s airline operating licence is still valid. Regulators at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) initially revoked the authorisation when the company folded and a legal hearing may be required to clarify the situation.
Flybe was the main player at many of the UK's smaller airports, operating 80% or more flights from Southampton, Exeter and Belfast City airports. Other carriers, including Loganair, stepped in to replace some routes, but many travellers in other areas affected would be delighted to have a reformed Flybe reinstate connections. The news of a possible re-start was also welcomed by pilots' union BALPA.
It was revealed this month that the vast majority of workers who left the Rolls Royce factory at Inchinnan after 700 jobs were axed earlier this year remain out of work with most of them remaining fearful for their future employment prospects. More than half the workforce was cut at the facility, mainly through voluntary redundancies.
A survey of 100 of the former employees, commissioned by the union Unite Scotland, showed that almost two-thirds were still jobless and of those who managed to secure employment, only 41% believed they were using their full range of skills. Some of those surveyed are considering a move into renewables but may have to retrain before applying for a position. Unite fears that given the specialist capability of the Inchinnan workforce, Scotland’s capacity in the aero engineering sector will be much reduced and there is a real danger these crucial skills will be lost forever. A spokesperson for Rolls Royce emphasised that the company is working closely with the Scottish Government through the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) programme to help the former workers secure new employment. They said many ex-Inchinnan, employees have gone on to secure roles at companies in Scotland such as BAE Systems, Babcock and Leonardo’s.
A very sad incident was played out in view of the Inchinnan Rolls Royce facility on Monday 26 October when a distressed and badly disorientated Northern Bottlenose Whale made its way up the Black Cart Water, stranding itself on the shallow riverbed, close to the airport perimeter fence. Although the Black Cart is fast flowing its depth varies dramatically depending on the weather and tide state. Often when the water level is very low most of the riverbed is exposed beside the stone bridge over the A8 and it seems as if you could easily walk across. There was very little hope for the animal to make a return past this natural barrier even if it could have been coaxed in the right direction and despite the determined efforts of British Divers Marine Life Rescue, HM Coastguard, Fire and Rescue crews from Glasgow Airport, and other volunteers, the whale died. (Black Cart rescue shots © Greenock Coastguard. Gareloch shots © BBC ).
A pod of Whales has been in and around the Clyde Estuary for some time but the confusing, deeply indented coastline has played havoc with the animals` sense of direction.
Prior to this month`s Joint Warrior military exercise, teams attempted to herd several whales out of the Gare Loch after they appeared stuck at the north end, next to the Faslane submarine base. Sonars and engine noise only add to their confusion and although the volunteers were unsuccessful in their efforts, the pod later appeared to have dispersed on its own.
One of the whales from the same pod died at Blairmore on the Cowal peninsula the day before the Black Cart stranding. The one that perished beside the airport is thought to be the same individual that was spotted far up the Clyde near Partick, close to Glasgow City Centre, the previous afternoon.
The end of October saw high winds and heavy rain batter the entire UK thanks to Storm Aiden. The adverse weather didn`t seem to disrupt flights to any great extent but the notoriously vulnerable A83 at the Rest-and-Be-Thankful made the news yet again. It was already closed because of landslide fears following several recent blockages, but now the single track Old Military Road has been blocked by flooding. The latter route is used as an alternative where possible to save drivers making a 60-mile long detour. Contractors BEAR Scotland said 60mm of rain was expected over the weekend and that further movement had been detected on the slopes alongside the A83 in Glen Croe above the area of concern. (Following images © BEAR Scotland).
Below: This is Jet2 737 G-GDFY setting off for Paphos on Saturday 31 October. Winds were gusting to 40 mph at the time...
The forthcoming US Presidential Elections
With Tuesday 3 November 2020, the date for the US Presidential Elections, fast approaching, it has been an eventful run-up for Donald Trump. It came as no surprise that after downplaying the risk from COVID-19, and refusing to endorse the use of face coverings, despite the fact that the USA has already recorded 8.25 million cases and over 220,000 related deaths, he, and members of his family, ended up catching the virus. (Above photo © CNN).
Unlike UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson who ended up in intensive care after succumbing earlier this year, Trump appears to have weathered the infection with only minor aftereffects, at least in the short term. The First Lady, his wife Melania Trump, however, was forced to cancel her own plans to attend a crucial rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, owing to an adverse reaction to her COVID-19 infection. Trump needs to outperform his strong 2016 showing in Pennsylvania and cut his opponent Joe Biden's current lead in the polls, as this could be the swing state that decides November`s election.
And while Trump slams his opponent as soft on China, the latest New York Times report on the president`s own tax records reveals that Mr T has extensive interests in that country and even maintains a bank account there. The Chinese account, the newspaper said, is controlled by Trump International Hotels Management and it paid $188,561 in taxes in China from 2013 to 2015. Earlier NY Times disclosures have shown how the President has paid almost no US federal tax on his fortune for years. It comes as no surprise that Trump insists he has paid millions to the Treasury.
In typical Trump style, he was quick to resume the campaign trail. His brush with Coronavirus deluded him into thinking he was invincible, and emphasised that in his mind he knew there was nothing to worry about. His first rally since being discharged from hospital was at Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida. He threw masks into the crowd, even though many of his supporters were refusing to wear them.
On taking the stage he said 'One thing with me, the nice part: I went through it, now they say I'm immune. I feel so powerful, I'll walk into that audience. I'll walk in there, I'll kiss everyone in that audience. I'll kiss the guys and the beautiful women, everyone, I'll just give you a big fat kiss. I was so energised by your prayers and humbled by your support.'
After an impromptu boogie, the president thanked his medical team from Walter Reed Medical Centre and John Hopkins University and again pledged to give Americans the drugs he took 'It's been an incredible lovefest together,' Trump said complimenting the country's handling of the crisis; 'And sympathies from all of us to those people whose family members have died.'
Trump took another shot at Anthony Fauci, a top infectious diseases specialist, with whom the president is becoming increasing disgruntled. Mr Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force established in late January 2020 by the president himself, warned that a feared autumn and winter spike of COVID-19 was already materialising. But Trump now knew better and described the respected doctor as an `idiot` and a `disaster.` I took the following shot of Air Force One at Prestwick when Trump last-visited Scotland back in July 2018. Depending on the outcome of next month`s electoral battle, the plane may have a different VIP passenger next time it comes to Scotland. (Rally pictures © Reuters / ABC News / NY Times).
It`s not only the current Coronavirus pandemic that the US President has been downplaying. Another subject, and of even greater risk to humanity in the long term, which Mr Trump thinks has been overblown by scientists is global warming. In 2009, Trump actually signed a full-page advert in the New York Times, along with dozens of other business leaders, expressing support for legislation combating climate change. `If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet,` the statement said. But in the years that followed, he took an opposite approach, making light of the issue or dismissing the findings of numerous dedicated researchers.
Once in office, many of Trump's regulations were tailored to favour the coal industry, often at the expense of cheaper, cleaner energy. He has expanded Arctic drilling and pursued a policy of unfettered support for fossil fuel development which adds to greenhouse gas emissions, in part by leaking methane into the atmosphere.
In 2018, domestic oil production in the USA hit a record high. The result of this, among other things, was the reversal of three consecutive years of declining U.S. carbon emissions.
Trump`s high profile decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, which committed the USA and 187 other countries to keep rising global temperatures below 2C, frustrated and bewildered many. (Right: image © Newsweek / Getty).
Earth's great ice sheets, Greenland (below) and Antarctica, are now losing mass six times faster than they were in the 1990s thanks to rising temperatures. A comprehensive review of satellite data acquired at both poles is unequivocal in its assessment of accelerating trends, say scientists. Between them, Greenland and Antarctica lost 6.4 trillion tonnes of ice in the period from 1992 to 2017 which was enough to push up global sea-levels by 17.8mm.
This month, a new polar research ship, named after the presenter and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, has left a shipyard in Birkenhead to test scientific equipment and conduct sea trials. When it finally enters service, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, which is owned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), will look at how climate change is affecting Antarctica and its surrounding waters. The state-of-the-art vessel is intended to replace a pair of existing polar research ships, RRS James Clark Ross and RRS Ernest Shackleton and will be operated by the British Antarctic Survey. (Images & Artist`s impressions © NERC / Arctic Today / Royal UK).
A Strange Sight on Loch Ness - and I don`t mean the Monster (although Nessie did pop up to check it out!)
About 17:50 hrs on Saturday 17 October, the RNLI responded to a rather unusual call for assistance from the crew of a WW2 era Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat. The aircraft had been attempting to take off from Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands after some filming work when it experienced engine problems. Once on scene, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation and decided the best option was to take the seaplane under tow. Hitching a line proved difficult as fixing points are few and far between on the Catalina. The PBY ended up being towed tail-first, with the rope kept at a requisite length as the rear end of the plane barely cleared the bow of the RNLI RIB. The Catalina has a wingspan of 32 metres and with darkness fast approaching, slow and steady was the way to go.
Due to its size, it wasn`t possible to take the seaplane right in alongside a jetty, therefore the decision was made to attach it to a mooring buoy close to shore in Urquhart Bay, in the shadow of the loch`s famous ruined castle. This is the most popular spot on Loch Ness for monster-spotting, but on this occasion it was Nessie`s curiosity that got the better of her...
(Both Loch Ness Catalina images © Daily Record / Kirsten Dawn Ferguson/ RNLI - Nessie is one of mine!).
Searchlights were used to keep track of progress and assist personnel as they finally secured the plane. The four aircrew thereafter transferred to the lifeboat which landed them for an unplanned stay in a local hotel. It has since transpired that the starboard engine is beyond repair requiring a complete change which is a challenging operation at the best of times, even more so in this remote location. A small team led by the Catalina Society’s Chief Engineer Garry Short did the preparatory work while waiting for the replacement engine to be brought up from the Society’s base at Duxford. Scaffolding has been erected around the aircraft as the volunteers don`t have the luxury of their normal purpose-built stands and access ladders to hand. An online GoFundMe campaign was launched to assist with the costs of getting this iconic veteran repaired and back to base. (Following photos: © Richard McGuinness and Garry Short via The Catalina Society).
I took the following shots of this aircraft in flight at East Fortune a few years ago. Although in the colours of US Navy PBY-5 Catalina 43-3915, this is actually a Canadian Vickers-built version of the iconic flying boat, known as the Canso, with the true designation being PBV-1A. In addition to the military serial, it`s on the UK Civil register as G-PBYA and is named `Miss Pick Up.` The original 44-33915 was built at the Canadian Vickers plant in Cartierville, Quebec, and eventually found its way to the United Kingdom where, in early 1945, it joined the 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron (ERS), 8th Air Force, at Halesworth, Suffolk.
However, this actual aircraft was originally allocated RCAF serial 11005 when it was taken on charge by the air force on 27 October 1943 and initially saw service with 9 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron at Bella Bella on the British Columbia coast between Vancouver and Prince Rupert, primarily searching for enemy submarines. By mid-1944, the threat of a Japanese invasion of Western Canada had receded and the squadron was disbanded. The Cansos, including 11005, were flown to a base in the Queen Charlotte Islands, and operated with 7 Sqn until it too was disbanded in July 1945. With the war over, 11005 was no longer required in its originally intended role and it entered a period of storage until 1948 when it was converted to a freighter. It also carried out photographic reconnaissance missions surveying the Arctic regions, search-and-rescue and flood relief supply flights before being placed back in storage. It was finally struck off military charge on 25 May 1961, having been stored at Vulcan, Alberta. It was disposed of to Frontier Air Transport based in nearby Calgary which heralded the start of a new and lengthy civilian career. Numerous owner / operators followed and the flying boat performed many roles including that of a fire-fighting water bomber. I took my first shot of `Miss Pick Up` when it made a visit to Glasgow International way back on 18 September 2005...
The Prestwick Airport ownership saga continues. Following years of drastic financial losses by a number of owners, the facility remained unsold and in threat of closure until November 2013 when the Scottish Government agreed to take the airport back into public ownership and subsequently bought it for £1. Even though scheduled passenger flights only make up a small percentage of the overall movements, many ministers, especially those based in Ayrshire, regard Prestwick, as a strategic economic asset due to the fact that around 300 people are employed directly with a further 1,400 jobs connected to the airport`s running.
(Above image © Prestwick Airport)
The government has since invested tens of millions of pounds in an effort to turn around Prestwick Airport`s fortunes, including applying to carry out horizontal space launches from its 2,986-metre concrete case runway. Last December, Prestwick`s management reported a `major improvement` in its financial performance over the previous 12 months. Accounts filed with Companies House showed that the airport cut its operating losses from £3 million to £1 million, but at the start of last year, the debt owed by Prestwick Airport to the Scottish Government had risen to £38.4m.
The airport was again put up for sale and it looked, for a time, that Prestwick would be returned to the private sector, however, the unnamed preferred bidder, thought to be AGS Airports which already owns Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton, pulled out of the deal, citing COVID-19's detrimental impact on the aviation sector.
Now, a large European transport firm partnered with a Far Eastern banking and commercial corporation are reportedly making a bid. Talks have begun with airport management about the potential buy-out and it`s understood that the interested parties could invest further in the Ayrshire transport hub and create new jobs. (Left: Image © BBC News).
Ryanair, Prestwick Airport`s only based passenger operator, has reduced the number of fights per week over the forthcoming winter to just six. In an attempt to generate a bit of extra cash in these challenging times, the airport hosted its first ever Drive-In Move event: `Halloween at the Flix`.
Car Park 3, opposite the terminal on the far side of the A79, will show various horror / spook-related films including Ghostbusters, The Exorcist, Beetlejuice and The Addams Family, over the weekend of 30 October - 1 November on what is promoted as the world`s largest LED screen. The socially distanced gathering will also feature an in-car quiz and karaoke as well as a fancy dress competition.
Let`s hope that Air Traffic Control can cope with the sudden influx of arrivals, some of whom will no doubt be jetting-in under their own power rather than on one of the scheduled Ryanair flights!
I made a couple of visits to Prestwick this month while Exercise Joint Warrior was running. More information on what was the second such event this year can be found on a dedicated page. Click Here (LINK)* to view. Prestwick serves as a temporary base for some of the participating aircraft but a separate section near the bottom of this page shows some of the civilian planes that were present.
While still on the subject of creepy goings-on, Halloween was like no other this year after the Scottish government told children to stay at home. In guidance issued just a week before the big day, going door-to-door guising if you`re in Scotland, (trick-or-treating if you have to use the American term) and mixed household parties were discouraged in an effort to restrict the spread of the virus.
The hospitality trade, already severely struggling financially, also missed out on one of their busiest nights of the year. Food suppliers, party and fancy dress costume outlets are among those also affected. The slideshow on the left below contains some images taken at Paisley`s well attended Halloween Parade last October, although the shots aren`t great. The adjacent view of pumpkins intended for this year`s Halloween celebrations left to rot in the fields at East Yonderton Farm is another small reminder of the consequences of the COVID restrictions...
And it`s not just the kids that ended up miffed this month - people in city centres, towns and smaller communities all across the country missed out on witnessing some bizarre sights. Every other Halloween, adult revellers, either individuals or in small groups all dressed in strange attire, wander unsteadily between pubs, head for Halloween parties, or stagger home at the end of the night, their outfits trailing or in tatters. I`ve seen some cracking costumes in Glasgow city centre over the years and there`s mainly a fun atmosphere. Sadly, sometimes things can turn nasty though. Many years ago I remember leaving Central Station as a melee was taking place in Hope Street, just outside the notorious and aptly named Bonkers Show Bar, which also served as a nightclub. A variety of characters including superheroes Spider-man, Superman and Wonder Woman, along with a shark and Pocahontas were among those exchanging blows and choice expletives - the biggest surprise was that Pocahontas was clearly the best fighter!
This statue of a firefighter stands outside Glasgow Central Station, on the corner of Hope Street and Gordon Street, as a memorial to all the city`s firefighters who have lost their lives keeping its citizens safe. Looking ahead to this year`s Guy Fawkes Night on 5 November, public fireworks and Bonfire Night celebrations are being cancelled all across Scotland in an attempt to curtail the spread of the virus. (Bonkers photo © Glasgow Live).
Scottish Fire and Rescue is discouraging private, unregulated bonfires and firework events in gardens and community areas, not only because of the ever present risk to children and the upset of pets, but the temptation of people to ignore social distancing guidelines. Bonfire night is usually the busiest night of the year for this branch of the emergency services, and any injuries sustained by personnel or members of the public will place added strain on the NHS.
This month, following an investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), British Airways has been hit with a £20 million ($26m) fine as a result of a data breach which affected more than 400,000 customers. Both personal and credit card information was obtained by hackers including login passwords, travel booking details, plus names and addresses. The fine is considerably smaller than the £183 million that the ICO originally said it intended to issue back in 2019, but a spokesperson said that the economic impact of COVID-19 on the airline industry had been taken into account. Even so, this is still the largest penalty issued by the ICO to date. BA's systems were compromised for two months in 2018 before a security researcher made them aware and during this period the hackers modified the BA website so that they could harvest customers' details as soon as they were entered.
The subsequent enquiry concluded that sufficient security protocols, such as multi-factor authentication, were not in place even though some of these measures were available on the Microsoft operating system that BA was using at the time. The ICO acknowledged that BA has since made considerable improvements to its online security. This is the Information Commissioner's Office`s first major fine under the EU data regulation GDPR and was being watched closely by the rest of Europe as a potential landmark decision. Other companies will look at the fine as a shape of things to come if they also fail to protect their customers.
Many of the British Airways planes in long term storage at Glasgow, including those pictured above, began to relocate to Madrid this month, beginning with A321-231 G-MEDL on the 11th. G-MEDF followed on the 12th, G-MEDG on the 14th and G-EUXJ on the 15th. Sunday 18 October saw G-EUXK fly off then it was G-EUXC on Tuesday 20th, and by the end of the month only G-EUXD, G-EUXE, G-EUXF, G-EUXG, G-MEDJ, G-MEDM and G-MEDU remained.
Visiting airliners getting a mention this month as follows: Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-8F2(WL) TC-JHA (f/v) stopped over from September and left on 2 October. Air Transat Airbus A321-271N C-GOIJ flew in on October 1st; Airbus A321-211 G-POWN Titan Airways and Boeing 737-8AS(WL) SP-RKV (f/v) Ryanair Sun (2nd); Airbus A320-232 4X-ABG Israir (4th); Boeing 737-8AL(WL) G-DRTL (f/v) Jet2 (6th); Israir A320-232 4X-ABG returned (9th); Boeing 737-8FN OK-TVL Smartwings from Bratislava (10th); Travel Service Boeing 737 OK-TVL returned (13th); Embraer ERJ-170LR G-CIXW Eastern Airways (16th)...
Boeing 737-8K5(WL) G-TAWB had been operating with Sunwing Airlines as C-GWVB. It was returned from lease back to TUI in May this year.
Boeing 777-36N(ER) A6-ECD Emirates (Expo 2020 orange livery) (19th); Airbus A321-211 G-POWN Titan Airways flew in and departed with Rangers FC to Liege while Alba Star Boeing 737-809(WL) EC-NGC arrived to take Celtic to Italy for their match against AC Milan (21st); Titan A321 G-POWN returned (22nd); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPB Emirates (Expo 2020 blue livery) and Airbus A321-251NX G-NEOY (f/v) British Airways (25th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-ENM Emirates (Expo 2020 orange) and Boeing 737-8Q8(WL) SP-ESE Enter Air (28th).
Also on Wednesday 28 October, an interesting flyover heavy in the shape of Atlas Air Boeing 747-4H6(LCF) Dreamlifter N718BA passed right over the airport at 10:00 hrs. Unfortunately, it was overcast which ruled out a view, especially as it was at an altitude of around 30,000 feet. The plane was en route to Charleston, South Carolina, from Taranto in Italy. These shots, available for sharing, are on Wikipedia. (© Clemens Vasters / Eric Salard).
The Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, also known as the Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF), has been modified extensively from the Boeing 747-400 airliner and is used primarily for transporting Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft components to Boeing's assembly plants from suppliers around the world. With a volume of 65,000 cubic feet (1,840 m³) the Dreamlifter can hold three times that of a 747-400F freighter.
Two British Airways heavies flew in to Glasgow from Kuala Lumpur at the end of the month, operating cargo-only flights. Both began their outbound journey to Malaysia from Heathrow and returned to London after their appearance here. The first, was Boeing 777-236(ER) G-YMMH with an arrival scheduled for 06:05 hrs on Friday 30 October. It dawned a fine morning and with its departure set for two hours later, it made an ideal opportunity for a photo. Unfortunately, the inbound flight was delayed by over 12 hours.
The following day, Halloween, BA Boeing 777-236(ER) G-YMMO (below) arrived closer to schedule, but still a couple of hours late...
Showers were passing through and it was no surprise that the rain came on and visibility dropped just as the BA heavy made its final approach resulting in a batch of greyed-out photos.
Typically, the sun reappeared soon after the plane had taxied to the terminal and cut its engines...
The only other airliners of note this month were easyJet Airbus A321-251NX G-UZMI (f/v) on the 30th followed by Eastern Airways Embraer ERJ-145MP G-CHMR on the 31st. The latter aircraft is pictured below approaching Alpha One on 1 November, before lining up for takeoff...
Israir A320-232 4X-ABG made two visits this month. It`s seen pictured here departing on the second occasion, Friday 9 October.
It was bright and breezy on Saturday 10 October when Smartwings Boeing 737-8FN OK-TVL flew in from Bratislava.
Alba Star Boeing 737-809(WL) EC-NGC, listed as flight number AP5369, landed at 17:30 hrs on Wednesday 21 October in connection with Celtic`s Europa League match in Italy against AC Milan. The Hoops went down 1-3 to the home side.
November saw the Emirates supplementary several times a week cargo flight continue as well as the daily Triple-seven passenger / cargo service and this set up is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. After a series of pushed back restart dates for the A380 , it`s very unlikely that we`ll see the world`s largest passenger plane back at Glasgow, unless required for exceptional circumstances. At least the facilities, including the recently upgraded pier, are in place should the situation change. These shots show Expo 2020-liveried A6-EPK, which was operating a cargo-only service on the morning of Sunday 18 October, parked on Stand 37L.
Above: Triple-seven was A6-EGV snapped during a downpour on 9 October, while inbound Expo 2020-liveried A6-EPB was shot from the house on the 25th.
Air Transat continues to operate Glasgow Airport`s only transatlantic connection and this is likely to be the case for some time. Here, Airbus A321-271NX C-GOIH heads back to Toronto on an overcast but rain-free 22 October. Puddles had formed just inside the fence after an overnight downpour and made for some decent reflections.
Please bear in mind that all my images are subject to copyright. They are not free to use and have been embedded with a digital watermark.
If it wasn`t for the partially visible United Airlines Boeing 757, no Emirates A380 west pier extension, and the lack of any stored British Airways` A321s, this shot, taken on a very quiet morning in May 2013, would be similar to a pilot`s-eye view today. The Embraer Regional Jets of KLM Cityhopper flying between Amsterdam and here now make up the majority of Glasgow International`s scheduled daily European flights. Embraer ERJ-175STD PH-EXK is pictured below pushing back on Thursday 15 October 2020...
Below: The last airliner snapped this month was Ryanair 737 EI-ENW, caught in the frame with a large flock of Lapwings on 31 October moments before touchdown. Bird numbers will swell in the coming weeks, with swans, geese and waders all arriving to overwinter in the fields surrounding the airport.
Very quiet here although ATR 72-500 G-ISLL of Blue Islands made an appearance mid-afternoon on Saturday 10 October. Swiftair operate regular cargo flights from London Stanstead but their Embraer EMB-120FC Brasilia EC-JKH arrived from Palma, Majorca on the 21st. Once Taxiway Yankee was totally clear of the stored BA Airbuses, north-side engine runs were able to resume. This is Loganair Saab 340 G-LGNK on the 21st...
Aer Lingus Regional`s shorter ATR 42-600 EI-GEV has been working most of the Dublin - Glasgow flights recently.
A double row of temporary fencing sprung up this month, closing the pavement on the west side of Abbotsinch Road between the Scottish Ambulance hangar and Signature Aviation, effectively blocking out any chance of decent photos of visiting biz-jets through the perimeter fence. Although roadside parking has not been possible along this stretch for a while due to the new setup, anyone on foot could easily have snapped activity on the executive ramp. Meantime, the only feasible angle is a limited side on view like the one of Learjet N202N shown below, which was taken from the entrance to Gama Aviation, just before the barrier.
Gulfstream IV N44CE (left) arrived on the 15th and somewhat unusually parked up on the west apron close to the perimeter fence beside the airport taxi feeder rank. The Gulfstream is one of the world`s most successful executive jets with more than 2,600 in various models built since 1958. As well as civil versions belonging to wealthy individuals or corporations, many are operated by governments or the military.
Identifying the various Gulfstream models can be a bit of a challenge, but all variants other than the GII have winglets, although some of these have been retro-fitted with them. The GII and GIII each have five cabin windows on each side while the G-IV (and G450) have six.
The G-V (and G550) has seven and the newer G650 / G650ER has eight. Some individual Gulfstreams, especially military models, have fewer windows to fit in with a non-standard cabin layout in line with their intended role. Later ones also have a distinctly different nose shape.
Corporate Jets visiting Glasgow this month were Dassault Falcon 2000EX CS-DLE, Cessna Citation Excels G-SIRS and D-CRON (2nd); Challenger 850 (Bombardier CRJ-200ER) 9H-AMY Air X Charter, Citation Excel CS-DXQ and Learjet 60 N202N (above) (3rd); Raytheon Hawker 850XP G-IMGP (4th); Cessna Citation Mustang OE-FZA and Embraer Phenom 300 G-JMBO (5th); Bombardier Global 6500 CS-GLI, Citation Bravo G-SPRE and Citation Mustang G-FFFC (6th); Embraer ERJ-145EP G-OWTN BAe Systems, Iceland Foods Ltd`s Challenger 605 M-FRZN plus Citation M2 G-CMTO (8th); Citation M2 G-CMTO returned (9th); Gulfstream IV-SP N478GS (10th)...
The remainder of the month was even quieter: CitationJet CJ2 9H-ALL (12th); Gulfstream IV N44CE and Embraer Phenom 300 D-CHIC Air Hamburg (15th); Dassault Falcon 900LX N503Q (16th); Learjet 60 N202N and Phenom 300 CS-PHA (17th); Cessna 650 Citation VI 9H-PLM and Phenom 300 G-JMBO returned (plus other dates) (18th); Cessna 680A Citation Latitude CS-LTJ and CitationJet CJ1 G-KION (20th); Citation Excel CS-DXN (22nd); CitationJet CJ2 D-IJOA Air Hamburg (23rd); and finally Gulfstream IV N475LC on the 26th,
It`s no surprise that there wasn`t much doing on the general aviation front either. Visitors getting a mention though are King Air 350 G-SRBM and Pilatus PC-12 G-OMSL (1st); King Air 350 G-SRBM and King Air 200 G-CWCD (5th); Pilatus PC-12 G-OMSL again (plus other dates) and King Air 200 G-FLYW (6th); King Air 200 N185XP (8th); King Air 200 G-FPLD (9th); Piaggio P-180 D-IRBS (9th); King Air 200 G-CDZT and Cirrus SR20 N55557 (11th); Reims Cessna F406 Caravan II G-UKAL (14th)...
Face coverings are fast becoming the norm in numerous situations, but there seems to be a trend in wearing shorts even on cold autumn or winter days.
October`s GA visitors continued with AgustaWestland AW189 G-MCGN of HM Coastguard (18th); Diamond DA42 Twin Star G-ZAZU made a fly over of the airport on the 20th. Cessna T303 Crusader G-CMOS plus King Air 200 G-NIAA (21st); Eurocopter AS350B3 Ecureuil G-SPVK (25th); Cessna T206H Turbo Stationair G-NIME (27th); Piper PA-34-220T Seneca V G-GSYS did a go-around of Runway 23 (28th); King Air 200 G-IASA (29th); Beech C90GTi King Air M-TSRI (30th); Last to appear this month was Diamond DA42 G-HAKA (left & below) which arrived on Saturday 31st. Thereafter, possibly following a refuel, it carried out numerous go-arounds and wider circuits to calibrate navigation aids.
Below: Heli-Med Air Ambulance G-GSAS on short finals for `23` on Saturday 10 October...
Joint Warrior 20:02
Despite the ongoing pandemic, the second of 2020`s Joint Warrior military exercises went ahead as scheduled and was on a far larger scale than most locals expected. Usually most of the participating warships spend the weekend before kick-off at Glasgow or Faslane to give their crews some free time while the officers get a final briefing, but the majority of vessels remained out at sea for the duration, which is understandable given the risk of COVID transmission ashore.
This time most of the action took place far out in the Atlantic past the Western Isles, in the Minch and in the waters off northeast Scotland, although some warships did appear on the Clyde before the event got underway. A dedicated page has additional information and many more photos. Click here to view.
Prestwick, and to a lesser extent Glasgow Airport, usually see an increase in military traffic during the build-up and once the exercise gets underway. Often, one or two warships will have their helicopter visible on deck but the only one this time was Belgian frigate BNS Leopold I (F930), unfortunately the only one of the Glasgow contingent that I didn`t manage to photograph, either on the way in or when she headed out to sea. She was showing off NHIndustries NH-90 serial number RN-03. The same chopper did a go-around of Runway 23 at Glasgow about 16:00 hrs on Saturday 3 October using the call-sign `BAF 701`.
At least one Airbus KC3 Voyager tanker called in at Prestwick most days while the exercise was running. This is ZZ334 `Madras 39` landing on 7 October.
Bombardier CC-144 Challenger of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) (below left) arrived at Glasgow Airport on Thursday 1 October and made an overnight stop. No doubt its appearance was connected with proceedings as no less than four Canadian warships took part this time round.
Pre-exercise, the Royal Canadian Navy`s huge support ship Asterix tied-up alongside Greenock`s Ocean Terminal while three Halifax-class frigates made their way upriver to Glasgow`s KGV Dock to berth for a couple of nights. RCAF Lockheed CP-140 Aurora 140113 (above) was based at Prestwick for the duration of the exercise and was joined by 140112 on 11 October. The CP-140 Aurora is a maritime patrol aircraft operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force. It`s based on the highly successful Lockheed P-3 Orion airframe, but mounts the electronics suite of the Lockheed S-3 Viking.
The Canadian vessels bound for Glasgow were lead ship HMCS Halifax (FFH 330), HMCS Ville de Québec (FFH 332) and HMCS Toronto (FFH 333).
RAF Lossiemouth in Moray has been reopened to aircraft following a £75 million revamp of the station's runways. The runways were constructed for fast jets such as Tornadoes and more recently Typhoons but the latter aircraft will be joined by a fleet of nine Royal Air Force Boeing P-8A Poseidon MPAs (maritime patrol aircraft) which will set up home here.
After being stripped and resurfaced, the runways at Lossie can now handle the takeoff and landings of larger, multi-engine aircraft such as the P-8. The US-built Poseidons have been stationed at nearby Kinloss Barracks, a former RAF station, temporarily while the work was ongoing.
The runway improvement project began at the start of the year and continued throughout the Coronavirus lockdown. Separately, a £132m state-of-the-art maintenance facility has been constructed for the new planes. It can house three Poseidons at a time, while the remainder of the fleet can be parked outside on a purpose built apron. (Above Typhoon image © RAF/BBC).
It`s 10 years since the RAF's last maritime patrol aircraft, the Nimrod was scrapped and with no replacement until now, it left the UK, an island nation, without an effective airborne anti-submarine capability, a situation most would consider unacceptable. In addition to its military capabilities, the Nimrod proved its worth in numerous maritime search and rescue missions. Nine of these upgraded aircraft, would have been stationed at Kinloss in Moray but all were dismantled and scrapped, costing the taxpayer £3.6 billion. This, along with the decision to close Kinloss as an RAF station as part of government defence cuts caused a national public outcry. (Image above right © Channel 4 News).
The first of the Poseidons arrived at Lossiemouth on the afternoon of Tuesday 13 October 2020. Station commander, Group Captain Chris Layden, said the Moray base would be at the centre of the RAF's air combat power with four squadrons of Typhoons and two squadrons of Poseidon aircraft. Like the Nimrod that preceded it, the primary function of the Poseidon is anti-submarine and surface ship warfare, but it could be used in a wide range of maritime missions, both military and non-military. The Typhoons, whose crews carry out quick reaction alert (QRA) missions, had been temporarily based at Leuchars in Fife. QRAs frequently involve interceptions of Russian military aircraft detected flying near airspace of NATO interest. (Lossiemouth images © RAF/BBC).
Above: A typical scene at Prestwick this time round with a maximum of four turboprop MPAs temporarily based and no USN Poseidon jets of recent years.
Above: Pipe Major Barry Ashby, RAF Lossiemouth Pipes and Drums, heralds the arrival of ZP802 ‘City of Elgin’ on 13 October while Group Captain Chris Layden (left in top photo) and Wing Commander James Hanson posed in front of their new charge. ‘Pride of Moray’ ZP801 touched down on the resurfaced runway the next day, with ZP803 ‘Terence Bulloch’ following less than two hours later as the third member of the fleet, having been flown directly from the US on its delivery flight. (Above shots: © RAF / Becky Saunderson / The Northern Scot ).
(Above image © MOD/Crown Copyright)
Whether it be with aircraft or nuclear-armed submarines, alcohol is never a good match. There have been several incidences of pilots turning up for duty under the influence at Glasgow Airport in recent years but similar indiscretions in the military are usually kept in-house - up until now.
Less than a week after Joint Warrior 20/2 ended, it was revealed in the press that a Royal Navy officer, had been sent home from the US after reporting to take charge of a submarine's Trident nuclear missiles while unfit for duty. Colleagues reportedly raised concerns when the weapons engineering officer, (WEO) a Lieutenant Commander, arrived for work on HMS Vigilant (above & right) last month. Vigilant, one of Britain's four Vanguard-class submarines which carry up to eight Trident missiles armed with nuclear warheads, was docked at a US naval base at the time. It`s thought that the officer had been drinking heavily the night before and was carrying a bag of leftover chicken from a barbecue for his lunch. An investigation into the incident is underway at Faslane. (Right hand photo: BBC News / AP).
PA-8A Poseidon ZP801 `Stingray 05`, at that time still operating from Kinloss, did some training at Glasgow Airport on Thursday 8 October, plus RAF BAe146 ZE700 called in for a time, as did UAS Grob Tutor T1s G-BYUR and G-BYUS. BAe146 ZE700 reappeared on the 9th when I managed a distant shot of it parked up on the Royal Pan from Walkinshaw Road. A400M Atlas ZM412 `Ascot 481` did a couple of go-arounds and a couple of touch-and-gos between 14:00 and 15:00 hrs on Tuesday 12 October. Right: Grob G115E Tutor T1 G-CGKR of the University Air Squadron (UAS) was circuit bashing on the 22nd.
Next was Luftwaffe Bombardier Global 5000 14+03, call-sign `GAF 612` on Tuesday 13 October which did a go-around of Runway 05. Two more German Air Force Global 5000s appeared for training the next day, (14th), namely 14+02`GAF 686` and 14+07`GAF 648` with the action taking place around noon. Unlike one of the Globals the previous day, rather than a low beat-up of the runway, 14+06 (above) on the 15th did two very high go-arounds, breaking off early and climbing even more sharply on its second pass. Then, on Monday the 19th, 14+03, followed by 14+06 on the 20th, each made their second visit of the month. On the 22nd it was 14+04 `GAF 686`. German Air Force training flights continued on Friday 23 October: I saw Global 5000 14+03 climbing after a `23` go-around as I drove past Glasgow Airport mid-morning. Airbus A340-313 serial number 16+01,`GAF 898`, carried out a similar manoeuvre later. It was 14+06`s turn again on the 27th and with 14+05 showing up the following day, it meant that every one of the Luftwaffe`s Global 5000/6000s visited Glasgow International this month. Then, Just for a change, the RAF stopped in on Wednesday 28 October with Boeing C-17A Globemaster III ZZ171 `Ascot 803`.
No less than four Beechcraft T-6 Texan IIs landed on Saturday 31 October. All bore US civil registrations as this is the latest batch of these trainer aircraft on delivery from the United States to the RAF. All arrived at Glasgow between 17:15-18:00 hrs on Halloween, parked on Area Juliet, and remained fro several days. The aircraft were N2811B, N2786B, N2789B and N2790B but they were positioned close to the University Air Squadron buildings which partially screened them from the road.
A pipe is being laid along this stretch adjacent to the perimeter fence and an additional barrier has been erected which would have ordinarily ruled out photographs from this angle altogether, if it hadn`t been for Storm Aiden. Luckily the overnight gusts blew down the temporary fence, making it possible to get at least two of the group side-on between the hangars.
The only way to get all four in the same frame was in a long distance telephoto shot from the end of Walkinshaw Road. They set off on the last leg of their journey to RAF Valley on the morning of 3 October.
UK Special Forces spring into action in response to a Potential Hijacking at Sea
On Sunday 25 October 2020, sixteen members of the Special Boat Service (SBS) ended a 10-hour standoff between seven stowaways and crew on board the Liberian-flagged crude oil tanker Nave Andromeda. The captain of the Southampton-bound vessel was forced to adopt an erratic course off the Isle of Wight after the intruders reportedly threatened the crew with violence. He raised the alarm around 10:00 hrs and locked down the vessel amid fears of a hijacking.
The Nave Andromeda`s voyage began in Lagos, Nigeria, on 6 October and the men who illegally boarded then concealed themselves below decks are believed to be Nigerians seeking asylum in the UK. It was only during the night of 23/24 October that their presence was discovered. The stowaways became increasingly agitated and aggressive as the ship neared its destination, but the Master had some control and was able to feed valuable information back to command teams on shore. (Above image © IOW Island Echo).
Nave Andromeda was thought to be travelling light (i.e. no cargo) but even so, a hostile takeover of a large ship, especially a tanker is fraught with risk. Modern tankers are often vast vessels, made up of a myriad of corridors and passageways, with countless hiding places amongst cargo or equipment which makes them difficult to search. This is where the UK’s elite Special Boat Service comes in. The unit is the Navy`s equivalent of the SAS and was set up specifically to deal with maritime incidents such as this. They are highly skilled at searching, not only compromised vessels of all shapes and sizes, but oil rigs and other such installations.
After the Home Secretary Pritti Patel gave the green light for military intervention, a rescue operation was mounted. Soon after darkness fell, sixteen Special Boat Service (SBS) Commandos boarded the ship, some fast-roping down from Merlin and Wildcat helicopters hovering above the deck of the ship, others rappelling up the side from inflatable ribs bobbing on the black waters below. The latter team had been on standby on the Isle of Wight since early afternoon having been dropped by a Chinook helicopter.
The fact that the SBS are based nearby on the Dorset coast at Poole greatly aided response times and these waters are their training ground. The suspects were quickly rounded up, apparently having wisely offered no resistance, and all 22 crew members were found safe and well. It was all over by 19:30 hrs. The ship later docked in Southampton where the suspects were handed over to Hampshire Police.
Nave Andromeda is owned by Athens-based Navios Tankers Management and In a statement released on Monday, the company thanked the UK authorities for their `timely and professional response`. "Navios would also like to pay tribute to the master of the Nave Andromeda for his exemplary response and calmness and to all the crew for their fortitude in a difficult situation," it added.
The Ministry of Defence called the incident a `suspected hijacking` and said Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel authorised the operation in response to a police request. Mr Wallace said: "In dark skies, and worsening weather, we should all be grateful for our brave personnel. People are safe tonight thanks to their efforts." Mrs Patel tweeted she was `thankful for the quick and decisive action of our police and armed forces who were able to bring this situation under control, guaranteeing the safety of all those on board`. (Following photos © The Times / Sky News).
The well-coordinated operation involved not only military assets, but two Coastguard helicopters, two Police helicopters, two all-weather lifeboats and several other watercraft. Duke-class (Type 23) frigate HMS Richmond (F239), seen here berthed at its Portsmouth base, was also on standby. It was revealed that in addition to the SBS squad, a team of Royal Navy divers was deployed in one of the Royal Navy helicopters as a precautionary measure, just in case the Nave Andromeda had been mined.
These aerial views show the Nave Andromeda safely tucked-up at Southampton early the next morning, after the incident had been stood down. The stowaways are now being questioned by authorities. (Aerial images © Steve Moyes 20/20 Aviation Ltd).
Just under two years ago, on 21 December 2018, a similar mission, Operation Buckthorn, was carried out by the Special Boat Service. The crew of the cargo ship Grande Tema had been taken hostage by four Nigerian stowaways armed with crude melee weapons after the intruders had hijacked the ship in the Thames Estuary. All four were captured with no injuries whatsoever reported. This graphic which appeared in the Sun newspaper, with some minor alterations, could easily apply to the Nave Andromeda rescue...
Also Seen at Prestwick...
Prestwick still has a few Ryanair flights operating each week and continues to serve as a maintenance centre for the Irish carrier. Originally Boeing 737-73S(WL) EI-SEV (above), was the airline`s only VIP-configured passenger jet, as opposed to the larger 737-800s, like EI-DAJ below, which make up the rest of the fleet, but I believe the shorter plane`s interior has since been transformed to serving as a standard passenger plane, with a socially-distanced seating policy.
Above: A Coastguard helicopter sets off on its next mission.
Norwegian Airlines planes are adorned with tail fin heroes from several of the countries the carrier operates in, including all the Nordic nations, as well as Spain, France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Argentina and the USA. Among the celebrities present at Prestwick when I visited were Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian figure skating champion Sonja Henie, Norwegian artist Edvard Munch and Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.
Cargolux Jumbos have been a regular feature at Prestwick for years. This is Boeing 747-8R7F LX-VCK landing on 7 October.
Air France Airbus Boeing 777-F28 freighter F-GUGB was also snapped on Wednesday 7 October.
Once a fairly common site in the UK, you don`t see many Beech 18 / C-45s these days, so Beech C-45H N45SK was a welcome surprise when it taxied into view from behind the hangars on 7 October, heading to line-up for departure after an overnight stop. This plane is a real veteran as it dates from 1952.
The Beechcraft Model 18, often called Twin Beech, was continuously produced from 1937 to November 1969, which was a world record at the time. The Twin Beech was extremely hardy, reliable and popular and over 9,000 were built, making it one of the world's most widely used light aircraft. Both civilian and military versions were manufactured and it performed various roles including passenger airliner, VIP transport, utility and freighter. It could also be configured to operate on tailwheels, nosewheels, skis, or floats.
During and after World War II, over 4,500 Beech 18s were used by the military as light transport, light bomber (for China), aircrew trainer (for bomb aiming, navigation, and gunnery), photo-reconnaissance, and `mother ship` for target drones. Over 90% of United States Army Air Force (USAAF) bombardiers and navigators were trained in these aircraft during the conflict.
The USAAF operated the C-45 Expeditor, AT-7 Navigator, and AT-11 Kansan, while the versions operated by the United States Navy (USN) were the UC-45J Navigator, SNB-1 Kansan, and others. C-45H was the designation given to 432 AT-7s and AT-11s re-manufactured in the early 1950s to a similar standard as the civil Beech D18S, for the US Air Force. This variant, which included N45SK in its original military guise, had no autopilot and R-985-AN-14B engines.
Above: Beechcraft Super King Air 350 N828CJ arrived on Wednesday 7 October 2020.
Tuesday 13 October, the day I picked for my next visit to Prestwick, unfortunately turned out to be the quietest day of the week. No military aircraft called in at all while I was there, just several light aircraft including Pilatus PC-12/47E G-GEFF (above). US-registered King Air 350 N35GA taxied into view on its way to line up for takeoff after an overnight stop...
It was all quiet on the scanner and with nothing obvious en route, I headed for home around midday, just after a pair of Partenavia P-68B Victors landed. The aircraft, G-RVNP and G-RVNM, both operated by Ravenair, are often engaged in survey work as well as checking out navigation aids at various Scottish airports.
Based AgustaWestland AW189 G-MCGN of HM Coastguard.
Construction & Development
Just a few shots of the new development off Abbotsinch Road this month.
October in the Garden
The with nights `fair drawing in`, it`s becoming increasingly difficult to photograph our fox as sometimes it`s almost pitch black when she appears. As a result, most of the foxy shots this month, taken at a very high ISO number, are very grainy.
Entertainment has been provided by one of the local moggies which takes great delight in ambushing the young vixen. Rather than being intent on making a vicious attack, however, it seems that the cat just wants a game of chases or hide and seek. At this rate they`ll likely end up really good pals by Christmas.
As the weather turns a bit colder, the bird seed doesn`t last long. I haven`t been paying much attention to avian visitors over the past few weeks but a Great Spotted Woodpecker was spotted on the fat balls one morning. This species is a rare visitor to the garden with only a handful of sightings over the years, but by the time I returned to the window with my camera, `Woody` had flown off.
Great Tits have been more plentiful at the garden feeders recently with one paying particular attention to one of the nest boxes. At first glance it appeared that the bird was feeding another inside, but it may just be doing some early housekeeping, preparing the shelter as a winter roost, as like most species, spring to early summer is their usual nesting time.
Glasgow has many fine gable-end sized murals dotted around, with several found in the Merchant City including this eye catching autumnal scene.
Having dropped hints recently about an exciting new discovery concerning the moon, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has revealed conclusive evidence of water on our only natural satellite. Paul Hayne at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and his team used camera images and temperature measurements taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to map cold, permanently shadowed regions on the moon, which are thought to be the places most likely to contain ice due to their lack of exposure to sunlight.
While there has been lots of evidence for the presence of water on the moon, these “cold traps” were previously thought to be restricted to deep, kilometres-wide craters. However, the team found that there are also micro-cold traps – areas at the metre and millimetre scale that are permanently shadowed and so could contain more accessible ice. Altogether, the researchers estimate that cold traps occupy about 40,000 square kilometres, or roughly 0.1 per cent of the moon’s surface.
This equates to billions upon billions of these cold traps which presents an opportunity to extract ice much more readily. This will boost NASA's hopes of establishing a lunar base, as it may now be theoretically possible to sustain an outpost, at least in part, by tapping into the moon's molecular water. The US space agency has said it intends to send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 to prepare for the "next giant leap" - human exploration of Mars as early as the 2030s. (Artist`s impression above right © NASA).