Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Close to the edge, with Kelvingrove’s Spitfire

I recently made a throwaway remark about the Spitfire on display in Kelvingrove.

As I took a pic from the side, instead of the more usual in-line viewpoint, the angle showed how close the aircraft’s wing tips were to the walls on either side.

To be fair, on the one hand it’s a bit of an optical illusion, and a flat 2D picture is never going to convey the reality of the 3D view as seen by the eye, on the other hand, there isn’t a lot of space to spare, and while there is plenty of clearance for the static exhibit, there’s probably also plenty of opportunities to have a little accident if the proper care isn’t taken as it’s being lifted into position.

It would be all to easy for a little swing or oscillation to grow large enough for contact to be made with walls.

But I’m not worried.

I’ve seen enough films and videos of the staff at work over the years to know this is their bread & butter, and chances of a slip are slim to nil.

Sorry this isn’t 3D, but the pics will at least given you an idea of neat the fit of the Spitfire into the gallery is.

Starboard Spitfire Wing Tip

Starboard Spitfire Wing Tip


Port Spitfire Wing Tip

Port Spitfire Wing Tip


Dec 21, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Yet another Clutha media story

Is it just me, or are most recent article about the Clutha incident generally negative?

Last time (I’m not counting positive stories regarding rescue/survivors) it was the Clutha’s owner taking Bristow to court.

This time, it’s complaints about the outcome of the FAI (Fatal Accident Inquiry), not even known at this stage, and the time it has taken to be conducted.

I haven’t noticed this sort of ‘hurry’ wanted in past serious incidents, but now note it has also been forwarded regarding investigation/report into the fire at the Mackintosh Building.

In both cases, it seems that there is a suggestion that the delay means the result will somehow not be valid.

Yet, I wonder if the same people would be jumping up and down if these inquiries and reports had been carried out and completed much sooner, and complaining that they had been carried out with ‘undue haste’, before proper investigation, gathering of evidence, and evaluation, followed by demands that another be held, this time with the required time being spent.

One way or another, it seems someone is always unhappy.

Compare with many news stories that report errors or mistakes in procedures.

No longer do such articles begin with something like ‘Call for procedure to be reviewed’, or even ‘Introduced’ if there are none.

Now, almost every such story begins with the heading “Family angered by…”, or “Anger at…”.

Does every story have to begin with what amounts to little more than ‘Clickbait’, or something to draw readers in?

Just an observation.

But have a look – you may find I am right.

Father of Clutha victim does not expect justice from FAI

The Clutha

The Clutha

Dec 5, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Another Clutha story appears

Interesting to see the Clutha stories are still being spotted by the media, the last one was only seen a week ago. Another a month before that.

This one is more personal though.

It is five years since a helicopter came crashing down onto the Clutha pub in Glasgow killing 10 people. Here, one survivor recalls the night and the last conversation she had with her partner who died.

Mary Kavanagh has suffered many sleepless nights since the Clutha helicopter crash.

For the last five years the grandmother has been wracked with survivor’s guilt, after losing partner Robert Jenkins in the tragedy.

“Some nights I just couldn’t shut my eyes because I didn’t know what would go through my head,” said Mary.

“When I pictured the pub I saw Munch’s Scream faces coming towards me, bodiless.”

Marking the fifth anniversary of the crash, Mary told how Robert promised to buy a drink at the bar – the last words she heard from him on 29 November 2013.

After the police helicopter plunged through the bar’s roof, Mary escaped from the venue by grabbing hold of a stranger’s coat and following them to the door.

Clutha survivor: ‘Going back to pub helped my recovery’

I’m never sure about returning to such places.

I’ve had lesser incidents happen to me on streets I had to return to, and while they were nowhere near the magnitude of that incident (but still reasonably traumatic for me), and while I no longer find this disturbing, there is a degree of recall I can’t shake off.

It would be nice to forget, but it doesn’t seem to happen, even if the memory fades.

Clutha Tributes

Clutha Tributes


Ann Faulds was pinned against the wall of The Clutha bar when she heard voices calling to check she was alive.

Dust and debris filled the venue moments after a police helicopter plunged through the roof on 9 November, 2013, obscuring her way out.

“I was three feet away from where the helicopter hit, it’s a miracle I’m here,” she said.

Regaining composure, Ann followed the voices that guided her through gaps in the wreckage, and eventually escaped.

He could have saved me

Five years on, Ann has now met Michael Byrne – a fellow survivor who ran back into the bar to help those left behind.

Having heard his story for the first time, Ann realises Michael could have been one of the brave souls who led her to safety.

Clutha survivor meets rescuer five years on

Nov 29, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Clutha owner sues helicopter firm Babcock for £350,000

Interesting logic.

The owner of the Clutha bar in Glasgow where a helicopter crashed killing 10 people almost five years ago has said he is still waiting for compensation.

Alan Crossan confirmed he will sue Babcock, the company which owns the helicopter operator, for £350,000 in lost earnings while his pub was closed.

Mr Crossan said his lawyer would serve a writ to the multinational corporation within a week.

The helicopter was operated by Bond Air Services, which is now owned by Babcock.

Mr Crossan was given an initial six-figure payout for refurbishing his damaged pub but almost five years later he said he was still trying to get compensation for revenue and profits lost while the pub was closed for 20 months.

Under Scots law, complainers have five years to make a damages claim of this sort.

Mr Crossan told BBC Scotland he had been “pushed to the court steps” by Babcock’s refusal to discuss compensation.

Clutha owner sues helicopter firm Babcock for £350,000

The Clutha Bar As Was

The Clutha Bar As Was

I wonder how long we’ll have to wait for a resolution, and if we’ll find out the details, or if any award will be kept private?

Nov 23, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

What is this helicopter equipped to do?

Writing the previous post about the Robust Vent reminded me of another pic I grabbed recently.

I was on the west side of the city, mostly lost in a park beneath trees, and had been intrigued by the sound of a helicopter which seemed to be working nearby, but I couldn’t see the sky so had no idea where it was.

Fortunately, when I left the park and broke cover, I also heard the helicopter getting louder (closer), so headed for a clear spot to try for a glance.

It was in transit, so not hanging about, but I did manage to get one shot off, and it was intriguing.

Oddly Equipped Helicopter

Oddly Equipped Helicopter

My first thought was ‘crop duster’.

But, having looked for pics of similarly equipped helicopters, I can’t find anything that matches the hardware attached to this one.

Far from being similar, all the crop dusters I could find followed the conventional patter of a row of nozzles along a frame, with nothing resembling what might be a single nozzle at the end of each arm.

It was also noted that there were no tanks fitted to carry the chemicals or pesticides it may have been delivering.

I doubt any regulations would allow bulk chemicals to be carried internally, in the passenger or luggage/cargo space, where the pilot could be exposed to a leak.

But that may be a red-herring, and it may not fly with the tanks attached if they are not needed, which they would not if it was in transit between sites.

Unfortunately, although the pic came out well for a long zoom of a moving subject, it lacks the detail to examine the kit in detail, or read the registration, so I can’t do any research on this one.

I/we would appreciate a proper identification of the kit if you happen to know, and will share.

Nov 22, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

I took an unusual pic of Glasgow’s Spitfire – then there was a coincidence!

Time for yet another spooky coincidence – they really do follow me around.

During one of my recent visits to Kelvingrove, I happened to look up as I walked through the gallery where Glasgow’s Spitfire (LA198) hangs from the roof. Like most, I probably spend more time looking at this exhibit from the upper gallery, where you are closer to, and looking down on the aircraft from slightly above.

It’s possibly a little less noticeable from the gallery below, as the colouring of its underside tends to blend with the roof space, I think.

But I noticed it this time, mainly because you get a better feel for just how close the fit of the wingspan is within the width of the gallery – it would not have taken a lot to make it just to wide to fit, and they’d have to have modelled it after version with the chopped wing tips! There really was such a mod, which altered the handling and stability.

The view from below is interesting, as the aircraft is posed with its undercarriage lowered.

I find there’s always a slightly disconcerting aspect to such views, from below – in war, if you were ‘the enemy’ and saw that view, you were in the wrong place. That thought first occurred to me at the opening of Cumbernauld Airport, marked by the arrival of a Harrier, which we were able to watch during its whole approach run, For some reason, as I watched it, I started thinking “If this approach was for real, I’d be dead soon, and probably couldn’t do anything about it, not against a Harrier”.

Forget that.

I took this shot specifically to catch that wing tip clearance.

It’s not really that close, but it’s still close.

Spitfire Wing tip clearance

Spitfire Wing tip clearance

So, where’s the coincidence?


I’ve gone back to having an automatic link to new Atlas Obscura entries, and just after I took this pic, what was featured in the atlas?


Glasgow’s Spitfire (LA198)

And, if you check the link, you’ll find they have some pics from below too!

I deliberately avoided the frontal view (for the reason given above), but they got a really good one.

I think I may have to go back and recreate that one soon.

Nov 19, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, military, photography, Transport, World War II | , | Leave a comment

This made me think of Largs

Like many other coastal facilities, Largs was home to a seaplane base during World War II.

Largs Seaplane Base

So far, I haven’t come across any archive footage showing this, or similar Scottish coastal bases, such as say Greenock, in operation.

So, when this popped up in one of my other alert streams, and I saw this new Chinese seaplane operating from the ramp, it made me think of the many ramps I’d found over the years at such bases along the Scottish coast, now mostly abandoned and decaying if some other option has not found a use for them, such as a sailing club.

Nov 2, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, Transport, World War II | , | 2 Comments

Crazy Cat Lady thrown off BA flight to Heathrow

People are weird.

Apparently so attached to her cat, a woman apparently hid it in a box, and then hid it in her bag.


Apparently she needed it for ’emotional support’ – but you have to wonder how much ‘support’ she’d get from her cat, slowly suffocating in her bag and obviously not able to be seen, let alone touched!

The American traveller managed to hide the flying feline in her hand luggage, claiming she needed it for ’emotional support’.

However staff on the British Airways flight to Heathrow refused to entertain her tale and she was told leave the plane, Daily Record reports.

The cat was reportedly hiding in a box in the woman’s bag. She was only caught out because, as she was sitting in an emergency exit row, she was told to put the bag in an overhead locker.

Passenger flung off Glasgow flight for sneaking on ’emotional support’ cat

Frankly, it’s a shame BA staff couldn’t have apprehended her and kept her while the Scottish SPCA and/or police were called to a case of animal cruelty.

As it was, it seems that she not only melted away somewhere into Glasgow Airport, but didn’t even try to catch another flight.

I hope she’s WALKING to London.

Rumour has it her name was Schrödinger, and this is the box they found the cat in.

Schrodinger's Cat


Interesting to note that this story also notes:

A BA spokeswoman said:

Cats cannot travel in the cabin but recognised assistance dogs travel free alongside their owners.

Other animals need to travel in the hold.

So, where’s the campaign to have this inequality corrected?


Oct 25, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Great news as ‘Electric Flight’ could begin in Scotland

Nice to see news that Scotland could be first place to have commercial passenger flights using electric aircraft.

Not so nice to see that the only comments the article attracted were from the usual morons (they’re embarrassing, if the rest of the world sees them and thinks they are representative of Scottish education/science/engineering).

It’s a few years since I last looked at the electric flight specials being developed by companies such as GE and Siemens (I suggest having a search on their web sites for current developments if interested, rather than reading anything from clueless/embarrassing ‘Scottish Scientist’), and I think it was as far back as 2015 that a couple of electric aircraft prototypes made the first Channel crossing. Last time I looked, development of passenger aircraft with capacities of up to 50 was underway.

There are no specific details given of the aircraft proposed for the Orkney route.

Islanders on Orkney may soon be part of another world first with plans to introduce electric planes on the shortest passenger flight on record.

Loganair hopes to make the 90-second trip between Westray and Papa Westray electric within three years.

This would beat their rivals Easyjet which has a 2027 target for introducing an electric fleet.

World’s shortest flight could be an electric first for Orkney

I hope this story doesn’t just evaporate.

Papa Westray Flight

Papa Westray Flight

Oct 22, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Clutha back in the news

The inquiry is due to start in April and will take place at Hampden Park, and could last at least six months.

Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull, who is overseeing the FAI, said it will be “lengthy and complex.”

Seven customers, the pilot and two crew members were killed when the Police Scotland helicopter crashed on to the roof of the Clutha pub in Glasgow on 29 November 2013.

The first of three preliminary hearings ahead of the full fatal accident inquiry (FAI) took place at Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow on Wednesday.

As an air accident, there is data available.


Roddy Dunlop QC, representing aeronautics company Airbus, told the hearing there was a compilation of footage that would be available for the inquiry.

He said: “I have seen and have shown to the Crown a video simulation which has been compiled by Airbus which attempts to provide a graphic depiction of the flight and events in the cockpit during the flight, that has been put together from the data available post crash from, for example, the non-volatile memory which was able to be interrogated post crash.

“In my submission, that will be of some assistance to your lordship, and indeed to participants, in understanding what was happening in the course of the fatal flight.”

3D Interactive Model
Procurator fiscal depute Sean Smith QC said he was looking into the feasibility of a 3D interactive model of a helicopter.

He said: “It may assist the court so that one can see at a glance what’s being referred to.”

A simulation of fatal Clutha flight to be shown at FAI


A pilot who flew a police helicopter hours before it crashed into the Clutha pub will be represented at the Fatal Accident Inquiry.

A hearing took place at Glasgow Sheriff Court to allow anyone with an interest to apply to participate.

Handover pilot allowed to appear before Clutha Inquiry

The Clutha Bar As Was

The Clutha Bar As Was

Oct 4, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

RAF100 to visit the Glasgow Science Centre with five aircraft

Hopefully this won’t change after I mention it, but I spotted an interesting (free) event which is set to arrive at the Glasgow Science Centre this weekend (Friday to Sunday, 31 August to 2 September),  specifically…

Open on Friday 9am to 5.30pm – Last admittance is at 5pm.

Open on Saturday and Sunday 9am to 6pm – Last admittance is at 5.30pm.

On show:

  • Sopwith Snipe Biplane
  • Supermarine Spitfire MkVb
  • Harrier GR3 – (first VSTOL production aircraft)
  • Typhoon Full Scale Replica
  • F35 (LII) Full Scale Replica

Iconic fighter planes from past 100 years to go on display in Glasgow this summer as part of RAF100 Aircraft Tour

RAF100 Aircraft Tour Glasgow

RAF100 Aircraft Tour


RAF100 Publcity Image

RAF100 Publicity Image


Red Arrows cancel Glasgow flypast for RAF centenary

Aug 27, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, Cold War, photography, Transport, World War I, World War II | , , | Leave a comment

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