He Is Heavy, He’s My Buddha

A big reason (literally and figuratively) for going to Kamakura was to see the Buddha statue that is there.  It dates back to the 13th Century but has undergone some work since then.  It is a pretty bloody large statue.  It is also a popular tourist attraction so we were not alone on this day, even though it wasn’t a weekend.

Wandering around the Buddha and seeing it from all angles gives a good impression of its scale and also how it was made of many segments.  There are vents on the back to cool the interior (a little) which is good because you can go inside it.  It is very dark in there but you see the shape clearly.  The coloration also makes it clear which bits have been repaired over the years.  The temperature on a warm day will quickly encourage you to head back outside, though.

It is easy to get fixated on the Buddha itself but the environment in which it is displayed is really nice too.  The surrounding sculptures are interesting and there are some leaves on the ground with engravings.  Apparently there were many more at one point but only four of them remain now.  I hope nothing bad befell those who pinched the others!

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Four 777Xs On the Ramp

The 777X initial airframe has already made it on the blog when it was parked on the ramp and when it undertook some taxi trials.  It has since had the dodgy engines removed and I assume some more trustworthy examples are on their way.  First flight will not be this year, though, based on what I am reading in the press.  While the start of flying has not been achieved, production has continued.  The initial customer aircraft have also now shown up.  I understand that Lufthansa will be receiving at least one of these jets.  The flight line now has four jets parked up – two in house colors and two all white.  Hope we will see them up and active before too long!  I hear a fifth came out with Emirates’ wing tips just after I took this!  I have another primer one since which is below.

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Inshore Lifeboat Deployment

Bembridge has two RNLI lifeboats.  The launch of the all-weather Tamar boat has got a lot of coverage on the blog but I shouldn’t overlook the inshore boat that is also stationed there.  This boat can deal with lots of issues close to shore which the big boat is ill-suited for.  You might think this is less perilous work than that on the open seas but some of the rescue the inshore boats have carried out have really put the crews in harm’s way, often with them entering the water in rough and rocky shallows in breaking surf to rescue people trapped by changeable conditions.

After the all-weather boat had launched, the crew took the inshore boat out.  It is mounted on a trailer with a tug to move it out.  The tide was out and the reason for the boathouse pier is obvious with the exposed rocky shoreline.  They maneuvered the boat on its trailer in to the water and then got on board and powered it up.  Then it was off for training with the all-weather boat as well as on their own.  Again, the commitment of these crews should not be left unmentioned.  If you can do anything for the RNLI in any way, whether it is a membership or just donating when you see someone collecting on the high street, please do it.

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A Sentinel Looks Glossy When it is Hammering Down

Based on a Global Express business jet, the RAF’s Sentinel battlefield surveillance jet has plenty of lumps and bumps to distinguish it but the paint scheme is a different story.  It is painted plain gray and, aside from one example I saw at Red Flag, it doesn’t have any interesting squadron markings.  The Friday of RIAT was a very wet a dreary day but this had the effect of making the Sentinel look rather glossy.  I have never seen them look too interesting before (aside from Red Flag) but this looked okay.  I did shoot it departing too on an overcast day and it didn’t look too bad then so maybe this one was fresh out of the paint shop?

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Big Steam Engines

In the days of steam, power was produced by huge machines.  If you needed a more powerful machine, you just made it bigger.  The huge wheels and pistons that resulted were most impressive.  The Henry Ford has quite a selection of these old steam engines of various designs.  The efficiency improved as they introduced multiple phases to the machines to recover more work from the output of the engine.  The big beams and pistons remained a theme, though.  The large brick structures and the associated metalwork have been nicely preserved and displayed.

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747s Might Be Fading But Thai Is Still Playing

The passenger 747 fleet is something that is shrinking fast.  US operators have retired theirs but other operators still have fleets in use, some of which (like British Airways) are still fairly large.  However, they are definitely not as common a sight as they used to be and seeing one from a different operator is a nice surprise.  At Haneda I saw a couple of operators.  A Qantas jet was parked on the far side of the field and, while visible, wasn’t much of a shot.  However, a Thai Airways jet was on the gate when I arrived so it seemed like there was a fair chance it would move before I overheated and gave up.

It took a while but eventually it did push back and taxi for the runway I was watching.  It then sat at the hold for what seemed like a ridiculously long time.  It probably wasn’t that long but I was wilting in the heat and begging it to move.  Finally it did line up and got off the ground pretty quickly.  I guess the run to Thailand is not a long one so it wouldn’t have been very heavy.  I wonder whether I shall ever see one of these again?

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A spot of Sunday lunch with the family meant a trip out to Beaulieu.  Located in the New Forest, it is well known as the home of the National Motor Museum.  However, that was not our destination.  Instead it was the Montagu Arms for some food and then a stroll around the village.  It seems the place is also a destination for people with old cars as a few rumbled through the place while we were there including what I think is an MG-A that I did happen to get a shot of.

The swans that were swimming nearby seemed pretty interested in us when they thought there was food involved but rapidly realized we were of no use to them and went back to what they were doing – also eating it seemed.  We did notice a house across from the pub with conspicuously red doors.  It attracted a lot of people who were having their picture taken outside so I wonder whether this is a location that is popular on Instagram?

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Piaggio Doesn’t Just Mean Avantis!

I am a big fan of a certain Piaggio aircraft this this post is not about the Avanti.  This is an older generation of Piaggio aircraft and a piston powered one at that.  However, it still goes with the theme of interesting configurations and it is a pusher.  The P.166 is an interesting looking plane and this one appeared at RIAT.  Apparently, it is a regular for the show but a first for me.

I didn’t see it arrive so my first look was in the static display.  It was parked up at the end of the field but this was the end where I was parking so I got to see it each time I arrived.  It was fenced off on the Friday but was easier to see after that.  I was hoping to get a good look at it on departures day but it only backtracked a short way and then took off away from the FRIAT stand.  That was a touch disappointing but there were a lot of planes to get out that day, so I guess there was no point making it use all of one of the UK’s longest runways!

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Bring a Couch to the Fireworks

Fireworks displays attract lots of people and they come prepared in all sorts of ways.  Some will come with a blanket to sit on.  Others will bring folding chair and tables and maybe a bunch of food to go with it.  It may be that they just come as they are ready to sit on the grass and keep it simple.  However, I haven’t seen anyone bring a couch – until now!

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Some Other Evening Arrivals While Waiting for Cathay

Earlier this year I went out to get the Cathay Pacific A350 arrival later in the evening when the light was still good due to the longer days in summer.  Of course, Cathay wasn’t the only airline coming in at that time.  Some of the regular visitors also were arriving and even using the inner runway that is often only used by the heavier jets.  Here are a few shots from the other arrivals in the nice light you can get late on a summer evening.

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