Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Uncle Sam leaving his mark over Pembrokeshire!

Last Saturday saw the return of clear skies and an abundance of overflights by numerous aircraft types. These photo's show (above) an Atlas Air Boeing 747-200 and (below) another 747, this time of Southern Air. These are both freighters of 1980's vintage. The Atlas Air was on a US Military flight from Adana (Turkey) to Dover AFB (Delaware, US). I have not managed to work out where the Southern Air aircraft was going from and to.

The recent build up of forces in Afghanistan has lead to a significant increase in military charters. Other flights that overflew that day operating on behalf of the US Military included World Airways (2 x MD-11's, 2 x DC-10 and a 747), Omni International (2 x DC-10, 1 x 757, 1 x 767), Southern Air (2 more 747's) and UPS (1 x 747). In addition there were 3 USAF C-17 freighters.

Interestingly World and Omni in particular derive most of their business from the US Government with several long term trooping and cargo contracts. This has lead them to acquire additional aircraft, (principally comparitively cheap DC-10's) to compliment their existing fleets. Many people will not have even heard of Omni, yet they operate a fleet of 10 x DC-10's, 3 x 767 and 3 x 757, and have a further 6 x DC-10's in storage. This actually makes them one of the largest providers of aircraft to the US military.

The value of these contracts, which can run into millions, will more than pay for these aircraft, and no doubt once the contracts are complete and/or the military action is over, then the aircraft will be retired or sold on...unless of course there is demand elsewhere in the world.

Monday, 1 February 2010


I have seen them occasionally at some distance in the nearby woods, but finally we had a visit from 2 male Bullfinches yesterday. Like the Snipe no doubt the cold weather caused them to visit the garden looking for easier pickings. Bullfinch numbers have been in decline for some years and this colourful bird is becoming one of our rarest finches.