On the 29th of April 2013, a National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 freighter on behalf of US Mobility Command, registration N949CA performing cargo flight N8-102 from Bagram (Afghanistan) to Dubai Al Maktoum (United Arab Emirates) with 7 crew and cargo consisting of 5 military vehicles, crashed shortly after takeoff from Bagram Air Base's runway 03 at 15:30 local time, and erupted into flames near the end of the runway within the perimeter of the Air Base. All 7 crew died in the accident.
National Air Cargo confirmed their aircraft N949CA with 7 crew, 4 pilots, 2 mechanics and a load master - initial information had been 8 crew -crashed at Bagram. The airline later added, that the aircraft had been loaded with all cargo in Camp Bastion (Afghanistan, about 300nm southwest of Bagram), the cargo had been inspected at Camp Bastion, the aircraft subsequently positioned to Bagram for a refuelling stop with no difficulty, no cargo was added or removed, however, the cargo was again inspected before the aircraft departed for the leg to Dubai Al Maktoum.
A horrifying dashcam video captured the full extent of the crash with the Boeing 747-400F appearing to take off normally as it gained altitude, and then plunging into the ground like a rock. It’s the kind of stuff you may see in a nightmare. The video went viral on the internet and elsewhere (except it was not shown by some respected media outlets). There was a time in history when such things were NOT shown by the media.
At the time the news broke out of the crash I was in Detroit, (Michigan), home state to six of the crew members who died. Interestingly enough on that day I was on the phone to a very good friend of mine who personally knew the deceased Captain of that unfortunate flight. Captain Rajan, former of Pan-Am and a veteran Boeing 747-400 training Captain with Boeing, told me of his utter shock and disbelief that the video of the crash was freely available on the internet.
It’s a sad change of the times indeed that with all the modern technology and social media there is nothing that cannot be sold by anyone (and they don’t have to be journalist in order to do so). In my opinion, such videos should not be on the internet or elsewhere as a mark of respect for the deceased. Yes, there are lots of unmentionable and horrific videos on the internet, however normally such things are not shown by the media. It’s not a Hollywood movie...it’s totally disrespectful to those who died to show that video (In my opinion).
I am in Detroit, U.S.A., and happened to spot this sign at Rochester Library. In the UK we call them Audio Books, so it seemed funny to see that someone had named this section 'Talking Books'. This photo was featured in The Telegraph as part of Sign Language. Check it HERE!
According to official statistics provided by the OECD survey, and THIS Reuters report, the United States of America has the highest rates of obesity in the world with 34% of the adult population classified as obese. Michigan is ranked 10th highest for obesity in the U.S.A.* (Mississippi State is 1st with 67.4% of adults obese*). Therefore, it is no surprise that fitness centres aimed at helping people fighting obesity are part of a multi-million dollar industry in the U.S.A. - and they are in a challenge fighting a corporate war alongside fast-food giants such as McDonald's, KFC and others who in contrast encourage people to eat their food.
I noticed an extreme example of this as I drove by in Detroit earlier this week (I arrived in Detroit earlier this week...first time in the USA...more to come on this!). A weight-loss center was placed right alongside a McDonalds fast food outlet!
When passengers arrive or depart from London's two major international airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, they will notice that the aircraft models that are displayed as welcoming adverts are in fact not representative of any of the British airlines.
On the 30th of March 2007, a scale model of Concorde which had the pride of place at Heathrow Airport's entrance for 16 years was sadly removed, and replaced in 2008 with an Emirates Airlines A380 aircraft model. British Airways had decided not to renew the £1.5m annual rent to advertise on the roundabout at the gateway to the London airport. Instead, Emirates Airlines, the major carrier of the United Arab Emirates, poached the prime spot with a six-year deal to advertise on the site.
Meanwhile at Gatwick Airport, Turkish Airlines have partnered with Eye and Gatwick Airport to suspend a scale model aeroplane inside the airport terminal. The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, situated in Gatwick’s North Terminal check-in measures 6.1m in length with a wingspan of 5.1m. The 124kg structure created by Leading Models will be suspended from the check-in ceiling until August 2013.
Back in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s the airport billboards at British Airports were thronged with national pride such as BOAC, British Caledonian (remember them?!), British Midland, Virgin and so on. With the change of the times, it's the Middle Eastern and Asian carriers who seem to have the money (China Southern Airlines have huge billboards outside Terminal 4 at Heathrow). So the question is if there any chance that we may ever see British carriers advertising their airlines at British airports?
The Challenger Sale!
Perfect book for killing time on a 3 hour train journey. 'The Challenger Sale' explains the new style of the game changing sales tactics and skills that are being implied by business leaders across the world in order to generate revenue in difficult economic times. Sales people know very well that 'building relationships' are so important when getting a contract signed. However, recently, another approach to sales has been the 'The Challenger Sale' where YOU as a Business Development Manager can take control of the customer conversation in order to get the gold signature for a successful deal closure. A great read...and it may just contain the answer that you are so badly looking for in this horrible economic climate.
Baroness Thatcher, 1925 - 2013
Today will be remembered as a day of sadness to hear that the former Conservative leader and Britain's first female prime minister died in the early hours following a stroke at the age of 87.
As a young kid in 1980s London, I grew up in an era when Lady Thatcher was a dominant figure in global politics. My memories of watching the news in those days included seeing the likes of great political icons such as Roland Reagan (1911-2004), Indira Gandhi (1917-1984), Mikhail Gorbachev, François Mitterrand (1916-1996), and many others. I recall briefly meeting Lady Thatcher when she and her husband, Denis, toured Dulwich, and the Dulwich Picture Gallery in the 1990s. She was nicknamed the ‘Iron Lady’ for her toughness and political crypt. She was someone who came across as very patriotic, and a strong symbol of Britishness.
In tribute, the British Prime Minister David Cameron said of her death: "It was with great sadness that I learned of Lady Thatcher's death. We've lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton."
Freezing in London...even in April!
Snow in April? In the U.K.? One would have thought that this was some kind of a bad April Fool's Day joke. But it wasn't the case when we experienced snow showers on the 1st, and the 4th of April in London, and across most parts of Britain. Though British Summer Time (BST) has officially arrived, however it still feels more like winter in the U.K. with windy and bone chilling weather all around. At this time of the year usually one is expected to be surrounded with warmer spring weather here in the U.K. with average temperatures of around 11 degrees Celsius. However, as I sit here, rubbing my bone chilling hands to warm up as much as I could; I am experiencing a climate that is behaving rather unusually. It was officially the coldest March in 50 years and according to the Meteorological office, Britons face more unseasonably cold weather as winds, frost, snow and ice continue to linger even now in April. Seeing snowfall and such cold weather in April in most parts of Europe is actually nothing new, and it has happened in the past (though not common). I recall that in the middle of April in 1999 it snowed on the first day of a county cricket match (the occurrence was documented by the media). While the country continues to plough through one of the coldest starts to spring ever recorded, the topic on everyone’s lips is undoubtedly the weather, and how well are we prepared to handle it. Let's hope for a warmer, if not scorching hot, summer ahead in 2013.
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