The Anonymous Widower

UK Air Taxi Start-Up Finds Early Buyers For 1,000 Vehicles

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Financial Times.

The article is well worth a read and describes the progress of Vertical Aerospace, which was started by Ovo Energy founder; Stephen Fitzpatrick.

The Vertical Aerospace web site is worth a visit.

Details given of their VA-X4 plane include.

  • Range – 100+ miles
  • Speed – 202 miles
  • Capacity – 5
  • Carbon Emissions – Zero
  • Certification – EASA/CAA
  • Noise – 100 times quieter than a helicopter.

There is a lot to like!

What is certain in my mind, is that there is a market for a short range zero-carbon aircraft of some sort.

Judging by the number of aircraft being proposed for this market, I come to two conclusions.

  • The market isn’t mythical.
  • Someone will make a success of it.

I also wouldn’t be surprised, if the most successful design has rather a weird look about it.

But despite saying that, two of the frontrunners; the Cessna Electric Caravan and the electric version of the Britten-Norman Islander are both conversions of existing successful aircraft.

I believe, that I’m young enough to fly in an electric aircraft.

June 11, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

800009 – John Charles

On my way to Wales on Tuesday, I travelled in the Class 800 train, that is numbered 800009 and named after the great Welsh footballer; John Charles at one end.

I actually saw him play for Leeds in a match against Spurs at White Hart Lane. Leeds played in a blue kit in those days and I am fairly sure John Charles played up front.

I suspect, it likely, that it must have been the  1956-57 season as it would be the only season where Leeds were in the First Division, before John Charles left in 1957 to go to Juventus.

I wonder how many people, who saw John Charles play, have actually ridden in the train named after him?

It was good to see that Great Western Railway have also put his Italian nickname; Il Gigante Buono on the train.


June 11, 2021 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hitachi Class 800 Train Or Pendelino?

I have had several day trips on hot days on Hitachi Class 800 trains or similar since the pandemic started to places like Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster, Grantham, Hull and Westbury.

I’ve done a couple of trips in Pendelinos or Class 390 trains to Birmingham and Liverpool.

In addition, I’ve taken a couple of trips on other trains to Corby, Ipswich, Sheffield and Southampton.

It must have been sometime in 2018, when I took one of the first Pendelinos to Blackpool after that station was first electrified.

It was a journey on which I first noticed being unwell on a Pendelino. I travelled in First and remember complaining to the steward and said that some taff didn’t like the trains after their recent air-conditioning upgrade.

Perhaps, Virgin Trains chose a system that would be cheaper to run and it is not on a par with the quality systems used by Bombardier and Hitachi?

I have been testing the atmosphere in trains like a Class 345, 378 or 800 and the temperature is usually 25-26 °C and a humidity around 40-60 %. I haven’t tested a Pendolino yet!

I must say, I’ve never ended up in hospital after a trip out of London, except after a recent trip on a Pendelino to Birmingham, that I wrote about in A Mysterious Attack On My Body.

In that post, I also said this about the Pendelinos.

I had travelled between Euston  and Wolverhampton on my least favourite trains – Alstom’s Class 390 trains.

    • The seats don’t align well with the windows.
    • The trains are cramped because of all the tilting mechanism.

These trains must a nightmare for anybody taller than my 1.70 metres or heavier than my sixty-two kilos.

But the biggest problem of these Pendolino trains is that Alstom updated the air-conditioning a few years ago for Virgin a few years ago and I find the air inside too dry.

So in future, I won’t be travelling on a Pendelino, unless I travel in First!

I also can’t wait until Avanti West Coast get new Hitachi Class 807 trains on the Euston and Liverpool route!

June 11, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment